Friday, January 24, 2014


It's funny how you can be so excited about a new adventure, feeling your heart fill, and smiling a lot, and then suddenly, things change. I was enjoying posting more regularly again, and I still have a schedule of posts I'd like to write and publish. But about two weeks ago I had quite a week that threw me off a bit. On Monday of the week I speak, we found out that a family friend of my husband's had lost his 19 year old stepdaughter in a car accident. Tuesday my niece was badly burned by boiling water, with first and second degree burns on her hands, face, neck, chest and legs. She stayed in the children's hospital Tuesday through Thursday, finally getting her bandages removed a week and a day later. Wednesday we talked with someone dear to me (she hasn't mentioned all the information to all her family, thus the anonymity) let me know that some cells that had been tested were indeed breast cancer. Originally they didn't think they were anything to worry about. Then, that it was localized in the milk ducts, and then this week we have heard that it has spread and they are testing lymph nodes-proceeding quickly from a short surgery to remove ducts to at least a mastectomy... Scary stuff. Then Thursday of the week where I didn't like phone calls my daughter called from my in-laws' house to tell us they had a leaking pipe and standing water in their basement. My husband rushed over and they began to sop up the water. Over the next three days the daughters and I went over with our dehumidifier and we all took turns soaking up water from the carpet, bringing the towels home and drying them, only to return and do it again. They leak was small, and my husband was able to get it stopped by simply turning off the valve. But was something else added to that plate.

This was a week I spent deep in prayer. And I continue to be... I will be blogging more often, again. My oldest daughter has been here since Christmas and returns this weekend to her college life. It's good that she misses her friends there and her routine, but I will be sad when she isn't here anymore, sad that they days are lonely and quiet. And I will be back in prayer for her safety, as well. I have a list of things to do, though. I tried to convince my husband we needed a puppy for a while. But with the person tackling cancer, now, she would like visits and help from me. A blessing I don't have a full time job right now and I am so glad to be able to help.

I will keep you posted, dear readers.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Social Media Monday-Resolutions

On one of my social media spots I saw a link for this post by Aby at Simplify 101. It was called "Lessons Learned from Setting 13 Goals in One Year". I enjoyed her look-back at her goals and what she achieved. And, while I visited some of these during my One Little Word post from yesterday, I am setting 14 goals, here, now, as well. :) It is 2014, after all. :)

  1. Run 900 miles-this was my goal the past two years and last year I finally came close. 
  2. Fall half marathon under 1:45:00 
  3. No new running injuries and healing the old... Fingers crossed for that, please!
  4. Read 24 books-I finished one that I will tell you about on Wednesday and am in the midst of the second-this cold, pending snow weather helps! :)
  5. Reach my goal weight. Over the last three years I have gotten down close about July and then worked my way back up to the same weight I have started at by December. I want to reach my goal weight and stay there all year! :) {see "eat light" from yesterday}
  6. Make 1 craft from Pinterest per month-I always pin things I want to make or try and then never do anything with them. If I can't accomplish this goal, then my craft board from Pinterest will require some re-thinking in December.
  7. Make 1 recipe from Pinterest per week-I enjoy my weekly installment of "Recipes I've tried this week" here on the blog and I enjoy trying new recipes, so this is a set goal.
  8. Finish my 2013 Project Life-I did really well until July, then I didn't put any other pictures in... so hoping to finish it. I am not tackling it again this year; I always get disappointed when I don't get it done. 
  9. Mini albums or online albums. I have a few sites I'd like to try, and I think it would be fun to do a small, online or paper, album for each month's pictures for the year. Just a thought in the works...
  10. Finish a rag quilt-I actually have one I started with my mom a couple years ago. It got placed into a colored tub with a lid and I found it over the summer. I tackled it a few months ago and my sewing machine stopped working. I tried my daughter's and it quit, too. So, we had both repaired and the moment of truth is around the corner-will they work? Will I get it finished?? :) Hopefully-I'm thinking it would be nice to snuggle under as the temps dip below 0! {"lighten expectations" from yesterday's post}
  11. Send 1 card or note-not email-per week. Just one-in 7 days, 168 hours, actually, I should be able to find time to let people know I care! I did one on Saturday this past weekend, so one this week is done! :) {"leave the light on" from yesterday}
  12. Daily Devotionals-I got into a good habit of reading my devotional and Bible at the end of last year and I'd like to keep it going. {see "find my light" from yesterday}
  13. Clean/organize one room or full item of furniture per month {"lighten the load" from previous post}
  14. This is an open goal. It is something I want to leave unknown and revisit later. It might be writing a book, entering a new profession, taking a sewing or knitting class, taking a college class, mentoring or volunteering, skiing... I don't know. I learned in 2013 that a year is a long time and anything can happen. I never thought I'd change my goals and dreams away from teaching but I did. I never thought I'd be content just... waiting... but I am. I am praying on it and I hope God will guide me.
What are your resolutions? Do you make them? These are more like long-term goals, which I think we should always have, and revisit. I hope your new year has started out well, Reader!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

One Little Word 2014- Light

Each year, since I read about Ali Edward's concept of the One Little Word, I have tried to set one for myself. A few of the years I have really tried to live it out. A few years, conversely, I have let it slip by unnoticed. This year I have resolved for it to guide me and be present in my mind and heart, to live it and I look forward to it. I also love reading about other people's OLW, how they chose them, what it means to them... all meaningful to me, like Stephanie Howell's blog post, here. And Elise's post, here.

