Princesses Taking Over?

Oh, how I love this website a friend posted on Facebook! It has Christmas catalogs from times past. I’ve been looking through all the old toys, some that I had as a kid! It’s so much fun!

One thing stands out as if it was a billboard. In the 1970’s and before, most of the girls’ toys were miniatures of mom’s tools. There were little vacuum cleaners, brooms, dishes, play kitchens, irons that plugged in and heated up, blenders and ovens that made real food, and baby dolls. Lots and lots of baby dolls, and things to care for them. Little girls, through play, were being taught to be moms, to take care of their homes, and to think of it as play. They were proud that they could copy their moms in their grown-up work.

But now, in this world where women are in the workplace, where a woman can be anything she sets her mind to, what are little girls being groomed to be? Doctors? Lawyers? Teachers? Executives? Entrepreneurs? Homemakers? No. It seems, through the marketing of their toys and clothes, little girls are now being led to think they can be princesses.


This amazes me. In this world where women want to be empowered, we are teaching our daughters to fantasize about being born into a life where they don’t have to do anything but be beautiful and wait for their prince to come sweep them off of their feet. This seems like it is the opposite of what the women’s movement has worked for all these years.

Now, I am by no means a feminist, but I am truly grateful for all the extremely hard work and hardships my foremothers went through to enable the women of my generation to be able to work at something besides housekeeping, teaching, (two professions I love and have done, but aren’t everyone’s cup of tea) and prostitution. They have opened up the world to us, and we are grateful.

And I don’t think there is anything wrong with little girls dressing up and pretending to be princesses. I think it’s adorable and fun. And I think it’s endearing when a daddy calls his daughter “Princess”. And since I have never raised a daughter, or had a granddaughter (yet), I have no first-hand experience to say that Disney is really taking over. This is just what I observe in the general public and in the stores. And for some reason, it’s bothered me enough to share it here with you.

So what do you think? Are my observations anything to be worried about? Is commercialism dictating how our children play? Are little girls pretending to be princesses over everything else? Are they still playing mommy and teacher? Do they pretend to be a builder with Legos? Do they still pretend to make dinner for their baby dolls, and clean up their toy dishes afterward?

Play is really the work of childhood. – Fred Rogers



Mary: Faith + Action

Yesterday, I asked how we can show our love for Jesus. As I got to the very end of the post, I the answer popped in my head. I understood Mary’s motivation. I started to change the whole post, then realized that I should just leave it alone, and write another one.

So how did Mary of Bethany show her love for Jesus in Mark 14:3?

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.

I’ve read this a hundred times or more in my life. You might have, too. But I think we have a tendency to read the overall story, and miss the important details.

What Mary did was not just talk about her love for Christ, but to show it. And how do we show our love for Christ? Through FAITH!

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Jesus told His disciples He was going to be killed. They didn’t seem to want to think about it. Maybe they didn’t understand it. Maybe they didn’t want to believe it. Peter even tried to talk Jesus out of it.

But Mary took Him at His word. She had been paying close attention to everything Jesus said. She didn’t question Him as the others did. She had complete faith in Him, and she acted on that faith. How refreshing that must have been for Jesus! Mary’s act not only said, “I love You, I believe You, and I believe in You.” Her act of love and devotion also said, “If You must do this, then I’m here for You.” And He knew it. He knew her heart. He knew her faith.

Mark 14:8 “She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.”

It seems most people who encountered Jesus in the Bible wanted something from Him. But Mary gave to Him what she could. And this must have been rare, for Jesus not only affirmed her actions, He gave her a very great honor.  Continue reading

Mary: A True Love Story

Mary’s Love for Jesus Poured Out
Mark 14:3-9 (see also Matt. 26:6–13; John 12:1–8 ) NKJV

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Picture yourself as one of Jesus’ disciples. You’re sitting around a friend’s house for a meal, and a woman you know, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, comes in. Without saying a word, she stands before Jesus, takes out a very expensive bottle of perfumed oil, breaks it open, and pours the entire bottle over Jesus’ head. What goes through your mind?

Most of Jesus’ disciples were men, that may be why they looked at the situation from a common sense point of view. They just heard Jesus tell the rich man to sell everything and give the money to the poor, and here Mary has just wasted a year’s worth of wages by pouring it over Jesus’ head. It’s no wonder that they berated her for such an action. Think how much that could have done for the poor! Isn’t this what Jesus was going to tell her?

But they were wrong. Jesus always looks at our heart. And He could see she was focused solely on Him and what she could do for Him. He could see her need to show Him her love. Jesus knew she was doing this because she believed every word He said about His upcoming death, that He was dying for them, and she had a deep need to thank Him.

Continue reading

No Regrets

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die,
for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
Revelation 3:2

When I read through the Bible, I always find verses that echo what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling, what I need at the moment. This verse, Revelation 3:2, kinda freaks me out, because it reflects a deep feeling I’ve had in recent months that I haven’t been able to put into words, and at the same time helps me answer a question we had last week in our small group Bible study.

