Thursday, October 20, 2016

make the soup

It is a beautiful Thursday afternoon.  The sun is bright as fluffy clouds hustle through a cerulean sky.  It felt luxurious to sleep late this morning as there is no school today or tomorrow.  I slept late then lingered over my Bible a little longer.  Even the coffee tastes better when it is enjoyed slowly.

As I practiced yoga this morning I had to laugh at my Charlie dog.  He always thinks I'm doing the downward facing dog just for him.  He likes to be right under me/beside me/contacting me.  While I try to be patient with him and nurture the balance that yoga brings there are sometimes that I just can't play along with his clinginess.  Like today, I placed him up on the couch where he could be near but also out of the way.

Here is his face as he watched me, half on the couch, half on the coffee table that was pushed up close to the couch.  Then you'll notice his face when we were reunited and his heart was whole again.

Today for lunch I heated up some soup that I had made myself yesterday.  It is soooo good, especially when the weather is chilly and the trees drip with leftover raindrops.

Here is the recipe:

Chickpea Stew

1/2 of an onion, chopped
1/2 of a bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced

Brown these in a saucepan in a tablespoon of butter or a swirl of olive oil.

1 small diced tomato
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 T. chopped fresh basil (or dry is ok too)
a sprinkle of oregano or Italian herbs
a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 T. tomato paste
1 c. chicken broth or water

Let simmer for 15 minutes and enjoy.  This makes two hearty servings.

I served mine with a scoop of leftover rice yesterday but it is fine without it as well.

The other day as I walked outside to grab an armload of firewood (it's fireplace season!!) I spotted a bird on the cherry tree.  We don't get many of these here in our neighborhood as they prefer the country life a bit more but there on the trunk of the tree was a Pileated Woodpecker.  These are impressive birds with their large bodies, long beaks, and bright red heads.

He was patient as I slowly stepped closer and closer.  Never once did I see fear in his body which was a surprise to me.  Instead, he studied me as I studied him.  He seemed thoughtful, curious, and at ease.  As I got closer I was able to see his red cap and noticed that when he lifted his head taller the red feathers also stood taller.  I thanked him for his time and turned back toward the house.

I have a confession to make.  I'm a nail-biter.  I've been a nail biter since I was little.  I've only ever once been to a nail salon and had a French manicure after a season of kicking the habit and letting my nails grow.   Stress and anxiety pull me back into the habit time and time again (maybe there should be support groups for this kind of thing).  I've never been interested in fake nails but always desire to have pretty, painted, well manicured nails.  It's been a few months now and my nails are pretty amazing if I'm being honest.

I took these pictures because this was day FIVE after painting them and the polish was holding up like a champ despite hand washing dishes, cleaning a chicken coop, and wielding an axe.  Amazing!

This is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Gunmetal.  The accent nail is Pure Ice in Beware.

My nail care regimen is pretty simple.
  • Starting with clean nails I file them smooth with a metal file.
  • Then use a filing block to buff and polish them. 
  • I massage cuticle oil into the nail and cuticle then use a rubbery type cuticle pusher thing (that makes sense, right?) to gently push my cuticles back a little. 
  • I trim off any dead skin or hangnails then wipe any oil remnants from the nail.
  • Then I paint, usually two coats.

I love gel polishes for their ease of application and longer life.  And obviously Sally Hansen makes a long wearing polish as well.  FIVE days!!

Thursday is calling now and I must return.  Make the soup, paint your nails, and think of me. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Dear Self,

It is easy to be plagued with doubts and fears.  There is so much corruption prevalent in humanity.  Sometimes living just hurts.

But never, ever forget the amazing things there are to be thankful for.  Always remember the beautiful gift that life is.  Your every heartbeat has been ordered by God and He breathes the very air into your lungs.

So dearest Self, ruminate with me, if you will.  Let's remember together the ways in which we are grateful.

1.  What small thing happened today that you are grateful for?

This morning I prayed.  This in itself is an amazing gift, that I'm able to commune with the Creator of....well...everything.  I was praying rather specifically, asking for some clarity in a particular area, wisdom to know how to move forward, if at all.  Separately, I prayed that I would be able to serve Him with the very life and salvation that He gifted to me.  Then I opened my Bible to read and God gave me this verse, my prayer:

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust.  Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.  Psalm 143:8

In that moment it felt like God was reading my prayer back to me, acknowledging and affirming my words.

2.  What memory are you grateful for?

Sometimes I bring to recollection moments of time when my boys were small, when their little, warm bodies sat in my lap while I read book after book to them, when I would bury my nose into their hair and inhale life and purpose.  I picture their chubby hands gripping hard onto a toy car or gripping my hand as we walked.  Now, when my little boys are big boys, when we are navigating hard life decisions, when my mothering heart aches with the change, I'm ever so very thankful for the memories that come to mind, the memories that will always be mine.

3.  What about your grandparents makes you grateful?

Three of my four grandparents passed away before I could know them.  I've always felt a little like an orphaned granddaughter without their presence.  I've never had a grandma that baked with me or gave me those big warm grandma hugs.

But Grandpa Neil gave me great memories.  He smoked a pipe and drove El Camino's.  He was a classy, well dressed kind of guy.  He was always smiling a kind of mischievous grin.  He did marry a woman named Irene late in life and their love story was a beautiful one about meeting as kids and being reunited again after long full lives apart.  It always warmed my heart.  I loved my grandpa.

