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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Just 3 Days

Only three days until Christmas.
Hopefully, I made my last trip to Walmart until after next weekend.
I have gone to shopping twice a week because of all of the fresh veggies,
but not this week ...

We are stocked up and ready for a warm and rainy celebration.
It will be a quiet day here in NC.
We will have a guest for dinner and whatever portion of the day he wishes to stay.
I picked up a puzzle for a quiet afternoon
and the ingredients for homemade pizza at night.

Quiet or busy for you?

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Lamb of God

Revelation 5:13
Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power,
be unto him that sitteth upon the throne,
and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

May I not forget in the busyness of the season
to honor the Savior whom we celebrate.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

An Open Letter of Thanks

Dear dad and mom,

It is true that the older I get the more I appreciate all that you have done for me.

I was blessed to be raised in a home without want.
Thank you for not giving us everything we wanted.
Thank you for teaching me to squeeze out every drop of toothpaste
and for teaching me to drain the old ketchup into the new bottle.
Thank you for teaching me to take care of my clothes and my toys and belongings.
Thank you for teaching me that debt is bad
and the value of saving for large purchases.
Thank you for making me pay and work for my advanced education.

Thank you for investing much time and money into music lessons: piano, organ, flute.
Those lessons are a help in my ministry and will hopefully be a blessing in churches 
around the nation and maybe even the world through my students.

Thank you for your faithfulness in caring for my grandparents.
The work is hard, discouraging, and often thankless,
but you do it graciously and are a positive example.

Thank you for encouraging my marriage and home.
From the beginning, you recognized my hubby as my new leader.
Thank you for understanding the difficult balance between family visits in the east and in the west.

Thank you for your example of hospitality.
From college groups, missionaries, and church families ...
thank you for making entertaining common place and low stress.

Thank you for not running to doctor with each sniffle and fever.
Thank you for making "sick days" undesirable and rare.
Thank you for doing your best to understand food allergies
without making us feel like a burden or an additional struggle.

Thank you for encouraging me to think for myself,
to be independent, to push myself.
From leaving me in FL, to pushing me to meet state standards in High School,
to insisting that I stick with music lessons and stressful performances.
The character you taught is a benefit to me today.

Thank you for your involvement in the local church.
Your involvement showed me many "behind the scenes" ministries
that need attention or additional workers.

Thank you for a slightly more than basic education in cars and their workings.
Thank you for teaching me to drive standard.
Thank you for teaching me to listen for the different noises that might save a big repair bill.

I know that I do not thank you enough,
but I definitely think it much.

I hope that my note will encourage other parents
to stay the course,
to teach by example,
to demand more.

I love you both.
Merry Christmas!
Thank you!



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I Am Blessed

It has been a week to remember how blessed I really am.

As I shared my devotion finding with my hubby last week,
his excitement at my growth reminded me how blessed I am.

As hubby helped another student with her car,
I was reminded how blessed I was to always have faithful cars to drive
and how much my dad taught me about caring for a car (even if that involved a long distance call).

As we revamp in the house,
I am reminded of God's physical blessing each day.

As we mail off cards and gifts,
I am reminded of the blessing of family and friends who share our faith and life
and of all of those who pray for me often.

As I look at the Christmas tree each morning,
I focus on a name of Christ
and I am reminded of His comfort, His power, His healing, His care, His salvation.

God is good!  His blessings are different in each person's life.
I am thankful for those blessings He has bestowed on me.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Better Off Without It

The inside transformation continues:
The sofa-sleeper has been ordered.
The former sofa taken to its new home.
More furniture slated for sale or Goodwill.

I have spent some time today listing furniture for sale ...
Craigslist, One Man's Junk, ...
I spent some time searching for some places to list on Facebook,
but I had to get off.

Why?

It was too depressing.
It seems that many of those in my past have undergone transformations as well.
Friends who have changed immensely,
standards that have changed,
children who have grown and are making poor choices,
immodesty, ...

Maybe Facebook is of benefit to you and in keeping up with friends and family;
but for me, I am better off without it.






Monday, December 14, 2015

Easy Appetizer

We had a church "Crunch and Munch" last night.
Always the dilemma - what do I make?

