Saturday, August 31, 2013

Friends: A Series

I've had a lot of thoughts in my brain about adults and friendship lately.

So I figured it was time to start organizing those thoughts and sharing them.

As adults, especially as parents, there is a lot of talk with kids about friendship and how we treat people.  And there is a lot of excitement about spending time with friends and learning how to be a friend and learning how to tell if someone else is a friend.

And it's got me wondering... do we, as adults, really understand friendship?  And what about how friendship changes?  How it may ebb and flow?  How it changes with the seasons of our lives?  What about the challenges placed upon a friendship when one friend's life changes dramatically?

Last night, I had dinner with a friend that I see often and I know we would both enjoy being able to spend more time together.  Lives keep us busy and schedules often keep us from hanging out.

Tonight, I'm having dinner with a friend I don't get to see often.  But we just "get" each other.  We go months without seeing each other but then manage to make a date for dinner or coffee and it's like we're just continuing the conversation.

I am blessed to have many friendships - and many different kinds of friendships.  Let's see where this journey takes us!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thirty Nine

There were Thirty-Nine Steps.  Even Grover got in on that action (props to my true Sesame Street fans).

There were Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.

And then there were 39 years.

Yesterday was my birthday.

I'm not a fan of birthdays and Mondays coinciding.

It wasn't a terrible day.  But it also wasn't awesome.

But then I decided to make it awesome.

I was feeling kinda blah - I've never been one to feel like I've been hit hard by age.  But something about entering the final year of my thirties took a toll on my psyche.

And then we had to take Zach to the doctor.

When I checked on him Sunday night, I thought he had a fever.  I was pretty certain of it.  But no sign of being sick.  But when he got up Monday morning, I could clearly see that the bit of scrape left on his arm from a fall the week before... was significantly worse.  It went from a scab to a scab surrounded by raised white bumps of pus.  And the redness.  Paired with the fever - we knew we had to call the doctor.

So off to the doctor we went.  And it is infected.  And we have to be cautious to make sure this skin infection doesn't infect the elbow joint because then it will be harder to fight.  And they took a culture and wrapped his little tiny arm in gauze.  And my celebratory heart just wasn't in it.

Jeff took him home and I went back to work.

And I checked Facebook.

I am so blessed to have so many amazing people in my life.  So in my real, everyday life.  Some in my church life.  Some in my work life.  Some I call family, some I call friends.  And the birthday wishes were just evidence of the love in my life.

I like to acknowledge every birthday greeting.  But I wanted to do more.  So for every birthday greeting, I thanked the person.  But then also took a second to pray.

"Father, fill ______ with joy."

Fill Ashlea with joy.

Fill Jennifer with joy.

Fill Kat with joy.

Fill Jim with joy.

Fill Christy with joy.

Fill Daniel with joy.

Fill Amanda with joy.

And you know what happened by the end of the day?

I was also filled with joy.  Yes, I was still tired and stressed and worried about my little boy.  But I was also fully aware of how blessed I am and how lucky I am and how fortunate I am.

So I guess 39 isn't really so hard afterall.  Yesterday, I proved that my life is abundant in blessings and joy.  In 39 years, the first 20 or so wracked with hardships and chaos, I've managed to come to a point where I know...







I don't have it all figured out.  I'm not perfect by a long shot.  But at 39 years old... I can certainly say that I've come a long way.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bible Translations

I am fascinated by translations of the Bible.

To some degree, I believe in the idea of reading the text as close to the original translation as possible.

However, I love learning about the culture of the time when the Bible was written.  I love learning about the nuances of language and how the meaning of some words has changed since the texts were put to paper.  I find the history of how certain books were selected and certain books were rejected to be very interesting - and am intrigued that even today there are Christian faiths with a different Bible.

I am also intrigued by the long list of translations available for the standard Bible.  NIV, King James, The Message, The Voice, ASV.  I generally read my Bible on my phone or on my computer so I have translations available at my fingertips.

