on again/off again

today's the day i write about the trouble with blogging.  you may notice that i have troubles with this by the fact that i go through spurts and breaks, taking this blog off for public view and putting it back on.  the inconsistency of that really bothers me.  alot.

the trouble with blogging is that it is so one sided.  

i really like the process of writing - it helps me think things through.  i like taking or finding pictures and "pretty-ing" things up.  i like the editing and arranging of posts and my page.

i just wish everyone who read my blog had a blog also.  or maybe that we could sit down and chat about things, so that i could spout off my views (as i do here) and then you could tell me what you think.

the trouble with blogging is that it can give a sense of intimacy that might not be real.

if you've read this blog, you know alot about who i am.  honesty is one of the character traits i value the most, and so while i'm by no means perfect (so, so far from that), everything i write here is true and reveals some of the deepest parts of my heart.  this can leave me feeling really naked and exposed.  i don't know the deepest parts of most of you.  if you keep a journal, it's kind of like leaving your journal on the coffee table, for anyone to flip through....or maybe more like leaving it at the bus stop...

by now i can imagine what you're thinking. (given that i have the gift of telepathy - just kidding!)

becky - blogging is your choice.  what you share is your choice.  whether or not you link to FB is your choice.

oh friend, you are so right!

i have thought about it so much - probably almost too much.  i have prayed about it as i wish and long for meaningful relationships.  i have asked for guidance, for wisdom, for peace.

today the Lord answered in short melody based on a verse i long ago memorized:
"no weapon formed against you will prosper"
(isa 54:17)

my eyes have been opened to the truth of 1 peter 5:7-8 as i considered all the ways i have let the devil whisper lies to me (you have no friends, no one cares what you have to say, you are worthless...).

dear reader (if you're out there) this blog is not for you.  it for my Lord.  sometimes it will be heavy (like today!) and sometimes it will be light and fluffy.  sometimes i'll ask questions, sometimes i'll have found an answer to talk about.  

i pray that i'll have the strength to stand each day against everything that fights against who God has intended me to be and today i pray that for you too.




[av-er-ij, av-rij] 
noun,adjective, verb, -aged, -ag·ing.
 noun ~a quantity, rating, or the like that represents or approximates...
adjective ~typical; common; ordinary.

Driving with my husband the other day, he spotted a sign outside a building that said:
"The average man thinks he isn't."

I did not see the sign, but I heard him muttering about it, and asked what the problem was.  He said, "that isn't true. Most people think they're average, even if they're not."

At this, I cocked an eyebrow.

I distinctly remember many years ago, when I came to the realization that I was completely average.  
~average brown hair,
~blue-grey eyes (very common)
~average height and weight
~average shoe size (which is why my size is always gone during a good sale!)
~average intelligence - smart enough, but no Einstein!
~average skills in many areas...actually, I always thought that certain skills of mine balanced out my lack of athletic skills.

I didn't think this was a bad assessment.  I like the fact that I don't stick out too much either way.

Today I read:
"average is in the eye of the beholder."

Well, that's probably true...

God's Word says that I'm "fearfully and wonderfully made" and don't think I'm denying that by clinging to my claim of average-ness.  I think He made me this way, because He knew this is how I'd be most comfortable....and while we all have times where we struggle to be content with what we've got (and have not got), I praise God for each day that I become a little more like Him.

For this is the only thing that could set me apart from the rest of the average world.  I am a believer, "cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God-filled life." (1 Corinthians 1:1 MSG)  

Perhaps I'm rising above average after all.


when life gives you lemons....

make cinnamon buns!

Today I'm going to share my favorite cinnamon bun recipe.
It's easy.
It makes feel like a "real" woman, kneading dough and all...
It makes me feel like super-mom.

All that from one recipe, you ask?
for me, YES!

I got the recipe from bakingbites.com and this morning's batch was the best I'd ever made
(and I made some really bad ones once...)
so I figured they were worthy to share.

2 1/2 tsp dry yeast (1 pkg)
1/4 c. warm water
3-3 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl, stir together yeast and water, 
let stand 5 minutes, until bubbly.
Add in 2 cups flour, sugar, buttermilk, butter, vanilla and salt.
Stir well, until dough is smooth.
Gradually add in remaining flour until dough 
comes together into a slightly sticky ball
and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface 
and knead until dough is smooth.
Add flour as needed - dough should be "tacky" but not wet.
(keep it nice and tacky for the softest buns)

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise 
until doubled in size: 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

You will soon need:

1/4 c. butter, room temp
2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 c. brown sugar
3 Tbsp coarse (or regular sugar)

**side note: I never use those quantities.  
Cinnamon buns are a treat!  Why not make them the treatiest?
I just slather a bunch of butter and pile on the brown sugar and cinnamon.**

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan (I use pyrex).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
(I hope you didn't clean up the mess 2 hours ago 
- it's getting messy again!)
Press dough into a rectangle, roll dough out into a sheet about 12x6 inches.

