About paladinipotpie

Welcome! My name is Andrena Paladini and this is a blog about family and love and faith and fun. I call it Paladini Potpie because a potpie is like an adventure in a crust. You never know what might come up, but it’s always going to be good! Think of the best potpie you’ve ever eaten…hot flaky crust holding a rich savory sauce and all kinds of pieces of meat and vegetables…and who knows what? As a family, we’ve chosen to live within the parameters of God’s love and protection. This is the crust of our Paladini Potpie. The crust never changes. Within this crust, the savory sauce of family love binds it all together. That is also fairly constant. But beyond the crust and the sauce we can add just about anything! Good ideas come our way and we’ve adopted and adapted them to add to what John calls our treasure box of memories. These stories and ideas from John’s treasure box of memories are the ingredients I’m putting into our Paladini Potpie. (Okay, so this ridiculous mixing of metaphors about treasure boxes and potpies is exactly what I’m talking about. Silly and ungrammatically correct. But both illustrations work… so we’ll mix them together and it’ll be just fine!) John and I have been married for 30 years. Our children have wonderfully doubled in number since David married Amanda, Monica married Dan, and Matthew married Sarah. And the newest little treats that have been added to our potpie are six adorable grandchildren - Ethan, Angelina, Nathan, Audrey, Maleia and Caleb! I hope you’ll subscribe to my Paladini Potpie blog, and keep up with all the fun new ingredients I add. Hopefully you’ll enjoy our stories and ideas, and find something you’ll want to put into your own potpie! Bon appétit!

49 Lessons from Football

Whether you rooted for the Rams or the Patriots, these lessons will guarantee a win!

Marriage Feast

Catching a PassIf you know a little bit about football, you can learn a few lessons about having a winning season in your marriage. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
1. Make a plan and practice, practice, practice.
2. Pray before you set foot on the field.
3. The clock is ticking and time is limited. Use it wisely.
4. The opposition is over there. You don’t tackle your own team mate.
5. Huddle. Put your arms around each other. Use mouthwash.
6. Everybody fumbles once in a while.
7. God is your head coach. He calls the plays. Trust him.
8. Don’t be offensive.
9. Don’t get defensive.
10. Always use your mouth guard. It is mandatory.
11. Unnecessary roughness will get you a penalty.
12. Keep your end in view.
13. Kiss the arm…the shoulder…the neck… the lips.Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Franciso 49ers
14. Let the Holy Spirit referee.
15. Use your right guard.

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Eat an Apple Every Day

The alarm goes off at 4:45 A.M. but we’re usually not ready to leap out of bed. Then after a snooze or two manage to get to our feet. I click on the coffee pot, and we stumble around…brushing teeth…“How did you sleep?”… giving the fish a pinch of breakfast…

bibleThen, coffee in hand, John and I have about an hour and a half of what we call QT – quiet time. In separate rooms we each center ourselves and plan our day. We read our bibles and other edifying things. We pray and think (and sometimes snooze).

It has always been our morning routine, and it has always been precious time. At 6:30 we sit down to breakfast together and talk about the coming day.

But for the last few months John’s QT has been sidetracked by the force of “Physical Therapy”. He still spends some time in his chair and in his bible, but a solid hour of his precious QT has been gobbled up by an exercise regimen. Groan.  Razzle frazzle….

About five months ago John hurt his back, and we were sure he was headed for back surgery again. We spent our 31st anniversary sitting in our grandpa and grandma chairs, wondering if this was how we would spend our so-called golden years.old

When we got married we vowed “…for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part…” So the rocking chairs would not be a bad option.

We both like to read, and we like to talk, and I guess we could learn to like to rock.

We would be content to be together, but we don’t want to see each other hurting, and neither of us would choose to burden the other with the life of a caretaker.gregory-gopman-stretch

The doctor said surgery was certainly an option, but he suggested that John first try physical therapy. To be honest, I was a little irritated. I wanted a more immediate fix.

So cane in hand, John limped off to talk to the physical therapist. The exercises seemed like nothing. Nothing! A waste of time. John admitted that he really didn’t feel like anything was happening when he did them. There was no pain (from the exercises) so how could there be any gain? How could a few little squats and stretches mend a broken back?

I worried. I did not want my husband to be hurting, and I did not want to be the wife of a disabled man.

Every day, to some extent, John lamented the loss of those lost morning minutes he used to spend in his chair, in his bible. But then we began to notice that the insignificant  little stretches and crunches were doing their job. Muscle tone and strength began to return.

John is almost “back on his game” now. He is again able to play tennis every Friday afternoon with his longtime tennis buddies. He is walking without a limp and without a cane.

stelprdb5402290He is still a way from where he was 6 months ago, but we are both hopeful that we might still climb Mount Whitney again, instead of being relegated to our rocking chairs.

I am so thankful that my husband opted for something higher. Even though the exercise didn’t seem to be doing anything, he was faithful. He kept his eyes on what was unseen but promised.

Faithfulness, even when there were no immediate visible results.

This all has reminded me to take care of myself for John’s sake as well as my own. We are one. It goes for both of us and as John said in a previous blog post, “The secret to success is encouraging one another as we face these changes together.”

fujiAlmost every morning now, as we sit down to breakfast one or the other of us starts a little duet: “Button up your overcoat when the wind is free. Take good care of yourself, you belong to me! Eat an apple every day. Get to bed by three. Take good care of yourself, you belong to me!

Christmas Companion

A postscript by Andee, John’s Christmas Companion: Yesterday as we I began decorating our house for Christmas I thought of this blog John wrote last year. Again we were engaged in separate tasks – he was putting up lights and I was unpacking decorations, and cleaning dusty corners I don’t usually notice. It was a lot of work, but every once in a while we just stopped and smiled at each other. The work was lightened by Christmas music, and everything Christmas means; but mostly it was lightened because we were together, and actively thankful to God for each other – “the threefold cord that is not quickly broken.”

