Sunday, February 27, 2011


Romans 8:29-30
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

When you begin to think about principles and beliefs connected to the individuals interpretation of God, scripture and theology it's nearly impossible to even find a single definition of an idea to start a reasonable consideration of it. Religion A. says predestination means that a person is already elected for heaven or hell before they are ever born. Religion B. says we can change that outcome by our own decisions. Religion C. isn't sure what it believes but it's certain that Religions A. & B. aren't right.
To further complicate matters, we often have a gut feeling about something and then as we start searching the Bible we become more confused than in the first place. All of us think differently, come from different backgrounds, have different levels of education and a host of others differences that cause two people to look at the same verse and reach two entirely different epiphanies. Having no reason to take my word for it, I hope you'll give some consideration to my own thoughts on predestination. Slightly different than many theologies, I take predestination as the final definition of hope and redemption. In fact, I think it is the ultimate banner of love that flies over a sinful world.
Are some people born destined for hell? Yes. And some for heaven? Yes. And they are the same people. Only those with free choice are bound to the laws of predestination.
I believe that predestination means that no matter how badly you've gone astray, God has already predetermined a manner by which you can be saved. There is no sin so deep that his arm is not prepared to reach into it to pull you out. There is no mess so messy that God has no idea how to clean it up. There is no debt too great, no damage too extensive. God has predestined a million and one paths for your salvation. He has looked down through eternity and seen every possible way you could fail and then built a destiny for you to turn that failure into redemption. That is predestination.
Your destiny is is heaven in so far as there is no excuse for missing it.
So there you go.

1. The act of predestining or the condition of being predestined.
2. Theology
a. The doctrine that God has foreordained all things, especially that God has elected certain souls to eternal salvation.
b. The divine decree foreordaining all souls to either salvation or damnation.
c. The act of God foreordaining all things gone before and to come.
3. Destiny; fate.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Mr.'s dad;

Ben Smith passed away this morning at 8:30.
Services will be at the Voran Funeral Home on Goddard Rd., Taylor MI
Viewing on Monday and funeral Tuesday morning at Voran.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fear much?

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment (punishment.) He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

I think if, like Solomon, God were to offer me one thing; one gift or ability I would choose the ability to recognize fear. So much of the terrible, foolish and hurtful things we do are driven by fear that we don't recognize.
Anxiety, worry, nervousness, tension and even depression are obviously fear to most of us. But what about selfishness, stubbornness, arrogance and pride? These too are often fear wearing a mask to make itself seem more powerful. Remorse would mean facing something terrifying, I was wrong. And if I was wrong, might I have to make right? I'm afraid of what making right might mean. Walking away from a relationship that isn't Godly. Admitting a weakness that might cost me a position I really want.
Turning in the $20 I found in K-Mart when I might need it later.
Do you notice that fear has torment? In other translations, torment has been changed to punishment. Fear brings punishment or the threat of it. So we run in terror of getting what we deserve and we change into people even we don't recognize trying to hide from what we've got coming. In fear, we insist we didn't do anything wrong so there is no reason for punishment.
In fear that we are not loved, we obnoxiously demand our rights and turn into tantrumming little beasts who ironically become quite difficult to love in the process.
In fear we think how much we really want this________(man? woman? job? house? vacation?) and our fear tells us a punishing God might say no and so, we are too afraid to ask for permission and live instead in defiance.
Afraid that we are not as pretty or smart as the next person, we become hard and appear arrogant and demand that other people acknowledge our worth hoping that we will convince ourselves if we can convince them to convince us.
So I want to recognize fear. I want to become spiritually sensitive to that tiny demonic seed. Yes, I said demonic. I want to know exactly what that horrible liar feels like when he creeps into my spirit and plants fear there. If I know fear is trying to take hold, I can quickly claim victory and all of the ugliness that might have flowed out of my spirit will be immediately changed to grace and peace.
And I want to recognize fear in others. When someone is ugly, I want to rise above defensiveness and self-righteous indignation and plain old offendedness and see the fear that is wrapping itself around the person's mind.
Then I will grab it by its scrawny, lying, sneaky little neck and cast it away...
With Perfect Love, which is usually the very furthest thing from my mind when fear takes the driver's seat and turns another person ugly, I can overcome fear.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lost but denying it

