Thursday, June 30, 2011

On the Door Step

The wait is over.
I am grateful to have been able to take the day to lay around, hot pad on my belly, nothing on my agenda but to get through the day. Memories of laughter and fun yesterday at the sunny Mariner's game are easing the discomfort a little but I am ready to start feeling back to normal again. J has a 4-day weekend this week for the holidays so I am hoping to get all the school work I had set for tomorrow out of the way so we can just enjoy the day together.

This afternoon, my un-showered self heard the doorbell ring and decided I was much too scary looking and smelling to answer it. Plus it would mean a scramble to get out of P.J's and into clothes and honestly, I didn't have it in me. I didn't want to sign a petition or become a Mormon so what would be the point - very few people randomly ring our doorbell in the afternoon. So I turned over and lay my head back on the pillow.

A few minutes later I heard my phone buzz and there was a text message from my friend Liz informing me of a gift on my doorstep. When I went and took a peek, there were my fave Dove dark Chocolates. I couldn't believe it, I burst into tears I was so touched (and so craving chocolate!!!)

That was a wonderful highlight to an otherwise painful and boring day! Roll on tomorrow. The start of a four day weekend with my husband!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Super Sides

It is no secret that I love to cook. I really enjoy putting a menu together and seeing all the flavors and textures come together on the plate. Sometimes I have time to create something spectacular, even if I do say so myself but some nights I have little creative energy to give, and all I want is a way to make chicken and vegetables a bit more exciting!

I coated the chicken breast halves in a little olive oil and garlic and then dipped them in (gluten free) breadcrumbs mixed with a little grated Parmesan cheese, ground pepper and dried basil. Then I just put them in a dish and baked them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I have certainly used plain grilled, or baked chicken on my low creativity nights but in this particular case I had seen this easy baked chicken recipe and happened to have all the ingredients so I whipped it up.

On a chicken and veg night, I have a fall back to sides of mashed potatoes and something green, usually broccoli or green beans but I get bored easily and have been searching for alternatives. The contents of our produce box gave me a push to use it's contents (something different) as my sides this time. First up were the collard greens. Now, I have tried to cook these before but never did a good job, they were always tough and chewy. I searched online and found a great recipe on which had good reviews and looked like it was worth a shot.

You can find that recipe here I only used 4 slices of bacon and that worked great with the bunch of collard greens we had (probably less than the 1lb on the recipe). I followed the rest of the recipe to the word, and it was yummy. The red pepper flakes gave it a lovely spicy kick and the bacon and onion really complimented the greens.

The other side I have been wanting to try for a while was mashed cauliflower. We had eaten it at a friends house for dinner and it was so good and such an easy, nutritious alternative to potatoes.

This was so simple, and so good. J told me at the table how much he liked the "cauliflower mixed with the potatoes" and I had to tell him that actually it was just cauliflower. A pretty big deal considering he is not the biggest cauliflower fan to begin with, so the fact he enjoyed it so much was great.

This is what I did for my Garlic mashed cauliflower.

I head of organic cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/4 C grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Boil a large pot of water on the stove. When it's at a rolling boil, add the cauliflower and cook for 6 minutes or until tender. Drain well, but don't let the cauliflower get cold. Place cauliflower on a paper towel and place another one over the top, and pat dry.

Put the cauliflower in a bowl with the cream cheese, Parmesan, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to blend it all together and serve immediately.

I like this recipe because I got the other ingredients in a bowl, and put a pot on to boil and then cooked it and whipped it last minute to serve.

What are the sides you enjoy most?

The Art of Blending

The events of this week, the waiting and the hopeless feelings that accompany every failed cycle are tough. My thoughts are more filled with baby stuff than at other times of the month. My tears spring forth with much less prompting and while our hope is still there sometimes I just need to cry it out (So sue me). Last night I did just that. We had gone to a BBQ for some friends who were visiting from overseas. When we arrived, we were greeted with her prominent belly and their excitement to be welcoming twins later this year. Of course, this is exciting news, it is exciting, but it is also like a knife in the heart as we digest our own disappointment.

This month had been wonderfully un-terrible and in comparison with many, many previous months it still holds that reputation but last night tipped me over the emotional edge and had to blink back tears a few different times. At the BBQ I chatted to friends, laughed, ate burgers and moved past the threatened tears to have a really nice evening, but when we got home my tears finally showed up and made a home on my hubby's strong shoulder.

