Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Very Berry Cookies

It's been a week of trying some really good, new recipes. My favorite though, is one I just made up! And I have to share it, right now, because who doesn't love totally healthy cookies?

I know, I know. There must be a catch. Yes, there is, a small one. I wanted to make these with whole wheat flour, but I was pressed for time, and threw them together with a white cake mix instead. Apologies, but still, wait til you see what's in them!

Very Berry Cookies
** Side note: these directions are all approximations. I sort of amended another recipe, and just added stuff as I went.  **

Mix together:
9 oz. white cake mix (about half of a standard box)
1 cup + few table spoon of whole oats
1/3 cup baking oil
1/4 juice (I had Berry Acai V8 Splash)
1 egg
About a 1/4 cup each of craisens, frozen blueberries, and coconut

Mix well, bake at 375 for 8 minutes.

These are just perfect - soft, and moist, and full of flavor -- might take the top for my new favorite cookie, at least this week. ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Messy Monday

I have decided to write this blog post for all of you that may have had really crappy Mondays, to hopefully provide you with some amusement, hope for the week, or perhaps just the ability to wipe your head in relief that you didn’t have  my day. 

Monday’s have the ability to hold more circus like happenings than any other day of the week. And yesterday started rather normally. I got up on time, did my yoga, actually ate breakfast, went to work. And got into project mode.

In fact, after lunch, I was in such a zen zone of getting stuff done that I failed to notice the geriatric fly that was taking it’s last dance of life around my desk.  Until said fly took a nose dive into my shirt.

This is when the acrobatics start. I quickly popped my bubble de zen, and began flailing about trying to demolish said very frisky fly. The zen bubble is established first and foremost by removing one’s shoes, so when I flopped around in my big rolly chair, and rolled over my own foot, there was no cushion.

No cushion between the big wheel, and my little pinky toenail. Pedicure ruined, toenail about to fall off - first thankful moment: I work in a pharmacy. We have those snap cold gel packs that provide instant relief, sans mess. And when I limp down the stairs, someone hands one to me. Dignity saved, even if my toenail was lost.

Twenty minutes later I get a very distressed phone call from Paul. "I'm not equipped to handle this."


Can you imagine this gorgeous face reeking giant dog vomit Apocalypse all over my house? 

I can. 

Thankful moment number two: Paul is a much, much better human being than I am. I would have cried. Sat down in the middle of it, and cried. But by the time I got home, 90 minutes later, the dog had had a bath, the cage she was trapped in when she let loose, was out on the deck, and most of the awfulness had been cleaned up. 

However, he was a mess by the time I got home. So I dropped him in the shower, and proceeded to find a hose to save my recently purchased $50.00 dog cage. Nope, outside spickett broke last October. Didn't bother to fix it cause it was cold. Also can't hook up to our kitchen or bathroom sink as both faucets are fancy and flat. (Flat - whose faucet edge is flat!?!?) So we got creative with lots of buckets of water. 

Next thankful moment: that $25.00 fancy mop that I bought on a whim last fall that has removable, washable pads, so you are never without easy access to cleanliness was a wonderful purchase. Wonderful. 


So after an hour of intense cleaning, and a long shower, we left the house, with all the windows open, to go buy new bedding (because we could? - did you know they make microfiber everything now? And it repels dog hair?? New beadspread, bed skirt, and sheets for 50 bucks. Also thankful for Walmart.), and find food and chocolate cake. Which we ate, sitting on our new bedspread, in our bedroom, with the door closed. Because it was the only room that didn't smell funny.

                                                 Mainstays Ombre Bed in a Bag Bedding Set, Blue

How did your Monday go?

Thursday, April 19, 2012


It's funny to me, how routine marriage gets. How you can settle into a walk beside someone and keep doing, and moving forward, and nothing changes. Then, once there is a slightest change to the norm, everything falls under question. Can the way in which we choose to prepare dinner, or when we mow the lawn, or how many movies we watch each week really reflect something about who we are as a couple?

Maybe. Every couple has their way of doing things. But I was reminded this week, by a very newly married lady that our marriages are sacred. Comfortable, but unfortunately destructible, unless we choose to guard it.

And after a long night of ups and downs and screams and little sleep at a hospital too far away, my husband brought me this song, because it reminds him of us. And I remembered, that despite our individual growing pains, and the patience required with transition, that both of us hold each other guarded tight against our hearts. Look this one up on youtube - it's a good one.

