Saturday, January 28, 2012


"you whom I've upheld since your birth...I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you"

 (Is 46:3-4)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

~Heaven Broke Through~

"All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in the world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world."

-William Law

Monday, January 23, 2012

~ Winter's Perfect Soup ~

The boys and I enjoyed this fantastic French Lentil Soup over the weekend.
It is the most perfect soup for several reasons: 
a). It's inexpensive 
b). It's quick 
c). A double batch makes a ton 
d). When you make a ton, it freezes like a dream and simply reheats with the beep beep beep of the microwave  
e). It's healthy and very filling
f). It's simply delicious- as in I've had it for three days in a row and I'm still ready for more!

Okay- that was more than several, but I think you get the idea- it's good.

French Lentil Soup
(from my aunt- not sure where she found it)

Here's what you need:
3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cups onion, diced
1 Cup celery, diced
1 Cup Carrots, diced
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
4 Cups vegetable broth (highly recommend using Better Than Bouillon)
1 1/4 french green lentils, picked through and rinsed (make sure there the french for the right consistency)
15 oz can diced tomatoes

Spices are optional and to taste:
(I like to use them all because I like flavor!)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 - 1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp chili powder 
1/4 - 1/2 tsp black pepper

Here's what you do:

You heat oil in a heavy sauce pan (single recipe fits a 3 quart pan) 
Over med. heat saute' onions, celery, carrots and garlic until they begin to brown- about 15 min.
Note: I like to buy Trader Joe's 'Mirepoix' - all the onion, celery and carrot diced and ready to go! 

Then you add the broth, lentils, tomatoes with the juice and the spices.
Stir and bring to a boil.
Cover the pan and reduce heat to a med-low simmer until the lentils are tender- about 35 min.

Once the lentils are tender, transfer two cups of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.
Then return the puree to the soup in the pan.

This step gives it a nice, thicker texture.
But it you like it 'soupier' just thin with a little more broth after the puree.
And that's it!

Note: If you want to double this recipe, be sure to puree twice as much soup as well!

We enjoyed our soup with slices of homemade bread and butter.
Just perfect for a winter's evening!


Friday, January 20, 2012

~Cocooned in Courage~

Took a few minutes for reading today. On the couch, under a blanket, hot tea in hand, a muddy cat on my legs.

And as I was reading, I was moved by this:

"Hurricanes can strike us all, one way or another. Even those who are outside the natural hurricane belt may be subject to hurricanes of the spirit, the heart. And there is only one way to meet any kind of hurricane: batten down, ride it out, face it with courage." -Gladys Taber

I must ask:
"Can I ride this out? Can I face this with courage to the end? Some would say I'm strong, but I'm really not. Though I am cocooned in God, I seem to wriggle out of it far too often.". . . doubt.

But then a good friend just reminded me today: 
" . . . leaning on God and allowing Him to cocoon you in is the most courageous way to live.
It means going against what the world tells you." 

And so . . .
 I will hold on- the storm must blow over someday. And then?

I will rebuild with courage, too.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

~ Cups of Love ~

Don't be deceived- this is not what it looks like. You may think you see some messy coffee cups and a filled pastry bag above. But you'd be wrong. Okay, you'd be half wrong. Yes, they are evidence of a Starbucks run, but really, they are evidence of love.

This is what my twelve-year-old brought home after asking to take a walk in the slushy snow. A mocha for me, a hot chocolate for brother and a donut for us to split. There was a rapping at the mudroom door and there he was- cheeks flushed from the cold, coffee spilled in all directions from slipping along the sidewalk home, overflowing hands that couldn't get the door open. All bought with his own money, and not a thing for himself. And as I hugged him and praised him and told him to change his soaking jeans, I asked why he had been so generous. "Because I love my family," he said.
As I stood there with my special treat, I immediately had the peace I have been missing for days.
There is love here, and we are going to be just fine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

~ Another Day of Dying ~

What do you do when it's just been a really bad day?

Well, to be honest, complaining about the injustice of life and some big, fat tears have topped the answer to that question for me today. But they haven't helped much.

So then I found I needed to create a different type of question: 
What am I grateful for at this moment in time?
What was good about the day?
Where did I see God in it?

