Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thoughts on the Newtown, CT Tragedy

I don't know about you...  But this last week, I haven't been able to stop thinking of the families and community of Newtown, CT.  Like many other tragedies in our history, this will be one that years from now, I will remember exactly where I was when I heard the news.

I had been out grocery shopping - buying ingredients for the cookie-baking extravaganza that I do each year.  This is an errand I dread every year - grumpy people at grocery stores, ladies grabbing the last ingredients right out from under my hand, men driving carelessly through the parking lots splashing snow on innocent passersby, and children screaming for every sugared item they reach for...  But this year was different.  I don't know what was special about that morning, but people were smiling, holding doors open for each other, helping to reach for items that were too high, wishing each other a "Merry Christmas!"  I was all smiles, full of the Christmas spirit, and looking forward to an afternoon of baking and listening to Christmas music!

I got home, realizing I could actually catch the one soap opera I watch (yes, I too have a guilty pleasure!), and turned on the TV.  The first thing I saw was, "Special Report" and I almost turned it off again.  I didn't care to hear any more politicking this close to Christmas.  But then I saw the word "shooting" and was disappointed in myself when, at first, I didn't flinch.  The Oregon Mall shooting was last week...  It's become so common, I almost didn't even look to see where it happened...  But then I heard "school" and "children dead."

I stopped putting away groceries and turned my attention to the TV.  Twenty children dead, 6 adults.  I literally fell to the floor and cried.  And couldn't stop.  Mike came home early from work that day to surprise me - ready to help with cookies and cleaning and preparing dinner for a guest...  And he found me crying the "ugly cry" in our kitchen.  He hadn't seen the news yet, so I filled him in.  We hugged and cried, heartbroken at the horrible evil that took place that morning.

I will always remember where I was at that moment.

The question is, how will I go forward, doing what I can to help this never to happen again?  Will I become an activist for gun control?  for a better mental health system?  for teachers to carry guns?  All of these things have been focused on in our media as ways to "fix the problem."  But I think there is no easy fix - this is so much bigger than one "issue."

Instead, I will focus on my faith.  I will focus on the two greatest commandments that were ever given:  Love God.  Love each other. 

I will be even kinder to those I meet.  I will look for more ways to serve and bring joy to others.  I will practice more random acts of kindness and smile at more strangers.  I will try to understand where my "enemies" are coming from - and see the good in their lives, even when it's difficult.  I will love even the hardest to love.

In these last few days leading up to Christmas, and in the coming New Year, I invite all of us to take a look at our life.  Be thankful for the blessings we have - homes, families, transportation, jobs, clothes, food on the table...  And so much more.  What can we do to share these blessings with those around us?  To bless the lives of others?   To bring joy and love and kindness to a world that is hurting so very badly...?

Talk to your kids - about the blessings they have in their lives and ways to give thanks by serving others.  Do some things as a family to share love and kindness with neighbors and beyond.  (Get the kids away from video games and movies - long enough to realize there are real people out there who could use a smile and a conversation!)

As families, as groups of friends, as couples, and individuals - what can we do to help heal a broken world?  What can we do to honor those twenty small children's deaths - to make the world a better place in their memories? 

Ann Curry is suggesting 26 acts of kindness for each person killed in the tragedy.  I'm ready to start - how about you?

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Fresh snow...
2.  Warm tea.
3.  A kind husband.
4.  A cuddly dog.
5.  Faith.
6.  Facebook posts that bring smiles.
7.  My nephew, Zion.
8.  Christmas cards.
9.  Parents with amazing kids.
10.  Hope.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Inspirations - Miracles

"Faith in God...  is inseparable from faith in love.  To say that there is nothing that God cannot do is to say there is nothing love cannot do.  It does little good to ask God's help, if we ourselves remain unwilling to open our hearts in places where they are closed.  It is not just God's love for us, but our love for each other, that paves the way for miracles."
--Marrianne Williamson, Everyday Grace

"Where there is great love, there are always miracles."
--Willa Cather

There are a couple of lovely women in my life, struggling with cancer and the horrible toll of various treatments, side effects, and struggles with hope and courage and faith in the future...

I'm thinking of you ladies today - sending you prayers, love, and prayers for love to work miracles!

