Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ghosts bygone

Ever move through a day chased down by people and places that don't exist anymore?

I meant to post about these new hamburger muffins I discovered, or perhaps about how with the coming of warmth and blossoms, spring also brings an abundance of dog hair, as my puppies shed their heavy winter coats.

But what has been on my mind all day is a conversation Paul and I had early this morning. I asked a question, he shared an opinion counter to mine, and I walked away. My husband had spoken. He had stated his thoughts, and somehow mine no longer mattered. (***Disclaimer: this gets better!! My husband is not a domineering man, hold out to the end and don't envision hitting him with sticks!***)

I come from a time and a place where that type of situation is normal. And by "come" I mean that my grandmother grew up that way. It's terribly southern of me to concede to the men in my life. And it's odd that that is my default given that while my momma may have been raised that way, and certainly instilled many of her rich traditions in me, that was not one of them. I was always treasured, and my female mind was nurtured and developed.

So what? I have a quirky southern habit. But today, I bottled up my thoughts, swallowed my frustration and hurt, and worked around my husband. And that is not okay.

That is not how Paul and I do marriage. And when that finally hit today, I shed all my hurt and tears in his general direction...where he reminded me that we were having a conversation not a monologue.

Why in my tired state could I not respond to his comment? What made me silence my thoughts and walk away as though my husband would ever tell me what to do?

I've been reading Amazing Grace and Ms. Norris has some interesting thoughts about spiritual inheritances - sins of the fathers and generational accomplishments and the like. And the section I was reading today said this:

"Blood inheritance - and by that I mean not a genetic code but the family milieu in which one is raised - is not a curse that renders us helpless, but unless we recognize the patterns, and make choices other than the ones that have caused our families pain for generations, we are doomed to repeat them."

It's interesting, and mind boggling, and unquestioningly comforting that these generational marks are a real part of life. And becoming aware of them, working through them (as you only can in a marriage), gives us the opportunity to choose new habits. To perpetuate truth for ourselves and our families.

So, we're going on a Kentucky adventure this weekend. I wonder what else hidden in my personality will come out??

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Beads

As I mentioned a while back, my sewing machine is on the fritz, and I have this impossible need for some sort of creative outlet. My standby has always been jewelry, and these last couple of weeks tinkering in my beads have been inspired.

It's often been mentioned to me that my color and texture combinations are unique, and that I gauge people's styles well. My brain always auto tracks that to, "Thanks, that's sweet, but I just make what I see!" And I realized this weekend, while at Biaggi's with my little sis, that I glanced at her earrings no less than 42 times in the hour and a half we were at dinner. I just love all things bangly!!

I love hoops, and shiny silver, and muted bronze, and the way beads play with light, and how they can be so layered, so that every time you glance at a piece it looks a little different.

But my favorite part about jewelry is that every piece tells a story. Jewelry can display a person's individuality in a sneaky way, sort of how you can hide veggies in spaghetti sauce, but in a much happier sneaky way. For instance, everyone in my office wears the same navy blue scrubs -  not much room for self expression in that uniform! But with a bright pair of beaded earrings, or a necklace, I can confidently (and respectfully) display me.

And there is always that special piece...something from my mom, or that Paul gave me...that gives me courage on days when I just can't face the world. 

So with a little prodding from my husband and friends, I've decided to embrace this hobby and actually work at it with a little more effort.

Equipped with a ledger, and a 12 month binder for holding receipts, new invoice pads, and a stack of brown paper sacks, I'm ready to update my sales process a little. I'm hoping to expand more on Etsy, utilize the DBD facebook page, and of course, update with more pictures here. 

I love the rustic look of the brown paper bags (I have little ones and big ones!), especially against the blue and teal (my business cards are teal). 

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012



There is nothing better than the smell of onions sauteing after a long day at work. Nothing better.

That was bold, yes, but I said it.

I was itching to cook today. And I rediscovered a cook book I bought last year when Border's went out of sale: The Gypsy Kitchen, by Lisa Lamme. The tag line "Tranform Almost Nothing into Something Delicious with Not-So-Secret Ingredients" is too true. I was a little seasoning-wary when I bought this book. Wasn't sure what to mix with what in what quantity. And you can do SO much with SO little if you know what to mix together!

