Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they 
may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.Matthew 5:14, 16

Monday, July 28, 2014

over the weekend...

The Truckee River
On Friday afternoon Chris and I headed up to my aunt and uncle's cabin at Donner Lake. My parents are staying there to take care of their dog and enjoy life at their cabin for a couple of weeks so we took some time to go hang with them. We packed our bags, filled two big bowls with cat food for the cats (and locked them out!), overflowed the chicken feeder, made sure all living things had plenty of water, loaded the car and headed to the Sierras.

Once there I spent my time...
  • hanging with my hubby and my parents
  • thrifting 
  • relaxing
  • eating big breakfasts
  • people watching from the deck
  • cooking
  • using  my real camera
  • watching a lot of (very painful Giants) baseball
  • taking a drive around town and finding a cool area on the Truckee River
  • climbing out on a rock at said cool area that I wouldn't have climbed out on before my decision to be brave.
  • kayaking...for the first time (I didn't cry but I will admit, I was close a few times)
  • enjoying the beautiful was perfect.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

one week from today...

..I will be sitting at my desk, back at work, gearing up for this coming school year.

And I gotta tell ya, I have mixed feelings...

First of all, before you throw rotten fruit and veggies at me, you have to know I feel so blessed and so fortunate to have my job. I enjoy it. I feel like I'm pretty good at it. I work with great people. I love the student's. It's a great job, with lots of perks, one of them being a LOT of time OFF. I get weeks off during holidays, and weeks off during the can't beat that! I know it, and I'm grateful for it

The truth's hard going back after all those lovely weeks off! But I am reminded every summer as I slack and laze about that I need structure in my life. So, back to work it is!

This year will be a bit different...I'll be working 40 hours per week as opposed to 35. I am really glad about this as the extra money will be nice. But it will take a little adjusting...figuring out quicker and easier meal ideas, getting chummy with my crock pot, narrow down grocery shopping to once a week rather than stopping every time I need something, little things like that.

Basically, I just need to get more organized. (My life story!)

So...the countdown begins. Over the next week we've got a mini getaway planned, when we get back I'll be getting ready for Ian to return (YES! Oh my gosh, do I ever miss that boy!!), I need to go jeans shopping for myself and I might even try and squeeze in a massage. I've had a gift certificate waiting for me to use it for too long.

One week...gonna make it a good one.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

I have no idea who to give credit for this beautiful image.
I wish I did as I would love to purchase it...

Trust in the Lord. OK? Jeez. Just do it. It's easy. What's the hold up?

Huh! I wish it was that easy. I mean, I do trust God. And I know He always has my best interest at heart. I know He does.

What gets in the way of me trusting Him without any hesitation is knowing that God's ways are not my ways. He might take longer to answer a prayer than I think I can bare. Or He might say no...or wait, not yet.

Unfortunately, I'm not patient. And I want what I want when I want it. (What a brat, eh? Like Veruca Salt. Blech.) No. I'm not proud of this trait. I'm just being honest. Patience is not one of my virtues. I'm getting better. But it's something I have to work at.

And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone...  :)

But the truth should be simple because we can trust in the Lord. He is trustworthy...100%. He loves us and wants good things for us...just as we do for our own children. So when the answer is not now...or *gasp*'s a good reason.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I ditched the list.

I've written (many a time) about my love for lists. I have notepads and spiral notebooks and sticky notes galore. I love a list. I have pages and pages of them. And really, I need home, at work, in the car. My memory isn't what it once was so if I want to remember it? I need to write it down.

I mentioned at the beginning of my time off for summer break that I had written a list of things I wanted to get done before I went back to school. No. Scratch that. I didn't just want to get them done. I was demanding that I got them done.

Well this darn to-do list became the bane of my existence. Because of the list (albeit well intended, and much needed) I got stuck and ended up not doing a dang thing! Time was ticking by and I wasn't making any progress. I hadn't checked off one single thing as "done". And I gotta say, it was getting me down.

Finally, I decided to ditch the list. Yep. That's right. I ditched the list.

And would you believe that as soon as I ditched it I started getting stuff done? Yep. I sure did.

Did I get everything done? Nope. But I got the big ones done. And that makes me happy.

