May 31, 2009

Quote 34
















We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that Humility is something He demands as due to His own dignity — as if God Himself was proud. He is not in the least worried about His dignity. The point is, He wants you to know Him: wants to give you Himself. And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble — delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life. He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible: trying to take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are. I wish I had got a bit further with humility myself: if I had, I could probably tell you more about the relief, the comfort, of taking the fancy-dress off—getting rid of the false self, with all its 'Look at me' and 'Aren't I a good boy?' and all its posing and posturing. To get even near it, even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in a desert.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 113-114

May 30, 2009

What is this Feeling?

















Maddy and her friend Emily performed this duet from Wicked at a ward youth talent show last week. Emily's mom, Jeanice (at the piano) is a trained professional vocalist and has recently taken Maddy under her wing. We're excited to see what comes of it! Below is Maddy and Emily's performance.

video

May 27, 2009

Chili's Queso Dip

















Jeni and I are huge fans of Chili's Queso Dip and get it almost every time we eat there. I found the recipe in "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2" by Todd Wilbur and it tasted amazingly identical to what you'd order in the restaurant. And, it was extremely easy to make and so good! We doubled the recipe and it was enough to feed 10+ at our Memorial Day barbeque and we had plenty left over. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
16 oz box Velveeta Cheese
15 oz can Hormel Chili (no beans, not chunky)
1 cup milk
4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbs lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut the Velveeta into cubes.

















2. Combine the cheese with all the other ingredients in a medium saucepan.

















3. Over medium heat, stir frequently until cheese melts.

















4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Serve with hot tortilla chips for dipping.

May 26, 2009

Dodgeball

















A few Saturdays ago we went to our friend and neighbor Tyler's birthday party. He was turning 32 and decided as part of the festivities to have a dodgeball game. I hadn't played dodgeball in probably 25 years but Joey plays almost every day at school so we thought it would be fun. I realized soon after starting that I probably should have worn some tennis shoes instead of playing barefooted. No wonder I got beaned so many times! Oh well. Here's a picture of most of the men that played. What a fun idea!

May 25, 2009

Crackers

















One of the food traditions I loved growing up was Sunday Crackers. My dad would ask us how many "Crackers" we each wanted and I think the most I ever got up to was about 30. These days I'm closer to 15. So what is a "Cracker?" The answer varies depending on your specific tastes but the foundation is literally a cracker like a Ritz or Water Biscuit (my favorite) topped with some mayo and a hardboiled egg. From there, you decide what else to add. We typically add a small slice of cheddar cheese, some tomato (I prefer Roma) and avocado and salt and pepper, although sometimes we also add small pickles, gherkins or capers. You can really just experiment until you find something you like. These are great as appetizers or as the main meal like we did last Sunday. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
Crackers of choice
Mayonnaise
Hardboiled eggs (1 covers about 8 crackers, depending on size)
Toppings of choice
Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Lay out your crackers on a large board or plate
2. Top with a light spread of mayonnaise

















3. Top with a small section of hardboiled egg

















4. Add other toppings of choice

















5. Add salt and pepper to taste

May 24, 2009

Quote 33
















Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man’s choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man’s psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or the worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us; all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 86-87

May 23, 2009

A Mile in Their Shoes
















During Family Night last week Jeni and I decided to teach an object lesson about not judging people by their outward appearance. The goal was to remind us that we should not be quick to judge others based only on what we see with our eyes, but to realize that everyone has a story, a background and a reason to why they are the way they are and that we should always think the best of others. Basing the lesson on the scriptures that teach that "man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7) and to "think no evil" of others (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Moroni 7:45), we headed out to the car carrying nothing but a pen and paper each. We told Maddy and Joey that we would be taking a drive and randomly picking out individual people and that from a distance, we would try to observe everything we could about them physically. Then, on paper, we would each write their possible story. Stalking.....No. Observing.....Yes.

Somehow, what started out as our desire for a spiritually focused lesson quickly turned into some very funny narrative by the kids. Maddy especially used her creative writing skills, going from third person in her first entry to first person in her last. I guess she took the walking "a mile in their shoes" literally! The text below in italics is what we witnessed and the text below that is what Maddy wrote, word for word.

Girl, wearing a backpack, walking with another girl down the road, drinking bottled water
Rosetta is just walking home from a stressful day of High School. She knows she has loads of homework but what the heck? She is with her best friend Jamie. She feels like Jamie has a much better life than her but decides to just ignore that and try to break the awkward silence. That's when she realizes there's a bottled water in the pocket of her pink backpack, so she pours it down Jamie's back. Woops. Jamie has water too. Now Rosetta has water down her back. Hee hee hee.

