Friday, August 26, 2011

Games We Play

If you've been with me for any amount of time you've figured out that I'm a total dork, and that I'm also completely okay with my dorkiness.

I occasionally play games on Facebook. Not Farmville. Actually I have never stayed interested in Zynga's games for very long at all. For awhile I was pretty interested in a game that outlined the Harry Potter stories, but then they were threatened with a lawsuit and asked to change the characters and the story line, so I lost interest in it. Didn't play anything for a long time after that.

Now I've been playing an HOG called Gardens of Time for awhile and aside from being addicted the soundtrack quality music, it's probably the best FB game I've ever played. Pretty graphics, really awesome story. Only 5 of my friends will play it with me! Those who have tried it before have more or less given up, and the others just ignore the invites.

I too, hate being invited to these games that I don't care about. For a long time there was nothing more exasperating than countless invites from your friends to come water their crops! I blocked all invites to Zynga games. Now I feel bad for doing that because I want friends to come play Gardens of Time with me!! Arrrrgh! I feel like these FB games set themselves up for failure by closing off parts of the games unless you have certain amounts of friends or only letting you buy into it. Well no wonder no one plays the game to the very end. Either you have to have a lot real money to dump into the game - and believe me, I refuse to put hard earned money into overpriced Facebook 'gold' , or you have to convince 120 other people to play it too. Computer gaming sites like BigFish will give you whole games for $6.99. Why not FB Games? At least offer a one-time subscription that allows serious players to get all parts of the game. I actually DID buy coins for this game, I'm ashamed to admit it, but they were used up far too quickly and they are much too expensive to purchase again. I'm not a millionaire and I haven't been able to find any reliable cheats (that don't contain viruses) to get out of it.

Well anyway, this game caught my attention because it's got elements of things I adore anyway. You get to design and build a beautiful garden! The theme is time travel! It's STEAMPUNK too! (YAY!) It's a hidden object game (HOG)! Even better! All my favorite things combined! Let's add more exclamation points for dramatic effect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You join the Time Society and travel through time to different eras and landscapes. You search for the hidden objects, earn coins and then go back and build artifacts and building from different time periods into your garden, which gains reputation points, which unlocks more scenes and allows you to continue the game. There is a pretty cool story that goes with it too involving a traitor in the ranks who is using Julius Caesar to change the course of history. Quite entertaining.

History lovers, steampunkers, and fans of HOGs should give this one a try. Yes, it's on Facebook, which means you're going to be bombarded with invites and updates from your friends, but try to be nice. It's a good one.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Being A Mama

This is a very quiet, much more personal post that I'm not going to link to Facebook, but would rather share with those who follow my blog.

I'm not expecting - I hope the title didn't get your hopes up. My sweet Alex has made it very clear that he is mortally terrified of having babies the natural way. But I have also been making it very clear that my biological clock is past hitting the snooze button. I want to be a mom. I want someone to care for. (My cats have been great, but they aren't kittens anymore. They're pretty self-contained. Lol.)

I think my desire got worse when I walked down to our elementary school last Tuesday. My dear friend Dana's 2 older daughters started school there this year even though they live in a different city and we happen to live a block and half away. It was a different kind of excitement and joy to see them off on their first day of school.

Alex and I have always talked about fostering and adoption. It seemed that the one thing we definitely agreed upon when it came to having a family was that we wanted to adopt. My husband's views are that if we're going to have kids, we're going to give existing children the kind of opportunities that we had as kids instead of bringing new ones into the world. And I've always felt that there are far too many children that need loving homes and the care of someone like me.

Two weeks ago I got to meet with some folks in our church that are starting up an adoption and foster care ministry. I went to that meeting because I knew it was going to be the first step in getting my family started. Alex encouraged it but didn't attend because he had a rehearsal to get to. In the meeting I got to meet several folks who feel the same way I do, some who can't have children biologically, and a few who just want to help in any way they can.

Our pastor, Edgar, gave a statistic quoted from our governor, Mitch Daniels, about Indiana's foster care system. He said, statistically, that if ONE family from EVERY church in the state of Indiana adopted ONE child, our entire Child Welfare system would be empty.

Wow. That really put it into perspective. It says two things to me - the biggest being that we are not following through as Christians with a mandate to care for the orphaned. The other is that our governor recognizes that Christians can and should be relied upon to change this situation.

So Alex and I have continued to have slow discussions since then. We agreed that we want to foster and eventually adopt. We agreed that we would like children somewhere between ages 4 and 10. We agreed that for now, we can only take one child at a time until we finally buy that big house in the country that I've been praying for. :) We agreed to begin the application process as soon as possible so that when the time comes we won't have to sit around a wait through interviews and home visits.

I think I am finally ready to care for someone like a mother should. I'm still not ready to have and care for a baby, but I would like to have a child to love on and pray for and care for. God has always brought beautiful children into my life through teaching and neighbors and friends.

So pray for me and for Alex and I as a couple as we slowly (SLOWLY) embark on this next step. I have another meeting with our adoption ministry coming up soon in September and October is National Adoption Month, so we may actually apply as soon as October. (But I'm thinking it will more likely be in January.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sun Stand Still

Our pastor, Edgar, has been teaching from the book of Joshua, regarding the praying of audacious prayers. If you recall the story, or if perhaps you have never heard it, Joshua looked up at the sky before going to battle with the Canaanites in the Promised Land and basically asked God to allow the sun to stay in one place until they had won the battle. God heard his prayer and the sun stayed overhead until the Israelites were victorious.