Not to mention...I still have a week and a half left. This summer break isn't over yet!

Monday, July 21, 2014

over the weekend...

We took Seth back to school and moved him into his cute little house on Saturday. We gave hugs and kisses and said our goodbyes and were about to hop in the car when it dawned on me we hadn't unpacked a pot or a pan. " are you going to cook any of this food we just bought you?" Cricket, cricket, cricket. Turns out he forgot that they were in storage...which he won't have access to for two weeks. Instead of hitting the road, we spent the next hour or so gathering a pot and a pan. Seeing as how he is the only one in his house for two weeks and seeing as how he doesn't have a car...this could have been bad!

Chris and I sulked a little on the drive home...missing Seth already and knowing that Ian wasn't at home either. But then we talked about all the good things the boys are doing, and how this is the way it's supposed to be, and I cried a little, and we argued about which radio station to listen to....ya know, the usual. Then we stopped for a big, fat messy burger. And we felt a little bit better. Extremely FULL. But better.

Yesterday it was just the two of us...we rested and watched movies. We puttered in the garden and harvested tomatoes, grapes, a(nother) giant zucchini and a cucumber. Chris made his killer salsa and we snacked on it with chips followed by a cluster of grapes to cool the heat of the jalapeno!

Overall, it was good. Bittersweet. But good. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday morning...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

it's that time again...

We're taking Seth back to college today. He's going to move into his rental and work full-time until school starts. He wants to save up some money. I'm so proud of him... But as always...I'm sad to see him go.

Ian's still gone with his friend n their summer adventure, he'll be home at the end of the month...I miss him like crazy. A month is a long time.

When we return tonight we will be "empty nester's" for a couple of weeks. Both of their rooms will be empty. This time Seth's room will not only be empty, but will also be torn apart as he took his bed and dresser with him.

As always, I'm so happy that my boys are growing and maturing and spreading their wings. But as always, I can't help but mourn my loss. So bittersweet, isn't it? It must be a mom thing, a parent thing, to be so happy for our kids and so proud of them...yet so sad, all at the same time...

{"My husband is awesome!!" <---- My husband wrote that. I stepped away from the computer for one minute and my husband decided he wanted to help me blog. I was hacked!}

But yes...he is awesome...thank goodness for his sense of humor and his ability to make me laugh. I think I'm gonna need it these next couple of weeks.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I made giardeneria the other day...

it sure is pretty...

I was having a hankering for cauliflower the other day. Specifically, pickled cauliflower. So I got it in my mind that I wanted to make a batch of homemade giardeneria.

I found a recipe, gathered the ingredients and went for it.

I chopped up cauliflower and peppers and carrots and celery and onions. I simmered vinegar and water and garlic and sugar and salt. I blanched the vegetables, some for longer than others. Then I stuffed it all in a big jar I got at my neighbor's yard sale and shoved it in the back of the fridge.

And then...I waited. I let it sit and marinate and pickle and soak up all that goodness for about 36 hours. Finally the time came to taste it. I was pretty stoked, really. Probably more than I should have been. But I do love giardeneria, I love most pickled things, really, so I was looking forward to seeing how it turned out.

I spooned up a small bowl and got to tasting...

And I gotta say...I was disappointed! Boo!

The carrots and cauliflower were "blanched" too long so they'd lost their crisp bite...especially the carrots. And sadly, those are one of my favorite ingredients!

On top of overcooked vegetables, the liquid was off. It was too sweet and too garlicky. And I only used three garlic cloves for the whole mixture. But they took over...and they weren't a good mix with the amount of sugar the recipe called for.

With each bite I hoped for a different outcome...but the fact was that I had missed the mark. In an effort to save all those vegetables, I sloshed in about another cup of white vinegar straight up, stirred it around and put it back in the fridge for another day. And it helped. The taste was better, for sure. But the overcooked veggies still remain.

Kind of a bummer, right?