Last night, I went with easy.

7 Layer Dip

1 bean layer (mine was mashed black beans with some salsa and cilantro)
sour cream or greek yogurt layer
salsa layer
guacomole layer (avocados, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic blended smooth)
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese
sliced olives

-Served with tortilla chips

YUMMY! and Easy!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Another Proof Copy

This week, I am thankful to have finished a fourth book.
Last weekend, we finished editing for a study on Philippians.
On Tuesday, the cover arrived and I requested the proof copy.
So we are about a week away from receiving the proof
and then we will have a 2016 release!


So thankful.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Need Some Encouragement?

Do you need some encouragement?
It is easy to find. 
Just read the first few verses of any epistle ...
it will give you a reason to be thankful, 
a reminder of how blessed you are or could be if trusting in Christ.

For example,

Galataians 1:3-5
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father,
and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
 Who gave himself for our sins,
that he might deliver us from this present evil world,
according to the will of God and our Father:
 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Updating

The latest transformation is a work in progress.
With the outside work finished, 
we are looking inside again.

I recently lamented that I made so many choices for decorating as a "kid."
My tastes and styles have changed as well as my "practicality."
So we are assessing the living room - AKA all purpose room.
It must be a gym (large open area),
sitting room for company,
office (2 computers),
and my practice studio.
Oh - and  the reason to look for a change ...
optional guest room.

We have given away our sofa and are looking for a sofa bed.
And so we rework the whole room.
To recover the LazyBoy recliner or not ...
To add a chair or not ...
Colors?
Sizes?

Stay tuned ... we should have some changes soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Sense of Hearing

It may sound silly ...
but I am thankful for the noisy trash truck,
and the ability to hear it.

I almost missed it this morning.
The loud truck and the amazing gift of hearing
gave me the time to get the trash to the curb on time.
(Actually, I met the trash man crossing the lawn,
and he took the trash to the curb for me.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Warm and Cozy

Twinkling lights,
scent of pine,
messages of joy,
Nativities pointing to a great Redeemer and Savior.

The house is decorated,

the lights are shining,
...
This homemaker is happy.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Praise


Psalm 40:3 
And he hath put a new song in my mouth,
even praise unto our God:
many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

An answer to the "Why me's?" of life ...
So I can praise in the hard time ...
so others can be drawn to God ...

Monday, November 30, 2015

Another Interesting Thanksgiving

It seems that the "bugs" have us on their calendar for Thanksgiving.
Hubby came home sick on Wednesday night
and spent Thanksgiving Day and the next 2 days sick with fever.

We are glad for the days that allowed him to rest.
We are thankful that it wasn't as fierce as other times.
We are thankful for the prayers of friends who were concerned about us.
We are thankful that our less processed diet seemed to lessen the severity.
We are thankful that so far I have come through unscathed.

As the temps drop,
I am looking for more ways to stay clear of smoothies and salads.
Hubby has been enjoying lots of "Clean the Fridge" Soups.

Here is a good option for breakfast with low sugar.

Low Sugar Baked Oatmeal

1 banana sliced
2 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 mashed banana
1 1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP brown sugar

Mix oats, baking powder, and salt.
Mix egg, mashed banana, milk, and vanilla.
Mix wet and dry.
Put mix in greased 8x8 pan.  Layer sliced banana on bottom, in middle, or on top.
Bake 26 minutes at 375*.
Top with Brown Sugar and Broil for 4 more minutes.

I enjoyed it warm, but it was also good cold ;)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Scale


do -
Domain - a beautiful place to call home

re -
Redeemer - Jesus' work on the cross to offer salvation to all
rememberance - of God's goodness each year and through difficulties
recipes - new meals since May that have solved many health problems

mi -
missionaries - sharing the good news near and far
miles -  traveled in safety
mistakes - that God forgives and that enable me to grow

fa -
Father - a heavenly Father 
family - those near and far

sol -
solitude - slowly learning to appreciate the quiet

la -
laughter - to lighten the heavy days
labor - how things are accomplished, all of the improvements at church

ti -
time - it is a gift, not a right

do -
doting hubby - I am glad that I don't have to wonder if he loves me - 
he tells me and everyone else

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ramp it Up!

