You're prize will be on it's way as soon as I get to the post office. Congratulations, friend!
I'm not feeling very creative and am having one of those days where I have NO IDEA what to write about. So, as requested...
Erin, I didn't forget that you asked for my pecan pie recipe. No picture--it was eaten way too fast!
This recipe came from the Junior League cookbook in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Susan, here are my party plates!
Off to read to the girls and hang out with Toben, who came home from Portland a little bit ago. Goodnight!
Today was the last session of Jesus the One and Only. I'm always sad to come to the end of a study, even though I'm starting to look forward to the next one. (We're going to do Beth Moore's Stepping Up: Psalms of the Ascents in the spring.)
Instead of meeting in the school cafeteria as usual, we had brunch at my home. It was fun to prepare and set the table with pretty things in anticipation of everyone coming over. I kept it simple: a couple of quiches, an orange and grapefruit salad, some homemade cinnamon/raisin/walnut bread, coffee and juice.
I'm always excited to use my party plates--glass plates with matching cups that sit on the plate. My set belonged to my grandmother and they're so fun for a light brunch or dessert and coffee. My mom had them for a while and had taken them to a consignment shop when I mentioned I'd like a set. She drove to the consignment shop and took them back for me. Thanks, Mom!
Whenever I come to the end of a Bible study, I like to go back through the whole thing and note the key ideas or lessons that stood out to me from each week, and then from those to come up with one lesson that I'll take with me. I write it in the front cover of my workbook, along with the date and where I did the study.
After spending time in a study everyday for ten weeks, I don't want to put it on the stack on the shelf and just walk away. When I think back to a study, I want to be able to quickly remember what it was I learned.
So for this study, the key lesson for me has been this: Come away with me. Come away with Jesus each day--to follow him closely, to receive rest, to listen and learn and then obey, to partner with him in ministry.
One of the lessons of this last week was to remember. The angels asked the women, "Don't you remember what he told you?" when they were amazed to find an empty tomb. Jesus had clearly said he'd be handed over to sinful men, he'd be crucified, and he'd be raised from the dead. They'd just forgotten what he'd said in the midst of sorrow.
It's all too easy for us to do the same. To forget what he's told us, the lessons we've learned from him. Writing them down like this is one thing that helps me remember.
P.S. For all you Beth Moore Bible study junkies...there are some great Bible study workbook covers over in the shop. My friend Janna made me one for my birthday last year and I get so many compliments on it. I've made one for my mom and she loves it too. You can switch to to whatever study you're doing--and go to Bible study in style!
I love oatmeal...so perfect on a cold winter morning.
To 1/2 cup quick oats, add:
diced dried pears
a handful of pecans
a handful of pecans
a sprinkle of cinnamon
a spoonful or two of brown sugar
1 cup boiling water
Stir and let sit for a minute or two. Enjoy!
Oh my goodness, I can hardly believe it--500 posts!
And so, to celebrate, I'm opening a shop page here. My books, some handmade goodies, a little of this and a little of that are now available. Go take a peek!
To kick it off, let's have a month of little giveaways. Beginning next Friday, November 30, I'll be giving away a little something. Simply leave a comment on the Giveaway post by each Friday and I'll have one my little elves draw a lucky winner each Friday until December 21.
We're off to my parents' house later this afternoon for turkey and dressing and lots and lots of pie. And since I'm bringing pies, I'd better go bake them. (And as I look in my pantry, I realize I'm out of Karo syrup--gotta run to the store because we GOTTA have pecan pie!)
Part of the morning office in the prayer book (Venite by Robert Benson) each day is the prayers of the people. It begins like this:
We give You thanks, Almighty God: For all Your gifts
so freely bestowed upon us and all whom You have made:
We bless You for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of life;
above all, for the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the hope of glory and the means of grace.
We thank You, O Lord.
Grant us such an awareness of Your mercies, we pray,
that with truly thankful hearts, we may give You praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving ourselves to Your service,
and by walking before You in holiness and righteousness all our days.