Yeah...I think so, too.'s what I will do differently the next time...
  • Blanche the cauliflower for maybe a minute or two, not the 4 or 5 the recipe calls for.
  • Omit the garlic. Or maybe just simmer it in the vinegar but remove the cloves before adding the liquid to the jar.
  • LESS SUGAR. I realize it's necessary to cut some of the acidity, but I will scale way back next time. I want tart, vinegar-y pickles...not sweet-ish. Blech.
  • Definitely add pepperoncini peppers. I didn't have any and didn't want to go back to the store so I just left them out. I'm thinking they would have helped the pickly factor.
And just now, out of curiosity, since I was actually craving cauliflower I decided to look up it's nutritional value. Would you believe one cup of cauliflower contains 77% of your daily Vitamin C? Go figure! My body is still trying to tell me something...

Thursday, July 17, 2014


homebodyNoun., A person who enjoys the warmth 
and simple pleasures of being at home.

Yep. That's me. A homebody. I enjoy being at home. Especially when it's quiet. 

Sometimes it can be a challenge to make myself get out and do things. Because sometimes I'd just rather be home...being quiet...writing...puttering in the kitchen...soaking in solitude. 

I really don't think that I get lonely. I don't mind being alone. 

Some people don't like to be alone. I get that. But I'm not one of them.

There's a difference between being alone and being lonely. And I like alone time. I need it, really. I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing. It's just the way it is, just the way I am. 

I think I'm OK with being alone at times because most of the time I'm not. I'm at work all day with coworkers and students. Then I'm home in the evenings and on weekends with my family...(although that is getting to be less and less as the boys grow and mature and spread their wings. But honestly, I'm OK with that, too. It's what they're supposed to do.) 

I also make time to be with friends...going to lunch or meeting for coffee or running errands together. My days and hours are full much of the time. 

So when I have a chance for quiet and solitude...I soak it up. 

And I am grateful for it. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

When I'm off of work I like to watch, what I call, my "church shows" in the morning. The first one, Life Today, is on at 7:30 am and then the next, Joyce Meyer, is at 8:00 am. It's an hour of God talk, testimony, encouragement and Truth. I miss this when I'm at work during the school year. I miss this since I'm not part of a church. I just miss spending time with God...

Now, some people don't like either one of these gals based on the sound of their voices. But if you can get past the voices and really hear the messages they share I'm sure you will be encouraged as much as I have over the years of listening to their messages. These two women, their messages and their books have been so instrumental in teaching me to battle depression and anxiety over the years through God's word, through prayer and through inner strength given to me by my trust in the Holy Spirit.

So...all of this to say...I watched my "church shows" this morning...and I gotta tell ya, Beth Moore spoke right to me. She spoke right to my heart, right to my situation, right to that empty spot in my heart that I've known is there but haven't really been able to pinpoint when she asked...

"Have you lost ground in your faith?"

It was like an arrow straight to the brought tears to my eyes. And I just closed my eyes and whispered, "Yes."

Yes. I have lost ground. A lot of it. And it makes me sad. 

There was a time when my faith was so strong...when my prayer life was rich and consistent and intimate. 

And I've lost that. 

We stopped going to our "home church" of almost 10 years about five years ago. It was rough. It was heartbreaking. But it was also time. 

We then attended a small church for a year after that. But once we left that little church (for similar reasons we had to leave our first church) we just haven't been able to find a church where we belong. We visited several churches...and enjoyed the music and the messages and the environment. But none of them said, "This is it." So...we've not been to church for almost four years now.

Over time we've gotten out of the habit of attending church. And over time, I became OK with that. And honestly, I'm still not sure how I feel about going back to church. Some days I really feel like we need to find the place that we belong. But other days...I'm content with not going. 

But am I really content? 

Honestly, I know that not being in church on a regular basis has affected my spiritual life greatly. I still love God, more than I can say. I still believe in the power of prayer and the power of worship. I do. I love God. And I seek His guidance every single day. But what I'm missing is the intimacy. I'm missing my morning quiet time with God, in prayer, reading His word and gearing up for my day with Him at the forefront.

I'm missing that. And I can feel it.

"Have you lost ground in your faith?"

Yes. I have. And now it's time to make my way take back the ground that I once had. It's time to fight those feelings of contentment...of laziness...of fear...and gain back the spiritual ground I fought so hard to gain in the first place. It was a long, hard battle to get where I am in my spiritual life. I went from hopeless to hopeful. It took years, but I did it. To me, that is a complete miracle. And I could not have done it without God. I don't write of the depths of my depression here...but if you ask me, I will tell you, I was deep, deep in that pit. And I'm not anymore. All thanks and glory to God. It is a miracle, plain and simple.

