Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Worth Repeating Wednesday

I can't get enough Darius Rucker these days.

Maybe it didn't turn out like I planned
Maybe that's why I'm such, such a lucky man

For every stoplight I didn't make
Every chance I did or I didn't take
All the nights I went too far
All the girls that broke my heart
All the doors that I had to close
All the things I knew but I didn't know
Thank God for all I missed
Cause it led me here to
This ...

I didn't understand it way back when
But sitting here right now it all makes perfect sense

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hometown Bachelor

I've watched a few [OK, several ...] seasons of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." And, I have to say, I love the hometown dates. I love seeing the other towns and cities, and I like to see what "real life" does to the relationships that are fostered in a romantic bubble.

So, moving on to my commentary I jotted down during tonight's episode of "The Bachelor" ...

First up, Chantal in Seattle. I've been to Seattle. And I like Seattle. After their hometown date, Chantal is my second favorite girl left. During the date, Chantal kept talking about how huge this hometown date is. Agreed. Then they walked into her parents' house. Um, that's what's HUGE about this episode. Literally. Just look at the front door alone. It's so, so tall. And there's a "self-made man" statue. Oh, and there is much, much, much wine.

I liked learning about Madawaska, Maine, as much as I liked listening to Ashley say she's confident now. I detect more disconnect coming. But, first, what do you know ... Ashley, the dental student who isn't actually a dentist yet, made the short list of notable Madawaska people on Wikipedia. Of course, there are more moose than people there.

My other favorite part of Ashely's hometown date was her tattooed sister, who talked about heart bursting using hand motions.

Shawntel was a little creepy in Chico, CA. Of course, she is a funeral director in a family who owns the funeral home. So I suppose it was appropriate the family's funeral home commercial opened her segment. And, you know, that organ music that played next would make me scared of anything, including death.

Brad may not have heard the creepy organ music, but he did see the fiery crematory. Then he said, "Can I follow you, where it says 'danger'?" And then he laid on an embalming table.

She totally dropped the not-running-the-family-business-because-of-love conversation bomb at the dinner table. Not cool. And then Dad was pretty blunt about her leaving would affect the community. Nothing like a guilt trip before blessing the relationship and hypothetical forthcoming marriage.

Saved the best for last. Emily in Charlotte. And her 5-year-old daughter, Ricki.

Brad was so patient with Ricki and isn't scared of that most important part of Emily's life. And Emily was so brave to let Brad in her life like that. Their date was so real. They even played Candy Land and cooked together. Then Emily had to be patient while Brad sorted out some weird your-kid-is-upstairs-sleeping-so-I-won't-kiss-you-goodbye thing in his own head.

My preferred pecking order would be Ashley to go next, then Chantal, and then the relationship that doesn't end with Emily. We'll see what Brad thinks, continuing next week in South Africa.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

ABCs of Me

There's much talk about the ABCs around our house, so I thought this was a good way to share some randomness about me ...

Animal: My favorites are the ones that aren't mine.
Advice: I often tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment.
Album: "August and Everything After" by Counting Crows is one of my all-time favorites.

Best feeling in the world: Peace.
Best weather: I like that the weather changes, but I prefer sunshiny, warm days.
Band: I can't pick just one band. These days I'm liking Casting Crowns, Third Day and Sugarland.

Candy: I really love candy, but I'm trying not to eat much of eat these days.
Color: Cate would tell you purple, pink and blue are my favorites. She'd be right.
Continent to visit: I'd go back to New Zealand, which I believe isn't part of any continent.
Cheese: Colby Jack.

Drawing or painting: Neither. I like to write. And scrapbook.
Dog breed: Ones that belong to other people and that aren't yappy. Really.

Eyes: Mine are blue.
Everyone's got: Imperfections.
Ever failed a class: Nope.

First thoughts waking up: Did Ben sleep until 7?
Feeling: Right now I'm feeling tired yet peaceful.
Favorite Movie: "Valentine's Day," "Love Actually," "Return to Me," "27 Dresses," "Juno," "When Harry Met Sally," "Good Will Hunting," "The Holiday," "Serendipity," "You've Got Mail," and "Reality Bites" are ones I consider favorites.

Greatest Fear: Not being able to remember moments I want to treasure.
Goals: Raise kids who love God and people.
Good luck charm: No such thing.