We’re doing a study based on Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love. The study guide asked, “If today was the day you died, what would you regret, and why?” Revelation 3:2 answers that question for me in three ways.

Wake up!”

Regret #1 – To find I wasn’t paying attention, and that life could have been so much better if I had been.

Have you ever started to tell someone something, and they assume they know what you’re going to say so they jump in with their opinion, and it’s not at all what you were talking about? I think God’s plan for our individual lives might be like that. He starts talking and we’re all, “Okay God. I see where you’re going. I’ll take it from here.” Maybe He’s trying to tell us to stop and listen, because that’s not what He was going to say, and He has a better way.

Life is so busy. When we’re not doing, we’re thinking about what we have to do, or entertaining ourselves to escape thinking about it. But in all that running and avoiding, are we even paying attention to life, or the fact that it’s short? I don’t think so. I feel like I’m missing what God has for me, because I’m concentrating on all the things I think I should be doing. But what if that’s not what He wants me for me? He says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) Do you feel like your yoke is easy or your burden light? I think I’m doing it wrong and it’s time to “Wake up!” and find out what His plan for my life is and what I can do to follow that plan better. Stop running and avoiding, and pay attention. Continue reading

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I really hoped this phenomena would pass without me having to participate. I’m all for contributing to a good cause, and raising money to stamp out this horrible disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, but I’m not much of a joiner. (Pretty funny for someone who started a group that grew to 40,000+ members to say.) 

Everyday since this thing started, I’ve checked my Facebook page, sort of peeking through my fingers at my Notifications to make sure no one had nominated me to take this challenge. The funny thing is, as much as I hoped no one had, another part of me kinda hoped someone had. I didn’t want to have a bucket of ice water poured on my head. Nope. Uh uhn. But I wanted someone to like me enough to name me. You know, that I was at the forefront of their mind when they did their own challenge and thought, “Now, who would fun-loving enough to go along with this?” All the while, still hoping to avoid it. Crazy, I know. 

But here we go! My son Jordan has challenged me. That surprised me, and made me happy. He challenged me and a group guys he grew up with. Somehow, that made it even more special. Sort of, “My mom is as cool as my friends” kind of special. In his mind, it was probably more about his love to prank me, but let me just have my dreams. And of course, if my baby boy asks me to do this, I have to do it! So here it is. 

I’m not going to nominate any readers (unless you are Dan, Debbie, or Janet, as I mentioned in the video). I’ll leave that to those that know you and love you. And don’t think you can hide. This thing is lasting way longer than I thought it would. No one is safe! 

Learn more about ALS, and if you feel moved to do so, donate at

Deep in Figs

We have a fig tree in our backyard. It’s a wide-spreading, large leafed, Brown Turkey fig tree. We grew it from a cutting taken from my father-in-law’s tree. His grew his from a cutting taken from his mother’s tree. Someday, I hope my sons have their own fig trees, grown from cuttings taken from our tree. It’s a lovely tradition to cultivate a new generation of this heirloom tree to each new generation of our family.

Our Fig Tree

Our third generation fig tree, popular feeding destination for our mockingbirds and cardinals.

 Right now, we are in the midst of fig season. This is the first year that we’ve had enough rain to give us a good crop of these delights. Dan has been harvesting them in the morning and again in the evening, bringing in five to 10 each time! I’m giving them to friends, and putting them in smoothies, and trying to find as many recipes as I can to keep up with production.

A fig on our tree

This baby is ripe and ready for picking!

 (Last year, I froze most of them, thinking I’d make fig preserves later. I never did, and I still have a freezer full of figs. I think when fig season is over and I have no more fresh figs, I’ll start throwing the frozen ones into smoothies.) 

Figs go well with sharp cheese, nuts, bread, in cereals and salads, and on the grill wrapped in bacon. There are so many things you can do with figs!

Figs go well with cheese, nuts, bread, in cereals and salads, and on the grill wrapped in bacon. There are so many things you can do with figs!

I’ll share with you some of the recipes I’ve been making with our figs. Today’s tidbit is this luscious recipe for Fig Bruschetta I found on It’s worth a click to just take a look at the gorgeous photos there. Please visit them and try this recipe for yourself.

Ooohh, this was so good! Figs light sweetness is wonderful in combination with the flavors of ricotta, pecans, honey, and thyme.

Ooohh, this was so good! Figs light sweetness is wonderful in combination with the flavors of ricotta, pecans, honey, and thyme.

 I meant to make it for an appetizer, but we ended up having it for dinner. (What? It’s sort of a cheese sandwich with fruit. And just too good not to indulge yourself!)

After we had eaten our fill of the bruschetta, we still had some of the fig puree, thyme, chopped pecans, and chopped figs left. I saved them for breakfast and mixed all that into bowls of creamy amaranth made with coconut milk. Yum-my! 

Amaranth is an ancient grain that has more protein, iron, magnesium, and calcium than most grains. It's a little pricey, but one cup dry makes three cups prepared! And you can pop these tiny grains like corn!

Amaranth is an ancient grain that has more protein, iron, magnesium, and calcium than most grains. It’s a little pricey, but one cup dry makes three cups prepared! And you can pop these tiny grains like corn!

