Friday, December 31, 2010's here. And it's gonna be good.

I don't know that I've ever entered into a new year with such a feeling of...expectation. Hopeful expectation...but with more of a knowledge that it is going to be good. 

For many of the past years I've entered into each new year with the hope that it would be better. But it was a pretty generic hope. An unsure hope. And as I hoped on the outside and looked pretty convincing...on the inside, I was more of a wince. I entered into each new year with shoulders shrugged and holding my arms over my head at the ready to fend off anything hurling it's way toward me.

That was then. This is now. And I honestly believe that 2011 is going to be good. And that the excitement that I feel...the real. It's from deep inside. It's like it's coming straight from God's heart to mine...a direct shot of goodness and hope...from the Father.

And you know what else is really cool about all of this? The expectancy...the goodness...the hope? Many of YOU are feeling it, too. It's like it's in the air...or the water. 2011 isn't about hoping with a wince. It's not about going in ducking and dodging, afraid of what's to come. It's about going in with chins up...shoulders back...and sleeves rolled up, ready to get in there and make things happen. It's about an unshakable hope...the gift of hope from God...and knowing that He is good. And that He has good things in store for us. And that we need to be open...and ready to receive from Him, in whatever form it may come to us, in 2011.

Happy New Year...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I went for a drive on Sunday afternoon...

 It was cold and rainy on Sunday...but I was really wanting to take my camera out and snap some photos. It'd been too camera bag was dusty...I couldn't find my cable to upload photos...all signs that it had been far too long since I'd taken pictures just for the heck of it.

I loaded up my camera bag...grabbed my Starbuck's gift card...and hit the road. That's me over there to the the Starbuck's drive-thru. Can you see me? Waiting ever so patiently for that non-fat latte? Oh yeah...and extra hot. It was delicious...the perfect accompaniment to my rainy day drive in the country. An Artist's Date if you will...

Coffee in hand, wipers going and radio on, I headed down the road. I drove out to a popular hiking spot just outside of town...but the inspiration just wasn't there. I wandered around and took a few shots...but ended up back in the car in search of something...else.

I decided to drive to one of my favorite country roads in my area. It's only a couple miles outside of town but it seems much further away. It's a bit steep...and quite narrow in several spots. And maybe a teensy bit dangerous to drive alone...on a rainy and slippery day. (Or any day, really) But...I have 4WD...and I called Chris to let him know where he could find me should I not be home in a reasonable amount of time. Just in case...

The views are incredible. Sitting here in my tiny little corner of the world I forget sometimes that there's a great big beautiful world around me. 

I'm a sucker for tree tunnels.

I was gone for a little over an hour. And took almost a hundred photos. Gotta love digital, eh?  I kept a few...and deleted quite a few more. And decided I needed to work on my exposure.

I also decided that an Artist's Date is in order a little more often...

Art is a collaboration between God and the artist,
and the less the artist does the better. ~André Gide

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday in the Word

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Some of you may notice that this scripture has been in my sidebar for...ever. This scripture was given to me at a women's retreat about 3 years ago and has become one of my "life verses". It's the scripture that got me started in gardening more seriously and learning about food preservation. It's the verse that gave me the courage to get some chickens for the backyard and enlightened me to the idea of living a simpler that is less dependent and a bit more self-sustaining.

With the New Year around the corner and my list of goals, both short and long term, swimming around in my head, this scripture came to mind. I was reminded to "lead a quiet life"...I was reminded "to mind your own business and to work with your hands". The words are a reminder to make my goals with God's will in mind...His will for my life and the life of my family.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


In just a few short days we will leave 2010 and enter into 2011. Some of us are breathing huge sighs of relief at the thought. A new year...a new start...time for new resolutions and new opportunities. A clean slate. New, new, new.

But if you think about it...January 1 is just another day, really. On December 31 it will just be tomorrow...right? January will just be yesterday. But still...the New Year always brings with it hope.

I admit, I don't make resolutions. I stopped a while back. They always made me eat more...smoke more...or completely avoid whatever I resolved to DO. So I stopped.

But just recently I started to set small goals for myself. Like this winter for instance...I told myself I wanted to learn to bake bread and make a patchwork quilt over the winter. Two small goals that I have wanted to achieve for quite some time. So...I decided that this winter is the time. (And now that the holidays are over, I better get down to business, eh?)

I realized a while back that setting small goals for myself is what works best for me. This realization started with The Girls. I did a ton of research on chicken keeping...I stalked web sites, I borrowed books from the library...I read and read and read. And then one day, I realized I was ready to take on some backyard chickens.