If you wanted to visit a friend who lives say, on A street but you were driving down B street; would you be wondering why you couldn't get to your friend's house?
I'm seeing this lately in the lives of people around me. They are confused why they are wherever they happen to be in the journey of their life. And yet, don't we each set off on the roads we travel? Life itself is a matter of turning corners or not. Of crossing streets and changing directions. Fast and furious times on highways where we sought and then chose exits. Winding paths when life is sweet and slow when pause to look around and rest quietly or explore a new trail into a forest we've never seen before. Do we ever choose unwisely? I do! I find myself looking around and thinking, "How in the world did I end up here?" In truth, I usually ended up exactly at the end of a road I chose for myself. And sometimes, it's a very ugly neighborhood! What to do in those times?
In growing up in Jesus, I have wailed about the unfairness of the potholes and dead ends. I've prayed long, hard, tearfully, loudly and occasionally, in Old English and even Hebrew Then there was the next set of travel plans. I'll simply become so incredibly spiritual and attuned to the Holy Spirit that I will never again choose a wrong path. That went something like this, you must preface every statement, thought, blog and possibly sermon with "The Lord showed me..." I'm all for the Lord guiding our steps, good grief I'd step right off the edge of the Grand Canyon if he didn't! But have you ever seen someone in the midst of the "God told me" phase? God told me to wear pink lip gloss. God told me to make lemonade. God, is it your will for me to grow my hair and wear a pony tail?
Can I be honest? I think maybe sometimes God, who is a God who counts the hair on our heads, doesn't really care all that much if we part it on the right or the left. I'm just sayin'...
So what road am I traveling now? I have embraced something powerful and beautiful and utterly freeing. Remorse. Repentance. Redemption.
That goes a little something like this. "God, I totally blew this!" Or, on less graceful days, "Oh crap!" "Oh crap" does not translate easily into Old English or Hebrew.
Often, the neighborhood we end up in that we really don't like is just the obvious destination for the road we chose. The wise person starts to see the signs that she's headed in the wrong direction and repents so that they can more quickly find the detour back to where they want to be.
I've lately heard older people say things like they have no regrets. Twisting and turning logic into pretzels to explain why where they are is just fine and dandy thank you very much! At any point in the last sixty years they could have simply acknowledged they were headed in a wrong direction. Humility that allows us to confess, repent and be turned around...what a gift.
If you don't like the neighborhood of your heart at the moment, why not take a moment to see if perhaps you took a wrong turn? Or even if you weren't the one driving at the time, ask God now to show you the exit and the courage to take the wheel. It's not just about this moment because if you stay on a road for long enough, you will still be experiencing the wrong neighborhoods over and over again in 10 or 20 years. And let me tell you, it's easier to backtrack one year than 5.
We will never live inside this flesh and have a perfect sense of direction. What we have instead is a soul compass. It always points toward redemption and we are never lost enough that it cannot find it's true north.

2 balmy degrees

UPDATE: God is forever showing us his care for every detail. In answer to your prayers, Dean's sister decided today to leave this evening from Alabama and will be here in the morning. This takes a tremendous burden from Dean as she will be staying with their mother and he will not be the sole source of help. Thank you and be sure to give a hallelujah on our behalf!

Good morning from the Mitten where it is 3 balmy degrees. I'm moving slowly this morning and should already be heading out the door to work but there is just something unnatural about a person leaving their warm and lovely home under such conditions! Update~it is now 2 balmy degrees.

