Friday, February 20, 2015

Organic Produce

I love nature's delicious bounty and I love Groupon. Put them together and what do you get?

Check out my link to Nature's Garden Express here!

Let's be honest. I want to live in the midst of an apple orchard with chickens and goats, but right now I live in the city of Newnan. I can only do so much. At my friend Holly's recommendation, I'm signing up to get organic fruits and veggies delivered to my door. I'll let you know what I think. In the meantime Groupon is running the above deal (a "small" box -- not small to me! -- for $19 at a 50% discount).

Here's a link to the Nature's Garden Express website for more information.

Sign up, folks! Let's eat better this year!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

The part-time homesteader

After the holidays, my weight was in an upward trend while my health was in a downward trend. I'm sure I'm not alone — maybe my dryer really did shrink my jeans??

Let me tell you, though, gluten, processed foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates are not my friends.

At my low point, I fainted after church when my blood sugar plummeted. Jonathan revived me with milk and peanut butter. It was a blood sugar roller coaster there for a while, though.

And there's more: eczema, infertility, mood swings, insomnia, etc. As for me and my family, we've had enough.

I'm presently toiling over a dilemma as old as time. I'm a working mom (albeit part-time work). I still spend every day wishing I could have done more. Nothing brings me more pleasure than watching my family — especially Nora — enjoy a healthy and delicious meal prepared by me.

I wish I could be on a few acres of land raising some of my own food. I've already named my goat. I can taste the goat cheese. I can't wait to process my first chicken. I want a grove of fruit trees and a sprawling garden. I want to go to bed exhausted every day with dirt under my fingernails.

My coworker talked me into ordering a Mennonite cookbook. That's when you know you're all in!

First rule of motherhood is simple, though: Do what you can and let go of the rest. As a Christian, I am working on finding contentment in Christ alone. That doesn't mean I can't set goals for the things within my power to accomplish.

I did a gluten detox for 10 days and dropped a few pounds and got my blood sugar back under control. I'm doing my best to limit processed foods. We've been using the Nutri Bullet my parents got me for Christmas to make healthy morning smoothies packed with nutrients. I've made homemade apple sauce. I've been making my own chicken bone broth. I want to explore the idea of eating local foods.

There are some limitations, presently. My home in the city doesn't have ideal space for a garden. I'm not supposed to have farm animals. I'm looking for a workable solution to this, but we love our home, so we're not sure what to do.

For now, I'm calling myself a part-time homesteader. Every day I'm reading more about what that entails. I'm building a community of like-minded people who can encourage me and share their knowledge. I'm doing what I can in the hours provided me. I'm also always on the lookout for your tips, recipes and proposed solutions. If you've got them, please message me!

God bless!

PS I laugh when I watch this commercial, because it reminds me of my tendency to turn to extremes. If you can't laugh at yourself....

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I've recently been practicing the art of eucharisteo living — a Greek word taken from Luke 22:19 that basically means giving God thanks for all the blessings in your life (especially the small, often overlooked ones). It's a practice that requires being fully weighed down and present in every moment. And, trust me, it does take practice. This way of life is explored thoroughly in Ann Voskamp's, "1000 Gifts: A Dare to Life Fully Right Where you Are."

Quite simply, her book changed the way I live and view God. I've started my own journal chronicling these blessings. Here are a few from my life these last few months of 2014:

1. misty mountain mornings
2. warm waking coffee
3. Nora waking like song bird
4. tree all ablaze; annual parting gift
5. rays of sun on twinkling water
6. boss praying for broken
7. hands smelling of Frazier Fir
8. teaching daughter to eat ice cream cone
9. fancy butter trees
10. cousins holding hands

This practice of thanksgiving literally changes the way you see and experience the world. Very soon you realize that, for the Christian, everything is a gift from God. I could count my blessings forever — and I plan to!

This NYE Jonathan called and asked me to throw some wardrobe possibilities into the wash for him.

Very simply, he asked for my help.

When I got off the phone, I was struck momentarily with the Biblical notion that I am indeed his "helper." I smiled. Rather than my usual grumblings of feeling like "helper" became "do-it-all-er" along the way, I appreciated the fact that my husband trusts that he can ask for my help because we are a team — a God-ordained pair that will walk through this fallen world together. Our relationship is a blessing! It's a daily dying to self and daily commitment to honor this imperfect relationship. And the days we walk with God and choose to obey are days that produce abundant blessings.

I hope this year you'll choose to live life gratefully. With arms and hearts and eyes wide open. Happy New Year's!



Thursday, November 20, 2014

A letter to my daughter on her 2nd birthday


There will be times in life that you feel tempted to surrender to the chaos around you. Everywhere you look you will see evil and suffering.

As your mother, I must tell you that there is good in this world, and it is enough. Look for it and savor it when you find it.