Yesterday, I started listening to a really cool music project called Enter the Worship Circle.  I'm still learning about it but the basic idea is to encourage songwriters and musicians to create simple and singable music based on Scripture.  It's got a folksy feel and I understand there are groups that meet up and will have Worship Circles once a month - just get together and sing and play.

Well, that led me to wanting to read the Book of Psalm.  It's one of my favorite books of the Bible but I don't know that I have read it completely.  So I decided to start with Chapter 1.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,

That's the NIV translation.  Very poetic.  I decided I wanted to read some other translations.

Psalm 1:1

King James Version (KJV)
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

King James generally turns me off - the language is so flowery that I feel like I have to translate the English into English.

Psalm 1:1

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Way to Happiness

God blesses those people
    who refuse evil advice
    and won’t follow sinners
    or join in sneering at God.

Contemporary English.  Nice. Simple.

Then I read the translation from The Voice.  The Voice was just published last year and the purpose is to make reading the Bible more like reading a novel, a long story.  To make it more relatable.  It wasn't aken lightly - there are many scholars in many areas of study who were part of this work.  I like that the translation includes information about history and understanding the culture.

Psalm 1:1

The Voice (VOICE)

Book One

Book One (Psalms 1–41) is attributed almost entirely to David; all but four of the psalms (1–2;1033) are ascribed to him. In Hebrew Psalm 10 is a continuation of Psalm 9 because it was composed as an acrostic poem. Likewise, many Hebrew manuscripts combine Psalm 33 with 32. Only later are these divided into separate psalms. Psalm 1 sets the stage for the entire collection by explaining that the study of the Word of God is the foundation of a meaningful, prosperous life.

Psalm 1

God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn:
    when you don’t follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes,
When you avoid sin’s highway,
    when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse.
That really spoke to me!  Especially the last line... about refusing to give in to judgment and sarcasm.  I tend to give in to sarcasm at home when I hit frustration and my sarcasm does not ever help a situation.  "God's blessings follow you and await you at every turn when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse."  I even paraphrased that paraphrased to use in my current prayer project.

I wanted to share this with Jeff when I got home.  However, my Bible app doesn't have The Voice translation so I thought I'd check The Message to see what it had to say...

Psalm 1:1

The Message (MSG)
How well God must like you—
    you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon,
    you don’t slink along Dead-End Road,
    you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.
Well.  Now.  Huh.

That makes me realize why people might not like translations.  "Smart-Mouth College?"  Taking a book of songs and reducing it to "Sin Saloon" and "Dead-End Road" and "Smart-Mouth College."

Don't get me wrong - there are times when The Message really speaks to me.  But in Psalms?  Not so much.

But it struck me... that language might really speak to someone else.

Just like the thee's and thou's of the King James version might speak to someone else.

And I think that is the cool thing about translations and about the Living Word.  Just as God reaches people were they are, as they are... so can His word.

Just like music.  Worship music comes in different styles in order to reach different audiences.  There are the beautiful old hymns, Gregorian chants, contemporary pop style music, folksy music, gospel, metal, hip hop...

The Bible, liturgy, music... all tools for worship, all tools for relationship with God.



Friday, August 16, 2013

It Happens Every Year

Every year, the Indiana State Fair comes to an end.

It's that time of year.

It's the final weekend.

And I can't make it work to go again.  Between school, work, and some church commitments, and errands that have to get done for school... there just isn't time for one last trip to the Fair.  I've had 4 great trips to the Fair so you'd think I'd have gotten my fill.

I had a half day with just ME.  I was a guest of Indiana Family of Farmers and got to enjoy the Get Animated exhibit, the DuPont Food Pavilion, the Ag/Hort Building, a ride on the tractor shuttle, corn on the cob, and a few other things all by myself.

I had a half day date afternoon with my husband.  We saw the Get Animated exhibit, watch my blog friend, 4th Frog, talk about her cooking disasters on the Red Gold Culinary Corner kitchen stage, saw the giant ball of popcorn, rode the train.