I love that. All good gifts do come from God as it says in James 1:17. And so I'm thankful this morning for so many things...for I have been blessed.
With life and salvation
With an incredible family
With wonderful children
With a husband who loves me lavishly
With an education
With amazing friends
With a home
With gifts and talents
With the Word
I've been realizing more and more that all of these gifts are not just for me--but for me to share with those around me. For when we share our gifts, they keep on giving. The gospel reading included this today, which seems particularly fitting for Thanksgiving Day:
When you give a feast, do not invite only your friends,
but invite the poor, those who cannot repay you.
There is where you will find joy.
Generosity with what we've been given brings joy.
When I was a kid and we lived in Colorado Springs, we'd often roast hot dogs in the fire for dinner. Obadiah (the dog) would head for the garage, Mom would get out the old green army blanket, Dad would build a fire. We'd sit on the floor in the family room, eat hot dogs and baked beans and potato chips, and roast marshmallows for s'mores for dessert.
Seems like we'd often do this on a Sunday night, and watch The Wonderful World of Disney at the same time. (Don't you wish they'd put that back on television? I loved watching it with my family as a kid!)
So tonight, we're going to move the coffee table out of the living room, grab the huge old comforter we use for picnics, and roast hot dogs for dinner. The fire's roaring and the marshmallows are ready!
Susan sent me this link...thank you, thank you, thank you! I love it. You just name the time, Susan, and we'll go a walkin' and a singin'!
(This made me smile too, because as I've mentioned before I sing at the top of my lungs as I walk in the mornings. For the most part, there's no one around, and I stop when I see people coming. I want to be free like this--no matter who is watching...)
P.S. Gotta say I do love David Crowder...as do my girls. Toben knows him and we've seen him perform a bunch of times from right up front or backstage. The girls have met him and have his autograph, something they mention to anyone who'll listen...
The letter C is up on the free downloads page for those of you doing The ABCs of Living Simply. (A day late--yesterday was a Brownie day, Toben is out of town, and it just didn't get done by the time I went to bed last night...)
I grew up in the Presbyterian church for the most part. The "frozen chosen" are not known for being demonstrative in worship. After all, it's pretty hard to lift your hands in the sanctuary when you're holding the hymnal open. (Don't get me wrong, I love singing hymns. I'll just mention again the "Greatest Hymns" album from Selah that I download from iTunes the other day. I love it!)
Anyway, active, demonstrative worship wasn't something I grew up with. Worship has always been reserved, calm, staid even.
So when I opened my prayer book (Venite by Robert Benson) this morning to the Psalter reading, I came across something that surprised me, challenged me. From Psalm 95-101, I found this: we are to be a demonstrative people in our worship and praise.
We are to:
raise a shout of triumph
bow down in worship
kneel before God
proclaim the news of salvation
declare God's glory
rejoice in God
shout with joy
lift our voices and sing
confess God's holy name
proclaim God's greatness
enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise
tell out our thanks
call upon his name
This kind of worship is spontaneous, full of emotion, active, demonstrative.
This is something I'm working on--being lavish in my worship of God, who is so lavish with me. It comes most easily in the car--alone or with the girls. (We really worship on the way to school each day. The current favorite is "In the Sanctuary" by Kurt Carr. I just love hearing Emma say the words that begin the song: "Oh God, we know you're gonna bless us, and so we give you glory and honor and praise!" Picture six-year-old girl trying to sound like a gospel singer!)
At church, in the presence of others, it's a little bit harder to be authentic for me. I confess that I worry what others will think, that I blink away tears and remain upright when I really want to fall to my knees.
The funny thing is, the more I think about this, the more I pursue authentic worship, the more I want to worship like this--with all that I am, with all my emotions, with my whole self. I don't know that I'll ever be one to dance in the aisles, but I'm definitely not standing still.
Today's my dad's birthday...and I realize I don't have any recent pictures of the two of us together. This one was taken a couple of years ago when Dad was in California visiting us there.
In my family, we sing "Happy Birthday"--usually over the phone. But with the new iSight camera on my computer, we've taken to making music videos!
