Jun 26, 2013

The Trade

6/26/2013 — cori
My love is fickle, fragile and fails
Jesus' love is steady, secure and sacrificial

My joy wavers under the weight of worry
Jesus' joy is consistent in each circumstance

My faith falters because of fear
Jesus' faith is pure and profound

My pride sacrifices others to make me feel better
Jesus' pride was sacrificed for me in humility

My desires are selfish and benefit me alone
Jesus' desires seek only the benefit of others

I judge the poor, Jesus meets their needs
I look away at the sight of the naked, Jesus clothes them
I feel pity for the oppressed, Jesus gives them dignity
I hoard my food, Jesus feeds the hungry
I fear the imprisoned, Jesus meets them where they are
I mock those different from me, Jesus loves them anyways

The difference is blatant, big and bizarre
The gap between Jesus and me is far

I'm not perfect nor pretend to be
I need help to be all that Jesus asks of me

I need more than help, I need a life brand new
That is what His gift was to me and you

He fills me up with all that He is
I just need to remember that I am His

I cry out to Him when my efforts run dry
He reminds me that He is all I need and to not even try

"Trust in Me" he says, "Have faith", "Wait on Me"
"I am making you all that you need to be"

Jun 19, 2013


6/19/2013 — cori
Last night we were all out in the backyard slaving away.  Apparently, the lone cottonwood tree we have in the backyard decided it would shake it's self out similar to a wet dog.  It deposited all of its cotton in our back yard.  In clumps.  Looks like we took a down comforter, or twenty, cut a massive hole in them and then shook them all over.  That would be an accurate description of what our backyard looks like.

Chuck could stand it no more.  So after dinner we armed ourselves with rakes and started attempting to gather all the cotton together.  It looked more like we were trying to spread it out.  As we were working aimlessly on this important task,  Gavin - the one who despises work in any and all formats - tried to think of a way to do the work without having to think about the impossibility of gathering up cotton that just wants to float away.  So this is how he approaches the situation:  "Mom, let's talk about pros and cons."

"Of what?"

"I don't know, anything."

"That's too broad a topic for me Honey."

"Ok.  Let's talk about the pros and cons of flower while we work."

I thought he meant flour.  So I immediately had a con, "It's messy and goes everywhere."

"No. F-L-O-W-E-R. As in the colorful things in the ground."

"Oh."  Not really wanting to participate because I rather enjoy mindless raking activities, but in order to keep his creativity alive I muster up some thoughts to add to the discussion.  "Uh, a pro could be they are pretty."

Bennett adds, "Another pro is you can eat some of them. But a con is that some of them are poisonous."

Preferring to go with the pros I throw out, "But they sure do look pretty."

To which Gavin, apparently only wanting to contribute cons to this conversation, quickly adds, "Ya, but it takes work to plant and maintain them."

"Yes...there's that. I'm quite familiar with your stance on work."

Apparently he didn't like where this conversation was digressing to so he asked, "Mom, can I go get my ipod now?"

Thus ends our random, weird, out-of-the-blue, list of pros/cons of flowers as we worked.  I was once again able to regress back to the comfortable, mindless state of raking in peace during a beautiful, serene evening.

Jun 17, 2013

Indian Names

6/17/2013 — cori
It's that time of year again when we get to go camping.  We found a lovely little marshy, mosquito infested swamp by one of the biggest lakes in Minnesota, Lake Minnetonka, and decided that would be the perfect place to set up camp.  We even paid money to stay there.

Good news...we have upgraded our tent situation from the early days.  Used to be, we all fit snug-as-a-bug in one little tent.  However, that is not the case any longer.  The kids have their own tent these days and the adults have theirs. Life is good this way. The kids won the setting-up-the-tent contest that I didn't realize we were having.  Exhibit A & B are proof.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B
In our defense, this was a brand new tent and the directions were not very helpful.

Proof that we eventually (an hour later) figured the whole thing out.