I want to encourage you (if you're still here...I got a little chatty this morning...we can blame the coffee! ;) to watch Beth Moore's video this morning. It's about 17 minutes long, and hit me square between the eyes at about minute 12. 

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you 
to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion 
does not come from the one who calls you. 
-Galatians 5:7-8

Have you lost ground in your faith? Don't lose hope...keep running the race. Fight the good fight. God has so much more planned for us...if we will only have the courage to seek Him and live out our purpose. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

the post in which I figure out why I have no motivation...

I wrote this last week and then chickened out about posting it. I mentioned it in passing in a recent post and said to myself, "If anyone mentions it, I will post it." Well, someone here it is. 

My motivation is at ZERO. I made all these lists and I have yet to do anything on them. I'm doing the day to day stuff, of course. But other than that? Not much.

Is it because of the heat? Or because it's "that time of the month"? Am I a little depressed?

I'm thinking all of the above.

It took me a few days (and the act of writing this post...always interesting to see what comes out when I sit down to write) to realize that a little bit of depression has taken hold. Sometimes it sneaks up on me like that. In the past I would feel it coming and I would just brace myself and hope for the best. But as I've gotten better at recognizing it's impending arrival (and battling it off like a champ, I might add) it seems it has gotten a little sneakier.

So every now and then I realize that something just isn't right...and that's when it's time to recognize that depression has set in without warning. And rather than giving in to it I recognize it, and begin the process of getting through it.

After I recognize it, I tell someone about it, usually my husband. I have found that the simple act of saying, "I'm feeling a little depressed lately." instantly makes the depression lose its power over me. It's no longer a secret, and in my experience, that's where the depression held its power over the secrecy, the shame and embarrassment. So now I call it out.

The next step is to take some time to think about what's causing it. Where did it come from? Did something specific happen? Is there something going on that I'm not dealing with?

It's also important during this time to be gentle with myself...move slow, get enough rest (but not too much, gotta get out of that bed!), stay calm. And put the to-do lists aside for now. I mean, stay productive, you don't want to sloth around. That definitely doesn't help the situation. But I don't put extra expectations on myself. Right now the main goal is to clear my head and to keep myself from slipping into the pit.

Have you heard of "the pit"? I spent way too much time in the pit, I'm sad to say. But then I read a book that changed how I handle depression... Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore. Pretty sure I've recommended it before. But it's so good I will recommend it again. If you deal with depression I highly recommend it. It was without a doubt one of the most effective tools in helping me understand depression and helping me learn how to fight it effectively.

It doesn't mean that it doesn't still show up now and does. But now I'm better equipped to fight it.
The good thing in all of this? Depression doesn't stay around as long as it once did. And I thank God for that...

(Did you notice I say "deal with" and not "suffer from" depression? VERY important...I deal with depression head on. I don't suffer from it...that would imply that I am a victim and I'm not. And neither are you.)

* * * * * with all posts I write about depression or anxiety I feel the need to include a disclaimer:

Sharing this stuff is scary. And makes me feel extremely vulnerable...especially when I share while IN it. But I believe that God has a plan...and that there is a reason for everything...including His allowing me to deal with depression and anxiety. And for me the reason is always to draw me closer to Him, it's "the thorn in my side", if you will. And also to share with others that it is possible to get through it without medication but rather with prayer and leaning into God. So because God has allowed this, and because He brings me through it every single time, it is my responsibility to share it with you. The battle. The struggle. The process. The deliverance. The healing. The victory. 

All that being said...there is no need to worry about me. Yes, I am battling depression today. But to be honest, I battle it every day, it seems that it is always lurking to some degree. It's just that some days are better or worse than others. That's all. And like always...I will get through it...God will make sure of it. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

goodness over the weekend...

Santa Rosa plums from our friends backyard...juicy and delicious.

The weekend was good. Long and quiet.

On Saturday morning our dear friends stopped by unexpectedly to drop off a basket of their homegrown plums. They were so, so good. It made my day and reminded me that we definitely need to plant a Santa Rosa plum tree in our own backyard!

