Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday in the Word

You can go here for the biblical version of this scripture...but I have to tell you, this version above is my absolute favorite. Jesus loved me at my darkest?

Yes...that is love...most definitely.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have been wanting a duvet for our bed for quite a while now. But can I just say...duvets are expensive! I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg. I just wanted something fresh to cover our old comforter. I looked and looked online and at stores like Marshall's and Ross...Home Goods...but...nothin'.

Well last week a friend and I headed to Ikea in Sacramento. I was in search of a duvet...she, a storage unit for toys. And it was a successful trip...we both found what we needed!

I ended up choosing a white duvet with a decorative stitch for some detail. It also came with shams, which was a bonus. I looked at colors and neutrals but decided that white would be best...mainly because I took into consideration just about every photo I've Pinned at Pinterest and just about every single one has white bedding. So I figure that is what I like...what I'm drawn I went for it.

And I have to say...I'm really happy with it. It just sort of finishes things off...makes our room look like I might have meant to do something in there. Our poor room has always been neglected...mainly because I could never figure out what I wanted to do in there. Mainly because I never thought we'd be here as long as we have been. Mainly because I have always considered it just a bedroom...not a master suite and therefore haven't ever really made the effort to make it inviting.

But as I browse Pinterest I realized that I wanted to do something in there..even if it was simple. I also realized that I am not into rooms that look 'decorated'. I like rooms that look as if they've evolved over time...that look comfortable and lived in. I like a relaxed look...and not one that is too matchy-matchy. (And trust me...I've got the NO "matchy-matchy" thing down pat...and not always by choice!)

So...yeah. I finally got a duvet...and it came with shams. And it made me happy. Now I can move on to the next thing...hmmm....what should that be? The to-do list around here is looooonggg.....

Monday, November 28, 2011

good morning...

Here's a peek at my kitchen...I took this photo the other day "as is". You may notice new paint...a new plate shelf and glass doors over the sink...bead board back splash...and not pictured are six can lights and a freshly painted white ceiling. What a difference this has made in my tiny little kitchen...I am really enjoying it.

I finally finished that pesky term paper that was torturing me. And now I am down to only three weeks left of this least favorite of all my classes thus far.

Everyone is back to the routine this morning...boys are off to school, Chris is getting ready for work, and here I am...I think this chair is going to have a permanent indentation in the shape of my butt...I spend so much time here.

I think I may do a bit of online shopping today...I don't know. I am not even really sure what I'm getting for everyone yet. I finally got a list from Seth...and a few ideas from Ian...Chris is still formulating his wish list. I've got a few ideas for my immediate family...but nothing concrete yet. Mom and I are going to go shopping Friday afternoon after I get off work...hopefully I'll make a nice BIG dent in the to-do list. I plan on it, actually. I mean, Christmas is just around the corner...already. I can't even believe it...

Ya know...usually I'm a bit of a Grinch around Christmas. (And "Grinch" is actually making me sound so cute and quirky about it all...I'm really just a big grouch.) Admittedly, it is not my favorite holiday. I believe I've mentioned a time (or 20) that Thanksgiving is my, fall, pressure, no spending...mmmm, I love it. Christmas, on the other hand, is different. A lot different.

However, this year, I am trying to have a more positive attitude about it...and so far I'm doing fairly well. I have just decided that there's nothing I can do about it...Christmas comes every year, whether I'm happy about it, or not. May as well save myself some stress and crankiness and enjoy it all, right?

Because really, I do love to give gifts. I love finding the perfect gift for each person on my list...and wrapping it nice and pretty...knowing that they're gonna love it. I guess because finances have been so crazy for the past several years Christmas has become stressful. And not because I don't like to give...but more because I DO like to give and haven't been able to without stressing over it. (Hmmm...light bulb moment, eh?)