The Mr.'s dad was transferred yesterday to the VA hospice unit so thank you for all of your prayers and let me not be remiss in acknowledging God's faithfulness to answer prayer. We are all tired, strained and feeling the way all families do when they are in those final moments before a loved one passes. Dean's mom is disabled and her needs certainly add to the difficulty of this time for him. She doesn't always understand that everything can't be done exactly as she wishes with both of us working and her complete dependence. This leaves Dean feeling pulled to do everything he can for her which almost seems to be aging him before my eyes. Of course, she is losing her husband and she must remain our focus but it's my job to see to my husband and so I ask you to interceded for fresh anointing and strength for him. He has come down with a bad cough and cold and is not sleeping well.

Well, I must be off and about the business of the day. Yesterday's post and the comments it generated have given me lots of food for thought but with the time constraints of the moment, I will need to keep those in the back of my mind for further discussions with my neighbors.

Image: The Mr., Lake Michigan October 2010

Monday, February 21, 2011


Feeling thankful today for a God who makes sure that even though things change, they don't always have to for those who want to hang on a moment or two longer. I'm a recluse, an introvert, a loner, a social misfit. Don't feel bad for me or rush to reassure me. I'm fine with it. Didn't used to be, but now, I know it's who I am having been made this way by I AM. So it's all good.
I'm also someone who was born about 50 years too late for the world that I long for. Of course, had I lived through World War II, rationing, and all that went with it I'm sure the romantic glow would be tarnished. So maybe it is nicer to think about rather than live through our dreams. Which brings me to this lovely place in time where a recluse like myself can still be a part of a neighborhood, a group of us who gather together over fences with a cup of coffee and a wonderful new recipe or a prayer request to share. Today I imagine all of you as neighbors, each of your individual blogs like houses lining a street on which we all live. Any time of day or night I can visit you and see what is happening at your house. Sometimes I stop in for a chat by leaving a comment and other times I wave as I go by without saying anything. I suspect if I were keeping house in 1953 as I so often fantasize, I would be the same introvert who doesn't gather at the neighborhood fences as I am now. Only in 1953 there would have been no online neighborhood for me. In 2011, I have the best of all worlds! I can be a loner with 20 best friends!
So thank you, neighbors, for inviting me to your house and coming to mine for a cup of coffee and a chat. You have become some of my dearest friends and in case I don't say it enough; I love you and I thank God for the part you play in my life.
I always wanted to have a neighbor just like you; I always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you! Won't you be my neighbor?

Butterfly-free blizzard

Just getting ready to head out the door on this snowy morning in the Mitten. Got a call from the hospital at a little after 5 a.m. that the majority of the staff had called in and we needed to get in as quickly as possible so off I go.
Not all that long ago this would have set off butterflies in my stomach and aggravation in my heart as well as a tension headache. Not anymore. I've learned that of all those butterflied days, never once did I not survive. So too, this day will work its self out with God at the helm. As always. Only we foolishly don't think we need him so much on some days as on others. ;)
Off I go to explore the day that the Lord has made. The first adventure of which will be the drive in...first blessing of the day a truck parked inside a garage that doesn't need cleaning and a drive through the snow in a four wheel drive.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Show me your glory

Exodus 33:18-19
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

10 thoughts

1. The source of the hospice problem turned out to be Ben's doctor at Wyandotte who gave a completely inaccurate report of Ben's condition. This has now been corrected and Ben will transfer to the VA hospice unit on Tuesday if he has not passed.
2. Even though the temperatures have turned colder, the sunshine makes it ok.
3. A pleasant home has remarkable power to calm the spirit.
4. Every day the daboyz have checked in several times by phone and spent time with the Mr. I love that about them and need to remember this the next time they are acting like fools, which will probably be this afternoon.
5. Keeping life in order during difficult times is so important. Dinner at home, food in the pantry, routine & schedules renew tired bodies.
6. I am sure there are people who think Nurse Amy and Nurse Sara are difficult to deal with, this is what makes us good nurses. So there.
7. Black coffee in the morning, tea with honey in the evening-perfect bookends to the day.
8. I am going to the library this afternoon. That is always happy news!
9. Now that I have decided to buy egg plant colored eye shadow, there is none on the face of the earth.
10. Make your life warm and sweet and beautiful and comfortable and lovely and peaceful today.