The peaches are finally ready at our local peach orchard so I took a country drive to pick some up. I've been waiting for a bowl of fresh peaches and cream since last summer! I finally got to enjoy some Sunday morning...they were worth the wait.

We had marinated flank steak last night...I made a loose variation of this marinade. And I gotta say, it was deeee-licious. That along with a pasta salad made for a nice dinner for two. But I sure do miss my boys being at the table with's hard, isn't it?

But even still, life is good, even in the hard times. 

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday morning...

Or the cacophony of your own thoughts?

Trying to quiet my mind...

And if you know me, my mind is about as easy to "quiet" as I am. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

it's Saturday...which really doesn't mean much when you're off for the summer but...

gathering eggs can be a bit messy sometimes...kinda like life...
It's Saturday...and I'm showered and fed and getting ready to head to the store for a few things.

The internet was down for a few days so the blog was a bit neglected. I tried to update from my tablet but that proved to be a bit more challenging than I thought it would be.

I did write a post earlier in the week about depression but then chickened out and didn't post it.

I got my hair done yesterday...color, highlights, cut...yes, it was time to wash that gray right out of my hair. Yikes!

Some friends of ours stopped by this afternoon with a gift...a basket full of Santa Rosa plums from their backyard. They made my morning...and the plums are delicious! I think the gift of homegrown food is so special. (Thank you, Jeff and Jill!)

And on that note...we really need to plant a Santa Rosa plum, stat.

I'm missing my boy a lot. We all are. He's boating and jet skiing and paddle boating and having a great time...but I sure do  miss his sweet face and funny antics...can't wait for him to be HOME.

Just a reminder that I keep it real around here, I don't just write about the pretty, fluffy stuff. I write about life; the good, the bad and the's important for me to keep it real. This works for some, and not for others. And I'm OK with that. Some may think it's not good to "put it all out there"...but I guess I figure why not? Writing is therapeutic as it turns out, and for some, knowing that others are in the same boat that they are is helpful. So...honest it is.

Suppose I better get a move on, those errands aren't gonna run themselves.

Enjoy your Saturday...xo

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Monday, July 7, 2014

craving good food.

These beauties are from the farmer's market.
I need to grow more varieties next summer.

I have been craving good food lately...greens and beets and tomatoes and onions and mushrooms and beef and fresh fruit and cheese. Especially greens. I can't seem to get enough of them.

Admittedly, my diet hasn't been the healthiest lately. Especially while working full days, I eat too much fast food at lunch and then get lazy about dinner because I'm worn out from work and eat too much fast food then. And if not fast, something quick and easy and...processed.

So when I start craving good food, and when nothing else will satisfy, I know that there is a reason for body needs nutrients.

If you listen, your body will tell you exactly what it needs.

When my body needs Iron I begin to crave oatmeal and greens and whole wheat quesadillas with mushrooms, spinach and onion. I am always a bit deficient in Iron, apparently.  I learned this when, for the third time, I was unable to give blood because it was Iron deficient. So when I need it, my body tells me, loud and clear.

Lately I've been craving onions, greens (like crazy!), mushrooms and beets. I am drawn to them at the farmer's market. I can't stop thinking about garden fresh tomatoes. I am making sure I have a big Costco sized bag of broccoli florets on hand at all times so I can steam it, stir-fry it or mix it up into a tasty salad. I've had a mixed green salad for lunch and dinner for the past few days. And do you ever get those slaw kits at the grocery store? I especially like the Asian kit and make it often, making sure to add extra cabbage.

Because I was craving such specific foods I decided to see what nutritional quality each of them contained, and do you know that everything I've been craving contains Vitamin C? Here I was thinking that my body needed Iron (and I'm sure it did, it always does), but apparently it also needed Vitamin C.

I mean, of course, our bodies always need all of this good stuff. But when we don't eat well, our bodies need it even more, crave it in my case (and probably yours, too), and won't be satisfied with anything else.

Do you ever notice that? You're hungry, and you want something, you just can't quite put your finger on it. So you eat whatever is convenient, or fast and you walk (or drive) away feeling unsatisfied. Full, maybe. But unsatisfied.

I hate that feeling.

