Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the beauty hunt



Today was beyond beautiful.  The sky begged me to come outside.  I spent most of the morning in bed.  I get horrible cramps.  This month was exceptionally bad for some reason.  Finally after laying there until my entire body was achy I decided to put on some tennis shoes, grab my camera and go for a beauty hunt.



January is a tricky month to find beauty.  It's dormant.  Every living thing is in wait.  The leaves, the critters, all the little flowers...waiting just beneath the surface to break free.  Do feel like you are in wait too?? 





If you ask for your eyes to be open to the lovely...you will find it.

 



Sometimes it's not in the package you were expecting.  It may be covered in prickles.



It may appear to be a weed. 

 


You may have to get really close to see it...down on your hands and knees.  But when you go searching for it I guarantee you will not be disappointed.  It's been there, right in front of you, all along.




Have a blessed day.



407.  ibuprofen
408.  feeling warmth from the sun in jan.
409.  the luxury of being able to stay in bed when i don't feel good
410.  recognizing and appreciating beauty
411.  pine needles swishing in the breeze


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Monday, January 30, 2012

oh my goodness!

Had my first binge day since I started my new healthy diet at the first of the year.  It was inevitable eventually I guess.  I cut sweets, soda and bread cold turkey.  Didn't even allow caffeine.  Saturday was spent painting sets right next to a kitchen filled with my favorite cookies....shortbread dipped in dark chocolate.  Oh.my.goodness!!!  I remained strong...walked on by. 



Then the PMS hormones kicked in full blast on Sunday and my cravings for chocolate were just too much.  I snuck a handful of frozen chocolate covered almonds, (I froze them thinking they would be too hard to eat...NOT) then because I'd already caved I thought shoot I might as well call it a cheat day.  Next followed a huge bowl of buttered popcorn, 7 mini Heath bars, a giant buttered bagel with cinnamon and sugar...hmmmm what else???  Am I the poster child for what not to do or what??  Let's see what is the lesson here?  I'm thinking if you are dying for something...like really can't get your mind off it dying...just have it.  One little piece, and then be done.






Thank you so much for all the notes of encouragement and prayers concerning our house in Minnesota. We got a call from our realtor on Saturday night saying we had a new buyer. I know! Apparently they called all their realtor friends and explained what happened and kicked up a lot of interest. People were coming out of the woodwork!!! I really can't believe it, and as much as I'm relieved and excited about it, now I'm a little gun shy and feel like until the papers are signed anything can happen.


There is also this underlying sense of guilt. Within 24 hours my prayers were answered and another buyer came forward. I got so many comments and letters from readers explaining their own hardships and housing issues and to be honest they were a LOT worse than mine...and yet ours got resolved. I don't know why things like that happen. It doesn't seem fair at all. I don't have the answers at all except to say that his timing doesn't make sense. Your answer will come...IT WILL. Don't give up. Don't lose faith. He has a plan for your life...a very good plan.




Okay so I wanted to show you a little of what's been taking my time for this CYT play Big Chick is in.  She's going to be a Chinese villager and warrior in Mulan...so proud of my little actress;)  On the weekends I've been painting away.  One of the big projects they had in store for me was a dragon.  Eeeek...never done anything remotely dragon like before.


My friend Jean (she REFUSED to let me take her picture...geesh) and I started with a tracing machine and then that didn't work, so we sketched this dragon and a giant phoenix bird out by hand!  Then we traced it in with charcoal and finally started adding in the details.




Jean took the phoenix and I took the dragon, so this is my dragon baby.  I can't believe how good it turned out.  They are going to cut around it and then hang it from the top of the stage somehow.



When they found out that I was artsy they had big plans for my skills.  I didn't have a clue what I was doing.  I was a little nervous that they had too much faith in me.  But you know what?  It's like anything else that I start.  If I just begin...somehow HE is always there to help me figure it out.  It's like that in life too.  Just take that step of faith and the details will all come together.  It just does.  Love you girls.



Have a blessed day.







