Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Plenitude of Swiss Chard

Swiss chard has become one of my garden favorites.  The first varieties of this leafy vegetable have been traced back to Sicily.  The word Swiss was used to distinguish chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalog publishers. (again, my friend, Wikipedia, helped with this information)  It belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste.

Swiss chard has shiny green ribbed leaves, with stems that range from white to yellow and red.  Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads while mature leaves and stalks are typically cooked.  Swiss Chard is high in vitamins A, K and C.  It is also rich in minerals, fiber and protein.  Some research suggests that Swiss Chard provides a protective cover for the colon and kidneys.

Each year I plant a few more plants.  According to Go Organic Gardening,
Swiss chard is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Some gardeners refer to it as a “cut and come again” plant, because you can continuously harvest from the plant all season long, as long as you harvest the outer leaves, and leave the center of the plant to grow.

We add it to other greens for a salad. But mostly, I cook it as you might spinach and add it to all kinds of dishes.  I also freeze it for use in the winter. 

Here's how I prepare it:
Frozen Swiss Chard
Chop the leaves and stalks of mature (large-leafed) Swiss chard.
     I usually cook up 6 - 8 cups at a time
Chop 1 small onion.
Saute onion in 2 T. olive oil.  After the onion softens, add the Swiss chard.  Cook until it's limp and reduced.
After the mixture has cooled, put 1 cup into a freezer bag.  Label and put in the freezer.



Possible uses for the frozen Swiss chard:
Vegetarian Lasagna
Quiche (a previous posted recipe)
Soups
Quesadillas
Stir fry
Sauces for pasta
Pesto/ hummus like dips


Meatloaf
Pizza
Calzones
Egg Dishes
Etc.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Profusion of Zucchni

I'll wager that many of you wondered what the plural form of "zucchini" is.  I'll also bet that most don't know the etymology (word origin) of "zucchini."  And that, my friends, is why we have Wikipedia, to answer those nagging questions that pop up from time to time.

According to our beloved, and occaisionally accurate, source, zucchini comes from the Italian word "zucca" which means "squash," and "zucchina" is its diminutive.  It's commonly called a "courgette" in European countries.  Different countries serve this all-purpose vegetable in a variety of ways:  in Mexico they're put in quesadillas; in Italy they're breaded and pan-fried; the French cook up ratatouille; the Turks like to make a popular dish, mücver , or "zucchini pancakes",  stuffing with meat, rice or herbs is a common dish in the Mediterranean areas.

Some years, my zucchini grows pitifully.  This year my plants have surprised me and surpassed my expecations. I've picked small ones for stir-fry and large ones, the size of newborn babies, for grating.  I found an interesting recipe for Zucchini Hummus in the paper this week.  The whole family loved it.  The basil gives it a pesto flavor.



Try it, you'll like it.

Zucchini Hummus
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsely
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Plethora of Cucumbers


This year, my garden has blessed me with a plethora of cucumbers.  If I was a pickler, I'd be pretty happy.  But I'm not.  As a kid, I helped my mom can bread and butter pickles.  As a young girl with plenty of discretionary time, working with wide mouth Ball jars and hot water baths was kind of fun.  As a mom with far too much to do, pickling cucumbers takes up too much time.
My solution (besides leaving these green sweethearts on the neighbors' front steps), was to use a couple of really big ones in a salad.  I served it at a larger family gathering, and everyone brave enough to try it loved it.


Creamy Cucumber Salad
2 very large (or the equivalent) cucmbers
     if the cucumbers are seedy, clean them out
     thinly slice the cucmbers
5 green onions, sliced
2/3 cup mayo
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup dried parsley

Slice the vegetables and place in a medium bowl.  In a smaller bowl, combine the other ingredients.  Add to vegetables.  Chill for at least one hour.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Eggplant Recipe

Last year, I harvested only one eggplant from my garden. How disappointing!  It's not that I'm a crazy eggplant lover, but when you spend time planting, weeding, fertilizing and watering you'd like to get something for your labors.