The summer before that one I decided to teach myself how to can. I made jam and dilly beans and peaches and pickles. And it worked! And it all tasted great...except for the pickles. I've yet to find the recipe. But I will...I know it.

The summer before that one I decided that I was going to plant a garden. So I did. I planted cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini. And it all grew beautifully. It was a success. And because of that I've had the courage to plant a garden each summer since.

What's the big deal, you ask? all boils down to perfection. For me anyway. I have a tendency to avoid things because I can't do them perfectly. There are so many things I want to do...but I have often talked myself out of one thing or another (quilting...) because I'm afraid it won't turn out right. Or more accurately, perfect. So...if I can't do it perfectly, I won't do it at all. If I can't plan and plant the perfect Victory Garden or Cottage Garden worthy of a photo shoot...then I won't plant anything at all. If I can't make a perfectly pieced and color coordinated quilt...then I won't make one at all. And so on and so name it, I'll give you the reason why I wasn't able to give it a shot.

Until recently....

Looking over the past couple of years and the things that I've learned to do I've realized that even if it can't be done perfectly, it is still worth doing. And maybe the process is just as important, if not more, than the finished product. I have stopped trying to achieve my self, in my home, in my endeavors. I strive for a job well done...yes. I do my best... But I don't expect it, whatever it is, to be perfect. I expect bumps along the way...I expect challenges...and in the end, I expect to have learned something in the process.

So if my pickles aren't perfectly spiced...or my quilt pieces aren't perfectly lined up at the corners...or if my bread falls flat and comes out of the oven looking more like a cracker...I will try again. I will learn from mistakes and what would appear to be a failure...and I will try again. I won't give up. I won't quit.

Not anymore, anyway.

Hmmm...sounds like maybe I just might have made a resolution...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas...

beautiful flickr favorites...
 Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Pretty exciting, isn't it? Although not as exciting as when I was a little girl. Oh my goodness...what great memories I have of Christmas Eves and Christmas mornings. Do you ever wonder if you're really remembering something...or if you are just saw a photo of it and only think you are remembering? Weird..

When I was little we always spent Christmas Eve with my dad's family and Christmas Day with my mom's. Two whole days of CHRISTMAS. It was great...

I remember...
peanut butter on celery...
Cheez Whiz...
the smell of onions and cigarette smoke...
Vodka Gimlets (for the grown ups, of course)...
new pj's on Christmas Eve...
waiting and waiting and waiting for Santa and watching for him in the sky on the way home from my grandparent's house. I think I saw him once!
a new blue bike with rainbow tape and a denim seat...the coolest...
passing out the wrong gifts to the grandmothers...
my first 8" plant on a groovy wood and tile stand from Santa...I felt so grown...
Bonne Bell lip smackers in my stocking...the big fat ones! in strawberry or bubble gum...
a wood and wool sheep given to me by my uncle...from a Neiman window display in San Francisco...

There's more...lots and lots more....for another time.

Christmas was always wonderful in our house when I was growing up. I'm thankful...

Merry Christmas...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday in the Word

the church we attend...established over
100 years ago.

* * * * *
Revelation 22:6

[ John and the Angel ] The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true.
The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the
things that must soon take place.”

I have been thinking about inspiration lately. Mainly because I have none. I haven't taken pictures in months. Oh sure, I've taken a few here and there...but nothing to write home about. And I've realizeds lately that this writing...relies on my photos for inspiration. I take pictures...I find a few to share with you...and then a story evolves.

But...when there are no seems there are no words. No inspiration.

Last night I was looking through some favorites at flickr. (for hours it seemed...) And I began to feel inspired.

I realized how badly I've missed my camera...and words. How much I've missed finding the beauty in the everyday. I've been praying...asking for direction...for clarity...and for inspiration. But it's still quiet around my heart...and in my soul. Quiet. And still. Still.

The theme, it seems, is wait. Wait. And be still.

I'm doing my best to enjoy this time, this process. Patience is a I don't feel that I have. But...according to God's word, if I have the Holy Spirit then I have His gifts. And one of those gifts is...patience. It's in me...I just need to exercise it. Dig it out from beneath the hustle and the bustle and the noise that is constantly clanging in my mind. The noise of the "shoulds"...the expectations of others...the opinions of others...what they think I should do with my life...noise.

In the meantime...I'm going to dust off my camera and see what I see. Maybe it will lead to something...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmastime is near...

I can't believe we are 5 days away from Christmas 2010. I also can't believe I am pretty much ready! I've got most of my shopping done...most of my wrapping done...and have all of the supplies to do some holiday baking and candy making!

The boys made sugar cookies this afternoon...good thing they like to bake! I am not a big fan of baking. I'm not sure why, really. Precise measurements? Big messes? I don't know. It's just not my preference. BUT, my boys like to there ya go! Sugar cookies are currently being iced in blue...and eaten!

