Sunday, July 31, 2011


But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. Psalm 71:14

Saturday, July 30, 2011


1. What a looong week!
2. New boss at work.
3. She has some long overdue plans that make that long-work-week worth it.
4. Last weekend at work was the pits, this weekend is hereby declared stress free and relaxing.
5. I wish the temperature and humidity would lighten up just a bit so we could turn off the air and enjoy some fresh air.
6. Going to make Mac a pan of banana bread to take to work.
7. I need to steam clean my family room carpet, that may become a honey do for next Friday.
8. In the mood to try some new dinner ideas; recipe hunting in old magazines.
9. One of my best friends is buying a new house and I am going to be her interior decorator. She doesn't know this yet.
10. My friend's sister (Amy Ahonen) is still missing. Please continue to pray and consider posting her info or liking her Facebook page to get the word out. Three weeks ago yesterday she disappeared.

Monday, July 25, 2011

White ware~

See all that white dinner ware? I love that. Target has an entire aisle of white dinner ware that I may just go look at today without the Mr. The Mr., you see, dislikes all white dinner ware. He likes saturated colors, jewel tones. So when I'm at Target in the white ware aisle, he is shuffling his feet and looking around and in general, irritating me. We currently have very colorful dinner ware that, I will admit, is pretty. But I only cooperated with the colorful plates because colorful plates will chip and then have to be quickly replaced at which point I would appeal to the Mr.'s frugal side and mention him having chosen the last set and then I'd start my white ware collection in no time at all.

That was about 3 years ago. Why won't these plates chip? I'm not gentle with them. And they were not expensive. In fact, they are Target plates which we got on clearance. They certainly should not be holding up this well!

Let's talk about white ware.

If it chips, it is not going to be as obvious. It is flexible for every season and holiday. It's classic and farm housey. Finally, it lends itself to one my favorite decorating's mixy matchy. You can add pieces from thrift stores, antique shops and department stores and it just gets better and better. You are not committed to a kitchen color scheme. It's perfect really.

Unless the Mr. bought some colorful Target plates 3 years ago that refuse to chip.

So today I have no particular plans and certainly a few things that truly need doing but I am beckoned to the white ware aisle at Target where I spotted a large white ceramic pitcher. I neeeeeed that pitcher. I am thinking it is probably a little over-priced at the moment because it's a new addition to the collection but I neeeeeeeed it. I want to put it in the middle of my kitchen table and fill it with flowers.

White ware.

Talk amongst yourselves...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Finding Amy Ahonen

In lieu of my usual Saturday list, please take a moment to pray for my friend Annette's sister Amy Ahonen.

Amy has been missing for two weeks from the Denver, Colorado area with no leads as to her whereabouts. All that is certain is that she did not disappear willingly. Her jeep was found on the side of a road unlocked with her purse, cell phone and keys under the seat. You can visit the Amy's search web site at Facebook search for Amy Ahonen. If you would consider copying her picture and information to your blogs and facebook pages that would be a great blessing as someone somewhere surely knows something and the more exposure Amy's story has the better.

I hope you will join me as we pray for Amy's return and for her family as they go through this unimaginable heartache. Thank you.

New every moment~

If there is any advice that I'd say will benefit anyone, it's embracing the philosophy of new beginnings. This is another one of those God laws that all of creation obeys whether intentionally or not. With just a little bit of looking, it won't be hard to find scripture after scripture about new every morning, renewing of the mind, all things are made new. I love that every moment of every day can be a fresh start. I also love that with the mind of Christ we have this new beginning super power, this incredible wisdom to see new beginnings all around us. By new beginnings I mean opportunities for redemption. When I'm at my best, I find endless details to redeem from mundane or even discouraging to exciting, comforting and sweet.
Don't make this too complicated, that's the first rule. Think of the ultimate new beginning, salvation. Could it really be any easier? Rule number one of fresh starts is to remember who does the real work...God. Not the overwhelmed me trying to figure it out, good grief! Dependent upon my own creativity and motivation and energy we'd be in serious trouble. God's law is that the universe is in continuous redemption. Don't believe it? Leaves fall, the ground becomes dormant and then from gray mud and gray skies and cold winds tiny green shoots start pushing beginnings. Heat waves dry out the ground and then rain falls. We could call the process of the redemption of man a complicated thing but when you come right down to it, it's accomplished in the blink of an eye and even without spoken words. It's the nod of the soul that redeems us.
Go find your new beginning today. I'm not really talking about changing careers or losing 100 pounds, although that's pretty awesome. But I think that finding the finer opportunities are even more awesome. The sleeping in on a day off just for the luxury of it and letting yourself do it. Or the getting up early on a day off to make the most of a quiet slow morning. The straightening of the living room before you sit down with a bowl of popcorn and a movie can do wonders to renew a tired mind.
Last night I was worn out and sweaty and headachy after work. I took a long shower, gave myself a mini pedi, used some wonderful lotion, crawled into bed in a fresh nightgown at 6:30 p.m. with a library book. Silly and simple but it started my tired mind and body over. This morning I feel rested. I could have just easily crawled into bed skipping all the in-between but the details made it nicer.
How many new beginnings can you find today? It's really just the law of redemption working over and over and over.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace & prosperity.

