Tuesday, June 30, 2009


"Experiences with God aren't limited to church altars. Many experiences aren't connected to Jesus. I've encountered God's grace in the most surprising places. Sitting around a campfire and watching the stars. Standing on a beach as a storm rolled in. Having my friends gather at my house during a tragedy. A letter of encouragement arriving on a day I've decided to quit. God delights in taking such common experiences and filling them with his presence. The more I have experienced this love, the more I am persuaded that God extends such grace to every person, not just me...

"Trusting our experiences with God will always change us...

"...we are all children of God longing for a grace we find far too rarely...

"What has been your experience with God?"
--from the book, "If Grace Is True" by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland

Have I mentioned how much I love this book? I think tonight, for my ten things I am thankful for, I'll be listing ten experiences I have had with God that have shaped my relationship and my faith. I'll need the day to ponder... So check back tonight! (And I'd love for you to tell me one or two of yours, too! We learn so much from each other's faith journeys...)

Oh! And check out my give-a-way - be sure to comment by Thursday night to be entered in the drawing!

Sorry about the wait on my ten things... Internet issues last night. So here they are, ten times I have experienced God's grace - and am eternally grateful for:

1. Jamaica. High school mission trip. We went for a walk after dark, and came to the top of a large ravine. It was a cloudy night, so dark you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. All of a sudden - light. And lots of it. Fireflies FILLED the ravine! Miles of fireflies gathered together - a once in a lifetime sight. Magical Grace.

2. Family vacation at a friend's cabin. It's nighttime, the family is inside the cabin. I decide to go for a late-night swim. I jump in the lake and swim as hard and far as I can go, then turn and float on my back. The night sky is clear and full of stars, dragonflies and herons are flying overhead, the only sound is the water rippling around me, and my heart is pounding! I felt so ALIVE! A beautiful moment to feel life-giving Grace.

3. Chicago. College service trip. I spent a night training to do street evangelism in a rough neighborhood of Chicago. Unsure of myself, and scared of this experience, I partnered up with a friend. After an hour or so of walking the streets and briefly chatting with a few people, we decide to stop in the 7-Eleven for some hot cocoa. It's a cold late-October night, and outside the store is a homeless man, obviously fighting the chill. We get him some hot cocoa as well. When we bring it to him, he is stunned. Stunned that two college kids saw him. Stunned that we would think to bring him some hot cocoa. Stunned that we would sit next to him. Stunned that we would listen to his story. I learned a lesson in truly "seeing" people that night, of taking the time to stop and listen - and what a difference that can make in a life. God taught me a lesson in Grace that day.

4. Starting a new job in youth ministy. The kids loved their former youth director, and I'm thinking I will never win over their trust... A rough few days and I'm wondering if I made the right choice to take this job... I have an emotional breakdown in the car on the way home. I check my email that evening - and have received 2 notes from former youth group kids, from another church - both emails were testimonies to how much I meant to them and their faith. Both asking for advice as they were making their first big "adult" decisions... Both thanking me for my presence in their lives. Encouraging Grace.

5. Sister Rita and Sister Angie. My hubby's aunts. It's always rough getting to know a new family - especially the someday in-laws. When I was first getting to know the hubby's family, it took a long time to feel somewhat accepted... But the first moment I met Sister Rita and Sister Angie (both nuns) - I felt accepted and loved. They were kind and gracious from the very first moment. Accepting Grace.

6. My grandma was dying of cancer. I spent many hours with her in the hospital in her final week. One day, she had been sleeping most of the day away - but she woke up, looked at me and said, "I'm not afraid of dying, ya know. I love God, and God loves me, and I know everything is going to be ok." I spent the next night with her, holding her had all night long... and the next morning she passed away. Grandma is a gift of reassuring Grace everyday.

7. During the course of my cancer scare, I felt the grace of many people. When my congregation found out about my serious diagnosis, they surrounded me with prayer - literally. Our little, reserved, Methodist congregation got up out of their seats and surrounded me during a "laying on of hands" prayer. There were tears, hugs, sniffles, and hand squeezes. It was a moment of stepping outside of our comfort zones (me, being the center of this attention, the congregation being open to such a different prayer experience) - and experiencing the healing and loving Grace of God.

8. Rainbows, butterflies, goldfinches, and big band music... Reminders of my grandparents - always let me know they are still watching over me. A reminder of the unconditional love of my grandparents, a reflection of God's love. Unconditional and eternal Grace.

9. In a time when I was going through some sadnesses of my own, my best friend was experiencing the joy of having her first child. When she and her husband asked if the hubby and I would be their daughter's godparents - we were overjoyed! A gift of generosity on so many levels! A generous Grace.

10. My wedding day. I am so lucky to have found my best friend and married him. He knows me better than anyone - all my wonderful qualities, and also ALL my flaws! He puts up with my bad habits, my forgetfulness, my idiosyncracies... and he still loves me for me. Grace for who I am at this very moment - and forever. A beautiful reflection of God's grace...

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook - June 29th Edition and a GIVE-A-WAY

For Today...

Outside my window... it's overcast, breezy and chilly today!
I am thinking... I might be a hypochondriac... I've had a sore tooth for awhile - had it checked out in March... the dentist said he didn't see anything and to monitor it. I went back in today because it had been bothering me again. Still nothing! X-rays and an exam showed nothing! Good news - honest dentist, healthy teeth. Bad news - am I nuts?!
I am thankful... that the hubby and I have finally found a dentist we like and trust - we both used to be terrified of the dentist!
From the kitchen... I'm not sure yet... I'd like to grill out tonight - meat, veggies, fresh fruit... maybe a dessert? I'll let you know!
I am wearing... blue jeans and a lime green, short sleeve top... thinking I might need a sweater, too!
I am creating... a pillow! I sewed(!) the cover this weekend, hopefully I will finish it this week. This is a whole new endeavor for me!
I am going... to make some banana bread today. I just decided. Ha ha ha.
I am reading... "If Grace Is True" by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland, "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner, "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I'm doing "Reading the Bible, Cover to Cover in 90 Days." I really need to re-learn to focus on one at a time!
I am hoping... to see LOTS of fireworks this weekend! I LOVE the fourth of July!
I am hearing... construction equipment... still...
One of my favorite things... quote of the day calendars! Today's quote: "Every person's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers." --Hans Christian Anderson
A few plans for the rest of the week... meetings, book group, lunches with friends, youth activities, 4th of July fun!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...my first GIVE-A-WAY! It's nothing big, but since I like little reminders to enjoy the moment, enjoy the day, and be grateful - I thought I'd pass on a little reminder to one of you, too! This is a pretty little magnet. Leave a comment on this post with a way to contact you and I will have a winner randomly chosen on Friday morning!Visit the Simple Woman’s Daybook, for more women's answers to these questions!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. A cool day - nice to put on a sweater again...
2. A good workout!
3. Getting some reading in.
4. Grocery shopping with the hubby - always fun and entertaining!
5. New recipes - yum! (Burgers stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and bacon and another blackberry cobbler - Mmmmm.)
6. A nice walk tonight. And a nice walk last night.
7. A beautiful sunset.
8. Watching the show, "Here Come the Newlyweds."
9. The hubby saying that he likes that I'm learning to sew!
10. Meeting some nice people from our neighborhood last night - Kris, Chris and Boomer (the dog - so cute!).