I began to think over my word and what it might be, as I do every year. I was stuck. My past words were:
Faith 2008
Peace 2009
Grace 2010
Read (which I can't even remember thinking over... so this wasn't a particularly definitive word choice/year for me...) 2011
Brave 2012
Grow 2013

And this year, my word is Light. I popped onto Pinterest the other morning and the first thing I saw was this piece of art. I knew Light was to be my word for the year, my One Little Word. I began to pin a "One Little Word" board on Pinterest, letting myself be inspired and soaking it in. Many ideas began to swirl in my mind:

  • eat light-fitness
  • be light to others-sharing a good attitude
  • live light-live clean, get rid of the junk and think about what I choose to carry with me
  • find my light-seek light and seek my faith (with teaching a Bible study, chaplain classes and my funeral coordinator's job, I see this one coming to fruition-hopefully! :))
  • let my soul be light-with less worry
  • light the way-be a good example for my girls
  • lighten the load-less stuff, better budget, burdens of others?
  • leave the light on-connect with others
  • light streaming-work with my plants more-I love to work with plants, inside and out, but have let it slip away
  • travel light-go somewhere new? a trip or a new restaurant, a new museum for new ideas/sights?
  • lighten expectations-will I be a knitter or sewer/quilter? relax about it and if it doesn't come, remove those expectations from myself, as well as supplies I won't ever use and let them go
I let all these just come and wash over me, one triggering the next. Then, when no more thoughts like this came, I looked up common phrases with the word "light" in them. It was fun! I'm hoping to apply them throughout the year to something, although I'm not sure what just yet. A couple I found were:
  • guiding light
  • light as a feather
  • at first light/light of day
  • light years away
  • out like a light
I thought of some songs right away, as well:
  • This Little Light of Mine
  • Learning to be the Light
  • Jesus, Light of the World
  • Thy Word
For a few of my previous words I ordered a charm for a necklace or a ring to be a constant reminder. I still have and wear almost daily, my rings of the past words: grace, grow and peace. I ordered my light ring from the same place, here on etsy. I'm ready to tackle 2014 with Light. :) Do you have a One Little Word? Or are you still choosing one? 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Recipes I've Recently Tried

I got behind and haven't posted many recipes I've tried, so I will post a few and try to catch up over the next few weeks.
First, my oldest daughter had seen this, where else, on Pinterest and sent me the link so we could try it. It turned out to be easy and delicious!
One Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta
I followed the "tip" in the recipe and cubed the chicken...
One Pot Cheesy Chicken Pasta
  • 2 cups shredded or diced chicken
  • 2 Tbsp minced green onion
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 can Manwich Bold + 1 can water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound of small dry pasta (I used penne)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. 1. Heat a small amount of oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and saute for one minute, then add cooked chicken* and saute for a couple of minutes.
  2. (*Tip: I happened to have cooked, shredded chicken on hand so I used that, but I think I would start with raw chicken next time and cook the diced chicken and in the pot).
  3. 2. Add chicken broth, Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce, water and pasta to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 25-25 minutes.
  4. 3. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheddar until well incorporated, reserving a handful to sprinkle on the top. Cover for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt, and stir.
  5. 4. Serve.

One other recipe for today: 
Once my oldest daughter came home, both girls requested we make cookies for the holidays. We usually do, and we usually use our traditional list. However, this time, we strayed from our list. I had never made these cookies before, but my family declared they must be used again the future because they were some of the best ever. :) Yay! :) I found the tip at the end about the baking time also true-they seemed underdone, but I followed her advice and it worked out great!

Soft Almond Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 C white sugar
2/3 C butter (cold)
2/3 C shortening (room temp)
2 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
2 3/4 C cake flour
1 C all purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
sugar in the raw (I like raw sugar for this, but any coarse sugar would work)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking sheet.

Cream sugar, butter and shortening.  Stir in eggs and almond extract.  Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and add to butter/egg mixture.  Use electric mixer to ensure dough is thoroughly combined.

Chill dough in fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll 2 tsp of dough (I used a small cookie scoop) into a ball and roll in raw sugar.  Place on prepared pan.

Bake cookies for 7 minutes.  Remove from oven and gently press rounded tops of cookies flat with the back of a spoon while the cookies are still warm and pliable.  The cornstarch will keep the dough from spreading, so this step just makes them look better!

Return remaining dough to fridge in between baking each batch.

Allow to cool on pan for 1 minute.

Remove to cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely.

A tip:
~DO NOT bake longer than 8 minutes!!  They may seem under-baked, but when they cool they will firm up.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I realized after my last post that I hadn't finished book number 22 of the year. I had a goal of 20 and had officially read 21, but hadn't finished the Mitford book I was re-reading for number 22. I had a book on my desk that my husband had read and passed along. Then my oldest daughter had read it and passed it along. My youngest read it and then I received it. They all said it was a "good, quick read". So, I tackled it, yesterday. One day-New Year's Eve, getting it read "under the wire" as they say. Actually, with time to spare before we headed to my brother-in-law's house for tacos. It was The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. I've read books by him before and liked them, but hadn't picked one up in a while. This was a good book and I'd recommend it. So, I completed my 22 books for the year and am looking forward to tackling 24 or more this year. Just like my running miles, I feel better when the total is higher. :) {Also, I ended with 850.99 miles running this year-yay! ;) }

Reading anything good to start the new year? Or set any reading goals? Happy New Year, Reader. I'm glad you stopped by my blog.