Enter Lisa Lamme! I would adore getting up to her restaurant out East one day (read: Bucket List). So when I got cooking itchy today, I pulled two of her recipes, and ahem, amended, them a little. I figure anyone who calls herself a Gypsy cook can't mind too much, right?

So fortified with a McDonald's apple pie (please don't confuse a love of cooking with one of baking - as different as teal and navy blue - same family, totally different hearts!), I set out to try these:

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops and Rosemary Applesauce.

Both were simple (brown your pork chops, saute apples and onions, cook pork chops through, and add the sweet and sour sauce - then I added rice; heat applesauce, sugar, and rosemary over low heat) and very flavorful. If you want the recipes, leave me a comment. I'd be happy to share them!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Binder Bliss (for the OCD'ers)

I have a thing for binders. They keep whatever little bits of information they hold organized, neat, and let's face it, in an 81/2 x 11 inch space that is easily transportable.

I've been looking for a way to keep the Morales life organized for a while...and mostly driving my husband nuts. See, I have this weird barefoot mentality about life that really likes all things hippy, and groovy, and free. And yet I feel the need for my house and life to never, EVER resemble Woodstock, because there's this really irritating vein of responsibility that is very large, and races right through my bare feet. So I want to invite people over at random and have my house always looking like a page out of Martha Stewart Living (well, a much groovier version of MSL, I don't think Martha believes in orange).

So, looking for inspiration, I turned to pintrest. (If you're unfamiliar, and don't mind being slightly addicted to cyberspace blogs, click here.) And voila! There, in all it's beautiful perfection, was a blog about binders.

This was my inspiration for my binder.

I didn't follow all of her ideas, quite exactly (insert barefoot tendencies). The two biggest differences are that I don't have children (so no children pages) and I am not keeping my weekly menus/grocery list in this binder. The binder is for long term organization, and I prefer to make changes to my menus/list as things come to mind.

Here, though, is a look at what I included:

Front flab is holding all bills that have come and not been paid yet.

First page in the monthly budget, followed by 6 month savings plan.

Paul and my "Want" lists. (See last post.)

Yearly chore lists, divided by season. I'm still debating this concept - I want to make spread sheets so we can date when each items was accomplished, but I don't want to be too over the top organized. I also made weekly chore cards that I've pinned to our bulletin board. The chores rotate on a 14 day basis, with about 15-20 minute set of things to do each day, but Sunday. This way, at least every two weeks, all the basic things are getting done. And I'm not trying to keep track of it all! It also allows husband/children to know what chore items need accomplished without always dolling out lists. 

Week one.

Week two.

Finally, the back page holds all paid bills, ready to be reviewed come tax time next year.

I'm sure things will be added and subtracted as time goes on. But I feel very good, and much more relaxed about the tiny details of life already!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Has anyone else noticed the little patch of spring Indiana has orbitted into recently? (Yes, orbitted. It's legit.) I throw open the curtains, and inch the windows up and breathe it in. And then I notice the dust and cobwebs that have sat unattended through this gray winter.

I've never observed Lent. To be honest, I've never really understood it. But reading Mrs. Voskamp's take on it (here) has opened my eyes some. And it appears to me, to simply be a making room inside one's life for the Glorious.

We're told that marriage is an image of Christ and the church. Such a lovely concept - ideally we think of it the way we like to think of pictures of Jesus - clean, gently holding some small animal. Not working, sweating, dying to bring us life.

But I think spring, and Lent, and marriage are all multiple facets of the same coin. Because in marriage, generally at the most inconvenient time (2 am Friday morning), your partner shines their sunlight into the dark corners of your personality to illuminate your cobwebs. A gloriously freeing experience once one gets over the intense irritation of not always being right. And then you have to clean, and make room for your partner's love, because you want to shelter it in a clean, inviting place. And when I have to do this really practically with Paul, I'm reminded that this is what my Abba does, too. He shines His Light into me, and inspires a a renewal.

So last night, over stir fry, sitting at the bar rail at Flat Top, we asked each other these illuminating questions.

What do you want in life?
What do you want for your spouse?
What do we want for our marriage?

Some of my answers, some of his answers, surprised me. But what amazed me most was how in sync our ideas were. To see after three years how our God has knit our hearts together into one. And as we wrote these ideas down, we found a new direction, a new spring.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


After so much sewing, it's been fun to bead a little bit. And it keeps me happy while I try to figure out how to fix my machine. Evidently I stripped my bobbin gears?