403.  a dragon baby;)
404.  a new friend to laugh with
405.  prayers poured out for my family
406.  answers and promise and hope


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Friday, January 27, 2012

the deal's off!

Just had an interesting conversation with the Lord while I was in the shower.  It went something like this....Lord do you allow me to walk through crap sometimes, just so I can share it on my blog??  Just so someone who might be going through something similar can relate?  Cause really it would be easier for me if we just stuck to smooth sailing.  Unfortunately he didn't answer me back...he didn't have to;)



Honey just called me a few minutes ago and I could tell by his pensive...fake cheerful voice that he was trying to tell me something in the least dramatic, least painful way possible.  Apparently the loan officer failed to tell our buyer that he needed a certain dollar amount in the bank to qualify for his VA loan, so his loan fell through.  That's right girls  I said it...the deal's off!  Oh and the furnace in our old house isn't working...grrrrr. 


Am I disappointed YES?!  Am I mad at God?  No.  I wish life was easy.  I wish it didn't require a huge amount of daily faith to get by.  I wish that loan officers weren't ignorant!  But the fact is that disappointment comes to all of us.  I have a friend who just lost a baby...another who is going through a divorce.  People write me about how they are waiting for answers to come...that their husbands have been out of work for a very long time...how they are so hungry for friends that loneliness has taken a hold of them.  If we expect smooth sailing in life we are going to be let down over and over again. 




I'm not putting the weight of this house mess on my shoulders.  It's not for me to worry about.  I'm continuing to trust.  He's got it covered.  Regardless of the outcome it will be alright.  So there's the ugly truth.  Life sucks sometimes, but joy comes in the morning.  I can hardly wait for daybreak.  **Please pray that a new buyer comes.  Our realtors are scrambling.





Have a blessed day.


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Feed my family...Friday


It's time for another Feed My Family Friday...who's with me;)?? 


The recipe this week is for Beef polenta ragout.  I went out of my box a little more and tried polenta for the first time.  Have you ever had it?  It looks really scrumptious, like it's going to be really really good.  But it honestly doesn't have that much flavor.  We even ended up getting the green chile and cilantro flavor by accident and it still didn't have much punch to it.








Okay so this is polenta.  I didn't make any homemade.  Didn't feel the need to go to that much trouble especially since I'd never tried it before.  We found it in the organic section of the refrigerator aisle.  It comes in a tube and you slice it.  It's basically just cornmeal patties. 

I sliced up the tube, put a little olive oil in a skillet and cooked it for a couple of minutes on each side.  I salted it a little too.  It's actually pretty good, and a wonderful substitute for pasta. 

(this looks less than appetizing...but it really was tasty)

 
Meanwhile in a skillet I browned really lean hamburger and then added it to a slow cooker to simmer (on high for 3 1/2 - 5 1/2 hours) with a 14 ounce can of stewed tomatoes, diced carrots, diced onions, 1/4 tsp. black pepper and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.  The last 30 minutes I threw in some sweet peppers and sliced zucchini.  You pour the beef mixture over the polenta and serve.  Very healthy...colorful and hearty.  I would recommend using lots of your favorite spices to give it a punch of flavor. 




feed my family friday

 
 
Okay it's your turn. Grab my button,
link up a healthy recipe, and let's FEED OUR FAMILIES:)
 
 





 
 

Have a blessed day.


 

398.  book club with my new peeps
399.  lunch in a tea room with sweet grannies
400.  Noodles med. salad with marinated steak...yum!
401.  being invited to a super bowl party
402.  sweet comments about my house that made my head about pop off;)

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Home Made Lovely

Good morning girlies.  Heather from Life Made Lovely recently asked me to be a part of her Home Made Lovely series.  Every week she features a blogger's home.  So far every single one has left me completely inspired.  I literally let out a little squeal when she wanted to include me.  I went around and took pics of most of my rooms, so now they will be all in one spot.  If you are curious head over here today:)








Have a blessed day.