It's a busy week, school, kids, shopping, a baby shower on Saturday afternoon and Seth's Winter Ball that night (and all that entails)...and, and, and....and this is the moment I have to stop and remind myself, "one day at a time", take a good, deep breath and keep moving forward.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

past and present.

I finally cleaned our room the other day. It was beginning to look like an episode of Hoarders...piles, clothes, bags, Ick. I was losing sleep over it. Something had to be done.

I finally took some time and got rid of some stuff...found places for other stuff...filed and organized and tidied the rest of the stuff. And's actually a nice place to be. And restful.

One thing that is still a bit cluttered is my dresser top...that's it up there. If you go here you can read little notes about what's what. I didn't share the photograph with the stack of school photos and receipts that needs going through just to the right. That's next on the list...along with framing those adorable creations my boys made years ago.

I just ate a frozen pot pie...made me feel about 8 years old again. My mom made them occasionally when I was little...I actually liked them. Still do. Although I gotta say...homemade pot pies are way better. Duh. But like I always say...sometimes convenience wins around here....especially on days like today when I've got a crazy amount of classwork to do.

I was up until 11:30 last night making Excel spreadsheets and pecking away at that stupid paper. Then I woke up this morning with Mail Merges and Address Lists on my brain.'s gonna be a long year people.

I figure that's about how long this whole Bachelor's degree thing is gonna take me...a year. Maybe less. I was considering blasting it out in 9 months but then I got a grip and realized to do that would be like taking 6 classes in a semester. And that's just ridiculous. I don't need to rush....I need to be steady. And realistic.

Speaking of which...I better finish up this dang paper so I can get started on next week's assignments. Just when I think I can catch my's "next week" already!

Friday, November 25, 2011

I got nothin'....

Yesterday was really always. Family, food, laughter, kids, football, food, tears. I missed Noni and Papa a lot...still can't believe they're gone. This whole life and death thing is heavy on my's just so surreal. Life is really so temporary. I'm trying not to take it for granted...

You'll notice I'm not shopping today. No. No way. I'm not a "crowd" kinda gal. My inner meanie comes out in crowds. So it's best I stay home. No deal is that good. I will probably get a few things online...but I have a Cyber Monday the equivalent to Black Friday? So on Monday the deals will be better? I better find out for sure before I shop...I do love a good bargain. Just not willing to fight for it...or get trampled.

So it's after 10am...and I really need to get some school work done. Really. I have made a list. A long list. But I have yet to check things off. Today is the day. My relationship with procrastination is not a healthy one. Grrr...

Yesterday my aunt told me I was "slacking" in the blogging! I know...I know...she's so right. She said she thinks I should post every day...even twice a day! I don't know about that..!

I just feel like all I talk about anymore is school. I'm kinda boring. Not a lot of canning...or crafting...or even photo taking. No gardening...Chris planted our winter garden if that tells you anything. He's like a farmer now.

Honestly, and this might be kind of weird, but I use my photos as a jumping off point for my posts. I just pick a photo...and type away. You may notice that I've been sharing graphics or mosaics or old photos...that's because I haven't been taking new photos. I've just been sitting at this computer, going back and forth between Word .docs, my online class and Pinterest.

I feel like all I do is school work...or talk about how I should do school work...and laundry. I prepare a meal here and there. And drive my kids all over kingdom come. But nothing creative...I really should do something about that.

But...not today. Today is for class work. (I mean it!)

But first...a shower, a load (or 17) of laundry, I really should pull something out of the freezer for dinner, these boys need to eat, ya know...well, and me too. You'd think yesterday's meal would hold us over for a week or so.

Anyway...thank you for hanging in there with me while I do this whole "school thing". Those of you that are still with me I consider true friends...encouragers...not just "followers". Matter of fact..I think I'll remove that Follow button. Let's face it...I'd write here even if nobody visited Give a Girl a Fig. I like this little space...

OK...time to think "term paper".

See? Boring!! xoxoxo

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday in the Word

I couldn't help myself...I love Charlie Brown .