Miracles do happen!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A great day at church!
2.  The little kids singing "All Things Bright and Beautiful" - and they knew all the words!
3.  Today is Veterans Day - Thank you to all who have served, protecting our country, and demonstrating what a generosity of spirit really looks like!
4.  Operation Christmas Child - and the many boxes donated at church!
5.  All those supporting my Walk to End Hunger!
6.  A supportive - and loving - congregation.
7.  Laughter.
8.  Cuddly dogs.
9.  People who teach us so much through their hardest journeys - and the grace they travel them with.
10.  The ability to give, give, give!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Operation Christmas Child Fun

I've been looking forward to Saturday alllll week!

Hubby and get to share some coffee, a yummy breakfast, and a lazy morning...

Then I get to study, think, and write my sermon all day...

But the best part?!  Our Operation Christmas Child date!

Our church started sponsoring this charity last year, and Mike and I decided to make a date out of filling our two shoeboxes to the max!  They get sent to kids who otherwise may not experience a joyful Christmas and it's a practical way to show God's love.  (Kind of a "massive" conspiracy of kindness!)  Love it!

(The only bummer about the whole thing...?  I wish I could be there when the kids opened the boxes.  I can only imagine the squeals of delight and surprise!)

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  The generosity of strangers.
2.  Time to share.
3.  Resources to share.
4.  Energy to share.
5.  Bouncy balls.
6.  Colored pencils.
7.  Head lamps!
8.  Satuday mornings.
9.  Farm fresh eggs.
10.  Friends getting answers to their questions...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pic of the Week - Voted

Proud to live in the United States!
Proud to "Vote No" to limiting soul mates!
Proud to "Vote No" to a voting practice that eliminates!
Proud to vote "Yes" to a man that rates!
Time to celebrate!
(Cheesy?  Yes.  But a great week!)
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  Ideas.
2.  Dreams.
3.  Answers.
4.  Hope-filled people.
5.  Dinners with old friends.
6.  The hubby spoiling our dog rotten.
7.  Party-planning.
8.  Vanilla tea.
9.  Sweatshirts that bring back high school memories.
10.  A "warm" sunny day and beautiful evening!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Yummy Wednesday - BBQ Spare Rib Sandwiches

Oh yeah!  I spent Saturday evening trying something entirely new - prepping 8 meals to put in bags in the freezer... that would one day go in a crock pot!  (Not usually my thing...)  But, the meals looked good and the price was right, and the timing was good - so we decided to try it out!

And with much trepidation, yesterday we heated up the first meal.  BBQ Spare Ribs.

And it was GOOD.  Really good.  Hubby couldn't stop smiling.

So here it is - I'll share it with you!

Slow-Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs from
You'll need:
1-2 lbs of country-style pork ribs
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 Tablespoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
To Make:
1)  Place pork in resealable gallon-sized freezer bag.
2)  Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl and pour over pork. Mix together in bag and zip closed.
3)  When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.
4)  Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.
We then shredded the meat and ate it on hamburger buns, with a side of mashed potatoes.  Delish!
Makes about 6 servings.
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  A quiet day at work.
2.  Getting things done.
3.  Excited about this season of giving to charities!
4.  So happy how the election turned out!
5.  So proud of my state for voting NO to the marriage amendment and the voter id amendment!
6.  A funny phone message from my sister.
7.  The lovely people that support me in my charity work.
8.  Hugs.
9.  Happy hours.
10.  Onomatopeia...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thankful Tuesdays

Today's weather, news, events:  Misty, cold, dreary morning...  Quite the yucky start to Election Day!  Even Hurricane Sandy has taken a back seat in the news - all political all day!

I am grateful for:  Our traditional Election Day date - Mike and I get up, go get Starbucks, and then go vote together.  I love sharing this moment with him!  We make it fun and special... And then we spend the evening watching the returns together - hopeful and optimistic! 
Also, grateful for fun phone calls from dear friends!

Spiritually I:  Am exploring the idea of generosity...  With money, time, forgiveness, blessings, energy, compliments...  All of it.  What does it mean to be truly generous - and not expect anything in return?

