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Showing posts from 2013

Staying Peaceful When You're Overwhelmed

My peaceful view from my computer desk. The holidays are always overwhelming aren't they?  This year has felt a bit more so than usual for me I'd say.  God has given me an opportunity to practice what I preach. What I preach (or rather how I try to live each day) is peace .  Peace in all circumstances.  At all times.  No matter what.   It sure is easy to be at peace when life is going your way and things are basically status quo. It is much harder to stay in peace when the circumstances of your life are not easy for some reason. My reason is that I have to have surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus.  In other words, I have been limping and balancing on one foot for a month since I blew out my knee at my sister's house.  It was an innocent accident (a minor collision while dancing in our pjs in her living room) but I heard the characteristic "pop" and my knee no longer wanted to stay in alignment.   Unfortunately, I had a terrible fall a week

What Do You Need Permission To Do (Or Not To Do) This Christmas?

Are you ready for Christmas baking season?  This year I am going to be in the kitchen more because we are staying home for the entire vacation and have no company coming to visit.  This is bittersweet as we may be a little lonely after skyping with our families who will be together far away in North Dakota. Still, I have a deep sense of relaxation heading into this busy time of year.  One major sense of peace has been the result of my decision to forgo sending out Christmas cards this year.  My cousin and I were texting about how neither of us had a family photo or the time (or desire) to get this task completed in a rush.  Then I remembered the first page of my art journal from t he e-course with BrenĂ© Brow n . It was a page of permission slips. (see photo above ~ I added the Christmas hats to bring these permissions with me into the holidays) We were to draw slips and write down things we gave ourselves permission to feel, do, or not to do.   With this in mind I suggeste


As you know from my last post ~ 40 Things I Learned While 40 ~ I am now 41 and as of Monday, so is my husband.  (I love that I can say I married a younger man.) I wonder what he would list as his 40 things he learned while 40? Sounds like a good question for our next date night. Hopefully that will happen before we are both 42! Back on my birthday, while the hint of summer was still heavy in the air, we took our coffee and two chairs to the beach just down the road.  There we sat, ignoring the to-do lists and pressing demands of his work, and remembered what we are really celebrating with each passing year  ~  our personal relationships.  Without relationships our work would be meaningless, our to-do lists pointless drudgery. We held hands and watched the birds sailing high then streaking downward in search of their own breakfast.  The sun climbed before us and the still calm water gleamed in pink and silver tones. We talked about the past 20 years together.

40 Things I Learned While 40

Today is my 41st birthday!  Forty was a fantastic year and I am taking a few minutes to record what I have learned to be true over the past year(s).  I am also making this list of aha's (some silly, some serious) so I can remind myself over and over again in the next decade! ON APPEARANCE 1.  Fit, Fabulous, and 40 became my mantra.  At least I was 40.  :) 2.  I am no longer doing my makeup to look like I am not wearing any. Who am I kidding?  3.  Being a tall woman, I used to try to shrink myself and never wore heels.  Not anymore.  Heels and wedges are my new best friends and the added height makes me feel strong. 4.  It has been decided I will have long hair until I turn 60.  My family agrees.  No more short, mushroom bobs - ever. ( Andie MacDowell is my hair and aging icon.) 5.  A girl can never have enough neutral colors in her wardrobe.  They go with everything and never look dated. I can add pops of color through accessories. 6.  Every new season req

What I Got from the Conference :: Gratitude and Scripture

People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 On Saturday I attended the first ever Catholic Women's Conference for our Diocese.  There were 500 women present and it was absolutely wonderful.  It was a two hour drive but I was so glad that I went.  Our keynote speaker for the day was Renee Bondi of Bondi Ministries .  To call her an inspiration is an understatement. Read her story and then try to complain about any inconvenience in your daily life.  It will likely pale in comparison to what she has to do to just get ready for the day.  The message seared into my heart was : Be Grateful Always : which recalled to me my favorite scripture verse anew. Doesn't it seem that an attitude of gratitude is the key to a happy life? Take a moment, right now, to stop and count the blessings around you.  From a roof overhead to the sunlight on your shoulders, we each have so many reasons to be grateful for what we have and not to be postponing h


Hi dear friends. I have missed making time to be in this sacred space with you.  However, I am brewing up some new posts and with luck I will find the time to share them here soon.  I feel like there is so much to tell you!  New school year, new schedule, new books I'm reading and a few new recipes are on the docket for   Also, will you please pray for me as I spend the weekend at a Catholic Women's Conference (and have a little Girl's Weekend time away as well)?  I am sure that will provide a few insights I can bring back to share with you next week.  Many blessings for a restorative weekend ahead.