Had a day with just my kids.  We rode the train down first thing in the morning and stayed until mid-afternoon (then hit the pool for an hour and then off to the ice cream social at school).  We rode some rides, did Little Hands on the Farm, ate corn dogs, saw Get Animated and the giant ball of popcorn, learned a lot about bees and sampled honey and smoothies.

Had a day with my kids and 2 of my friends.  Did almost everything.  Seriously.  Ate red velvet funnel cake, saw the Sinbad High Dive show, saw the Rosstyn Ice show, visited with goats, butterflies, and fish at the DNR building, Teagan shot a BB gun at the DNR building, rode the ferris wheel, collected an enormous amount of pamphlets, stickers, and temporary tattoos, visited the Glass Barn, played on a playset in the FFA Building, sampled goodies at Taste of Indiana Farms, and so much more.


I didn't make it to any animal barns.

I never went in the Home & Family Arts Building.

I didn't visit Hook's Drugstore.

I didn't see enough of the FFA Building.

I didn't eat a gyro.

I didn't drink enough lemon shake ups.  And never got a lime shake up.

I didn't go through the barn at Pioneer Village.

I didn't see anyone clogging on the Dance for Health stage.

I never went into the Grandstand for any of those events.

I missed every show at any of the stages.

I didn't set foot in the greenhouse or Normandy Barn.

See? How can I not go and do one last trip?  I need at least 2 more days to do it all!!

And I have to wait an entire full YEAR before my beloved State Fair comes back!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

First Day of School: 2013 Edition

Teagan has started 3rd grade.

Zach is in Kindergarten.


Zach has a huge advantage in having a big sister who has already been ruling this school for 2 years.  Starting at this public school was a hard transition for our little girl.  The first few weeks were heart breaking when we would drop her off at the Y program.  Zach has a huge benefit of a bilt in playmate.  Even if she doesn't stay with him the entire time - she at least gets him started.  Yesterday, as I watched them walk away from me to go play a game, she put her arm around his shoulders and my heart melted.  And when I came to pick them up, they were playing separate from each other but each in a group of friends.

Zach knows at least 5 kids in Kindergarten and possibly in the Y before/after care program thanks to meeting them at camp over the summer - including a little boy he says is his bestie.

Teagan has kids in her class that she really likes and she is super excited about her teacher.

Zach says his teacher is even nicer than Ms. Sally (impossible!!) because their homework is only going to be FUN.

Teagan started the school year with a stack of text books and a real student planner on her desk.  This school thing gets REAL this year.

Zach likes the behavior color system.  If he has 10 green days, he gets treasure box.  If he has a super duper great day and gets on purple, he gets treasure box that day.  He had green yesterday and I know he's eager to figure out how to be super duper so he gets purple.

Teagan shared all the class rules with me - well, 5 of them.  And they are good rules that cross over to home rules, too.  My favorite is Rule #5 - Keep your teacher happy!

Zach liked that he had lots of outside playt ime between school and the Y program.

Teagan liked her hair - we had braided it while wet the night before to get the crimped curl look.  (Note to self: find out if the still make crimping irons.)

It's going to be a big year.  They seem to be happy and excited... and so am I!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

@IndyStateFair Get Animated!

One of my absolute favorite things at the Indiana State Fair this year is the special exhibit in the Grand Hall - Get Animated.

This exhibit focuses on animation of all kinds - from Disney to video games to the old Saturday morning cartoons.  And there is so much to DO in this exhibit!  I went once by myself, once with just Jeff, and twice with the kids.

There was gorgeous concept art and tribute art...

My kids had some fun with the statues and such...

There was a nice collection of old stuff... I was glad Teagan knew that the record player played music and the typewriter was for typing.  She didn't know the names of the items but knew their purpose.

And then there was the drawing area - where you could learn to draw different characters.  We never got to attend "Animated University."  But we did snap the series of pics on the wall for "how to draw Mickey."


 And my kids were fascinated by the video games - even though they didn't actually play any of them.

