Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Welcome 2015

Zero based budget for January done! Next on the agenda - decide on some sort of 21 day cleanse to start tomorrow. I'm thinking something oil-free, mostly raw, involving juicing, etc. Suggestions welcome.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Give Anyway

Man’s abuse of the gift could not turn God’s blessing from the giver. - DA 614.3

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Future Happiness

I don't know about you, but for me it's easy to end up in a rut emotionally sometimes, especially when it comes to motivation. I read a couple of great blogs my friend Bipin shared on Facebook late last year about why procrastinators procrastinate & how to overcome procrastination. I got a lot out of them. If you haven't seen them, you can check them out here:

Lately spring in Maine has been toying with us. The snow is being washed away by the rain and most of the time it's above freezing now. I started making popsicles. I put Welch's grape juice in ice cube trays and enjoy them for days. I made some on Friday and last night there were just enough for each of the 16 people at our house to have one. It's such a simple thing to do now that will create happiness in the very near future. Let's see what else I can do today that will bring about happiness, rather than disappointment into my future. I think that sounds better than a "to do list". What do you think?

Today's brainstorming & other random thoughts: I'm thankful for the inspiration I get from Pinterest, and sometimes Facebook & Google+. Also, I think I should make a blog called "Closer to the Garden" that could encompass everything from country living, beautiful landscaping, gardening, food, recipes, eating, picnics, composting, crafts with food, rest & relaxation, hammocks, bonfires, healthy living, wellness, natural remedies, reducing, reusing, recycling, do it yourself ideas, simplifying...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why doesn't success feel like success?

Yesterday was perhaps one of the most productive days I've had in quite some time. Lunch was the best. O came home and we enjoyed a lovely version of our Monday "Panera Day" where I serve black bean soup in a homemade bread bowl along with a fresh salad.

I made tofu for the first time last night and used up some okara by making these muffins.

My yogurt attempt wasn't as successful. I made nondairy yogurt for the first time last Thursday, but without brown rice syrup, my honey substitution turned my first successful yogurt attempt into a too-sweet-to-eat version that we added mango puree to & brought to church potluck as a mango lasse. I was excited to see actual yogurt in the jars Thursday night after 10 hours in the yogurt maker. The batch I made on Sunday night with the brown rice syrup I purchased on Friday did not turn into yogurt because I wasn't thinking & I put the lids on the yogurt before putting them in the yogurt maker. You're not supposed to put the lids on until after they come out of the yogurt maker. I attempted to salvage them by adding a little more store-bought yogurt to each jar & leaving it in there with the lids off for 12 more hours. Last night I was disappointed to see they still hadn't turned out.

I went to bed on a low from my yogurt disappointment, which left me in a weird place today. I stayed in bed most of the day & watched remodeling shows on TV. I finally drag myself downstairs & look in the refrigerator and what do I see? The fruits of my labors from yesterday: enough black bean soup & bread bowls for one more "Panera Day", a double batch of banana nut okara muffins, a beautiful salad and a block of homemade tofu.

Wow, yesterday really was a good day! I may have a few dishes in the sink to show for it but I did several loads yesterday, so the dishes that need to be washed are quite minimal considering. This is just one more example of why not to go through life on feelings alone.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Facebook isn't all bad. Neither was 2013.

Thank you Facebook for my year in review. I was scared to look at it until now. There were a lot of ups and downs in 2013, and some things fell into both categories. For example, I lost my 3rd grandparent in 2013, Grandpa Martin. This was sad, but the good that comes out of loss is the togetherness we share when we gather with family & other loved ones for the memorial and share stories & make new fond memories together.

I was blessed to be able to return to Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, TN twice last year. (It feels weird to say last year when last year was earlier this week.) It was the first time we'd been back in eight years. It's where we met, where we went to college. We still have a lot of friends and some family back there (now that I live in Maine, I should say "down there" I suppose).