Blog Awards

My friend, Beth, passed this Blog Award to me this week - so nice! Thank you, Beth! Beth has become a wonderful friend over the last year - we attend the same church, and have become fast friends through our church book group (aka the Snazzy Ladies!). We've shared laughs, frustrations, life stories, and sometimes tears... and we look forward to it every week! Beth has been on a wonderful journey of faith and self-discovery over the past year and you can read about it at Walk a Mile. Thanks for sharing your life with us, Beth!

All blog awards come with rules so here they are:

1) Grab the Award and link the person whom you got the award from.
2) Pass the award to different bloggers whom you think are deserving of this award.
3) Write a post about the award and there you’ll link the person who gave the award to you and those people who you’d like to pass the award.
4) Continue your passion in writing because your hard work will always be appreciated.

And now for those that I am passing the award onto... Drum roll, please!

Giraffe Dreams is written by my friend, Carol. She is also one of the "Snazzy Ladies" from our book group at church. She is full of energy, full of compassion, and full of giggles! Her blog is a wonderful representation of who she is - sharing her beautiful quilts and homemade toys, her love of her family, and her desire to make a difference in the world - all the while being real about the things she's working on in her own life and what or who she depends on to get her through.

The Early Family Life is a blog written by another friend, Melissa (yet, another "Snazzy Lady!). Her blogs focuses on the joys of family in the midst of challenges. Her strength, faith, and positive outlook on life is enough to inspire any of us in our daily lives. She's recently started listing her "smileys" almost everyday - so fun to read about the ways her kids and husband make her smile! You can't help but smile along with her.

Pause. One of the most uplifting, positive, and spiritually filling blogs I read! This blog is written by Rev. Sally Howell Johnson from Hennepin United Methodist Church in Minneapolis. I look forward to updates - and often use them as my daily devotions (or lunch time devotions)... They make me smile, they make me think, they make me recognize God in the little things.

The Little Collection is a blog written by Andrea, a new friend via the blogging world. Her blog makes me smile with beautiful quotes, wonderful insights, and the occasional goofiness that I love! A beautiful spirit!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


"Is it so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun, to have lived light in the spring, to have loved, to have thought, to have done?"
--Matthew Arnold

"Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it."
--Anne De Lenclos

Today, our worship service was held outside, in our town square area - so fun! A gorgeous day to be outside - sunny, warm (but not too warm), breezy. A beautiful morning!
Ok, maybe more than a little breezy - it was downright windy at times!
The crowd is gathering - a much bigger turnout than I anticipated! And a few visitors that checked us out while having their morning coffee at Caribou Coffee. Always nice to meet new neighbors!
Camille playing a lovely prelude on her flute. Carly jumped in to help when the wind gusted and threatened to blow away Camille's music! Thanks, Carly!
Pastor Penny sharing the message...
and involving the kids! She invited them up to participate in the sermon - lots of chuckles!
Getting creative in dealing with the wind! Clothes-pins were a life-saver today!
Our bell ladies - sounded lovely outside in the park! Thank you, ladies!

Such a nice way to spend the morning - nice weather, good friends, lemonade and coffee, and thanking God for the goodness in our lives!

I hope you all have a splendid Sunday!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. A beautiful morning!
2. Things went smoothly at the service.
3. We had visitors!
4. Coffee with Kelsey.
5. Iced chai tea.
6. Learning to sew!
7. Starting the book, "Eat, Pray, Love."
8. The hubby made it home safe from Milwaukee.
9. Finally starting to get tan...
10. One of my sister-in-laws gave us her old DVD player! We will be able to watch movies at home for the first time in a year!!! Woo-hoo!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

If Grace Is True

"The God I've experienced is the God of Jesus - a God of unlimited patience, infinite love, and eternal faithfulness. Jesus described a God who waits long through the night, with the light lit and the door open, confident his most defiant child will one day realize his love and turn toward home. Jesus revealed a God who loves the unlovable, touches the untouchable, and redeems those thought beyond redemption. He said, "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you" (John 15:9)...

"It was the God of Jesus that attracted us. The God who loves people more than formulas, mercy more than judgment, and pardon more than punishment. The God who seeks the lost, heals the brokenhearted, accepts the outcast, is kind to the wicked and ungrateful, is merciful and forgiving, and love the whole world...

"God stands at the door and knocks, and if we don't answer, he looks for an open window."
--from the book, "If Grace Is True" by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland

I LOVE this book. It speaks to my heart and my experiences with God. We're reading it for book group right now - and I'm expecting some interesting conversations from it - not everyone is going to agree with the basic idea that "God will save every person." But I hope it will open some doors - and windows - to ways of talking about, and experiencing our faith in new ways.

Happy Saturday!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Thunderstorms in the early morning hours!
2. Laughing at the dog trying to "go outdoors" when it's thundering - she was startled several times!
3. A yummy breakfast - check back on Wednesday to see what I had!
4. The movie, "Road to Perdition." It was on TV today while I was doing other things - I forgot what an interesting movie it was! (And there was a reference to Kankakee, IL - a town we used to live in!)
5. Fresh avocados.
6. "If Grace is True." I had a hard time putting it down at the place the book group agreed to
stop for the week...
7. Gift cards! Fun fun fun.
8. Gift cards + Clearance sales = even BETTER!
9. A cloudy, cool day and a sunny evening.
10. An upcoming series of give-a-ways! Yippee!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Fave Five - June 26th

Ahhh... Friday! I'm SO EXCITED it's Friday! This is the first weekend in a LONG time that I don't have anything planned, I don't have to do work over the weekend, it's going to be gorgeous weather, the hubby is out of town - so the WHOLE weekend is mine to enjoy! Yippee!