And I loved the gift shop.  I could have easily spent my entire State Fair budget in that little shop.  One of the best buys, though, was a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.  We finished reading the first Harry Potter this summer so finding the beans was really exciting.  I made the kids wait until the train ride home to open them up... they searched the guide on the back and tried tutti fruiti (loved it) and then grass (liked it)...

Teagan was pretty anxious...

But also very eager...

Grass didn't taste gross so...

So let's try earwax!!!


Bottom line - if you have any bit of nerd in you when it comes to all things animated... get to the Indiana State Fair and check out this exhibit.  There are still some great offers to make it a little easier on the wallet to go to the Fair (and then spend that savings at the Get Animated gift shop) -

Thursday, August 15AAA Day - FREE admission for AAA members with valid AAA membership card! One valid AAA card per person.

Friday, August 16$5 Friday with Foodie Fair Specials - $5 Admission with printed voucher presented at Gate - Download your Voucher HERE. Concessionaires will offer Foodie Fair Specials & the Midway Survival Wristband Special!


Monday, August 12, 2013

@DigINDIANA - Aug 25 (Giveaway!!)

2 years ago, I was invited to attend a brand new event called Dig IN - A Taste of Indiana ("Indiana's Farm to Fork Celebration").  I love food.  I love local food.  So it was certainly up my alley!

This year, I am thrilled to have been invited to be an Indiana Family of Farmers Ambassador for the event!

Check out this amazing list of restaurants, chefs, and the farms working to provide the protein:

Dig IN, A Taste of Indiana 2013 RESTAURANTS, CHEFS and DISHES noted, as available (subject to change)
·         18 on the Square, Joseph Martin: Duck Gyro, Grilled Flat Bread, Relished Summer Vegetables, Daredevil Sauce (Protein provided by Maple Leaf Farms)
·         Black Market, Micah Frank: Indiana Berry Shrub
·         Brad Gates Catering, Brad Gates: Grilled Duck Breast & Poached Peach Salad
·         Cerulean, Chase Hinton and Caleb France: Duck, Fennel, Sorrel, Cherries, Chilies
·         Chef JJ's Back Yard, Chef JJ Boston: Curried Pork and Lamb (Protein from Paul Russell’s Farm and Gunthrop Farms)
·         Circle City Soups, Roger Hawkins, Indiana Gazpacho
·         Circle City Sweets, Cindy Hawkins: Honey-Shagbark Granola with Yogurt
·         Courses Restaurant, Joseph Davey: Albondigas (Protein from Keegan Poe’s Farm)
·         Craig Baker, Craig Baker: Pork Country Style Torchon, House Pickled Seasonal Veg Salad, "Bloody Mary," and Micro Herbs (Protein from Birkeys)
·         Delicia, Ricardo Martinez: Spicy Beet Salad
·         Fermenti Artisan, Mark Cox: Smoked Bison Shoulder and Curtido (Protein from Bison World)
·         Goose the Market, Chris Eley: Meat on a Stick (Protein from Donnie Brewer’s Farm)
·         Indiana Downs, Greg Schiesser (Protein from Dallas & Meggie Foster’s Farm)
·         Joseph Decuis, Aaron Butts: Mini Wagyu Burgers with Spicy Tomato Jam and Bleu Cheese Mousse (Protein provided by Joseph Decuis Farm)
·         Just Rennie's Cookie Company, Chef Doug & Marla Rennie: Just Rennie’s Gourmet Cookies
·         JW Marriott Indianapolis, Brendon Cheney: Indiana Pig: The Adventure Begins (Protein from Chris & Jent Campbell’s Farm)
·         Kelly Ford, Jeff Ford: Duck Confit Egg Roll/Spring Roll with Pork Belly & Jalapeno "Duck" Sauce (Protein from Maple Leaf Farms)
·         Lemleys’ Catering, Alexa Lemley: Chicken on a Grit Cake (Protein from Tyson)
·         Meridian Restaurant and Bar, Layton Roberts: Faux Noodle (Protein from Matt Gibson’s Farm)
·         Mesh on Mass, Mark Henrichs: Compressed Watermelon Salad
·         Napolese, Tyler Herald: Focaccia Caprese Sandwich
·         Northside Social, Nicole Oprisu: Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Protein from Tyner Pond)
·         One World Catering, Corbin Morwick: Moroccan Lamb Meatballs (Protein from Keegan Poe’s Farm)
·         R bistro, Regina Mehallick: Beans & Beef (Protein from Fischer Farms)
·         Scratchtruck, Matt Kornmeyer: Bourbon Braised Brisket with Peach Bourbon Glaze (Protein from Fischer Farms)
·         Severin Bar, Vincent Russo: Pulled Pork Sliders with Bourbon/Watermelon Slaw
·         Spice Box, Nitin Naidu: Goat Channa (Protein from Gunthrop Farms)
·         The Chef's Academy, Anthony G Hanslits: Lamb Reuben + Napa Cabbage Slaw + Minted Mustard (Protein from Keegan Poe’s Farm)
·         The Indigo Duck, Karen Hewett: Rabbit Sloppy Joe’s (Protein from Meat the Rabbit)
·         The Loft Restaurant, Brandon Canfield: Grass-fed Beef
·         The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Courtney Loyd (Protein from RDM Shrimp)
·         Valley Kitchen & Bar, Cory Muro: Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps(Protein from Gunthrop Farms)
·         Zest! Exciting Food Creations + Twist Lounge, Valerie Vanderpool: Elloté Salad with Cornmeal-Crusted Perch (Protein from Bell Aquaaculture)

