Thursday, April 17, 2014

this week in my kitchen

Hello, friends! Joining the fun with Heather of Beauty That Moves This Week in My Kitchen  blog hop.

Here's a peek...

Time spent in the kitchen is a normal, everyday part of my life. Creating delicious, nourishing, beautiful things to eat is one of my greatest joys and pleasures. It's been good to capture some of that this week.

The highlights...

:: hummus 
:: Summer Reboot Salad: kale + corn + hemp seed + sweet miso tahini dressing
:: banana-berry breakfast bread
:: No Bake Cinnamon Oatmeal Truffles 
:: Addictive Peanut Butter Granola (I think this has got to be the best granola I've ever made. So good.)
:: potato pancakes with apple sauce
:: creamy (cashew) alfredo over pasta (Engine 2 cookbook)
:: roasted sweet and spicy sweet potato rounds (tossed with a bit of coconut oil and seasoned with cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, garlic powder, salt)
:: black bean and mango salsa
:: Thai Coconut Curry Soup (over rice is nice. last's nights dinner and my breakfast this morning.)
:: King Kong milkshakes (blended frozen bananas, cocoa, almond milk, and peanut butter.)
:: Crispy Cajun Chickpea Cakes

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

evening light

I loved the light last night. Looking up at just the perfect moment from across the room. Seeing his look of concentration and stillness. That golden, luminous halo quality of it. Sneaking my camera to capture it. Realizing that this aspect of my photography might become a thing of the past as these children become more and more self conscious in their growing up. I respect that, but it saddens me. 

He went with me on a little drive after dinner. Just as the sun was going down and before picking up Sam from work. Again, it's always the light. The light and the contrast. That's where the magic and the artistry comes, I've found.

Speaking of Sam. It's been a busy time with him. Prom this weekend, plowing and enduring to the end of his senior year, and him getting his mission paperwork (and everything that goes with it) completed and ready to turn in. A big deal. Yes, like his sister and brother, he has decided to serve a mission for our church. He plans to leave in August. Looking forward to the exciting day when he'll find out where he'll be serving. One home next month (Gary returns on May 22nd.) and then we'll be saying goodbye to another child for two more years. These children are leaving my nest.

I'm so proud of Sam. He's always wanted to do this. With the age requirement recently lowered to 18 instead of 19 for young men, his plan is to defer his university freshman year until he gets back. I couldn't be happier for him having this chance to really understand himself, love and serve others, and deepen his understanding and relationship to God. We're so grateful (there just aren't words to express it) for the profound, life-changing experiences Gary has had in Finland, and Jane in Taiwan. 

In other news, the garden is tilled. Talk about a way to a wife's heart. I just have to get out there and clean up the garden beds. So much work to do in the yard. I'm trying not to let it overwhelm me. I'm excited for the garden this year, though. Especially after last year's failure. 

I've been doing more. Baking and cooking many good things in my kitchen. (I'll share more of this on Thursday.). Empty, unscheduled days. Walks in the mornings and grocery shopping and out and about errands. Paying the price later in the day. 

I guess I still need to learn some patience.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

at last

this morning's walk did me so much good,
even though i kind of overdid it.
but boy,
it was so worth it.

Friday, April 4, 2014


making:: my bed for the first time in a week yesterday. an all time record.

drinking:: lemon water in a quart jar.

eating:: handful of raw oats, sprinkling of chia and ground flaxseed, strawberry, mango, and banana slices, almond milk poured over all.

thinking and feeling:: the aftermath of the heart and tear-filled talk between me and my dad last night. three full hours of me sitting on his bed and him in his recliner.

thanking:: a reminder, an epiphany, a discovery... for his listening ears, his council, his understanding, his support, his friendship, his unconditional love.

remembering:: it dawning on me yesterday that was the one year anniversary of jane leaving on her mission. i left the dishwasher partially unloaded and had to read my blog just to make sure my hunch was right. so grateful that i've kept this record. and can i just tell you how my heart aches for her.

wearing: keith's green and blue plaid hand-me-down flannel pajama bottoms, long sleeve navy tee. slippers.

listening:: nora jones, florence and the machine.

liking:: tree blossoms. even if they're covered in
snow. (like yesterday morning.)

hoping:: to be able to walk without pain. i get around slowly, but can't quite bear full weight on my foot/heel. trying to exercise patience. taking one day at a time.

laughing:: "anyone up for a game of connect-the-dots?" when doing a show-and-tell of my foot to the kids. (the bandage is off and everything a-okay.) eliza turning away from my poor, purple frankenstein-y foot with it's grid mark holes covering the bottom half: "now i can't get that image out of my mind, mom!" she shrieks.

pinning:: this, this, and this. (etc, etc, and etcetera..)

reading:: just finished The Well Tempered Heart, sequel to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. such beautiful, lyrical writing in both novels. like a meditation. another on the stack: wayne dyer's Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao. i can't get enough of this man.

smelling:: the blue hyacinth sitting on the kitchen table that hillary brought over. intoxicating.

watching:: The Impossible (can't remember the last time i truly cried in a movie), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (eh. higher hopes for this one...)

celebrating:: sam's 18th birthday tomorrow. he wants bacon.

texting:: to keith while lying in bed and him downstairs doing the taxes: me wants cookies.
to sam and eliza every afternoon at 3:35 without fail: i'm here.
(pretty much the extent of me and texting.)