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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

fighting the gloom



Good morning friends.  I'm so relieved to know that most of you shared my complete horror regarding Picnik's closing.  Several of you gave me some other options...the most recommended was fotoflex.  I fiddled with it and it was simple to use, but lacked Picnik's pizazz.  I'm thinking they will surely introduce a mind blowing substitute.  We'll just have to wait and see. 


 

You'll be proud to know that I edited all the photos in this post with Lightroom.  I still am stumbling through it.  Takes me forever!  Not sure how to add my watermark just yet, but I'm still proud that I tried and it is doable if I just keep practicing.  Here's a helpful link to navigating your way with LR.




So this week has been GLOOMY!  Like no sun anywhere gloomy.  I was at the store yesterday and low and behold there were some TULIPS!  Just what we needed to chase away the clouds.  Is it wrong to be dreaming of Spring already??  Not that the Winter has been bad or anything, but I love color.  Bring on the greens, bring on the chirping birds...the warmth of the sun.  I guess until then tulips will just have to do;)





My little chick has been home with me this week.  She got her first cold of the season.  Poor baby!



Since we've been holed up a little bit I decided I needed to pull out the paints and get crafty.  I love foxes.  Found this gorgeous image on Pinterest and decided to try and paint this little fella.  If you haven't discovered Pinterest you really need to book it right over there and plug in.  It's inspiration overload.  It's a giant virtual pin board that you can gather inspiration from.  I just searched foxes and voila...tons of images to choose from.  If I'm ever lacking creative inspiration I know just where to go.



To see my Pinterest boards click here.


Okay so here are my first strokes.  Looks hideous right??  In the early stages everything looks awful doesn't it??  Nothing really makes since...it's not until the final details are put into place that it resembles anything at all.  That's where patience come in.



It's kind of a weird departure from my normal stuff, but I'm trying new techniques lately.  I'm hoping to branch into prints soon.  My version looks nothing like the photograph...which is a good thing.  It's important to make things your own...to be original.  There's no way I can pull a fox or whatever this creature looks like out of thin air, so I use a photograph, but it became mine in the end.  You should try it too.  Are you fighting some gloom...some Winter blah's??  Get your craft on  OR go buy some tulips;)



***Oh and someone suggested I switch my comments to the pop up box, versus the drop down menu and I think that might have helped.  You may want to try that if you've been having comment problems in Blogger!!***




Have a blessed day.


 

392.  glorious sunshine
393.  taking a nice long walk with my sweet one in JAN
394.  learning something scary and new
395.  painting something fresh and different
396.  blue mason jars and pink tulips...bliss
397.  my vit c gummy vitamins...my sweet for the day;)






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Sunday, January 22, 2012

completely random

Good morning friends...hope your weekend is going well.  Did you get a crazy cancellation notice from Picnik??  My heart stopped for a second.  I thought they dropped me for some reason, but NO it's worse...they are stopping all together!!   WHAT??  Like seriously I had a little panic attack.  Picnik is how I make my pictures look sort of good.  I'm not techy.  I don't have the patience for Photoshop.  I recently bought Lightroom and I had a friend give me a tutorial recently, but in the back of my mind I knew I had my Picnik safety net to fall back on.  NOW WHAT!??  I hate change.  They didn't really explain what will happen after they close.  It was vague.  Hopefully there will be another option that's as great as Picnik has been.  If you have any suggestions.  Please let me know.  One of my readers sent me this link.  I haven't checked it out yet.  I'll pass it on to you though.

(This is what an unedited picture looks like...yikes!  BTW isn't this the cutest owl hook ever?? It's in my pantry holding all my aprons.  Hobby Lobby baby:))

With Picnik...horrible lighting, lots of noise...not perfect, but better. 


Which brings me to my next frustration....Blogger.  I've gotten many an email from you, saying you can't get on my blog.  That it whites out or you can read it from Google Reader, but can't leave a comment.  This just makes me sad.  I have no idea how to fix it:(   I'm seriously contemplating a big change.  It makes me really scared, but I'm thinking of switching over to Wordpress.  Have any of you done that?  Did you run into problems?  Were your readers still able to find you?  Do you like it?  Help me please!!


