One of these days I’ll say it all.
Oh I wish there was such a thing!!!!!!!!!
Restaurants are great for socializing. Food and friends go together perfectly.
But sometimes, you just want to eat something amazing and READ something great at the same time.
Thus, the perfect restaurant would be eat & read, or Books & Eats.
Bohemian decor with super comfy chairs and customizable lighting at every table.
Great, knowledgeable staff, all lovers of books and food.
Shelves of books on every wall.
Once seated… snippets of possible conversation…
White shirt bowtie waiter: “Good evening! Would you like fiction or non-fiction this fine evening?”
“Non-fiction,” you say, a bit tired, brushing at the paint stains on your jeans. “Perhaps something inspiring. Can you recommend a good book?”
“Family or Business?”
“Business,” you respond. “Well, perhaps both. I’ve reached an impasse with a new venture and need inspiration.”
“Why certainly!” says the waiter. “We have a very fine non-fiction, vintage 2002, by Steven Pressfield. The War of Art, Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.”
“That sounds perfect!” The book title sounds intriguing and you’re already encouraged. It just feels good to have someone want to help, even if their help is hit or miss. “What do you recommend to go with it? I’m in the mood for a good dessert.”
“If you want to go citrus, I highly recommend a slice of Lemon Orange Cheesecake with Vanilla Bean Kumquat topping. The mixture of sweet and tang is inspiring and the touch of bittersweet is the perfect finish. It’s the kind of dessert that you enjoy leisurely, savoring each bite and letting the flavor sink in.”
“And how long do I have?” you ask.
“For this particular all-together-yum, we allow 30 minutes. But you are welcome to purchase the book when you leave.”
“Great!” you say, as you lean back in the padded chair and check your watch. The food and book show up within two minutes so you get a full 28 minutes to enjoy the exquisite dessert and inspiring read.
Yeah, I’m there. Today.
Oh I wish!
Today my worktable was full of flowers for the spring arrangements. The bins have been in the living room for over a week but I finally had time today. It’s always a pleasure to arrange the flowers, even though they are the same ones I’ve used for years. At the end of a season, I pull all the flowers out of the vases and sort them by color in bins, then they go to the attic. It’s good to start fresh each year so I mix and match the flowers to suit the season and mood.
I love the new arrangements! They make me happy. =)
Not in the photos: son’s twin size mattress on the floor in the living room because we have to tear out the downstairs bathroom and completely redo it due to a major leak.
Not in the photos: the flat screen tv right in front of the large dogwood arrangement in the corner.
Not in the photos: tears shed because another one of our children moved out last week and we’re all missing him and wishing him well and cheering for him in his new job in another state.
We all have a choice on what to focus on. I choose to focus on what’s good and bright and beautiful and sparkling in life. You can have brightness if you choose. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, like clearing a garden of weeds. You have to yank out bad thoughts and deliberately hack at unwanted vines. But it’s possible and totally worth it.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Ph 4:8
I rarely get the pleasure of a campfire, only once every two or three years. So they are very memorable when they occur.
This was our first night camping at Rocky Mountain National Park.
When we went to make supper that first night, we discovered we forgot the fuel for the stove.
When we decided to make a fire to heat our canned beans and hotdogs, we discovered we’d forgotten our flashlights and matches too.
No matches at all.
So we rummaged around the campsite in the waning light and found a single match on the ground by the firepit, scuffed up and covered with dirt.
We made our little stack of tinder and paper, dusted off the match and prayed for the best… and then struck that one dirty match.
The fire lit!
With just a single match, even a crumpled old match found in the dirt, you can light a fire.
This is the fire.
Sometimes what you need most comes from an unlikely source.
Don’t give up.
As soon as my son and I heard the thunk, we both said “Was that a bird?”
It was. A tiny Ruby-crowned Kinglet had flown into the sliding glass door and lay on the deck.
What do we do? What can we do?
While we watched, the little bird got to his feet. But he was not well.
His breath came in shudders and heaves. We watched in distress.
It was so cold outside. Would he be ok? We were very glad the cats were inside! Cats love birds so of course Matey purred with glee and wouldn’t take her eyes off the little bird through the glass. We finally put Matey in the basement out of annoyance of her and respect for the bird. He kept his head tucked in, shuddering and quaking and I kept expecting the little feathered ball to fall over.
We looked up info on what to do. The advice was to carefully lift the bird into a box lined with a towel and wait. So that’s what we did. My son lifted the little feathered ball and placed it in the box, then backed into the house and slid the glass door shut. The bird stood up and balanced and revived in the warm towel-lined box. Then we waited, watching his every move.
The little Kinglet looked around for a couple minutes and without even testing his wings, suddenly flew away.
We were so glad the bird was ok! There’s not much you can do for a bird that crashes into a window and sometimes the bird will be stunned for hours. The little Kinglet was on the deck for barely 20 minutes in all.
I was glad the cats were indoors and shut in the basement.
I was glad we were able to look up info online.
It was good that we had a box and a towel to help warm the stunned bird.
And though we couldn’t do much to help, we hovered over it with concern.
Then I remembered what Jesus said.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”
If God cares so much for tiny birds that he made sure we kept the cats locked up and provided a warm towel, surely he will hover over us when we are curled up and in need of care.