I love you, Dad!
Susan tagged me to share seven weird/random things about myself. Only seven?!
1. I hate to fly. I used to love it, but had a bad plane experience a couple of summers ago. Stuck way in the back, between two huge men, one of whom smelled like booze. It was about 100 degrees (not joking, it really was that hot outside) and the air on the plane wasn't on. I had my first panic attack and seriously considered running screaming off the plane.
I survived by putting a cold bottle of water on the back of my neck, praying "Help me, Jesus!" over and over, and knitting.
But ever since, I really, really don't like to fly. I have to sit up front, on an aisle, and can't get too hot. I do better when Toben goes with me.
2. My nose is pierced. I got it pierced a couple of years ago and love it. I wear a small, sparkly "diamond" and even though my mom doesn't think so, I've been told it's classy!
It did hurt and kind of felt like when you put a toothpick through raw chicken. The needle pushes down for a while before it slides through. Ewww...I know! I took Emma with me and she held my hand. I did get it done at a tattoo parlor; if you've never been to one, they are really very clean.
3. I used to have my belly button pierced. I went with some girlfriends and got it done when I was 30. I loved how it looked, but it never quite healed right (Emma was still small enough that I picked her up a lot and it got knocked quite a bit--OUCH!). So I took it out.
4. Despite my nose and belly button, I have a huge needle phobia. I get that from my mother.
5. Emma was born at home. I had a midwife for both of my pregnancies and planned homebirth for both of the girls. I ended up going to the hospital with Audrey (failure to progress after 36 hours of labor), but had Emma at home in my bed. I'd rather have a baby without drugs that ever see another epidural needle again. ::shiver::
6. I am tall--almost 5'11''--and love to wear high-heeled shoes. Toben and I are exactly the same height in our bare feet; so who's tallest depends on the shoes and Toben's hair (he has BIG hair these days!). I've never dated anyone taller than me.
7. Toben and I are high-school sweethearts. He took me to my senior prom, we got engaged the night before I graduated from high school, and we got married in college. I was 19; he was 21. That was just about 16 years ago... (For those of you trying to do math in your head, I'm 35.)
I'm sure I could think of many more random things...like an irrational fear of snakes (which I think is a perfectly normal and rational fear), the need to go to bed early almost every night, a love of pajamas, and the desire for a tattoo (needles and not being able to decide what I'd really want are holding me back)...but I"ll stop for now.
So...who to tag?
My friend Kimberly came for tea this morning with her sweet little boys. We drank Yorkshire Gold tea, sat on the floor and played with all the Little People I keep around for Ava and any other little people who come to visit, and ate scones.
Can't remember if I've shared this recipe before (if I have it's been a long time), so here's my standard scone recipe:
In the food processor, pulse together:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled
Then mix together and add to the flour mixture:
1/2 cup buttermilk (I often use powdered buttermilk for this--it works great)
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Then add whatever fruit, nut, chocolate combination you like. My favorites include:
dried pear, white chocolate, walnuts (today's combination!)
dried cherries, pecans, dark chocolate
dried cranberries, pecans, candied orange peel
Knead on a floured board, shape into a flat circle, and cut into 8 wedges. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 400 degrees. Let cool for a few minutes, then recut and serve. Makes 8 scones.
(These make BIG scones. You can divide the dough in half and make two smaller circles to make 16 smaller scones--something I often do.)
Make these plain for a super strawberry shortcake base. Mmmm...
Thank you so much for your prayers for our weekend away at Girl Scout camp. We had a great time; the Juniors earned their Junior Aide award for helping the Brownies all weekend. They showed such maturity and leadership--I am so proud of them!
I don't sleep well at camp. I usually lay awake for hours each night, and often get panicky when I can't fall asleep. The result is that I pray like mad for each girl and her family, hoping that'll send me off to sleep. Maybe that's why I can't sleep at camp, I thought. It's so I will pray. But this weekend, I prayed for each girl and her family before leaving for camp, hoping that I'd then be able to sleep.