Holiday: Christmas. And, really, the whole December season, not just Dec. 25.
How do you want to die: Naturally.
Hot or cold: Cold drinks. Warm weather.

Ice cream: I don't love ice cream, but a Reese's cup Blizzard from DQ is a wonderful treat.
Instrument: I can't play any.
Irrational fear: Having the bedroom closet door open. And more than fearing anything, it just bugs me.

Jewelry: I don't wear much. I love my wedding rings and Pandora bracelet.
Job: Full-time mom.
Jokes: I'm not very good at telling them.

Kids: I have two whom I love dearly.
Keep a journal: Sporadically. And I have this electronic journal, more often called a blog.

Love: It's a choice.
Laughed so hard you cried: Oh, yes.
Learned: I have much to learn.
Lost: One of the best TV shows ever, even though I didn't like the ending.

McDonald’s or Burger King: Between the two, McDonald's. I'd choose Wendy's or Culver's, though.
Marriage: I'm thankful for mine.
Musical: I don't really do musicals, but I liked "Man of La Mancha."

Number of siblings: Two plus six in-laws, counting my brother's girlfriend who he's officially marrying in May because she's been part of the family for quite awhile now.
Number: I like 3.
Nuts: Cashews and peanuts are the only nuts I'll eat.
Name that comes to mind first: Taylor.

One wish: The first one that comes to mind is that Katie would be my neighbor again one day.
One time I...: Bungy jumped. I'd do it again, too.
One word: Uno.

Perfect pizza: I had Mariachi Chicken (chicken, jalapenos, Roma tomatoes, chedder and provolone cheese, mariachi spice) with a side of sour cream at Donato's last week. It was delicious.
Pepsi or Coke: I really love Diet Dr Pepper.
Pet: I don't do pets. We had a fish, once.

Questions: I ask many of them.
Quit: I always say "I quit working at the Ledger when Cate was 4 months old ..." but that sounds like I gave up. It was more of a choice that was best for me and my family. And a good one it was.
Quiet: I like quiet.

Reason to cry: I typically don't need a deep reason.
Rude: I am rude sometimes.

Song: "Glorious Day" by Casting Crowns has been in my head often lately. My husband played it at church today too.
Sleep: I try to get eight hours a night. And I believe in sleep training my kids.
Salad dressing: Poppyseed is my favorite.
Slept outside: Yes, but I don't really like doing so.

Time for bed: 10 p.m.
Thunderstorms: I like them at night.

Unpredictable: It's true. I'm not in control, even though I sometimes try to be.
Uncool: My husband tucked in his long-sleeved MSU T-shirt last night and I told him that was uncool.

Vacation spot: I like vacations, especially beaches. But I'll take a city or the mountains. Really anywhere.
Voice: I don't think my voice sounds like my voice recorded and I don't sing for people.

Weakness: Perfectionism.
Worst feeling: Letting someone down.
Water or land: I like to be on land near water.

X-rays: The ones they took of my teeth at my last cleaning appointment were really high-tech.
Ex's: Part of how I got here.

Year it is now: 2011. Crazy.
Yellow: Our kitchen and bedroom are yellow. The same yellow, which was also the color of our bedroom at our old house. Yes, I like it.

Zoo animals: Way better than pets.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

56 chicken breasts and a little beef

Courtney and I freezer cooked yesterday. We kept it pretty simple, but our freezers are now stocked with all sorts of meals.

Parmesan Garlic Chicken
Black Bean Tortilla Bake
Asian Flank Steak
Poppyseed Chicken
Chicken Enchiladas
Orange Teriyaki Chicken
Buttermilk Herb Chicken

These are from either "Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer" or "Don't Panic - More Dinner's in the Freezer." Except for the manicotti and poppyseed chicken, which are Courtney's recipes. Yes, I'll share some recipes.

Telluride Black Bean Tortilla Bake
Makes 6 servings

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinse
1 16-oz. can stewed tomatoes (I usually use diced tomatoes)
1/2 cup enchilada sauce
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1/4 t. pepper
6 flour tortillas
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles, drained
1 cup shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese (for serving day, if freezing)

Brown ground beef and onions in large skillet; drain fat. Put stewed tomatoes into a blender and blend just long enough to break up large tomato pieces. (I skip that step with the diced tomatoes.) Add to skillet with meat. Stir in black beans, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Spread one side of tortilla with cream cheese, topping with green chiles. Fold tortillas in half over cream cheese. Pour half of the cooled meat sauce into the bottom of a 7-by-11 baking dish. (We actually did two smaller ones.) Arrange the folded tortillas over the sauce, overlapping if necessary. Pour the remaining sauce over the tortillas.