People in my thoughts today:  All of us with hopes and dreams for our country, and our state, wrapped up in the election...  In Minnesota, I especially have all the same sex couples in my mind and heart today.  Our state is voting on making marriage only between a man and a woman - a vote I wish we never even had to make.  Love is love.  And I know some pretty beautiful gay couples - that make me proud!  It makes me sad and disappointed that they are still being discriminated against...  My prayers are with them!

Magical moments (comfort, peace, and love):  Voting this morning.  I didn't know how emotional it would be, until I was filling in the little black circles.  Tears came to my eyes and I got choked up...  It always surprises me how overwhelming it can be when I realize that I - little ol' me - have a say in what happens in our state, country, and world.  It boggles my mind that some people choose not to vote...  Even if my candidate or proposition doesn't win - I tried!

Donations of the heart (acts of kindness, sharing, caring, and forgiveness):  Serving communion at our All Saints Day service and comforting those who were grieving.  Making my parents dinner.  Sending notes to those we miss at church.  Being a listening ear. 

For a better tomorrow (goals, ideas, etc):  Hopefully, getting healthy!  I need to kick my cold!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Go Shelf By Shelf

Mondays are my day to catch up on reading "Happier At Home" by Gretchen Rubin.  I'm trying to take a challenge a week and see what kind of progress I can make.

Last week, I looked around the house at my "shrines" to the things and people that are important to me...  Basically, decorating with clusters of things that have a theme.  I also started a new project for our loft - a shrine based on travel!  One piece done.  A few more to come!

This week's challenge is to go "shelf by shelf."  Basically, clear out clutter.  Funny...  I've been in the mood to do this anyway!  Yippee!

Ms. Rubin says one of her a-ha moments was realizing that "Outer order contributes to inner calm."  I so agree - even when people like to make fun of me for this!  (Admit it - you do!)  Clutter and messes just distract me from being able to relax and enjoy the moment.  So why not get rid of clutter to begin with?

I really liked her tips as she went.  Here are the ones that pertained to me:
1)  Clean as you go - check.  I kind of do that already, especially in the kitchen.  I also pick up the house before bed most nights.  (Some days our house looks like we run a preschool - and all we have is a dog!)
2)  Abandon a project - Ha ha ha ha!  All those projects you've begun, or hoped to begin, but...  Not so much?  Keep the parts you'll use and get rid of the rest!  (I need to do this...)
3)  Clear surfaces.  We do pretty well at this...  But could do better.
4)  Think about appearances - yep.  I already do that.  When I was in college, I was an RA in the dorms.  Our Hall Director pounded into our heads the idea that our rooms should always be clean, neat, and tidy so that residents are always welcome in to talk and visit.  Ever since then, I have a need to keep things ready for company...   Even though we almost never have people "just drop by"!
5)  Beware of problem objects - those that are useless, broken, saved (for no reason), pretty but not practical, tucked away and forgotten - and wouldn't be missed...  Out they go!

I plan to start going through our house again with two requirements - 1) Do we love it?  2) Do we use it?  (Anything that doesn't fit those catagories will get donated, sold, given away, or thrown out.)

How do you deal with clutter?  I'd love to know your tips!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Home.
2.  Pj pants.
3.  Understanding team members.
4.  Leftover chili.
5.  Wi-fi.
6.  People willing to be mentors for my youth group kids!  What a gift!
7.  A lovely comment on a blog post.
8.  Cold meds.
9.  Especially Nyquil.
10.  A cleaned out and organized freezer!

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
--William Morris

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Thoughts for the day...
“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
--John Wesley
"We make a living by what we get,
We make a life by what we give."
--Sir Winston Churchill
“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
--Mitch Albom
Today I am thankful for:
1.  My hubby remembering to set the clocks!
2.  An extra hour of sleep.
3.  A fun Sunday school class.  Love my youth group!
4.  A beautiful Communion/All Saints Day at church.
5.  Being able to offer comfort to others.
6.  Squeezing in a quick afternoon nap.
7.  Dinner with Mom and Dad.
8.  A yummy new chili recipe - Thanks, Alex!
9.  A little "Chubby Hubby."  (And no, I'm not talking about Mike!)
10.  Falling asleep early!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Anniversary Fun

Last night was my "surprise" date with the hubby, celebrating our anniversary!  We take turns every year planning the date - it's kind of a fun way to do things.  (We do the same thing with Valentine's Day.)  No sense in one of us always needing to remember and plan - we both like doing it!

