Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Uneventful Easter

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend! Chad and I had a nice day together, although we didn't really do anything special or out of the ordinary for the holiday. Church was great, but since we're regular churchgoers it wasn't necessarily that special, except for the fact that our new church broke their old attendance record by 159 people. Our lunch together at Ingredient was marginal, which was a bummer since I usually LOVE their food--it's one of my favorite places in town! After that we tried to spend a little time outside to enjoy the sunshine that we hadn't seen in so long, but within just an hour or so the clouds came out and it was too gloomy and chilly to stay out on the deck. We spent the rest of the afternoon laying in bed with our laptops, planning out our upcoming vacation to Texas. Not very exciting stuff for such an important holiday!

Although Chad and I obviously have no special traditions for Easter, I have fond memories of the holiday from my childhood. I don't remember doing a big Easter dinner like other families do--I think maybe because all of our extended family members were connected to their own churches so no one was willing to travel. I do remember decorating and dying Easter eggs though, and then having Mom hide them all over the house (or outside if it was nice) for Eric and I to find Easter morning. We each got a small basket with some Easter candy, but I don't think we got presents like kids get these days. As Eric and I were discussing recently, somehow our society has turned Easter into mini-Christmas. I'm all for a few fun traditions, but it kind of makes me sad that most kids probably think that Easter is only about presents with some eggs and chocolate thrown in.

Having no traditions now that we're adults can certainly be a blessing since it gives us lots of freedom and flexibility. It also makes me a little bit sad, since lots of our friends were going to be with their families over the holiday. I guess since we're always interested in going to our own church for the resurrection celebration, we've never wanted to go out of town for Easter weekend. While my mom has sometimes come to Lawrence to join us at our service, now that she's connected to her home church in Topeka, we no longer invite her to come with us! We invited several other people to join us on Sunday morning, but it seems that everyone except for us was with family members!

Even though I didn't get to see any of my family on the holiday, I did get to see my dad and his wife Mim a few times in the weeks leading up to it. Although I obviously failed to blog about it in a timely manner, they were driving through the area in early April and stayed with us one night on their way to work at my dad's childhood home near Salina. A few days later we got to hang out a little more with them and Dad's sibling's at my aunt and uncle's in KC, which was great since I hadn't seen two of my aunts/uncles for several years! After staying with us that night, they went on to Texas for a week and then came back through and stayed one more night at our house before leaving for Ohio early the next morning. That night Dad and I spent an hour or so together at my favorite new yogurt place, Orange Leaf, but I realized as they were leaving in the morning that I hadn't taken a single picture while they were here. This was the one shot I got from their visit! I guess seeing family for a brief and early Easter is better than not seeing them at all! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Friday

I just watched this amazing Youtube video that I wanted to share. It's a Good Friday sermon mixed with scenes from The Passion of the Christ. By itself, the sermon isn't nearly as moving, but with the movie footage, it's just incredible. If you're like me, you might need to get a tissue before watching!

Even if you don't believe that Jesus was who he said he was, you still have to be moved by anyone enduring that kind of horrific suffering! It's unfathomable.

The good news is, Sunday is on the way! Good Friday wouldn't be good at all without Easter! :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Yesterday before I went to my last Eastlake "Growth Group" at lunch, I mixed up a batch of homemade dog biscuits, since the pups had been out for a few days and were asking for more. Ok, I'm kidding about that part. I don't pretend to know what my dogs are thinking, but I'm pretty sure if I could read their minds, they'd be saying, "Mom, please make some more of those awesome cookies!"

Anyway, this is about the fourth time I've made them, and I think I've finally perfected my recipe. I started out looking for a recipe online but couldn't find one I really liked, primarily because so many of them included ingredients that really weren't good for dogs (like a lot of flour). I really wanted mine to be pumpkin based, because pumpkin is supposed to be helpful for their digestion and other issues that our dogs tend to have. Since I never found a recipe with lots of pumpkin and very little flour, I started messing around trying to come up with my own.