 Here is what I can tell you about Dig IN - the food is incredible, you try things you'd never normally try, the chefs like to get creative, the food is as local as possible, the beer and wine is locally crafted.  And this year, there will be more emphasis on the farmers.  That's where all the yummy starts!! 

Here is YOUR chance to win TWO TICKETS to this event!!  It is from noon - 5:00 on Sunday, Aug 25 at White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis.  Winner will be drawn on Thursday, Aug 15. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hey, Baby, Tell Me What You Want

My blogging seems to be very hit or miss these days.  Mostly due to... writer's block, honestly.

So I got to thinking - why do you people even read my blog?  What is it that you like?  What do you want more of?

So here is your chance - tell me what you like, don't like, want more of.  Tell me if you need a follow up on something I've written about before.  Ask questions that you've just been dying to know.

Leave a comment or send me an email (you can use that handy little form over to the right).  Message me on Facebook.  Tweet me.  Whatever.

And some little factoids:

"Vertical Garden" and "Dr. Oz" bring a lot of search traffic.

The majority of my traffic is US based with a significant representation from Russia (weird).

Most search terms used to bring people to my blog are Eternal Lizdom and love.  I like that.

And here is a random animated image, created by Google +, of me and my kids goofing off.


Friday, August 9, 2013

@IndyStateFair - Day 1

I spent a half day at the Indiana State Fair as a guest of Indiana Family of Farmers.  I went without kids and was able to see a lot of stuff before heading in to the office for the afternoon.  It was a great way to whet my appetite for all the rest of the things I want to do at the Fair!!

We started the morning with breakfast at the Dairy Bar.  I had a bagel with cream cheese and chocolate milk.  I love chocolate milk from the Dairy Bar - it's some of the best stuff and I look forward to it all year.

What's really fun about this Indiana Family of Farmers event (I went last year, too) is that I get to rub elbows with some of my favorite bloggers and social media types. Like this guy - @BgKahuna (and his lovely wife @gotchababy and their fun kids).

We were free to go off and enjoy the Fair - as long as we promised to be at the new Glass Barn at 11:00 for a special live interview with a farmer.

I went next door to one of my favorite stops - the DuPont Food Pavilion.

First stop - seeing the cheese sculpture in progress.  I can't wait to see it all done when I go back.  The cool thing is that the cheese doesn't go to waste - it will be used for animal feed when the Fair is over.  And if you're there while it is being worked on, you can get a bite of cheese!