I think that may be included in my favorite things today... Ha ha ha.
Here are my Friday Fave Five:

1. I had an enjoyable last week at Faith Church. The Sunday service was nice, it was good to have some time to say good-byes, and my office is cleaned out. I'm really looking forward to some new beginnings and forward movement!

2. Pool time - at last. I got burned to a crisp, but at least the weather is cooperating, finally, and so is my schedule! I feel like summer is just getting started!

3. An awesome new grilling recipe! Caribbean Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Pineapple - even the leftovers are amazing! I LOVE finding really yummy new recipes! We have a pretty good streak going this summer!

4. Butterflies on my flowers this morning! Lots of them! In my family, monarch butterflies remind us all of my grandpa - so I got to say "hi" to him as I sat outside today! What a cool morning blessing!

5. So many fun women in my life! Our book group threw a wedding shower for one of the member's son and fiance - they rallied for a fun evening! I've had lunches with several friends lately, and have just been enjoying all the ways my women friends inspire me everyday - and yes, that includes all of you blogging buddies! Thank you for your friendship!

If you're interested in reading about some more great weeks - check out Friday Fave Fives at Living to Tell the Story!

Have a splendid Friday!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Sleeping in.
2. A beautiful day.
3. Having lunch with the hubby.
4. Trying something new.
5. A new toy.
6. Vanilla Chai ice cream.
7. Reading a good book.
8. Playing "squeaky ball" with the dog.
9. Hummus and pita chips.
10. Running into my friend JoAnne at "JoAnn" Fabrics! Ha ha ha.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


"All that we have and are is one of the unique and never-to-be repeated ways God has chosen to express Himself in space and time. Each of us, made in His image and likeness, is yet another promise He has made to the universe that He will continue to love it and care for it."
--Brennan Manning

An interesting quote on the day we lost two amazing American icons: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I don't know their faith stories or what they believed in - but I do know they exhibited great talent and extraordinary gifts. Farrah's fight with cancer and her decision to share it with the world is a gift to anyone who fights that battle.
And of course... I will always remember dancing around around the living room to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album - leg-warmers, leotard, and all... (And yes, I had this poster hanging in my room all through elementary school... I was probably the only "white" girl in my school to have a crush on Michael! I will admit, the poster was hung on the inside of my closet door - not because I was embarrassed, but because ET gave me nightmares... Ha ha ha.)

Rest in peace, Farrah and Michael.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. The gifts and talents that make each of us unique.
2. The "little" things we can do to make someone else's life easier.
3. Being awake when the hubby left for work - and making his lunch (trust me - that NEVER happens!).
4. A productive day.
5. People who continue learning about God's work in the world - even after the fact.
6. Spending time with some youth group kids - talking about family and pizza! Lots of giggles.
7. Pool time!
8. I have a new job title: Director of Youth and Outreach. Woo-hoo!
9. Aloe.
10. Delicious leftovers!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yummy Wednesday - Chicken Tacos

This is one of those recipes that I love - but forget how much I love - until I make them again. I was craving them Monday night, so I went and got the ingredients and wa-la! So good and easy on a hot summer day!Chicken Tacos (from the December 2005 issue of Real Simple magazine.)

1 store-bought rotisserie chicken
2 cups store-bought red or green salsa (this just makes it quick and easy - we've used homemade fresh salsa, too!)
8 taco shells, or tortillas (I like soft tacos!)
1 cup grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
8 sprigs fresh cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
1 avocado
1 lime, quartered
Remove the meat from the chicken and shred.

Heat the salsa in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and heat until warmed through.

Fill the taco shells or tortillas with the chicken mixture and top with the cheese and cilantro.

Serve with the sour cream, avocado, and lime wedges on the side.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. My flowers are thriving!
2. Cleaning out my old office.
3. Trying a new recipe for dinner
- Caribbean Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Pineapple. Yum!
4. Vosges Chocolate - dark chocolate with ginger, wasabi and black sesame seeds. Delish.
5. An evening with the hubby.
6. The dog's unending energy - as annoying as it is, it's kinda cute, too!
7. "Tea Tree Tingle" body wash from Trader Joe's - perfect on a hot day!
8. Bailey's Nursery, across the street - all the flowers are in bloom. It's so pretty to drive by everyday!
9. Turning the AC off- even if only for about 24 hours!
10. Google.com.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


"I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
--Lucy Maud Montgomery

"Perhaps, if one is lucky, the days ahead will unfold as a 'never-to-be-forgotten summer - one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going - one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in the world.'"
--Simple Abundance

Today was a HOT summer day - but full of many blessings!
Here are the things I am thankful for today:

1. Handling a problem that was causing a friend some stress.
2. Watching children at the library excitedly checking out fire trucks!
3. Staff meeting this morning - we're all back together again!
4. You Go Girl! Ha ha ha - lots of laughs and raised eyebrows about this at staff meeting today!
5. Lunch with Dad at Fischerville Coffee House. Fun to hang out and chat for while. 6. My yummy turkey panini - haven't had one in awhile. It was delish!
7. Iced tea on a hot day!
8. Free chocolate chip cookies at Fischerville!
9. Self-checkout lines at the grocery store.
10. Quick service at the bank drive-thru!
11. Excedrin and a nap to drive away a headache.
12. My first attempt at vegan appetizers went well! (They were for a wedding shower... I'm not vegan, myself. Honestly, I don't think I ever could be...) Here's links, if you're interested: Quick and Easy Veggie Cream 'Cheese' Roll-ups, Cherry Tomatoes Filled with Edamame Hummus
13. The very cute, fun couple that we threw the shower for - so fun!
14. Our book group ladies pulling together to throw the shower - nice work ladies!
15. Coming home to sitting on the patio with some cold drinks and enjoying a beautiful summer night! A perfect end to the day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook - June 22nd Edition

For Today...