Marriage Feast

We hardly saw each other all day long, but we were together. It was the Saturday before Christmas, and our house was about to become the converging point for sixteen family members – most of them from out of town. Grocery CartJust the previous day we had hit all the stores for last minute items. We successfully filled a shopping cart with enough food to feed an army and test the shocks on our Toyota. Today’s lists were different. Today I had yards to clean, windows to wash, tile to scrub and furniture to haul to the garage. Couple Working TogetherAndee’s list consisted of food to cook, cards to write, bedding to prepare, and a refrigerator to clean and organize. Today was not one of those days a couple walks hand in hand on a beach. But our hands were busy. Today we went our separate ways to accomplish our shared goal. Some days…

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Leanin’

Joe Jr.“Hey, Luce, was he leanin’?” Joey Fusco was the son of the superintendent at Lucy Moderatz’s apartment building. He was always watching to see how close Lucy was getting to guys. Or how close they were getting to her.

While You Were Sleeping“Was he leanin’?” It became a family joke after we watched “While You Were Sleeping” as our daughter, Monica, moved into her dating years.

To lean means “To bend or slant away from the vertical.” – to relax and not be so rigid, proper, and perfectly aligned.

Leanin'John and I have a place in our kitchen where we do a lot of leanin’. We stand and talk and lean. We lean against the sink, and we lean toward each other. More than once, I remember Monica walking in and looking at us and saying (in her best Joey Fusco voice), “Hey! You guys leanin’?”

 Sometimes you have to bend or slant away from the vertical. And relax.

leaninWe always say there’s probably a groove worn in the kitchen floor, where our feet stand at that place we lean against the sink.  If you added together all the minutes we’ve stood there, it would probably be more than 100 hours.  

What do we talk about? This and that. Everything. Anything.

As Billy Joel put it, “I don’t want clever conversation. I never want to work that hard. I just want someone that I can talk to. I want you just the way you are.”

Sometimes we just talk about our day, or family stuff or jokes or a cool bible verse we came across. Sometimes we talk about what we’re reading, or something we heard on the radio, or what’s in the news.

Sometimes more than other times, we bend away from the vertical…both physically and emotionally.

These are the times we call M.I.M. – Mouth In Motion.

I might be overwhelmed with some problem that I can’t clearly sort out for myself, so as we lean against the sink I’ll start talking. I’ll usually begin with a disclaimer – “This is just M.I.M.”  Translation: “I’m just going to say everything in my mind, sort of dump it out on the proverbial table in a big pile. Don’t take it too seriously…well, yes, take it seriously, but don’t hold me to it.”

Totally honest talk to a non-judgmental, listening ear.

So I talk – mouth in motion – I dump it all out in a haphazard heap, and John helps me pick up each piece, shake it out and see if it’s real, or where it fits into reality.  He helps me bring order into the issue, and reminds me to get rid of whatever is not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable — and if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, to think about such things.  He reminds me to toss out the garbage thoughts. He helps me make sense of the problem, and maybe figure out a solution. Or he promises to pray with me as I go through whatever it is.

And it works both ways. John has the M.I.M. and I help him sort it out.

I’m not talking about interpersonal issues between the two of us. That would be another blog.  John touched on it here.

M.I.M. – “Mouth in Motion” – Obviously we can’t go around venting, and pouring out our every thought to everyone we know.  The bible has plenty to say about guarding our tongue and choosing our words carefully.  But when a man and woman are married, God says the two have become one. If there is anyone in the world with whom we can be completely transparent and spontaneous it must be our spouse – our other half. (If you are reading this and you’re not married, ask the Lord if there are one or two people in your life who are very close, true friends, and give each other M.I.M. permission. I actually learned M.I.M. from my room-mate, Barbie, before John and I were married.)

The bottom line is that it will help you keep your sanity and think clearly if you have …someone that you can talk to…someone good at leanin’. Jack and Lucy

Special thanks to my wife Andee for contributing this post. I so appreciate her help and insight. If you’d like to read more, check out her blog, Paladini PotPie.

No Napkins

You’ve seen the famous picture. A golden candelabra stands on a long table draped with a white tablecloth. Fine china settings and crystal goblets line each side, and seem to run forever to a vanishing point over Jerusalem. Beyond the exquisite table and carved chairs, lay the dawn of a brand new day. Countless artists have attempted to capture the picture-perfect Marriage Feast.

We’ve all been to weddings. I am always amazed at the creativity and expense people go to for nuances of symbolism. They work to exhaustion so that everything will be perfect. The bride wearing a white dress arrives in a carriage drawn by a white horse. Two doves are released. A unity candle is lit.

Ministers carefully craft wedding ceremonies, in the hope that a better description of marriage will help young couples have better marriages. Eager grooms and starry-eyed brides invite family and friends to witness as they make promises, only to find out later that they didn’t have a clue what they were promising.

Marriage Feast in Heaven I’ve noticed there is something conspicuously missing in the famous painting of the Marriage Feast (besides the food, of course). It seems they forgot to include napkins. An oversight? I hardly think so. One of the things that will make heaven, heaven is that we won’t need napkins. In heaven we will all be perfect. No spills, no reaching for the butter and having your elbow hit a glass of milk.  No nice cabernet all over the tablecloth and on your spouse’s lap. No exclamations coming out of your mouth before you realize it.

Someday everything will be perfect…in heaven. In the meantime, husbands and wives are two imperfect people making a life in an imperfect world; two people in need of grace. Grace is unearned and undeserved favor that God gives to us. Life and marriage will be more like heaven as we learn to give grace to one another.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 1:7