Freeze at this point, if that's your plan. Thaw to slush state when ready to bake.

To serve, cover dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until heated through. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese on top. Bake for 5 more minutes or until bubbly.

Parmesan Garlic Chicken
Makes 6 servings

6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
2 gloves garlic (I just used minced garlic)
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix together cheese, garlic and Italian mix. Dip chicken breasts in olive oil, then coat with cheese mixture. Store in freezer bag, if you're freezing it.

Thaw completely before cooking. Place in greased baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

sunshine and bubbles

We played at the park yesterday. Today we hung out on the front porch. Wherever we've been, we've loved the weather. The heat is turned off, which is crazy since we had inches of snow covering the ground last week.

So, come to the front porch with us. Cate will blow some bubbles. And you can catch them with Ben ...

Here's to more spring-like days in February.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Worth Repeating Wednesday

I love this song I heard for the first time yesterday.

In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

Monday, February 14, 2011

'How do you not fall in love here?'

I want Chris Harrison's job. [Apparently, so does Holly!] He gets to narrate "The Bachelor" and travel to pretty places. Like Anguilla.

Now on to my episode babble ...

While flying away on a one-on-one date with Emily, Brad said he hopes his relationship with Emily "take off." Ha. Takes off. On a private island, I'm guessing that's a pretty good start. Although the private island looks a little more like a large sandbar. I'd take it, though.

All this talk about whether Brad will meet Emily's daughter if he goes to her hometown along with recent conversations with a friend who is interested in a guy who has two young kids has me thinking about dating and kids. First, it makes me thankful for my family of four situation. But, hypothetically, I get Emily's reservations about introducing a guy to her daughter. It's easy for a small child to get confused if people go in and out of their life. Kids don't get time and emotions.

Can I just say that I love that Brad "broke the rules" and told Emily she's getting a rose ... and hometown date.

Shawntel seems like she'd be fun to hang out with.

"How do you not fall in love here?" I was thinking the same thing, Shawntel. Seize the moment for sure.

I'm glad Britt is getting the third one-on-one date, but I'm not so sure all her make-up was necessary, especially on a beach vacation. Oh, there's Michelle. She's been quiet so far. After saying Brad was wasting the yacht on Britt and mentioning "Britt and Brad" were cute names together, Michelle made me laugh more than she made me cringe, for once: "Not only do I not see them getting married, but I don't even see him friending her on Facebook."

Um, did Britt wear lingerie to dinner? And I had no idea her hair was so long.

Brad's therapist needs to tell him that it's OK that he's not falling in love with everyone. Sure, Britt is sad, but he can't help if he doesn't have chemistry with everyone. And, really, why would he want there to be chemistry with all six girls left? That would just complicate his heart.

Ashley, Chantal and Michelle. Wow, what an emotional, intense combination for a group date. Brad woke them up to start their date in the dark, yet Chantal still put on a dress.

And that's the last time the girls actually put anything on. They ended up with less on for their photo shoots. And, emotionally, the three women shut down.

Next up, hometown dates for Ashley, Emily, Shawntel and Chantal. Finally. Michelle can go home now. Her exit [both the walk out and the limo ride] was the quietest she's been all season!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Spring is coming ...
Hear the birds start to sing
Feel the life in the breeze
Watch the ice melt away
The kids are coming out to play
Feel the sun on your skin
Growing strong and warm again
Watch the ground
There’s something moving
Something is breaking through
New life is breaking through

--From "Spring is Coming"
by Steven Curtis Chapman

Cate wore her L-O-V-E outfit and handed out her valentines at school. She's into all these heart-shaped activities. On Friday, we made Greg brownies in a heart-shaped pan. Then today at school she made the wreath pictured above out of hearts labeled with people she loves.

She was really proud of her baking debut!

I really like our Valentine's Day story. The summary is: Greg and I went on our first date to Baskin-Robbins and then ended up staying up all night talking 13 years ago today. You can read the longer version of the story, if you want.