Today I’m making fig and blueberry nondairy ice cream. Should be dreamy! I’ll let you know.

Summer Minestrone

Wednesday, I made this for dinner. We had it for leftovers Friday. And I have two more meals of it in the freezer! It’s delicious. So many flavors, and so fresh.

My Summer Minestrone

 It’s Summer Minestrone from the August, 2014, Family Circle Magazine. Quick to cook, but took longer than 30 minutes to prep. Instead of the bullion cubes, I used about 8 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth. Loved the sausage in there, and all the veggies! Such a healthy meal.

Next time I make it, I will leave out the pasta. I didn’t add anything to the taste, and I’d rather fill up on veggies instead.

It cost me about $24 to buy the ingredients for this, and I figure that for the two of us, we’ll get about 5 or 6 meals out of it, including my husband having leftovers for breakfast Thursday morning. So this is not only a delicious and nutritious meal, it’s economical, too! Continue reading

Eating Like Grown Ups

Somewhere along the line, we got off track and I stopped cooking for my family. It was in those years of soccer and little league, when Dan was always the coach and I was team mom. On those short evenings when we had to hurry and do homework, then jump in the car as soon as Dad got home to go to practice, it was always so much easier to just grab something to eat along the way.

That was when my children’s taste buds started to rebel against good, healthful food. I got so very tired of hearing, “Yuck! I’m not eating this!” when anything I made did not resemble mac and cheese from a blue box accompanied by frozen sticks of possibly poultry or feasibly fish. I know I should have been stronger and made them eat better, but I was tired. Ask any mom of youngsters. They are all tired. And if someone said to me, “Don’t cook. Let’s do what’s easier.” I didn’t have the energy to fight them too much.

As the kids got older, we continued our take-out tradition. By then we were deeply entrenched in the habit. Thankfully, as the kids became adults, so did their tastes. We ate a lot of take out, but it was mostly from local restaurants, not fast food. No one minded at all. And family time is much nicer when everyone can have their favorites.

But now we are living in an Empty Nest, just the two of us adults. Thankfully, I have a husband who is a bit of a foodie and will try anything. It’s more of a miracle that I am excited to try all the new foods we’ve been exploring. 

What got me started cooking (mostly) every night is a study our small group did at the beginning of this year. It’s called The Daniel Plan. I got really excited about the Food chapter. That is where I learned why some of the things I’ve always eaten are so bad, and why some of the things I thought were so hard to eat enough of are so good. Continue reading

Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

It’s cold.

Well, not up-north-where-I’m-from-in-Michigan-and-Ohio cold, but definitely we’re-used-to-90s-here-in-Texas cold.

I’ve been in Texas since 1981, and somewhere along the way, I became a cold weather wimp. We went for a visit at Christmas time in 1989. It was snowy and beautiful, but the wind was fierce and stabbing. I just wanted to be inside with a couple dozen blankets and a heating pad. So it didn’t take long for my body to decide it prefers 90+ degree days to -20 degree days.

But don’t you just love this time of year? We get to wear our jeans, funky boots, warm fuzzy sweaters, fun sparkly scarves, and jackets and coats that cover a multitude of desserts.

And the best part of all, it’s cuddle-up weather! Time to wear our “home pants” (aka flannel pajama bottoms) as long into the afternoon as our day’s activities will allow. Soft, fluffy slippers just beg to be left on as well. And hoodies! Oh the comfort of hoodies! Grab a mug of your favorite hot beverage topped with whipped cream and possibly even sprinkles. Find a cozy spot to curl up in with your favorite blanket, and spend a couple hours with the pastime of your choice, be it with your laptop, TV remote, or for your traditional types, a good old fashioned book. Add the mesmerizing glow of a fire and a loved one to cuddle up next to you, and I dare say, you are as close to bliss as you will ever be on this earth.

Another thing that adds to the yumminess of this time of year is the aroma. Besides the baking smells, for this surely is the time to bake, there are the candles. The candle companies have special scents all year round, but none of them even come close to the candles of autumn and Christmas! The woodsy, spicy, pumpkinny, tobacco-y, harvest smells of autumn candles lure my mind to a cabin somewhere in the woods, full of homey touches like rough-hewn wooden furniture, and overstuffed chairs and quilts in reds, oranges, browns, and greens. Outside the golden glow of sunset and the sound of birds chirping “goodnight” as they settle into their nests for the evening. And oh! The Christmas scents of cedar, red berries, fresh baked cookies and apple pies, peppermint, pine, balsam, and cinnamon! Reminds me of being a child, and carefree days at home with family all around.

So yes, I love it when it’s cold outside, as long as I’m warm inside. And right now it’s cold…sort of…well, it gets down into the mid 40’s at night…sometimes…

Alright. It’s 72 degrees outside my house as I’m writing this, but here in Texas, 72 is on the chilly side…kinda…to us. But Thanksgiving is this week, and if the weatherman won’t cooperate, I’ll pretend it’s cold enough for hot chocolate, warm pumpkin pie, and sweaters.