Psalm 100:3-5

Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations.

* * * * * * *

I am thankful for so many things...

God in my life
my husband...xo
my children
wonderful family
my home
friends...near and far
hot coffee
clean sheets
backyard chickens
mist over the mountain tops
a summer and winter
apple berry crisp
hot water
orange ginger lotion
the library
black currant tea
learning new things
a good pen
my camera
gray skies
my kitchen
blank journals
my wife, the slow cooker favorite holiday of the year
...that's a good start.

I'm thankful...for the big things...for the little things...for you.

Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Off to a good start... is the first day of a whole week off. I have to say...this time of rest is much needed. I've been under the weather for about a week with one ailment or another...and I'm tired. Tired of being under the weather! But maybe this just means I'm getting all of the flu bugs at once...getting them out of the way...and then I can be healthy the rest of the winter...yeah? Sounds good to me...

It's 10am and I'm still in my pj' far the day is going according to plan. (wink) I've got a load of laundry going, also in the plan, and I'm getting ready to shower, figure out something for dinner, then do homework in between laundry

I have no idea what the boys have going's the first day of vacation so I don't have a problem with whatever plans they make so long as it doesn't include me going anywhere. We'll see how that pans out...

Oh...and the mealy, weird texture in my soup the other day? The potatoes! Thank you Corinne and Kym for telling I know to use a different kind of potato next time. Thank you ladies!

OK...I'm hungry...and I need a shower. So I better do a little more than sit here and think about my to-do list. Oh...and Thanksgiving. I can't stop thinking about Thanksgiving...have I mentioned that it's my favorite holiday? Oh...what? A Just a time or two? Or seven? I can't help it...I love this time of year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I whipped up a pot of soup real quick...

I was in the mood for some soup. I had broccoli, shredded cheese and the leftover insides of some baked potatoes (saved from when I made potato skins for dinner last week) in the fridge.

I heated up a pot, added a can of chicken broth, 2-ish cups water, the leftover potato (about 2 cups...maybe 4-5 potatoes worth?) and a couple handfuls of broccoli florets. Set the mixture on high, brought it to a boil, then turned it down to medium heat and let it simmer.

I added some salt and a teensy bit of sugar (broccoli can be slightly bitter, ya know?) and stirred now and then.

In about 15-20 minutes the broccoli was nice and tender...almost ready.

I removed the "soup" from the heat, added a 1/2 cup or so of milk then blended it all together, nice and creamy, with my immersion blender. I seriously love this kitchen tool...if you don't have one, I think you need one. If you do have one but just don't use it, you really need to start. It's an amazing little tool...quick and easy to use...quick and easy to clean it.


Once the soup was nice and creamy I added a bit more salt and some pepper to taste...and a handful of shredded cheese.

Then I stirred it all in.

And then...I ate it.

And it was good.

It was a nice warm tasty lunch. But, if I'm honest, it was a Or grainy? Not sure why...? But yeah...the texture was slightly off. The taste, however, was not. It may have been better had I used cream or half and half rather than non-fat milk. But I am big on using what I've milk it was. (And in thinking about it, next time, I'll add a little onion...just because. Or maybe because I want to be like Ina and get "depth of flavor", how many times does she say that?!)

So it's's gray and dreary out with a chance of beloved week is vacation...and my most favorite holiday ever...Thanksgiving.

Life is good...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

list time...