Image: (left to right) Dean's mom, Ben, sister Kelly & Dean playing Rook in Alabama, 2001

Friday, February 18, 2011


At times like this, I am truly thankful for the knowledge that God holds everything together and I wonder; if I didn't know this fact what in the world would I do?
Dean's dad entered into home hospice care 2 weeks and ago and then was admitted to Wyandotte Hospital last Sunday when he had deteriorated beyond home care. There are two issues with his health, primarily is the dementia which is in the advanced stage. Secondary is atrial fibrillation-a cardiac problem. Ben's dementia is called Lewy Body Disease and it is a sort of cross of Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease. Last weekend the combination of the two had him falling constantly, unable to understand what we are saying to him and increasingly agitated. After Dean spent the weekend running repeatedly to their apartment to help control him, the hospice nurse came on Sunday and called an ambulance because his behavior was dangerous to himself and to Dean's mom who is not able to adequately provide care to keep him comfortable.
So he was admitted and here is God holding life in his hands-usually Ben would go to a hospice room on the sixth floor however, on Sunday afternoon there was a plumbing problem and that room was shut down. Instead, he was routed to the fifth floor where my sister is the Clinical Coordinator/Nurse in Charge. Can't you almost see a couple of angels taking the pipes apart? :)
With better medication management Ben was quickly made comfortable and peaceful. His appetite had been inconsistent for a few days and by Tuesday a combination of the disease and the medication necessary to keep him quiet had resulted in his stopping eating all together. That's ok, it's part of this process. The hospice doctor and their family practitioner decided Ben could not be returned to their apartment because Dean's mom can no longer provide care to him and they ordered him transferred to a nursing home for hospice.
Well...guess what? Medicare does not provide room and board benefits for nursing home care. So if he goes there, his entire social security check will be taken to pay for it. His mom will be left with $600 a month. Just her rent is $850. Amy spoke with everyone and told them that this was impossible, another solution would have to be found and it seemed that we had found it. The Veteran's Administration will not provide nursing home care unless he has a service-related disability or is indigent (neither apply) but they will provide hospice care at their hospital. So that was the plan until...
On Thursday we were informed that he does not meet criteria for the V.A. hospice benefit. Amy spent the entire day running around trying to figure this out (God is using her hugely in this.) Ultimately the social worker could only say "he doesn't meet criteria, I don't know why." Not an acceptable answer but we are stuck for the moment with it. With Amy's help, the whole process was sort of stopped on Thursday night to be revisited today.
I have taken a day off work to try to help sort through all of this. Sunday will be Ben's last Medicare covered day in the hospital and all the doctor has to offer is that he will move him to the nursing home leaving Dean's mom without enough money to survive.
In the midst of all of this is Ben who lays quietly, although very sedated, in a hospital bed. His breathing is changing and his vitals signs are irregular. Yesterday his heart rate stayed around 115 all day. Some of the hospice team say that he can't go to the Veteran's Administration hospice because the requirement is a life expectancy of 2 weeks or less and the doctor doesn't think he can predict that. Some of them say he isn't quiet that advanced and maybe if we took him of the medication he would start to eat. Of course, he would also start to hallucinate, strike out in fear, fall, be incontinent and have to be restrained to a bed. He stopped speaking a week ago and recognizes no one. I've never heard of someone in hospice having such a difficult time. As my sister said yesterday, this mean is 83 years old. He served his country and then worked until the age of 80. He deserves comfortable and dignified care and that's the end of the conversation. The doctors think that a nursing home will provide that and leaving his wife unable to buy medication or food is not their problem as she is not the patient.
There is every probability that Ben will not survive until Monday. If you asked me to guess, I'd say he won't. This, now, is our prayer. That he will remain comfortable and peaceful even if he is sedated and that there will be no more moving for him. He has wonderful nurses tending to him and he is close by. Dean and his mom need to be able to spend this time with him and not terrified of what might come next-will they take him off his medication? Will they move him and leave her indigent?
To paraphrase, even so Lord Jesus come for your child.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'll tell you when I'm beautiful.