It is the busy day before the holiday.
I decided to repaint the exterior of the house this week - Smart thinking?
So I will finish the back of the trailer today.
Need to make a pumpkin pie,
Cranberry Waldorf Salad,
and prep the Turkey for the oven tomorrow.

Looking forward to spending tomorrow afternoon with some of our church family - 
at least those without family in the area.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Little Reminder

Psalm 100:4
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Who Needs Starbucks?

It is cooling down in the Carolinas.
Cold mornings and sunny afternoons.
The breakfast smoothies are changing to warm breakfasts.
The cold mornings call for a special drink.
Something warm and satisfying.
I found this one on the Teeccino site.
Teeccino is an herbal coffee alternative.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 1/2 c brewed teecino
3 TBSP Pumpkin Puree
1 TBSP Maple Syrup
1/3 c milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger

I throw all of the ingredients in the blender and VOILA!
It really is as good or better than Starbucks - and better for the budget.
Going to try a Ginger Peach Hot Drink over the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sorry for the Break

I do apologize for the lapse in posts.
I was working on 2 bathrooms at the church.
We finished one bathroom and planned for a break, 
but ...
imminent guests hurried us right into the second project.
The rest of the fellowship hall is up next,
but hopefully we have a little time before that has to be done.
The "fun" of the project is painting brick walls - so many crevices :)

With all the work at church, 
the rest of my time was spent trying to stay afloat on the work at home.
Early this week took us to Raleigh again for hubby's training.
Always nice to see something different.

Now it is time to focus on exterior house painting and Thanksgiving - 
looks like a small gathering at the church this year.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Singing the Scriptures

Hubby is now preaching the book of Isaiah.
This means that he wrapped up Philippians,
 and we are working on another physical book of the lessons that he just preached.
In connection with the new series,
hubby wanted to help the congregation to learn a "Hymn" in Isaiah.
While we were travelling in October, we put Isaiah 12 to the tune,
"Look Ye Saints, the Sight is Glorious."
It was a fun endeavor and I love being able to learn Scripture so easily
as well as having the beneficial words going through my mind.

Isaiah 12

And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee:
though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away,
and thou comfortedst me.
 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid:
for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name,
declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
 Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.
 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion:
for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Jewish Celebration

Hubby and I were both teaching the story of Esther for the past 4 weeks.  We finished the story on Sunday and it coincided with a Fellowship Dinner.  The kindergarten teacher within me raised its head and I had to see if I could make a delicious Purim Cookie (known as Hamantaschen).  Hubby was thrilled with the idea (and the results).  It was a little labor intensive (but not too bad) and the dough would make a very good sugar cookie without the filling.


Gluten Free Hamantashen

Ingredients

  • 11 oz Prunes (dried plums)pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup Raisins
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/3 cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 cup Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1 cup Arrowroot Flourplus 1/2 cup for dusting
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup+ 1 Tbsp to add to the filling
  • 1/4 cup Organic Coconut Oilmelted



Process

  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, add the prunes, raisins, water, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Heat over medium heat.
  2. Bring filling to a boil, while stirring. Continue to stir frequently, while "mashing" the filling with a wooded spoon.
  3. Once the liquid has reduced, and you have a thick filling of plump prunes and raisins, remove from heat and set aside for filling the cookies.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, arrowroot, and salt.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract, maple syrup, and melted coconut oil. Stir until all ingredients are combined and you have a ball of cookie dough. **You can use your hands for this as well.
  7. Place ball of dough on to a sheet of parchment paper, adding additional arrowroot flour and kneading the dough until it is firm enough to be rolled and cut into shapes.
  8. Place another sheet of parchment paper over the dough, and roll into a 1/4 inch thick layer.
  9. Dust dough with additional arrowroot, as well as dip the cookie cutter in arrowroot flour, so the dough does not stick.
  10. Carefully cut circles in the dough, and remove the excess dough from around the circles.
  11. Add about a teaspoon (give or take) of filling to the center of the cookies, and carefully fold three sides in, making a triangular shape. Pinch the corners in to seal the cookies.
  12. Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet, and bake cookies for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
  13. Repeat this process using a fresh sheet of parchment, for the remainder of the dough, until you have used all of the cookie dough.
  14. Any remaining filling can be frozen and saved for future use.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Addicted to Renovations

There is not much left to renovate on my home,
so this week 
I am working at church again.

