Monday, November 25, 2013

Snow Globe

Father, thank You for the beautiful snow falling, snow I didn't even see in the forecast, a detail I guess I missed.  I sit here, looking out the window as it swirls, gaining in size and speed, and I feel as though I'm in a snow globe, wondering when all that is shaken up will soon settle back to a state of stillness and peace...

Yet at the same time, I don't long for stillness.  Stillness can mean stagnancy, and snow, with each miraculous flying flake, is anything but stagnant.

A snow globe is meant to be shaken, beauty in the frenzy and the shaking, watching outside as the trillions of flakes dance and collect around the centerpiece, the focal point in the glass sphere.  We are like that, pretty on the shelf, but everyone is drawn to reach for it, flip it upside down maybe a time or two, perhaps shake the dickens out of it, and set it back upon the shelf to watch and see, wait as a new pattern of flakes falling reveals another beautiful display.

I don't long for easy.

I am not pleading for stillness.

My only cry to You this morning, Father, is as You turn my globe upside down a time or two, You would be tender in Your grasp, tender with our hearts, faithful to Your Truth and promises, Healer, Strength-Giver, Provider, Safe Haven, Loving Father, Treasured King.

We weren't designed by Your hand to walk through this life alone.  Please, hold our hands tenderly as the snow flies...

*Today I'm a little late to the party, but I'm linking over to Lisa Jo Baker's "Five Minute Friday" where her writing prompt for last Friday was "Fly."  It's a fun writing exercise, no more than 5 minutes in the true spirit of it, just a time to write creatively, without the pressures of anything else...just enjoying the art form of writing from the heart.  Head to her site, link up your specific blog post (not your site domain) and then read and comment on some of the other posts to encourage others.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Recipe

Today I thought I'd share a yummy and healthy Thanksgiving recipe, full of antioxidants, but mostly full of incredible flavor and it's SUPER EASY to do!  A friend introduced me to the recipe probably 15 years ago and every time I make it, it's a hit.  Over the years I've tweaked the recipe (it had brown sugar and butter, previously) to suit our tastes and desire to enjoy healthy "comfort food", but this Paleo treat is sure to woo the people around your table.  Here you go:

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Basil

Preheat oven to 350, use 9 x 13 baking dish

2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 large yellow or white onion, diced
2 - 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 - 2 medium sized apples (Granny Smith or Pink Lady are my go-to's), cut and cubed
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup raw honey
4 T + 2 T melted coconut oil, divided (or butter if you prefer)

*See final picture for TWO ways to cook this dish.

Saute onions and celery in 2 T coconut oil over medium heat until onions are tender, add 1 tsp dried basil 

Peel and cut sweet potatoes, and apples, into approximately 1" cubes

Put sweet potatoes and apples into a large bowl

Melt 1/4 cup of honey and 4 T coconut oil in pan or microwave until the coconut oil is liquid (this does NOT take not over heat!)

Pour celery, onion, basil mix into bowl, toss with honey and coconut oil

Pour into 9 x 13 oven safe baking dish and bake on 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Spread out onto a large roasting pan in a single layer and bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes or until tender.
IF there are any of these puppies left in the morning, they are actually fantastic cold for breakfast ;)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guest Post: Thankfulness

Thankfulness entails honesty.  Why pretend when God knows the deepest parts of our hearts?  The moment I realized there was no such thing as a secret between me and God, my awe of Him increased, along with my love for Him.  I breathed in at that moment the truth that God loves me, as is, and there is no room for pretending with Him.

I hope you will be encouraged by this guest post which was written a few weeks ago by the most amazing woman I've ever known, my mom.

Thankful……last Monday when you posted about being thankful on Mondays, I announced that I was joining you in giving thanks.  Well…..I did… the morning.  Then something happened that brought out the upset, offended, bitchy woman in me.  It took me until Wednesday morning to get over myself.