We found a great little nature center with miles of trails.  They failed to tell us that these trails would be taking us into the depths of mosquito breeding grounds.   We didn't pass one other human soul on our hike.  Apparently, everyone else knows to stay away from this particular area during this particular time of the year.  Obviously, we are still learning.  We have hundreds of bites to prove that sometimes we learn the hard way.  However before our illustrious hike we saw this interesting display on how to tie a million different types of knots.   We learned something else on this hike - none of us can tie a knot.

The entrance to "the hike from hell".  Upon entering we decided we needed to give one another Indian names in the spirit of being native and roughing it.  We would now only be known by our new names.  These names were to be chosen with care and deep thought knowing that they would indeed be a reflection of the person's character.

Daddy - a.ka. "Chief Balding Puma"  
This picture looked a little too much like Tip-Toeing Mischievous Puma 
so I asked him to give me his fiercest look and try again.

This is better.  This is indeed our fearless leader: Chief Balding Puma

Mommy - a.k.a - "Watches the Sky"
It's harder than you think to pick out a name from nature that accurately depicts 
what you like, your character, who you are.  I love sunsets and sunrises and thinking.
Apparently I look at the sky during all those times, so this name just kinda stuck.

 Gavin - a.k.a - "Thinks Out Loud"
To be literally accurate, his mouth should have been open in this picture.
Gavin spends most of his time thinking and the other half of his time talking VERY 
loudly about what he's thinking about.  So this one was a no-brainer.

Bennett - a.ka. - "Thunder Foot"
This was option 1.  He wasn't a big fan of it, didn't really want to commit to it.
He does in fact have the loudest foot falls you will ever hear.  I always forget that I 
don't have an elephant living upstairs, just Bennett.  He just loves to walk with all his might.

Bennett - a.k.a - "Strong Like Bull"
However, this is the name that eventually stuck.  We've called him this for a long time
actually.  We imitate that same motion to encourage him from the sidelines during
his basketball games.  We want him to remember that he is Strong Like Bull and can do hard things. 

Chloe - a.k.a - "Tumbleweed"
This little gymnast cartwheels more than she walks.  

Her name is perfect.

This is what happens when your children grow.
Plus, it was just a cool photo op of two handsome guys wearing the same shirt.

Blowing Kisses

6/17/2013 — cori
The other day Bennett tells me, "Mom, I don't think I'm ever going to be able to get married cuz I'll never be able to kiss a girl."

"Oh really?  Why's that Sweetie?"

"Cuz when you kiss you swap spit and I HATE other people's spit!"

"Ya.  That's going to be a problem.  I have an idea...how about you blow kisses to each other."

Then we commenced enacting Bennett's future wedding: And now the bride and groom may blow kisses to one another to show their eternal love.

"Honey, I have a feeling you'll probably get over this spit sharing thing one day.  Trust me."

Jun 12, 2013

Talking Text

6/12/2013 — cori
Bennett is a changed man.  At least he feels that way now that he is the brand spankin new owner of a his very own cell phone.  He keeps telling me, "Man, I feel so responsible now that I have a phone."

He loves texting me (or anyone for that matter).  I get texts all the time.  Now he's even talking to me in person like he's texting me.  Here's an example of some of our random conversations:

Me: Bennett, would you mind doing those dishes for me, Honey?"
Bennett: NP Mom.

Me: Telling a funny story at dinner
Bennett:  LOL Mom!  That is so funny!

Me:  Bennett, how do you like that food?
Bennett:  Not so good.  HA! JK Mom

He sure had us in stitches at dinner last night talking text to us.  Never a dull moment.

What Language Do You Speak?

6/12/2013 — cori
We use words like daggers to bleed others' souls
because the void in our hearts is as black as coal

We use actions to manipulate others to do our will
believing that control will bring a lasting thrill

We seek peace in a comfortable life with financial security
driven by fear masked as responsibility

We live isolated and lonely with locks on our doors
protecting all our possessions instead of giving them to the poor

We crave love and acceptance at the core of our being
why do we spend our lives running away from this feeling?

