Thursday, September 26, 2013

What started as a quick trip to the drug store...

About a week ago, I was babysitting late for the family I work for. The following day was my boss's birthday, so after dinner I dragged the 2 kids to the nearest drug store in search of a card.
Yes, I know, I was ridiculously last minute.

We perused the card section and they "helped" choose the good ones. Anyone who has gone card shopping with children can relate to this: They could not understand why I didn't want to get the adorable puppy dog card "that is just so cute".  The first line read "to my love, on your birthday."  Thankfully I talked them out of it, but I digress. 

I was in a bit of a hurry, wanting to get home and get the bedtime routine underway; but apparently I was not the only evening drug store shopper.  The 2nd cashier was on her break, so the long line loomed over the lone fidgety cashier as we all waited, more or less, patiently. 

You could see the relief in the mans eyes when his co-worker returned from her break and announced she could help the next in line.  I, at this point, was the next in line.  Me with my one measly item, trapped behind the woman who apparently did all her grocery shopping, maybe for the month, at this store. 
Relieved to not have to wait on her, I rounded up the kiddos and began making my way to the newly opened check-out line. The friendly, business-like man behind me stepped out of the way to let our little herd through. The rather tattered woman behind him, however, was not feeling as generous. She side stepped the man and began hurrying to beat me to the register.  I was a little taken aback since she had only just walked up to the line minutes before, but I hardly had time to react before the man interjected, holding his arm out to stop the woman from proceeding. "Excuse me ma'am" he said "this lady was next in line, let's show some respect."  I continued to the register, never expecting what was to follow. 

The woman shoved the man out of the way (she was not a small woman, and had the girth to push, just about anyone, around) and told him, loudly, in words I will not repeat, that he needed to mind his own business and let her through. 

I was willing to step aside, clearly she was in more of a hurry than I ever would be.  Of curse, things didn't pan out as simply as that.  The man, bless him, repeated his remark about showing respect and waiting her turn, never raising his voice, but clearly as shocked as I was by her reaction. 

The woman began aggressively throwing herself forward.  I jumped out of the way and corralled the kids, wanting this to end but knowing it would be unwise to interfere.  She could eat all three of us for lunch, and might have, if provoked. 

We now had the attention of the entire store. 

The man began fighting her off and, truly holding her back from, at this point, attacking me and the kids. She began yelling and cussing at the man, the store - the world really.  He threatened to call the police and advised her to stop embarrassing herself.  She cussed more, having finally stopped fighting, and was directing her angry words at whoever would listen.  I was speechless, the kids were terrified, and frozen with looks of confusion aimed at the irate woman.  The poor cashier had no idea what to do. 

A million things were racing through my head: Do I try and say anything and risk accelerating her anger and directing it at me, or worse, the kids?!  Do I ignore it, and not show adequate appreciation for what this man has just done for me?  Do I drop the card and hurriedly leave the store terrified and hurt, like I wanted to do but knew I shouldn't?

I took a breath.

I told the kids to wait at the end, ensuring they were out of any line of fire.  I paid for the card and smiled reassuringly at the mortified young cashier.  The cursing continued and I turned and walked out of the drug-store as the kids began asking questions: "What happened?"  "Why did she say those things?" 
What was I going to say to them?  How was I supposed to explain something like that?  I couldn't.  It was irrational and unexplainable in a way. 

The moment I was outside of those sliding doors I knelt down with the kids and, to my surprise, began crying.  I hugged them close and told them I was so sorry they had heard those words and seen that anger.  They giggled, I was all but sobbing at this point.  Why could I not hold it together?  I told them she was having a bad day just like we sometimes have bad days.  "We've never heard someone use words like that" one said.  I cried harder; So thankful that it was true. 
"You're right," I said "we don't say those words, even when we're mad." 
"Okay!" I put on my sunglasses, thank goodness I still had them on my head even though it was dusky.  "Let's go home."

I cried the whole way home.  Luckily, it was Q&A time so I didn't have to say a lot. They needed to see me cry, they needed to see I was hurt, but they didn't need to see me cry this long. 
As I drove, I answered their questions, and we talked it out until they were content with the answers. 