Our prophet's chamber has not had a face lift in a number of years.
Our many guests are very gracious and are simply glad for a place to sleep and clean up,
but I fondly call the bathrooms ... the pit!
So ...
this week we are working on the women's room (also the home of the shower).

Sanding the wood stalls,
coating with a peel stop primer,
painting with high gloss paint.

Painting the walls.

Painting the molding.

Laying new tiles.

Possibly painting the vanities.

Replacing some broken toilets.

Will keep me busy this week ...
  
Then ...
the men's room.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Just a Small Tweak!

We are big time avocado lovers.
Avocado with breakfast eggs,
avocado on salad,
avocado on chili,
avocado on BLT's.

We LOVE avocados.

Typically we will just mash it with some garlic salt and lime juice for a quick guacamole.
YUMMY!

Recently we found a way to turn that guac into a meal.
It is a bean spread that works well on a sandwich or with crackers or on flat bread.

It is really simple.

Everyday Bean Spread

1-2 cups cooked beans (any type works)
1 avocado
lime juice
garlic salt
cilantro

Mash with a fork or blend in food processor,
Delicious!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More Than a Picture on a Fridge

Today, I am thankful for sweet nieces and nephews.
We don't get to see them as often as we would like.
They grow so fast.
It would be easy for us to be as strangers - to be merely the picture on the wall or fridge.
We recently visited with 8 of the bunch.
I am thankful that they each warmly welcomed us.
I am thankful that some are ready to come for a visit (on their own).

I am thankful for some who call or email for advice or information.
I am thankful for thankful for the stories that keep us "alive" in their hearts and minds.
I am thankful for their friends who adopt us as well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Public and the Private

I have a pet peeve.
I hate when a person belittles marriage, their spouse, or their in laws.
I hate when people devalue marriage in "jokes."
I hate when partners correct their spouse in a very public setting.


I want the words that people hear from me to be those that build up marriage,
to be those that hold marriage in high regard,
to be those that praise and honor my husband,
to honor my parents as well as my in laws.

Are there things to be addressed in marriage?
Of course.
Do I have weaknesses and failings?
Of course.
Does hubby?
Yes.
These should be taken care of at home.
We should be a team.

I should be able to trust that hubby will not speak ill of me
and he should be able to trust me too.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Home Again!

It is good to be home again.

We took a week and made the trek to NY to see family.
The drive was beautiful through WV, VA, PA, and NY.
We were able to visit with my parents, my grandparents, and one sibling (and family).

It was a pleasant trip and we were able to stay healthy through it all.
We missed the snow by only 4 days!

On our way home,
we did stop in Asheboro to go to the zoo.
The otters were being a little ornery.
We passed them at 10:30 ... sleeping.
We passed them at 1:30 ... sleeping.
On our last try ... we found one awake and in time the other joined in the fun.
They were such a delight.

We enjoyed the time away,
the change of pace,
a little extra rest,
the time with family ...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Goin' to the Zoo

Today, I am thankful for a trip to the zoo.
It is an Anniversary Trip from my hubby.
The weather is too hot in August to enjoy an outdoor adventure,
so we will enjoy this fall day.

Hoping for a glimpse of this little guy.


Gotta love those playful little otters.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Our Daily Bread

Today, I am thankful for our literal bread.
If you have met the needs of a gluten-free friend or family member,
you may know that a staple, like bread, is a major investment - $3-5 a loaf.

I am thankful that God led me to 5 loaves of bread in the past 2 weeks.
Each loaf ... $1.


I am thankful for His daily provision and encouragement.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Daily Tending

They say a woman's work is never done.
I believe that that may be true.
Today, I am cleaning up the garden,
picking up from the storms we had last weekend,
pulling and/or spraying weeds.
Many of these tasks seem to come back far too often.
Meals are cooked daily, laundry regularly, sweeping, ironing ...
But ...
I like a trim and tidy yard.
I like a clean home.
I like the results of the work.
The same applies to my marriage.