The language of this world is: fear, lust, vengeance, control
looking out for number one is our ultimate goal

But the good news is, it doesn't have to be.
There's an upside-down kingdom called God's Family

It is opposite of everything our world holds dear:
trusting our self and living in fear

The goal of God's Kingdom on earth is ultimately this:
by the grace of God we can live daily in love and forgiveness

This is the language of heaven on earth
His spirit in us is giving birth
to a new way of living that brings life to us all
a daily choice to surrender and completely fall
head over heels in love with a Savior
whose language was forgiveness of all our behavior

His love fills our heart and gives us eyes brand new
to see this world as He sees you
where compassion and mercy and forgiveness abound
that's where my heart wants to always be found.

Jun 10, 2013

Food Woes

6/10/2013 — cori
Confession:  I HATE meal planning.

However, I really enjoy cooking.  I derive great pleasure from serving the meals I prepare for the people I love.  It makes me happy.  I don't care how long it takes to cook a meal, just someone please tell me what to cook!

But planning those meals.  That does not make me happy.  I simply become brain dead when it comes time to plan what we're going to eat for the week.  My mind is blank.  A void nothingness in the hollow of my head.  Food?  What's food?  I kid you not when I say, "nothing comes to mind".  It is literal.  I have a problem.

The Mom is typically the one in charge of this aspect of the household.  I loathe this particular responsibility.  Almost as much as I loathe cleaning my bathroom (however, I clean my tub each day...what does that say about me?)  But I digress....ahh  yes, the meal planning.

When we first got married, we were ignorant enough to think all you needed to do what get 2 boxes of Hamburger Helper, 2 boxes of Tuna Helper and 2 jars of Ragu and we were home free for 6 out of the 7 meals that week.  If we were lucky we might could even spring for Taco Bell on that last night with what we saved on our grocery bill.   Ahhhh, those were were the days.  Ignorance is bliss.

Then we found out what was in our food; how our meat was processed and what all those chemicals are that they put in all those boxes of food that last on the shelves for months and years on end.  Then we had to say goodbye to our old faithful friend, Hamburger Helper.

Thus began my journey into looking through hundreds of cookbooks.  Watching hours of Food Network TV.  Perusing the internet for how to cook the perfect pot roast.  I needed meal ideas people and I needed them fast.  What better place to go than to the horse's mouth?  In my case, that would be my children.

I don't know why I even ask them anymore.  It's always the same suggestion week in and week out: pizza and tacos.   Since our palate needs a little more variety than that, I am left sitting at the table with all my cookbooks open and my list empty.  The problem is I have to 'be in the mood' to cook in order to be creative enough to come up with some meal ideas.

Each week, miraculously, a meal plan evolves.  It's hard.  The process adds at least 5 new gray hairs to my head on a weekly basis.  I moan.  I give huffy breaths.  I pout.  Nothing makes this job go away or get easier.  I have fantasies about having my own private chef one day.

This story actually does have a point.  And it is, with all my 'creative menu planning' sometimes I forget where I got my recipe from.  Ooops.  That could be problematic.  Take today for instance.  I knew we were having some sort of salmon and pasta dish, but I had no clue where in the world I saw that recipe. Which cookbook did I 'borrow' it from?  Did I see it on a Food Network show?  Is it a recipe I own or just heard about?  Oh no.  I need to make dinner now and I have no clue what to do.   I panic.  I start looking through all 10 cookbooks I own.  I look through my recipe card box.  No luck.  I text Chuck who's in a meeting and has no clue what I'm talking about.  No help there.  Man....now I'm going to have to improvise.  I'm all for improvising....but not on food.  I'm not that confident.  I need a recipe and I need it now!