Embracing Being a Soccer Mom

It's official.  Soccer season has begun - again.  And this year holds a whole new weight to it as RW and ZJ are each on an academy travel team.  When tryouts came up last Spring we wrestled and wrestled with the decision.  It seemed we were at the end of the "little leagues" of soccer and it was either go big or go home - literally.  With much trepidation we went ahead and let them try out.  They each made a team.  RW in the U12 and ZJ in the U11.  They each have three nights of practice a week and games on the weekends - most likely in different cities.  Add the fact that our five year old, KC, wanted to start soccer as well and now we have more practices and an additional game somewhere else on Saturday.   This was a huge decision for me and my husband.  He travels a lot so the idea of then going in separate directions on the weekend seemed like a ridiculous sacrifice.  Then the idea of me hauling all three boys to every single separate practice during the we

Those Who Look See

Loved :: This Day

Early Mornings at the Beach {tourist in your own hometown}

Visiting California as a middle-schooler I was surprised to hear that many locals rarely went to the beach.  When you live close to it you aren't as thrilled by it as the tourists I supposed.  Back then, while growing up in landlocked North Dakota, I never imagined I'd wind up living four miles from a tourist destination beach like we do now and I can see how one slips into "been there done that mode". Between October and April it is a rare occasion that I venture to the water's edge.  It's too cold, too windy, too chilly, too much effort.  May brings a renewed vigor for beach days but by August it has become old hat. While lying back in my beach chair one day observing my boys, the waves and the beauty of it all I thought of my trips to California and how precious they were to me then.  Scanning the visiting beach families, obvious by their flaming red sunburned shoulders or Quebec license plates in the parking lots, I realized that many

August Break {breaking back into blogging}

These pics are all from the Big Picture Classes Phone Photography Project in July.   So July 2013 is in the past. Once again I have gathered all my favorite moments in the Project 365 app photo calendar.  August is here and brings the daily countdown to an early start to school on August 19th.  I have officially purchased the school supplies, uniforms and backpacks.  We have yet to find comfortable black shoes that my newbie middle schooler will deem "cool" enough that I can also tolerate buying for him.  These pre-teen years are truly a roller coaster ride of finding the middle place where he and I can meet.  Thankfully he has a gentle spirit so our disagreements aren't so bad. (Do I need to add "yet" to this sentence??) Anyway, in honor of the boys going back to school I have decided to go back to blogging this month!  2013 has been such a growing year for me yet I have shared so little of it here in my sharing space.  So when Susannah Conway sugg

Layers {52 Photos Project}

I have a weakness for costume jewelry.  I don't require real diamonds or 14karat gold to make me a happy wife.  Instead I have a tendency to pick up a necklace here, a pair of earrings there, while out and about running mundane errands.  But my favorite item to pick up at any time is a new stack of bracelets. Two or three heavy circles layered on my wrist seem to complete any outfit, their subtle clinking keeping me aware of their sparkly presence.  People often ask me if I am wearing expensive Lia Sophia jewelry and I love surprising them with the fact that I find most of my jewelry at Target! Next time you are there stop in and see their collections . You might be surprised at what you find. It's much more fun unpacking your laundry detergent and paper towels when you know there is something glittery and feminine tucked inside that Target bag just for you. Layers/Stacks Gallery @52 Photos Project

Red, White, Blue {52 Photos Project}

Check out the rest of the patriotic gallery here . Never fear ~ Captain America is here! *  Happy 4th of July !  * 

The Magic of Summer Boredom {and having a quiet spirit}

And so it happens every year.  Mid-May the lazy days of summer stretch endlessly before me and I wonder how we will fill our aimless days.  Mid-June arrives and time seems to be flying by too quickly.  When I was a teacher I loved the month of June but by the 4th of July my thoughts began turning toward bulletin boards, new students and the need to begin lesson planning for August.  Now that I do not have a classroom to decorate or lessons to plan, I look forward to the month of July as the absolute pinnacle of summertime. Half of June is taken up by learning to settle down (I do have three very active boys) and settle into the new rhythm  of obligation-free days.  I must admit to having had a few fond memories of quiet schooldays during the first week of having all three boys around home.  But then the magic begins to happen.    They start to find their own quiet pastimes and to occupy themselves because they know there is nothing spectacular planned every moment of every day