So it was Mike's turn this year - and he did a great job!  What a fun night!

We started by driving to Robbinsdale, MN to a restaurant called "Travail Kitchen and Amusements."  The name alone sounds fun, doesn't it?!  Check out the link for a full explanation of what they do...  It's unlike any place I've ever been - and quite frankly, can't wait to celebrate another special occasion there!
Travail's kitchen crew and staff - so fun!
One of our 8 courses...  Mahi mahi.  Delish!
A little fun in the restroom...  Chalkboard walls.
So fun!

After dinner, we went to the Happy Gnome - a favorite watering hole...  They had tapped a keg of Surly's "Darkness" - so we got to try it!  (Nothing like celebrating 9 years of marriage with a little darkness...)
My date... 

But don't worry - we celebrated with light, too!  I got Mike a lamp that we've had our eye on for awhile!  And it looks lovely in our living room!

Really, if you just look at the words that describe our evening...  Travail (which means "toil"), Surly, and Darkness...  Good thing I brought a little light into it!  Ha!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Breakfast in bed!
2.  Coffee - at home!  (We finally got a new coffeemaker...)
3.  Finishing my project. 
4.  And loving it!  (I'll post a full pic when it's hung on the wall!)
5.  Still talking and laughing about dinner last night.
6.  Cooking together - the whole evening!
7.  Planning meals.
8.  Grocery shopping - we actually had fun!
9.  The dog's new "Bobo."  So funny.
10.  Mumford and Sons' new album, "Babel."  Loving it!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Storyline Friday

"I asked my friend why he thought God did all this, made all these stars that seem to be so superfluous.
My friend said, 'it's obvious why He did it, Don.  He made the stars to dazzle you.'"
--One of my favorite Don Miller quotes, from Storyline 2.0
I'm in the process of working through Don Miller's "Storyline" process...  A process that is designed to help you "create a life plan that will give you clarity and direction for living a great story."
Basically, to help you answer the question, "When the credits roll at the end of my life, how will I have wanted to live?"
If you've read his books, or seen him speak...  At least for me - it was hard not to be inspired!  Sure, he says things occasionally that I disagree with - but he has changed the way I view living my life.  And this is one of the tools I'm attempting to use to plan out my story.  So here goes!
His first tool is to make a timeline of your life so far.  Write down the positive turns and the negative turns - the major events that have made you who you are.  I tend to think my life is pretty "status quo" most of the time...  Maybe not so much. 
Finished plotting these events on your timeline, you're asked to come up with a theme that seems to be a common link between all the ups and downs...  So far, this is what has hit me about my timeline:
I've never been alone.  My challenges have always made me a better person.  I've been incredibly blessed - and have always used the sadnesses and frustrations to share with and bless others.
"Blessed to be a blessing" rings true for me.  Even in the hardest times - God has been at work through my life.
Hmmmm...  Where will this lead?
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  Sleeping in.
2.  Coffee waiting for me.
3.  Time to work on creative projects.
4.  Plans with the hubby tonight!
5.  Warm, cozy cafes.
6.  Humor.
7.  Storyline.
8.  Guidance.
9.  Being loved, valued, and never alone.
10.  Helping others to know they are loved, valued, and never alone, too!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday - Pic of the Week

Today is our Ninth Anniversary!
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
--Lao Tzu
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  My hubby.
2.  Playfulness.
3.  Respect.
4.  Dreams.
5.  Compromise.
6.  Planning for the future.
7.  Cooperation.
8.  Encouragement.
9.  Affection.
10.  Love.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yummy Wednesday - Chorizo Hash

Over a year ago, we started getting our meat from True Cost Farms.  Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, eggs...  It's all good!  Occasionally, they send out suggested recipes for the cuts of meat we get - and this was in the newsletter this month.  Delish!