How have you tended your marriage today?
Have you worked to strengthen it?
Or are you tearing it down?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

More Transformation




I veer toward cause #1.
I like to speak or act before I think,
before I pray,
before I get all the facts.

#2 catches me sometimes too.
Not because I have ideas that I won't follow through on,
but because I dwell on things without addressing them properly
(think swelling bitterness).

Can you solve some problems today?
... by slowing down?
... or by taking care of things now?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday Transformation

It has been a rainy couple of days.
Not a lot of work done outside.
Even the inside work was slow, because it just seemed so hard to get going.
In fact, the rain is supposed to continue through this week.

So I was thinking about a transformed life.


Do I get as excited about transforming my life as I do about transforming my home?
Is there a joy in cleaning out the clutter of sin,
in sprucing up,
in renovating?

It requires a change of mind.
It requires standing against the popular flow.
It takes as much work as a home renovation - even more.


Monday, September 28, 2015

CopyCat

My frequent goal is to make eating out less tempting.
With food intolerance in the home, it is not as tempting -
most of the "safe" food is in neighboring cities like Spartanburg, SC or Charlotte, NC.

The other night, I got a text from hubby.
"What's for dinner?"
"Rice Bowls."
"From Chipotle?"
"No - Copycat."

The nearest Chipotle is at least 45 minutes away.
It is a favorite, but ...
it is not too hard to duplicate.

We had some cilantro-lime rice.
That's as easy as it sounds.
Cook rice - add cilantro and lime juice to taste.

Top with cooked beans.

Add cheese, guacamole (avocado mashed with garlic salt and lime juice),
tomato or salsa.

We didn't add any meat, but some grilled chicken would have been great.
Sour cream is also an option - but we left that off as well.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Opportunities

Titus 2:3-5
 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness,
not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
 That they may teach the young women to be sober,
 to love their husbands, to love their children,
 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands,
 that the word of God be not blasphemed.


On this Thankful Thursday,
I am thankful for opportunities to try to fulfill this verse.
As a younger woman, I imagined fulfilling this verse in my own home.
That has not been the case, but the Lord gives me opportunities in abundance.
I hope to reinforce these things through this blog with my dear nieces.
I have been given the opportunity to teach Sunday School each week.
The Lord has placed us in a college community with a few young women each year.
God is good.
God is faithful.
God cares.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Outwardly Thankful

The fine line ...
difficult to walk sometimes.

I have thought much about the fine line between
seeming prideful and and seeming ungrateful.

Example?
Sure!

You know when something good happens to you.
You go on vacation.
You receive an answer to prayer.
You find a great deal.

How do you walk the line?
The line between bragging and being thankful.

There is balance.

I know some people who  tend to play down everything good that happens.
It seems as if nothing good ever happens to them.
The problem lies when others realize that this just isn't true.
It then seems as though that person is never thankful.

I tend toward the unthankful side as well.
In an effort to avoid seeming prideful,
I fail to give God and others adequate thanks and praise.
This is part of the reasoning behind Thankful Thursday on the blog.
I hope it is a blessing to you,
and it reminds me to express thanks for all the many "tokens for good" in my life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Make it Last

Earlier this summer,
we were able to purchase some new deck furniture.
Real furniture ... with cushions.
With the purchase, we longed to protect our investment,
so I bought some covers.


Within 1 1/2 months,
my covers were tearing.
I duct taped.
But soon they were disintegrating as I tried to tape.

So what was left of the covers went into the trash.
I asked the company for a refund.
They obliged - I love good customer service.
I made my own covers.


Our local Walmart, the only fabric in town,
did not have enough of either color,
so I have bi-colored covers.
They are much heavier and will hopefully last longer than the first (much longer)!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Three and Four

On Friday, I visited our local discount grocery.
They had cases of blueberries and blackberries.
Score!
I love any and all fruits and bought a case of each.

Now, what to do with them.

It was church supper weekend,
so I went in search of a dessert.

I found one that looked promising.