Outside my window... it's getting HOT and muggy! But the skies are blue, the sun is out, and the birds are chirping!
I am thinking... of turning on the air conditioner before it becomes unbearable... but I probably won't. Ha ha ha.
I am thankful... that my hubby just called and is coming home early to enjoy an afternoon at the pool!
From the kitchen... No idea. I have done no planning for this week, yet... AND I need a vegan appetizer for an event tomorrow night! Any ideas?
I am wearing... pants and a tank top... but getting ready to put on the swimsuit!
I am creating... some free give-a-way ideas! Woo-hoo!
I am going... to have lunch with my dad tomorrow (if he remembers!).
I am reading... "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner, and I'm doing "Reading the Bible, Cover to Cover in 90 Days." We start "If Grace is True" with the book group this week.
I am hoping... for a relaxing weekend. No plans. That would be lovely.
I am hearing... our neighbor's air conditioner, cars driving by, the breeze rustling the leaves on the trees, kids screaming and giggling down at the pool, and the dog chewing on her bone.
One of my favorite things... having lunch with friends!
A few plans for the rest of the week... lunch with a friend, pool-time, a wedding shower, meetings, cleaning out my office at Faith Church, cooking, reading, planning new things at work, seeing some of the youth group kids!
Here is picture thought I am sharing...My hubby was gone this weekend - to the wedding of his nephew, David and his bride, Amber. This is them dancing with their little girl, Aubrey. Congratulations! (Can you believe my hubby has a nephew old enough to be married?! AND my hubby is a great-uncle! Ha ha ha.)Visit the Simple Woman’s Daybook, for more women's answers to these questions!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Lunch with Beth - so fun to catch up!
2. BLTs - yum.
3. The hubby came home from work early - woo-hoo!
4. The pool!
5. Chicken tacos - check back Wednesday for the recipe - Yum yum yum!
6. Air conditioning.
7. Aloe. (I'm a little sun burnt!)
8. A quiet evening.
9. Bright, colorful flowers after finally getting rain!
10. Cold, icy water!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Last Day

Well, today was my last Sunday at Faith Church. Of course, it couldn't go too smoothly... that would be too easy. Since the pastor of the church had his last Sunday last week, and the new pastor has her first Sunday next week - I was to preach and lead the service on my last day. No problem. I actually really like leading worship every now and then!

But. This congregation is still getting used to having everything throughout the service on a power point presentation - as I went to hook things up this morning, we found that the password had been changed on the computer... and we didn't have it. We tried and tried - but we had a technical difficulty. All of the "participatory" prayers and readings would now be just me (and the few people who had large print bulletins - they have all the words printed. Way to speak up today, people!). Good grief.

Other than that, things went nicely. We acknowledged all the dads, grand-dads, uncles, step-dads, god-dads, and all the men who had made a difference in a child's life - they stood, we cheered! The kids and I had fun with a children's sermon - pretending we were in Jesus' boat when the storm came and Jesus told it to hush (I even had a kid pretend to be the sleeping Jesus - he loved that!). John sang a beautiful song. We got to do some of my favorite hymns. I preached on David and Goliath - which ended up feeling like a perfect fit to talk to the congregation about the challenges ahead (and God's faithfulness in the midst of them). We even ended with a lovely benediction tune (May You Run and Not Be Weary). It was nice. It flowed. It all felt "right" for all of the transitions for the congregation and for me.

Judy and this year's confirmands stood up to say a few things about me - kind words, touching words, gifts, and hugs. It felt weird to be finally experiencing this last day... It seemed it would never actually come.

After the service, there was a cake, more cards, more gifts, hugs, and some tears. It was nice to feel appreciated - and hard to say good-bye, especially since I'll still be in the neighborhood!

Thank you, Faith Church - for a sometimes challenging, but wonderful experience in your midst. I have loved each of the youth I have worked with and befriended, each of their parents and the support they offered, and the leaders who have always been there to encourage and back me up. God has taught me many lessons in this place - and I will definately carry them with me as I go. Blessings on you and your ministry - now and always!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. My DAD!
2. My grandpas - I miss them everyday.
3. Faith Church and all the lessons I have learned through them.
4. The youth of Faith Church - their hugs and kind words today. They always make me smile!
5. John's song during worship today - it was wonderful!
6. Brant's organ and piano playing today - he does such a nice job, and is so flexible and willing to go with the flow! (And did I mention, he plays BEAUTIFULLY!)
7. The hubby comes home tonight!
8. A cool breeze coming through my windows!
9. I received a silver cross necklace from the congregation today - so simple and pretty!
10. Feeling ready to move forward.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Late Bloomer

"Bloom where you are planted."
--Mary Englebreit"Being a late bloomer means that you have the time and the opportunity to revise and revamp if you experiment with life and fall short of your dreams. We late bloomers can risk more because at this point nobody really expects anything spectacular from us anymore. We can reinvent ourselves or give birth to our authentic selves as we rediscover and reclaim our essence.

"As I have tried and failed and tried again, I have discovered that if we are to flourish as creative beings, if we are to grow into Wholeness, we must bloom wherever we are planted. Right now, you might not have the perfect career, home, or relationship. Few of us do. But if you have the gift of today, you've got another chance to re-create your circumstances and make them as perfect as it's possible to do with the resources you have. Today, you get another chance to get it as right as you can make it. What more could you desire?"
--Simple Abundance

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want," observed the English playwright George Bernard Shaw, who believed he got his best ideas after working in his garden. "And if they can't find them, make them."
--Simple Abundance

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Rising early to take the hubby to the airport.
2. A beautiful sunrise.
3. Great blue herons.
4. Time - to get things done, to ponder, to dream, to bloom.
5. A clean house and laundry!
6. Sushi.
7. Fresh fruit.
8. Sitting on the patio, sipping sweet tea.
9. Low humidity. (At least, low-er!)
10. Moulin Rouge, the movie. I watched just a bit on TV today - I forgot how much I liked it!
11. The hubby called from Indiana. Nice to hear his voice.
12. One more - I just tried Stonyfield Farms Organic Vanilla Chai ice cream - Oh. My. Goodness. Yum-a-roo.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fridays Fave Five - June 16th

Oh - another busy busy week! When does summer begin?Here's my Fave Five of the week - if you'd like to see more Fave Fives, go to Living To Tell the Story, for lots more!

1. Lots of new recipes this week = Good eatin'! Grilled fajitas, gazpacho, blackberry cobbler... and some old favorites, too! Black bean enchiladas... Yum.

2. A very nice Confirmation service last weekend - I'm so lucky to work with such great kids!

3. Spending time with my sister, Kayla. She and her dog, Hershey, stayed with us for about a week while my parents were out of town.