I got to see my California family in September when I flew to Tahoe for my Gramps' 80th Birthday. I hung out with my sisters and cousins in the hot tub. I went to Cabela's for the first time. It was a lot of fun.

In Colorado, I got to go sledding & skiing, and even bought a used snowboard at the end of the season before I knew I was going to be moving to Maine. I now realize I may not get to use it anytime soon. I rode my bike to work in the summer. We did a number of hikes, including our annual hike up Pagosa Peak.

I do miss my visits to the Hot Springs. I remember fondly my birthday party there where we sat in the tub in the -10 degree weather in January and watched our hair turn to icicles. I feel like I am and have been the luckiest girl on the planet. How could I be so sad? So what if I quit a job that I'd been doing for the better part of a decade? It led to an amazing opportunity to work from home & get paid the IT salary I'd always wanted. This job took me to California for boot camp, where I met some really great people. It also took me to Las Vegas, where I met even more. So what if I quit that job in less than three months because of the stress and anxiety I felt from it and from moving across country & starting over in a new place? Health is your true wealth, and it's worth sacrificing for. I have this amazing opportunity now to be free and have time to cook and bake and work on projects and figure out what I want to do next.

We had our friend & coworker stay with us for a while; we had other friends live with us all summer, which was fun. Our friend Andrew was able to stop by and visit on his way to Loma Linda, California. Gramps & Kim visited us while the West Fork fire was burning. We had our friend Dr. Tim Riesenberger come and stay with us & do a health series, which we'd been wanting to do for several years. One year ago today, we had an 11 person sleepover, too (a group of high school students traveling back from GYC).

I learned a lot of things in 2013. I learned how to make baklava - my favorite! I learned how to make a copycat Panera black bean soup in a bread bowl, which O loves. I learned how to make pot pie, apple pie and lasagna. I learned the importance of guarding my heart to protect my marriage. That was actually the deepest, darkest, hardest, most private & painful thing I learned this year. I would be happy to talk to anyone about it privately, but this isn't the place to have that discussion. I will say that it is an important victory, however, because one of my biggest fears has been that I would follow in the mistakes of the generation before me. Thank God that I did not.

This post doesn't even begin to cover all the blessings of the year, but I wanted to acknowledge some of the good things that I hadn't put all together in my mind. My biggest failure in 2013 was that I didn't stop & count my blessings. I let fear of facing the pain of the year prevent me from looking back, but now that I have, I feel much better. If I had to summarize the year, I would say it was the year I got to see my Florida family, made it to Tennessee twice, California twice, Las Vegas and Oklahoma (crazy overnight trip for a high school graduation), moved to Maine, ate lots of Thai food (we <3 Thai Chilie) and was blessed beyond measure. I spent my birthday at the Hot Springs with great friends. On Valentine's Day, we tried a new vegan Thai restaurant in Albuquerque. On Father's Day, we were on top Pagosa Peak. On the 4th of July we were at the parade with friends. On our 9 year anniversary we were in Boston & got to see old friends. On Thanksgiving we had dinner here with O's family. On Christmas we were at his parents' house. What a great year! Well, enough about me. How was your 2013?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Miracle from the Streets

Today I finished reading a book about the life of Cheri Peters. It's the story of a girl who was abused and unwanted by her family, who lived on the streets from age 13 and was lost in her fears and addictions until God rescued her and taught her about His love for her. He gave her a ministry reaching out to people abused and lost in their addictions.

I love her show Celebrating Life in Recovery, and I look forward to meeting her in person someday. In the book, she shares that we are all homeless, really, since this world is not our home. Her quest to be normal was futile. She had to let that go. God shared with her that she would be normal when He comes again, and I believe that is true for all of us. Our idea of normal is not God's idea. He has better plans for us.

If I only follow one goal, I want it to be that I would daily, continually ask for more of the Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me into those better plans. John 16:13 says that He will guide us into all truth. That is my prayer for you and for me this year. May God bless you abundantly with His Spirit this year, and with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.