The first batch pretty much tasted like whole wheat flour cookies--not good at all. Yes, I tasted them. Although my husband still thinks that's weird, I made them in my own kitchen with stuff that came out of my own fridge and pantry, so why wouldn't I try them? My first batches were also little too soft like cookies and not crunchy like I wanted them, so it took a few more tries to get the cooking time/temperature figured out.

Here's the final recipe I came up with, along with a picture of what they looked like before I put them into the oven yesterday.


Pumpkin Carrot and Parsley Dog Biscuits
1 can pumpkin
1 egg
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups old fashioned oats
3 tbsp fresh chopped or dried parsley
4 medium carrots
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Boil carrots at least 15 minutes until soft. Mix together pumpkin, egg, oil, oats and parsley. Mash carrots into pumpkin mixture with a potato masher. The resulting dough will be chunky. Mix in flour. Spray round measuring teaspoon or melon baller with cooking spray and scoop balls onto greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with bottom of cup (also sprayed). Bake at 250 for 90 minutes and let harden in oven for several hours afterward. Store a week's worth in a sealed container in the pantry, with the remainder stored in the fridge.

I'm thinking I might make this my first recipe that I add to AllRecipes.com, but I think I need a more catchy name. Any great ideas?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Current Chatter

Ok, it's official. I'm a complete nerd. I just created a Twitter account. I know lots of normal non-nerdy people have Twitter accounts just so they can live vicariously through celebrities by "following" them, but I created mine for an entirely different reason. I was feeling such guilt about not blogging regularly, I thought that having a Twitter feed updated regularly on my blog would give those few loyal people who check it frequently something new to look at when they visit.

I think the other reason I had the urge to start tweeting is because I have so many friends and family members who always ask me about how I'm enjoying my "retirement." It can be a little annoying, only because I don't feel retired. I'm always busy, either doing things to manage our household (errands, cooking, housework) or helping my mom manage hers. Somehow I feel like I have to prove my busyness to people who think I'm sitting around watching soap operas and eating bonbons all day, which I know makes absolutely no sense at all. Why do I care what other people think? That's nerdiness and insecurity mixed together!

In my defense, I'm not such a nerd that I actually understand how to read and respond to other people's tweets. It's like a completely different language, with all it's @s and #s and other weird symbols. I have no idea what it all means, so hopefully I'll figure that out in time.

When I opened my account and Twitter invited me to start by following 10 other people's tweets, I was seriously so clueless I didn't even know who to pick. I found and starting following my brother (who I knew tweeted because of Facebook), the lead singer of Old 97's (since I'd heard in some interview he did that he had really funny tweets), a few DJs from KLOVE, our new church, and President Obama (because that was one of the random choices they offered me). I had no idea who else to pick, so I had Twitter check my gmail contacts for some tweeting friends. I found a few more people to follow, like my friends Tish and Matt, and since Tish has followed me back, I now have my first follower!

Honestly though, I have no aspirations for people to actually follow me. I'm just using it to update Luce Chatter with some chatter when there isn't time for my normal blog chatter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Hope

Most of my friends probably already know this from Facebook, but we got great news this morning from our veterinarian! He called to let us know that he'd received the pathology report and that the strange growth he removed from Hope's mouth was benign. Hooray! It was nothing at all to worry about--just some inflamed tissue. This was actually sort of ironic, since when the vet first told us about the growth Chad expressed his hope that it was just an injury from poking herself in the mouth. Since she's constantly eating things that aren't food, it's not a huge shock that she probably injured herself while doing so at some point!

Hope won't get her stitches out until next week, but really that will just be a formality--she feels good and hasn't even seemed to notice the incision on her chest. As always, she's tough as nails!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Photography Fail

One thing that I've completely failed to do in the last few months is practice my photography skills. I've busted out the camera a few times here and there, but I haven't had time to plan actual photo sessions, which is really what I'd like to practice! This is of course partially due to the winter--it's nearly impossible to do photo sessions outside in Kansas in December/January/February/March. Now that April is here, I can finally start scheduling some practice sessions! I've got a session for some engagement pictures for our friends Mike and Tiffany on the calendar already, and I've talked to several other friends who are interested in doing spring sessions as well. I'm not sure that I could ever make a career out of photography, and I certainly don't feel ready to charge anyone money for my pictures, but I still love the idea of doing photo sessions for fun!