I go through phases. Moments when I want to try every beauty trick out there-manicures, hair extensions, eye lashes...and moments when I am only interested in the basics-hair color, foundation, eye brow pencil, chapstick. It's only been in the last few years (ah 40, you are so much wiser than 30 or 20!) that I realized I don't have to pigeon-hole myself as either or. I can do it all or none of the above as long as I'm enjoying myself today.
The most wasted of days have been the ones when I spent money on beauty that was for the benefit of other people. New dresses that weren't necessary except to avoid wearing the same one over and over. Blouses that were uncomfortable enough to only get one wearing and then became closeted for years. I think we've all been there.
Some women are in relationships with men who have opinions of what is beautiful, I have no problem with that as long as these ladies feel more beautiful than not. I often lean toward the Mr.'s known preferences...but not always. Because sometimes what he thinks is beautiful doesn't fit inside my skin; and inside my skin is where beautiful lives.
I was in a conversation with some women about aging and how it forces us to redefine ourselves when we look into the mirror. We fear what's around the corner of that next birthday. 40 is ok but 50? I do not look like my younger beautiful self. Fewer and fewer are the comments, "I'd never guess you were_____!" Now when I share my age, people don't seem surprised. Again, I don't have any convictions about the right way to age other than you must understand yourself before you define yourself. I'm not promising anyone that I won't have a breast lift, implants, face lift, lypo or anything else that I decide lends itself to the beautiful me on the inside feeling that I like the me on the outside. For right now, it's weight. I will work on that and then we'll see about the rest. In case you're wondering, I don't ask Dean his opinions on some things. If he finds me less than beautiful for lack of perky breasts, that is understandable but needs to stay inside his head. And ultimately, beautiful is me...not me as seen by someone else.
So on the days I feel beautiful without mascara, that's how you'll see me. On the days I'm in the mood for a manicure...that's what I'll have. I believe that beauty is joy with a face.
Today's joy is what makes me beautiful.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mitten Madness

So what does someone in the Mitten do in the deep winter freeze of February? For one thing, she starts to hear birds in the early morning right around Valentine's day and she remembers...spring is coming. Then she spends a few minutes dreaming of coffee on the back porch and Boston ferns hanging in the warm breeze. Ahh, now she feels a little less crazy.
Time to look around the house and imagine what exciting things might be done at the homestead. Here's what we're thinking about here at the Smith-sonian.

My grandmother's bedroom set has been displaced into the front guest room by my new Mission set. I will be picking up a new comforter set from Target and doing some updating in our bedroom. Then there's that guest room that now houses the Eleanor bedroom set. Mac wants the bed and highboy when he gets married but for now it will be going to visit my sister's house in her larger guest room.
In our basement is a wooden fireplace surround that was once at The Farm. I've wracked my brain trying to figure out how to integrate into our home to no avail until~
Ah Martha! How I love/hate you! How simple and cute is this? CLICK. The Mr. will be painting our mantle creamy white and finishing it to turn it into a sentimental shabby chic perfect guest bed!
Moving on, we have a little butcher block table was once in the kitchen at_____I'll let you fill in the blank. Casters will be added to give it some height and easier mobility so it will become an island work station in the kitchen and we'll add a few stools to store underneath for a coffee break spot. The kitchen table is moving into the original dining nook...