The kids went to bed a half an hour late.  I could not pull myself together.  
Okay. I had to pull myself together. PJs on. Teeth brushed. Books read. Prayers said. Kisses given. Doors shut. Deep breath. 

I sat down to think.
I revisited the event and the car ride home and my hundreds of tears. 
I couldn't even begin to articulate why I been so affected by this.  My feelings weren't hurt.  I wasn't really ever even directly spoken too.  So why was I such a puddle?  At the end of my thinking this is what I had come up with. 

1. I was humiliated and miserable that those two children had just bore witness to an outrage of anger and deep rooted sadness like nothing they had ever seen. The whole time we had been in the store I cringed at every four-letter word thrown so casually yet, maliciously in our direction.  I didn't want them to ever hear anger like that.  I want them to be filled with happiness and inocence and love.  
Thankfully, it provided a teaching moment and we were able to discuss how it feels when people yell at you, and how we don't want to make others feel that way.  I told them that some people are just angry and it doesn't mean you did anything to deserve it.  We have to love those people anyways because they, more than anyone, need a friend.  They understood on their 5 year old level. Anger, love, friends. They were satisfied with that answer.  

2. I was so deeply saddened, in a way that I cannot put into words, at seeing a human being so truly angry at the world.  Deep, heart felt anger- obviously not directed at anyone in that drug-store, maybe not even anyone at all.  It was anger at life, maybe anger at God.  So much anger that it is with her all the time and ready to explode.  Perhaps she had a terrible day.  We've all been there.  I am at the top of the list when it comes to being guilty of over reacting or lashing out.  I've yelled at people I love, I've yelled at my dog, I've yelled at nameless, faceless cars that even thought about pulling in front of me.  I cannot and am not judging her.  Perhaps that moment was a terrible and inadequate reflection of her life, just like my bad days are of mine. But it broke my heart, and made me so completely thankful that I can carry the joy of The Lord in my heart and know that, no matter how many bad days I have, God is my peace, my inner joy, and he is faithful. 

John 14:27
I am leaving you with a gift- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. 

Maybe I handled it wrong.  Maybe I should have done something, said something.  I didn't.  It was all I could do to not do the wrong thing.  I am thankful for that man.  He showed kindness and respect to a complete stranger and stood up for me when others didn't.  I don't think he had any idea what he was stepping into, and perhaps his good deed and true words were lost on the woman. But then again, perhaps not. 

I just wanted to share this because it made me think about how thankful I am for who I am able to be, through God's grace and love, and I'm glad I don't have to wonder who I would be without him. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Over the last year and a half, I have become more familiar with the idea of gluten free eating. The family I work for chooses to eat gluten free (for health and diet reasons, not because of necessity).  Because of this, I have learned about GF shopping, cooking, and baking. I have discovered it makes all three quite expensive, more complicated, and rather limited. 

Baking gf is a hassle. There arent any immediate substitutions for flour so you have to either mix your own baking mix flour substitution or buy a pre mixed one. And even then, you can't just always swap it out for the amount of flour in just any recipe. 

Banana bread is one of my favorite baked goods and I was surprised to discover that the GF banana bread I make here at work is one of the most delicious ones I've ever tasted! So, I thought I'd share. I'm not going to start posting GF recipes,  ht I think this one is so good, it is worth sharing. Personally, I have some friends who have to eat gluten free and it is nice to have a tested recipe to pull out if need be. :)

The gluten free baking mix I mix up and keep on hand at work for gf recipes is from Living Without's Gluten Free Holidays magazine as follows: 

All-Purpose Flour Blend 

1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 tapioca starch
1/4 cup corn/potato starch

The BB recipe is from Gluten-free made simple cook book

Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter; softened
2 eggs
3 Tbsp buttermilk 
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups gluten free baking mix

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Set aside
Peel and lay bananas in a shallow dish or plate. Using a fork, mash the bananas until all small pieces are softened. 
2. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter (I use standing mixer). Using a mixer, beat until creamy. Add eggs and mashed bananas.  Add buttermilk mixture. Add flour baking mix. Mix well
6. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake 45-65 minutes or until knife or toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. 

Serves 10

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Ok so I meant to post this like forever ago, but I just totally forgot! 

