One about Pancakes

Oatmeal pancakes with bacon & eggs. Does it get any better? ๐Ÿ˜…

I (usually) love cooking, and I’m always on the look out for a good recipe, especially one that’s both yummy and healthy. (I have learned that these, sadly, do not always coincide. ๐Ÿ˜‚) The first time I made these pancakes for Joe, he couldn’t get over how good they were for not having flour or sugar. That’s a win, so figuring as how we like them so much, I thought I’d share, in case you, too, like these things. ๐Ÿ˜

//Oatmeal Pancakes

3 C. Oatmeal

2 C. Milk (I use mostly Yogurt, with a little bit of almond milk for the rest. I’m exact like that.) (Also, yogurt gives them more of a normal pancakey look & taste, I think.)

1/2 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Baking Powder

3 Eggs

Blend everything together on high speed in a blender for 30 seconds or till smooth. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fry. Consume. Enjoy.

Note: The original recipe (which is from my sister) calls for 2 Tbsp of sugar, which I’ve actually never added. If you’d like that better, though, go for it. I figure I’m slathering them in butter & maple syrup anyway, so I don’t miss it. )

Have a happy Thursday, folks!

in which i blow the dust off

As is typical, I’ve been neglecting this blog. But for very good reason, this time; in case you didn’t hear…I got married!!! *cue very happy music* And not only that, but I married the kindest, bestest man, who loves Jesus, and who also happens to be my best friend.
It’s a long story, and full of plot twists, but I’m so grateful that it’s ours. Let’s just say it includes a boy (Joe) who liked a girl (me) for a very long time, a girl who thought a great deal of this boy, and knew he was a great person, but who pinky promised to never marry him because two of his siblings married two of hers, and she thought it would be weird, and also that she could be more creative than that. Needless to say, in the end he decided he liked her enough to marry her, and she decided he was much too kind and funny and sweet and perfect to let silly things keep them apart.
And now we get to be together foreverrrrr.

Now here are some pictures. Of the wedding, and also just random snapshots of life since.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
Our fabulous bridal party. They happen to be some of our closest friends, and I’m so happy they were standing by our side on our wedding day.
Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
Featuring: one of my favoritest pictures from our wedding day
Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
Lilacs are one of my favorite spring flowers, and when I found a bush across the road, I couldn’t resist picking some. They made the kitchen smell amazing for a few days, and I had to photograph such a happy thing.
Processed with VSCO with b1 preset
The way the light comes in the windows in the morning gets me so excited, and fortunately I have a husband who lets me take pictures of him at such times.
Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
A go-to-work with the husband kind of day. โค

Processed with VSCO with b1 preset
This picture gets me. Mostly because these little girls love Joe so much – and for good reason: he always takes time to play with them and sneak them candy, and just generally be the greatest uncle ever.
Processed with VSCO with  preset
Look at this cutie!
Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with  preset
And I shall end with something that also makes my heart happy: evening light, and the way it makes everything look a little more magical.

it’s thanksgiving, y’all

So the last few years I’ve done a run down of happy things from the year. I still have the lists… tucked away in journals and on my phone notes and in my head…and I’m sharing some of those things… but really this year what I’m grateful for the most is simply summed up in one word: Jesus.
This year has been full of shattered comfort zones; a lot of joy and pain.
And you know what? Jesus has showed up for all of it. He saw me & He knew me in every single moment, and there is no way I would want to go through life with any one else leading. I have fallen in love with a God who see’s me, in every single moment. And not only does He see – He *knows.* And far from having it all together, I am continually learning just how much I need Him in my every moment. (Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.)
Y’all, God is so good.
And I am so blessed.
Not because I did something to earn it; I didn’t. He is just a good Father.

I guess I mostly am awed at the presence of God in my life, and the way He orchestrates *every detail* for my good and His glory. I am grateful that “He Himself has said, “I will never leave you, or forsake you.” And you know what it says right before that? “Let your conduct be without covetousness.” THAT is how we can be content. When we learn that we have Him, and in Him, every good thing.
Anyway peoples. Long introduction. But here’s some other things, little and big reminders of His goodness.

