Saturday, September 28, 2013

He Knows It All

"He knows it all - the winding path,
The sky o'ercast and gray.
The steepness of the mountanside,
The roughness of the way.

He knows it all - the haunting fear,
The doubtings that distress,
The wond'rings and perplexities,
And all the strain and stress.

He knows it all - each troubled thought,
Each anxious wave of care,
And every burden, every grief,
Or cross that thou dost bear.

He knows it all - thy weight of woe,
Thine often tear-dimmed eye,
The stabbing pain, the slow, dull ache,
And sorrow's broken cry.

He knows it all - you are His child,
Thy wounds He takes by choice.
He gave Himself to bring you home,
So trust Him, and rejoice!"

                                                                               -E. Margaret Clarkson
quoted on, September 3, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Choose to Trust

Do you have ten minutes and twenty-seven seconds to watch this? Well worth the time.

Scott Hamilton, an olympic and world champion ice skater shares his heart, his health struggles, his trust in the Lord, his laugh, his tears.

"...I choose to look at the brain tumor as the greatest gift...because it made everything else possible..."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Eagles' Wings

" I bore you up on eagles' wings and brought you to myself."

Exodus 19:4

drawing by our daughter, littlebitzoart, white pencil on black canvas

Friday, September 20, 2013

Random Rambles, Part Two

I planted zinnias from seed last spring in the basement. The seeds were saved from our son's yard, collected in the fall. Finally, they are blooming like crazy in pots and in the garden. Bright colors, scattered around the yard, or cut and stuck in a jar in the kitchen, they make a long-lasting arrangement (I stick the flowers in a jar - calling them an arrangement is a very loose term). I remember reading somewhere that zinnias were a favorite for the pioneer women. They would carry the seeds with them, grow the flowers outside their door, nurturing them for their cheerful colors and memories of home, creating a new home where they were.

We are having a blast reading aloud two books I found at the library. The End of the Beginning, and A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End, by Avi. He plays with words, creatively twisting them while he weaves a story about two unlikely characters, "a small snail and an even smaller ant." I love to hear our son giggle when he gets the plays on words. We laugh together, enjoying the light-hearted story.

The ant, Edward, teaches Avon, the snail, a song to sing while they are on their adventure.

 " "One of the better things about it," Edward pointed out, "is the fact that it can be sung from either end. I sing it from the beginning, and my father sings it from the end."
     "Can it be sung from the middle?"
     "Absolutely," said Edward. "That's how my mother always does it. As you can see, we are a family of individuals."
     "Ah, but at least you're all singing the same song," said Avon."
from The End of the Beginning

And, from the end of A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End,
"Avon found a new piece of paper and was about to start writing again when he sighed and said, "I have to admit my thoughts are still in a muddle."
     "Avon!" cried Edward. "That's exactly where a writer should be. After all, creatures generally have nothing to do with their beginnings. And it's not often they consider their ends. But in between there's all that muddle. The writer's job is to write about the muddle."
     "Are you saying," said Avon, "that since I'm always in a muddle..."
     "It proves you are a writer.""

Orange Glazed Carrots
adapted from Fix It and Forget It Lightly, by Phyllis Pelman Good

32 oz. pkg baby carrots (or thickly sliced)
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c orange juice
1 tbsp butter
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and water in slow cooker.
Cook on low 4 - 6 hours, or until carrots are done to your liking. For my slow-cooker, I have to turn it to high for a couple of the hours.
In small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to carrots, cook a few minutes until sauce thickens.

Here's to our in-the-muddle days!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Random Rambles, Part One

My plants are thriving with the subtle shift to fall weather. Warm days, with cool breezes. They are bursting with one last shout of color and productivity, setting up their seeds, preparing for the winter.

Yup, the zucchini, too. I thought they slowed down, but they, too, seem to be putting forth one last effort. Which means a bunch of zucchini to deal with. My neighbor said she would take some - she was smart enough not to plant them because she knows what happens. Not to say I won't plant any next year. I am sure I will. But, there are moments when it is just too much.

I made a batch of zucchini bread that was dry and bland. That failure helped me remember a recipe from my sister-in-law, Cathy. When we were newly married, we lived near them in the Denver area. Whatever she grew flourished and whatever she cooked was yummy - I learned a lot from her in my early wife days. I dug back through old, stashed recipes and found this, in her own writing. A nostalgia moment. The paper was torn, stains splashed on, obviously a well used recipe.

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs, beaten
1 c cooking oil
2 c sugar (I used a little less)
2 c grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c chopped walnuts or pecans
1 c crushed pineapple

Grease and flour two loaf pans or one cake pan. Beat eggs, add oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Beat.
Then add flour, salt, soda, powder and cinnamon. Mix well. Add nuts and pineapple.
Bake, 325 degrees, for one hour.
"This is really moist and freezes well," Cathy added at the end.

Do you ever roast vegetables? It is a yummy, easy way to cook them. Pop them in the oven with some chicken for a simple and quick dinner. Last week I wrote about eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
Roasted Rainbow
Red - red peppers
Orange - carrots
Yellow - summer squash
Green - zucchini
Blue - purple onions
Violet - beets
Cut vegies, any combination of colors, in slices or wedges, spread in 9x11 glass baking pan. Sprinkle with olive oil and Italian seasoning, stir. Bake 350, an hour or a little longer until tender, stirring once to help cook them evenly. I added the zucchini and yellow squash at the halfway point, as they tend to get overcooked.
Have you used a Misto? I used a cooking spray for years, loving the convenience, knowing the chemicals used to make it spray weren't good. I found mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Add 1/3 cup olive oil, pump it six or seven times, spray. It needs to be refilled now, a couple of months later. No nasty chemicals, just pure olive oil. With the convenience.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Tender Heart

"...because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words..."