My hope is still strong but sometimes that is what makes the waiting so much harder. I truly believe that God has something amazing in store for us as He grows our family but it seems to be much harder to be patient when there is a promise of something wonderful.

I continue to try and embrace the blend of emotions that make life full and beautiful. I rest in the peace of Jesus and try to manage the fear of my own humanity, hoping that In Him I can find the strength to be present in all the moments of my life as we wait.

We fight to be known, and to be transparent. We desire to walk this road honestly. It's not all rosy all the time. The truth of finding peace is real but tears will still find me. The peace does not eliminate our desire to be parents or take the pain of loss away but it does give us what we need to find purpose in our days outside of our longing for a baby. I am ready for this week to be over.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I am being held hostage by my period. Seriously. Every month since we have been on medication to help maintain a pregnancy if we are blessed to fall pregnant, I have to endure a time of waiting between knowing I am not pregnant and getting my period. It's torture.

I take the medication from a few days after I ovulate until 14 days past. Then I take a home pregnancy test. If it is negative (which it has been since January) I stop the medication and wait for nature to take it's course. However, this medication has been holding things off, and making my uterus a soft and cozy place for any potential embryos to implant. It takes a while for my body to realise that I have been tricking it and it can get rid of all the extra comfy home furnishings because they are not needed this time. It usually takes 4-5 days after I get my negative test (and usually I have known before that because of the lack of symptoms that I have got in previous pregnancies) so it feels like an endless amount of time waiting for the inevitable.

As much as this post and this blog may make you believe I am open to discuss bodily functions at the drop of a hat, I do have some standards. I do not like to refuse an invitation because I may be getting my period, seriously, is it biblical times and I have to confess my potential 'uncleanliness'?

However, it does mean I try and limit making plans and try and set some plan B's in motion just in case. It may seem crazy, I mean millions of women have this happen every month and carry on as usual. This truth is not lost on me. I used to be one of those blessed ladies. However, this medication, and all the extra throw pillows and scented candles it brings to make my uterus feel homey means that this is no ordinary period. It is a period that goes where no period has gone before. [Perhaps I should have included a disclaimer that there was lots of mentions of my period? Oh well, it really shouldn't shock anymore - sorry for any offense]

So I can go from having 0 symptoms such as I have now, to on the floor rolling around, cramps just laughing at the medication I try to use to subdue them, sick to my stomach and totally out of it, in about 15 minutes. So I never want to be more than a stones throw away from a bed, a heat pad and some painkillers in my days of waiting.

The speed of arrival is what is holding me hostage. J's company has tickets to the afternoon Mariner game tomorrow and I would love to go, but I am terrified that things will start moving and shaking while I am out and I cannot imagine anything worse than feeling that way while in a stadium full of thousands of other people, or while riding home on public transport. So do I risk it? I guess we will have to see what tomorrow brings.

I also had to see if there was a possible plan B to put in place in case the big P holds off for another day and claims my Thursday, rendering me unable to watch Lucy.

And then another baseball game plan on Friday night, a double date with our friends (I haven't been to a game in 2 years and now potentially will be watching 2 in a week - that's a lot of baseball but at least this season there is a better chance they will win at least one of those) Anywho, this is my situation. My hostage situation. So I wait for the inevitable and hope it doesn't claim too many lives!

I just wish one month I will be waiting for something different, like a scan of a baby's heartbeat. It would be easier to wait for that.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How are you?

I have had a similar conversation with about 7 people over the last few days as they have asked, "How are you doing?" I wanted to get the feelings down on paper. To build my tower of rocks to look back on someday when life is harder, reminding me of this season.

As anyone who longs for something knows, sometimes the waiting and hoping is easier than other times. A reminder that could have turned me into a pool of tears a few months ago, no longer seems to hold that power. Another month passes without pregnancy and the disappointment that sent me into a dark spiral before no longer has that effect.

I feel such an overwhelming sense of peace that we are right where God wants us. I wish it could be different, I wish we could have our baby today but we have always prayed that God would build our family and I do not believe he has ignored our prayer. And if this is true, we can wait.

I didn't realise how much of a dark place I had been in until in the past month I have been able to look back from my brighter emotional perspective today and see just how far I have come.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to walk with peace truly ruling my heart. I know that it was nothing I did that has brought me out of the darkness and into this place. This is the result of our prayers, and the prayers of those around us. It is a reflection of God's character. His faithfulness to be the strength we need in every trial. We do not know what our journey will look like, but I am hopeful that this peace can continue to be strong in my life in a way that guides our decisions.