You'll need:
2-3 links Chorizo sausage, sliced
7 or 8 small potatoes, chopped
2 bell peppers (we used red and green), sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced
Olive oil for cooking
Salt and pepper to taste

To make:
1.  Drizzle an iron skillet with olive oil, and when heated add the potato chunks.  Cook til browned, then place in the oven at 375 degrees.  Let cook for 30 minutes, maybe... 
2.  Drizzle another skillet with olive oil, add the peppers and onion.  Cook til tender, but not soggy. 
3.  Add the potatoes and sausage to the peppers and onions.  Cook til the sausage is warmed up.
4.  And a little salt and pepper - and waa-la! 

This made 4 servings for us, served with some homemade bread and a little Pinot Grigio.


Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Halloween!
2.  Pumpkin cupcakes.
3.  Candlelight.
4.  Yummy dinners.
5.  True Cost Farms.
6.  Getting plane tickets to visit my sister and her family in Idaho!
7.  Cute trick-or-treaters.
8.  Compromises.
9.  People reaching out to help Hurricane Sandy victims.
10.  Our dog' shennanigans.  They always make us laugh.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thankful Tuesday

I recently got one of those journals that you find in all the gift stores...  You know the ones I'm talking about - brown, cardboard cover - "Cooking Journal,"  "Fishing Journal," "Travel Journal," etc. 

I got "Inspirations: A Gratitude Journal."  And I love it!  I thought I'd share some of my thoughts from it on Tuesdays...  Here goes!

Today's weather, news, events:  Finally!  The sun is out - no more gloomy gray!  The news is full of coverage of yesterday's Hurricane Sandy on the east coast.  7 million people without power.  16 died.  So far, Facebook and texting has enabled me to hear from those I know out there - and all are good.  The election has pretty much been put on hold - except for the annoying commercials.

I am grateful for:  Safety of friends in the storm.  Power.  Clean water.  Sunshine.  Warm oatmeal.  Pumpkin cupcakes.  New friendships.  Making plans for travel!  The sounds of owls at night, outside our windows.  Smartwool socks.

Spiritually I:  Have been intrigued with the idea of "self-control" all this week.  Not just on little things, like food cravings and biting my tongue - but the big things like attitude and choices made that reflect my priorities and values.  Hubby and I even had a discussion over dinner last night about this idea...  So many things to think about!

People in my thoughts today:  Obviously, the hurricane victims.  Friends, former youth group kids, kids of friends, etc.  They're all in my prayers today!

Magical moments (comfort, peace, and love):  My favorite moment of the week so far?  Last night, Mike and I were cleaning up after dinner, and I was singing and dancing around like a complete dork.  I asked him, jokingly, if he ever regrets marrying a dork?  He replies, very seriously, "No.  In fact, I love that when we have problems or issues it is never about our marriage...  It's usually about having too much fun together - cooking, going out, traveling, trying new things, etc, etc!"  I just started laughing.  He took my dork comment and made it into a philosphical commentary about our marriage!  I loved it.

Donations of the heart (acts of kindness, sharing, caring, and forgiveness):  Since I work from home on Mondays, so far this week...  Notes of encouragement, took birthday treats for a youth group kid on Sunday, checking in on Hurricane friends...

For a better tomorrow (goals, ideas, etc):  Ha ha ha.  Tomorrow is Halloween.  My goal is to not eat a piece of candy for each one I hand out...!  Practicing self-control, you know!  (I've done good so far - I bought the candy on Friday, and haven't touched it!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Homebody Monday - Shrines

"The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."
--William Morris, The Aims of Art

I recently picked up Gretchen Rubin's new book, Happier at Home and started reading her second happiness project - all about making her home a happier place. Kind of fun, right?

I already think of my home as a happy place - the place I can't wait to be everyday... But what if there's ways to make it even happier?! Oh my... Challenge taken!

Here's one of my favorite quotes about happiness, in the "Preparation" chapter:
"Research shows that happiness is the cause AND effect of many desirable circumstances, such as a strong marriage, more friends, better health, success at work (including making more money), more energy, better self control (there's that idea again!), and even longer life. Although people sometimes assume that the happy are self-absorbed and complacent, just the opposite is true. In general, happiness doesn't make people want to sip daiquiris on the beach; it makes them want to help rural villagers gain better access to clean water..."