wishing:: with the kid's having the whole week off next week with spring break, wouldn't it be nice to get away somewhere and have fun. sigh. i guess we'll just have to wait for our planned summer vacation to california in june.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

post-op thoughts

Since I had to come down and write the kids their Sunday emails, I thought I'd pop in and say hi.
It feels so good to finally come downstairs after being cooped up in my in bed for three days.
It's amazing how good it feels.
My surgery went well.
I went to the hospital (you can see the back of it from my front porch) at 7:30 Thursday morning
and was home that afternoon.
Keith took the day off and Friday as well.
He's been such a good nurse.
I honestly don't know what I would have done
without his care.
Here's some "for instances"
(so I'll never forget):

When I was coming out of the anesthesia and was shaking uncontrollably, he was there by my side,
sweetly stroking my hair,
whispering "Em, just take deep breaths like you do in your yoga."
Him quietly wiping away my tears when the pain started kicking in and I was kind of loopy
and that moment I was so overcome with the love and prayers that I felt so powerfully from those that love me.
Him carrying me up the stairs
and constantly checking in on me throughout the days and into the nights;
anticipating and meeting any need I might have.
Stroking my hair again and cleaning my face and then having to dump my own throw-up bowl when I was so sick from the heavy-duty pain meds. 
His steady hand and steady presence whenever he hears the sound of the crutches. 
And to make bathing easier for me, his idea of rigging up a food storage bucket with a cushy garden pad for me to sit on in the bathtub, my bandaged foot dangling over the side
and then his holding me
while toweling off my wet, shivering body. 
Picking up and taking kids where they need to be.
Watching Napoleon Dynamite with us Friday night and then making a special trip (his idea and his persistence) when I laughed and said how tater tots sounded really good and when he couldn't find any, bringing me back a basket of  sweet potato fries and a bean burrito because he knew that would taste good to me, too.
For him doing the laundry and my/our taxes and the dishes. 
Cooking dinner last night and then bringing it all up to the bedroom so I could eat with everyone.
For his late night run to the grocery store last night.
Running the show and holding down the fort in addition to all that he's doing for me.

I'm so touched with the love I've felt from him.
For the nurturing we all felt from Mama and Mane's
pots of soup and loaves of bread.
For the neighbors bringing in a taco salad meal.
For phone calls and emails and prayers and kindness.
For the total wow of my wonderful and thoughtful doctor having a box of gourmet cupcakes and a (personalized notes from all his office staff) get-well card
delivered to my door that evening after my surgery.
For a comfortable bed and fluffy pillows propped.
For stacks of library books (I'm in the middle of my second novel) and DVDS.
For Netflix documentaries and Pinterest fun.
For Isaac entertaining me with our (many, many) games of Rummikub and his trying to get a reaction out of me by throwing his rubber snake on my bed.
For his sweet thoughtfulness when he brought up a cup of tea for me he made all by himself.
For Sam's smile with his gift of that bag of Twizzlers he bought at his work vending maching.
For the comforting sounds of Eliza on the piano.
For blossoming trees and springtime at last.
For the joy and excitement that I can finally
get out there once again and take it all in.
For what it means to surrender to slow and to rest.
For what it means to be on the receiving end.
For healing and for hope
and for never ending love.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

cookie fairy

It was that sugar-sweet cinnamony smell
wafting upstairs alerting me that another
late night baking session was underway once again.

"I guess I've become the cookie fairy, Mom," she explains 
this morning with her quiet little laugh
as I face, with a tired sigh,
the sticky, crumb-covered kitchen counters 
piled high with crusty pots and pans.
But even more than the thoughts 
of extra work this now makes for me,
a poignant witness and a tender reminder 
entering and softening my grateful heart;
the blessing and the pure joy it is to have a daughter 
so thoughtful and so kind.

For what has become an almost weekly ritual for her now,
these birthday Snickerdoodle surprises,
this time for three of her school mates.
Their special days brightened and remembered today
as she seeks out and scans 
the crowded, chaotic high school hallway;
those friends faces finally found,
as her own face, with it's shy smile,
presents, with outstretched arms, 
those cheery yellow paper plates piled high
with sweet and soft and golden gifts of love.
Tokens of her own soul-sweetness.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

thoughts on this first day of spring

I've felt a quiet stillness within me these last few days. 
Despite of and in the midst of the daily schedules and deadlines of my family member's lives. 

This husband and these teens staying up late 
til the wee, wee hours of the morning.
That almost returned missionary son 
transitioning to life at home.

Pinewood derby cars to put together. 
End of term projects to complete. 
And university Skype advisement center interview and fall registration to confirm and arrange.

I've found myself in the role of supportive encourager 
quite a few times this week.
Their quiet place to land.
I'm so glad for that.

Because of the ongoing and progressively-getting-worse
pain in my foot,
I cancelled all my massage appointments this week.
Surgery scheduled for next Thursday.
It's time.

You know,
It's a delicious thing to have full days to do as you please.
Mornings lounging in bed with my books.
Or listening to YouTube Wayne Dyer videos while doing the dishes and sweeping the floors.

My dad calling me yesterday, inviting me to lunch.
Said he's been wanting to for a long time.
Him initiating time alone, just the two of us, to strengthen our relationship.
I can't tell you how much this means to me.
It means the world.

Dropping Eliza off to school late this morning.
Seeing and understanding her desperate need to sleep in a few extra hours this morning.
And having a chunk of time to kill before another lunch date invitation with the other man in my life.
I wander undiscovered country roads.

Searching for beauty.
Searching for inspiration.
Finding springtime.
Finding peace.