Friday, January 29, 2010

midwinter at the gardens

Went to the gardens today.

It was great to hang out with a friend, have lunch, see the beauty of tropical plants

and feel warm breezes.

Warm Breezes.

mmmm..... nice.

I'm thinking about moving to the tropics now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

things I'm thankful for today

241. a well made cup of tea

242. curling up with a book

243. deer on our land

244. pockets (clothes without pockets make it hard to keep track of things)

245. victory

246. learning to love when it's hard

247. friends you can call when you need to

248. encouraging someone else only to find that I myself feel so much better afterwards... focusing on others helps me!

249. nuts in the shell, and getting them out

250. agave nectar and its many uses

251. looking at myself and feeling, "Oh, there you are!"

252. laughing with my children

253. apologies received

254. fresh snow over the old and much prettier now

255. watching a new house going up, imagining how the new family will enjoy it

256. bluebirds in my yard - in January!

257. the crows coming back

258. snippets of birdsong on warmish winter days

259. snow angels sparkling in the night, telling stories of fun

260. trickling creeklets

261. walks

262. new shoes

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dirty Snow

The snow is old and dirty. We need a new layer to freshen things up.  Old snow gets black around the edges where the dirt from the road gets kicked up onto it. It looks like the end of winter when snows come less often and winter looks bleak and worn out. It's misleading. This is January. Mid-winter. This is the month when blizzards come and rescue us from the world and its schedules. It's the time for firesides and cocoa and family, hot soup and coziness. It's not time for dirty snow melting into mud and making us wish for warmth. Not yet.

I want some fresh snow. Winter needs a good cleaning.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 20

Well, it is the 20th of January. I guess maybe I could take down the Christmas things. Maybe this weekend. I probably would have taken things down last weekend but it got busy. Oddly, and suddenly, the calendar is begining to fill right up. I hate that, but maybe it's good... sitting in the house on winter days leads to cabin fever, and noone likes that.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Veggier and Veggier

I have been learning to cook with more veggies, less meat. At first, it was hard, because I had to rethink so many things... I expected every meal to have a meat main dish and then a vegetable or two as sides. But with finances being what they are, and with health issues that came up in the family, I started doing things differently, and I learned that I do feel better when I eat less meat.

I learned that you don't HAVE to have one main dish as the star of the meal. You can have a bunch of different vegetable dishes, with some bread. A meal like this is nutritious and fills people up. It may look like all "side dishes", but it makes a good meal.

Also I learned that eating three different colors of plant foods (veggies, fruits, and grains) will give your body everything it needs to build a good quality protein. So I don't have to include a meat or meat substitute with every meal.

And I have learned about alternate sources of protein. I'm learning about tofu, which has very little flavor of its own and tastes like whatever you put with it. There are a ton of recipes for tofu online. I really like tofu with a curry sauce, but since I am the only curry fan in the house, I don't fix tofu that way very often. Sometimes I fry it up or brown it in the oven. Husband is not fond of tofu, so I limit my experimentation with it. I do like it, though. The other night I wanted something easy. I bought a can of Chinese Vegetables. Then I heated oil in the big black frying pan and browned some tofu with a little S&P, and some seasoning sauce (Bragg Liquid Amino). Added a few chopped veggies - whatever I had in the house: a little cauliflower, little broccoli, some green onion. And when those were cooked, I added the can of drained Chinese veggies. We served that over brown rice. It turned out very yummy. Well, most of us thought so, anyway.

I have learned about tvp, which works well in a lot of recipes where you might otherwise use ground meat, like in spaggetti sauce. Or you can use it along with ground beef to stretch the meat in things like sloppy joes.

But most of my meatless foods are just veggie dishes, with no "meat substitutes". We love home made soups, for example. Tomato soup is delicious, or bean, potato or lentil soup. Lentil soup is fast, delicious, and fills you up.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Good Night

On days when it feels like work to just be... on those days, I love the moment at the very end when I let go my day, and enter my room, lavender walls waiting, and the little lamp next to the bed glowing softly. I change into my most comfortable clothes for sleeping, slip under the softest of blankets, and curl my Self around Words written to me by God Himself, the Creator of All. Whatever has worn me thin melts away as I absorb Truth...Truth of His love for me, His power over all things, His forgiveness.