2019-4-15-20IMG_42652019-4-15-16
It is by no means a comprehensive list (we would be here for quite a while, and me thinks you don’t want that), but I hope this smattering of things will bless your day. โค

+ steam rising off river + picking roadside bouquets + September and the smell of freshly cut grass + A fresh croissant for breakfast, with coffee + chargers at the airport + walks in sunshine + chicken noodle soup boiling + Grandpa’s “God bless you”s + singing with the cousins + lights in wooster + making cinnamon rolls on a rainy Thursday + cold, blue skyline, silhouetting trees + hockey scars (they weren’t serious) + bread from Panera + Hanging out at Stewies + sparkly,ย sparkly snow + watching old home videos + driving + watching sparks fly + reading while waiting for coffee to brew + music while cleaning + laughter with the family + walks after dark + longboarding with the boyfriend + church bell ringing in morning stillness + hoodies + early bedtimes (I am an old woman, I know.) + surviving my first solo road trip + eating lunch on the back of a truck + spotify + bacon bits + verses coming to mind right when they are needed + foggy sunday morning + being home alone + Titus bringing me coffee in the morning + mosquito bites telling of summerrrrr + chai + + eating naan with date syrup + driving through Iraqi mountain villages + spikeball + hand squeezes from my little friend + playing apples to apples at 11pm + walking by the Rhine river on a long layover in the middle of the night + ย sisters making supper + ruined plans turned into a swimming trip + picking armfuls of kale + tylenol for growing teeth (I understand why babies scream now) + the niece dancing to the phone ringing + neighbors dropping off cookies + eating pizza & salad out of the trunk in the parking lot + singing on sunday + sliver of moon hanging over foggy trees + holding my feather-light twin nieces for the first time + painting with friends + backrubs from Krista + finishing a good book + Psalms + the lil nephew whistling after seeing how much I weigh (it made my day) + a newborn baby’s cry + folding warm towels +

Please tell me! What are some small (or big) things that are making you happy today?ย 

Article No. 30

I used to take violin lessons, and I remember my teacher saying once that she didn’t understand why Mozart and other Classical Composers worth Noting, wrote so many pieces and named them things like, “Symphony No. 25.” Really, how unoriginal can you be with your very own brain child? Did they have no heart? No soul?
I totally agreed with her, and I still do, actually. But today after trying to come up with a creative and amazing and accurate title for this post, I gave up.
Anyway, those composers were probably onto something after all.

I’m Still Alive

I know you were getting worried. And although I have abandoned the blog as of late, I’m still here.
Well, not *here* here, obviously; but I mean I’m still living.
Which is pretty much what I said in the title, so I’ll leave it at that, because I don’t want to be repetitive. That would be redundant. And it’s boring to repeat yourself.

Summer passed by in a flash, leaving practically nothing to show for it except a head full of memories. Which is probably the best thing after all.
But there are a few pictures, so here’s the rundown.

1) Featuring Titus’ load of golf cart riding fans. A.k.a, the nieces.
2) One evening some of the friends and fam came over and we played volley ball in some gorgeous light.
3) In case you need a laugh and an inside peek into a pleasanter side of my younger self… My family found this gem of a letter while I was traveling. In case it’s hard reading, I’m thanking Titus for trying to learn a song on his guitar. He was, apparently, one of my most nicest brothers. Still fits the bill, actually. ๐Ÿ˜‰
(Don’t get all uptight, because they’re all the nicest, ok? That’s how it works in big families. <3)
4) This summer I tripled the stamps in my passport. (Perks of countries that stamp it for a layover. XD) I got to travel to the Middle East in July, and it was really, really fabulous. I can’t really put just one slap statement over my time there (i.e, “It was good.”) Because it WAS good, but it was also hard, and amazing, and fun, and sad, and so many other things. (And stretching. It was very stretching. When I told my uncle that, he said, “Oh wow, did you have to reach high for a lot of things?” Ok whatever, WE DID STRETCHES, TOO, so it counts. XD)
The people were the best, though, and I’m so grateful that I got to have a month with my teammates, and the people across the pond. Now sometimes I calculate in my head what time it is over there and imagine what everyone is up to. It’s usually not very exciting, because it’s almost always in the middle of the night, but what can I say.
5) The one day we visited a monastery stuck to the edge of a mountainy cliff
. I drank my first green apple soda, slid on the floor, saw a priest, and did not get wraps afterwards. But I got this picture, and it’s a favorite.
The end.
















