it's not okay.

We left our super bowl party before half time so we could get the kids home and in bed for a good start to this new week. I got on my computer to check the score and then saw a headline about Justin Timberlake's half time show. So I clicked to youtube to watch it.

I will say this, thirteen of the fourteen minutes were fun. Full of set changes, dancing and props, it was like a little olympic opening ceremonies. 

But there was a scene right at the beginning, after the lasers, when Justin was walking up a set of stairs. It seemed to be sort of a night club scene, with women along the stairwell as he walked up to each one. And he visited each one and everything was sexual. He was dominant. In the name of dancing, he had his way with each one.

I was so stunned. I felt sick to my stomach. I felt so sad for all of the kids in our country who saw that and then took note of how no one reacted.

In the day of #metoo, where men are finally being held to account of their sinful, despicable and forced behavior, I could not believe what I was seeing. 

I think I am most overwhelmed that in this day when these horrendous behaviors are finally being brought into the light that there wasn't someone along the way who said, "let's do it clean." Maybe a choreographer, a dancer, Justin himself, someone on the Superbowl committee... In the name of national sensitivity, wouldn't you think?

And I can hear the rebuttals, "sex sells." "It's what makes money." But if you downplay the whole thing like that, then we'll just continue to have the same immoral storylines. The same heartbreaking stories of innocent, trusting young girls being taken advantage of, and harmed by the wolves.

If I had the ear of young women, this is what I would say: This sort of behavior in the name of entertainment and dancing is not okay. It's demeaning. If it made you feel uncomfortable, or awkward, then you should be glad. That's your ability to sense that something is wrong. Because that sort of public objectification is awkward. It is not beautiful. It is not honoring to their bodies. It is not honoring to the God who made them. It's just gross. 

I'm afraid that by watching a scene like that it will normalize this sort of behavior. That you might think that guys can just behave that way because they can during the half time show while the entire nation is watching and no one bats an eye. But they can't behave that way. It's not honoring of women. And there are so many women out there who are working through so much pain and hurt because they thought a man could behave that way (or more often, because a man thought he could behave that way.)

Let me tell you this, young women. You are worth so much. Do not sell yourself short. You deserve a great guy who loves you well. Don't settle for less. Know the kind of guy you deserve and keep your bar high.

Because there are good guys out there and there are bad guys. You must be aware of this. Last night a the super bowl party I was changing Alden's diaper and Rory came over and started changing Hattie's diaper right in front of me. We were face to face, changing dirty diapers and I thought to myself, "I got a good one."

I want you to have a good one too.

So keep your standards high. Remember you are strong and amazing and worth so, so much. Remember that your clothing has consequences. You might feel like you should be free to wear what you want but guys are visual, and your clothing choices can attract the wrong kind of guy. And recognize that the people you hang out with have a HUGE impact on the situations you will be placed in. You only need one good friend. If you don't have a good friend, pray for one. That's how I found my best friend in high school.

And then hear this. I didn't date at all in high school. And barely in college. I kept looking for the wart on my face. What in the world was wrong with me? Why didn't anyone want to date me? I worried about it so much. But you know, looking back, I am so grateful for those years. I had the best girl friends. I had lots of really great guy friends too. But to this day I believe I was being protected and spared a lot of things by simply hanging out and enjoying my good friends. Life was full and fun.

And now, married to a great man, raising four kids, living on this farm, I just feel so grateful. I kept my standards high. I hung out with good friends who helped me make good decisions. I did make some bad choices and praise God for forgiveness and second chances. But by and large, I valued myself, honored myself and trusted that God had a future for me that was good. And he did. He does for you, too. He knows the desires of your heart. He put them there. Pray to him for strength to go against the current, for patience when you have to wait, for more faith when it's hard to believe he has good for you. Learn to listen for his voice. He will speak to you. And he will always tell you your value and worth. He made you. He loves you most of all. And he wants good things for all who call on his name. 

homemade peanut butter cups

Hold on to your love handles, because I've got a winner here and you're going to love it.

Actually, not much needs to be said except: homemade peanut butter cups. Those four words together trump most things. I imagine any conversation:

So what are you doing this weekend?
Watching the super bowl. Going skiing. Flying to Hawaii.
How about you?
Making homemade peanut butter cups.
Lucky.