This year, my 4 little plants are prolific!  I've picked and cooked up 4 and have another 8 on the plants. My family is not overly keen on eggplant, but they're brave enough to try any recipe once.  Here's one we liked

Eggplant Caviar*
Real Simple, May, 2010
(I'm not sure why "caviar" is in the name.)

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
2 T. chopped, flat leaf parsley
1 T. olive oil
1 t. red wine vinegar
1 T mayonnaise (opt.)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Pumpernickely bread and cut up vegetables

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Using a fork, prick the eggplant all over.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until very tender, 50 to 60 minutes
Whe the eggplant is cool enought to handle, halve it lengthwise and scrape out the flesh, discarding the skin.  Finely chop the flesh and transfer it to a large bowl.
Add the onion, garlic, parsely, oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and mix to combine.  Sprinkle with additional parsely and serve with the bread and vegetables.


*Note:  I rarely make a recipe as it appears in a book or magazine.  What's the fun in that?  Here are the adjustments I made:
2 large eggplants
1 medium onion & 3 cloves of garlic sauteed in 1 T. olive oil
1 handful of dried parsley
A splash and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar
2 medium globs of mayonnaise
Gluten-free crackers

Bake the eggplants for 60 - 75 minutes on parchment paper on a large baking sheet, turning every 20 minutes.  After scraping the meat of the eggplant from the skin, mix the other ingredients (excluding the crackers) with a mixer.  The result is a nice, creamy dip for crackers, etc.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Family Friendy Fair

This week is our state's fair.  According to the State Fair's official website, this is  one of the nation's largest and and best-attended agricultural and educational entertainment venues.  The Fair's mission is to educate and involve our guests by providing a world-class showcase that is innovative, entertaining and fun.

Again, according to their website:
We strive to:
•Showcase Minnesota’s finest agriculture, art and industry
•Present an unparalleled forum for knowledge and ideas
•Provide outstanding customer service
•Offer exceptional value
•Provide a safe, clean environment that is accessible to all
•Create unique experiences


The State Fair is a pretty large event.  Over the years, we've chosen to take the kids to smaller, local county fairs.  The Steele County and Rice Conty fairs are nearby and have been a lot of fun.



This year we went to the Dakota County Fair.  We've been there a couple of times before.  This year, it was a beastly hot day.  We might not have gone, except that we had our German friend with us and thought it would be a great midwest, American experience.


As at any small fair, we saw 4H projects, livestock, garden produce, penned-up wild animals, food stands and carnival rides. 





Unfortunately, the hot and humid weather took a lot of fun out of our day at the fair.  The rides didn't entice us.  Neither did the Heritage Village or many of the animal barns.  However, we made the most of our day, finding shade and fans where we could.  We ate a little fair food, guzzled water and took pictures.


Gotta love the summer in Minnesota!

Monday, August 30, 2010

This Pun's for You

FOR LEXOPHILES ...  LOVERS OF WORDS


A friend sent this to me in an e-mail.  Rather than forward it to all of my known friends and relations, I'm posting it here so that even more of you can chuckle along with me.

Enjoy!
1.A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
2.A will is a dead giveaway.
3.Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
4.A backward poet writes inverse.
5.A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
6.When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
7.The guy who fell on to an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
8.You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
9.He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
10.A calendar's days are numbered.

11.A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
12.A boiled egg is hard to beat.
13.Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
14.To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
15.The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.
16.When the smog lifts in Los Angeles ….. U.C.L.A.
17.He had a photographic memory, which unfortunately was never developed.
18.The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.
19.Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
20.When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.


21.If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
22.In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.
23.A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.
24.When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
25.Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
26.Acupuncture: a jab well done.
27.A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.
28.If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
29.A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.
30.The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

31.If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.
32.A plateau is a high form of flattery.
33.Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
34.Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.
35.The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
36.A grenade that fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.
37.I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
38.She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still. (Aye!!!!)
39.With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
40.A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.



