Fire Sachets

A few of my friends and I have started a little book club. This month’s selection is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and it has me completely enchanted🙂 It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that sparks my creativity and pulls me into that dreamy state where candles shimmer in the soft darkness of my mind and a scent that I can’t quite identify floats on the air lulling me into peacefulness and comfort.

On Friday we will meet to discuss the book and I can not wait! My awesome in-laws gave me a fire pit for Christmas so the club is going to meet in my back yard around the fire while we drink lavender hot chocolate and eat cookies and chocolates! I’m going to decorate in the theme of Christmas lights, candles and black and white (the circus in the book is made up of only black and white).

Today one of my dear friends came over and we made little sachets filled with dried orange peels, cinnamon sticks, lavender buds and ground cloves to throw in the fire. I’m so excited to find out how the air will smell! Here are a few photos of our little project. I’ll give a proper review of the book and post pictures of our magical evening over the weekend! Have a wonderful week!

 

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Turkish Coffee

It is December and while there should be inspiration winking around every corner and sparkling from every Christmas light I’ve found myself a bit lacking in that department. Not sure why. I guess the creative juices ebb and flow like the tides. Anyway, in an attempt to stir up some creativity I decided to wade through all the wonderful photos and ideas floating around Pinterest and there I found it, Turkish coffee. I’ve heard about it before; strong, exotic and thick, the grounds mingling with the water uninhibited by a filter. Quite frankly the idea scared me. Well, the pre-coffee loving, everything must be labeled and fit into a box, happy to exist in the same world I’ve always known, me. But something has been stirring inside as of late, a need to get a taste of a culture other than mine, a need for something bigger than me. I know a little cup of coffee is not the answer and that there is something deeper I’m searching for but as I am not able to travel, my little espresso cup filled with dark richness will do just fine.

If you’d like to try it yourself it is pretty easy. I don’t have any of the real equipment so I just winged it🙂 Fill an espresso cup with water and pour it into a sauce pan. Do this as many times for as many cups you would like to drink. Measure out equal portions of coffee (1 cup water to 1 scoop coffee) and grind on the finest setting. Your coffee should be an almost powder consistency. Pour the grinds into the water. Pour two tablespoons of sugar into the saucepan also. While I love sugary things I’m not a big fan of pure sugar so I used a few white chocolate chips instead. Stir the mixture on a high heat until just before boiling. Take off the stove, pour into your cup, let the grounds settle a bit and enjoy!

Are you a fan of Turkish coffee? I’d love to hear your favorite way of making it!

Hope you all have a splendid day!

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Car Show

This is a great time of year! It seems like there is some kind of festival, craft show or boutique every weekend. Today we visited a local car show. Oh, how happy was my heart! Chrome, white walls, shiny red paint and clean lines; sheer perfection! I can’t make up my mind if I enjoyed the customized 2007 Nissan Z the best or the 1966 Cherry Red Porsche. Happy sigh. Here are my favorite shots.

Have a beautiful day!

October

My husband and I went to a local farm to enjoy their Halloween Festival today! It was so much fun! They had a hay ride, lots of animals for the kids to pet and feed, pumpkins galore, a hay stack maze and all kinds of home made goodies to take home. The “Golden Hour” arrived as we walked around and the setting sun illuminated everything in a dreamy warm glow that just had me entranced. I was so caught up in the perfect atmosphere that I forgot we were still in the middle of the city! Oh this time of year, how I love you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Pasta

Good day! Hope this week is treating you well so far!

So yesterday was my usual meal planing and grocery shopping day. We try to stick to a budget so I really love and appreciate a good healthy meal for not a whole lot of money🙂 This pasta fits those criteria (well, besides the butter)  and is so yummy that I call it my happy pasta.  Just thought I’d share it with you!