(I just had a thought...I didn't include it specifically, but I'm going to add something to my manifesto...listen to my body. Feed it what it asks me to feed it...within reason, of course. I'll have to be careful because I'm pretty sure my body thinks that ice cream is a balanced meal. We'll have to work on that...)

Here's a list of foods rich in Vitamin C as well as all the reasons our body needs it. Scroll down for the complete list.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure there will be times when my body will tell me that I need a bacon cheeseburger, or a yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting. And I will listen then, too. What? Those are good foods, too. Maybe just not good for you. Ahem.

I like to think of it as balance. Or as my grandparent's said...all things in moderation. (And they lived into their 90's so they must have done something right!)


Sunday, July 6, 2014

summer reading list.

I mentioned wanting to do some reading this summer. And I mentioned thinking I needed to run out and buy something interesting to read. But I also mentioned that I had plenty of unread reading material in my possession so buying something new was not only not necessary, but silly.

I decided to shop my book shelves for interesting reads for this summer...this is the stack I came up with...

bird by bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott - I have started this book  a half dozen times but haven't ever read it to the end. I'm thinking it might have something to do with what Steven Pressfield had to say when interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. I don't make it a habit to watch Super Soul Sunday (and quite frankly, I think the name is just stupid) but when another show ended and I happened to catch the beginning of what this guy had to say my interest was piqued. He talked about creativity, and resistance, and why we have such a hard time fulfilling our creative calling. I don't necessarily agree with the delivery of his philosophy, and wasn't appreciative of his wishy-washy "spirituality". But the main idea was spot on. It got me thinking. So with all of that being said, my goal is to actually finish bird by bird...and we'll see if it sinks in this time.

The Old Farmer's Almanac - This little booklet is just always on the reading list. I ask for it in my stocking every Christmas, and it makes me happy, but I have yet to actually read it cover to cover. Who knows? I might learn something!

One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp - This book was all the rage a few years back. Everyone was reading it and going on and on about how great it was. So naturally, not wanting to jump on anyone's bandwagon, I resisted. But then...but then one day a dear friend sent it to me as a gift...and was I ever glad that she did. (I really need to get a handle on this rebellion of really works against me most times.) We began to read it together...making notes in the margins, placing sticky note after sticky note with arrows and exclamation points and "Amen's" plastered here and there...then having a discussion vie email. Unfortunately, I didn't finish reading this book either. I think it had something to do with where I was at spiritually (which wasn't the best place, if I'm honest, and I am) so I just sort of let myself drift further away from the book and eventually it landed on the bottom of the book pile. But I never stopped thinking about it...which in spiritual terms (for me, anyway) means that I really need to read it and let it soak in.

The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson - I purchased this book several weeks ago. I stopped in to the Christian book store to purchase a small gift for a coworker. And I couldn't help but check out the sale table. I had never heard of the book nor the author. But the subtitle intrigued me. And the price was right. So I bought it. I'm thinking it's gonna be helpful and enlightening.

Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson - I bought this book a LONG time ago. And I can't remember why. I don't know if I'd read about it or heard about it or what. But a major book seller was going out of business here in town and I found it sitting all alone on a shelf marked way down. So I bought it. And now, I need to read it.

The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison - This is another one of those books that was so popular a while back. I stumbled across an excerpt from it one day and just knew that I had to read the whole book. I found it on sale during one of my periodic trips to the book store and snatched it up. I haven't even cracked the spine. Yet. It's gonna get read this summer. And as has been recommended, I will keep a lot of tissue handy.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver - Definitely one of my all-time favorite books EVER. It was life-changing. Yes, I've already read it. But it is SO worth a second (or a third or a fourth) read. And I can't wait to dig in again.

The Honey Prescription by Nathaniel Altman - this was a (very thoughtful) gift from my mom for my birthday. She knows how intrigued I am with bees and honey and that when I'm not feeling well I like to try something natural before resorting to a pill. (I'm pretty sure I got this from her...she wasn't one to just instantly give us a pill or run right to the doctor for any little ailment...thank goodness.) There's a little bit about it here....I am really looking forward to reading this one!

Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge - This was another sale table find at the Christian book store. The title caught my attention as I feel like that is what I have been doing over the past several years. God didn't create us to be like everyone else. He created us to be unique, ourselves. He created us for a purpose and has a divine plan for our lives. But I think for many of us circumstances, bad choices, unhealthy relationships have turned us into a warped version of what God had in mind when He knit us together in our mothers' wombs. I'm thinking this book might be a piece of the puzzle that helps me find my way back to God's original plan for my life. I'm hoping so, anyway.

* * *

Honestly, this list is pretty ambitious of me as I am not a big reader. I don't have a book going at all times and if I do have a book going but it turns out I don't care for it, I stop reading it. I don't read for the sake of reading.

I do read blogs. And magazine articles. But it's rare for me to finish a book cover to cover. I'm more of a skimmer. Call it ADD. Call it commitment issues. Or maybe it's my visual learning style. Whatever it is, I just don't read a ton. I am also a picky reader. It has to be really interesting or contain really helpful info for me to read it from start to finish. So we'll see how I do with this list...I'll keep you posted!

Sunday morning...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

in the garden.

The garden harvest is starting to take off. We've been getting zucchini for a couple of weeks now and have enjoyed it fried, sauteed and grilled. It's always good. 

The tomatoes have finally begun to ripen...I can't believe how badly I've been craving them! The cherry tomatoes ripen first and are wonderful to snack on while watering. It's the main reason I plant cherry tomatoes! Chris will be turning these guys into salsa soon...can't wait! (I already added the cherry tomatoes to good with thinly sliced red onion and a simple vinaigrette.)

The green beans came from out of day there were a few flowers and the next there were long, plump green beans. There aren't a whole lot of them ready at the same time...which tells me I really need to plant more bean plants each year as it's one of our favorite vegetables. But there are enough to steam with a bit of zucchini for a nice side dish.

And that cucumber? I fear it may be the only one we get. I planted two plants and they're doing OK. Tons of flowers, but not tons of cukes. So we shall see. The cucumbers and zucchini I planted from seed aren't doing that great...not sure what I am doing wrong in the seed planting department? The beans did great. (But when don't they? If a kindergartner can grow them in a Dixie cup with wet paper towel, I certainly should be able to grow them in some decent soil.) So I dunno...probably just didn't give them an early or strong enough start. I'll try again next year.

We have only harvested two little peppers so far...they're not doing great. But I'm holding out hope. I feel like peppers do that every year...sort of slog along, not in any hurry, then all of a sudden have a growth spurt and start producing like crazy. So let's hope for that. We need them for Chris' salsa!

I never get tired of a garden. It's amazing. And I just know that if we just sat in the garden for a day we could actually watch bean tendrils grow and twist around their supports and watch the red deepen on the tomatoes and watch those green beans grow longer and longer. And don't get me started on the zucchini! You'd probably only have to sit for an hour or so to witness a zuke grow from perfect size to crazy big. I love's miraculous. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

these summer mornings...

For as much as I complain about summer, I gotta tell ya, these past few mornings have been...glorious. Cool, breezy and slow...that's a good combo for some good moments.

I've been waking naturally (or with the help of a cat who hasn't caught on that I don't have to get up quite so early!), sipping coffee and watching my "church shows", taking time to gaze out the back door at the chickens scratching and pecking at the ground.

I've been wandering around in the garden while it's still cool outside, in pajamas and flip flops...checking to see what's going on with what...and why exactly are the tomatoes losing flowers like that? Hmmm....I'll have to Google that...

I've been writing a you may have noticed. Sometimes I question whether or not I should publish certain posts that I write here...too boring, too mundane, too whiny, too repetitive...but then I post anyway, for me. For my own recollection.

Honestly, I'm not even sure how many people read these words (well, I know one person does as she comments often! Hi, D!) and sometimes that makes me question whether or not I should write least here. Maybe I should just keep a journal instead...and not worry about who reads it...or not.

But then something keeps drawing me here...something keeps me sharing the mundane, the daily, the real...whether it's for one person, or a hundred.

I'm learning that I love to write. Blogging has been an enlightening process for me. And it's gone hand in hand with photography. I take photos documenting daily life...then share them here...and write a little about it (or a lot if I've had too much coffee)...and sometimes, before I know it, I've worked something out in my head. I've processed something that's been on my the question that's been in the back of my mind for a while now..."should I continue to blog?"