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
I Peter 5:7
And also to the Second Neighbor!
It started several weeks ago. I don’t like admitting this, especially to myself, but my recovery seems sooooo s. l. o. w.! sigh. (I actually sighed after typing that sentence.) I broke my back on July 16th, 2012 and got scoliosis surgery in October. It’s been over a year. So come on, what’s with this tedious recovery? Alas, my research proves that I’m normal and doing well. But it still takes me days to recover from a simple outing because riding in a vehicle is just not friendly to my concrete spine. Not yet.
On the plus side, my stamina is better than it’s been in years. I’m tackling long overdue tasks, such as sorting through bins of old papers and organizing shelves. I’m rearranging rooms and overseeing remodeling. And I’m back in the kitchen cooking and baking. But I want to do more. I want to be involved in Community.
Since I can’t get out easy, I’ve decided to serve my own neighborhood. I call the service …
BFN – Baking for Neighbors.
Instead of bye for now, my BFN is Baking for Neighbors. I think there are 71 houses in my neighborhood. I barely know four of them so just one or two at a time, I’m going to bake something for all my neighbors. Baking for Neighbors will give me an excuse to bake, encouragement to walk outside (which is still slow and painful), and I’ll get to meet new people. It’s a win-win situation!
Several days ago I declared my first BFN Day. I took Butterflake Herb Rolls. This recipe has been in my family for decades. It was from an old Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbook my mom had. I wrote up the recipe on a blank card, which is now all stained from use.
I rarely make these rolls so I’m not sure why I started with them. It just seemed like the right recipe and I was at peace. And they are delicious! With each recipe I pick, I’m going to pray that it will be ok with the neighbor and perhaps even be just what they need.
Butterflake Herb Rolls
Most yeasts no longer needs proofed but I did it anyway. 4 1/2 tsp (two packets) of yeast are softened in 1/4 cup warm water.
Blend in 2 eggs and the softened yeast. I also mix in two cups of the flour at this point and beat till the batter is smooth. Gradually add 2 1/2 to 3 more cups of flour.
On a floured surface…. And here I pause. I wonder if all bakers enjoy sprinkling a surface with flour. There’s just something magical about scattering that soft powder over the counter and then spreading and smoothing it out with your bare hands. I love the dusty flour on my hands.
Knead the dough on a floured surface till smooth and satiny. This was the first time in over two years that I kneaded dough so I ran out of steam fast. I wasn’t able to get it to “smooth and satiny” but it still turned out.
I put the dough in a greased bowl and place it in the cold oven. Then I turn on the oven light. The light from the lightbulb is enough heat for the dough to rise. While the dough is raising, I make the herb butter. I usually leave out the onion and just used fresh or dried garlic. Sometimes I add a little more of everything if I want a stronger herb roll.
I used to use a saucer and cut around the rolled-out dough with a sharp knife to make nice tidy circles. But it’s a lot faster to just use a bench knife to divide the dough up into little pieces. I cut the dough in half, then half again, etc until the lumps of dough are about the size of a small egg, about 32 rolls.
Each piece of dough is rolled out flat. It doesn’t matter if the piece is perfectly round or not. Herb butter is spread on half the dough piece and then it is folded in half.
Herb butter is again spread on the top each folded roll and then they are slightly overlapped on a parchment covered baking sheet.
The loaf is left to raise. Again, I put them back in the oven and let it stay warm with just the oven light on.
After they raised about double in size, the loaves are taken out of the warm oven and the oven is preheated to 350F. Then they are baked for 20 to 25 minutes.
For giving, I placed a hot loaf, fresh from the oven, on a paper napkin on a sturdy paper plate and wrapped it in foil. And then I carried it next door. :)
I asked the first neighbor if I could take a picture of her holding the plate and she didn’t mind. The reason the foil is left on is because the rolls are keeping warm. But most important of all, it’s NOT about the rolls, it’s about the neighbor. The hands in this photo are more important than what’s on the plate. I want to keep it that way.
Blessings to you, Neighbor 1!
And here is the second neighbor. Blessing to you too, Neighbor 2!
I don’t know if they’ll ever see this blog. But I was so happy to finally be able to do something for my neighbors.
I shall be posting all my BFN days. 2 down, 69 to go.
The easel is long gone and the drawing scroll must be somewhere in the attic. But I still have the slate chalkboard from my childhood. I’ve been wanting to put it on the wall for many years. Now that the dining room is finished there is a perfect space for it. I got the cast iron fleur-de-lis hook from Hobby Lobby. We drilled pilot holes for the wood screws and carefully screwed the brass chain to the old wood chalkboard frame.
And then came the best part – learning how to use chalk all over again. After all these years, I still love getting powdery chalk dust on my fingers and feeling the smooth cold slate against my hand as I write.
This scripture is my prayer today for one of my sons who is moving out of state today. May the Lord watch over him and direct his steps.
If you are facing something unknown, remember this verse. Fill in the blank with what you are facing, whatever it may be… The power company … The empty refrigerator… A difficult person… Illness… Impossible “To Do” lists… and trust God. He will not leave you nor forsake you. He it is that goes with you when no one else can, when no one else will. He will not forsake you.