Being the Stay At Home Mom at a Business Dinner

This past Monday my husband and I were able to sneak away (leaving a babysitter in our stead) to go out for dinner with his boss, a prominent client and their wives.  I tell you this because it so rarely happens and was kind of a big deal. As a stay at home mom for a solid decade now, I found myself across the table from two very elegant and accomplished older women.  One, a beautiful French woman who once owned a home decor shop, organized charity events and now is a Master Gardener; the other a successful businesswoman with no children of her own who has spent years jet-setting to high-profile fashion events and perfecting her admirable career.  Twenty and ten years younger (respectively) than these women, I mostly listened and nodded, smiling at their stories of their favorite island vacation spots, cities in which to go shopping and far-flung summer travel plans. As a former high-school teacher who hasn't held a paying position in eleven years, there was not much I could

Crimson {52 Photos}

Mid-way through my morning coffee yesterday I looked up from the book I was reading on my deck and my gaze fell upon my new potted hibiscus tree.  There were no open blooms but three buds that were clearly beginning to open. I wondered how long that process would take. By the time I finished my coffee (and had a second cup), the blooms were only partially opened, like a vase, flaring gently at the top, a glimpse of invitation to passing pollinators. Later that evening my boys tumbled outside to run through the sprinklers and create a new type of tag ~ water tag. Iced coffee in hand I stepped outside to supervise and prevent the need for (another) trip to the ER. Glancing across to the hibiscus I was rewarded with three wide-open palms of variegated blossoms. And there at the center, like a bumble bee bullseye, was a mini bloom of crimson . sharing with   52 Photos Project

June 3rd Daybook {summer fun}

 My first month of using the Project 365 app.  Since I'll never be a scrapbooker this is a fun way to record our days. Listening to The playlists are changing in our family.  During the past school year my boys have begun downloading their own music preferences onto their devices.  Now every time we get in the van, one of them announces that he will be the DJ during the drive and selects his favorite songs to share with the rest of us.  I must say they have greatly broadened my musical horizons and I freely admit to being stuck in a rut between Maroon 5 and Zac Brown Band. Thanks to my boys I have begun listening to some fun new music: The Script, Imagine Dragons, and that hair-bandish song by Fall Out Boy which has become the theme for the Stanley Cup playoffs (go Hawks).   Of course all this downloading has created interesting observations by my boys about how many songs have explicit lyrics (which they cannot download) and they really think musicians should clean up th

Fort Making Time {this moment}

This disheveled heap of blankets and pillows which has taken over my kitchen nook symbolizes one simple fact ~ school is out for summer. My boys are home, all day, everyday for the next three months and I am ready to slow down, sit still and savor their ultimate boyishness. Even if it means I have to sip my coffee elsewhere for a while. {this moment}                             

Waterdrops {52 Photos}

Sometimes you have to slow way down, lean in closer and really look at the magic that exists all around you.  Every bead of rain left clinging to a petal or a windowpane can become a mini-microscope revealing an entire world within. People are like that, too.  Each one a world unto him or herself with so much to teach us if we would only slow down, lean in and really see them for who they are within. Sharing at 52 Photos Gallery

Out of Crisis Comes Renewal

Is Springtime flooding your soul yet?  Every year at this time I am amazed at the sense of renewal the simple fact of increased sunlight, budding trees and blooming flowers brings to my spirit.  It may be trite but I really do feel like anything is possible when the world is displaying it before my eyes.   Last night at a meeting, a friend was discussing something her therapist had told her during a bout of deep depression following a tragic event in her life.  He told her,  "Out of crisis comes renewal." Each of us took a moment to let that reality sink in. We began to agree that that is the message of any crisis.  We are so busy living our lives in the moment when we cannot make sense of things very well.  Understanding comes only in retrospect.   Not until we have moved out of the crisis experience can we begin to see the ways in which we have grown or the unforeseen blessings that may have come to us as a result. We spent Easter break in Arizona with co

Cinnamon-Swirl Irish Soda Bread

I just pulled a loaf of this bread from the oven and the house smells lovely and warm with cinnamon spice. Because it is so very easy and makes excellent toast, I wanted to share it again today on St. Patrick's Day .  Even if you aren't Irish , your family will kiss you for it! {from the archives}     I feel kind of sorry for that plain, pasty looking round of Irish Soda Bread.   Taking it out of the oven and setting it down beside the cinnamon sugared version made it look like it came to the party and forgot to get dressed.   Let me just emphasize how  utterly delicious  this bread was.  It reminded me of the cinnamon scones I used to buy at Starbuck's years ago.  The crumb is dense and if you eat it while still warm, it is as moist as a buttermilk biscuit.  To think that from start to savor it took  only about one hour  to make this bre