41.No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
42.Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
43.A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
44.We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.
45.A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
46.Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
47.I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
48.A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
49.A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'

50.The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
51.Don't join dangerous cults: practice safe sects.
52.When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.
53.Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
54.A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
55.Shotgun wedding – a case of wife or death.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beautiful Minnesota

As part of the Midwest, we often think of Minnesota as a flat praire, full of fields and livestock.   If that's all you know of Minnesota, I encourage you to go North.  I've been a Minnesotan for almost 30 years (leaving the cornfields of Iowa for college and married life) and I love this state.  I love the extended prairie of the southwest portion of the state and the thick woods and lakes of central MN.  I love the bluffs of the river areas in the southeast.  According to an article:

About half of Minnesota is covered by the rolling plains left by the ice age. These areas are covered by fertile topsoil. Though some sections are sandy and stony, this area has some of the richest farmland in the United States.  Along the Mississippi River, in the southeastern section of the state, the land is relatively flat, cut by deep valleys created by fast flowing rivers and streams.  In southwestern Minnesota, glaciers left thick deposits of sand, gravel, and clay. This area is criss-crossed by many streams. The few flat areas make good farmland.

But my favorite place (almost in the whole world) is the North Shore along Lake Superior.  We try to get up there every year.  This same articles says of this area:

The northern part of Minnesota is the most rugged. The northeast section of the state has many rocky ridges and deep lakes and the area north of Lake Superior is the roughest and most isolated. Eagle Mountain, the highest point in Minnesota, is located north of Lake Superior. In the far northeast, the Minnesota border resembles an arrowhead. This area is called the Arrowhead Country.


The first video below is of the large falls near Grand Portage along Pigeon  River.  The DNR website says:  Torrents of wild water plummet 120 feet over the High Falls down to the Pigeon River in this park on the U.S. - Canadian border. The falls, the highest in the state, presented a serious obstacle to river travel, so a "carrying place," or portage, was necessary. American Indians created the ancient nine-mile trail from Lake Superior to bypass the falls. This trail became known as "The Grand Portage."


video

These second video is from the Temperance River.  It had rained all day, adding extra energy and mud to the river.  About this river:
The steep-gradient river has cut through the fractured, ancient lava flows of the river bed. Swirling water carried gravel and rocks which wore away the basalt and created large potholes. Over thousands of years, these potholes were dug deeper and wider, eventually connecting and creating the deep, narrow gorge.

video

I love these rivers and rock formations.  Whenever we go North I spend a lot of time just sitting and watching.  The sound of the racing water and the constant movement are mesmerizing.  It's hard to explain, but the noise and the movement are almost peaceful.  I find myself either thinking deeper thoughts, or no thoughts at all.  The rushing river flowing over the volcanic rocks draw me into a greater appreciation for my Creator and the strenght of His creation.

Praise God for the North Shore!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Watercolor Art

 Below is a watercolor my son completed for a visual arts class at ARTech.  It became part of a display at the Northfield Arts Guild's student show.

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GWO Spring Concert

A favorite aspect of motherhood is watching your children grow, mature, and shine in their God-given gifts.  When they were really young, I spent a lot of time at the Little League softball and baseball fields.  As they grew older I attended concerts and art exhibits.

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My son, Sean, plays in the Gustavus Wind Orchestra at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN.  As a member of the percussion section, he’s had a lot of opportunities at GAC to learn and play excellent music.  Since the college is only a short hour’s drive from our home, we’ve been able to hear him play a number of concerts.  All of the concerts that GWO performed this year were in the lovely Christ Chapel on the Gustavus campus.  I had a lot of quiet times in this chapel and am especially fond of the place.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

An Interesting Mathematical Proof

I poached this from my daughter's blog.  It's clever ....