Seeing all the heart, reminiscing about the past 13 years, and hearing a testimony shared at church yesterday, I've been thinking about how seasons change so quickly. Last Monday, inches of snow were covering the ground. Today, I took Ben to the park. Similarly, I've been a little emotionally drained from dealing with my 3-year-old daughter's independence and attitude and my 1-year-old son's desire to be into everything and going everywhere. [And even though I recognize these challenges are nothing compared to what plenty of people around me are dealing with. Still, I was emotionally exhausted by the end of last week.] But I know sooner than I realize they will understand more and we'll be moving on to another season of life, where there is sure to be rain but there's also a promise of sunshine. And I'm left feeling thankful we have so many more good days than bad days.

And in it all, the snow and the sunshine, the hard days and the ones where joy and peace come more easily, God is worth praising. He doesn't promise life without storms, but he does promise to give us his strength, his peace and his love.

So I want to hold on to that hope, even on a day like today that has been full of happy kids, easy-to-find joy and plenty of sunshine. Because spring

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's snowing! Again!

Those icicles are left over from the snow we got Monday that tried to melt a little. But temperatures have been in the 20s and are supposed to be until Friday, so I don't think the icicles -- or the snow! -- is going anywhere anytime soon.

And it's snowing again today ...

That's my front (top) and back (bottom) yard when the snow was coming down earlier this afternoon. And it's still coming down. Five more are predicted today, according to the National Weather Service, which revised it prediction after the snow had started falling.

Our friend Justin Holland, who is an official government weather observer for Murray and gives the best weather-related Facebook updates, told the newspaper Murray received 6.5 inches of snow on Monday, making it the biggest snowfall since Dec. 22, 2004, when seven inches of snow fell. So far this winter, Murray has received 16.5 inches of snow -- the most since the winter of 2002-03, when there was 26 inches total.

Worth Repeating Wednesday

A legalist looks at life and says, "Everything is wrong unless you can prove by the Bible that it is right. Therefore, we must have nothing to do with anything that the Bible does not say is right." That reduces life to a very narrow range of activity. But the biblical Christian looks at life and says, "Everything is right! God has given us a world to enjoy and live in. Everything is right, unless the Bible specifically says it is wrong." Some things are wrong; they are harmful and dangerous. Adultery is always wrong. So is fornication. Sexual promiscuity is wrong. Lying and stealing are wrong. These things are never right. But there is so much more that is left open to us. If we are willing to obey God in the areas that he designates as harmful and dangerous, then we have the rest of life to enter into company with a Savior who loves us, and who guides and guards us in our walk with him.

--Ray Stedman's commentary on Colossians 2:20-23
as quoted in "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

loving and hating snow

Cate and Greg played out in the snow for two hours yesterday afternoon/evening. Ben and I were only there for about 15 minutes. But, hey, we got a family portrait before Ben and I bailed for the warm, dry house.

Greg helped her build a snowman. Then Greg took her sledding down the hill at the park across the street from our house. When I stepped out on the front porch to watch her, I heard her happy screams before I saw her.

It was Ben's first playing-in-the-snow experience. And he didn't like it. Really, I can't blame him! He did stand unassisted for longer than he ever has. Apparently snow is good motivation for that. He wouldn't take any steps in the snow, but he did later in the evening. Hooray for first steps!

He didn't even like it in the [mostly] protective arms of his big sister, who apparently loves snow!

And then there were six ...

My commentary while watching last night's episode of "The Bachelor" ...

Costa Rica! Much more magical than Las Vegas.

Michelle: Yes, if Brad is more interested in Chantal than you, then you aren't his girl. Duh. And I doubt she gets attacked by apes, or monkeys. And, really, I'm not sure how the rain can be creepy.

Um, Michelle called Chantal "aggressive." Pot. Kettle. Black.

I want to zipline there. And I want to rappel down a waterfall.

Really, Michelle? If Jackie is dramatic, then I'm not even sure what the word is for you. Again. Pot. Kettle. Black. Oh dear, then Michelle gets to rappel down the waterfall with Brad. She doesn't deserve that extra special treatment.

The girls are just "starting to bother" Michelle. Seems like they have been bothering her since Day One.

Even Brad rolled his eyes at Michelle. Of course, then he kissed her.