Recently, I've had a few very specific requests for earrings  - either using certain colors, or mimicking something. And I love this! When I have to shove my brain into a box, and work styles and designs within a framework, the most glorious creations emerge. This is when I get my most creative ideas.

Anyway, just a couple of pictures to share. Click here if you want to see more!

Turquoise double hoop necklace.

Green square earrings.

Blue! Hoops and blown glass.

What have you been up to this week?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Defining Relationships

Do you ever make "I want..." lists? Every twelve to eighteen months or so I have to stop and make a list of the things I want in life. Otherwise, I get really caught up in what everyone else wants for my life...or their life...or his and her expectations...or I play the my*life*isn't*as*cool*as*pinterest game....and I miss me.

So this week, I made a list. And I shared my list with my husband. And he brought up a very good point - that in order to accurately depict what qualities, and habits, and colors you want in your life, one needs to prioritize and group by category. And I haven't done all that yet.

But I picked one thing, one simple thing, out of the middle of the list. One thing I have control over, and can add simply into my life, and I'm starting with this: thankfulness.

Because really, everything else flows from our relationship with our Abba. And by being thankful, I recognize daily the relationship between Him and me. In physics and chemistry, we always tackled a problem by first defining all relationships between the known objects. Once we knew how things worked together, where they stood in proximity to one another, we could sort out the rest.

And thankfulness adds that defining element to my life.

"Thank You, Abba, for sunshine this morning." (My Abba is the Creator, and Giver of Good Gifts, I am His child.)

"Thank You, Abba, for the grace to be kind at work." (My Abba is constantly creating me into His image, I am His image bearer.)

Now as I uttered these little thanksgivings earlier today, I didn't really sort out all the theological implications of them. But I think my heart knew. Because as I breathed those words, my heart fell into place. I remembered that I am His, the child of the Great Provider, and I moved on with more peace in my soul.

There's a book by Ann Voskamp that I want to read called "1000 Gifts." I've been following her blog at and I love it. One of her posts a week or so ago had this on it. I've printed off several, and I'm using it to write down 7 things I'm thankful for every day.

The tough part is not writing down the same things day after day. I am thankful for my husband every day - but I'm making myself think of new reasons I'm thankful for him.I'm excited to see how this will strengthen my faith in my Abba, and how it will effect my outlook on life.

I've even printed off a couple for my girls....and I'd encourage you to as well. Having a little book to fill is a fantastic reminder to be consistently, and purposefully thankful.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Winter Doldrums....

I normally get them mid-February.

You know you've caught a bad case when you don't have the energy to change into clean pj's when you get outta bed and decide that you just. aren't. leaving. the. house. today. AT. ALL.

But I skipped them this year!....

...or so I thought.

We were really busy getting ready for Paul's improv show, and planning for my sister's baby shower. And I think I just forgot to be saddened by the cold temperatures and lack of sun.

But then we stopped. And I got the flu. And let me tell you - sans gallbladder, still trying to figure out how to eat balanced, healthy meals, after a year of living on Famous Amos and ramen - having the flu really throws a wrench in things! I've felt so crummy the past few days...and just when I wake up thinking I feel better, I eat breakfast. It's a bad, bad cycle I and my digestive track have gotten into!

In times like this, I wish I had an old Chinese guru friend to tell me what to eat to rebalance my body. I'm really not being crude - back in the day, Chinese "pharmacies" were really like luncheonettes. You complained about your symptoms, and they made you food to counter them!

So, as I was sitting at my desk this afternoon, feeling rather weak-kneed, I decided I needed some good, strong broth to reset myself. But I'm tired of chicken noodle - so I went with egg drop.


How did I not know how easy and delicious this soup was to make???

                                          Egg Drop Soup Recipe

I followed this trusty recipe, well, almost followed it: I replaced the sugar with honey, and left out the veggies this time. I really just wanted fortified broth.

I was a little scared about pouring the egg....but it wasn't as finicky as I expected. Just pour it slowly, and sort of stir with a fork to break up the bigger clumps of egg.

All in all, maybe fifteen minutes to make.

I'm not sure yet how I'm going to address the rest of my doldrummyness...but this soup is certainly a step in the right direction!