 ... but not necessarily accurate. This proof only covers the set of girls who require time and money.  And, if you read this carefully, you'll find another flaw ... girls squared are evil.  Therefore, you can only prove that square girls who require time and money are evil.  The rest of us must be the opposite ... divine!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Uninvited Guest

“MOM!!!  Come quick!!!” Thankfully, after parenting for over 26 years, I can usually tell if I’m being called for a blood and broken bones situation, a this-is-so-hilarious-you-gotta-see-it event or “my ride is here and I can’t find my flip-flops” emergency.  Though I heard a twinge of panic in the kids' voices, I was pretty sure the situation wasn’t overly urgent. Entering the den, I was met by two gasping children motioning towards the bookshelves.  Dangling between the shelves and the shades was the largest spider I’ve ever seen in my house.  (I admit that at that moment I, too, gasped and took a few steps away from the large web.)
However, I summoned all of my “mom courage” and walked right up to it to get a good look.  (“MOM!  Don’t!  It might be dangerous!”)  We grabbed a couple of cameras and took some portrait shots of this unusual spider.  Unfortunately I caught part of the web on my sleeve, which resulted in the spider’s journey to my arm.
Screaming, running and mayhem ensued.
“Open the front door!” ”I can’t, it’s locked!” "Unlock it!” "I can’t.  I’m afraid!"
Finally, with Mr. Spider gently enveloped in a paper towel, I unlocked the door and set him on the front steps.  With camera in hand, I captured some better shots of our visitor.
This spider is a Marbled Orb Weaver spider. (see Wiki article) Common to fields, forests and gardens, this species is known for it’s unique web.  It’s neither poisonous or damaging.  Like most spiders, he should be our friend since he rids houses and yards of unwanted pests.  If you're not too timid, this link has a lot of pictures of this pretty little fellow and his kin.
video

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Growth Amazes Me

For the past 8 years I've planted an array of vegetables in 4 mid-sized beds.  Rather than plow up one large plot, I opted for variety for added visual interest.  I painstakingly plan the beds keeping in mind crop rotations, space requirements and design.

As the plants grow, I'm always amazed.  I put these tiny little brown seeds in the ground, wait 7 - 10 days, and voila!  I have green seedlings.


Monday, March 8, 2010

About Etiquette

In the old days, long before my youth, young ladies might go to “finishing schools.”  They would learn how to set tables, greet famous people and dress appropriately.  (See Mona Lisa Smile for scenes showing this kind of training.)  Over the years, a resurgence of manners and etiquette education is making its way to schools and through independent groups.

In preparing for a class I'm teaching, I came across some interesting facts and details:
  • The first known “etiquette scroll was written around 2500 BC, called The Instructions of Ptahhotep which gives advice for getting along with others and moving up in the world.
  • Forks were first used in Tuscany in the 11th century, but were condemned by clergy because food was a gift from God and only His creation could touch it.
  • Knives have been around since the Stone Age and became a big etiquette problem in 17th century as men would use the ends of their knives to pick their teeth at the table.  According to legend, Duc de Richelieu had the points filed off the table knives in his home.
  • ”Modern” etiquette books came into full flower in 13th century Europe.  Examples from some of these sources:
When you blow your nose or cough, turn round so that nothing falls on the table.

Refrain from falling upon the dish like a swine while eating, snorting disgustingly, and smacking lips.

Turn away when spitting lest your saliva fall on someone.

Do not move back and forth in your chair.  Whoever does that gives the impression of constantly breaking or trying to break wind. 

The defintion of the word “etiquette” is also interesting.  The French king, Louis XIV, had a beautiful home and gardens.  Often he hosted parties, and people came to visit.  People would walk on the grass, pick flowers, wade in the fountains and leave behind litter.  They didn’t have formal gardens and parks at their own houses and didn’t know how to behave.  The king and the head gardener decided to put up little signs all over (keep on the paths, don’t pick the flowers, please don’t litter, etc.)  The French word for “little sign” or “ticket” is etiquette.  So many centuries later, etiquette is simply a collection of the little signs to guide us in society and relationships.

And finally, let me share some words of wisdom that George Washington wrote in his rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation.
1st Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.

11th Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.

12th Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs rowl not the Eys lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.

16th Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.