4. Getting to spend a day with my goddaughter, Elly. What a sweetie pie!

5. Having the whole family together for dinner last night - even if it was quick! My sister, Emily, and her husband, Karlin, were in town just for a couple of hours on a layover (on their way to Alaska!). The only person missing was little Miss Finley!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. A nap on the couch after a sleepless night.
2. A cuddly dog.
3. Working on my final sermon for Faith Church - and feeling good about my message to them.
4. Fresh avocado.
5. Stella's Fish Cafe in Uptown - a GREAT patio overlooking Minneapolis! (Even when it starts to rain... Ha ha ha.)
6. Playing in quirky shops - smelling every single candle and sitting on all the weird, funky, furniture!
7. Kitchen gadget stores - LOVE them. The Kitchen Window.
8. Weird flavored chocolate bars - especially one made with dark chocolate, ginger, and wasabi. Yum. Vosges Chocolates.
9. Catching up on my Bible reading.
10. A Father's Day card for my hubby from our goddaughter. So cute!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

ABCs of Me

I saw this on my friend, Beth's, blog... and thought I'd give it a try today. Will you join me and do one too? I'd love to see your answers!

A - Age: 32.
B - Bed size: Queen.
C - Chore you hate: Taking out the trash and cleaning the bathrooms. (Luckily, my hubby will do both!)
D - Dog's name: Bailey.
E - Essential start your day item: Shredded Wheat and OJ.
F - Favorite color: Depends on the day. Today - green.
G - Gold or Silver or Platinum: Silver.
H - Height: 5'6" on a good day!
I - Instruments you play: Oh, I wish!
J - Job title: Director of Youth Ministry... and stuff (?! Ha ha ha.)
K - Kid(s): Nope. Just a dog.
L - Living arrangements: The hubby, dog, and me in our fun little townhome.
M - Mom's name: Veloice. Ever heard that one before?!
N - Nicknames: Megs. Meganita. Auntie Meg.
O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Once.
P - Pet Peeve: Bad drivers.
Q - Quote from a movie: I can recognize quotes... But I can never recite them...
R - Right handed or left handed: Right.
S - Siblings: 2 sisters.
T - Time you wake up: 7:30am or when the dog is ready to start her day!
U- Underwear: Yep.
V - Vegetable you dislike: Eggplant.
W - Ways you run late: Easily distracted...
X - X-rays you've had: Teeth, Kidneys (kidney stones - ouch!).
Y - Yummy food you make: Strawberry empanadas.

(There wasn't a "Z" on the original post... so I added one!)
Z - Zen moments, what brings you peace? A relaxing day with the hubby.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Excedrin.
2. Water.
3. Lightweight clothing.
4. Dinner with my family - including BOTH sisters and the bro-in-law!
5. "Open Sanctuary" at church tonight - so peaceful and nice.
6. The new books for book group came today! "If Grace Is True..."
7. Catching up on my Bible reading.
8. Cool showers.
9. Last night's lightening show!
10. Finding new, interesting blogs to read!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yummy Wednesday - Blackberry Cobbler

Ok. I'm cheating today. I tried one of Pioneer Woman's recipes... and LOVE it. Therefore, here is a picture of mine...and now, go get this recipe for a wonderful Blackberry Cobbler from the true genius.
It's totally worth it.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. A cloudy, dreary day - good for getting work done!
2. An evening with the hubby all to myself!
3. The dog being so excited to have the house to oursleves... and me to herself...
4. Getting some new kitchen gadgets - a microplane zester, a pretty red pie plate, and a cooling rack. Fun fun fun!
5. Trying "gazpacho" for the first time (a cold vegetable soup). I liked it!
6. Our nephew, Brandon, made the little league All Star team this summer! Woo-hoo!
7. Drinking wine on the patio.
8. My finches came back!
9. Yummy blackberry cobbler. Yummy.
10. Getting random rebate checks in the mail - a few extra bucks! Nice!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


"And the day came when the risk [it took] to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
--Anais Nin

" The Talmud tells us that 'Each blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, "Grow, grow."' So do we."
--Simple Abundance

Yesterday, as I sat out on the patio and looked at my pots of what I thought were dead flowers... I was amazed to see that many of them had not only survived, but were growing, blooming, and coming back in beautiful ways! We had planted them a bit early this year - and due to our unusually cold and windy spring... they had all whithered and died. Or so it seemed.

The butterfly plant is green with pretty white flowers blooming, the dahlias are green and lush with many buds getting ready to bloom, the salvias have regained their deep purple petals, the sedum is growing larger and more full by the day - and even my fragile little sweet peas are crawling up the lattice work and holding on for dear life! We all have weeks where we feel like we've given all we have. We're tired and ready to curl up and hide... But God is calling out to us, "grow, grow," and we know that this is just a phase... We come back ready to florish and ready to bloom again in the roles we were given in this life. And that little break, that little rest, just helps us to step back and see where we're meant to be.

I'm ready. Are you?

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Getting a lot of work done!
2. Cleaning the house.
3. The hubby making a yummy dinner.
4. My parents got home safe.
5. Rain. And lots of it!
6. A call from my sister, Emily.
7. My niece, Finley, is a walking machine!
8. Chocolate banana malts.
9. The dog being so relaxed and cuddly now that she has the house back to herself (my parents' dog went home today). Ha ha ha.
10. Nice, cool, sleeping weather. ((((Yawn))))

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook - June 15th Edition

For Today...