The computer table which was formerly at The Farm (good grief, I'm starting to sound quite ridiculous), will scoot down the wall a few feet into the C.S. Lewis room which is slowly becoming my own little space in the world where it will reside with the piano and a loverly reading chair.
That's all the news so far! I'm excited with my plans for some simple refreshing of our home and minimum money invested as I look around and make use of the beautiful items we already own and repurpose furniture and space for a new outlook. The best part is, if we don't like the results there is little lost in the effort and we can easily return to where we started.
Fun, huh? Well, I think it's fun! Stay tuned for pictures of the works in progress and the final reveal.
Happy am I!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy by order of the Madre

1. A fully charged cell phone every morning.
2. Being at home.
3. The smell of grass & dirt.
4. Herb gardens.
5. Books.
6. Coffee.
7. Family gatherings.
8. The Old Testament.
9. Old photographs.
10. Christmas trees.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Good morning from the Mitten and baby it's cold outside! For Michiganders, that means switching from ankle socks to crew length. For this Michigander, it also means dinner in the crock pot and not going out again once I'm home from work. Pork chops, potatoes and sauerkraut cooking so I'll just add a veggie or salad when I get home.
I think I am finally over the tummy bug I had but now have the daily sinus headache, that isn't illness just another aspect of sub zero temps. But it sure does hurt! And it sure is hard to motivate myself away from my cup of coffee and out the door in the mornings. However, you won't hear me complaining about leaving my warm house to drive in my dependable vehicle to my good job.
Dean's dad is in a hospice room at the hospital for a few days. His mom had cataract surgery and felt she couldn't handle him as she recovers and also has doctor's appointments leaving him without a caregiver at home. We were worried about him being hospitalized even though it's a hospice room because from his perspective, it's still a hospital and he doesn't do well with hospitals. But with prayer and God's grace, so far he has been just fine. He'll come home tomorrow. He has gotten too physically impaired for Dean to take him out as he needs a wheel chair and cannot get into and out of the car without being lifted. He has a walker but do to his cognitive impairments he really isn't able to use it so he is falling at home more often. He is also starting to having urinary incontinence. He is losing his speech, unable to find words and using completely inappropriate words that leave you wondering what he's talking about. He's losing weight pretty quickly despite having Meals on Wheels as well as caregivers providing snacks and meals which he does eat, his body just seems to be shutting down. There are days when it seems as though we are holding our breath that he will make it through the next 24 hours and days when he seems "fine."
On a lighter note, I have discovered a household trick! I got a new (and relatively expensive) iron a few weeks ago and heated it up without realizing there was a sticker on the heat plate. If you can tell me why the serial number sticker would be a. transparent and b. with black numbers and applied to c. the dark gray heat plate; please let me know. You can imagine what happened, the sticker melted leaving this black hardened stuff that softens up just enough when I attempt to use the iron to leave black streaks on my clothes. Arrgh! After googling multiple fixes such as heating the iron and scrubbing it with nail polish remove, which seems dangerous, I stumbled across the magic remedy to my problem. Heat the iron, wrap a wet towel or wash cloth around a wooden clothes pin and use the end of the clothes pin to scrape away the burned plastic. Worked beautifully! In five minutes my iron was like brand new and no black streaks when I ironed my scrubs and lab coat today. I don't know that this will be helpful to anyone else in the world, but it makes me happy.
Time to start the truck and get my day going. Stay warm!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Do you see what I see?

During the holidays the Mr. was attempting to hook up a new cable box and just couldn't get it working. So he calls Comcast for some assistance.

Comcast: "Sir, there is a small white sticker on the side of your cable box. Do you see it?"
Dean: "Yes."
Comcast: "On the sticker is a series of numbers."
Dean: "There are no numbers on my sticker."
Comcast: "Sir, every sticker has numbers on it. You need to punch those numbers into your remote to reset your cable box."
Dean: "There are no numbers on my sticker."
Comcast: "Sir, the function of the white sticker is to provide the numbers used to program your cable box. Please look closely."
Dean: "There are no numbers on my sticker."
Comcast: "Sir, if you cannot see the numbers on your sticker, please bring your box into the Comcast office for assistance."
Dean: "Ok, because there are no numbers on my sticker."