Psalm 37:11

Saturday, July 16, 2011

10 somethings

1. Today is Hunky (Hungarian) Fest (Festival) day
2. Tomorrow is my mom's birthday celebration
3. Dean's biopsy was negative
4. Gonna be a warm weekend but I'm not complaining
5. Got a new stack of library books, always makes me happy
6. Got my hairs did this morning
7. Had plans to make a Hungarian hazelnut cake last night but didn't get to it.
8. I am planning a butterfly garden, probably for next year
9. At the risk of sharing TMI-I kinda look forward to menopause
10. Prayer request: since his attack on June 11, Mac has developed migraines. Please join us is praying for his complete healing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Weirdos. Skillets. Etc.

Six days Up North.
Colonoscopy escort.
Library & yard work.
Back to reality tomorrow tomorrow. I know it's time and I'm happy to report that I've matured enough not to dread the end of vacation. Have you ever been one of those people who started every happy day with the countdown until it would be over? The Sunday night, 12 more hours, 10 more hours, 8 more hours and the weekend is over...I've done that. No more. I live in the moment as much as possible. It doesn't come naturally but with practice, intentional purposeful "nowness," I am getting the hang of it. A surprise bonus of the right mindset is when you enjoy the moments of rest and fun they can do the refreshing they are supposed to do, give you a jump start back into the workaday world. When you live in countdown mode you never put yourself into refreshing mode. That's my wisdom for the day. :)
Today I slept very late, which I don't normally do. It was my last-day-of-vacation gift to myself. I made waffles for breakfast and ate on the back porch taking my time with my coffee. The Mr. & I went to Lowe's where I got a pot of impatiens to replace a container shrub that wasn't flourishing and I bought some succulents. I love succulents only I prefer to call them weirdos because they are so, well, weird. And if I tell Dean I want 6 succulents he has no idea what I'm talking about but when I say I want 6 weirdos he knows exactly.
It makes perfect sense to me.
I dug out my rescue cast iron skillet which was far rustier than it was in my imagination. Dean thought it was unsalvagable but by definition, aren't these things supposed to be indestructible? Well I spent an hour scouring it with sand paper, sea salt & lemon and coffee grounds until low & behold it started looking like a person could actually cook in it! I rubbed oil into the surfaces and it's now baking in a low oven and I predict a beautifully seasoned skillet ready for my multiple skillet creations I've only recently realized I need to make. And that my friends, made me very happy.
For dinner the Mr. made smoked chicken breasts with some wood chips the neighbor gave us and I used 4 leftover baked taters to make twice-baked potatoes and we rounded it out with a fresh garden salad. My garlic chives, fresh from the garden, were delicious on the potatoes by the way!
Dinner is done, I have a stack of library books just picked out today and I'm shortly off to crawl into bed with a book and a very peaceful and well-rested heart, mind and body.
As I've said before, if you are looking for the boring details of a very simple life you've come to the right place. Rest assured that pictures of my new weirdos and impatiens are yet to come as well as updates on the skillet and the bannock I will be making (served with real butter and honey.) Come on by for a warm slice of bread and a cup of coffee any old time.
It's simply lovely over here!

Where the go lytely went~

Many of you will be shocked to learn that I can be a little, ahem, intolerant. This is only because I am so often the only one who is right about stuff. It's a heavy burden.
I married someone who is, ahem, not usually right about stuff. It's a heavy burden.
The Mr.'s mom is not the "everything in its place" type. Well that's not altogether accurate. Everything in its place means everything within arm's length. Everything not within arm's length is someone else's concern. This means if she needs the phone and it's across the room, someone else needs to fetch it. In order for this system to work, she has created multiple piles of various things like papers, pens, magazines, etc. that surround her chair in the living room. What does this have to do with the Mr., myself and Go Lytely? Well, I'll tell ya.
Some things, no matter how far removed we are, remain with us from our childhoods. For me, it is the belief that stuff has a place and as long as you are walking past an item, you need to pick that item up and put it away. Kitchen cleaned at night. Earrings not left on end tables after work. Mail sorted, junk mail pitched and the rest organized somewhere and that somewhere not being the kitchen table. Etc.
The Mr. simply cannot grasp this simple and right way of doing things. It is a forever battle. He believes the kitchen table is the God-anointed receptacle of all things. He believes that if he will need his lunch box on Monday it makes perfect sense to leave it on said kitchen table from Thursday until Monday when he will need it again saving him the seven steps to the hook that I have designated for it, that hook being the right thing.
So the Mr. leaves crap, I mean stuff, everywhere every day. And I go along meekly and humbly picking it up. All sweetness and light, that's what I am.
There are a few specific occasions in which the putting away of stuff and straightening of the home is of epic importance. When one leaves for work in the morning. When one is going into the hospital. When one is going on vacation. I am sure you see the theme as you are all people of reason and right-thinking such as I. The point is that when one comes home, one prefers to enter a well organized and pleasant place. It's only right.
Well, the day we left on vacation I had worked and then come home to pack and prepare to leave that evening. After everything was loaded into the car and the beds neatly made with fresh sheets (this is also important if one is to be right), I went through one last time to clear off the stuff that the Mr. had spread on every available surface.
Home we came and finally it was time to start the dreaded colonoscopy prep.
"Where's my procedure stuff?" says the Mr., refusing to say colonoscopy.
"I don't know what you're talking about." says me, refusing to answer a question as vague and silly as this. How could a person loose a bowel prep kit? Not. My. Problem.
"I can't find it. What do I do?" says he.
"Find it." says me, ever patient.
"Did you throw it away?"
"I don't believe I would have thrown your colonoscopy bowel evacuation prep kit away."
"Are you sure?"
"Pretty sure. Where was it when you last saw it?"
Now friends & neighbors, brace yourselves.
"I left it right here," points, "on the END TABLE IN THE FAMILY ROOM."
"You left it on the end table?"
"That's stupid and ridiculous."
"It's not stupid. I was reading the instructions before we left."
"So you decided that the best possible place for a colonoscopy bowel evacuation prep kit was on the family room end table?"
"Yes. That way I could find it. Do you think you threw it away?"
"Well, I don't recall throwing it away but considering you left your colonoscopy bowel evacuation prep kit in the family room, I may very well have."
"Because giant jugs of laxatives do not belong on the end table in the family room."

Off goes the Mr. to check the garbage and sure enough. He's irritated at me for throwing it away but obviously it was the right thing to do. In my defense, I did not specifically throw away his Go Lytely so much as pick up a large white bag that did not belong on the end table as I was straightening up before vacation. I don't even recall throwing it away but I'm sure it was me since he subscribes to the aforementioned "everything in arms length" theory. Which is wrong.
So he retrieved his bowel prep and all was fine and dandy in the end.
And I do not apologize for throwing it away.
I say, "Stop leaving your stuff all over the freaking house and I will not be forced to throw your stuff in the garbage."
Amen. Over & out. Selah.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday's plans~

Update: The doctor removed 4 polyps, 2 raised and 2 flat, during the Mr.'s procedure. They have been sent for biopsy with results expected next week. Other than that, he tolerated everything well and we even stopped for dinner on the way home. Now we just wait for the good report!

Good Tuesday Neighbors!
Today I remain off work although I refuse to call it a "vacation" day, despite my employer saying it is. It is in fact....
Aren't you glad you stop by here? Actually it's not my colonoscopy day, it's the Mr.'s, which is why I can make fun of it. The poor guy's been "going lytely" all morning. And since he's indisposed, he is unable to prevent me from sharing his experience. By the way, someone I work with calls this procedure a "colonapostrophe." I'm just hoping it's not a coloncatastrophe. See how much fun this can be when it's not your actual colon?
Although the Mr. is not yet 50, his doctor decided to go ahead and do the procedure a few years early because both his dad and grandfather had prostate cancer. All giggling aside, these screening tests available to us are truly a miracle and a blessing. If you love your family and the people who love you, get those screenings!
So I am the designated driver for this afternoon's event. This morning we are staying close to home, for obvious reasons. The weather here is already 80F and muggy. I had my first cup of coffee and smoothie on the back porch but I wimped out and came back inside for the air conditioning which has been running nonstop lately. We had a storm system move through our town yesterday afternoon and there were a lot of downed trees and power lines. One family's home burned to the ground just a few minutes from our house, another's garage burned. A woman was injured when a tree fell on her. My goodness, Lord help them. You won't hear any complaining from this girl inside her air conditioned house.
Finally, I crave, I need, I die for bannock. Have you had bannock? My dad used to make it in the 70s, it's a kind of Native American fry bread although I suspect that South American cultures have something similiar. It's made in a cast iron skillet and of late, I have been craving, needing and dying for a reason to use my cast iron skillet. If you are wondering when I last used mine...the answer would be never. I claimed two, a large and small one, from my Grandma Trent's basement when she passed. For some reason, I think of them as having been my Great Grandma Vada Trent's skillets. This may be completely please confirm.
So those are Tuesday's plans. What's up in your neighborhood?

Monday, July 11, 2011


Yes, we are home from vacation. We had a wonderful relaxing time and as always, it's good to come home. As I loaded my dishwasher and threw my laundry into my first floor washer I thought, it really is good to be home! Although far from rustic, the cottage does not have every amenity of home and after a week of being chief cook and bottle washer (and loving every minute), I have a renewed appreciation for modern conveniences. :)

We have nothing exciting to report, in other words, vacation was a complete success! We stayed up late, slept in and just let the real world melt away for a while. On Thursday we took a picnic lunch to Clear Lake State Park, which was so beautiful. Definitely going on the list for future trips. We kept it simple, hoagies on fresh bakery bread made with deli meat and topped with fresh tomatoes, sprouts, lettuce and onion. A bag of chips, tater salad and cookies or angel food cake for dessert topped off our simple meal. Then we laid on a blanket reading and took a few dips into the lake when we got too warm. The Mr. & Mac played horseshoes and we headed back to the cottage after about three hours. Truly a great afternoon.
Evenings were spent around the campfire or playing cards & board games. Target shooting and reading were the main activities. The menfolk made a menu list which I happily obliged (diets and time constraints forgotten for a while.) Tacos, lasanga, burgers & hot dogs on the grill and lumberjack breakfasts like thick bacon on biscuits with scrambled eggs and jack cheese... On our last evening we got a pie from the local hot spot, The Old Depot...banana cream to be specific. Mm mm mm.
All of the linens have now been laundered and returned to my folks for their trip North in a few weeks. Mac is back to work and I'm headed back a little later this week. Life is turning back into the same old same old but that's ok. The same old is pretty good.
We'll be celebrating our annual Hunky Fest with our Hungarian family this Saturday and our mouths are already watering thinking of the delicious stuffed cabbage, chicken paprikash and all of the other Hungarian goodies that not only feed our bellies but our souls. On Sunday we'll have my mom's traditional birthday Armenian feast...shish ka bob, pilaf, salad; here at our house with the family gathering again to enjoy good food and one another's company.

Well, I'm back online and so I guess that means back to the real world. I can't say I've missed it but it ain't all that bad either!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.

Isaiah 4:6

Image: Up North 2011

Monday, July 04, 2011

Up North for the Fourth~

As you read this, I will be awakening in Northern Michigan and having a cup of strong black coffee on the porch swing. Ahhh. We wait all year for this. In fact, I'm writing this on Sunday and scheduling it to post on Monday because by the time Monday actually happens I will be far from all things tech not to mention the ever-present reachability that so wears me out. Many people have asked what it is we do Up North. Well...
We go to my parent's cottage for a week.
We eat a lot. Big breakfasts are required by law.
We have campfires at night and roast marshmallows. Then we just sit there in the dark quiet feeling very small and safe and peaceful.
We read, we play board games, we watch old DVDs that we only watch during our summer vacation, but we watch them every year. Funny Farm, Major Payne...
We sleep and sleep. We catnap until bed time.
We swim, we take Donny to the lake and watch him swim.
This year we are taking a picnic lunch to Clear Lake State Park.
Basically, we reduce our world to a little cottage and just the four of us and a hound dog. It's been this way every July 4th week since the boys were tiny and now we know we are in the final years. One of these days one of daboyz will announce he's not coming Up North. But not this year.
So enjoy your Independence Day wherever you are, with love from Lewiston, Mi.
Image: Downtown Lewiston, 1966. It's pretty much the same!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

~Born free, bought with a great price

Acts 22:28
And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

10 updates~

1. Working the weekend.

2. Leaving for vacation late Sunday evening!

3. One week Up North.

4. Housework & laundry done.

5. Somehow I managed to make my appointment to get my hairs did right in the middle of my vacation. Gonna have to reschedule.

6. Got a new bathing suit...surprisingly I am pretty happy with it.

7. Gonna try to hit the Target for a beach cover-up.

8. Gotta stop by the folks for the Up North linens.

9. I intentionally left several tasks to do at work this weekend which I hope will make the time fly.

10. Attitude is everything and it's a choice.

Image: Donny laying in his "hot hole."

Friday, July 01, 2011

Cappuccino spice cookies~

This recipe comes from The Cookie Cookbook and I must say that everything I have made from this book is excellent. PS I got one of them cookie dough scooper things...what a wonderful invention! As you can see, I upped some of the ingredients for a richer, spicier cookie.

2 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules (I use 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon boiling water

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla (no imitation please!)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I use a full teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ground cloves (I use 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

3 cups double chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Dissolve coffee in boiling water.

2. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, coffee and vanilla; beat until well blended.

3. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in medium bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool on cookie sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks, cool completely.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Cappuccino Spice Minis: Prepare dough as directed; drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375F about 7 minutes or until set. Makes about 7 dozen mini cookies.