Cutest kitchen timer in the world...isn't she adorable?
She's one of my favorite things...
 Lots on my mind today...scattered thoughts...thinking in bullet-points...
  • I got that little chicken timer at Christmas last year. Aunt Lisa purchased it for our annual gift exchange. Each year we pick a letter and then all of the adults buy an item that begins with that letter. Last year's letter...T. Hence the timer. I love it. Thank you Aunt Lisa...and Megan, who I stole it from in the gift exchange!! You're such a good sport. (She knew I was gonna snag's what makes the game fun, right?)
  • Chris planted Japanese Maple seeds at the beginning of summer. The other day he transplanted five little saplings into cool is that? (It is called a sapling right?)
  • The winter garden is settling in to the cold soil...everything looks happy and even has a bit of new growth. So far, so good.
  • I got sick on Friday...and am only just now feeling better. It was something stomach related...then turned to gall bladder stuff (bye bye soda...I'll miss you forever)...then turned into a migraine. Seriously? Enough is enough.
  • I have a new quick and easy meal idea: tacos. The trick? Store bought taco shells. I know, I know...but hey, sometimes convenience wins out. I've got to feed this family of mine...these teenagers that are eating us out of house and home. And sometimes time is limited...right? Not to mention now that Ian is wrestling he walks in the door from practice and blurts, "I'm starving!". So last night I browned taco meat, warmed shells, dumped out shredded cheese into a bowl, chopped up some lettuce and a few of the last tomatoes from the garden...set out hot sauce and sour cream...and BAM, dinner is served!
  • Would you believe I'm halfway finished with my online class? It's Week 4 already! I know!! Admittedly, this is NOT my favorite class so far. Not at all. It's learning how to integrate technology into the classroom. And seeing as how I like my computer...and I like the internet...and many technology related'd think I'd like the class. Yeah. Well... I don't. But that's's halfway over. And the next 4 weeks will go by equally as fast...if not faster. So it's all good.
There's more in this crazy head of mine...a few poems swirling around, thoughts of a continuing writer's group, I need to dust, I'm hungry, I have a LOT of schoolwork to do in the next 4-6 weeks (which is slightly overwhelming, yes), I'm looking forward to some rain this weekend...not to mention looking forward to having a week off, working for the school district rocks...

Speaking of which...I better get going...reality calls.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday in the Word...

Yes. And Amen.

Friday, November 11, 2011

amazing what you come across when you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing...

It's Friday night...I'm watching Pride and Prejudice and sipping earl grey. I should be writing...but for whatever reason I am stalling...maybe because I'm distracted by P&P? It is a beautiful movie...I always get distracted during movies by the set design. I think it would be so cool to be a set designer...don't you think?

So I've been poking around on the internet today...

I made that photo mosaic up there...that was a good use of time, eh? Yes, yes...very important, indeed. (P&P is wearing off on me...)

I joined a cool site for writers...Writing Our Way Home. I'm pretty sure Jen led me to it months ago...and I am only now feeling confident enough to poke around and maybe join a group or two. I have yet to share any poems with anyone...only in class, so far. I'm working up my's a bit intimidating.

And who knew making lotion was so easy? I can't wait to give this a try. I am very picky about lotions...always trying to find the perfect one. Maybe this will be it...*fingers crossed*.

I'm thankful for Veteran's...especially my family members. We watched a really good documentary this morning...The Conscientious Objector...the story of Desmond Doss, a WWII soldier with an amazing story. You could probably find the whole thing at the library...or maybe Netflix? It was good...a bit of a tear-jerker.

And now that I've stalled long enough...I am going to open a Word .doc and write. Write, write, write.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

much ado about nothing...

I'm just gonna start off by saying...I'm kinda cranky today. On edge. Impatient. I think it has something to do with being a woman...if ya know what I mean...*wink*. TMI? Sorry...but it's true! I pretty much chased Chris out of the house this morning with my lovely attitude...poor guy. And even after he planted our winter veggies yesterday and everything.

Our little winter garden looks so cute...Chris pulled the last of the tomatoes, raked and cleaned things up, then planted the chard, collards and broccoli....finally. Not finally for him...just in general because I kept forgetting about the poor little seedlings. They were sitting patiently in their plastic containers for weeks.'re cozy in the ground. Thank you honey! Now...let's hope they grow! We've never planted winter vegetables this is a bit of an experiment. I'll keep you posted.