Gretchen's first focus for the project is on "Possessions." Not because she feels controlled by things, but because they have a tendency to weigh us down. Unless we "cultivate" them! She says, "Cultivating my possessions, then, wasn't a simple matter of organization, elimination, or accumulation; it was a matter of engagement. When I felt engaged with my possessions, I felt enlivened by them, and when I felt disengaged from them, I felt burdened."

So true...

So the first "challenge" was to "create a shrine." Take the time to highlight and care for the things that engage us. It's an arrangement of things that call attention to something particular, engages us in a particular reaction or mood, and celebrates something that is important to us.

The more I read, the more I realized I already arrange my house with certain "shrines!"
Family and Friends.
Books - the Joy of Reading!
Fun!  (Games, Wii, dvd player, a scrapbook of concert tickets, and a marriage anniversary book to record our life every year!)
Mike's fun.
My Grandpa.  A wood-carver and outdoor enthusiast!
My Grandma, Baba.  Rainbows, angels, and sea shells.
Little reminders of fun moments.
And now? I'm in the process of creating more... For sure one for "Travel."

What kind of "shrines" do you have around your house? I'd love to hear!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Pumpkin granola.
2.  Prayers.
3.  Spellcheck.
4.  Planning events with friends.
5.  A day to work from home.
6.  Duvets.
7.  Funny note from friends.
8.  Sales.
9.  A week with no evening meetings!  Woohoo!
10.  Kayla won a Cities Sampler this year - no standing in line in the cold!  Woohoo!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Inspirations - Attitude

"Everything we encounter throughout the day is a spiritual opportunity, if we approach it with love.  Every moment challenges us to rise to our highest: to choose strength over weakness, forgiveness over blame, faith over faithlessness, and love over fear.  And when we can't, we ask God to help us."

"...The attention we pay to the nature of our thinking, therefore, is the most powerful attention we can pay."
--Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace

This morning in church, the sermon was about the "fruits of the Spirit" - specifically, self-control.  Many jokes were made about eating too much Halloween candy, and using the vices we each have to unhealthy results.  We even watched a video about kids and the "marshmallow test" that's used to test delayed gratification...  And while, yes, I have some definate issues with self-control in those areas (chocolate, anyone?) - my evening reading tonight made me think about the issue of self-control in a bigger sense, too.

Attitude.  In a conversation this week, a woman was filling me in on the hard time she and her husband are having...  And by the end of the conversation, she said, "I look at the other prayer requests and realize this is nothing really.  It will get better.  We pray and we keep moving forward and we're still very blessed."

Attitude is everything.  How we choose to view the world and the situations we find ourselves in - that's everything.  If I dwell on the problems of my day - I forget to notice the little things my husband does to make my life easier.  If I let one negative, biting comment get me down - I overshadow all the wonderful words that have lifted me up.  If I hold grudges, I miss out on new possibilities and a lighter heart.  If I live in my past, I miss out on the joy of today and the hope of tomorrow.

I pray today that God guides me how to live a bigger and better life - through self-control.  Control over my thoughts and attitude.  I pray that my heart is light and full of love everyday.  And when it's not...  That I remember to ask for help.

(And yes...  Ditto on the chocolate addiction, too!)

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Hubby finally turned the furnace on!
2.  Celebrating Maggie's birthday with Ghiradelli brownies.  Yum.  (Chocolate, yes.  But I only had one!)
3.  Youth group kids making me laugh.
4.  Celebrating another birthday at church this morning - a spunky, lovely 90 year old!
5.  Sharing lunch with a friend and his two little ones.
6.  Yummy chili on a cool day!
7.  Watching my hubby play with Nola and Fin.  He's crazy.  And they loved it.
8.  A happy dog.
9.  Cuddling on the coach for our evening shows.
10.  Starting a new book!

"For as any one of us finds our wings, the entire world is lifted."
--Marianne Williamson

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Fun - Concerts, Beer, and Witches, Oh My!

"Three things are needed for a good life, good friends, good food, and good song."
--Jason Zebehazy

I love when the fun of the week is almost all spontaneous, shared with friends, and a little silly.
Life is good. 