Ingredients:

Rotini Pasta (Gluten free variations are available too)

Roma Tomatoes

Red Bell Peppers

Fresh Spinach

Fresh Basil

Mozzarella Fresca balls

Dried Rosemary and Sage (powdery or flaky consistency)

Red Pepper Flakes

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Butter

Begin boiling a pot of lightly slated water on the stove. Clean out and cut two red bell peppers to 1/4 inch slices. Begin to saute peppers in the red wine vinaigrette and sprinkle a bit of red pepper flakes if you like a little kick to your meal. The water should be boiling now so go ahead an add about 3/4 of the box of Rotini to the water. Clean 2 cups of fresh spinach and set aside. Slice 3 or 4 Roma tomatoes and a few large leaves of fresh basil. Set those aside also. Begin to melt about half a stick of butter on the stove. Add the sage and rosemary to taste to the butter when it is completely melted.  When your red bells are nicely softened turn off the burner and add the spinach. Toss it all around together until the spinach has just wilted. After you drain the pasta and put it in a big bowl dump in the rosemary sage butter, the red bell spinach mixture, the basil and the tomatoes and toss it all together. Wait until it cools down then cut the mozzarella balls into smaller chunks, sprinkle over the pasta and serve!

This serves two with leftovers.

Hope you enjoy! Have a lovely day🙂

Prescott, Arizona

Oh, what a fun weekend I just had! For my birthday this year my husband treated me to a weekend in Northern Arizona with my friends (a women’s retreat with my church)! I can’t tell you how good it was to laugh with abandon and give myself permission to just be silly. For a very long time I’ve had the notion that if I let go of my reserve and be silly that something bad would happen. Crazy, I know but the things we learn as children are hard to let go of. I found out that this simply isn’t true and I’m going to hold on to this realization with everything in me. How you ask did I realize this? I lip synced with three of my friends in front of 68 women. This was a huge step out of my comfort zone but as one of my friends put it, “We are all going to die someday so why not?”😮 So we did it. L. rapped in a baseball cap, sunglasses and a hoodie, K. sang Carrie Underwood better than Carrie herself, I.P.M. rocked out to Switchfoot and I head banged my heart out to Thousand Foot Krutch. We even got asked for an encore! I can’t wait to see the video and laugh all over again😮

I’m just really thankful for all my girls. You each bring so much sunshine into my heart.

Earlier that day a few of us went to the square in town and explored Whiskey Row. Here are a few things that caught my eye.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

This awesome tree’s leaves were a deep purple and its trunk was a dark silver. So beautiful!

I loved this dress! Wish I bought it!

There is a little coffee shop just beyond the foliage. We didn’t go back there but it totally reminded me of Cossette’s garden in Les Miserables when Marius found her and left his love letters to her on her bench under a rock. Happy sigh.

The isles in this book store were so narrow that one person had to plaster them selves against the shelves if another person needed to pass! Claustrophobia anyone? I loved it though because it was such a treasure hunt!

Home made ice cream!

This reminded me of the surf school in Maui that my husband and I surfed with on our honeymoon.

Adventure in the pines of Arizona

Adventure, I love the word and all it promises. Newness, the strange and unknown, finding the courage in yourself that you didn’t realize was there; all these thoughts are awesome to think of when you are safe in your home with a roof over your head. There was no roof over our heads as my husband’s family and I hiked to the spring that makes Christopher Creek. The day was beautiful with what I like to call “Flagstaff Clouds”, perfectly white and fluffy and huge floating across the blue sky peacefully. We followed a little dirt path that led us through knee tall grasses, past huge fallen pine trees covered in fuzzy mosses and smaller trees completely encased in silk threads from silk worms. I felt like I was walking through one of my beloved Stephen Cosgrove books about unicorns and princesses.

The Silk Worm tree

 

We didn’t make it to the spring but decided to stop at one part of the creek and just sit and enjoy it. As we cooled our feet the first low rumbles began overhead. I glanced at my brother-in-law (who is Mr. Eagle Scout, rock climbing, spelunking outdoor’s guy) for any signs of concern. There were none. After a while we all decided to head back to the cars and as we did so the rain began to lightly fall. Once more I looked to my B-I-L. He told us if it got worse to just start counting the seconds between a flash of lighting and the resulting thunder and if it there was only a second or less between we should hit the ground because it would be right above us. He said this all very nonchalantly. Then it started really raining, great big globs hitting the top of our heads. Before I knew it there was a flash of light, a bang and my B-I-L had hit the ground just like he instructed us.  We all took shelter under some bushes for a while until it seemed to calm down. I’m not gonna lie, I was scared. I love thunderstorms. And now I know I only really love them when I am inside my house with a hot cup of tea and my favorite blue throw. And adventures, well I think they are a lot more fun after the storm has passed and you find yourself safe and giggling, soaked to the bone, walking through muddy streams that were a little dirt path only an hour before on your way back to the car that will eventually bring you back to your blue throw and hot cup of tea. I joke but I seriously loved this trip!  Here are a few other things we did!