Alli seems like a nice girl. But I wasn't surprised Brad sent her home. He's not there to make a new best friend that isn't his wife.

So much for Brad's emotional down time. Michelle showed up uninvited. Brad nailed it when he said she's the biggest contributor to his feeling pulled in different directions. Yet he gave her a rose anyway.

Alright, enough about Michelle. There are other girls still around ...

Emily. "She's worth the fight." Good call, Brad.

Chantal. I go back and forth about what I think of her, but I loved their rainy zipline date. Although I do think her "I love you" to Brad at the cocktail party was a little premature.

Britt. I want her to have a chance.

Ashley. I'm okay with her going home soon and I was relieved her airtime was limited tonight.

Shawntel. I like her more and more all of the time.

Six left. Who do you want Brad to love?

Monday, February 7, 2011

let's go and let go

Our road trip to Clarksville, Tenn., Saturday afternoon reminded me of one day at the lake with out-of-town friends last summer when nothing went as I expected. Obviously, I needed yet another lesson in letting go ...

First, the Yukon we borrowed from my mother-in-law was tighter than expected, mostly because the three booster seats for Cate and her friends Emma and Noah couldn't all sit in the very back together. So Courtney and I ended up in the back, with Ben and his car seat between us. It was miserable, just more complicated that it should have been and unloading at each stop wasn't smooth.

One of my all-time favorite restaurants had a two-hour wait for our party of 11. The Goodriches stayed there because they were pressed for time, like we were. The rest of us tried Olive Garden, which had an hour wait. We ended up at Rafferty's, which is a family favorite, but we could sit with the Frenches because we didn't want to miss the tip-off of the Murray State at Austin Peay basketball game.

Then when we got to Austin Peay, we had to wait in line for 20 minutes for general admission tickets. We missed the live tip-off, but we got to see the opening minutes on the TV screen in the lobby.

When we went to our assigned seats, we were a blue-and-gold patch in a sea of red. The predominately gold sections around the corner to our left were apparently sold out. We spotted seven available seats in the section next to the gold sections and saw more Racer fans there. So we moved. I think the Governors fans around us were pleased.

I changed Ben's diaper on my lap because I knew from a previous experience with my then-small daughter that the bathroom didn't have a changing table or counter. My lap was better than the bathroom floor.

Cate didn't fall asleep until we were 15 minutes from home, and it was 10:55 p.m. Ben procrastinated about going to sleep in the vehicle, too, but he didn't push it quite as long as his sister.

But it wasn't all bad ...

I bought three boxes of diapers and two packages of wipes at Target, and I used two coupons [one store and one manufacturer] on each item, plus got a $5 gift card back for buying the diapers I was already going to buy.

Rafferty's isn't a bad restaurant on which to settle. And Sarah brought me home some of the beer cheese I was missing from my first-choice restaurant. It was the perfect lunch on this cold, snowy day, and I'm glad I didn't eat it just to eat it yesterday between lunch and the Super Bowl.

The game sold out, so we were glad we got tickets, even after having to wait.

Ben fell asleep for most of the second half of the basketball game, which was especially good news considering how hot and loud it was in the arena.

The Austin Peay fans, who have been known to be over-the-top obnoxious, weren't as intense as usual. Yes, they were loud, and, yes, they cheered for their team. But I didn't detect the meanness that I have in the past. That's good news. Behind us, there were a few especially funny Peay fans, one of whom kept saying he didn't want to see B.J. Jenkins start scoring.

The Racers won and moved into first place in the conference, even without Jenkins getting hot. And it wasn't even as close as we expected it to be.

And we had a good time with our friends.

Yes, there are plans for a return road trip next year. It will involve leaving Murray earlier, eating at Blackhorse Brewery first, then maybe shopping at Target, getting tickets earlier and driving the mini bus.

Just for fun, here is sleepy Ben after he woke up from his in-game nap ...

That's some bed head, which was helped along to its craziness with some macaroni and cheese from dinner earlier in the evening.


While we enjoyed an unexpected day at home, Cate worked on her Valentine cards for her friends at preschool ...

She wrote all 14 names by herself!

laden with snow

People on Facebook like to talk about the weather, which can be helpful. You know, people can tell you [thanks to a text message status update or a smart phone Facebook app] that they've slid off the road and into ditch. Or they can warn you that the local roads are horrible. Or you can know what the weather is like hundreds of miles away.