Naturally, it took us some time to get bins unpacked and all our, lets face it - junk, sorted through, but it is all beginning to come together. Honestly, even in the midst of the mess, I have still loved being here. It feels so bright and so... us.  Because we have so much more room, and our piles of unpacked stuff could go virtually unnoticed, the flame of motivation was not burning as bright as it should have been, I must, sheepishly, admit;  The new TV hasn't helped matters either.  However, nothing motivates the unorganized like the promise of house guests :)
I am thankful that plans were made for a mere 2 weeks after move in day. Giving us a deadline and a reason for getting the place together!

Here is a little tour of most of the apartment.  Sorry that the lighting is really not awesome.

 This is what you see when you first walk in.  

That is the front door, to the right. This is the living area. Simon was not cooperating.  :)

This is the office. It is seen to the right when you walk in. We're going to put the pipe shelf on that blank wall eventually. 

To the left of the living area is the start of the kitchen.  This is the dining area and the door to our bedroom.  This is also where my herb garden lives now that we don't have any out door space.  Right above the garden is a big rectangular sky light that really illuminates the apartment for most of the day.  It is so nice to have all of that natural light streaming in;  It is one of my favorite parts of the apartment!

Kitchen. I took a panorama shot, so that is why the floor looks funny. The white door leads to the laundry room.  The kitchen table is at the bottom right of the picture, obviously unseen.  And, to help orient you, the living area is to the left. That white Collumn is the start of the door way. 

This is the laundry room. There is so much extra room in here, so we built a shelf and use it for extra storage. 

 This is the master bedroom; Through the door by the kitchen table. 

This is the bathroom (behind the couch, to the right of the master bedroom) We use it as the master bath.

This is the built-in. Still trying to figure out how to use it and not have it look messy...

The shower across from the sink. It was hard to take pictures in there. 

This is the guest room and guest bathroom. (Behind the couch to the right) another panorama shot.

More guest bathroom 
And, still more.

Okay that pretty much completes the tour.  We love having so much more space and being right in the center of downtown.  We have already reaped the benefits of having a second bedroom: no more air mattress in the living room for guests.  Feel free to come and visit! :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

After this weekend, it makes me even more thankful that we were able to make the move to Spartanburg. We were able to do a lot of fun things with friends as well as spend some much-needed time with family.  Jessica and Grant drove up to visit and arrived Friday night for dinner.  
Then, Saturday afternoon, after a relaxing morning, we all headed over to the house of our friend Alois.    He and his family live right on the lake.  Although there were a couple of times we had to take cover inside from the brooding storm clouds that threatened to put a damper on our lake day, we managed to still have fun socializing and getting to know everyone a little better. Plus, we were always able to get back out on the lake once the little threat had passed. Grant, Simon and I all gave wake boarding a whirl.  Because the weather wasn't super sunny, there were very few other boats on the lake; making it even more enjoyable for those of us who were.   That night, Aloise ordered pizza for us and the others there and then we went out on the lake one last time. The weather was really nice: not too sunny, but warm with a light breeze. Quite near perfect for our plans.  I am thankful that we were able to be apart of the day and for Alois and his welcoming family.

Here are a few photos from our day. 

Me and Jess sitting on the dock waiting for the boat. 

Jess and Grant and Aloise on the boat. 

View from the dock

A little distorted, but a decent shot of everything 

Sunday was church, lunch and just hanging out at the apartment.   Grant and Simon tackled the project of figuring out the wireless internet that is "included" with the apartment. It has been really inconsistent and, in some areas, just won't work at all.  After a field trip to best buy and some techy tinkering, they got it to work! Pretty excited about that!!! Thank you Grant!! 

While they did their thing, Jessica and I had girl time.  :) This consisted of a lot of talking and her letting me use her awesome gel nail stuff for a great manicure. Thanks Jess!

Sunday night we took advantage of our downtown living and walked over to Wild Wings for dinner. The super long wait was not awesome but it was a fun night anyways. 

All of us as we went to dinner. 

Monday morning, this morning, Jess and Grant hit the road. 
Thank y'all so much for making the drive to spend time with us! We had a great time!