Okay enough about techy issues.  Whew...just had to get that off my chest.  We are playing hooky from church today.  Hate that, but Sunday's have become our only day of not running all over creation with this play.  So we had church at home, complete with praise and worship.  Gotta love that.  Honey and I sang all the songs we grew up with.  The girls muttered along, not really knowing the words.  Don't you wish sometimes that they still sang the oldies at church?  Don't get me wrong.  I love contemporary worship, but an occasional hymn warms me to my toes.



This post is so random...sorry.  Okay dream interpreters, this is your chance.  The night before last I dreamed Honey announced we were moving to Chicago.  I woke myself up crying...hysterical that he could be moving us again after we just finally were starting to feel settled here.  Than last night I dreamed he got fired and we packed all of our stuff and went back to Minnesota.  We went to our old house, which is now sold, and while the new owners were out we went inside and made sandwiches.  They came home and we made a mad dash for it...leaving Big Chick inside!  How crazy is that??  I have no idea what's going on.  I've really let Minnesota go.  I'm becoming very content here.  Hmmmm.  Maybe it has to do with those final strings being cut...the house finally selling.  Anyway I'm ready to stop with the nutty dreams.




Have a blessed day.




387.  a day at home
388.  a shiny brand new toaster, that doesn't burn my toast
389.  a renewed desire to create again
390.  blind faith that good things are coming
391.  vacation ideas bubbling in my brain



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Friday, January 20, 2012

Feed my family FRIDAY!



Okay girls I'm starting a new thing.  Y'all know I don't like to cook, BUT one of my New Year's goals was to feed my family better.  So I'm working on it.  You'll be happy to know since the first of the year I've cooked ALOT.  Like 2-3 times a week...and then we eat leftovers and go out, but that's beside the point. 


Every week I will share a recipe and you can link up too.  It has to be healthy and quick...not a lot of fancy ingredients.  My recipes will be geared toward the Diabetes diet that I'm on and will probably be slow cooker 'cause that's just how I roll.



My recipe this week is my super yummy cuban sandwiches I made the other night.  I got the idea from my slow cooker recipe book, but then changed it up like my favorite restaurant, so it's almost my creation...ha;)   I do not photograph food well so bear with me.  If you want to see a gorgeous foodie blog with amazing gluten free recipes visit my friend Lissa at Keep it Simple, Keep it Fresh.  Photographing food really is an art form.  I just don't have the patience to stage it perfectly.  When my food is ready I don't want to whip out my camera...I want to EAT it! 


SUPER YUMMY CUBAN SANDWICHES:
Add one 2-3 pound pork sirloin roast to slow cooker.  Add 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and one cup water.  Turn on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6.  The last 15 minutes throw in some sliced red, yellow or orange sweet peppers...as many as you want.

Toast some sliced buns in the oven (350 degrees) for 5-7 minutes...add some swiss cheese and broil until melted.  I used steak rolls...ciabatta rolls would be really good too.

Add shredded pork to toasted bun, 2 slices of canadian bacon, spicy mustard and a sandwich sliced dill pickle!  ENJOY!!!



feed my family friday



Okay girls...so grab my button, link up to your recipe post URL, NOT your blog url (it can be an old post) and let's feed our families.  It should be a helpful resource for those of us who struggle with meal plannning.







Hope you join in.
Have a blessed day.







382.  it's friday!!
383.  sharing secrets
384.  talking about the Lord with a new friend
385.  caffeinated coffee this morning
386.  learning lightroom with a friend today



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Thursday, January 19, 2012

hallelujah moment!!

It's been 6 months of waiting...6 months of worry in the back of our minds.  I had let it go, vowing to leave it and not to pick it up again, but yet it was still there...the little nagging of fear.  Fear is like that, it kind of gnaws at you...biting off pieces with every passing day.  Every time my mind went there I whispered a silent plea.