53d Run not in the Streets, neither go too slowly nor with Mouth open go not Shaking yr Arms kick not the earth with yr feet, go not upon the Toes, nor in a Dancing fashion.

54th Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you, to See if you be well Deck't, if your Shoes fit well if your Stokings sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.

98th Drink not nor talk with your mouth full neither Gaze about you while you are a Drinking.

99th Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after Drinking wipe your Lips breath not then or Ever with too Great a Noise, for its uncivil.

Bad manners

I’m teaching a class on manners and etiquette at the charter school my kids attend.  As I was searching the internet for ideas, resources and even pictures, I came across an amusing site:  EtiquetteHell.com - The World’s Largest Archive of Bad Manners

If you ever think someone has been rude, unkind, or inconsiderate to you, I quarantee you’ll find someone on this site who has experienced something worse.

Whether it’s an issue of “misery loves company” or the fascination of watching someone else’s train wreck, this website has a strange allure.  I’m thanking my lucky stars that no one has left their unruly children at my house until midnight or spit in my food or wanted to borrow my wedding dress before I wore it.

Check out this site for a chuckle and a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Fascinating Field Trip

Recently, my son and I visited Five Stones Garden Bonsai to do some research for a school project.  What we thought would be a few quick questions and a walk-thru of a shop turned into 2 hours of the most fascinating visits I’ve had in a long time.  At one point, the owner and expert asked me whose project this was since I kept asking so many questions.  (At that point I did my best to be a quiet spectator.)


This man had a small shop of supplies, a workroom for teaching and working on plants, 3 sections of protected greenhouses, and an outdoor protected area for wintering plants.  Growing and training bonsai plants is both an art and a science.  Unlike “dwarfing,” bonsai trees are not genetically altered plants.  Bonsai uses cultivation techniques like pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation, and grafting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-sized trees.  (see Wikipedia for more information.)

Bonsai first appeared in China over a thousand years ago.  Introduced to Japan through Zen Buddhims in the 12th century,  it became an accepted practice among the upper class.  By the 14th century bonsai was viewed as a highly refined art form.  Though bonsai was introduced to western culture in the late 1800’s, they didn’t gain popularity until after World War II.  Early opinions objected that the trees looked “torture” and voiced their displeasure in the way the trees were being treated by the masters.
 


Our shopowner/ expert shared how he has spent time under a variety of Japanese masters over the years.  He was definatly passionate about growing and developing his trees.  He showed us very old trees that he’s been working on for almost 30 years.  He explained the various specialty tools for trimming and pruning. The tools are fine and sharp for the intricate snips and tweeks of the branches. 

The bucket in the below picture is full of wires that are heated and then twisted to hold branches in place.

If you're interested in bonsai, Minnesota has a society for novices and near-masters.  You can see bonsai collections at the Como Conservatory and at the State Fair.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vodka Sauce Hors d’oevre

Last week I hosted a chocolate party.  Everyone who came brought some chocolate to share.  Needless to say, we had an overload of chocolate on the table.  (I should have taken a picture; it was quite a beautiful sight.)

Since I knew we would have sufficient sugary calories, I made an appetizer with a little more salt and protein:  Baked Parmesan & Vodka Sauce.  It was a hit, and a welcome addition to the chocolate goodness that grace the table.

Baked Parmesan and Vodka Sauce
1 jar of Classico Vodka Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion
1 clove garlic
1 T. parsley
1 t. basil
4 cups fresh spinach
2/3 (one handful) fresh shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

In a frying pan, gently sauté the finely chopped onion in the butter.  Keep the heat on low and let the onions take their time to get glossy and decrease.  Add the garlic after 1 or 2 minutes.  Chop the spinach leaves and add to the onions and garlic.  Carefully cook until all the leaves have shriveled.  Add the jar of vodka sauce, the basil and the parsley.  Add the parmesan cheese and transfer to a deep pie dish or shallow casserole dish.  Top with shredded mozzarella and sprinkle some more parmesan on top.  The dish can be refrigerated at this point.