 

Horseback riding at Kohls Ranch Stables

My love, my hero, my husband.

 

Hiked down into the Tonto Natural Bridge

 

Petted the baby goats and enjoyed the delicious goat’s milk fudge and lavender pepper goat cheese at the Ranch at Fossil Creek / Creamery.

 

Wisdom from Life Created

Hello!

Sorry for the lack of posts…I’ve been on vacation in the pines of AZ! Photos soon to come but first I wanted to share a post that I read this morning and loved by Stephanie, a gifted photographer and crafter, http://www.lifecreated.com/.  Each of you are special and gifted in your own way. The world needs your voice and your story! Never be afraid to be you because you are precious and one of a kind!

Peace and joy to each of you this day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where I Am At…Being You

Yesterday my youngest daughter turned 11 months old. I’m “lucky” enough to live in Arizona where we’ve had record heat for the past week, so staying inside is a MUST. We took some photos in the living room..I blew up a few balloons and I thought to myself- how blessed am I to be their mom?

No one in this world gets to be their mom–but I do!

We can assign people a number, a name, a title- but someone else can reuse those things very easily. There is only one you……sounds like something from Barney, I know.

No one’s life is the same.
I struggle with my attitude sometimes, and see blogging and Facebook as real life, when really they are glimpses of a life. Maybe artificial glimpses, because who really posts about their marriage falling apart, or the daily struggle they find themselves in. Really, who’s business is it anyway?

Life is really supposed to be us going OUT and doing- not staying inside and dreaming of what life could be, or how our life doesn’t measure up to so-and-so’s life.

It seems every mom and her dog has a blog or a FB page that shouts “hey look at me, I can make this/I can do this/ I can wear this/ Ive traveled here….and you just haven’t.”
If you want to learn something Ive made before, let me know and I will gladly tell you how. I am no better than you.

One friend recently posted :
Do what you love. Others can tell.

Its so simple, yet so true.
No matter what the crowds around you are doing, what the newest trend is in your genre of creativity, stick with what you love, because it will be what you do best.

By BEST, I mean YOUR BEST, without comparison to what others do.
We have become such a group of people looking for self-affirmation from others, that we spend this short life living for others.

If you love to run, then do it and you will do YOUR best.
If you love to sew, then do it, and whatever you make will be cherished by the one who uses it.

Its great to have fans, and “likes” on a facebook page, but if electricity went out, you’d still be a living person with a life to live.

Whether people want to realize it or not, our hearts were beating long before someone liked our abilities. Our purpose was planned before the discovery of hot glue.

Sounds dumb, I know, but when we spend our lives trying to be different, we just need to sit back and realize we already are.

Do what you love, and others will notice you do.  I can’t tell you how exciting and fun it is for me to take pictures and to play with my kids. Only I am their mom, and they need me now. They need me now, more than the world needs another how-to- post, or recipe.

Drawing Workshop

Today was Drawing Workshop day! This was the second workshop I’ve taught so far and I love it! It’s just a great time chatting with good friends and being creative together. I can’t wait until the next one! I think we’ll mess around with watercolor :)  Here are a few shots of the still life we drew this morning.

Have a beautiful weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darkness, meet Hope

 

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t want to write this post and I really don’t want to publish this post. I’ve fought it for a week now but it will not leave me alone. “Write me, publish me,” it beckons. So I grit my teeth and write.