Things I am Learning from a Job I Hate

I’m not sure what level you have to dislike your job before it’s considered hating it. Maybe it’s if you feel dread when you wake up in the morning, or when you have to eat Oreo’s to get you through the day. Maybe if you ponder driving into a tree on the way there. I don’t know. But I’m going off the premise that if you frequently fight back tears before going out the door, it’s safe to say you at least feel some distaste for your trade.
And I feel distaste for mine.
For the last three or four years (give or take a few) I’ve had the, um, pleasure? Of working part time for our family business. It’s all dandelion stems and roses, if you factor out that building houses and everything that comes with it has not been my dream job, ever, in my entire life โ€“ and not only that, it’s actually quite close to the bottom of the list of things I’ve wanted to give the sweat of my brow to.

I used to hide in my room (did I say used to? Hahahaha…) to hopefully get out of having to go to work. You know, that whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing. (Has it worked? Ehhh, not really. But it was always worth the try, right?) I’ve gone to work with an attitude you could probably smell clear to Mississippi, and I’ve firmly decided in my heart that when I get big and can do what I want, I’m never going to pick up another rock or putty another house ever again.

Basically, this whole thing has been a struggle for me. And it actually continues to be. I think it’s ironic that the first time I sat down to write this very thing that you are reading, I got a call saying, โ€œI need you to come with me,โ€ and I had to abandon my beautiful article to stack some no account firewood instead.

If we’re honest, I may have shed a few bitter tears before I drove off. But it gave me more time to cure the thoughts, so it probably worked out better in the end, anyway.

All that said, though…I am learning things through this Difficult I have been called to. And I thought it would be fun to share them with you.

First off, gloves are lifegiving.
As I ponder all the great inventions of my day โ€“ the automobile, radiant heat, the fidget spinner…the one that stands out to me as really one of the greatest inventions is the simple garden glove. Oh that more praises were sung of this simple worker of the cloth. My job is dirty, and I know I am basically a wimpy, spoiled child, but I Ardently Loath dirty hands. They drive me up the wall. I feel as if I cannot function when my hands are gritty and dirty and annoying. But since the job I do is mostly a dirty hand kind of job, you can see how Problems would arise.
But.
Enter the garden glove.
With a simple layer of cloth between my sensitive hands and the dirt that so easily besets them, the problems simply evaporate. No more dirt residue from picking up rocks, (not to mention the fear of actually having to touch a worm or something.) No scratched, gritty hands from handling shingles. If one must hate one’s job, at least garden gloves can be a saving grace.

I am learning to be flexible. I think it’s pretty safe to say that my family tends to fly by the seat of our pants (if I may use the colloquialism.) After all, one of our favorite proverbs is, ‘Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.’ And as my Dad says, we don’t make plans, so we won’t have to change them. This quality has been both a blessing and a curse, all wrapped up in one big, bright, beautiful, and unpredictable package. But when it comes to my work schedule, it has felt mostly like a curse, wrapped in darkness. I’m going all dramatic on you, but especially because I like my life planned out at least a few hours in advance, the very fact that sometimes I have to stop what I’m doing and be on the job in 10 minutes has put me in a tailspin many, many times. BUT, I’m slowly learning that unpredictability can be a good thing. And it definitely adds spice to life โ€“ even if it’s a spice like thyme, that we use only because it sounds cool, and not because we really actually like it.

I am learning to give thanks when I don’t want to. Paul said somewhere to give thanks always for all things. This is so inconvenient. I mean, it’s fun and games to thank God for things like sunshine and iced coffee and a day off, but it’s a lot harder to be thankful for getting to pick up rocks in 80 degree weather while gnats fly around your head in a vortex of terror and spite.
But I have a hunch that it’s more honoring to God to offer a sacrifice of praise in the Hard things, than when you’re all dressed up fancy and drinking sweet tea. And I think those are the times that gratitude is really almost miraculous. It takes my attitude that smells all the way to Mississippi, and turns it into a joyful heart that see’s good coming out of the Unpleasant Things. Which is pretty great.

