Thursday, April 30, 2009

If at first you don't succeed...burn the second pound of hamburger

As many of you know, there are definitely moments when being a mother is more rewarding than others. This evening was not one of those moments.

Although it had been a pleasant day, it had been a little busy and I got home just a few minutes before I had to teach (I only had 2 lessons). So I asked my 2 oldest to empty the van of groceries, and then proceeded to give them small assignments for dinner prep so we could eat as soon as I was done at 5. Paul’s job was to brown the hamburger for the tacos…and that was it. I explained what I thought was a simple process and went in to teach my lessons. About 15 minutes later, Maryn comes running in screaming. “There’s smoke all over in the kitchen!”

Well, I hastened to the scene and discovered that, indeed, my kitchen was haze filled. Paul had put the beef on the stove on Medium High and then gone to the bathroom (with a book, which is never good news). Hence the new take on tacos…charcoal tacos. Well, it was actually much worse then it looked (you can only see a portion of the heat hardened meat in the photo), so we gave put it by the barn to feed some lonely, and now lucky, cat. Then, I reviewed with my son what went wrong, with specific instructions to not leave the food on the stove unattended and to cover it and turn it off when the meat was cooked. We quickly defrosted my last pound of hamburger and I went to finish my lesson. 

Upon my return, I discovered he had somehow not only thoroughly burned the second batch, but had used my plastic spatula to stir and break apart the meat….and then left it in there. It is now a half of a plastic spatula. The other half, I assume, is adding some interesting flavoring to another course for the same lonely barn cat.

Lucky cat.

P.S. We ended up having quesadillas and oranges. And Paul owes me 2 pounds of hamburger…

Good Food and Good Company

Today I got the chance to have lunch with two friends from church…Violeta and Kirsten. They’re my visiting teaching ladies and since we enjoy talking to each other so much, we try to make lunch dates every few months so we can have good food and good company. Today we went to the Mongolian Grill in Celina. Besides the “Grill Bar”, there is also a rather substantial Asian buffet. I think I’ve eaten my quota for about a year!

Violeta (on the left) moved to America from Chile, where she and her husband Sergio grew up. They have 3 children, and just moved to our little branch about 6 months ago. Kirsten and her husband and 5 kids moved here from the D.C. area just before school started. It has been such fun getting to know them!

How Great Thou Art...

For the last 4 ½ years, I have been teaching a water aerobics class at the YMCA Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. It started with just 4 faithful ladies. Now we have something like 16 people that are on the roster, which is gratifying for me. But they are all older ladies and gentlemen ranging in age 56-82. They are so much fun…and I have really enjoyed the relationships I have been able to build form from this opportunity.

But today, something happened that had never happened before.  I found out one my ladies, Barb, had lost her brother the evening before. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about 2 weeks ago. Although his death was not unexpected, his passing came faster than anyone really expected. I spent the last 10 minutes of class talking with her about the death (while we were exercising in the deep end), and how she was doing. As I called an end to class and we all swam back to shallow end of the pool to stretch, I felt impressed to bring up the last verse of “How Great Thou Art” to her. I asked her if she was familiar with the words. She replied she knew the hymn well, but couldn’t remember the specific words. I began to sing them, and before I knew what had happened, each of them had joined in. It turns out they all have marvelous singing voices! We sang together:

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation

And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!

Then I shall bow in humble adoration,

And there proclaim, “My God, How Great Thou Art!”

Then sings my soul, my Savior, God to thee,

How great thou art, How great thou art.

Then sings my soul, my Savior, God to thee,

How Great thou Art, How Great thou Art!

 One lady in particular, Helen (the eldest at 82) had a particularly lovely voice (and I’ve heard both the good and the bad…believe me).

It was strange and beautiful all at the same time…seven women in their swimming suits standing in the YMCA swimming pool singing. But as we sang, tears came to Barb’s eyes, and a small smile crossed her lips.  It was a small service, but sometimes those are the ones that make the biggest difference I think.

As we left, I caught Helen and said “You, young lady, have an excellent voice.”

Helen smiled (she is always smiling…but she smiled bigger) and replied very simply, “Thank you. God gave it to me.”