Spread dough with softened butter, leaving a 1/4 in. border.  
Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon, brown sugar and coarse sugar.
Working with one of the long sides, roll dough up tightly into a log.
Pinch seam and divide log into 12 even pieces with a sharp knife.
Place in prepared pan, leaving space between rolls.

Cover with plastic wrap and REFRIGERATE overnight.

Here's the part where you get to feel like mom/spouse of the year....
set your alarm!

Place refrigerated rolls on counter for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F.
go back to bed and set your alarm again...

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

I dare you to try and get a photo before the people you live with dig in!

enjoy your day!



We're in a new stage of life here in the Hall home: all my kids are in school full time.  (woo-hoo!)

It's been a week and I've accomplished a fair bit, though it's been very quiet - too quiet...However, we're all adjusting and I'm finding I have a bit more time to do some things that I've always enjoyed but don't always get uninterrupted time for.

Namely: listening to podcasts.

I love to listen and I subscribe to a few, but my favorite by far is Focus on the Family.  I'm pretty sure the program plays on the radio at specific times, but I like to download them so I can listen at my leisure!

Do you download them?  You should!

The other day, I was catching up on one that was played back in May or June where the speaker Cynthia Tobias was talking about her book, You Can't Make Me.  It's for parents of strong-willed children.

~This is where I step onto my soap-box....

I've always disliked the label of "strong-willed."

I've always disliked the implication that it means you have disobedient children.

I generally don't approve of any label that has a negative connotation.

What I came to learn through listening to this speaker is that I probably AM strong-willed, and that's what makes me resist the title so vehemently.

well, isn't that nice.

Regardless, there was more for me to learn in this 2-part series.

The Lord had a word for me, and I had to decide if it would reach all the way to my heart.

Let me testify: it did.

Tobias described a conversation she had with the mother of a 16 year old son whose messy bedroom was driving her crazy.  (That caught my attention.  I've been really hassling my kids about their rooms.)  His clothes were all over the floor (MY kids clothes are all over the floor) and every time she picked them up, her frustration and bitterness would resurface and grow. (oh how I wish I didn't understand that part!) God spoke to this woman and challenged her to pray for her son every time she picked up after him or cleaned up his messes.  (Oh Lord, I hear You.  I'll do that too.)  The woman followed through for the next 6 months and was blessed by an improved relationship with her son.

When, 6 months after she started praying her son was killed in a car accident, she was so thankful she had heard from the Lord and obeyed.

I stopped in my tracks, just then, and prayed that the Lord would cause me to remember this example; to remember this call on my own heart; to remember to pray.


worth a try

I think our part of the world can be divided into two categories:

~those who take vitamins

~those who don't

Of course, within each category there are different groups: people who take loads of vitamins, one-a-day-multi types, people who think vitamins are a waste of money and people who don't think about vitamins at all.

I typically fall into the "don't" category, but it's not because I don't "believe" in them.  I simply tend to forget (more than once I've thrown away bottles of expired vitamins) and they make me nauseous.

I really think vitamins are good, though, so I'm trying again.

I read in a book (do you notice how often I say that?) about a phase in a woman's life that the author described as "the slump."  Post-pregnancy, pre-pre-menopause, it's a time where a woman's balance get can way out of whack.

I think I might be in that phase.

My moods (particularly related to pms) have been - ca-ra-zy!  Honestly, that's how I've felt.  Roller coaster city.  I really, REALLY dislike this, so I've tried adapting my diet (as much as a girl like I can), but I'm not seeing the dramatic results I was hoping for!

I've done some reading on omega 3s & 6s and decided to add that to my nausea-inducing pile of vitamin goodness.

Anybody out there have some experience with this?

I figure it's worth a try, and while I wait for some miraculous change I'll continue to pray one of my favorite (out of necessity) verses from the psalms:

"may You good Spirit lead me on level ground."
(ps 143:10b)



My long-time friend Sherri posted "Today" - an idea she got from another blog.  I thought I'd join in the fun since it's been so long since I posted and feel like I'm not sure where to start.

I'll start TODAY.

Today I went to take my 3 kids to their first day of school, out for breakfast and shopping hand-in-hand with my husband.
Today I hoped my daughter's first day of middle school would be a success in her eyes, and that our children would each feel loved and secure.
Today I dreamed the my eldest would thrive and grow, but not leave me in the dust.
Today I forgot how quickly time flies and how kids are individual people with their own feelings and thoughts.
Today I heard my husband tell me he loves me and is proud of who I am.
Today I read over the talk I'm giving at a women's retreat tomorrow.
Today I watched Nate Berkus while I painted my toenails - just because I could! :)
Today I said "trust in the Lord in all your ways and don't lean on your own understanding."
Today I believed that they would all be ok, no matter what.  Today I trusted in God, condition-free.
Today I felt anxious and tender-hearted.
Today I wondered if I would always feel this content.
Today I bought a new top to wear at the retreat.  My husband said it looked great on me.
Today I cleaned as little as possible.  When mom's away the house falls apart so why fight it?
Today I created a plan for an after-first-day-of-school celebration.
Today I laughed a little and cried a little - and it's only lunch time!

Who are you today?

Have a blessed weekend!
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