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


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


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.


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.
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 ...
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
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.