Older man, probably 75, smoking, getting into a beat-up truck outside a grocery store
I've got to stop this. I'm only 52 but I look 20 years older. They all told me smoking would do this. But how was I supposed to believe them? At least there ain't a hole in my neck... yet. Even if there was, who would care? I have no one. Just a dog. Good ol' King.

I'm not sure how much of the actual "lesson" got through, but we did laugh a lot and created a memory that will last a very long time.

May 19, 2009

Pizza Rolls

You may remember a post nearly a year ago about a family tradition where we go to a grocery store for dinner and are allowed to pick out anything we want as long as we can eat it all that same night. We did this with Joey a few nights ago and he picked out a giant bag of cheese pizza rolls, two fruit drinks and a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. For some reason, healthy is not invited on these trips.

The pictures below are of Joey before he made his attempt at eating the 48 pizza rolls in his bag. For fun, I won't tell you how many he ate, nor will I show you the after pictures. In fact, let's play a game! Guess how many pizza rolls he ingested (I'm not sure how many he actually digested). Simply leave a comment with your guess (only one guess per person) and I'll post the answer at the end of the week. The person closest to the actual number wins from me a Walmart gift card, good for the amount of one bag of cheese pizza rolls!. Let's see how well you know Joey - good luck!




















May 18, 2009

Court Jester






















Joey had a Medieval Feast at school last week where the kids were allowed to dress up in attire that most closely represented who they would have been in the Medieval time period. No surprise that Joey decided to dress up as a Jester. With two hours notice and a broken sewing machine, my amazing wife made Joey's hat and shirt by hand and it looked perfect. The picture above is Joey right before leaving for school.

May 17, 2009

Quote 32

A man who makes his golf or his motor-bicycle the centre of his life, or a woman who devotes all her thoughts to clothes or bridge or her dog, is being just as "intemperate" as someone who gets drunk every evening. Of course, it does not show on the outside so easily: bridge-mania or golf-mania do not make you fall down in the middle of the road. But God is not deceived by externals.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 76

May 15, 2009

Cavity
















I have been perfect in only two things my entire life. I was perfect at keeping a daily journal on my mission to Northern Virginia and I have been perfect at my dental hygiene - ne'er a cavity my entire life. Though my family growing up and my own family now have had extensive dental work, I have been the shining pillar of dental hygiene in my family. (No laughing Jen!)

Well, all that has changed now. I went in for my regular dental cleaning last week and was told that I had a cavity. Now keep in mind that this Dentist is a former mission companion and we have stayed friends for all these years and we still tease each other about many things. I knew he was joking about the cavity so I played along. He even went so far as to show me the x-ray of the tooth. Clever, I thought, but doesn't that violate HIPAA to show me someone else's chart? Then he pulled out a long needle and before I could say anything he started numbing my gums and tongue and lip and just about everything on that lower fourth of my face. It was at this point that I knew he was serious. 30 minutes later my poor tooth had been been prodded, poked, drilled and filled.

I asked my Dentist friend what had happened. Why a cavity now? My dental hygiene hadn't changed over the years. He said that sometimes it just takes that long for the enamel to wear down. I had always been convinced that I had super saliva that could break down any placque or tartar buildup without much effort. Now I'm not so sure. The one thing I am sure about though is that the cavity has nothing to do with all the sugary sweets I've been making. That's just a preposterous idea - don't even think that! No, its got to be that my super saliva is just breaking down with age.

So, now I have had a cavity and my perfect record of dental hygiene has been shot. Well, at least I still have my missionary journal. I better put that away somewhere safe before someone drills a hole in that too!

May 14, 2009

Mother's Day Dinner

















We took Jeni to her favorite Tepanyaki restaurant on Saturday night for Mother's day. We had a really fun time and some good laughs. Below are some pictures from the night. When I downloaded them, I saw one of Joey and could not stop laughing as it immediately reminded me of Ed Grimley. I grew up watching Saturday Night Live with Billy Crystal, Martin Short, Steve Martin, etc. Martin Short had a character named Ed Grimley that was one of our favorites. I think the comparison between Joey (who has never even heard of Ed Grimley) and Ed is pretty uncanny!