So I went to bed on Friday night, tired and hoping to fall asleep quickly. It didn't happen. I listened to my ipod for more than an hour (I downloaded Greatest Hymns by Selah from iTunes before I left--if you're looking for a new hymns CD, go get this one!) and was so tired, but couldn't sleep.
As I lay there wishing so hard to be home, tired and thirsty and longing for morning with everything in me, I remembered something my friend Cheryl said she'd pray for--for God to have something specifically for me at camp.
I've been thinking a lot about passion lately--about what passion for God really looks like, what it feels like. I read the psalms each day and want to long for God the way the psalmists do. I pray for such passion. Another thing I pray for each day is for God himself to teach me. I love learning from great teachers, and always will. But I want God to teach me himself too.
In the dark and quiet of a sleepless night, these verses came to my mind:
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
For the first time, I felt like I really experienced what those verses are talking about. Incredible thirst that I couldn't ignore. And a desperation for morning. Yearning for dawn with every fiber of my being.
When I got up the next morning (after an hour or two of sleep--finally), I realized that as awful and horrible as the night was, it was also a gift. Because God taught me what I'd been asking for. He showed me firsthand what those psalms describe. He showed me that kind of thirst, that kind of eager waiting for morning. And he taught it to me in a way I'll never forget.
Emily and I made our friend Sarah a quilt as a wedding gift. She got married in May and we finally finished it and mailed it off. Sarah and Josh received it the other day, so I can show you pictures!
We backed the quilt in a super soft sheet we found--I love that it's red because the hand quilting shows up so well!
P.S. We're back from camp, clean, and so happy to be home. More about that tomorrow...
The girls came home from school this afternoon and got out their packing lists for Girl Scout camp at Tomahawk this weekend. We've assembled sleeping bags, pillows, day packs full of things like whistles and water bottles, boots, hats, and toothbrushes. We can't seem to find flashlights (I know we have some, but they've disappeared!) so Toben said he'd run out and get us new ones tomorrow.
Both of the girls are going. We're taking our first grade Brownie troop and the fourth grade Junior troop. The Juniors are earning their Junior Aide Award by facilitating the entire weekend for the Brownies--Friday through Sunday, three try-its (that equals 12 activities to complete), and a huge campfire on Saturday night. They are so excited to step up into a leadership role with their sister troop. (Both of us who lead these troops have daughters in each one--so becoming sister troops was a no-brainer.)
Audrey and Emma are so excited--bouncing off the walls excited. It's fun to see, but to tell the truth, it makes me kind of tired knowing their energy will be multiplied by 13 girls tomorrow afternoon! If you think about it, I could use some prayer--for patience, for health, for good sleep away from home (which affects the other two!).
A number of moms are going along too and I'm excited to spend time with them while the girls all work together. It's always fun to see moms connect with each other and make new friends.
I'm pretty much packed too--so there's nothing on the calendar for tomorrow beyond washing all the sheets and loading up the car (and finding those flashlights). I have to be at school at 2:50. Before that, I'm taking the day entirely. Think I'll work on a knitting project in front of a movie and rest up for the big weekend ahead.
I'll be back Sunday night...see you then!
I want to create a blog badge/button thing for The ABCs of Living Simply. I've googled "blog badge/button/create" until my fingers are numb, and I can't find any instructions that make sense. Does anyone know how to do this? Any help would be so appreciated!
I love Ann Norling's spiral rib hat pattern. It's one of those patterns you can make with any kind of yarn, making the adjustments for gauge and such. I've made it a couple of times for Toben in a fine alpaca wool, and now in a chunky yarn too.
See? It will match my new winter coat...something I will need this winter even though today it's November and 70 degrees outside.
It knits up in a chunky wool so incredibly fast and is a super easy pattern to follow.
You can get the pattern here.
I tried a new soup recipe tonight that looked and sounded really good. I followed the recipe and tasted it. I added some additional ingredients and tasted it again. I had Toben taste it and added a few more ingredients. We both tasted it once more. And then I poured it down the drain.