Just wait until you:

taste a fresh, ripe peach straight off the tree

kiss the man you love in the rain

watch a rushing river boast in its majesty

meet your future child for the very first time

see the world's patchwork landscape from a bird's eye view

realize the depth of God's love for you

summit that mountain after a grueling hike

feel the wind in your face from a jet ski

savor the first bite of a perfect meal as it melts away on your tongue

slip into a hot tub on a frigid day with aching muscles

laugh hysterically over something stupid with your best friend

come home to family after an extended time away

do good for someone without acknowledgement

be spontaneous for spontaneity's sake

hear your favorite band in a hole-in-the-wall venue

and, last but not least,

curl up in your mama's lap even when you're 40 because, as the book says, "as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

Love Always,

Your Mama

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pallete Wine Rack

A few months ago I salvaged some old palettes from the school where I work. They had a lot of character and charm and so I decided to release my inner Pinterest and make two wine racks.

Once I sawed them in half and constructed the basic wine racks (I'm too impatient to explain all that—see Pinterest!), I decided to stain one and finish it with polyurethane and put a couple of coats of polyurethane on the other to see which one I liked best. I'm only keeping one. I'm selling the other.

Here's what the wood looked like before I began:

Lookie, here I am using my new electric sander that my father-in-law, Rick, got me! :-) (Action photo compliments hubby.)

On the first wine rack, I used Sherwin Williams' Wood Classics Bistro Walnut. I went with the Wood Classics series, which isn't straight up paint, since I was working with a rougher wood. Here's what it looked like after two coats of the stain:

It was clearly dry looking so I needed to apply poly as a wood sealant. Here's how that turned out after two coats:

Glossy, glossy!

On the second palette, I simply applied two coats of polyurethane to accentuate the natural imperfections of the wood to give it texture and character. See:

Check that out up close:

Here's a close-up comparison:

At the end of the day (actually more like weeks!), we decided to keep the wine rack with only poly. I will be selling the stained wine rack locally. Message me for more information!

Now I've got to find a way to mount this on the wall because it is HEAVY. I might even add the wood attachment to the bottom that would allow me to hang wine glasses underneath. 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Breakfast IS the Most Important!

After all my seriousness lately — not to mention all the gloom in the world — I felt like it was time for some levity!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Am I right??? That's why you've got to make it count. Having a great breakfast and avoiding general morning chaos sets the tone for my day. The last few mornings I haven't had a breakfast plan and I've been McCrankypants Moodybritches.

I've recently developed a mild obsession with oatmeal (is it because I'm in my 30s??). But I don't like ordinary oatmeal. What could be tastier than overnight steel cut oats in the crockpot? Thank you Dad for introducing me to this! First, steel cut oats is heartier and sticks to your ribs. Then, if you top your oatmeal off with green apples, pecans, and a touch of maple syrup, you might even want to skip lunch!

You can find a great recipe for this oatmeal here — except I didn't add barley or ginger and I prefer maple syrup to milk and honey. Don't be afraid to tailor the recipe to your likes.

My other go-to oatmeal recipe came from my sweet friend, Liz. If you've never tried baked blueberry oatmeal, you ought to! Like the first oatmeal recipe, this one is a super cheap, comforty food that can feed a crew.

If you're planning to host family or friends during these upcoming holidays, then I highly recommend trying these recipes. They're quite the crowd pleasers. And now's the time to freeze some of those fresh picked blueberries so you can have them for baking all winter long!

Serve with mimosas to die happy.

If you have any awesome breakfast recipes, please share them with me! Gotta keep it fresh, folks.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Die to Self

I recently shared on FB one of my favorite sermons of all time. It was one of the clearest articulations of the gospel I'd heard. Maybe it was also sweet because I was thirsty for God's grace.

Our church's interim pastor, Cameron Barham, has blessed me during this season of transition at Four Corners in innumerable ways — the main being reigniting my love of scripture.

If you haven't had a chance to check out his sermon, you can take a listen to the podcast here! His sermon from today (8/17) was amazing, too, and will be posted on the church's website in the coming days.

These recent sermons have led to powerful revelations in my own life. If we're being completely honest with ourselves, we've all been in a place where we've taken our blessings for granted.

That has always been a struggle of mine, to lose sight of what I have — what God has given me — and to seek new ways to satiate my discontentment or restlessness.

Especially when satan whispers low. And you better believe he does.

It is a despondent place to be, indeed, when you allow yourself to say, I have everything that was supposed to make me happy, and it isn't enough.

But when we believe that, we are believing a lie as old as time, just as Eve believed the serpent when he whispered that God was holding out. King Solomon said it best — There is nothing new under the sun.

But, Jesus is the Bread of Life, the true Passover Lamb. He is enough. We are broken cisterns and He is the fountain of living water. He is the Word made flesh. His work is finished; therefore my joy is complete.

Sometimes the tension between God's spirit in me and my fallen flesh is palpable. I pray to die to self as I struggle between the now and not yet.

Father, help me to know only Christ and Him crucified. Help me to boast in Christ alone. Help me to seek first the kingdom and His righteousness.