May 10, 2009

Quote 31

To have continually at one's side a woman, a daughter, a sister, a charming being, who is there because you need her and because she cannot do without you; to know that we are indispensable to a person who is necessary to us; to be able to incessantly measure one's affection by the amount of her presence which she bestows on us, and to say to ourselves, "Since she consecrates the whole of her time to me, it is because I possess the whole of her heart"; to behold her thought in lieu of her face; to be able to verify the fidelity of one being amid the eclipse of the world; to regard the rustle of a gown as the sound of wings; to hear her come and go, retire, speak, return, sing, and to think that one is the centre of these steps, of this speech; to manifest at each instant one's personal attraction; to feel one's self all the more powerful because of one's infirmity; to become in one's obscurity, and through one's obscurity, the star around which this angel gravitates,--few felicities equal this. The supreme happiness of life consists in the conviction that one is loved; loved for one's own sake--let us say rather, loved in spite of one's self; this conviction the blind man possesses. To be served in distress is to be caressed. Does he lack anything? No. One does not lose the sight when one has love. And what love! A love wholly constituted of virtue! There is no blindness where there is certainty. Soul seeks soul, gropingly, and finds it. And this soul, found and tested, is a woman. A hand sustains you; it is hers: a mouth lightly touches your brow; it is her mouth: you hear a breath very near you; it is hers. To have everything of her, from her worship to her pity, never to be left, to have that sweet weakness aiding you, to lean upon that immovable reed, to touch Providence with one's hands, and to be able to take it in one's arms,--God made tangible,--what bliss! The heart, that obscure, celestial flower, undergoes a mysterious blossoming. One would not exchange that shadow for all brightness! The angel soul is there, uninterruptedly there; if she departs, it is but to return again; she vanishes like a dream, and reappears like reality. One feels warmth approaching, and behold! she is there. One overflows with serenity, with gayety, with ecstasy; one is a radiance amid the night. And there are a thousand little cares. Nothings, which are enormous in that void. The most ineffable accents of the feminine voice employed to lull you, and supplying the vanished universe to you. One is caressed with the soul. One sees nothing, but one feels that one is adored. It is a paradise of shadows.

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, P. 143

May 08, 2009

Couch to 5k















I have never been a very good runner. It was tennis and basketball for me during high school and I stayed as far away from the track as possible. Something about torturing your body to get to the same place you just were didn't register with me.

My best running experience came in high school with my friend David Cour. He ran on the cross-country team and somehow we got it in our minds to run the Seattle Seafair 10k. The race took place right before the annual parade on the same route and I remember all the people lined up for the parade cheering us on and how great a feeling that was, almost propelling me to beat Dave to the finish line. Almost, but not quite.

My worst running experience took place at the Seattle Seafair 10k. Same day. Same race. After crossing the finish line, I could barely move, cold sweating profusely, lost my lunch, previous day's dinner, lunch and breakfast and swore I'd never run again.

So that brings me to now. I am not in the kind of shape I'd like to be in. The city tennis tournament last year proved that convincingly. My love for cooking is not helping my situation. So, rather than cut back on the cooking (out of the question), I'm going to get in shape! Our friend Arlynda shared a program on her blog called "Couch to 5K" which is exactly what it says. It takes you from no exercise to running 3 miles in just 9 weeks.

I started the program earlier this week and found it was not as difficult as I thought it would be. The first workout took just under 30 minutes and I covered 1.7 miles. And the way it is structured, I wasn't sore afterwards and I wasn't sore the day after. I don't plan on being a competitive runner like many of my other friends but I do plan on getting healthier. We'll see if I can keep this up and make the 3 miles. If I stay on track, I'll be there by the 4th of July.

If anyone else is interested, below are the resources to help.

1. The link to the website with the Couch to 5K program.
2. The link to the website with podcasts for each workout. These are very helpful as they give you step by step instructions with music in the background. It made the workout very easy as I didn't have to focus on when to jog or walk and could just focus on breathing and not falling off the treadmill!
3. Below is the full program adapted from the website that you can print out.

Happy trails!

May 03, 2009

Quote 30

Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only "as harmless as doves," but also "as wise as serpents." He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out wheether that charity is a fraud or not.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 75

May 01, 2009

Flying Free






















Last night we attended Maddy's Junior High Choir performance where Maddy had a small solo at the beginning of one of the Women's Choir numbers. The picture above is of Maddy and her friend Audrey and a copy of the program is below. Also below is the video with Maddy's solo. We are so proud of her!















video