(And really...I think I'm the only one in this house that even likes these vegetables...except the broccoli...Seth eats lots of it when I make it...but the other stuff, not so much. Maybe they'll like it if it's fresh from our own garden...sometimes that makes all the difference.)

I borrowed a stack of Mary Oliver books from the library yesterday (placed them on hold, online, one of my favorite conveniences ever.)...she's the author I chose to analyze for my Creative Writing Final Portfolio...which weirdly enough, I'm excited to work on. We were given our choice of what to submit in our portfolio...two short stories, 9-12 poems or a combination of the two. I chose the combo which will translate into one short story and 4-6 poems. Although the more I write poems the more I am leaving the option open to submit all poetry. We'll see where I'm at with it all in a week or so.

Along with our own writing we have to analyze an author of our choice (Oliver) as well as a short story we had to read as a class selected by the instructor. I did not like the story at all...not even a little bit. Nor did I like the other short stories by the same author from the same book. Her writing makes me uncomfortable...and maybe that's her intention. I don't know. Either's part of the final and therefore I will do it.

Funny to think we've only got a little over a month left of was going along so slowly and now suddenly we're down to the wire. (I should be writing in my notebook and not here!) At this point I've got a short story written...but it needs tweaking using some of the feedback I got from the class. And I've got 5 poems written...two of which need a bit of tweaking, again based on feedback.

Hmmm...I probably should have titled this post, "School on the brain". If you've made it this far...thank you for listening to my ramblings.

And as a reward for reading on and on to my incessant droning...something beautiful from Mary Oliver...

The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Doing it all.

Over the past couple of weeks I've received comments here on the blog, as well as personal emails and Facebook messages encouraging me in my efforts with school and work The encouragement from so many of you is priceless...and confirms to me over and over again that I am headed in the right direction. Thank you, sweet friends near and far, for taking the time to send kind words my way. It means so much to me.

One thing many of you are saying is "I don't know how you're doing it all!" This is a common sentiment in your sweet messages to me and I've been thinking about it a lot lately...and thinking about the things that I am doing...and wondering to myself why it doesn't feel like I'm "doing it all". I mean, I know I'm doing a lot, I know I'm busy, my schedule is full, I have a lot on my plate. But the crazy thing is that it's not difficult. It's not stressing me out. In all honesty, it actually feels good.

You want to know why?

It feels good to be "doing it all" because I know that everything I am doing is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I know that right now I am walking in God's will for my life. I am doing what He has planned out for me. And because of this He is giving me the strength and the peace and perseverance to "do it all". If I were to be doing this without God's provision and grace to handle all of these great opportunities then my mindset would be a LOT different. I would be stressed out and anxious and no fun to be around. And rather than saying "I don't know how you're doing it all!" you would be saying, "Girl, you need to slow down!"

There is such an amazing peace in knowing that everything I am doing each day is moving me one step closer to where I am supposed to be. Day by day I am getting closer to earning my degree...and closer to becoming a teacher...and closer to living my life the way that God planned for me when He formed me in my mother's womb. (Psalm 139:13)

God has good things in store for us...He has a plan for each and every one of our lives. Each of us was created for a specific purpose...whether we believe it or not. And it's really not that hard to realize what that purpose is...we need only listen to His whispers and follow His lead. As you can see...I am not always the best listener. I can be stubborn...and a bit dense at times. (And a LOT dense at other times!) But I think that, after all these years of floundering and wondering and trying to find my own way, I can finally say that I know that I know that I know that I am fully in God's will and I am walking the path He paved for me.

And it feels really, really good.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, November 7, 2011

focusing on the good...