It is supposed to be summer, but I think Seattle is taking this Saturday off because it has been overcast all morning. J and I am hunkered down watching part one of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' and we are hoping our submission to un-summer activities will be the double bluff needed to make the sun shine! We'll see I guess!!

Happy Saturday all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Crock Pot Chicken Stew

This summer I am back nannying Lucy one day a week. Read that as I am hanging out with pretty much the coolest 2 year old on the planet. Last week was my first week back and it was so fun to see how much she has changes since I last took care of her. It's the best job in the world!

On days when I am working J and I travel home together. This means that we both return home tired and hungry. And this is why I am falling more in love with my crock pot. There is nothing like coming in through the front door to the delicious smell of something ready for eating!

I will be trying out some new recipes to build up a crock pot recipe portfolio that I can use when I am in a pinch for time.

This stew was a hearty dish. Tasty and simple. When I was making dinner on the night before, I also chopped most of the vegetables for the stew and kept them in tupperware in the fridge overnight. I also defrosted some chicken overnight so it would be ready to cut into pieces. It made it pretty simple to put together quickly as we were running out of the door.

This is as easy recipe to add to or switch things out depending on what you have in your fridge.

1 large chicken breast cut into bite size chunks
8 red potatoes, halved
1 onion, sliced thin
6 mushrooms
2 C fresh green beans
3 sticks of celery, sliced think
4 carrots, cut into chunks
2 1/2 C chicken broth
1/2 C white wine
5 sprigs of coarsely chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Put in the crock pot, high heat for 5 hours or low heat for 8 hours.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First day of Summer

This post is coming a little late in the day because I have been out enjoying the sunshine all day! Yes, it almost hit 80 degrees today and its been glorious. I have said it many times but Green Lake is one of my fave places and I spent some self indulgent time sipping on Jamba Juice and doing a little reading in the sun earlier, then I came home and did a little reading on the porch in the sun. I know, it's hard to be on break from school! I should mention I also vacuumed and did laundry so you don't think it was all play - but play did have the majority of my time today!

And on days like this I love how simple and delicious dinner can be. I chopped up some romaine lettuce, celery, strawberries, nectarines and cucumber - most from our box delivery and then poured on a little balsamic vinegar and voila! I needed a little something extra so I made some quick quesadillas too. A full tummy feels so good when it's full of good things.

After dinner, J went out to the beach to play some volleyball but I am so tired from all the sun today I stayed home. I had grand plans but can barely keep my eyes open so they never amounted to anything. I guess my body is trying to adjust to coping with lots of being outside in the sunshine...I am hoping it will be an adjustment I will get to use a lot this summer!! ha ha

I guess this post wasn't very interesting. It was not a day that will stand out in history for any particular reason, but boy it was a good day. So much beauty in my life, so many good people. Happy day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last Day of Spring

I can hardly believe my eyes, but the sun is finally out in Seattle, I wonder if she realised that the first day of summer is tomorrow and she had better get her act together!

My break from school is halfway over already and I have been a busy little bee. It feels good to finally get round to some fun tasks which have been left on the shelf for a while. This morning I have been painting a chair that has been in the garage for a year waiting to be re finished and made pretty! I also acquired a couple of free Shutterfly books with coupons and am having a blast compiling those. Why is it that things are always more enjoyable when you are getting a deal - I have to get some pictures printed for our Green card update thing so I thought I would combine the delivery and save on shipping too!

I will be taking one class this summer but I just got an email from the professor and it sounds like it will be quite the work load - I am just hoping that it will be sunny enough to do some of the reading outside. That way it might not feel like such a burden!

I am eager to implement some new study practices this quarter and see if I can set myself up for success, better than I have before. I cannot believe that this summer marks the start of my second year of school. It seems a lifetime ago that I was wondering if I could really do this and here I am a year under my belt. At this pace, it will still take another year and a half to finish my AA but perhaps by then I will know what I want to study for my bachelors!

I must also confess that I still have not taken the placement test for math! I kept putting it off and wanting to study a bit before I take it so I don't have to take so many catch up classes. But alas, I have still put it off. So I will be spending some time this week studying and depending on how well that goes because I really need to take the test. I am running out of classes that I can take that do not need the math prerequisite! ha ha

Ok, I am pretty sure the first coat of paint is dry - off to do another! Hope you are all having a fabulous last day of Spring!

This is what is keeping me busy today - I have been inspired by all Jeremy's hard work on our bookcases. I am so excited that we are so, so close to being done with our renovation project and am eager to share when its FINALLY put together.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my Dad and to my Dad-in-law! What a blessing that along with marriage you inherit a whole other set of parents and siblings - I guess there is potential for that to be less than a blessing in some situations, but in my case, I have been truly blessed!

We love you for being men of character, who value their marriages and have modeled what it is to be a good husband as well as a good father. What a gift you are in our lives. Happy Your day!

And to my husband, who will be one of the best fathers around. Our children will be so incredibly lucky to have you. I hope that your love of sports will rub off on our kids (they certainly won't get that from me!) and will mean dates to the ball park and hours of throwing footballs kicking soccer balls at the park. I hope they glean your sense of adventure as they explore the world. I know that you will be their biggest champion, giving them encouragement to go after their dreams and doing all you can to support them. I know that they will love to horse around with you and I am so looking forward to hearing the squeals and laughter as you throw them around!!

J your love for me displays the awesome father you will be. Happy Day to you too my love. I am so glad to be your partner in this life.

Friday, June 17, 2011

more thoughts on Micah 6:8

Thoughts on justice continue to flood my mind.

My desire to make the world just is fueled in some way by the fact that I want to move against the feelings of 'life's not fair' that burn deep within me. My life has not turned out the way I planned it. We can't have a baby of our own - or at least that's a very real possibility. It that feels unjust.

I have been pregnant. I have prayed for God to save my babies. And instead I have had miscarriages.

A fellow blogger who is currently pregnant with her second child, had suffered bleeding early in her pregnancy. She feared miscarriage and when I heard this news, I began to pray for her unborn baby. I prayed that God would keep him safe, it was the same prayer I had prayed for my own babies, the words felt all too familiar.

The next day, she blogged "God is good, my baby is fine" and now she is close to delivering her baby son, a little brother for her 3 year old daughter. I see in her life that God is good. It feels so unjust. That she gets two healthy babies and I have none. That God answered my prayers for her baby to be ok, but he took my babies home to Himself before I ever got to meet them. Even as I type these words, tears are streaming down my face. I struggle so hard to find the justice in this part of my life.

Yet the truth is, undeniably, that God is good. All the time. Even if my friend had lost her baby, it would have been no less true that God is good.

In the midst of the fear of our future, and the apparent 'injustice' in our story the weight of the truth of God's goodness sits heavy on my shoulders. I feel the enormity of my sin and I am reminded that I do not deserve any of the blessings I have in my life. My sin, our sin, was put on Jesus as he died on the cross. Justice for me would be death, but in Christ I have new life. I am humbled to live a full life in Christ. And in my earthly days I am humbled to walk with God. I guess that's where the last part of Micah 6 come in.

The abundant life that Christ gave me is a message to be proclaimed. His goodness in making a place for us at his table for eternity is something to be shared. Our earthly lives will not be easy and we will not always understand His ways but in our suffering and in the places where we cry out that "it's not fair" we can know more of who Christ is. He took on the injustice of the world and one day His Kingdom will come and bring His perfect justice. Until then His Kingdom here on earth must be personified by us, those who believe God is our Saviour. We have a chance to show the light of God in places of injustice. It's simple but it is a big responsibility.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

To love Justice

It finally feels as though summer might be on it's way in Seattle. The days have been warmer and the clouds have blown over without dropping much rain. It is fairly safe to leave the house in only a light sweater or jacket now!

Recently at church the teaching has been from the minor prophets. Some of my favourite OT books! This past Sunday the message was about 'painting the colours of hope.' It was a look at the book of Micah including the much quoted (especially on mission trip team T-shirts!) Micah 6:8 "the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God" (NLT)

There is not one part of that little verse that isn't a huge challenge to me. Each time I see that someone is preaching about that verse I imagine that I cannot possible learn anything new from it. And perhaps there is an element of truth to that - but until I am living a lifestyle that is embracing my call in these three areas I will always feel the Holy Spirit tugging my heart to action.

My Pastor said that as we live out these principles, and let them become a part of the fabric of our lives we begin to "Fill the canvas of our broken world with the colours of hope" Isn't that beautiful? I want to be painting a picture of hope and love and justice with my life.

It is such a full command. Today I want to think about the first part, "to do what is right" or as it written in other translations "to act justly." I confess that this is an area that is lacking in my life. I can say that I love justice and want justice, but what actions in my life really support my claim? I can sign my name on a petition to end child slavery or human trafficking but that feels to easy. That feels like something I should do just because I am human, but because I am a follower of Christ my life should read like a different book. Instead of just signing my name I want to be seeking out opportunities to love those who have been subjected to injustice, or for whom the world can be a harsh, unfair place.

It is a verse that echos the call we have to love to widows and the orphans. A call which feels particularly close to home as we begin to consider the way God may be shaping our family in the future. So many kids are without families. So many who don't have someone to love them. It truly breaks my heart. I have many moments when I just want to fill our home with children that just need love, need a mum and Dad - and maybe one day we will...but we trust God will speak loudly if that is the case.

In the mean time, my call to love justice is still very much alive. No excuses. I am praying that God gives me a clear vision for how this will look in my life. I am aware that I am not always the best time keeper and sometimes this type of conviction can lead to a knee jerk response that leaves me totally over-committed and overwhelmed. I want to be intentional. To step out of my comfort zone, and into this essential expression of my faith. I do not want to do it our of guilt or burden. I want to do it because it is a way I can love my Jesus.

And in my every day life, I can make conversation with the elderly gentleman who walks around the lake by our house and is always looking for someone to chat to, I can check on my elderly neighbour and make sure she is doing ok. I can sit next to the crazy person on the bus, I can talk to the 'Real Change' seller as I buy my copy and I can ask God every day to open my eyes to those around me who need someone to talk to or who needs help.

I pray that this will not be something that lays stagnant in my life. It's up to me to make that happen. And I know from experience that when I take my eyes off myself and look into the eyes of someone else, my problems have less control over how I feel about my life. The purpose of my life become re-focused and falls back into alignment with the purpose God has given me. I am here to bring justice to the world in a way that reflects who Jesus is. I can be painting the colours of hope over the world around me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Fruit Crisp

It's Wednesday again and I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the abundance of fresh fruit that suddenly dances onto the kitchen stage at this time of year. I love summer fruits and the way all the different coloured fruits make dishes so beautiful when you use them.

I also want to be able to eat fruits in all their deliciousness without spending too much time in the kitchen - let's face it, when the sun shines in the pacific Northwest we cannot afford to waste it by being in doors!

One of my favourite desserts to make are crisps. I love them because they are so very easy to make and I have yet to sample a bad one. They are a great way to use up the fruit that was irresistible at the farmers market, but now sits in the fruit bowl in a race against time before the warm weather makes it turn bad.

I think it is a delicious game to try out different combinations of fruit and see what happens!!

I don't generally use a recipe to make crisps because it does not need to be an exact science, so if you are a little short on something it will probably turn out just fine. I did measure by putting my handfuls into measuring cups today to be able to list it here. Feel free to try out different spice combinations as well as fruit that can make things a little interesting. On this particular occasion I was thinking how delicious ginger could be with the peach so I threw a pinch of that in with the mix.

2 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 nectarines, peeled and sliced
1 little box of blueberries (just over a cup I think)
1 TBsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 C Flour (I used an all purpose gluten free flour)
1/2 C quick cook oats (I used GF ones)
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp butter (cold and chopped)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Put the peeled, sliced peaches and nectarines in with the washed blueberries (peaches, blueberries and nectarines together filled about 4 cups. Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. In a different bowl mix the cornstarch and cinnamon together. Sprinkle the mixture over the fruit and stir to coat it all.

Pour the fruit mixture into a greased cooking dish, mine was a 2 1/2 quart oval one but use what you have and you can adjust fruit quantity to fit.

To make the topping, mix the flour, sugar and oats together in a bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or two knives until it looks like breadcrumbs. Pread topping over the fruit.

Cook for about 40 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the smell is just too good to leave it in the oven any longer. Let it cool for a little while because the fruit is really hot.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream- or if you like me have left over french cream fruit dip from a different day that works too!!

Enjoy! And I would love to hear your favourite fruit combos

Monday, June 13, 2011

Well, that was a bit dramatic!

Last night I poured a very generous glass of wine to bid farewell to this quarter of school. For all my procrastination I did actually enjoy the classes I took this quarter, at least until yesterday.

I had finished my final paper and submitted it, and then it was time to take all my Lecture journal bullet points and comments from the last ten weeks and format them into a two column document. The hard work was done right? The thinking and writing part was complete. I was planning that I would copy and paste and bing-bam-boom send it off. WRONG.

The two column format I tried to use meant that everything I needed to keep lined up across from each other kept getting shunted with every new line I added. I gave up on that after an hour or so and tried putting it in a table. This got rid of the shunting problem but every few minutes the columns would change width for no reason. I kept thinking I was doing something that I wasn't aware of, but at one point I did even have my hands near the computer and it switched. I changed computers, convinced it was my lap top acting up an I emailed all the original files so I could access them on our grandad desk top.