What this is teaching us is that we don't always have to have all the facts. We don't always have to have all the right words or sound like a professional orator for God to not only hear our prayers but come through for us in incredible, mighty ways. Sometimes you can ask God for something or ask Him to work for you and you can ask Him boldly!

I went to Baptist school as a kid. We were not taught to pray audaciously. In fact, the phrase "If it be Your will" was standard in every prayer. I'm not an audacious person anyway - I'm actually fairly quiet and my relationship with God tends to be more in a whisper than out loud. But I decided to put this to the test!

I've been struggling at work with a few things. It's better than it was, but it isn't my cup of tea. Being a bank teller requires a lot of thought, attention to detail, routine and thick skin. I pretty much lack ALL of these things. But one thing that I need to 'earn my keep' as they say, are referrals. Referrals are my point of contention! My view is that people are coming into the bank to do specific things and they don't feel like being coerced into a new benefit, product, savings or checking account or whatever! This is difficult for me! I hate asking people to sign up for a new credit card, or ID protection, or trying to convince them that they really need to upgrade that checking account to a different one. It is NOT in my personality to 'sell' things to others. I'm not convincing.

Since April, I have averaged about 3 referrals per week. Yesterday I was inspired to ask God boldly to bring me the right people. I told him I would ask EVERY customer about something, but I needed Him to bring me the right customers. The funny thing is that I did this on my break, right in the break room. I actually said it OUT LOUD - "God! I need referrals this week! I need LOTS of them!"

You know what happened? I got more referrals yesterday than I did in 5 days last week!

Now, this may not sound like something really urgent, like being healed from cancer, or having a relationship miraculously restored, but I really needed God to come through for me at work. It's hard working at a place that views you as being nice, but not really doing 100% of your job. My manager even told me that I definitely earned my keep yesterday.

Big thanks to my Big God, who cares enough about me not to leave me hanging on by threads at work!

Friday, August 12, 2011


Know what time it is??

Its time to start canning! It's true!

So in the next two weeks or so you'll be seeing plenty of recipes, old and new, and a lot of information regarding the preservation of the summer harvest.

I'll be starting with peaches, strawberry jam and cherry pie filling. After that, whole tomatoes, and then tomato sauce. Green beans and corn will come soon too, and of course, this year's newest addition to my food storage - sweet pickles!

So join me in the 2011 canning marathon! Head to your neighborhood Rural King or other Middle American general store and stock up on quart and pint jars, get your stock pots and pressure cookers out and cleaned up and don't forget the lids! It's time to PRESERVE the HARVEST!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Starting To Harvest

The gardening process is an adventure to me. Bringing tiny seeds to life , nurturing them as they grow - it's my way of being a parent.

My hubs and I spent 4 days out of town this week, but one thing I couldn't wait to get home to was all the changes that happen over 4 days time. My sister, Carrie Ann, was caring for our home and cats while we were gone and sending me texts that kept me informed. She said I had a pumpkin growing! Well, it was actually another zucchini, but there were pumpkins on the vines on the other side of the yard.

Last night I harvested about 15 Northern Delight tomatoes, which I loaded into a little basket with a few zucchini and took over to my mama's house to share with my parents. They are not quite what I had hoped for this year, but that's the idea - to discover varieties that are suitable to the needs of our family. These were easy to grow, without a doubt, had nice short plants, lovely foliage and lots of fruit. The fruit are quite small though, and even with plenty of watering and nutrients, they tend to split open if left on the vine. I've been picking them just before they are fully ripe and bringing them inside to help curb the destruction. I have not decided yet if I will cultivate these again next year, but I will throw this out there to all my garden renegades, front yard gardeners and guerilla gardeners - Northern Delights are GREAT for small containers, front yards and parkways. They do not grow much taller than 3 feet and the fruits are small enough to be considered ornamental in nature.

This shot of my firstborn pink accordion tomato was taken this morning! As you can see, it's just beginning to turn pink around the folds. My mom is calling it my 'fat Mexican baby'. (The joke behind that being that I've been asking my husband when he is going to provide me with a fat Mexican baby, and he keeps telling me we will need to be more financially stable in order to start our family.) I'm telling you, this tomato is the most beautiful thing I think I've ever seen! I never realized I was going to get this much joy out of cultivating tomatoes. Will they grow in Africa I wonder.....?

All right, and now for the corn! I know you've been dying to hear about the corn - this is the Midwest for crying out loud! Start anywhere and drive for 10 minutes and you WILL invariably find yourself in a field of corn! But MY corn is white kernaled shoepeg corn, which is an heirloom variety from the south, and as I have mentioned before, it is taller than our garage! Who knew!? I'm an Indiana girl - I spent my summers as a pre-teen de-tasseling seed corn in the farm country with my cousins and grandparents. I do not remember hybrid sweet corn ever reaching these heights! The silks on the heads of the corn are also a gorgeous color of pinkish maroon that I've never seen before. So, so beautiful.

Well it IS Sunday mornin' kids and you know what that means! It's time to go praise Jesus! And He is worth praising. Even in the rough patches of life, God has been faithful and very good to us. The future stretches out before us, but I know we are going to be just fine sheltered in His presence.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Official Hayseed

I picked my first ears of shoepeg corn last evening!

Yup, it's official! I'm a hayseed!

My Grandpa Orlin would be so proud of me. :) I sure do miss him, but I know he's in Heaven and healed.

We're having corn with dinner tonight.