Another thing I’m learning is that my attitude is my choice. This is probably one of the hardest ones. And the key word here is learning. Because I’m still very much a work in progress on this one. Anne of Green Gables said, โ€œI’ve discovered you can enjoy most anything if you make up your mind firmly that you will.โ€ That comes back to bite me at the most inopportune times. But it’s a fact.
I get to choose if I will have a good day at work, or if I will be miserable the whole time.
(More often than I’d like to admit I chose the miserable option.)
For some reason when you WANT to pout and be miserable, and, especially, make sure every sibling around knows what a Noble Sacrifice your very Presence on the job is..choosing to put a smile on your face and look on the bright side instead feels like a cruel exchange that no one sees or even appreciates. And that really burns your biscuits, because what’s the use of being a martyr like that when no one even knows about it…
But. I get to choose.

I’m learning life skills. One time I was whining about my job and someone (probably one of my uplifting siblings) was trying to be optimistic. โ€œJust think about how nice it will be for your husband to have a wife who knows all these things about construction.โ€
I’m pretty sure what I thought was, Sure, yeah. Thanks. That totally brightens my day. Every day I go to work I’ll be sure to remind myself of what a precious gem I’m going to be to my husband in the unknown future, because I’ll be able to do every hateful thing I’m doing right now.
So as someone who hates their job, this one is painful to admit, but it’s actually true. As I, in a (quite small) way, help build houses during all the phases, I am actually learning pretty cool, valuable things that will be helpful for the rest of my life. And when I swallow my words enough to admit it…this is one perk that makes it pretty worth it.

I’m learning to value my brothers and their work. Before I actually went to work with the guys for a day, I never really appreciated what they do every. Single. Day. (Excepting Sunday and maybe a random holiday or two, or course.) This is embarrassing to admit, but I used to get a little miffed sometimes that they didn’t always help with things like supper dishes, and that I had to slave away all day doing their laundry and making their food and all sorts of horrible, horrible jobs, while they just went to work and then came home expecting me to serve them hand and foot.
(Not that they ever truly expected that.) (I would have these feelings though.)
But I don’t feel that way anymore. Probably mostly because I love doing housework. I love cooking. I even have fun spending the money they make. And if I get to do that while my brothers go break their backs to bring home the proverbial bread and butter, they have all my respect. They don’t need to help with supper dishes. Like, I will do that. Go drink some lemonade.

I’m learning that brothers are fun and their Work Humor is unmatched. Some people don’t get along with their co workers. And goodness, I don’t always get along with mine, either. But in spite of that…my co workers are the best. Honestly, getting to work with your brothers is so fun. It’s hands down my favorite thing about working at The Job. The conversations they get into are truly fascinating, and the jokes my bro’s crack on the job are priceless.
Also, they are very patient teachers.
And they’re fun.
Even if my job isn’t.

the Best Days

“These are the best days of our lives.” I keep hearing that phrase. I have decided to own it. Because really, these *are* the best days. When I am 90, I will look back to these days with fondness, and maybe a bit of longing. Here are a few snapshots of these days…