Outside my window... clouds are moving in for a cooler - and maybe wetter - evening. It's cooling off nicely - a perfect night for sleeping!
I am thinking... my parents' dog, Hershey, is the silliest dog I know. I seriously think she has a crush on my hubby. She watches him with an adoring gaze, sits next to his leg at all times, showers him with kisses if he so much as looks her way... and is sad-as-can-be when he leaves the room.
I am thankful... that my goddaughter, Elly, was excited to see me when she woke up from her nap today (rather than having a meltdown when she realized her mom had left for awhile!).
From the kitchen... Mmmm... It's been a good food weekend - fajitas, come-to-jamaica wings, mocha fudge mousse pie, strawberry biscuits... It's all been good - and we're still eating up the leftovers!
I am wearing... brown "outdoorsy" hiking pants and a green tank top. The hubby says I look very "army" today, Em said I looked ready to hike in the Amazon... Hey - I'm comfy!
I am creating... a grocery list...
I am going... to miss my hubby this weekend. He's going to his nephew's wedding - I have to stay home for my last Sunday at Faith Church.
I am reading... "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson, "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner, and I'm doing "Reading the Bible, Cover to Cover in 90 Days."
I am hoping... for some time at the pool this week. So far, I've only had 1 hour! So sad...
I am hearing... our neighbor's air conditioner, cars driving by, the breeze rustling the leaves on the trees... and the dogs getting ready for a walk (woof, woof, woof!).
One of my favorite things... reading books with Elly. (Especially "5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" - lots of giggles!)
A few plans for the rest of the week... picking up my parents from the airport tomorrow and taking the little sis, Kayla, and the dog, Hershey, home... book group... open sanctuary... writing a sermon... date night with the hubby... taking the hubby to the airport... my last Sunday at Faith Church... picking up the hubby... relaxing...
Here is picture thought I am sharing... This is Elly. We giggled a lot today!
Visit the Simple Woman’s Daybook, for more women's answers to these questions!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. No traffic on the way to Elly's house.
2. Iced chai tea latte. Haven't had one in awhile. Yum.
3. Elly's giggles.
4. My sister, Kayla, being so good with Elly!
5. Elly's grandpa's surgery went well.
6. Sitting on the patio, drinking sweet tea.
7. Watching the dogs play with each other - so sneaky, stealing each other's toys!
8. My parents are coming home tomorrow!
9. Date night on Friday... What to plan? What to plan?!
10. My flowers are perking up! (I thought the wind and cold killed them all... They seem to be fighting the good fight!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Confirmation Sunday

Today was Confirmation at one of my churches. I got to help three wonderful youth get their robes on, pin their flowers on their lapel, pose for pictures, know where to stand and when... It was so fun. I have met with these kids for two years - teaching and learning. Laughing and sharing. And they have made me proud.

Patrick is the quiet type. (Which I don't blame him for... He was in a group with me and two 8th grade girls!) He's very smart - he could recall the answer from last year's lessons, no problem! He's a deep thinker, someone searching for where his spirituality fits into his daily life. He's thoughtful, caring, and attentive to everything and everyone around him. He has a twinkle in his eye and is quick to smile. I've had a ball getting to know Pat.

Samantha is a feisty one! She's always got something to say. She's smart and has a great memory - so is quick to correct us when we're wrong! She loves her family - especially her little sister. She's fun and full of life and energy - and can't wait to explore the world! She is so proud of her Grandma that does mission and service work, and can't wait to follow in her footsteps. She's strong and confident, ready for a challenge! I'm excited to see where her faith journey takes her.

Kayla is full of spunk! She makes me laugh everytime I see her. She amazes me with her blunt honesty and real questions. She's willing to try new things - especially to experience new ways to look at faith. She has been open to where God is working in her life, expressing the things she is thankful for, and asking for prayers. She is someone who won't let anyone boss her around or get in her way - and she does so with a mischievious grin and a giggle. She's a blessing to any group.

These are the three youth that confirmed today. Next week is my last Sunday at this church. It will be a sad day - but I am so proud of the youth that I have worked with! The thought of them makes me smile.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. A smooth Confirmation service.
2. Patrick.
3. Samantha.
4. Kayla.
5. A GORGEOUS day!
6. Seeing a deer on our nature trail during our walk tonight.
7. Yummy leftovers.
8. Excedrin Migraine.
9. Finley my niece, walking!!! 10. Pix messaging on my phone.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Sun

It's Saturday. It's 80 degrees and sunny. My hubby and I are in the same town, and same house for the weekend (even if it is my parents' house). My work is all caught up and done for now. We're making fajitas on the grill tonight. Mocha fudge mousse pie is in the fridge. Life is good.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Sleeping in (after being rudely awakened at 4:30am by my dad's alarm clock, then 6:30am by the dogs wanting to play!).
2. The hubby making strawberries and biscuits for breakfast.
3. The hubby running errands with me today - ALL OVER the city. But what a great day for it! Moonroof open and itunes blasting!
4. All the errands went smoothly without incident.
5. We stopped and played at Patagonia (sports outfitter type store) and Whole Foods.
6. The grill will be fired up soon!
7. One of my favorite desserts is ready to serve tonight!
8. Plans to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons with the hubby tonight (he hasn't seen it, and I can't wait to see it again).
9. Did I mention what a beautiful day it is?
10. Hershey, my parents' dog, going out by the tree in their front yard and sitting next to the flower pot... Just watching the world go by... So cute.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Fave Five - June 12th

Uff-da. It's been a week! Here are my favorite five things about the week:

1. Playing with my niece, Finley - running around the kitchen, peek-a-boo, dancing, giggling. Sloppy kisses, "hi," "bye," and "night-night."

2. Spending time with my sister Emily. She's got a great life and is doing great things. She has some big decisions coming up - and she's in my prayers as she figures out what is best for her and her little family.

3. My dad came home from the hospital on Thursday night after a scary 4 days of dealing with pneumonia and a blood infection. In fact, he's so much better - that him and Mom decided to keep their vacation plans and are in California as we type! All good.

4. Mom calling me this morning to ask for answers on a funny get-to-know-you quiz at the family reunion. I was sneakily using the internet to look up answers... She better win!

5. Spending the weekend with my youngest sister, Kayla. I hope she's able to hang out with us "old geezers" for a little bit!

If you'd like to see more "Fave Fives" check out this link!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. A day at home by myself!
2. All caught up on my blogging!
3. The pup got her haircut!
4. Feeling a little more rested.
5. Getting everything done for Confirmation this weekend.
6. Looking forward to a yummy dinner tonight.
7. A good laugh: My sister came home way past curfew last night, stressing me out quite a bit. My mom told her this morning, that if I choose not to have kids, it's all her fault! HA HA HA! Love it.
8. Williams-Sonoma catalogs. Guilty pleasure.
9. Getting more cleaning done.
10. Sunless tanners. Otherwise, I would have no color yet! It's time for WARM sunny days!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook - June 11th Edition

For Today...

Outside my window... everything is so green after we finally got some much-needed rain!

I am thinking...
I can't wait for the weekend. Some time to rest and relax... One more REALLY busy week before the somewhat relaxed pace of summer can take hold. I can't wait!

I am thankful... for my hubby. He has been so unbelievably patient and helpful over the last couple of weeks. I am so incredibly lucky to have him in my life. He makes me smile everyday.