Life's just too short.
Luckily, there's a Chipotle almost across the street and Toben will be back any minute with a steak burrito for me and Audrey to split, Emma's steak tacos, and his carnitas bowl. Not to mention chips and guacamole.
We've set the table, lit the candles, and will have a lovely family dinner--despite soup down the drain.
I love that family dinner can be salvaged when things don't turn out right. That family dinner doesn't have to mean a dinner that I've cooked. After all, family dinner is about more than what you eat. Family dinner is about being a family.
I hear the garage door going up...
Drumroll please (you'll have to use your imaginiation--I haven't figured out how to imbed an audio file that plays when you get here!)...
Go check out the Free Downloads page over there (<------) to download the introduction and first issue of The ABCs of Living Simply.
I'll add a new issue each week and let you know here when each one is available. (I'm going to aim for Mondays--we'll see how it goes!)
Each issue can be downloaded and printed onto a 4 x 6 card and put together to become your very own little card deck/booklet filled with ideas for living simply. I'm thinking that I'm going to print mine on pretty paper, hole punch the tops, and tie it all together with some ribbon. I'd love to see what you come up with as we go along too.
P.S. I've clicked to open these files, saved them to my desktop, then opened them in Preview to print. It seems to work fine. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try to answer them (or ask Toben to answer them and I'll pass his answer along!).
I have a love/hate relationship with this whole falling back time change thing. I love that it's getting light earlier again--and not waiting until 7:15 for the sun to rise. I get up early, so I also like the fact that it's easier to get out of bed in the morning--at least for a while until I adjust to the switch in time.
I do not like that it's dark by 5:30. I inherited what we Friedenstein girls call the "sleepy gene;" when it gets dark, I get sleepy. I have a hard time staying up and awake and alert when it's dark outside.
But as I lit some candles before dinner tonight I realized that it's not all bad to have it be full dark in the evenings. I love the look and feel of candlelight and miss it during the summer when it's light so late. With it getting dark early, I can light candles all over the house and actually enjoy them (and still get to bed early!).
My friend Sarah is great at lighting candles--and inspires me to do the same. There are times I don't take the few minutes to light them, often figuring I'll only enjoy them for a short time before blowing them out again. But Sarah lights them "just for me," she says, to add a little bit of romance to each and every day.
I love that. It's such a quick and simple little something that can add something wonderful to the evening--no matter how long that evening is. Besides, the girls love blowing them out. So I think I'll start having a "lighting of the candles" each evening at dusk. A time to wander through the house, light some candles, and enjoy the warm glow they provide.
So go light a candle or two or ten and enjoy the candlelight--even if it's just for a few minutes and even if you're the only one who will appreciate it. After all, who couldn't use a little more romance in their day?
When I was a child, my mother would take me on Saturday dates. Just the two of us. We'd get dressed up, head down to the Citadel Mall to wander and window shop, and then have lunch at The Lettuce Head. (I always had a french dip sandwich and cinnamon iced tea--still do whenever Mom and I go there now with my girls.)
We'd go about once a month, and Kristen would stay home in her jammies and watch Saturday cartoons. Exactly what I'd do when it was her turn to go with Mom.
I loved our Saturday dates and have such great memories of them.
So why haven't I done this with my own girls?
That's about to change today. Audrey and I are headed out in a little bit. Not to lunch or the mall, but to breakfast and then to run some errands for Girl Scout camp next weekend. (Oh, and we're not going to dress up. In fact, I don't think I'll even take a shower!)
We set the girls up on my old Mac and they're both emailing everyone they know like mad. Audrey learned to put things on her calendar, and the other day I got this message from her: "Dear Mom, Wanna go out for coffee on Saturday morning? Love, Audrey." Well, yes!
(Just an aside, yes, she does drink coffee. And, yes, she's nine years old. She likes it with sugar and lots of milk. And only every once in a while.)
All that to say, I'm going to start regular Saturday dates with each of the girls. My memory of Saturday dates with my mother is one I want them to have too.