Tuesday, February 26, 2013

crepe* expectations

I'm not sure how we found ourselves in the predicament of making crepes for church lunch. Once San Diego church heard we were contemplating the idea though, their enthusiasm & expectations left us no choice but to follow through on what some people might consider a lapse in sanity (which we never claimed to have total control of least not this girl). A bunch of Eastern Europeans who devour crepes in their native habitat was a little daunting, but the challenge was too tempting to pass up. No one came right out & said it couldn't be done...but the sentiment might've been there. Honestly, until we did it, I wasn't all that sure either. 
It was a 3-day production: eleven dozen eggs, 32 cups of flour, 48 cups of milk, and that was just for the crepes. The fillings were another matter altogether. Becca & I took turns frying crepes--four hours & 210 (yup, count 'em) crepes later, we were done. I think we made them simply to see if we could. 

The kids jumped right in & were a "crepe"* help. Will is well on his way to becoming the next Iron Chef--he cracks eggs like a pro. Noah's got a nose for sweets like a true Dotterer. They were all very obliging at cleaning out the cream Becca made for the sweet crepes. And I'm not sure if this is normal, but they didn't even get tired of crepes after eating them three days in a row. And we've got more left. Granted, crepes are just the platform for a myriad of flavors--savory, salty, puddingy, fruity, eggy. Anything you can put on a sandwich or tortilla would taste good in a crepe in my humble, now-experienced opinion. (210 crepes garners some respect and credibility, right?) I may have told people Wednesday night that we were making crepes for Sunday...and it might be coincidence that everyone canceled any travelling plans & supported the home front...but I have my suspicions "crepes & curiosity" had a lot to do with it. And Sunday at noon, all those hours of standing over a frying pan were worth it. The decibel level in the lunchroom has never been so loud--and I saw people who never come back for seconds, coming back for seconds. Becca was voted in as permanent lunch server. I kept hearing bits of conversation wafting from the lunch tables: "Savory crepes...what does that mean?", "Do you think fourths are okay?", "When does Becca serve next? Think she'll do 'em again?" I hope none of this is coming across as boastful; that's not my intention at all. The whole experience was actually quite fun. And there was such a festive (that's for you, Mom:) ) mood because of the crepes. It was a good feeling, knowing everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, and I felt somewhat melancholy, realizing I'm not going to be here forever. But I won't complain. I can't complain. Whatever life holds for me, I know God's got it all under control. And so it will be beautiful. And an adventure! I have an old friend who likes to remind me, "Faith is a Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him". And he's right. And sometimes, if you have to create your own culinary adventures to "crepe"* things up a bit, I don't think God minds all that much.

*I couldn't resist. Sorry for the bad puns. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the spring of things

Today was a good day, a fresh start, one that smelled and felt like spring. I've somehow (thank the Lord) bypassed winter, but spring is here nonetheless. New things are blossoming & starting to unfurl their little heads, and it isn't just plants I'm referring to. I find myself with eyes just primed to observe beauty these days & taking a quick second to savor the joie de vivre pumping through my veins. And yet, life goes on as it always has, with such mundane things as food, laundry, & a 2011 tax return still unsettled as of this afternoon (groan).
And so I was swung back into a new rhythm of things after recent events in my life so effectively turned it all upside down. The peach tree is blooming. Noah is recovering from a bout of fever. An afternoon game of croquet got a little violent. My apron got donned for the first time in weeks. I started eating again. All in all, normal life seems to have returned as best it can.
I know life won't ever be the same. For any of us. Will's very concerned that he might have to get married. "I won't have to get married for how long?" he keeps asking. Noah has overcome his initial repulsion to the idea of matrimony & a surprisingly insightful curiosity has taken its place. "I guess I want to get married someday because I want to have kids to boss around...and give me a hundred scoops of ice cream if I want it!" Sophie's got my wedding planned, down to the color of candy at the reception and the type of flowers for the bouquets (Ramona hillside succulents).
There are so many little thoughts careening around my head, "Pink! Striped straws for the reception! I wonder how long it would take to paint a watercolor you think the average male would be opposed to wearing a gingham tie?" and lots more that are much deeper and mine alone, so I won't tell you them. But I do want to be here for these three kids too. And C & B. Especially B. I've got a limited time here now, so I don't want to waste the remaining moments we've got left. Despite an ever-increasing distraction about 1,050 miles away.
It'll be a balance I'm afraid is going to lean heavily one way. And I know the Califamily will be patient with that and shake their heads and smile. Or in Clint's case, smirk.
As topsy-turvy as life has become, and as scattered as my brain is, everything feels quite right. I hope it does to everyone else involved too. And while we're there, I apologize many times over for the times I will forget to tell you what time the rehearsal dinner is, and for taking off the weekend...again, and for backing out on that event we'd been planning to do for months, and for not hearing what you said while I was texting aforementioned 1,050 mile distraction. They've told me sanity will return. I sure hope so...kind of.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Alright, here you go. I know you've all been dying to see a picture of him. And hear how it's going. I can say it's going much better than I ever imagined it would. My phone has gotten more use in the past 2 weeks than it has in the past 2 years. God's been so good to me. Again. I know I keep saying that, but I mean it. To be perfectly okay with the idea of marrying a man I've only met twice, didn't really know, and still have my sanity intact (Noah might argue that point), is beyond strange & wonderful. I'm even growing rather fond of him.
I picked him up at the airport yesterday, and it wasn't awkward at all. I felt like I kind of knew him already. (Logging in 40 hours of phone time didn't hurt either.) It felt perfectly natural to share stories about my family with him, to ask him what God had shown him so far that day, to even eat in front of him. The total lack of pressure to feel like I have to be a certain way or measure up to a standard is amazing. Waiting on the Lord has proved the best way once again. I know being married won't be perfect. I know it's a lot of work--at least I've observed it to be & heard that it is. But like every new path in my life has been so far, it's God's path, and it always leads me closer to Him. Plus, he's pretty sweet & has farmer hands like my dad did--all callouses and scars. He prefers corn tortillas to flour, dislikes theme parks, and wants a house with a little character. He can build things from wood, makes his own vinegar salad dressing, and isn't arrogant at all like I thought he was.
The Califamily got to meet him, and I think he was a hit with the kids. After gamely going on a tour of their 11 forts, sliding down the mountain a few times, & answering Will's 20 questions, they were treating him like family. I wish my family were all here to meet him and give their approval...I really hope they give their approval...and forgive me for my spaceyheadedness of late. But I know they'll like him, if only because they love me. And they'll just like him anyway. And if you knew what we went through to get this photo of the two of us, you'd really appreciate him. It's a long story, and if you really want to know, just ask me. It involved an English man with a crazy white beard, 3 pigs with scabies, a traipse through scrub brush, & an orange grove. I'm not making up a single detail of this. I couldn't have thought of a stranger story if I'd tried.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

