A Tribute to My Little Town….#HesstonStrong

When I was a senior in high school, I went through the process of applying to college. As the youngest of 3 who all went to the same college, along with my parents and other relatives, the idea was definitely there to attend the same place. It would be in my hometown, so I’d be able to visit home easily when I wanted to. Every year the seniors of the high school I attended, would visit this same local college to gauge whether or not it was a right fit for any one.

As visiting day arrived and I walked about the beautiful campus I had a thought: this was the wrong fit.

Then one day a cheerful recruiter from a 2-year Mennonite college in Kansas showed up at our school. I had a chance to meet with him and ask questions about the school; Hesston College.

One of my deepest concerns was safety. Not knowing I had an anxiety disorder yet, but  aware of my overwhelming need to feel safe, this was an important aspect of any school I’d choose.

Being as Hesston College was located among wheat fields in a very small farming community, very low crime rate, small classes and a Christ-centered environment, I deemed it the perfect fit. I applied and was accepted soon after my campus visit.

I spent two of the best years of my life at Hesston College. I met amazing friends, wonderful professors and grew spiritually and academically. Hesston College was the first place where I caught the writing bug. It was the first place where I pulled an all-nighter (wait, I forgot I did that once in high school). It was the first place I lived, away from my parents, where I still felt safe and protected. Even walking alone at night on the main street of town I felt safe.

I recommend Hesston College to anyone looking for an awesome introduction to the wonderful world of college.

This past Thursday, a gunman with a grudge opened fire 3 blocks away from my beloved alma-mater; at a factory specializing in the manufacturing of lawn mowers. The gunman killed 3 and injured 15 others before being shot and killed by law enforcement.

In the blink of an eye, my little town didn’t feel so safe anymore.

But after the tragedy, an extraordinary thing happened. Instead of taking to the streets to protest for tougher gun-control as is seen in other cities after similar events, the fine folks in Hesston gathered in places of worship to reflect and remember the lives lost; including the shooter. Let me re-state that:

The person who perpetrated such a violent act on a friendly town has not been characterized as a violent thug. He’s been looked on with sympathy and his family has been prayed for and embraced. A broken soul who in some twisted logic believed that the only way to get what he wanted was with a gun. Hesston is also mourning his loss with the sadness that comes with knowing that there was a person amongst them that needed help and yet he seemed out of reach.

Maybe my little college town, not used to national/international news exposure, can breathe new life in the discussions that always follows these tragic events. To live out Christ’s call to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

To be a light in a dark, broken world.


PS: If you’d like to make a tax deductible donation and purchase a T-shirt to help the victims families, click here

LAFF: Peanut Butter and Proper Labeling….Or How This Entry Could Have Been Avoided

So last weekend I attended a party at a girlfriends house. Just a bunch of women, food and wine. In a phrase this was, “my kind of party.”

Amidst wonderful conversation, I made my way over to the food table and took stock of my options. There was a veggie tray, tortilla chips, layered bean dip (yes, please!) and an amazing tray of apples that were drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with tiny chocolate chips….Yum!!

I got pretty excited when I saw a bowl of peanut butter. How excited? There may have been a combination of excited squeals and applause.

I may have also thrown some glitter into the air in celebration. I told you I was excited. Now before you think I’ve completely lost my mind over a simple bowl of peanut butter, let me explain…..

Chad is allergic to peanuts. Which also means he’s allergic to peanut butter. Now, he’s not so allergic that he can’t be around peanuts, he just can’t ingest them. This is why we don’t keep peanut butter in the house very often if at all.

This means that when we are out, or if I go out by myself and there is peanut butter, you bet your booty I’m gonna eat WAY to much of the gooey goodness. Seriously. I’ve been known to just take a spoon and eat it by the spoonful. No toast needed. Which leads me to what I happened to do next after finding this bowl of peanut butter last weekend….I asked the host for a plastic spoon, and I proceeded to scoop out an ungodly amount onto my plate. Right as I was about to take the spoon into the large puddle of peanutty deliciousness, I took a deeper look at what was on my spoon…..and discovered tiny red dots peppered throughout.

Ladies and gentlemen….It was NOT peanut butter. How did I finally confirm this? Well, when the spoon got closer to my nose, I was able to sniff out a top note that is not present in peanut butter…..savory smoke. Say WHAT??