I made one on Saturday afternoon.
Hubby wanted some for dessert Saturday night.
I made another on Saturday night for church Sunday.
I just finished making another two for our evening treats on the porch.
It's hard to feel bad about it ... it is sweetened only with the fruit and dates :)


Blueberry and Blackberry Crumble

2 c fresh blueberries
2 c fresh blackberries
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 c almond flour
1/4 c chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
4 pitted dried dates
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
1/4 c sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350*
Place berries in 9x9 baking pan and pour juice over.
Combine almond flour, dates, walnuts, cinnamon and salt in food processor.
Add in coconut oil and process on high for 5-10 sec or until thoroughly combined.
Pour topping into a bowl and mix in the almonds.
Sprinkle topping over the perries and lightly pres into the fruit with spoon.
Bake 30-40 minutes, until browned.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Just Around the Corner

Today, I am thankful for ...
a touch of fall in the air,
open windows,
no a/c for 5 days,
cool mornings,
fall cleaning,
clear night skies,
warm drinks in the morning,
...

Hope you are having a good day too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Spiritual Health (and Yours, too)

Frequently, I look for ways to boost my physical health.
There are so many ideas.
So many different plans.
They all boil down to two elements.
Eat Right
Exercise Often

Maybe the eating recommendations are different - 
clean eating, calorie counting, paleo ...
Maybe the exercise is different -
pilates, cardio, strength, flexibility, Crossfit ...
More than one is usually required to be balanced.

There is no magic pill - no quick fix.
It takes discipline and hard work.
It is difficult at first,
but eventually it becomes habit
and a necessary part of each day.

My spiritual health is very similar.
There is no 1-2-3 ...
nothing that doesn't require discipline and self denial.

I need to eat right by studying the Word - 
Not extra "fluff" - not the words of others ...
The WORD!
I need exercise in the Word.
Reading, Memorizing, Meditating, Praying - 
All part of being balanced.
It is hard work.

But eventually it becomes habit,
and it becomes harder and harder to skip,
to cheat,
to go back to the "fluff" and garbage.

So how is my spiritual health today?
Have I eaten well?
Am I exercising and becoming stronger?
And you?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Transforming the Unseen

We awoke to fall temperatures on Monday.
It was our first full day without the A/C.
With the windows wide open,
I knew it was time to start Fall Cleaning.

Monday, I cleaned the Master Bed and Bath.
Of course, my hair was the major problem in that area,
but I also got all the bedding and pillows cleaned.
I also tackled the laundry room.
I had not moved the washer and dryer since we moved in.
Two years was too long - Gross.

Today I tackled the kitchen and living room.
Nothing too surprising.

The transformation cannot really be seen,
but I "feel" the difference.
I breathe easier.
The clutter is back under control,
the dust is at bay ...
and if I need to move tomorrow :)
I won't be embarrassed when we pull the furniture and appliances away from the walls.

Tomorrow ...
the guest bath and bedrooms.

Next week ...
the closets.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Any Reason to Party

Friday night we were given the opportunity to host a party.
Some of our church family is making a move and we had a little "going away."
A simple little picnic.

Grilled Chicken Tenders with a Mediterranean Marinade
Deviled Eggs
Veggies and Dips
Fruit Salad
Baked Beans
Chips
Brownies
Apple Crisp
Lemon Bars

I had a good time experimenting with some new veggie dips.
I enjoyed a dill dip.
Hubby liked the one listed below.

Onion and Garlic Dip

1 c mayo
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp capers
2 green onions
1/4 c fresh parsley
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp chili powder
sea salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to blender and pulse until combined.
Store 3-5 days.
Good with veggies, chips, and crackers!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Home Office

Well, I don't exactly have a home office.
I do have a laptop ... and a corner of the living room where I typically work.

I recently updated my corner to help to organize (and hide) some of my paperwork and office tools.
Hubby helped me get everything tidied up this weekend.
And my office is much more usable :)
Small steps ...


The top drawer holds pens, papers, calculator ...
The second miscellaneous papers ...
The bottom ... my snuggly blanket that doesn't really match the living room!