Bake at 375 for 20 to 30 minutes.  Serve with hearty crackers or sliced French bread.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Week of Encouragement

This may come as a surprise to some, but being a mom and a pastor’s wife can at times be frustrating and discouraging.  Not everything always goes as planned and sometimes things happen outside of a person’s control.  The chicken drops on the floor while you’re rushing out the door to get to a meeting.  A child calls complaining about a sibling while you’re in a prayer meeting for someone who is sick.  Yeah, mothering and pastoring aren’t always smooth sailing.

Recently, after a bout of difficult, frustrating, challenging, problematic, annoying, exasperating (well, you get the idea) situations I started crying out, whining and even demanding  God to show up with help and grace.  (Don’t worry, I know that God is not intimidated by my demands.)

I’ve often felt that God is just waiting for us to get really honest with where we are, how we feel about situations, and what’s going on deep inside our hearts.  As adults, we’re not much different from our children who act out in some troublemaking way while the real reason is that their feelings have been hurt.

God, in His gracious and tender-hearted way, heard and answered my prayers.  This week I’ve experienced daily tokens of His love and encouragements. 

Let me recount them:

Sunday:  Almost 4 hours of peace and quiet at home by myself while my family was elsewhere for the Vikings game.
Monday: A crisis of serious proportions with a computer was quickly solved by a good friend, saving us thousands of dollars.
Tuesday:  An encouraging meeting with the leadership team in which I could share some frustrations and heartaches and they listened with compassion and understanding.
Wednesday:  Someone who works with my kids at school told me that he thought they were incredible.  Does a mother’s heart wonders!
Thursday:  My lengthy breakfast-to-lunch date with my sister helped to fill my emotional tank.  Her generous birthday gift overwhelmed me.  And listening to my son be applauded after his piano performance raised that tank’s level a bit more.
Friday:  A FedEx package from my sister-in-law contained a fun and unusual gift.
Saturday:  After being gone all morning to a school board meeting, I came home to a sparkling clean kitchen bathrooms and living room prepared by my children.
Sunday:  The day’s not over …….

As I’ve recounted to myself these daily blessings, I’ve realized that God has handed me many blessings and specific gestures of love that I’ve missed.  That is probably why my “tank” go so low.  Ephesians 4: 30 talks about being “sealed with the Holy Spirit.”  God must need to do that because we leak so much.

My challenge to you:  be real with God about where you are and how you’re doing.  (You can’t fool Him; He knows anyway.) Be honest about what you really need.  Then wait.  You never know how He will choose to answer.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cutting Edge Fashion

My mother once told me, “Life is not all khaki and denim.” (I think she would have included “maternity jumpers” in that statement, but she didn’t want to offend me.) In other words, “spice up your wardrobe, honey.”

Since the advent of children and a limited income I’ve become uber-practical in my clothing purchases. If it didn’t match most of my existing pieces, I wouldn’t part with my money for it. You guessed it: my closet was boring with mostly black, navy blue, tan, burgandy and gray.

But, thanks to my sister-in-law, that’s changing. She’s put me on a new path of cutting edre fashion and high style. I’ve taken her gifts as a loving, subtle hint to get out of my proletarian rut and jazz up my life with color, pattern and the peak of today’s styles. Haute couture here I come!


Last Christmas she presented me with these hot pink and black herringbone patterned tights. Have you ever seen such a creation? I tell you, I turn heads when I wear these. The looks on peoples faces tells me how disappointed they are that they’re not the trendsetter that I am.

Her most recent gift to me was this pair of fuzzy purple/aqua/white striped legwarmers. Since my sister-in-law lives in a big city I fully trust her leading regarding what’s “hot” for the season. (Though I would have thought that legwarmers were a thing of the ‘90’s. Who am I to question?) Experimenting with them, I’m not sure how they look best. I thought I’d give them a test run at the gym tomorrow with a bulky sweatshirt and leggings.


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Feel free what do you think??

Maybe not too free .....