a prayer for me

The other morning at breakfast, Will wanted to say the prayer, which isn't an infrequent request. Becca acquiesced. He bowed his head, folded his hands, and began, "Dear help for Jenna to be good...amen." (A brief silence broken by barely stifled snickers.) Will lifted his head and looked at us all innocently, "That's all I got." 
I can't really describe the relationship I've formed with these three kids and their parents. In ten years from now, I think I'll only begin to be see how special & life-shaping this experience has been. To my Califamily, you've snagged a piece of my heart that I don't think will ever totally be mine again. There's something about being present for every little moment, experiencing them "like pearls slipping softly off a string," that makes a bond like none I've ever experienced before. I love where I'm at & what I'm doing. And prayers like Will's don't hurt either. :).

Monday, February 4, 2013

the dotterers go to san diego

As we watched the bellboy loading up the luggage cart with an assortment of swimming gear, coolers, and bags, Becca remarked in that dry way she has, "The Clampett's go to Hollywood."
Our hotel was quite nice. A 12 story atrium with fish pond, glass elevators facing the atrium, made-to-order omelettes in the morning (had a repeat of "The Neighbor" omelette), pool with striped towels that actually covered you when you wrapped up in them--hand towels these were not--an ocean view. Not that we all didn't feel perfectly at home in such a place. The boys didn't fight over who got to push the elevator button--every time. I didn't take advantage of the manager's *free* evening reception...much. We didn't gawk at the 12-story atrium & we knew exactly how much to tip the valet, and we never forgot Will in the van as the valet got in to park it... (It was purely unintentional, I promise. And I did feel my heart give a lurch when Will was nowhere to be seen. It seems I have formed an attachment to the little chap, despite his best intentions.)

While Clint had meetings, B & I took the kids to Coronado. I know. It's only the 5th time I've been there. Trust me, I thank God every day I'm here. He is so good to me! The kids had a blast. Noah "beat" the waves and boogie boarded tirelessly.
Will covered every inch of his skin with sand and protected our snacks from the sea gulls. 
Sophie boogie boarded & wrote messages in the sand. I had a book, a reclining beach chair, and thoughts to ponder. It was so pleasant to bask in the sun, and yes, feel it crisping my skin. I concede. Someday it may make me look like an old shoe and give me wrinkles, but I didn't put on sunscreen. Not even 5 spf. Carmen & Shannon, I apologize for all my previous sermons on sunscreen. You may call me a hypocrite if you choose. For the record, I didn't get burnt. 
It was an enjoyable weekend. A little extraordinary. And there were moments I really had to pinch myself and say, "Is this real? Is this really where I'm at now?" But the answer was always, "yes!" albeit in a somewhat dazed and wondering tone. To be where I'm at is strange & amazing. Never did I imagine this is where God would lead me. But I'm glad He has. Even though it was a long road here, I wouldn't change one step of the journey.