Next stop in the Pavilion was the market - it's stocked with locally made food products.  Last year, I discovered cheesey microwave popcorn from Preferred Popcorn (Palmyra, IN).  This year, I immediately bought 12 bags of it and will most likely buy more each time I go back to the Fair!  I made a recommendation to a fellow blogger (@saraelysecroft) and she has since confirmed the yumminess of this popcorn!

Next up, still in the Pavilion, I headed over to the Red Gold Cooking Stage to enjoy a cooking demo by @beyerbeware.  She talked about meat and marinades and I left hungry!

Thankfully, at a State Fair, there is no shortage of food options.  I went for one of my favorites - roasted corn on the cob.  I added cajun seasoning, mayo, and parmesan cheese to create elote.  So good!

Something unique to the Fair this year is the creation and presentation of The World's Largest Popcorn Ball.

One of my favorite parts of the Fair this year is a special exhibit called Get Animated.  If this exhibit doesn't bring nerds from far and wide to the Fair, I don't know what will.  GenCon is in town next week and every GenCon nerd should swing by the State Fair and check out this Get Animated exhibit, too!!  You can see Turbo and Kung Foo Panda (statues), check out information on how animation is created, take a drawing class, play with legos, video games, create your own animated short film, and shop in a fantastic gift shop (I call it the Nerd Store).

I ended my morning meeting back up with the group at the brand new Glass Barn.  I didn't have a chance to fully explore the Barn and am eager to check it out on a future visit (I have at least 3 more days planned).  I did get a gift from Indiana Family of Farmers - food coupons and a bag and a t-shirt.  And I found a, uh, model for the shirt...


One of the cool things that I did get to experience at the Glass Barn was a live internet chat with an Indiana farmer!  She was in her pig barn and we were able to learn about her farm and the pigs and ask questions.  It was really cool!!

Jeff and I are planning a date this weekend to go to the Fair without the kids.  I want to check out my friend Amy's presentation on the Cooking Stage - and she won't be cooking!  And I want he and I to fully enjoy the Get Animated exhibit!  Then I am taking the kids on Monday - just me and my kids.  It is Kids Day on the Midway and the kids will each get a $15 wristband to go crazy riding rides.  The kid rides are in a separate Midway area this year and I think they're going to love it- it was a big new thing we did last year (we used to avoid the Midway completely).

On Tuesday, we hit the Fair again - and this time my friend Jennifer is coming along.  Over the course of Monday and Tuesday, we will make sure to see and do the following:

- Little Hands on the Farm
- High Dive Show
- Ice Skatnig Show
- Take pictures with giant tractors
- Visit the Dance Stage
- Eat corndogs and drink lemon shake ups
- Ride the tractor tram around the fairgrounds
- visit Goat Mountain
- play on the Playground in the FFA Pavilion and maybe play some free Putt Putt
- visit the animal barns

But the best thing about spending multiple days at the Fair is finding the unusual, the unexpected.  And I know we will have some fun times in the days that we are there!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

We Love @Avocado

Have you heard of Avocado?  I happened upon it by accident, I think.  Might have read about it in an article or something - I really don't recall.

Avocado is an app for your phone so that you can stay connected to your special someone when you're apart.  Or just because.

Here's what I like about it.

First of all, it's adorable.

Now the way the app works - it's basically like having a news feed but it's only for 2 people.  And no one else has access.

During the day, if I find myself thinking of my honey, I could send a text...  "How is your day?"  But he might think I'm trying to hint at something else.  He might be busy at that moment and my text is an interruption.

But if I send a virtual hug... he just knows that I was thinking about him and am sending him some affection.

 I can even send him kisses!

We also can share a calendar - we use Google for our family calendar.  But having a little personal calendar where we can schedule dates or whatever is nice.  There's also a place to keep lists and also load pictures.  And our shared profile lets us keep track of our anniversary and our birthdays.  Never forget a date!

So if you're looking for a fun way to stay connected to your sweetie... check out Avocado!

(Avocado doesn't know me and has nothing to do with this post - I just really, really like this app!)