The weekend started Thursday with an call from the hubby during the workday, asking if we could go to a concert that evening.  A Fine Frenzy and Joshua Radin.  Cheap tickets.  New venue.  Good music.  A friend free to join us.  Sounds good to me!

Friday night we were supposed to be camping out in line for our allotment of the 2012 Surly "Darkness" beer.  By late morning we realized we weren't tough enough to camp in 20 degree weather...  So we invited another friend over for some beer tasting.  Warm and cozy.  Good company.  Some great beers.  Another lovely evening!

Today, was our church's annual UNICEF carnival for the little kids of the church and neighborhood.  I got to get dressed up, play with little kids, eat "mummy dogs," and laugh at our magic show.  It may be kind of a silly event - but I do look forward to it every year!
What fun did you have this week?
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  Cuddles.
2.  "Haute Chocolate" nail polish.
3.  Teenage boys who volunteer at little kids' events.
4.  Laughing with friends.
5.  Adorable pics of kids in costumes.
6.  The love and labor that parents put into their kids' costumes.
7.  The hubby's work winterizing our house!
8.  Making brownies for a youth group member's birthday.
9.  A "smiling" coyote enjoying a sunspot in the tall grass on the side of the road this morning!
10.  A sunny day!  Finally!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Creations - Travel Memory Book

Ok.  I'm getting corny...  But this seemed like fun. 

On Pinterest I saw someone who fastened a bunch of envelopes together in order to save scraps from special occasions... and I thought, that would be fun on our vacation!  I'm always picking up brochures, maps, stickers, tickets, etc, etc - and they all get stuffed in my purse and I end up throwing it all away.

So, I tried out this idea...

I bought large envelopes, decorated them with the best scrapbooking paper EVER - camping
themed!  Love it!

Added little note papers so I could write notes about each day.  Then, fastened them all together with a couple of rings - and ta da!  I'm ready to go!

I think I'll keep it in the glove box during the day - easy access to put away my "collections" and then as we sit around the campfire at night, we'll write down our favorite parts of the day.

Then, when I get back...  Just think how easy my blogging about the trip will be! 

I'm a dork.  I know.

I still love it.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Pioneer Woman's "lemon baked pasta."  (Hubby's out of town, so I went girly-food this weekend!)
2.  Starting to pack for our trip.
3.  All the laundry is done!  Woo-hoo!
4.  Dr. Bronner's soap.  Great for camping.
5.  A Minnesota gift for a friend.  I can't wait to give it to her!
6.  Finally framing a card we bought in Portland, OR, last spring.  Looks great in our bathroom!

7.  Paying off a bunch more debt this month.  Yes!
8.  Paying cash for our vacation.  Double Yes!
9.  A turkey on our patio.  (He was too skittish for a picture.  The little bugger!)
10.  Our dog misses her dad...  So sad.  But so cute.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yumminess - Banana Almond Smoothie

Mmmm...  I saw this recipe on the TV talk show, "The Chew," and knew I had to try it!  I've been looking for a new yummy, healthy, smoothie recipe.

It's sweet, but not too sweet.  Filling, but not too filling.  And smooth.  And creamy.  And cold.  And delicious!

Banana Almond Smoothie from Daphne Oz on "The Chew"

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (I use non-fat)
1 banana
1 Tbsp almond butter (I use slightly salted, creamy)
1 scoop protein powder (I use vanilla-flavored)
1 tsp psyllium husks (I use Metamucil- coarse, non-flavored)
1/4 cup almond milk

Blend it all together.  If you'd like it a little sweeter, add a dash of honey. 
Then, add a few ice cubes and blend again.

It's that easy!


Things I am thankful for today:

1.  These smoothies.  I look forward to them!
2.  My blender.  It makes us happy.  Smoothies and malts.  Yum.
3.  Strawberry vanilla jam.  Homemade.  Yes, please.
4.  Learning new things.
5.  Reading up on Yellowstone.  So excited for our vacation.
6.  The book, "Take This Bread," by Sara Miles.  Loved it!
7.  Highlighters and post-its.
8.  Living in a neighborhood with a nice pool.  I will miss this if we ever move.
9.  Google.
10.  My new picture ($5.99 at Michael's - and it makes me smile!).
("Find joy in the journey...  Relish each day as you live it.")
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