At first this seemed to fix the problem but then the dreaded shrinking column thing happened again. By this time it was 5 or so hours into this process, and I lost it and burst into tears feeling totally helpless to change my situation and get my assignment ready to hand in.

By the time Jeremy came home I was a wet sobbing mess. Still clicking around and trying to figure it out but feeling utterly defeated and so frustrated that these machines were making me feel so stupid.

Of course he held my shoulders, looked me in the eye, told me to take a deep breath and convinced me it would be ok. I was being rather dramatic but in the moment it was a big deal!

He looked at some settings on the computer and I guess I had a setting somewhere that fit the test to the table which stretched it out. Once he changed that it was all good and he then copied and pasted my lecture points into the new documents. He just kept telling me how proud he was of me and that it would be ok - I believed him. And he was right. I got the assignment in before the deadline. No one would have even known about my melt down. The relief just flooded me once I had hit send.

So another quarter is behind me. (Passing grades from this quarter permitting) I have 35 credits towards my Associates Degree. Yay me!

Today feels wonderfully self-indulgent. I went to get my hair cut, wandered around my favourite grocery store (I know, I know, I know how to party - shoot me it's a guilty pleasure to take my time). I am catching up with some phone calls and am excited to have the excuse to go clothes shopping too, a girl's gotta have a new dress for a friend's wedding, right?

I am enjoying the space to breath.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend round up

Another weekend draws to a close and I am thankful this crazy week is almost over. Seeing even more light at the end of the finals tunnel and starting to make some coffee dates, a haircut and plan friends over for dinner this week - all fun things, and ones that have got moved to the sidelines for the past month or so.

I am eager to try and set a more consistent and slower pace for life.

The past two weeks, the messages at church have left my head spinning. I haven't had time to sit and write about all the things it is making me think about but I am looking forward to sharing with you soon. It's pretty exciting stuff.

Jeremy is in Spokane tonight and playing in a charity golf tournament with friends tomorrow. I usually do not like to be home alone, but it's only one night and with my homework to keep me busy. I am actually enjoying some down time. With J working a regular 9-5 type schedule I try and make sure that I am done with school work before he gets home so we can spend our evening together, and Sunday evenings are usually time for us to snuggle and watch a movie or take a walk, or do something that gives us a time to look ahead to our schedule for the week ahead, make plans and have some time to make sure we have connected before the week starts. But tonight I am able to have that connection time with my homework instead!! ha ha

We had a lovely weekend, I hope you did too. See you on the flip side!!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Sometime days run into weeks and leave little time for reflection, but recently I have had some conversations with dear friends that made me feel very grounded. I have been feeling a lot of peace recently - I think being off of Facebook has played a part in that, but I also see God's hand at work.

It is easy to assume he is not hearing my prayers when I sit here not pregnant, but as I talked about the peace I am feeling and the contentment that I seem to have found I realised that God has answered the cries of my heart. In the deepest places, my prayers for peace and rest have been answered. My circumstances have not changed but my heart has.

I had my pity party days for sure, but when I look back over that past year or so I can see a pattern emerge. On days when I wake up sad and confused I have a choice. I can ask God for strength and I can get up and out of bed, get my butt (and the rest of me) in the shower and embrace the day, or I can sit and stew in my hopelessness.

On days when I let the darkness win, other peoples joy is irritating. I become judgmental of my friends who are parents and I criticise. I become bitter about all the things I do not have and mad at others who seem to have it all. All the ugly in me comes out and I just get sadder and sadder as I give in to the yuckiness.

But on the days when I chose to get up and to shake off the shadows, when I fight to find the beauty of the day. I talk to God. I feel the love surrounding me. I laugh more. I can have moments of sadness, but it does not consume me. And many days I do not have sadness at all. On days when I walk in the light I feel God with me. And on days like today I can reflect back and recognise the way God has been moving in my heart.

I do not feel like God has given us a promise of how we will become parents. And I do not believe He has given us a shove in a specific direction, but I have peace. For the first time in a while I know God is walking with me. I mean, I have known from His word that he has been here the whole time, but as I have kept my distance from him it has been harder to feel it. As I am taking my walls down, He is quick to make his presence known. I truly believe that which ever path he sets us on towards parenthood we would be open to it but at the same time I do not feel that some pressure to move anywhere right now.

I do not feel like I am competing to get a baby before they are all gone...that might sound crazy, but I know that my fear has been the fuel behind some of the craziness we have gone trough this year - and fear is not a driving force that gets you anywhere good.

I am thankful and blessed to have friend who have walked so gently with me and who can see God's hand at work even before I can put word to how I am feeling. I am thankful for a God who stays constant and faithful even when my heart wanders. I love that God's plan in good and perfect and eve though that truth has felt distant for a long time it is starting to feel real in my life again.

I have no idea what the future holds, but instead of fear and anxiety I am feeling some excitement and anticipation building...we'll see where this takes us!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

His Grace is Enough

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on
2 Corinthians 12:9

Oh my goodness I love the promise and the hope of this verse. Whatever my day holds. However much I fail. His grace IS enough, and it is IN my weakness that his power can be seen.

Feeling ready for the quarter to be over. Only a final paper and pretty hefty final assignment to finish and hand in on Monday and then I can breathe and do some scrapbooking or something! My craft room slash laundry room slash spare room is in chaos as I have lived in a constant state of procrastination. My card making has become - as I am leaving the door for a birthday celebration - scrambling to find card paper, a gluestick, stamping 'happy birthday' and hoping it doesn't smudge as final product is crammed into it's envelope and off we go. Not the fun time I once had that included taking a moment to pray for the recipient and make sure I wrote something more than, 'Happy Birthday, Love Chrissie x'

I know that something has to give. I am a juggler with way too many balls in the air. And if that means buying a card from time to time so be it! I see that making different choices about how I spend my time will still not leave time to do everything I would like. Because I am also a typical first born and a perfectionist this is a hard thing to swallow.

I am aware that I can be better about prioritising my time, and I know I can be better at not letting myself get distracted from the things I actually need to do but and this is a BIG but...I still would feel like I was failing or not doing enough. I have to do less and do it well even when it means not doing everything. Having less expectations of myself.

I trust that if I throw all my balls in the air and let God guide my hands as I catch some and let other fall, I will see things change. See deeper intimacy in my marriage, be more content with my day to day, and find truer joy in the simple things I love like cooking and crafting.

But it's hard to make changes like this. It's like putting on a new skin and it feels weird and uncomfortable. What if some of my relationships fall away? What if my house isn't as clean as I want? What if I say "no" to a request - or an offer? What if? What if? What if?


God's grace covers where I fail. It covers my mistakes. But right now I really find comfort in the truth that it covers where I cannot reach. Grace fills the gap between who I am and who I want to be.

I trust that in throwing all my balls in the air and letting God guide my hands, deciding which I catch and which I let fall, I will see things change.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Green Risotto with Fava Beans

Hello food-loving friends!
It's been too long, I apologise for my Wednesday absences of late, but I am back. Life is slowing down to a less frantic pace, we are home from vacation and I have the opportunity to be back in my lovely little kitchen and have a pile of yummy recipes all ready to try out now the summer has finally arrived in the PNW. And so without further ado, here's the treat for this week...Green Risotto with Fava Beans.

As I have mentioned before we get a produce delivery every other week from Full Circle Farm. It is delicious organic produce, mainly locally grown but with a few things shipped in from other growers too. I mention this again because every week we get a email with a list of the contents for our approval (and the option to change things in and out) and almost every week something on the list is an ingredient I haven't used before. I used to be intimidated by cooking with new produce, but I have forced myself to use the wisdom of the internet to find 'how to's" and recipes that can expand my fruit and vegetable horizons!

This week the item on the delivery list which was a newbie were Fava Beans. I wasn't even sure what they looked like, but hey, I was ready for a new adventure! I discovered that Fava Beans are quite fiddly to prepare but they are tasty and if you are a fan of legumes you would not be sad about trying these. From the recipes I had found whist trawling the internet, the beans often seem to be served as a side, simply cooked in butter and garlic. That would have been an option, but I was looking for something a little different and then PING! This recipe appeared in my search and I was sold.

Something simple and tasty. Risotto, served with a simple side salad would be a perfect midweek meal.

This is what the beans looked like when they arrived.

So I set to work. The Fava beans had to be taken out of the pods, boiled and then squeezed out of their inner casing. All a little time consuming. They tasted good but they are probably not something I would chose to mess with on a regular occasion.

The other thing about making a good risotto, according to 'risotto legend' is to stir it constantly while you are adding in the liquid. In the case of this particular recipe this meant I was standing over a hot burner stirring for about 40 minutes - and will mean that my right arm will be sleeping particularly soundly tonight!