But today my favorite weather-related post came from a church friend, who said she was reminded of Chris Tomlin's "Indescribable," particularly the line about heavenly storehouses laden with snow ...

... Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom ...

And then she said some of the storehouses must have burst open this morning.

I love that.

And it got me thinking.

God is all-powerful and untameable. He's in charge of the 6 inches (and counting ...) of snow that is covering my back yard. Meteorologists predicted an inch or so. Everybody started this Monday morning like any other beginning of the work week. But the snow kept coming. The roads got messier. People's plans were disrupted.

I realized a surprise snow store like this is much like trusting the Creator of the universe. Sometimes life is messy, but God intends for us to know beauty ultimately. This same God who created the tree limbs on which the snow rests created me, and my husband, and my kids, and my community of family and friends. He has plans for us, and sometimes those plans aren't what we had in mind.

Sometimes heavenly storehouses laden with snow have to burst to get our attention, make us slow down and realize we aren't really in charge.

Cate's words

I can't remember Cate not talking.

Yesterday I was remembering her days as a wobbly, learning-to-walk, trying-to-talk todder while I looked through some videos from that summer. Ben is 14 months, so I realized how much more she was saying than he is. Not that he's quiet. I'm pretty sure his thoughts will be verbalized soon.

And then I remembered I kept a list of Cate's words for awhile.

The post I just wrote about colors also got me thinking about some of Cate's word choices that have become normal vocabulary around our house.

Like "hanitizer." It's brilliant, really. You know, hand sanitizer, just slurred together.

Then there's "white paper" for toilet paper. And while we're having bathroom talk, I'll share a couple related to a bodily function, better known as "farse" around here. And when that happens, she'll say, "Excuse me bottom."

Now that she's 3 1/2, she tells story after story and likes to tell people what to do. She's funny and smart. And she has a little brother watching her.


Crayons are known as "colors" around our house, thanks to Cate's word choice. Ben doesn't really care what they're called; he was just glad to finally get his hands on them at dinner Saturday at Rafferty's in Clarksville. And he did well, meaning he didn't eat them.

And, yes, he was cheesin' it up for the camera. That's his new cheese face, and it's prompted by the presence of the camera. The "Say cheese!" command isn't even required.

Friday, February 4, 2011


I grumble too much. And I often don't shy away from what I'm feeling.

Yes, it's my personality, which is a sometimes complicated mix of melancholy and choleric. I'm honest, sometimes to the point of wishing I kept my mouth shut. I'm wordy and into details. I like to be in control. I analyze and am always making a plan. I have been known to set impossible standards for myself, and sometimes my husband, children, family and friends. I am opinionated, react too quickly and too emotionally, try to solve any problem near me, and am often impatient.

The fact I'm sitting here making a list of my personality traits and analyzing them is proof. Hey, at least I know myself, right?

My point is I know in my head who I am but sometimes that doesn't connect to what's going on in my heart. I want to be more compassionate, slower to anger and kinder. I want to choose words that build people up and not the ones that ruin the moment.

And my daughter is a lot like me, and I know she's watching my every move and listening to my every word, even if she's pretending not to listen. So I want to set an example for her. Plus it's draining to grumble.

And then I was reminded that the Israelites spent too much time grumbling, even though God was faithful and provided for them in the wilderness. He redeemed them. He saved them. Time and time again.

[From Psalm 106 ...]

Praise the LORD.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. ...

... When our ancestors were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his mighty power known. ...
The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.
Then they believed his promises
and sang his praise.

But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wilderness they put God to the test. ...

... They exchanged their glorious God
for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. ...

Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the LORD. ...

... They defiled themselves by what they did;
by their deeds they prostituted themselves. ...

Therefore the LORD was angry with his people
and abhorred his inheritance.
He gave them into the hands of the nations,
and their foes ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them
and subjected them to their power.
Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.
Yet he took note of their distress
when he heard their cry;
for their sake he remembered his covenant
and out of his great love he relented.
He caused all who held them captive
to show them mercy.

Save us, LORD our God,
and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.

Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting. ...

I'm thankful God redeems us so we don't have to stay the same, even if we fall back into our natural tendencies. And I'm thankful those near me, especially my daughter, spur me on toward love. It's far sweeter than grumbling.