From the kitchen... leftover tacos tonight and "Come to Jamaica Wings" tomorrow night! Mmmm... Sweet, spicy, smokey chicken done on the grill with some corn on the cob and ciabatta bread. I can't wait!

I am wearing... jeans, a blue and white striped cami, a blue cardigan, and flip flops.

I am creating... a wish list. I'd like to learn to sew and quilt... But I have none of the supplies to do so. We'll see what I can come up with!

I am going... to my parents' house for the weekend. The parents are out of town, and the 17-year old sister is under my care. With her work schedule, ACTs, and graduation parties, it makes more sense for the hubby and I to stay with her... I will miss my bed.

I am reading... "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson, "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner, and I'm doing "Reading the Bible, Cover to Cover in 90 Days."

I am hoping... to get back on track with exercising and eating well. With such busy days, and being so tired when I get home, I haven't been keeping up. I feel like a sloth...

I am hearing... hammers, drills, construction equipment... Ahhh... the joys of living in a new-er development. Ugh.

One of my favorite things... catching up on my blogging! I have felt so out of the loop and behind over the past week. It began to seem overwhelming to try to catch up! But here I am - and I'm feeling SO MUCH better already!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Heading to my parents' house, grilling out, running errands for work, cleaning, confirmation parties, writing my farewell service for Faith UMC next week, baby-sitting my goddaughter on Monday, book group, church stuff, possibly some disc golf and time at the pool...

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
(My niece, Finley. She is so stinkin' cute!)

Visit the Simple Woman’s Daybook, for more women's answers to these questions!

Things I am thankful for:

1. Sleeping in a little - no easy task with two dogs in the house!
2. Kayla tidying up her room at our house... So nice!
3. My parents' neighbor Leoni looking out for their house and putting out the garbage!
4. Quilt group at church. Fun ladies!
5. Open Sanctuary at church last night - an open night when anyone can come in and pray in the sanctuary. Not many people have tried it out yet... But I thoroughly enjoyed the peaceful two hours in the church last night.
6. My friend, Em, asking if I would help with Elly on Monday. I'm honored to help!
7. The hubby asking if I would still be with Elly when he got off work... He wanted to see her too! How cute...
8. Making Bailey a haircut appointment for tomorrow. She'll have her summer shave and be so much more active again!
9. Resting.
10. Kayla getting home safely tonight... After much worry. Ugh.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yummy Wednesday - Mocha Fudge Mousse Pie

Another favorite Trim and Terrific recipe from Holly Clegg!

Warning: This one can be pretty rich for some people... But if you like chocolate, you'll LOVE it!
Mocha Fudge Mousse Pie

For the pie:
1/3 cup warm water
1 tsp instant coffee
1 (19.85 oz) box reduced-fat or regular fudge brownie mix
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional - I make it without)
Mousse (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small cup, stir together the warm water and coffee until dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine the brownie mix, coffee misture, egg whites, and vanilla, stirring with a spoon until well mixed. Stir in the pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cake is set in the pan. Do not overbake.

Cool on a wire rack. Spread with Chocolate Mousse (see recipe below), and top with the coffee-flavored whipped topping (instructions below). Refrigerate until serving. (I find it sets up perfectly if I make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.)

For the Chocolate Mousse:
3/4 cup skim milk
2 tbsp coffee liqueur, divided (We like using Kahlua or Bailey's Irish Cream.)
1 tsp instant coffee
1 (4 serving) package instant chocolate pudding and pie filling mix
1 (8 oz) container fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

In a large bowl, stir together the milk, 1 tbsp coffee liqueur, and coffee until the coffee is dissolved. Add the pudding mix, and beat at the high speed of a mixer for 1 minute, or until thick. Gently fold in half of the whipped topping. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled brownie crust.

Combine the remaining 1 tbsp coffee liqueur with the remaining half of the whipped topping, mixing gently. Spread over the pudding mixture on the pie.

If you want to make it really pretty, sprinkle chocolate shavings on the top!

Makes 8-10 very small servings...

Calories: 348, Protein: 5g, Carbs: 66g, Fat: 7g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 361mg

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Staff meeting at both churches today. I feel totally caught up now!
2. Hot air balloons - we're seeing them pretty regularly from our "walk route."
3. Hitting easy traffic both ways to go get my little sister (she's staying with us this weekend).
4. Kayla, my sister, FINALLY figured out my surprise for her. I got tickets to a Jason Mraz concert in August for her and I. It took her over a month to figure it out... ha ha ha.
5. Taco salad. I cannot believe I like tacos now! (I used to hate them! It just took using bison meat and chipotle seasoning to change my whole world!)
6. Going for a walk with the hubby, Kayla and the 2 dogs... Craziness.
7. Chocolate banana malts.
8. Going to bed early.
9. The dogs getting along. (They're half sisters - there can be a bit of sibling rivalry!)
10. The hubby starting to clean the house. Thank you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


"When was the last time you felt comfortable asking anybody for anything - for advice, for help, or even for directions?

"I've recently discovered something that brought a sense of adventure to my daily round. It's so simple, it's scary.
"It's asking for what we want. Help. Advice. Wisdom. Guidance. Information.

"Ask for what you need and want. Ask to be taught the right questions. Ask to be answered. Ask for the Divine Plan of your life to unfold through joy. Ask politely. Ask with passion. Ask with a grateful heart and you will be heard.
"Just ask."
--Simple Abundance

It's another busy busy week. So much to do, so little time. I could use some help. This was a good reading for the day... I WILL ask!

Here's to hoping you're asking when you need to, also!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Waking up in my own bed.
2. Puppy kisses.
3. Notes from the hubby.
4. No staff meeting today - just hours in my office to get things done!
5. Sushi for lunch.
6. Dinner with Pastor Penny. A nice break.
7. I almost have a completed job description for my new role!
8. Book group. These ladies make every Tuesday worth it. I love the laughter and the ways we share our lives.
9. The hubby did the grocery shopping.
10. Getting LOTS done!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Coming Home

I lucked out today! I was supposed to have a 2 hour layover in Detroit and get home at 8:30pm... But, I got a direct flight and was picked up by the hubby at 5pm, instead! LOVE when these things happen!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Spending time with the Fin before she left for daycare this morning. Big kisses and "bye-byes' when she left.
2. Em taking me to the airport. A final few minutes to chat before I would leave.
3. Security going a little smoother today! (No turtle toys to freak people out!)
4. Getting a direct flight!
5. The hubby picking me up with roses! Awww....
6. A quick yummy dinner of gnochi - I was SO hungry!
7. The dog being SO excited for me to be home!
8. Being home in time to curl up with the hubby and watch "Here Come the Newlyweds." This show gives me the giggles.
9. My bed.
10. Just happy to have had a long weekend with Em. It was good.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday in Pitt

Sunday - off to church! Em and Karlin attend Eastminster Presbyterian Church - a wonderful mix of cultures, races, ages, and economic statuses. It's friendly place to visit - and Em and Karlin have really made this congregation their family of faith. Very cool to be a part of.