//The fam bam took a trip to Florida, (and Texas and Oklahoma and Missouri) for multiple reasons, one of them being to escape the bare beauty of New York. (See above. XD) We had so many good times. I learned to longboard, we did canon balls into the pool, saw the Gulf of Mexico, rode in the fun van, made bets about a concert (I won, and didn’t have to jump in the pool), went to Ram’s for breakfast two days in a row, got the quirkiest waiter, met new people, woke up at 4.50 am for 5 days straight, met tons of new people, reconnected with old friends, ate cereal late at night with the cousins, spilled coffee regularly (k, that was mostly me), had lot’s of epiphany’s, went to IHOP in the middle of the night (maaaaybe it was 5.30) to eat a Last Breakfast, slept in, got a cousin married off, and laughed hard late into the night. And that’s truly not even the half.
//I work at a Baby Boutique one day a week. I honestly never like the thought of going in to work, probably mostly because I am a horrible person. But every time I go, I leave really happy. (In the end, it works out well for me.) Last week I got inspired to decorate with a few plants. So I bought a plant. His name is Max. I proceeded to spill his innards on the way to his new home, and also managed to water him while I waited at a red light. (I was in a hurry, okay?) This is my first time actually taking care of a house plant, and due to the tricky living arrangements, I only get to see him once a week. I am also making him live in a cave. Although it looks dim, I’m hopeful he will be a hearty little fellow and survive no sunlight. Currently accepting all well wishes. Prayers are appreciated.
//I sat in the back seat and sneakily sucked chocolate off of chocolate covered coffee beans while listening to Everybody Always, by Bob Goff.
It was on a roadtrip. During a blizzard. In the middle of Canada. And I had to be sneaky about it, because if Titus or Brenda or Krista saw my deeds, there would’ve been some Sibling Intervention. In spite of all the risky conditions, I managed to salvage a quote that I get to share with you: “Don’t let your big opinion block someones view of God.” Um, wow.
//I’m planning on donating blood this weekend. I’m a little nervous. What if I faint? What if I die?! Really, it’s not that bad, but the thought of all that blood draining out of the body does give one a few heebiejeebies. On a brighter note, because I have the Blood Donor App, I get to track my blood and see when it gets used. *smiles cheerfully*
//I went to skate & shoot last night to watch the guys play hockey. I sipped my tea and sat under the heater, and it was a marvelous time. I would recommend this.

//also, ate sauteed kale, an avocado, and refried beans for lunch. Would also highly recommend.

Have a fabulous day, peeps. โค

camera roll & update

2018-12-29-202-1

Wow, guys, have I abandoned this blog, or what? (You don’t have to answer.) I have so many good excuses. Namely the fact that I’ve barely picked up my camera at all in the last few months. *But* I’m not making excuses. But I am. Kind of.
Moving on…
This picture ^^^ is from the month my family spent in Ohio at the end of the year. The biggest thing that surprised me about moving back to where we used to live was how much I loved it. Honestly. Driving over allll those dinky little back roads at sunset and experiencing coffee shops in literally *every* tiny town you could go through was amazing. (Winesburg? Since when does Winesburg have a coffee shop? And yes, I’m calling Winesburg a tiny town, although I’m not sure if that’s politically correct.) Also, driving. I loved driving those roads. And learning the roads enough to drive without Google Maps was deeply (deeply) gratifying. It doesn’t hurt anything that the landscape is aesthetically pleasing, either. Hills are a favorite. Anyway. Probably my favorite part of it alll, was living with two married brothers & their families. I was actually a little scared before we went (what if I start to hate them? And never want to see them again?) but it ended up being *so fun.*

img_6764-1

And honestly. Who could not want to see this every day??? Plus, there were so many adventures. Some were fun (like shopping and embarrassing moments to laugh about later) and some were not (like hospital stays and missing Brenda), but there was a reason Krista and I laugh/cried when we drove away for the last time from the little house on Dundee-Wilmot.

img_7854

One day when I took the kidlets out for some fresh air, I heard shrieks, and a small children were frantically ran around the house and all over the yard. The dog had found us. In the end they all became best of friends.

img_8621

Aaand this is from yesterday, when I was taking random pictures in my room. I love these antlers. Sam let me keep them when we exchanged bedrooms, and they give me joy every time I look at them. =)

img_8641

Apparently I am not OCD. Otherwise my books would be arranged by size and color or something. Although now that I’ve noticed that, it does bother me a little….

img_8647img_8666img_8735

img_8741And what post is complete without a picture of Krista? *laughing but serious* We took a walk the other day. I’m discovering there are things I enjoy doing more than walking down the road, in the middle of winter. Things like staying inside and drinking tea and watching it snow and petting my cats. (JOKING about that last part. I don’t have cats. Cats are the worst. Give me the walks.)
But what about you? Do you like winter? Cats? Walks? Tell me. And don’t be worried if you happen to like cats. Or walks. We can still be fast friends.