No Labor Labor Day

Hubby and I have enjoyed this holiday.
We slept in past 4:30 - Woo Hoo!
Enjoyed a nice breakfast.
Did our Bible study without watching the clock,
Worked out together.
Went for a 3 mile walk.
Shared a simple lunch.
Did some work at church (OK that was labor - but it was fun together)
cleaned up.
Shared a fun dinner on the porch.
Exercised again together.
Bed time.

We did not have a picnic or fire up the grill.
We did however receive a recipe by email that enticed us ...
so we ran to the store for the ingredients.

It was a salmon dip.
I think it needed some tweaking.
Check it out ... what would you have added?
I think fresh dill ... or some seafood seasoning.
It was a fun meal anyway with cucumber slices, baby carrots, and crackers.

Salmon Chowder

Ingredients1 can (14.75 ounces) wild Alaskan salmon
1 can (15.5 ounces) small white beans
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
chopped green onion (optional)
InstructionsDrain the salmon and remove skin and bones.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Combine all ingredients except the green onion in a food processor
and process until smooth
  1. Top with chopped green onion if desired.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Improving the Staycation Experience

Welcome - Come Sit a Spell!

With busy schedules,
lack of time off,
limited day trip sites,
we often settle for staycations.

They may be a restful weekend or
they may be an short evening.
We have tried to make our home to be as comfortable
and stress-free as the best B&B.

We recently finished the back porch and we love the added outdoor space to enjoy.



The porch was a moldy, peeling mess ...
but now it is a fun, pretty place to spend an evening.
We pull out the folding camp chairs (hiding in the deck box) 
and enjoy a fruit smoothie, 
a warm Teeccino,
or a bowl of popcorn
as the sun sets.

We use the front when we are feeling like chatting with the neighbors who are walking in the evenings.
We use the back when we want a little more privacy.
The rails are made of metal conduit.
The post caps match the front as does the floor toner.

Solar lights on the posts.
Deck box holding 4 folding camp chairs.


Monday, August 31, 2015

If You Can't Find It ...

... Make It!

A couple of months ago,
Aldi had a wonderful flavor of hummus available.
We usually bought roasted red pepper flavor,
but sun dried tomato and basil caught my eye.
We tried it and loved it.
Unfortunately, it must have been of those rare Aldi products
and when I returned for more ... there was none!

So I decided to make it ...
and it was good ... really good.

1 can Chickpeas
2/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/4 c. basil
2-5 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
garlic (to taste)

all whirled together for a healthy snack ...
Delicious!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Refreshing

Today I am thankful for a little refreshment.
Hubby and I just returned from Raleigh.
He was attending another training class,
and I went along for the ride.

The time allowed me to have a change of scenery.
I was able to set up another book for publication soon.
I worked on a house project.
We both caught up on some rest.
We were able to have some quality talks prompted by a change of schedule and location.

I am thankful for times of refreshing,
times to refocus,
times to recharge.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Just a Little Effort

Do you ever have those little wake up calls in life?
Reality checks?
Subtle (or not-so-subtle) knocks upside the head?

There are constant news stories and coworker stories
of failing marriages.
Marriage takes work - and I want to fight for mine.

I got ready with hubby this morning.
That means that I had done my hair,
put on some makeup,
and was out of my workout attire
when he left for work.

My reality check?

He just kept staring at me.
He was full of complements (he is anyway, but more than usual).
He was ready to take me on a "date."

And I was reminded to just do the little things.
Combed hair -
vacuum lines on the carpet when he walks in at night -
a tidy place for him to study.

While it does not make sense to always be cleaned up before hubby leaves 
(usually a workout, some time in the garden, and housecleaning is beckoning),
I need to remember to put my best foot forward.
It takes nominal effort and very little time
to do a little extra for my appearance
to encourage my hubby
to keep our relationship strong
to show that he is worth the effort.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Still Working

The porch has progressed,
just not to picture stage.
It is trying to get everything done between a 45-50 hour work week 
and church lesson and sermon prep.
My poor dear one hates to leave a project unfinished,
but "slow and steady wins the race."

Hubby finished the railings on Saturday.
I need to stain them and then he will "pop" them in place.
The stairs are also in place thanks to some help from a friend on Saturday.