We got our tree last Monday...finally! It's a beautiful little 4-foot tree that fits on the end table perfectly. It's just the right size for our little house. Not to mention it was so easy to put the lights on...bonus!

And for the next few days our house will be full of lovely messes...baking supplies and baked goods, wrapping paper, lists that I'm checking twice (and three times if they're not careful!)...and lots of pretty presents under the tree! Typically, Christmas makes me grumpy every's usually over the financial aspect. But once I get going I really do enjoy it. I love the lights...and I love to give gifts...and I love being with family. Oh...and I love eating cookies!

I better go wrap a few more gifts...

Are you ready for Christmas? What's left on your to-do list?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday in the Word

photo by shaun o'boyle

Proverbs 8:34
Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.

* * *

Still waiting.
Sometimes not so patiently.
Sometimes with doubt.
Sometimes with frustration. And impatience.
Sometimes with tears.
But still waiting nonetheless.
And trusting.
Always trusting.

Friday, December 10, 2010


This is a random photo of my sons book shelf that has absolutely nothing to do with what I'm about to ramble on about. Because today has turned into a random day. I had a meeting scheduled for this morning that got cancelled....and suddenly I didn't know what to do with myself. I was already showered and dressed...the dishwasher was loaded and ready to run while I was was caught up and dinner was planned. For whatever reason it threw me completely off!

So instead I baked a batch of muffins. I found a recipe, decided to double it, decided to lessen the sugar and add oil and applesauce rather than butter, made a streusel, lessened the sugar...and now I have double the amount of mediocre muffins. I should have left the sugar amount alone...  This is probably one of the main reasons I haven't baked much in my life. But...I'm trying to change that. And I figure the more I do it, the better my experiments will get and eventually I will land on a recipe that is a keeper!

Luckily for me...muffins, no matter the amount of sugar, will always get eaten in this house.

Next on the agenda...the bank, the grocery store and a visit with my friend.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday in the Word.

Psalm 84:10-11

10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

I pray you are all living a blessed life this week.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

happy chickens.

 For the past several weeks, I've been letting The Girls out to free-range more. It makes them so happy. Is that anthropomorphising? Maybe they're not necessarily happy...but maybe more like content? Whatever it is they're "feeling", it is evident to me when I watch them scratch around the yard digging for bugs and stretching their wings.

Yesterday I let them out in the morning. They don't cause any trouble, but I still like to check on them now and then and make sure they're OK. Yesterday when I peeked out the back door to check on them I found them all lying down on their sides in a little spot of sunshine. The were laying there with their wings spread out in an attempt to soak up some warmth...and Vitamin D! I don't think Vitamin D is on their mind...they just do this naturally. (I didn't get a photo...had I gone out there they'd have come running to see what treats I was bringing them and it would have ruined their "moment". So I just watched from afar..)

Chickens are really funny to watch...and calming. They're so slow and calm and's relaxing to just sit and watch them do what they do. I watched them for a bit, sunning themselves, and it made me feel good that I am able to provide them a decent life. To see them "happy" made me happy. And the two eggs I harvested, in spite of this cold, cold weather, made me happy, too! (Still getting at least one egg a day...not bad!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I've been spending a lot of time at home lately. And I love it. Really. I love it so much. A few weeks ago I was spending a lot of time at home in preparation for the boutique. Then the next week was Thanksgiving and the boys were home on vacation so we spent a lot of time around the house. Now this week...I'm sick! (Not the best way to be home, but I'm home nonetheless. So I'm staying warm and cozy and comfy and using this time to peruse blogs and do some meal planning and online window shopping for Christmas.)

I love being at home. Did I already say that? I do. I believe it allows me to be more myself. When I'm home I feel like I'm doing what I was created to do...take care of my home and my family. And that feels good.

Being home so much lately has allowed me to slow down. And in slowing down I've been able to do more, it seems. I am planning meals, keeping the house a little tidier, catching up on laundry (you know...those sweaters and dress shirts and blankets that get left at the bottom of the hamper because they aren't immediately needed? Yeah, I washed those yesterday. Uh-huh.) and, dare I admit, baking. This came out of necessity yesterday...I had no lunch snacks and wasn't feeling well and doing my best to avoid the grocery store. (You know I'm sick if I avoid the grocery store...I like to shop for groceries. I know...) I had some frozen shredded zucchini and some frozen pumpkin puree and decided to turn it into muffins. I found a good recipe...made a few changes such as less sugar, applesauce rather than oil...and whipped up some yummy muffins last night. Baked goods = happy family.

Home. It's a good place to be.