About the only time I attempted to take a few decent pictures over the winter was last month during a day with my little friend Eli. I brought my camera to his house thinking we might have some decent light in front of a window, but since it turned out to be a cloudy day the light inside wasn't really very good at all. I got a few shots that were cute, but overall I didn't feel like the "shoot" was very successful! It's kind of fun to look back on the pictures though, mostly because Eli has changed so much since last month! Since then he's had his first haircut, and his new blond curls are taking over the dark hair he had when he was born, which has finally almost all grown out!

Although the quality/photography isn't great, I thought at least his parents might enjoy a few quick pics of Elijah!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Unhappy Hope

Today our dear little girl Hope took another step in her quest to regain her title of The Most Expensive Dog in the World. She went to the vet to have her teeth cleaned and have a humongous growth removed off her chest, and before she was done she'd had a second growth removed from her mouth and a couple of teeth extracted as well. Poor girl! Since about 4:00 when I brought her home she's been wandering around the house whimpering, staggering, dozing, getting up, drooling blood and then wandering around whimpering a little more. I feel so bad for her since she's clearly uncomfortable--who wouldn't be with all those stitches in her chest and in two places in her mouth too!

The crazy thing is, several years ago, Celtic had a fatty (non-cancerous) tumor removed from the exact same place on his sternum. If they weren't such hairy little children they'd have matching scars! Thankfully, just like Celtic's tumor of 2007, Hope's sternum growth was nothing more than a lipoma--it had just gotten so huge and unsightly we decided to have it taken off since she needed her teeth cleaned anyway. You can see it pretty well in our Christmas picture video, and it had definitely grown quite a bit in the four short months since then. I'm glad we got it taken off, but her resulting incision is obviously pretty big and icky!

The growth that our vet found in her mouth while cleaning her teeth was apparently way smaller, but unfortunately he wasn't sure exactly what it was, so he sent it off to the lab for analysis. We're hopeful that in a few days we'll find out that it's nothing to worry about, and hopefully by then she'll be a little more comfortable than she is now. Although we can't see the stitches, her mouth is pretty icky too. Thankfully there's been a reduction in bloody slobber since this picture was taken a few hours ago!

Hopefully Hope will have a good night's rest that will help speed her healing! She's definitely sleepy enough for it!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


I mentioned briefly last month that we were going to a new church, which might have been a surprise to some of our friends who didn't know we had actually left our old one. We had been at our previous church for 7 years or so, and although we made it through several pastoral changes during that time, we started feeling uncomfortable there during last fall's mid-term election. When the pastor started using political jargon that sounded like it had been pulled directly from Fox News, I guess you could say that was our cue to exit. We just don't believe that Jesus would support any particular political party!

Anyway, that was what led us to start looking for a different church, and after visiting about four different churches in town over a period of several months, we came to one that we both really enjoyed--Eastlake Community Church. It's a very young church that just started meeting in late 2009, and initially we weren't moved to go for a visit because we thought the regular fliers they send out seemed a little too hip and cool for us. Then one day while I was volunteering at the food pantry, a new couple came in and wrote down on their information form that Eastlake was their home church. When I started asking them about it, they were just so excited they couldn't stop talking about the church and the pastor. They said that Eastlake made them excited to get up for church every Sunday, which definitely intrigued me and made me want to try it out. Chad and I visited the next day, really enjoyed the music and the message, and we've been there ever since. The more I learn about the church from my "growth group" leader, the more I like their philosophy of having a service specifically for people who might not enjoy or feel comfortable in a more traditional church.

So our new church is gearing up for Easter in a few weeks, and they're inviting the whole Lawrence community for the holiday and the series of messages that follows by putting together a bunch of videos and a special website. Check out the first promo below--and let us know if you want to join us for Easter Sunday!

Love Episode 1 from EastLake Community Church on Vimeo.