Just a quick reflection on the day, and things feel more peaceful.
More merciful. More God-filled even in the mess.

As I was saying 'good night' to the Oldest, I was reminded that we are called upon to live life wherever God has put us. To really LIVE in the mess, the injustice, the fear. And sometimes living means death comes first- letting our old ways and our old lives perish; deliberately letting go and allowing that death to take place. Then the Life can start to grow- and thrive. 
I'm counting on living that life to be worth the price of the dying. And I'm counting on God to help me pass on.


Monday, January 16, 2012

~ The Home Fire Keeps on Burning ~

The above best describes today.
Tired, grumpy, emotional, just-let-me-crawl-in-a-hole-and-let-me-alone.
And not just for me- the boys were right there, too.

However, there were bits of sunshine . . .

. . . mixed with a flurry of snow showers.
Life just outside our home very much reflected the life going on inside.

But we marched on . . . on beyond the stressful school project, the broken gun during the airsoft war, the wet that kept us inside and the boring errand that drug us outside.

We marched on pass the arguments, the chores that needed to be done, the emotional strain of missing one we love, and the anxieties of what is to come.

We marched past the tears, the frustrations with school mates, the disappointments life brings, and a hundred things that need doing . . . that no one can manage to do right now.

We marched right through the day until we could come to this . . .

 . . . a cheery fire to warm us . . .

. . . a candle lit . . .

. . . a good book and green ginger tea . . .

 . . . toasty, furry company . . .

. . . dinner that is poured directly from a can and a fresh baguette with butter . . .

 . . . a different spot to share our meal, fill our bellies, and breathe.

We three are here, and we have had our daily bread. The evening has settled in, and while the dishes just keep procreating, there's a fire burning just for us.


Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year . . . New Life

So, it's January. A month of starting over and new beginnings and I am here not knowing where to begin.

Well, first off I want to say 'thank you' to everyone who left a comment on my last post and has wished me well. The encouragement was much appreciated!

I haven't been 'around' much for the last two months, and I have been wondering if I should even continue this little blog. However, after a lot of  thought and prayer, I really believe that I need to be in this space sharing my life with myself and anyone else who may like to tag along. And so I am here- and that means sharing where my life has been for the past two months.

Warning . . . it isn't pretty. 
But I'll keep it short and to the point.

Two months ago, after thirteen years of marriage, my husband and I separated after finding out he had been unfaithful to me.

Okay . . . there it is. Of course, it's much more complicated then just that little sentence up above, but that's a good place to start.

I'll spare everyone the details, but suffice it to say that I am suffering big time. He was my very best friend, the father of my children, and my sweetheart since high school. I miss him terribly.
And then there are the fears that push in. I have two kids and no income, no idea what to do or where to go from here. I've been in a frozen state of shock and I am now only beginning to thaw. 

So why am I here sharing this? That is a good question and one that does have an answer:

I'm sharing my life openly, because I believe in the joy that comes from bearing one another's burdens. Everyone faces storms in life- or hurricanes. Everyone experiences fear, failure, pain. We miss out if we spend our lives hiding and pretending things are fine when they are not. We miss out on the unexpected love that is found in places and from people that we never knew was there. We miss out on the help that is available if only we are honest and not ashamed of our neediness. And we make others miss out on the opportunity to share too- to encourage, and comfort and be available. These are all  blessings we can give and receive when we humble ourselves and let life be real.

And let me say, I have been loved beyond measure these last two months- encircled by God's love for me, and by the love of those who know Him. He has shown me ridiculous love in ridiculous places- there are friends I never knew I had, and encouragement from some who I hardly even knew.

 I am here- because I want to pass on the blessings that can be found in the storm. Truly, God is in those storm clouds.  I can testify to that.

So all in all, this new year will mark the beginning of a new road for me; a new path and a new life. I will face it knowing He goes before me. To be honest, I can't see past a single day- but I'm learning that is a good place to be. It forces me to live 'today' and keep my eyes on Christ.

I still plan on sharing beautiful things and rejoicing in the joy of the seasons- that is a large part of who I am. But I will also be sharing from the hours of this new season in my own life. And searching for the joy and beauty in them, too.

 I welcome you to join me.