I have been fighting a second battle with breast cancer all within 2 years of the first time I was diagnosed.  I am not afraid to die…..whether I am in the body or out of the body I am always alive in Jesus Christ.  Breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter, requires so much time spent in doctor’s visits, chemo, radiation, surgery, recovery…….it really interferes with your life.  I had been encouraging myself, that at the end of 3 months of chemo, a surgery and 6 ½ weeks of radiation, my husband and I could go on a nice long road trip.  I love road trips and I love spending all that alone time with my husband on an adventurous journey.  I am married to the love of my life, a blessing not given to everyone…… and I am very thankful for that.

My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a little over a year ago.  He has been so supportive of me during the cancer battle and I have been supportive of him as we’ve been figuring out how to walk out this Parkinson’s thing.  I am thankful we are “there” for each other.  On Monday, when we went to a doctor’s appointment for him, it became very apparent we would not be going on this long-awaited trip, one, I guess, I had been viewing as a type of “reward” for going through all the cancer treatments for the second time.  I didn’t feel very thankful about that……and here it was Monday, when I was supposed to be feeling so thankful.  I failed at the attempt to be thankful until this morning.

I’m going to rehearse before God the things I am thankful for.  I am thankful He made it possible for me to have relationship restored with the Father.  I am thankful for my husband and my children and my grandchildren.  I am thankful my husband and I both had good parents who took us to church and took good care of us and loved us.   I am thankful for being able to spend more time with most of my grandchildren than most grandparents can.  I am thankful my daughters have husbands who are good and who love them.  I am thankful Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me and show me what is yet to come.  I am thankful for God’s provision that has come in so many ways.  I could go on and on. 

The truth is……and I know God knows what is going on in my mind and emotions…….there are some things I am not thankful for.  I am not thankful I am going through cancer treatment, but I am trusting God in the midst of it.  I am not thankful for a lot of things God has allowed in my life, but I am thankful for the God Who is my Shield and Fortress, my Hiding Place, Who delivers me from the snares life sends and Who will never leave me or forsake me.  I am thankful for Him!

My husband and I are 68 years old now.  My human heart can hardly bear to think that we might not be able to take more road trips.  But, I have seen God come through for us, time after time, in ways I never imagined, so I know I can trust Him.  And…..I’m thankful for that.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Friendship: Close Up

I'm thankful to be married to my best friend in the whole wide world.

At the same time, Jason doesn't fill the girlfriend spot in my heart that some pretty amazing women do, and this post is about them.

When we arrived in Denver almost 12 years ago, sure I was excited to live in a beautiful part of the country, but I was 31, really pregnant, and only had one friend 45 minutes away, who was a new mom.  Jason was busy at his new job 45 minutes the opposite direction, and I was in a daze, without a car, wandering amidst the dust and debris of the old house we had just purchased and gutted over the previous weekend.

I washed lettuce in the bathroom, in the mauve bathtub, because the kitchen was in the dumpster in the back alley.

Our fresh vegetables kept freezing in the refrigerator because it was out on the back porch.  As a result, we ate a lot of take-out, frozen burritos, gelato, and Clif Bars.  And, if that wasn't bad enough, I would sit in my house, covered in sheet rock dust, and watch Soap Operas.

I'm not even kidding.  Did you know Bo and Hope are STILL on Days?  True story!  (At least they were back in 2002...)

It was a low time in my life, let's be honest.  My friend who loves chocolate and sewing felt so sad for me from a distance, a beautiful package arrived on my doorstep one day with a toaster oven in it and instructions to head to the store so I could at least buy slice and bake chocolate chip cookies.  Oh, how I longed to sit with her on my couch to actually eat them, but fat and pregnant and hormonal, I sat on my couch and ate them all myself.

...again, a low time in my past.

ANYWAY, my mom was praying for God to send me some friends.  I wasn't hopeful.  In my head, since I was 30ish, everyone had already found their favorites.  Back in Minnesota, Jason and I had just left a group of friends we did life with every weekend for 5 on earth were we going to find that kind of connection again?

Well, I've learned not to mess with my mom's prayers.  After a mishap in a mom's play group where I was invited to a Swinger's party, a friend in another state told me she had a friend somewhere in Denver and surely we'd hit it off.  I thought, "You clearly don't know how big Denver is...she could live anywhere."
2005 ice skating birthday party

Noah's 1st Celebration, the delivery crew and some guy with an afro

Locks of Love donation, 2008

Celebrating Ryan's arrival, Becky on the left who lived 3 blocks away, and Rachel
Grateful for friendships where we can pick up where we left off, no pressure, just dive in deep and keep pressing on...