So the Mr. is grumbling and disconnecting the cable box when Mac walks in. Dean explains that of all the white stickers on all the cable boxes of the world, only his is lacking the magical numbers to reset his box.
Mac looks at the white sticker and punches in a series of numbers into the remote. The television springs to life.

Dean: "Where did you get those numbers?"
Mac: "Off the white sticker on the side of the box."
Dean: "There are no numbers on my sticker."
Mac: "They are right there."
Dean: "There are no numbers on my sticker. I can't see them."
Mac: Laughs hilariously for several minutes. "Oh Dad, you're old and you can't see." (Because being old and unable to see is very very funny when you are 21.)
Mac proceeds to parade a variety of items in front of the Mr. demanding he read the fine print. The Mr. is shocked at how many items that should certainly have some kind of label are lacking any words on them. Ingredients lists are not on the Sweet & Low packets. Copyright information is not on the DVD case. Mac laughs hilariously some more.
Keep laughing Mac. Time is coming for you too.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Psalm 107:29-31
He maketh the storm a calm.... Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

10 stuffs

1. I like Winter. It is just...appropriate. Seasons should change. Which is why in a few months.
2. I like Spring.
3. There is something just so wonderful about settling into a freshly turned down bed with a book and a bed side lamp in the evening.
4. When in doubt, a pony tail is always a good choice.
5. Apropos of number four, I think the next time I get my hairs did I will have the longest layer shortened so I will have no more layers but this will create a chin-length bob. Thoughts?
6. Apropos of number five, I will then take approximately 2 years to grow enough hair for a pony tail.
7. I saw a woman in a movie with approximately the same coloring as mine with really deep mauve eye shadow in the lid and neutral eye shadow on the brow. It was so pretty. Too daring?
8. Hoodies...I lurv them.
9. Next month I am eligible for new glasses, very excited about this. I am thinking about tortoise shell.
10. It's cold, I am wearing a hat today. I lurv hats.

Image: Amy & I.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Easy Chicken Stir Fry With Sauce

Ingredients: Boneless skinless chicken breasts (4-6), oil (sesame or whatever you have), minced garlic, black pepper, 1 jar simply fruit/all fruit apricots, 1/4 cup soy sauce, frozen or fresh stir fry veggies, rice.

Warm 2 Tbs. oil over medium heat with about 2 tsp. minced garlic.
Add chicken, season with black pepper and saute for about 5 minutes per side.
Remove chicken from pan to 9x13 casserole dish and place into 350 oven.
Reserve the chicken drippings and oil for your sauce.
Whisk together apricots and soy sauce, add to chicken drippings and whisk until combined.
Add about 1/4 cup of water or enough to create adequate liquid for sauce, can be seasoned with additional soy sauce if you like.
Thicken with Wondra or flour, bring to a boil stirring constantly and remove from heat.
Pour sauce over chicken, cover in foil and put back into 350 oven for about an hour.
Reserve pan for veggies.
Add stir fry veggies to pan used for chicken & sauce.Rice per package directions.
Serve chicken over rice, top with veggies and sauce.
So easy and delicious! Using the same pan for your chicken, sauce and veggies not only creates a theme but limits the dirty dishes.
My entire family loved this.
Unfortunately, I failed to take a picture of the beautifully plated meal. Here are the last 2 chicken breasts that Jay finished off when he came over.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Quick bread!

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1 2/3 c milk
1/4 c oil
3/4 cup nuts
1 cup___________

This is my favorite quick bread recipe. It's in the Betty Crocker cookbook under the title Nut Bread. In the original recipe, it calls for 1/2 cup of nuts and then an optional 1 cup of cheese or raisins. The reason I love this bread is that once you've made the batter, you can add pretty much anything you can think of and it will make a delicious and moist loaf of bread that is also quite dense.