For a simple looking recipe, this took about an hour and a half from start to plate just to give you fair warning, but the end result was really tasty.

1/2 lb fresh unshelled Fava Beans
4 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp Butter, divided
1 Small onion, finely chopped
1 Cup of rice (I used brown)
1/4 C white wine
1/4 C grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, shell the favas and discard the pods. Boil the favas for 4 minutes, strain and then immediately plunge into ice water. Let cool for 2 minutes then pierce the favas and squeeze them out of their skins. Separate 3/4 of the favas and puree in a food processor.

2. In a separate large saucepan bring the broth to a simmer, and keep it hot. Meanwhile, in another large saucepan over medium heat, melt 1.5 tablespoons of the butter and add the onions. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes; do not brown the onions. Add the rice and cook, while stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium, and stir constantly. When the wine has been absorbed, add a little of the hot stock. Once the stock is absorbed, add a little more; repeat this process, stirring constantly, until the rice is cooked through.

3. To the cooked rice add the pureed favas, the remaining 1.5 tablespoons of butter, the rest of the favas and the cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter and cheese melt and the puree is incorporated evenly. Season with salt.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Death in the Kitchen

Last weekend I noticed a little puddle at the base of our refrigerator. I assumed I had spilled something and went on with my day.
Then we got out some ice cream which wasn't particularly frozen. Perhaps I had kept the door open too long, or not shut it properly or something? And when I put the ice cream back I noticed another little puddle on the floor, "I have got to be more careful" I thought to myself as I mopped it up.

Later when Jeremy got a loaf of bread from the freezer to "defrost" he discovered that it was already half-way there.

And another pesky little puddle had appeared on the floor.

The truth is hard to take, but our poor little refrigerator is dying :(

Luckily we have a friend who has a spare one which they have graciously allowed us to have so Jeremy and hi Dad will be moving them later today.

The new fridge is not white like our other appliances. At this point, I will be happy to have a freezer that keeps things frozen, but I am secretly hoping that this mismatch will bother Jeremy enough to start some conversations about giving our kitchen a face lift!! He is the one most concerned about having non-matching appliances. I don't think it will matter. Let's face it, our fridge is covered in pictures anyway. I actually don't know if I would notice if someone had mismatched appliances, I have never really thought about it? But my husband is man who likes things in order, matching, just as they should be. So we'll see what happens...just when we were thinking projects were coming to an end for a while.

And speaking of our kitchen get ready, I have something tasty in the works for tomorrow's post for 'What's for Dinner Wednesday'.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bridal Shower 101

I have been to my fair share of bridal showers, especially I haven't been in the US for that many years, and they were not a tradition at home. I love to throw a party and boy do I love a theme, so when my friend Denice announced her engagement to Chris I was very excited at the opportunity to take all I had seen and done at other people's showers and throw one of my own for her.

The weather was warm (the sun tried to hide out behind the blanket of clouds, but we had warmth and we were not afraid to make the most of it! The theme was a garden tea. Who would have known when we planned it that we could actually be in the garden for some of it!!?

One of the things I treasure from one of my own bridal showers are the coasters that each of my girl friends made for me. Some are funny, some are sweet and they each remind me of their creator! So I thought how fun to recreate that for Denice. I was lucky to have a couple of other ladies helping with the planning and one of them offered to take charge of the craft - so the first important step to planning a shower.

The shower was 2-4pm so we didn't have to serve a full meal and could just make some fun things to munch on. Here is the menu

Summer Fruit plate and French Cream to dip
Cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches
apple turnovers - a specialty of co-planner Naiomi
Flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache

Blushing Bride cocktail (grenadine, peach schnapps and champagne - OMG this was good)

I always like to have a fun cocktail option at showers. It always goes down a treat with the guests, and this was received well by all the ladies!

We played a couple of fun games and then shared some words of wisdom with the bride as show opened her gifts. And a good time was had by all. Here are a few shots of the afternoon.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache - and Bride and Groom Toppers

Me with the Bride

Paper decorations - easy to make and so cute. Thank you Martha Stewart (and Mum for helping me make them!!)


The ladies crafting the coasters

Blessings to you Denice and Chris, wishing you so much love and laughter in the days ahead - Don't stress about the details, it will all work out. I am so excited to see you guys tie the knot in just a few short weeks. Enjoy these final days of anticipation before you begin your marriage adventure!


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