And they are as good as you think they would be. I followed this recipe, and used melted chocolate almond bark to dip them in at the end. They're no bake. They're easy peasy. And they're my new go to. Also, I keep mine in the freezer because I like a frozen pb cup. My mom taught me that and she is a wise woman.

Here's the recipe:
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup softened butter
2 T. brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all of that together in the mixer.

Then add 2 cups of powdered sugar.

Dump the pb mixture into an 8x8 or 11x7 casserole pan that has been lined with parchment (important!) for easy removal later. Put the pan in the freezer (cover with saran wrap) for an hour until hardened.

Use a cookie cutter to cut your hearts or stars or eggs or even just squares. It doesn't matter. No one is actually going to care the shape once they've eaten one.

Then put the cut outs back on a cookie sheet lined in parchment back into the freezer until hard again (maybe an hour? less?)

Melt your chocolate almond bark in the microwave until nice and smooth. Dip your shapes into the chocolate and lay back down on the parchment paper. (I used a cookie rack and regretted it!) Then I stuck mine back in the freezer once more. But you could also just start eating at this point.

So good.

And! I'm going to make little footballs for Sunday. You should too!

Nancy, come on by any time! I've got one here with your name on it. :)

playdates and possoms

For today's creative project I took a nap. I got Hattie down for her nap, lay my head on my pillow and the very, exact second I did, Alden woke up. So I brought him downstairs, fed him rice cereal and asked Elsie if she would set up a playdate for Alden so that I could sleep.

When I came back up with Alden she had the room all set for fun. So they played and I slept. It was a 20 minute power nap and I woke totally rested. It was awesome. And very creative.

In other news, we caught a possum in our garage this morning in a live trap. So Rory took the trap to a county park a few miles from here. When he got there, he found a friend of ours from church who was sitting in his car having just watched the sunrise. They were so surprised to see each other and chatted a bit asking what are you doing here? "Spending some time with the Lord in prayer." And you? "Oh you know. Just dropping off a possum."

watercolor hearts

Early this morning Rory and I were in the kitchen waiting for the coffee and saw the moon out our big kitchen window. I said, look how odd that is, what is causing that? Is there a cloud in front of it? Why is it that color? We looked at it for a long time and talked about how the heavens are always telling the glory of God.
Then a few hours later, I checked my email and found a blog comment from Martha, a good family friend from my home church growing up who mentioned seeing the lunar eclipse in Arizona. Ha! We were looking right an an eclipse and didn't know it! Hadn't heard it was coming, but are so glad we got to see it.
Anyways, on to more crafts. This was a fun one. Though I did it with my kids, which meant the table was shaking with Alden bouncing in his attached high chair, Hattie cycling through paints, play dough, markers and popcorn and having to comfort a sad daughter because "yours is better than mine!" So we had to stop to have popcorn and talk about what it means to be 5 and 36 and how there are some differences, like painting hearts on paper.
I hope to be able to convince her to keep going, because her hearts would turn out so much cooler, just by being more free form and less precise with her art. And now I'm hoping to find an 8x8 frame at the thrift shop. I believe that is what they call a needle in a haystack...

heart strings #2

Do you remember how huge crafting was a decade ago? Do people still putz and play like this anymore? I remember following dozens of craft blogs when we lived in Nebraska. And maybe all the ideas have been posted already or maybe they've all switched to instagram and pinterest, but crafting blogs seem hard to find. I guess I'm just thinking aloud. Anyway, here's my second creative project!
The first three hearts I made (on the right here) had to be outlined in string because I had traced a heart with pencil right onto the wood. I wished I hadn't made the pencil marks because I didn't actually want to outline the heart, but I couldn't erased the pencil. So today I tried again, nailing the heart outline to the wood and then putting the nails in around the paper, and then removing the paper.
It leaves one nail mark, so I could have used double sided tape or a tape bubble on the paper to hold it in place. Then I tied a good knot and started running my thread all around the heart. This is a really, really fun project. No one way to do this one...
I like how this one turned out, without the outline around the hearts. Both ways are darling though. And the best part for me is that when I was gone grocery shopping tonight, Ivar made his own heart and star. He loved this project and is excited to see what I whip up next. Long live crafts!