all is grace // 2018

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” -Sarah Ban Breathnach

Guyyys, it’s Thanksgiving! Which is crazy. Mostly because it means it is almost December, which means the year is almost over, which means it’s almost 2019. (!!!!!) But. Before we run ahead of ourselves…Here is a list of some things I am grateful for; and like Anne Voskamp says, “…they are just common things and maybe I don’t even know they are gifts really until I write them down and that is really what they look like. Gifts He bestows. This writing it down – it is sort of like….unwrapping love.”
Here’s to unwrapping it:
11-15-2018 (175)
Pretty apple pie. Eating supper with the family. Finding old and hilarious videos. Coffee at midnight. Playing dutch blitz. Laughing poolside with the cousins. Being home. Talks with Dad. Papa John’s for supper. Birds chirping. Baseball caps. Sunday afternoon naps. Sad songs. Flannel shirts and leggings. Singing karaoke with Krista. Chapstick. Mom’s back rubs. Saying “Peter” in an English accent. (Really, try it. If it doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what will. XD)
11-15-2018 (211)
Quiet morning sitting on couch. Plants littering the house. Chocolate bars. Laughter. Cut out cookies. New books. Fun mail. The Solidness of God’s word. Free hockey game. Dad reading Ecclesiastes. Shooting stars. Seat warmers in the car. Seeing old friends. Warm, yellow, morning light. Chinese takeout. Driving by myself. A clean kitchen. Joy in ordinary moments. Bruises from hockey playing. High speed wifi. Making popcorn with the niece.
2018-22-6 (10)
Skating late at night. Crock pot steak. Cold brew in the fridge. Hoodie-wearing, rainy, days. Waking up before the alarm & getting to go back to sleep. Rainbows. Getting ice cream with kiddo’s wet from swimming. Belting out songs with the siblings while driving. Sam’s humor. Unintentionally matching with Ellen. Wearing flowers in hair. Eating fries with the guys. An organized garage. Morning spent on porch. Hairband on wrist. Getting Chipotle with Krista. Homemade chicken broth.

A big, red, mug of London Fog. Friendship. Pretty sunrise. The fulfillment of long work days. Brilliant August sky. Gold spray paint. Making breakfast when no one else is up. Mug of tea steaming in sunlight. Cracking jokes when one is angry. (It helps. ;)) My people. Navigating back roads. Words to the heart.
2018-5-9 (506)
Hearing the bugle call from Ft Drum. Watching it rain. Morning glory vines covering porch railing. Eating ice cream barefoot. Canon balling into water. Sunflower bouquets from the sister in law. Foggy pink morning. Rooster crow’s from across the road. Holding a tiny kitten. Early bed time. Fries at 10 pm. Getting flowers in the mail.

Flipping pancakes. Coloring on a Sunday afternoon. Talking with a friend. Working with the brothers. Waffles on a Friday. Windy, fall days. Adorable smiles from the nephew. Stealing cookies from the freezer. Going to the Darriette. Safety in travel. Sam killing flies for me. Singing with the cousins round a campfire. Sidewalk chalk. Discovering old notes. Psalms. Mowing grass. Sitting on the front porch with books & iced coffee. Conversations about things that matter. Brenda’s cooking. Hugs. Gravel sparkling in moonlight. Laying on the road stargazing (not as dangerous as it sounds, I promise.)
2018-9-22 (122)
Air conditioning. Walking through a firefly show. Road trips with Brenda. Making new friends. Neighbors dropping in to chat. A 2:00 p.m cup of coffee. Laying on the trampoline reading, with the siblings. Cool wind on a scorching day.ย  A barefoot walk around the block.
2018-9-22 (224)

“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear Presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow; blessings all mine, with 10,000 besides…” (Great is Thy Faithfulness)

“The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 154:9

Now tell me. What is something you’re happy about today?!

the world is white

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, then where is it to be found?” – JB Priestley

IMG_6186
Krista holds a clump of freezing snow, and gazes into the horizon peacefully…
Or contemplates throwing it at me. XD
IMG_6175IMG_6189IMG_6223IMG_6266IMG_6234
Faaavorite. *heart eyes*
IMG_6206IMG_6271
And then into the house to drink a latte topped with whipped cream, because how fantastic is it to watch snow fall while drinking something warm? Very fantastic.