And you know what?  She did live somewhere.  She lived 3 blocks away, had a daughter 2 weeks younger than Emily born at the same hospital, her own husband named Jason and, not that I pick them this way, but happened to be *tall with dark brown hair, too.

Today, less than 12 years later, I'm grateful for the prayers for real heart to heart friends my mom placed at God's feet for me, her pitiful, pregnant, chocolate chip cookie eating, soap opera watching, daughter.

The friendships which have grown out of this connection and my willingness to be vulnerable with others has allowed me the opportunity to meet some extraordinary women.  It has also meant stories shared in coffee shops, prayers prayed, truth told, tears strewn, basketball played, trips to Mexico, laughter and love, a room full of women at Noah's delivery, meals and shoulders during his hospital life, weekends away, mini-retreats, hard conversations, Easter feasts, closet purges and style consults, Scriptures studied, Friends Thanksgiving, prayers for marriages and misunderstandings, Bevy makeovers, beautiful locks shared in love, miles walked, wine and chocolate, creativity shared, more tears, more laughter, and my heart overflowing with gratitude that at the end of any given day, I am humbled to know God's love in a deeper, more profound way through the gift of friendship.

It's a beautiful thing to have friends willing to live life to the fullest...blood, sweat, and tears!

 (*not a friendship prerequisite...)

P.S. This particular post is about friendships, up close and personal, in the day to day, close in proximity.  I'll also be posting about the treasure of long-distance friendship.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Thankfulness is a Lifestyle

...not just a November thing.

Sure I love Thanksgiving!  Pumpkin is one of my favorite foods, along with warm comfort treats like mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and turkey.  Of course, that's simply the meal.  More so, I love the gathering of people throughout our home, often orphans and widows, like the check out lady at the grocery store and her daughter one year, or the far from family single women in our neighborhood, or new people in town who know no one.  I'm not the sentimental who only wants to gather my close family around, though I love and cherish them.  But, spend one Thanksgiving in a Children's Hospital among selfless caregivers and tireless staff, friends and family, and the day of Thanksgiving becomes something else entirely.  The meaning not lost on me.

As much as I love seeing what people are thankful for on Facebook, it's important to me to model to my family that giving thanks is a day in and day out act of beauty, worship, and dying to ourselves.  It doesn't only last for 30 days, one month out of the year, but in this life, in this family, we will be intentional about thankfulness, in both the giving and receiving of it.

To be given something for which you are unable to ever repay, this is the true definition of a gift.  The words, "Thank You" may never seem enough, but this is the beauty in giving and receiving.  It's a world changing event which takes place in the admission of gratefulness, every single day.

My friends and I encouraged one another to start these thankfulness posts back in October...because Thanksgiving is one day out of the year, 30 Days of Thanks is apparently a new thingy, but saying "Thank You!" is an every single day of the year privilege, a practice, an act of face to face time with the Giver of all good gifts.

Yesterday this was the thankfulness expressed at our breakfast table, on this particular day, in no particular order:


  • My relationship with God
  • My wife and kids
  • My extended family
  • Friends
  • My job at Compassion
  • "You guys"
  • "Our family"
  • The Ocean
  • Friends
  • My school
  • Giraffes
  • Zebras
  • Cheetahs
  • Elephants
  • And, elephants!
  • Quiet time with God
  • "You guys"
  • Healthy bodies
  • Heated blankets
  • Hot tea to warm me
I'm happy people are being intentional about being thankful during the month of November.  My prayer is that after 21 days, it will become, not a habit, but a lifestyle.  Please don't hear I think I am perfect at being thankful.  I am not.  I reject gifts and compliments and helping hands, am too prideful to ask for help, and try to do stuff on my own more often than I should.  I'm learning through this...learning that the giving and receiving of thanks is a lesson of honoring another more highly than ourselves.  

Not an easy Thanksgiving bite to swallow...

Some friends are writing about thankfulness on their blogs: