Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Stretching the Truth

I went shopping with my daughter who shall remain unnamed (but who just happens to have the same initials as me), and she talked me into buying a pair of TOMS (or maybe I just decided to buy them without her encouragement—anyway, she was with me).  Now for those of you who don’t know, TOMS are little canvas shoes that look like this:


Cute, huh? 

I thought TOMS would be a great addition to my wardrobe because I really don’t like to wear shoes at all—I am a flip flop girl—and TOMS seemed like a more socially acceptable winter-appropriate option.  But here’s the deal with TOMS: you must buy them a little small because they stretch to fit your foot—being canvas and all. For most TOMS wearers, this is probably a minor inconvenience—wear them a day or so to stretch them, and wala! they feel like a second skin.  But for me, it proved to be a contest in endurance.  You see, my right foot is a full size larger than my left, and normally, this doesn’t present a problem; I just buy the shoes to fit the bigger foot.  So after I tried on several different size TOMS…and after the sales guy said they should be pretty snug…and after my daughter told me that I didn’t want them to be too big so I should get them to fit the smaller foot…I settled on a very small-looking ash gray pair in a size 8. 

Even before I exited the mall, I was walking unnaturally because though my left foot was happily swaddled, my right foot was not able to extend fully, and I felt like my big toe might make a hole where the cute little crease started in the front.  But since the salesman assured me they would stretch, I kept on walking, and wincing, my way through the day.  That was Saturday.  I forced myself to wear them until I went to bed that night even though I was beginning to have shooting nerve pain up the back of my leg because of the pressure on my heel. 

He said they would stretch.

Enter Sunday.  Ok, so I thought these teeny tiny shoes were so cute that I decided to wear them to church…because I figured the more I wore them, the more they would stretch…and then they would be perfect.  So, after putting a band-aid on the developing blister on my heel, I stuffed my feet into them hoping not to bust them open.  They seemed just as tight—maybe tighter?—than on Saturday, but doggone-it, he said they would stretch, so, walking in little choppy steps, I made my painful way into church where I got to sit during the service—but I didn’t take my shoes off because I was stretching them.  After the service, I taught Sunday school and tried to stand especially still while talking about Jael pounding the tent peg through Sisera’s skull (great upbeat lessons lately, huh?), and even though pain was coursing through my feet, I forced myself to keep the shoes on. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate when your toes are jammed together in a bunch and your foot cannot fully flatten?  It gave a me a real heart for the old Chinese women whose feet were bound tightly.  It was said they did this because Chinese men liked dainty feet.  Well, I’m not Chinese, and I wasn’t feeling very dainty at that moment, and Brent doesn’t really have a thing for tiny feet, but I thought that suffering must be part of the process, so I was going to hang in there, dang it! He said they would stretch!!!! I even had a party at my house that night, and after figuring out how to walk more naturally by striking my heel down first, I convinced myself that they were finally stretching. I would have cute comfy shoes by morning!

Monday.  On Monday, the shoes still seemed a little lot tight, but I thought maybe my feet were a little swollen because I had forced myself to wear my TOMS all weekend…because He said they would stretch.  And, upon forcing them on gently over my band-aided heel and across the big toe that was developing an ingrown toenail, I decided that this would be my last day of experimentation.  If, by tomorrow, the blasted shoes did not feel amazing, I would return them for a larger size.  Mostly I just stayed home Monday, but I will let you know, I made myself wear the shoes because I did not want them to win.  I was in charge here.  And no matter how socially conscious the stupid TOMS were, they WERE GOING TO GET BIGGER!

Tuesday.  Feeling cheated and wanting to try just one more day to stretch my TOMS, I gingerly worked them onto my damaged feet trying not to rip my band-aids off in the process. But most of the morning, I just felt depressed and unmotivated because my feet hurt so badly.  I wished I could just sleep—with the shoes on of course—to escape, but I had things I had to get done—things which required me to be on my feet—so I came up with the genius idea of wearing thick socks with my TOMS to quicken the stretching process.  Now, here’s the deal:  If you are wearing shoes about two sizes too small and you put on a thick pair of socks underneath these shoes, they will feel even tighter. I finally had to admit that my TOMS were probably too small.  Ya think?

So, after deciding that most people who buy TOMS probably don’t go through the same initiation trial that I had endured, I gave up the fight and called the store to ask if I could return my TOMS for a bigger size.  They said yes.  And so I did.  And I made sure to tell them I gave the whole stretching thing a pretty heroic effort.

Guess what?  I am wearing my new TOMS right now and they are not making me crabby.  I have no pain in either foot.  I have almost forgotten about ancient foot binding.  I have been productive and cheerful.  And they really didn’t stretch all that much.

And best of all, I can walk normally because my shoes are the right size. Imagine that.

What a concept.

Moral of the story:  Sometimes the little sales guys that help you with your shoes are really just there to make a buck and you probably should just buy shoes that feel good right away.


Monday, November 12, 2012

‘member that time?

Member that time that my daughter convinced me to wash my hair first with baking soda and then vinegar instead of shampoo because she said it would give my hair a natural wave?  And member how I’ve always wanted thick, wavy hair and I even wrote about it once here and another time here?  Member that?

And member how I was super paranoid that the baking soda and vinegar would mix and cause a great explosion, and that my head would blow up all over my shower? 

Well, I’m still doing it, and I’m still rinsing really well between the two because losing my head would be way worse than fine, straight hair; don’t ya think?

Check out the formerly fat-lipped Paige, creator and mastermind of ‘member that time’ at!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hand Over the Wheel

My friends, fellow bloggers Joy and Mandy, have a pretty nifty parenting blog they call 18 Short Years, filled with everything you need to know to raise perfect kids…well, almost everything

Check out my post today on Tween Talk Thursday (

And get ready to Hand Over the Wheel.

You’ll be glad you did!


See you there!

Monday, November 5, 2012

‘Member that time?

Member that time when I got a little brown diary from my sister for Christmas and how I felt like I had to write in it every night?  Even when I didn’t want to?  Member that? 

And member after like the first two weeks, I just started writing “Did stuff” on every page because I was too lazy to think of the things I accomplished that day? 

Yeah, well mid-January until December of that year is pretty dull, according to my diary, but it looks like lots of Stuff got done.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Last week’s lowdown

It’s been awhile since I posted on my blog because my normal life has gotten in the way.  Here’s what’s been going on at the Haverkamps:

Last week Monday, I decided it was high time I get my lazy self out on the road again after taking a few days off of running (since I ran the Des Moines half marathon the previous Sunday), and so after donning my brand new race shirt and some stretchy capris, I went out for a run and came home frozen.  Last Monday morning it was 30 degrees.  And 30 degrees is really cold when you are only wearing 2 layers of polyester. I ran really fast so I could get home and take a hot shower which I couldn’t even stand in until I warmed up because I felt like it was burning my skin off. 

Last week Tuesday, we had some guys come and install more insulation in our attic so we could keep our house toasty warm this winter.  And it probably would be toasty warm now if they hadn’t stepped through the dry wall when they were tromping through  my attic like a herd of Rhinoceroses.  So now I have a huge hole in my ceiling letting all the warm air out and all the dust and paint and ceiling pieces in and it is all very messy.  I don’t like messes.  Have I ever told you that?  Messes make me very unhappy—especially when they occur right before my connection group arrives.

Last week Wednesday was a very sad day for me because it was Halloween and I had no trick or treaters.  Not only did I have no trick or treaters, no one even came to our house for trick or treating and I had to make Shay hide the candy so I wouldn’t eat it.  And not only did I have no trick or treaters and no trick or treaters came to my house, my neighborhood did not take our 12-years-running annual picture of all the kids dressed up, because lots of the kids have grown up and moved away and the rest think they are too old for such childishness. It was all very depressing. But on a positive note, on that same depressing Wednesday, I did get to visit some of those children who have moved away when we saw Luke and Tess in Iowa City. As we arrived at Tess’ dorm room, I noticed that she had 4 pineapples in her kitchen.  So I said, “Hey, what’s the deal with the pineapples?”  And she said that since they were only $.99, she and her roommate, Dakota, had decided to buy several.  And, she added, they were planning to go back tomorrow and buy 4 more…each…because 4 is the amount that fits in each of their backpacks and that is important when you ride a bike to the grocery store.  So, when I talked to Tess yesterday, she said that at that moment, she and Dakota had 12 pineapples in their kitchen, waiting to be cut up and frozen for smoothies—green smoothies to be exact—which you can read about here.  

Last week Thursday, I started boot camp again—which I love.  Thursday was a good day and I even got a 20 minute nap.

Last week Friday, I decided to be super healthy and make black bean burgers for supper, but I had a moment of panic when the bean-slop stuck to my fingers and the pan, but eventually, after throwing out the first 3 burgers, I was able to produce something remotely akin to a black bean burger, and we ate them on buns with avocado and tomatoes and spicy mustard and Brent pretended that they were good.  

Last week Saturday, I had to plan a Sunday school lesson about Ehud who stabbed a very fat king, Eglon, whose fat engulfed the sword and whose intestines burst from the attack; not a super easy, nor child-friendly lesson, while my children both knitted scarves and watched The Sound of Music in the background.

And that brings us to today.  Today, Shay woke up with her forehead swollen so much that her eye was swollen shut, so I rushed her to the emergency room, where they told us it was cellulitis and gave us drugs—which she took and continues to take because she still looks slightly misshapen with the whole creepy eye thing and all, and then we got ourselves together and went to church where she was embarrassed and swollen, and I where I taught about the fat king. 

And there’s everything you didn’t really want to know about life on the ranch, with more pity-producing details than you could ever hope for. 

But I’m still OK.

And God is still good.

And next week is bound to be spectacular, don’t you think?


This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24