After church, we walked back towards their neighborhood, browsing through the neighborhood-wide annual yard sales! LOTS of people out and about! Very fun to run into and meet several more of Em's neighbors and friends. We ended up eventually turning onto Bryant Street for the Bryant Street Festival, too! So much going on in this little burrough! At the festival, we thoroughly enjoyed stopping to watch a group of 20 elementary school kids playing drums from all over the world - they were amazing! Even Finley got into it - dancing away in her stroller! We found some wonderful italian sausage sandwiches for lunch... and headed home. A long and busy morning! Time for some naps...

After some heavy snoozing, Em and I went out to run a couple of errands and picked up some pizza for dinner. (This was our junk food day...) Karlin went off to work at the library for awhile, and Em and I decided to head out for some awesome ice cream at Oh Yeah's. Yum. I got kahlua ice cream with chai spice, coffee grounds, and chocolate chip cookie dough mixed in... So good. So good - we even decided to take some to Karlin! It would be cruel and unfair for us to enjoy... and him not get any!

After heading home, it was an evening of simply hanging out. Another good day in Pittsburgh.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Walking to church - I wish I could always walk to church!
2. Finley's cute sundress.
3. Experiencing the friendliness of Em's neighborhood! EVERYONE is so nice and talkative.
4. The kids playing drums - my hubby would have loved it!
5. Getting a GREAT deal on books at Borders! More books to read on the plane....
6. Finally getting to talk to the hubby for more than five minutes.
7. Pizza. I love pizza.
8. Ice cream. I love ice cream.
9. Finley playing peek-a-boo.
10. Finley saying "night night" and giving a great big, sloppy, open-mouthed kiss!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday in Pitt

We woke up to banana peanut-butter pancakes and bacon! Mmmm... I have a good brother-in-law, huh? Delish.

After Karlin left for work for the day, Em, Fin and I headed out to the Pittsburgh Art Festival. A beautiful day! Gorgeous sun and warm breezes - perfect (especially when I heard it was 50 degrees and rainy in MN!). We enjoyed looking through the booths of art, listening to some music, soaking up some sun - and major people watching! We even saw these funny guys supporting the Penguins hockey team (who are in the Stanley Cup) with these cute hats... I just kept thinking how hot their heads must be!

Finley was having fun playing with her hat, dancing to the music, and enjoying the water fountain. A fun day to be sure.
(Ha ha ha - a gust of wind blows the poor kid silly!)
Later on, back at the apartment, Karlin and Em made some FABULOUS fajitas on the grill for dinner. Yum. We went for a nice walk later in the evening. And watched the movie, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons." I LOVED this movie. I think it could be one of my favorites of all time.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Saturday breakfasts are the best.
2. Finley's hat. It cracks me up.
3. Getting to see so much more of Pittsburgh than I've seen in past visits. Now, I can see why my sister likes it so much!
4. Soaking up warmth and sunshine.
5. Silly hats.
6. My first visit to Whole Foods. (Good thing I don't have one in my immediate neighborhood... I would shop there as much as Trader Joe's!)
7. Fajitas - I love fajitas.
8. Getting to watch a movie! (The hubby and I have not owned a DVD player for over a year... We don't see many movies these days...)
9. Going for walks - helps me stay in my routine while away from home! And what a nice way to enjoy the evening...
10. Peanut butter banana milkshakes. Yum.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday in Pitt

(I brought this funny little turtle night-light for Finley - he's so cool. But let me tell ya, he was a pain in the behind to get through security at the airport! He was scanned, x-rayed, taken apart, and scanned again. Who would have thought?! Goodness.
But Fin loves him - she gives him rides in the laundry basket and loves to push the buttons to turn the colored lights on and off - green, blue, orange, off, blue, green, orange, off...)

So... My first day in Pittsburgh with my sister, Emily's, family. I enjoyed a nice morning to myself (they were at work, and Finley, my niece, likes her daycare, so she went). It's the first relaxing morning to myself I've had in awhile, so I decided to sleep in, get caught up on some work and take a little time to read.

Em and Fin were home in the early afternoon, so we talked and played. It was nice just to hang out and giggle with the girls. Then when Em's husband, Karlin, came home, Em and I got to go out for the evening. We went to my favorite Pittsburgh spot for dinner - Point Brugge. Yum. Coconut curry mussels and frites (fries), with a yummy Belgium beer. Life is good.

Then, since I missed book group in MN this week, I joined my sister at hers! They are discussing the book, "Eat Well", published by Culture is Not Optional. It's all about how our consumer and eating habits reflect our Christian values - especially about buying locally, eating organic, taking the time to prepare meals and eat them together... All about our habits surrounding food and how they reflect our values. It was an interesting discussion with some very cool ladies!

After book group, we headed out to a jazz club, Gullifty's, for some delicious dessert and coffee. It was a nice girls night out. Something my sis and I practically never get. Loved it.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Sleep. I needed it so bad!
2. Em and Karlin worrying about me because I slept so long. LOL
3. Watching Fin boogie to her "Classical Kids" DVD.
(The shirt that Fin is wearing in this picture was my sister's... 25 years ago, maybe? So funny to think of my sis as that small! )

4. Karlin watching the Fin so Em and I could go out for the evening.
5. Point Brugge. Love it.
6. Beers with orange slices. Yum.
7. My sister's friends. All nice people.
8. Going for a walk last night - and a good talk.
9. Running through the apartment with Fin hanging onto my fingers. So cute.
10. Continuing my 90 Days of Bible reading, while on vacation!
(These are some fun letters I made for Finley's room... I'm thinking of selling customized ones on etsy.com... What do you think? Would people but something like this?)
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