Although I never knew the others, I do feel quite close with my grandmother just because of the stories my own mother has painted of her.  She was a beautiful woman that loved the Lord.  She was warm and open and loved to serve people.  She was a hostess that loved to cook and open her home to guests.  I'm jealous that my sister got all of her good genes.

These people that went before, the ones born and raised in an era I can only read about, the ones that grew up, fell in love, and raised families, it is to them that I am grateful, grateful for the choices they made and the history that they wrote that led to me.  You are but ghosts in my memory but your lives are palpable in my heart.

4.  What is something your spouse has done that you are grateful for?

There is no way that I could accurately depict the depth of gratitude I have for my husband.  I'm grateful for who he is at his very core and also for who I am because of him.  I'm grateful for the every day of his life that he commits to being married to me.  But on a simple level, something he has done most recently:  I'm thankful that when we sit down to watch The Lord of The Rings, he gets up from his cozy spot to track down my glasses, not because I asked but only because he wants me to be able to see clearly.  That is love.  And I am grateful.

5.  What is something about yourself that you are grateful for?

There are many aspects of my personality that I would change if I could.  I'd be more bold, I'd be more confident, I'd be comfortable in social situations.  But I also thank God for making me just how I am, because He doesn't make mistakes.  And because He doesn't make mistakes, I'm thankful for my quiet soul, for my sensitive heart, my awareness of people.  I'm grateful for my body's ability to carry me through yoga.  I'm grateful for my abilities, however humble, to play instruments and sing.  I'm thankful for my capacity to live and love and see beauty.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

the things that make a life

The sky was clear blue this morning as the sun rose on a fiery orange horizon.  Frost flirted here and there, landing mostly on roofs around the neighborhood. The beets and carrots have been harvested and I've relinquished the garden to the hens.  There may be a few more bright yellow summer squash over the next week and those are safe because the chickens don't like them.

It's been a wee bit since I blogged last.  Last month I was able to go to the Northwest Baptist Ladies' Conference in Puyallup.  This is always, always a huge blessing to my heart and this year was no different.  It was amazing spending time with my "sisters" from church.

One evening last month both of the boys were gone doing something, I can't recall now what, so Aaron and I were on our own.  We took ourselves out to a new restaurant in town (great atmosphere, delicious food, tiny portions, and steep prices).  The presentation of the food was beautiful and every self-respecting blogger takes pictures of their food at a restaurant, don't they?
Over the weekend was Homecoming.  Aaron and I went to the game together.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love that?  I love sitting in the energy of the home town crowd and hearing the band play the Star Spangled Banner.  The Homecoming game is extra special because the NJROTC Sword Guard and Armed Drill Team get involved at halftime to crown the King and Queen.  And I wax nostalgic because 20 years ago, wearing a borrowed dress and with my dad standing next to me, I was crowned Homecoming Queen.  Sigh.

Austin and Elena went to the dance together.  But first, they had a candlelit dinner at our house catered by yours truly.  The menu:  grilled filet mignon, oven roasted potatoes, asparagus, and brownies (cut into heart shapes by Dad).  It was pretty epic.  My favorite part was before she arrived, he waited at the front window with an umbrella in hand so he could meet her at her car and walk her in.  Ever-lovin' sweetness right there.

Waiting for his girl...


Candlelit dinner...

Putting on her corsage...

I love this kid...

Pinning on his boutonniere at her house (yours truly reflected in the window)...

That face...


I'm telling ya, this kid has enough personality for the both of us...
Sisters and their dates...



Did you know I have a lot of opinions about current events and politics?  Well I do and I often write things in my head regarding these topics but they NEVER make it to my blog.  Sometimes I think it is just a waste of time to even bother over any of it.  There are facts (which we cannot change) and there are opinions (which are wide and varied and ever changing).  So it seems we ought to accept the facts as what they are, throw out the opinions as what they are, and move forward.

I will not dwell on fear, or gossip, or scandals.  I choose instead to see the good (there is good).  Mr. Rogers always said to look for the heroes and that is applicable now.  If you can't find a hero, look up.  The author of the Universe knows this story well and he's got us in the shadow of his wing.  And turn off the poison that is the media.  Instead, dwell on those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of a good report.  If there is virtue, if there is praise, think on these things.  (Philippians 4:8)

Finally, if you  are overwhelmed by bad news and despair - make a difference.

Be the good.

Be the change.

Be the hero.

Moving on...


I made this Autumn inspired Chex Mix.  Super yummy and super easy to throw together.

Mix together:
4 c. Cinnamon Chex
4 c. Vanilla Chex
1 1/2 c. candy corn
2 c. chopped mini candy bars (Hershey's assortment)

Lay out on a couple cookie sheets and drizzle with:
2 c. melted chocolate chips mixed with 2 T. cooking oil

Cool.  Break apart into chunks.  Serve.

If I had it to do all over again I would add 1 1/2 c. peanuts.  And maybe pretzels.  It needs a touch of salty to counteract all that sweet.  And I don't like candy corn so maybe Reese's Pieces would add that same pop of Autumn color without being gross?


My boy came home from school on Monday looking like this!  Be still my heart.  I snapped a quick picture through the front window much to his excitement.

My every morning looks like this.  Journal, Bible, coffee, blanket, Charlie.  It's a pretty great set-up we have.

These verses stood out to me yesterday and today:

Keep me as the apple of thine eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.  Psalm 17:8

For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. Psalm 18:28


Take care, my friends.