2 Chronicles 34: 27

Friday, September 13, 2013

300 Plus Ways to Make Your Wedding Your Own

Our daughter-in-law published her first book, a huge, 428 page resource of creative, fun, inexpensive and imaginative ideas for a wedding celebration that expresses the joy and individuality of the new couple. I had the privelege to help her with the edits, a project I very much enjoyed. It's exciting to see it come together in the printed book, bound with a cover of wedding photomosaics.

She writes in a tone that is casual, comfortable and come-alongside. She asks, "How can I help?" I don't think she'll mind if I tell you we edited out loads of exclamation points - it was her way of expressing her enthusiasm and passion for this topic, her ideas bubbling out, her heart for brides and helping them with the challenges they face. But too many exclamations can be exhausting! Victoria says, "I wanted to share all of these wonderful ideas with you so that you too could have the wedding you've always wanted. A wedding isn't just having all of the traditional items, like a dress, a cake, and flowers, and walking down the aisle of a church, in the right order, to meet your groom, and do things the way everyone has always done them for years. Sure, you could do it that way, and you'd still be married in the end. But your wedding should be about expressing yourselves, sharing all of your favorites with those you love, and celebrating the day you became one with your one true love."

The ideas I like may be different from yours. But that's the point. A wedding celebration should express who you are, you as an individual and you as a couple. There are black and white photos on almost every page, making it fun to browse and explore through the book. Her chapter titles, Photography, Wedding Venues, Stationery, Catering, Videography, Flowers, The Cake, Wedding Decor, and The Big Day cover all the basics. As a wedding planner, she knows a thing or two about putting together a creative wedding that doesn't send the couple spiraling into debt. A wise choice, yet she also enables them to have The Big Day express all they want about themselves.

I realize many of you who read this blog are married, that Big Day long behind us. Perhaps, though, we have daughters, nieces, granddaughters, young friends - or old friends for that matter - who would find this book useful and encouraging. It is available on Amazon (not an affiliate link for me).

Even with the best planning, things can go wrong. Victoria conveys the perspective to focus on each moment for what it is - to share the unique joy as the couple celebrates their love as they step forward into the future, together.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Did You Eat a Rainbow Today?

What is that supposed to mean?

Think of it as a visual reminder to eat a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables. Every day.

Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Violet.

Daily, we should eat a variety of colors. This is something I am learning, working towards each day, paying attention to the colors I choose to eat, and choosing colors other than brown - dark brown for chocolate and lighter brown for the breads and grains I love to eat. The health benefits, especially if we replace less healthy choices, are many.
"The nutrients that studies show have anti-aging, disease-fighting, and skin-protecting properties number in the thousands, and the colorful fruits and vegetables found in the grocery store contain combinations of them all. Building your daily menu around these nutrient dense foods will earn you a health trifecta: whittling off unwanted weight, staving off the diseases of aging, and rejuvenating your complexion."
                                        -7 Years Younger, The Anti-Aging Breakthrough Diet
                                                        by the editors of Good Housekeeping
I was surprised how many of the colors I had in the garden and the refrigerator. Sorting them, thinking of them by rainbow color gave me a fresh perspective of the better choices I can make.

An innovative company where a daughter works sets up a health challenge for their employees each summer, challenging them with exercise or nutritional competitions. This summer, they designed a program monitoring the colors and categories of daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Each employee entered their daily servings of the color varieties on their computers. She shared her charts with me. Each day, they marked the rainbow chart for R, O, Y/W, G, B/V. (The W is for white, including apples, pears, onions, jicama, potatoes, etc). Beans are also included because of their health benefits: pinto, kidney for red; lentils, wax for yellow; black beans for blue/violet. The key is to find the flexibility and the beauty in the challenge. A colorful plate makes eating interesting and pretty. I admit, I have a long way to go. Brown seems so much more appealing and yummy and satisfying to me. But I am learning to choose red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet instead.

Learning. In process, not there yet.

What colors of the rainbow did you eat today?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Measure of Value

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."

                                                                                                        -Henry David Thoreau

When you hear the word, "Price," do you immediately think of money? I do. This quote reminds me there is a deeper way to evaluate value.

The measure of value, the standard of value in our culture is usually based on how much it costs. Dollars and cents. Does that make sense?

What is, "The amount of life," and how do we exchange it?

Time is one way. How much time we give something is one way to determine its value. Time is something we all have, probably in more abundance than money, although it may not feel like that some days.

There are several  quotes about spending our money on experiences rather than on things. That the value we put on experiences rather than filling our lives with things will have more lasting value, give us a fuller life.

There are many questions to ask here. What do I value most? How do I express that? What amount of life am I willing to exchange for what I value the most? When I hand money (or swipe the debit card) across the counter, I am giving up something, for something else.

Warren Buffet - a guy who knows a little bit about money - said, "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." Interesting thought. Not thinking in terms of what I am getting, the thing itself, but instead, think of its value, to me, to our family, to our home, to life, to the world.

How will its value express what is most valuable to me? Lots of questions, no answers. Just ideas to think about.

How do you define value, how do you perceive value?

Sunday, September 1, 2013