For the life of me I can't picture the cookbook I looked at on Friday when I wrote down the ingredients I would need to buy at the store.  Why didn't I just jot down the name of the cookbook next to the meal when I wrote it down?  And by the way, that's another thing I suck at.  I almost NEVER cook the meal that is written down to have on a particular day on that day.  Just doesn't happen.  Remember, I have to 'be in the mood'.  Many a day I'm not 'in the mood' to cook this or that, so I just end up shifting my whole meal plan around.  It's just a suggestion anyways...at least that's what I always tell the kids.

Okay, so back to my story.  I decide to peruse through my cookbooks yet a second time.  And as luck would have it, I found the meal!  My previous error was that I looked in the index under "salmon" when it was not allocated as a "salmon" dish, rather a "pasta" dish with salmon.

Surprise, surprise, my daughter wants to go to culinary school so she can be a chef when she grows up.  Wonder why she decided that?  Maybe seeing her mother in the throes of panic and mayhem when meal planning is brought up may have secretly urged her on to find professional answers to life's toughest questions:  "What's for dinner mom?" and "When are we gonna eat?"

Maybe I just might get my private chef afterall.....

What Haiti Taught Me

6/10/2013 — cori
When I think back to my trip, several things stand out that I don't want to forget.  These are my biggest take aways from the wonderful gift that was my trip to Haiti:

The People.  They are amazing.  The joy they have defies their circumstance.  That is their gift and the lesson they passed on to me.

Children are children wherever  you go.  They crave affection, play, fun and laughter.  The kids were the most accepting and welcoming.  They would take your hand and walk along with you or want you to carry them, no matter where you were going.

We visited a deaf community in the village of Leveque.  These people were so kind and just thrilled that someone would take the time to come visit them.  They kept signing "God Bless You" and "I love you" over and over again.  They warmed my heart the most and I feel I gave them nothing but a smile in return.  I was so humbled.

Meeting strangers was so much fun for me.  I met so many people on this journey from Americans to Haitians.  I absolutely love hearing people's stories.  I learned that I'm a good listener and that I can make friends just for being me, not just because I'm the kids' mom or Chuck's wife, or my parent's daughter.  No one knew me for the roles I play in my daily life, but for who I was at the core and chose to befriend me anyways.  That was huge for me.

I learned that I'm a very deep, intense, quiet person by nature.  I've tried to not be this person for so long since I perceived that it wasn't a desirable quality.  Everyone likes an out-going, extroverted person so much more it seems.  And it's not that I don't love to talk, I do, but I learned I'm not good at initiating conversations, especially shallow small-talk (but I'm learning and slowly improving).  If someone were to come up and start talking with me, I could talk their ear off.  But I'm equally comfortable not talking to anyone for hours and just basking in the beauty of nature and communing with God in my soul.  I came to accept this about myself.  It is freeing to be true to who you are and not try to be what you think others want.  Crazy that I'm 40 and just now learning this lesson...better late than never, I guess.

Love costs pain sometimes.  Giving and serving can be painful.  It was painful and hard to spend hours in the overbearing heat painting, digging and walking from house to house.  It was painful to my heart to see the living conditions of so many and so many orphaned children. You leave a part of your heart with each child you play with or hold and with each person you connect with.

Jun 4, 2013


6/04/2013 — cori
It's hard to describe in words the impact Haiti had on me.  That is one reason I set my pictures to music to share with you what was on my heart the whole time I was there.  The people.  They stole my heart.     They have such beautiful smiles and contagious joy despite the dire conditions. There is no way to explain the heat and humidity and sweat.  It was so HOT! Always. The heat and the rooster were the two hardest parts for me.  No one warned me that I'd be waking at the crack of dawn to a rooster alarm clock every morning.  I despised the thing. The landscape is brutal.  Yet there are pockets of beauty everywhere. I miss Haiti and can't wait to return. I just wanted to feel each moment. 

Haiti2013 from Mallott on Vimeo.

Blog Archive