Well today we finally got our answer.  Our house situation is taken care of!!!  That last piece to this moving puzzle was finally put into place.  I am overjoyed.  I feel like words cannot describe how relieved I feel.  I didn't even know I was carrying it around...the house was like a giant weight around my neck.  It was the detail that seemed impossible and yet it IS possible.  God heard our prayers.  Thank you Lord!




Have you been carrying around something too?  Have you been pleading with God about a certain thing over and over again?  Your answer will come.  It will!!  Don't lose heart.  He hears our every whimper and cry.  He knows when the time is right.  Lean in.


Have a blessed day.





377.  answered prayer
378.  a friend that calls me honey child
379.  a new study on James
380.  creating again
381.  a hallelujah moment...pure joy



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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

living in the ordinary



I've felt quiet on the inside lately.  There hasn't been any urgency to write or record my thoughts.  That's rare for me.  I've just been busy with life...painting sets for big chick's play, running errands...the daily living stuff. 




When you think about it most of our time is spent living in the ordinary. There usually isn't earth shattering excitement on a regular basis. We have our routine. We hit that alarm clock, stumble to the bathroom, make coffee or breakfast, get on with the to-do lists of today. If you are anything at all like me the first hour or so of the day is a sleepy eyed blur. It's usually my least favorite hour of the day. 



I'd like to change that if I could.  What I would really like is to hear the alarm clock go off and instead of groaning inwardly to myself, I would like peace to cover me.  I want a renewed excitement for the day to come.  I want to see it as a blank canvas ready to be decorated with splashes of joy, splashes of passion, splashes of purpose.   We are all artists.  Life just happens to be the canvas we get to decorate.  Even in the ordinary I want to create a masterpiece. 



Have a blessed day.





372.  lunch with a friend
373.  oatmeal with a pinch of coconut
374.  slow cooker cuban sandwiches that made me oooh and ahhhh
375.  going for a run...being able to run!
376.  a new day

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

put your love glasses on

I got my nails done yesterday.  It was one of those squeezed in, last minute, let's get this in kind of appointments.  I really just wanted to sit and read a magazine, completely decompress and let the vibrating chair bounce me into submission.  It's me month right?  That sounded like a good plan.  Marta had other ideas for me.


She was a sweet Puerto Rican, full of life, full of spunk nail girl who would not let me relax.  She proceeded to tell me ALL about herself...in a very quick, hard to understand accent.  All about her life in the states, and her two kids in Puerto Rico who just didn't want to come to Virginia, so she left them with her mom.  They are 5 and 12!  Huh?  I didn't pry even though I was very curious.  As I lifted my magazine back up to my eyes Marta would start again.  Finally after several attempts to veg, I tossed it aside and I listened to her talk about her weekends clubbing with her girlfriends while her husband is on business.  I listened to her talk about what movies she liked, what food she cooks, what her best friend in Puerto Rico does for exercise.  I listened.



Something clicked as I listened to Marta.  This is going to sound simple, but it's revolutionary.  What if our real mission in life is to be like Jesus??  WHAT??  Can you see it?  The skies are opening up...bells are ringing.  I just stumbled onto something BIG!  What if it's not about surrounding yourself with people like you, but opening yourself up to strangers and letting them in...people completely 100% different than you, people who you have absolutely nothing in common with, people who make you laugh and look at life differently.  What if it's not about surrounding yourself with mirror images and those with common interests, but just the opposite?? 





I'm not sure why, but for some reason alot of the people here are just that for me.  What if instead of holding "differences" at arms length I'm to embrace them fully and let these people wiggle into my heart and in the process show them love....HIS love.  I can feel it.  My love glasses are starting to come out.  I'm tired of squinting at the sun.  I'm fully ready to sport my new look and it's got hearts and glitter and sparkle all over it.




Have a blessed day.






365.  freshly painted nails
366.  letting down my guard
367.  giving my time with nothing in return
368.  little chick was invited to a b-day party
369.  fergie all volumized from her bath
370.  sticking with my diet and feeling wonderful
371.  alicia..."the little sister" i didn't know i needed


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