My goal with this blog, as I’ve recently discovered, is to escape all the things that scare me about this world we live in. Beauty, stillness, mystery and peacefulness make me feel safe so I try to surround myself with them. I miss those sacred moments in childhood when I felt totally safe and creating beautiful mysterious dwellings for my dolls to enjoy and have adventures in was my only priority. I’ve tried to recreate those feelings in this blog shutting out the fact that shootings, child abuse, starvation and so many innumerable horrors exist in the real world. But we live in this world and it is impossible (and probably rather unhealthy) to shut it completely out. So I’m letting a little darkness tinged reality slip in my safe place.

One morning last week I was doing my usual morning routine when a set of images popped into my head. These images were of a collection of paintings I did about ten years ago and they were very much unwelcome in my remembrance. The actual paintings themselves have been shoved in the back of my closet sentenced to collect dust and to be forgotten. I do not like to look at them anymore because when I do all the fear, pain, shame and unworthiness I felt when I painted them comes flooding back into my heart and knocks the air out of my lungs. That time, ten years ago, isn’t something I talk much about anymore because I’m healing now and the relationships involved are healing. (Here are the paintings. Please keep reading after them🙂 )

 

A Plea to Listen

 

Silence

 

Silence Detail

 

Fragments of a Life Loved

 

Acceptance

 

There is a saying floating around out there and maybe it’s in the Bible too but the gist of it is that you can’t move forward when you’re constantly looking back. I’ve accepted that these things happened, that they have impacted who I am today and that I have control as to whether I let their impact ruin my life or to somehow use it to better my life. I’m choosing to look forward.

But this choosing has not been easy. Let me tell you. It feels safe to dwell in what we know even if what we know is misery and fear. That’s the part I don’t get. We just keep going back to it like a dog and its vomit. I know I did. But there is so much more out there, so much good that we didn’t know we could or were worthy enough to live in ourselves. So much beauty and hope, so much joy and contentment I never thought I would experience. But I am experiencing it now and I did not get here on my own.

Okay, now this part terrifies me to share with you…I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ and I love Him. Why does this terrify me? Because I hate confrontation and being a Christian isn’t really the most popular thing to be, especially now. I really don’t want to make anyone mad. I read all the comments people write about there being no God or how He couldn’t possibly be a good God when He lets all these bad things happen and I get scared. I don’t have the answers. I know that the ultimate cause of all this crap is sin but I still don’t know why He lets the crap happen. I don’t know why He let bad things happen to me. I don’t know why He let some of my friends be abused. I don’t know why He let my grandpa die in a car crash when my mom was 18 and my grandma had 8 kids to raise and provide for. I just don’t know. But I know that He is real and that He is good and that He loves every single person on this planet. I know that the sin that courses through each one of us keeps us from Him. I know that He loved each one of us so much that He made a way for us to be with Him, He gave Jesus’ life for ours.

Let me share a dream I had that might help you to see through my eyes. I was in an empty room somewhere sitting at a table. Everything was white like a hospital. Across from me sat a man. I couldn’t see his face but I knew this man and loved him with everything in me. I ached just to be near him, to kiss his face and breath his air. Something was happening but I was in some kind of a daze. He was hooking up a tube that went from his arm to mine. I tried to move but couldn’t and realized I was dying. The tube that was in his arm was draining his blood into my body and I knew that it would take every drop he had to bring me back to life. I tried to scream at him to stop, to keep his life because it meant so much more than mine. He just kept on. I struggled to move my arms but they were totally lifeless. He began to convulse and turn white and all I could do was sob and beg him to stop. His last drop left his body and he fell on the table, he was gone. At that moment I looked up at a clock on the wall. It read 12:00 and there was a noise so horrible I haven’t heard it on this earth before. It sounded like every soul that has existed since the beginning of time was screaming and it would not stop. The pounding of my heart woke me up and it took a second for me to catch my breath again.

That dream is exactly what He did for me. That dream is what He did for you.

I guess what I want to say is to beg you not to give up hope. If something so horrible has happened to you to make you believe there is no God or that He is evil and doesn’t care about you I am so sorry. I’m so sorry that you have felt pain that deep. I’m sorry if your heart has heard that it is not worth anything. It is a lie. You are so much more valuable than you will know. Your heart matters, your feelings matter, you matter. You are worth dying for. Please don’t give up hope, please don’t give up God. I promise, He is faithful.

Much love to each of you.