Oh to be Pablo...he's got the life I tell ya.
It's feeling like a good day to focus on the good. Not because I'm feeling negative...but rather I am feeling grateful. list of good things...
  • I do believe that winter has arrived...I love winter.
  • It's been cold and rainy here all weekend...and I am loving it!
  • Warm sweats and an oversize sweater.
  • Eating food my hubby cooked...he's the master at cooking breakfast.
  • Doing a few loads of laundry in between assignments...gotta love online classes. Seriously...I love them. It's worth the cost of convenience. (I say as I have yet to pay back student loans...ahem.)
  • The heater works. And I am grateful. There was a time when it did not. So I do not take it for granted.
  • Feeling blessed to have found a good church full of good people. Not perfect people. Or people who pretend to be perfect. But real and good people. It's refreshing.
  • Dinner out with my family. We stopped and got burgers on the way home from church last night...really good burgers. Then we drove home, stuffed to the gills, laughing about I don't even remember what and arguing over who gets the bathroom first! Gotta love free refills! (Sometimes it pays to be the only girl in the house.)
  • I'm loving my spiffed up kitchen...yes, yes, pictures are coming...soon!
  • I am so grateful for a job that fits my school schedule perfectly...and not only is the job perfect but the people I work with are very cool. Yes, it's temporary. But that's OK...I'm trusting God fully with this whole work/school situation. He knows what I need and will provide it all...I need only trust Him.
  • Speaking of's a 4 day work week...that's always nice.
  • A family-filled weekend...I have an amazing family.
  • Hot showers.
  • Knowing that I am moving in the right direction...there is such peace in that.
OK...your turn. What's on your good list?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

changing things up...

I made a new header. It started from the above photo. Then after a few clicks here and a few clicks there over at had a new header. It's going to take some getting used to I think. It's much "quieter" than my last header. It's muted...sepia to be exact. I've been tiring of the last header for a while now. And have wanted to change it. It's just that I am spending so much time online doing homework (OK, and let's be honest...pinning away on Pinterest!! Hey, sometimes a girl just needs to zone out and gather up inspiration.) that I haven't made the time to create a new header.

I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I was going for a "fall" look. But I'm not so convinced that I didn't just made something...brown. I'll sit with it for a while...

(*edit*...I went on ahead and made a color header. The sepia was just too boring. See? I mean, I like it...but....Oh I dunno...what do you think?)

I went to a women's gathering last night in San Francisco with some ladies from the small church we've been attending, C3 Fairfield. It was really was fun to spend time with some great girls! It's also nice to be getting back into church and ministry type stuff. I took quite a long break from church and church related things. But ya I ease back in to attending church regularly and going to a women's bible study once a week, I'm realizing that I missed it. And that it's a good thing to be a part of a healthy church and a genuine group of believers. I will admit it's not easy getting back into it...complacency took root faster than I'd like to admit. But...I'm making my way back. Slowly...but surely. And it's good.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's Tuesday...again.

photo credits...I love gray and brown.
It's November 1. The temperature is dropping and a cool breeze is blowing. The tomato plants are officially spent and the broccoli and chard starts are patiently awaiting planting. The leaves are beginning to turn and fall to the ground...such a pretty mess, isn't it? It was so chilly Friday morning I decided to turn the heater on for the first time. I love that smell...what is it, anyway? Dust and webs burning off? Whatever it is...I like it.

This is a busy week. (Is this anything new?) Last night was Halloween. Tonight is class. Tomorrow night I'm going to San Francisco for a women's gathering with a small group of women from the new church we've been attending. Thursday night (I think...maybe Friday?) I'm helping my mom wrap things up at Papa's house. His house sold, so we're holding an estate sale on Saturday. And I'm helping with that, too.

Somewhere in the midst of all of that I have to do homework. And lots of it. This new online class I'm taking is demanding and time-consuming. As is the creative writing class. Lots of writing. Lots of reading. Lots of work. And then, of course, there's bringing home the bacon, frying it up in the pan and never, ever, ever...well, you know the rest.

Even still, in the blur of it all...with the busy-ness and craziness and constant go, go, go...I am grateful. I am blessed. And I continue to see God's hand in every bit of it, every day.