On Thursday, I will sand the railings.
On Friday, I hope to stain the floor, stairs, and railings.
On Saturday, hubby hopes to button things up.

Picture coming next Transformation Tuesday.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Changing Body Chemistry

I have mentioned that we have undergone another eating change.
It seems that I just get one style down and there is something more to learn.
Perhaps to many it seems fickle.
To some we may seem extreme.
This is more of a "clean eating" than anything else
and fully complements the dairy free and gluten free diets that we have already embraced.

Many years ago, I sought a definite/strict plan to lose weight.
Food is a difficulty for me.
Self-discipline in this area is hard.
There definitely is comfort in food.
It fills quiet hours.
I had great success with the first plan.
It let me choose between 1200, 1400, and 1600 calories.
It set out what I needed to eat at each meal and even for snacks and treats.
I modified some for hubby so we could still eat breakfast and dinner together.

When I began searching again,
I found an eating plan that offered plans at my calorie level as well as for hubby.
I bought the plan for $10.
Hubby agreed to give it a try.  He loves to encourage me in any way that he can.
After I looked at it, I thought that it would be short lived - 
there was no way that hubby could eat all those apples, oranges, and bananas - 
he was highly allergic.

But we tried it.
1 day,
2 days,
3 days ...
now after 3 months ...
it is stuck.

We have known that a body could be acidic.
We knew the effects of coffee ... and sought to avoid it ...
but by limiting processed food and most red meats ...
hubby can now eat fruit as he often longed too.
The processed meats (a daily staple in his lunch box),
the overdose of sugar (we both have a strong sweet tooth),
and the glut of crackers and snacky snacks were no the best for us.
I have left most of my herb supplements behind
and hope that they are a thing of the past.

While the diet may not work for everyone,
while we still enjoy an occasional DD iced latte or DQ moolatte,
we just like feeling really GOOD!
I am excited to see how hubby's seasonal allergies will be come March/April - 
hoping for great relief.

I know that there are many people out there with unexplained health conditions.
Doctors can search, poke, prod, and medicate for years.
It doesn't hurt to try a diet change - it may be the key.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Building Again

This week's Tuesday Transformation is a "Work-In-Progress."



Before shots - I thought I had better and didn't take any new ones.
We had repaired the hole, but couldn't fix the whole problem without removing the old decking.



 Last Thursday, we removed all of the old decking and railing.
Friday, we went shopping for the new wood and starting laying the floor.
Saturday, we repaired a hole in the side of the trailer
and laid the rest of the floor.
I also freshened the paint on the posts and frame.
We put the post caps on.

This weekend,
hopefully the stairs will be constructed and maybe work begun on the railings.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Still Newlyweds

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary.
How thankful we to God for orchestrating our lives.
It is still an amazement that God brought us together.
We are thankful for His working in our lives over these years.


Just a simple celebration after work.
A special dinner at home - 
gluten free breaded fish and shrimp,
sweet potato fries,
and a side salad.

Some couple-time on the porch after the studies are finished for the night.
Time to reflect on God's goodness.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Encouragement Along the Way

There are many days when I get antsy  ...
antsy to do something new,
to explore a new locations,
to start fresh again,
to have new adventures,
to meet new people.

We are finishing our 7th year in NC.
That is the longest I have ever lived anywhere - 
I did get 8 intermittent years in FL but that was college (technically still a New Yorker) and my first job.

There are places that call me ...
but NC is not one of them.
Yet I know that this is where God wants me.
In fact, on the days when I want to throw in the towel and move back to the Pacific NW,
there are the encouragements.

This week, I am thankful for a beautiful home.
God has given me a rest, a retreat, a place to call home.
I am thankful for the ability to own a home - 
to be able to make changes, updates, repairs, improvements.
These blessings make the antsy days a little easier.

I am thankful when the Lord "shows us a token for good,"
when He reminds us that our work is "not in vain."
I am thankful for weeks when hubby has lots of opportunities to witness at work.
I am thankful when someone enjoys one of hubby's books.
I am thankful when the church website has a lot of traffic.
I am thankful when there is a response, however small, to the Sunday School lesson.
I am thankful when my students are well practiced and breeze through their lessons.