"The Woman I Love" - Jason Mraz "Love is a Four Letter Word"

Maybe I annoy you with my choices
Well, you annoy me sometimes too with your voice
But that ain't enough for me
To move out and move on
I'm just gonna love you like the woman I love

We don't have to hurry
You can take as long as you want
I'm holdin' steady
My heart's at home
With my hand behind you
I will catch you if you fall
Yeah I'm gonna love you like the woman I love

Sometimes the world can make you feel
You're not welcome anymore
And you beat yourself up
You let yourself get mad
And in those times when you stop lovin'
That woman I adore
You can relax
Because, babe, I got your back
I don't wish to change you
You've got it under control
You wake up each day different
Another reason for me to keep holdin' on
I'm not attached to any way you're showing up
I'm just gonna love you like the woman I love
Yeah I'm gonna love you
Oh, Yeah I'm gonna love you
'Cause you're the woman I love

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The eye of the storm

It's been a tennis match week. Prep, prepare, get ready, and swing - only to have the ball volleyed back my direction full force. Whip around, give it another go, fall down.

Yes, it's been that week. But, in my quick breaks between challenging events, I've found some sweet, sweet gifts.

Shall I share??

This is my Zoe-licious, and holding her snuggly little self against me makes even sputtering (dying) cars easier to deal with.

Totally have to brag on these ladies - this was a genius idea! Stepping inside (off that broken potholey section of awful service road) is like stepping into pink cupcake heaven. The whole atmosphere is light, and relaxing (loving the vintage looking tables) and the coffee is by far the best cup you can get in town (that doesn't have to be syrupped and blended to death to be drinkable). And I love knowing, that on any given stressful day, I can stop in and get Paul and I dinner for about 12 bucks that won't make my tummy hurt!

Just got this book (I bargained for it when Paul wanted to buy the Mission Impossible Box set) - I think it will be my refuge this weekend.

Oregano-Lemon Chicken Recipe

Lemon Oregano Chicken. No stress, no hassle, so good. Click here for the recipe.

This guy makes my heart soar. He loves me, and challenges me, and is willing to work on translating our two lives, and cultures, and wounds, and personalities into one beautiful image of Christ and His church, with me. My life is fuller, richer, sweeter, and honestly more zany because of his presence in it. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

What are you thankful for this week?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mountain musings

Found here 
 Jackson, Kentucky doesn't look a whole lot different today than it did when this picture was taken in the late 1890's.

And this is where I took my Hispanic, Los Angelino husband for his college required cross cultural experience. Into a community that is 0.04% Hispanic.

My family is from a couple hundred miles farther south, in the Smoky Mountains, but the hill country of the northern Appalachian mountains isn't such a far cry culturally from where we're from.

So away we went! Armed with snacks, pillows, and a really old map, we winded our way south in search of moon pies and sweet tea. My momma and I were a smidge worried about finding cultural things for him to "experience" - but after the seventh time he asked what something meant after approximately 3 hours on the road, we decided it wouldn't be as hard as we thought!

There's some invisible line somewhere south of Indy where I'm fairly certain there's a shift in the time-space continuum. You drive past it and are transported back a minimum of thirty years (Paul says there's similar portal above my mom's front door, except it transports you several hundred miles south). See the towns we visited were little mining towns, impoverished now that the strip mines are clean. But the mountains dictate your lifestyle, and little coves of people spring up in the hollars and flat places along the mountain chains. Everyone has a dog, and a small garden, and you might see the same 25 people every day, unless you are bused out for school. The people are a hardy, stubborn set, devoted to their families, land, and very traditional way of life.

We went to a tiny little church, just up the mountain from where my grandparents had a church in Lost Creek, Kentucky. The congregation numbers about 25, but there were only 13 in attendance on Sunday (my family making up 4 of them!). Worship was strictly hymns, including my Paupa's favorite, The Old Rugged Cross.
Buckhorn State Park

Even with the intense poverty, this area is beautiful. Up in the mountains, the air is so clear and life slows down just a bit; it's easier to think.  

It's impeccably hard to describe the difference in atmosphere, unless you've been there. But I miss it. I'm not sure I've really caught my breath since we got back, and I certainly haven't had a decent glass of iced tea!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Baby beginings

I've never seen so many adults stare at a baby sleeping.

But how can you help it? When the the baby is so absolutely precious? A little tiny white head, with even tinier fingers, and fingernails, that wiggle and stretch, reaching towards life.

So we take turns. She lifts her head a little, sighs, and one of us stops next to the crib. Waiting, to see if she'll move again. Watching the wrinkles in her forehead, wondering what she's dreaming about as she kicks at the blanket.

Grown adults, completely entranced by this eight pounds of sleeping stillness.


A little baby arrives, and life slows for a little while as we get caught up in the rediscovery of the simplest actions. We reacquaint ourselves with the most basic parts of life - stretching, yawning, sighing. And we get caught up in the moment, in that blissful, joy-filled moment.

As Easter approaches, I can't help but still my life some. Four days in the mountains (more on that adventure next time!), followed by this new little life, reorients me. By Grace are we given breath, life; in Him we move, and breathe, and have our being. In Him, we relearn how to do and think about the most basic of things. We learn to stretch new muscles, learn to breathe Him in, and we begin life anew.