And then I sleep.

Good night, dear friends... sleep well tonight, and know that you are loved.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Selling some land

We are selling 12 acres today. I am losing part of my home, but I feel like part of my soul is being sold instead.

It's the right thing to do. I know it makes sense. We have owned this land for 30 years, lived on it for over 18. The kids have walked all over it, discovering nature and freedom. They've dug for treasure and found it in old broken vases and salt shakers from generations ago. They've caught frogs and snakes and fish and shared with me those wondrous delights. They've played in the creek in the hot summers, and skated on it in the coldest of winter. They've rescued baby mice and injured birds. And we have all watched deer, fox and rabbits run across our yard.

But the youngest is 13, and there are not so many nature walks being taken anymore. Those who dug for treasure have moved on to new adventures, and frankly, we don't NEED those 12 acres anymore. But I love them.

Emotions are oblivious to the facts sometimes. So while I can see that selling the land makes sense, still I wish to hang on to it.

I have struggled with the fact that I feel so deeply sad when that emotion seems to contradict common sense. I have been told that I should be happy.

But I have come to believe that, while I don't have to live by my emotions, I can live with them. I can let the sadness be where it is, knowing that it will pass. It will. I don't have to fix it, or try too hard to feel differently. I will do what I have to do, regardless how I feel. I will go to the meeting with Husband and sign those papers. But I don't have to pretend it's easy, or that I am not sad.

And if there are people who have a hard time with the way I feel, then I am sorry, but I am going to have to work through my feelings myself, and I can't also be working through theirs. I will try to be considerate and kind, but I can not carry the responsibility of making everyone feel better.

God has said that He will bring good out of every situation for those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) And Psalm 84:11 says, "No good thing will He withhold from them who walk uprightly." So I know that this is all going to turn out alright. My part is to "walk uprightly" -- in other words, to just keep on living with the goal of pleasing God. God's part is to work out everything else.

He will. He always does. I do know it will be ok... I will probably feel happier about this as it unfolds. But I am not there yet, and that's ok too.

We will still have three acres with the house. We'll still live in our house on the hill for awhile yet. We'll watch wildlife from the windows, and the kids will still catch creatures for as long as they want to. The people who will be our new neighbors seem very nice and have said that we may sled on the hill that will be theirs, and I'll bet the kids will still be able to go down to the creek on hot days if they want to. I will miss having it as our own. I really will. But I think it's going to be ok.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hummus Recipe

I figured out a recipe that makes really good hummus! I had made hummus before with a list of ingredients but no amounts, which required me to call in my taste-testers every time to help me determine the needed adjustments. But I think I got it figured out. I took some to a friend's house last night and they loved it as much as I did. So I think I'll share the recipe in case you all want to measure ingredients, too. It makes it so much easier!

Take one can 'banzo beans (chickpeas), mostly drained, and puree them in a food processor till smooth (according to your preference). Add one quarter cup EACH: olive oil, lemon juice (or juice of one lemon), and tahini (sesame paste). Puree 'til blended, scraping sides as needed. Mince three good sized cloves garlic into the hummus, and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix again. If it's too thick, you can add up to a quarter cup of water to make it the way you like it.

When you put this in a container, you can sprinkle a little oil and/or herbs on top to make it look good. I use dried parsley.

You can also vary this recipe by adding something delicious. Pesto hummus is good (add pesto to taste). Roasted red pepper hummus...

only takes a few pieces of canned red pepper to give it a good color and flavor, and I have also had hummus made of black beans in place of the garbanzo beans. It was good and had yet another different look.

Serve with pita chips, crackers, or fresh veggies for dipping.

Seriously... Yum!

Friday, January 1, 2010

For You, a Wish...

Happy New Year, Friends!!

May the year bring you Joy. And if it is true that into every life some rain must fall, then may the rain that falls be that which nourishes you and nurtures your growth.