So, I carefully put the spoon down and calmly asked the host what I had on my plate. “Oh, that’s horseradish dip!” She said, brightly.

I hate horseradish.

But I am a responsible adult (eh, I’ll just leave that in 😛 ) and I had just globbed a whole bunch of this stuff on my plate, so I grabbed some veggies and dove in.

It actually wasn’t bad. A bit tangy and I really couldn’t taste the horseradish. And I was able to get some fresh veggies into my gullet. A healthy bonus.

So what did I learn from this experience? Two things. 1. From now on if I’m unsure what something is I’ll ask, and 2. The next time there is a party thrown I will strongly suggest that all food items have clear labels on them.

Better safe than sorry. 😉

Cheers!

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This picture of Chad and I from our personal archives has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of my blog today, but I just wanted to remind you of what can happen to a couple after almost 3 years of marriage. On date night. When the internet is down and you can’t watch your shows on Hulu. (And I promise you Chad was actually having a better time than his expression shows. I, on the other hand need to lay off the sugar 😉 )

You’re welcome! 😀

How to Discipline Your Child With a Straight Face….

We’ve all been there; whether as a parent to a tiny human or someone that works in child-care. Your kid/charge does something bad but it’s ridiculous enough that it’s pretty funny, but you can’t laugh because if you’d do that, your kid/charge would think it was ok and keep doing it. So what’s a parent/care-giver to do? You are in luck dear readers, because I’ve thought about this, made a call out to my Facebook friends who are parents/care-givers and today I’m making a list of options. Enjoy!:

1. Bite the inside of your cheek: My go-to has been to bite the inside of my cheek ever so slightly to produce pain, but not so hard that I actually start bleeding. You can do this subtly enough while still looking at that cute tiny human mug, and still follow through with stern discipline.

2. Turn your head and take a breath: This one is slightly different than getting a hernia exam in that there is no coughing involved. Simply turn your head and take a moment and a breath to recenter yourself and focus on the task at hand.

3. Try to think about something sad: My go-to is to think of the Holocaust when I need to stop smiling or laughing. I imagine thinking about Donald Trump as our president would have the same result.

4. Try to divide 49,845 by 34,534 in your head. Remember to carry the 1. You may end up with a look of constipation on your face, but I guarantee you won’t be smiling or laughing.

5. As a last resort, try to imagine the grown version of your child doing the same thing. Peeing in the bushes doesn’t seem so funny when it’s done by a 30 yr-old, now does it?

Hope this list helps. You aren’t ever alone in the parenting game!

Cheers!

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*When all else fails, Calvin’s mom recommends chanting “Serenity NOW” over and over. Image appears courtesy of pinterest

Viewing Childlessness as a Blessing……And Decreasing World Suck

A caveat: I tend to try hard to look at the bright side of any situation. This has also been true while my husband and I have been on this childless journey for over a year. Yes, we’ve mourned and there have been hard moments, but overall, I’ve tried hard to figure out a way to live positively and ask the Lord how I can use my childlessness for good. Now I also understand that some of these things are not feasible for some couples. If you aren’t able to do some of these things, don’t sweat it. I just wanted to use this post as an encouragement to those that are in the pit at the moment. To encourage you that you can have a fulfilling life after the pain of childlessness.

Look around and find those in your community that need help. Whether financially or otherwise. Maybe there is a single mama who you know who hasn’t had a night out in a long time. Offer to babysit so she can have a night out, or just a much needed nap or bubble bath.

If you’d like to help out others financially, set aside a certain amount each month in a discretionary fund to do good things in the world.

If it’s difficult to be around kids, volunteer with an animal shelter. Or volunteer to foster dogs and cats that need loving homes. You can find more information about fostering a furbaby at your local Humane Society or by contacting rescue groups in your area. A tip on working with rescues, make sure they are a legitimate 501(c)3 and not a place that is pretending. There are places out there that say they are legit, but are only interested in hoarding animals for profit. One note on fostering: while you are fostering either dogs or cats, the rescue group or shelter will provide you with food while they are in your care.

Give to charities that you are passionate about. Whether it is your time or money.

Volunteer with your local nursing home, reading to residents or just visiting with those who don’t get any visitors.

Life after childlessness is tough. But there are ways you can regain a life of joy and hope.

Remember, you are never alone!!

Cheers!

Finding Your Voice and Going to the Mattresses…..

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The above photo explains my day perfectly. No, I was not the sleeping, cuddly polar bear, I was the bad *ss penguin with the cymbals. And I don’t run really fast, so my brave thing was done with double courage. What was this brave thing, you ask? Did I write a scathing letter to Donald Trump, calling him a doody-head? Or maybe I prank called PBS during their pledge-drive while watching their channel, just to hear my telephone ring on TV. Nope. But I did do that last thing when I was a kid. In my defense, my older sister who should have known better also did it. 😉

While I didn’t call PBS, but I did make a phone call. To a computer repair guy who I had taken my mac to for repair….several months ago. Yes, I recently got my computer back, from the place I had taken it to be repaired from the first repair guy.

Yeah. This mama wasn’t happy with the first guy. Why? Well, when you take your computer into a repair place that has been highly recommended and it comes back–several weeks later–with an incompatible trackpad, you tend to get a bit miffed. For those unfamiliar with why this would make me frustrated, let me break it down for you. When you have a computer that has an incompatible part, your computer is not going to perform the way it should. Like at all. And when you rely on your computer as a daily blogger, this frustration is amplified.

So why has it taken me so long to call this guy? Well, he’s one of those intimidating types. I hate to even admit that because I have a reputation, at least in our house, for being firm with repair guys if they waffle with repairs. There’s a reason “let me have you talk to my wife” has been known to get results.

But this guy was different. I guess it was his stature and intimidating presence that made me nervous and dread calling him to follow-up when my computer wasn’t repaired within the time frame discussed. Then when my computer came back, I discovered it was not working properly. A quick trip to the Apple repair store (that I had just discovered in town), and it was determined that the track pad installed was the wrong one.

By the time it had been fixed properly it had been several months since I had taken it to the first guy. And I didn’t call about getting a refund until today. I just wanted to get a refund without having to deal with the repair guy.

Somedays I hate adulting. Today was no exception. But I knew after so long I had to do it and try to reason with him to give us a refund (yes we have proof the wrong track pad was installed. So today I steeled my resolve, took a deep breath and dialed.

He didn’t answer so I left a message. The plot thickens. Stay tuned!

Do you have anxiety over confronting someone who did you wrong? I know it’s hard but you can do it. You aren’t alone.

Cheers!

PS: So you are wondering what “going to the mattresses” mean? Yep, forgot to explain (it’s been a long day). It’s a phrase originating from The Godfather movies (that I’ve never seen) and used in the movie You’ve Got Mail (one of my faves). To “go to the mattresses” is a colloquialism to describe fighting or going to war with a person or group. It can also mean to fight for what is right. At least this is a meaning that makes sense to me, no matter if its technically the correct one. 😉

Personal Goals and the Ultimate Life Hack…..

So this week I am doing a little personal experiment. Honestly I’m gonna take it one day at a time because thinking about a one-week time frame is a bit overwhelming.

This week I am gonna try to not check my blog stats. At all.

In the midst of blogging regularly-ish for the last year I’ve sometimes gotten into the trap of checking my stats multiple times a day and even thinking about what is gonna get the most views.

That’s when the Lord comes in and gently reminds me of why I started blogging in the first place and that at the end of the day, the stats don’t matter one iota.

So for the next week, I am going to just write and not worry about the numbers.

Wish me luck.

Now let’s switch gears dramatically: **Dun, Dun, Dun!!** 😀

 As it’s a few minutes from early Monday morning, I decided I’d let you in on a secret that could dramatically change how you live your life.

So, we’ve all been there. You are out at a friends house just having a good time, when it happens. You gotta go #2. So after find the bathroom, you soon realize, to your horror, that this is gonna be a two-flusher. Er, make that 3. After making a mental note to never eat frois-gois from a gas station again, you try and figure out how you are gonna MacGyver your way out of this social faux-poo (I mean pas). Especially since you are unable to find a plunger anywhere in the bathroom.

Dear readers, you never have to be in this situation again after what I am about to share with you. This is a tip I learned growing up in a house where it was frequently deployed (and I’ve been sworn to secrecy to never reveal the offending party 😉 ). I can also tell you that I grew up thinking this would only work with soft water, but have hacked it in places with hard. So what is this magical solution that will rid you of the embarrassing stigma of being “that guy”?

Three Words: Liquid Dish Soap.

Any brand will do. As long as it’s in liquid form.

Simply squirt a good amount into the bowl after realizing what you’ve already put in there won’t budge. Wait about 10 minutes and then flush your problem literally down the drain.

Now, I know what you are saying-What are you supposed to do for 10 minutes while a line forms for the loo that is currently very occupato? I made a list….

  1. Sing show-tunes at the top of your lungs to those outside. This will entertain the crowd while the soap does it’s thing.
  2. Make an announcement from the bathroom that there is gonna be a wait. Suggest someone starts a rousing game of Mafia or Pictionary.
  3. Dictate a game of Simon Says. This one will have to be done on the honor system unless the bathroom door is clear glass…in which case you really have to question the home-owners design preference for putting a toilet in a room with a see-through door.

After 10-minutes of mafia, singing and Simon Says, re-flush the toilet. Everything should go down smoothly.

So there you have it. A life hack that will get you through Monday and your next dinner party. Just make sure you keep a small bottle of dish detergent in your bathroom, your purse and your pocket when you leave the house.

Problem solved. 🙂

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*Alternative way to handle clogging the toilet appears courtesy of: www.chucklesnetwork.com

LAFF: To the Time Lulabelle Almost Died Extracting Poo From an Angry Cat’s Bum…..

Maybe the title is a tad of an over-exaggeration. But in my defense the lead up to this lasted, I’m ashamed to even say, several days. Yeah. #catparentfail 😦

As I’ve done in the past I began this blog on my Facebook page as a status update, but realized it would make a great blog, so here we sit today.

So let me rewind to a few days ago. Our oldest cat had just made a deposit in the litter box and did her usual running as fast as she can across the house to the backroom (I’ve been told most cats do this after using the litter box for #2 because, after a good poo they get a sudden burst of energy). When she calmed down, she sat on the floor and dragged her bum a few inches forward. I knew something was not right. So I looked at her bum and saw a foreign object stuck to it. At first I thought it was a large cardboard shard from her scratch pad. They do tend to show up in odd places. But as I looked closer,  I made the gross discovery that it was a piece of, um, #2.

I grabbed a paper towel and tried to pull it off. It was only than that I discovered it was stuck. To. Her. Fur. Awesome.

So, what to do? Of course I tried numerous times to rid her backside of the cloggy annoyance, but to no avail. It’s so frustrating when your cat is obviously uncomfortable and you attempt to fix the uncomfortableness and you are met with a claw in the face or a literal hissy-fit. So I had to get creative.

Especially considering exactly where on her bum the offending object was stuck. Did you know that cat’s have butt-cheeks? Neither did I until this little incident. You learn something new every day. Some days are grosser than others.

So I knew that simply taking a paper towel to her bum wasn’t gonna cut it. I was gonna have to go in bare-handed. Because of this, I also had to wait till she was not as aware of her surroundings.

I chose nap time. But as soon as I approached, even though she was snoring, she awoke and growled. They don’t call it a “cat nap” for nothing.

At this point I had exhausted everything. I had to call in back-up. Now the only questions remaining were who was gonna hold the “patient” and who was gonna do the extraction.

We flipped for it.

I lost.

Extraction was gonna be my doody (sorry, I had to go there 😀 ).

But before we started, Chad ran into the laundry room and returned with a sock. This is what I would squeeze my hand into to protect it from….blech, never mind.

So, Chad picked up our 10 lb. bundle of joy (she’s lost weight 😉 ), I slapped on the sock and we prayed for a miracle. As our oldest came at me–Chad was holding her with her teeth facing away from his face–her big paws thrashing and her ginsu-knife claws poised for a stab, I focused on my task. And like sticking your hand into a blender when the blade is running, I quickly grabbed onto the hairy poo and pulled.

It came out on the first try. Success!! And as an added bonus, no human sustained bite or claw marks.

We are definitely gonna have to burn that sock, though.

Have a great weekend, ya’ll!

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An example of a position that may have been helpful appears courtesy of: http://www.adorablekittens.com