My "Ben's Bread" version is the Mr.'s dad (Ben's) favorite version. 3/4 c pecans, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup craisins. I prefer 3/4 cup walnuts and one cup dried cherries.
I also combine 3/4 cup nuts of whatever kind of I have with 1 cup craisins because we always have a big bag of craisins.
The cheese version is also yummy but obviously not as much of a dessert bread. I have also thought one could substitute chopped jalapenos for nuts and make cheesy pepper bread, never tried that one.
Bake these in a loaf pan, any size you have will work. 350 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness, cool on a rack for about 15 minutes in the pan and then flip them out of the pan and cool for another hour or so. Best if wrapped overnight before serving. The Mr.'s parents toast and butter it for breakfast. I think it would make a fabulous French toast. You really can't mess this up, it even comes out of the loaf pan (spray with Pam) easily every single time. The loaf stays fresh if you wrap it in plastic for about a week. Freezes well too. Easy skill level. The cook book directs you to mix the dry ingredients, beat the egg separately, fold in the nuts and raisins/cheese. I do not like steps therefore I throw it all in my standing mixer and let 'er rip. Give it a try next time you're in the mood for a quick and easy bread recipe. You can't mess it up! My neighbor is getting the craisin walnut version as a thank you for clearing our snow

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


These are a few of my favorite thinnnnggggssss!!
My tea pot. A Christmas gift from my sister Amy. I needed a new one as my old one literally fell apart, the handle broke off. I wanted something "funky & weird." You'd think there would be lots of funky weird tea pots but there really aren't. This one came from Target and it's very Dr. Seuss, which is awesome. The purple thing on the spout twirls when the whistle whistles! Fab-u-lous. Also, it's large. The Mr. bought me a very unfunky small one that went back. Love love love my Dr. Seuss tea pot.

My new mugs. I asked Jay for a set of coffee cups that were vintagey. He done good! These remind me of cups my grandparents might have had in the seventies. I like them so much, I think I'll pick up another set. My tea towel(s.) Last year Up North I got a set of 12 tea towels at the antique shop, one for every month. How cute is this? I paid $7 for the complete set.
Green tea, which is about to be brewed in my vintage mug when my funky tea pot heats up.
What are some of your current favorite things?


Wow, the days have been flying by lately! I am awake early this morning on Michigan Blizzard Watch plus I've got a little gastritis going on. Unfortunately, I'm off to work shortly because lots of folks are calling in due to snow. Side note, if you believe it is ok to call off because of snow you should not be a nurse. It's called abandonment, not a snow day. Anyway...
My mom, sister, Trish, Kellerbell, Manda (Trish's daughter) and Lexi (Mac's girlfriend) went to Grand Rapids last weekend for some girl time and to see the Princess Diana exhibit. What a great time! You can read and see the photos at my mom's blog. I have to say, Princess Diana was the Jacklyn Kennedy of my generation. For those of us who love clothes, she set the standard of fashion. For those of us having babies, even in her wealth and royal lifestyle she was a loving mom who showed the strain and struggle of meeting obligations but just wanting to holding her babies. For those of us whose marriages weren't perfect, she didn't always hold it together and made us feel a little less ashamed. And in general, the woman was beautiful & a compassionate humanitarian. Seeing her clothes and jewelry was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I am so glad I went. Not to mention, those women are some of my best friends as well as my family.
Dean's dad is having good days and bad days as expected. His mom is not a natural caregiver so the Mr. is now struggling with whether home hospice will work because she needs to be engaged in his care and that doesn't seem to come naturally to her. Please continue to pray. Frankly, there is a point when it's time to close your eyes to this world and open them in heaven.
Well, I better get going. As I said at the start, I'm not feeling great and it would be better to stay home. Unfortunately, half of our nurses took a "snow day" today so I'll be going to work. If you're going out in the snow, be careful and take it slow. If you're staying in...enjoy the beauty.
Update: Thanks to my beautiful midnight shift counter-part who worked miracles with staff and my day shift counter-part who is making her way in; I am working from home and more importantly-close to my own bathroom. In fact, I am kind of working from my bathroom! Anyway, I am on call but probably not going in to the hospital. Thank you Lord!