And the conclusion I've come to is...yes. I think I should. Because it's good for me. And hopefully, somewhere along the way, it's good for you, too.

And please, feel free to leave a comment...let me know you're out there...I'd love to hear from you...xo

happy accidents.

So the peach jam I made the other day was a bust. It never set. But I didn't want to waste it so I had the idea to give it a second chance by boiling it down and adding apple peels (natural pectin) to see if it wouldn't thicken up to a nice consistency for jam.

Well. It didn't. It was just as runny as when I started.

Determined to not let the gift of delicious peaches go to waste I gave the mixture a crack at a new ice cream topping. Yes I did. I scooped two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream into a bowl and topped it with some of the peach jam that refused to gel. And oh my goodness, was it ever go-oo-ood. Imagine peaches and cream on steroids.

I'm thinking this was definitely a happy accident.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

the summer manifesto...making fun and interesting things a priority, too

A friend of mine put the whole idea of a manifesto perfectly when I fretted over the have-to's vs. the want-to's...this is how she put it , "It is not that I am not going to do those things - I will and do. It is about making the other things a priority too!" Yes. You nailed it, girlfriend.

So, that being said, here are some of the things I'm going to make a priority during my summer the midst of life and the have-to's...
  • breathe deep
  • drink plenty of water
  • move my body
  • sit up straight
  • eat lots of fresh peaches
  • embrace the warmth of summer
  • read books (can you sense that other list coming?)
  • make gnocchi
  • use my camera
  • eat lots of greens
  • use my rotary cutter 
  • sew a t-shirt skirt (or 2, or 5 if it works out!)
  • make freezer jam
  • transplant the succulents 
  • send hand-written notes
  • meet a friend halfway
  • plant seeds for a winter garden

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

apparently I'm incapable of making just one list.

"Get a grip already." -Minnie

So I sat down to write my summer manifesto. (Doesn't it sound so romantic?) But as I'm writing this romantic manifesto of the wonderful things I want to do to fill my glorious summer days, somehow it turns into a to-do list...of all the chores and things I don't really want to do but that I really need to do.

So I go with it, begrudgingly. I keep writing...except for that now I'm also categorizing my do, should do, want to. And suddenly the to-do's are shadowing the want-to's...and I can feel myself getting tense.

In my mind I begin telling myself, "Now Michelle, these to-do's are ALL the things you MUST get done before you do one single fun thing this summer."  Work now. Play later.

Then I get sad. And mad. And I sulk. And I set the list aside. And now the wind is gone from my sails. And I grumble about why do I even have time off in the summer anyway if I'm just gonna work, work, work the whole time.

Then I get a grip. And I bargain with myself, "OK Michelle, how about this? Each day you MUST do one chore on your to-do list before doing ANYTHING fun AT ALL."

I chew on this proposition a while. And think to myself that it's not a bad's a good compromise...but still something just isn't sitting right with me about the whole thing. I'm frustrated. And I'm pretty sure that's not what a manifesto is supposed to be about anyway. I'm pretty sure a manifesto is a list of the things you're going to do instead of chores and the daily grind to ensure that you have a pleasant summer vacation and don't let that time go to waste not having done anything enjoyable. Am I right?

But eventually, all this crazy making comes to a halt when I stop and take a look at the list. And really weigh out how long each to-do will take vs. how long each want-to will take. And really, the to-do's aren't really going to take all that much time. Honestly, I'm spending more time thinking about it and fighting it and arguing with myself about it and making list after list after list than it would take to just do the thang! I could be done with at least one of my big to-do's by now had I not spent so much time obsessing over what activity should be on what list and in what stinkin' order.

(This is how my mind works, folks. Are you exhausted yet? too.)

Good gravy, please tell me I'm not the only one that makes life so hard for themselves? I'm a mess! Do you have this inner dialogue? Do you make life hard for yourself? This is ridiculous!

Only I can take something that is supposed to be nice and fun and inspiring and turn it into drudgery and frustration. It's a wonder I get anything done at all...

OK. Deep breath. Shoulders back. Head up.

Now...back to those lists...they're gonna get written if it kills me...even if it's the only thing I actually DO this summer!

I'll keep you posted...