Very Random Things

Warning: This might be the most random post I’ve ever written.

I’m wearing white jeans and sandals today…after Labor Day. Please don’t tell my dad. At least my sandals are not white, and I do have on a cardigan. (And it is in the 70’s today) At my 8:15am dentist appointment this morning, the hygienist suggested I might be in denial about the current season, but then went on to commiserate over how we were cheated out of a proper summer this year. She and her husband have a boat and didn’t get much time on the water. Water skiing was almost out of the question, because then you’d have to ride around soaking wet in the cool breeze. I kind of hated answering her question about any trips we took this summer, but it made me relive our adventures in Greece all over again. So thankful for those warm and sunny memories, because the pumpkins and mums have now arrived in New England.

Speaking of the dentist, I finally made the whole family appointments, and I was the last to go. Good reports all around.  Would you believe no one in this family has ever had a cavity or needed braces? Dental mercies, I tell ya. (Well, I have several fillings, but those are from my teen years, and I might just be a test case for the fact that improving the diet strengthens the teeth and gums. And God’s mercy, too, of course.)

Moved Cooper into his dorm at Gordon College on August 28th
Izckra and I went to a Beth Moore conference in Springfield, MA August 25-26. Beth wasn’t able to get home to Houston right away due to Harvey’s destruction in Houston. Wonderful teaching by Beth as usual. Wonderful time with this dear friend, too. (And evidently, I really like these white jeans)

Kayla is in her third week of Challenge IV at Classical Conversations. This week she had to lead the Old Testament/Theology discussion on the book of Exodus. She worked really hard on it, got great feedback, and is falling more and more in love with God and His Word. It has been one of my main prayers for her. She’s both applying at a couple of colleges and considering a gap year, too, for which the Lord seems to be opening some interesting doors. We are praying for His continued direction here. In fact, I was literally sitting and praying for her (journaling it all) and asking God to show her what her next steps would be, when she came and found me just a little while later and told me she was pretty sure about the gap year. After that, a few opportunities for gap year activities were presented to us, and I’m learning more and more how much the Lord wants us to come to Him with the smallest and largest of concerns.

We’ve been gearing up for the return of the Five College Students at church. Enjoyed this free cookout last weekend for first-year students who were in town before upperclassmen.

I got to participate in Classical Conversations this week (I’m not teaching this year) by helping to take the Challenge II class on a quick field trip to collect pond water samples and leaves for a future tree identification project. I loved taking my previous classes to do this. There is just something about getting outside and being given time to observe and interact with the natural, created world. It’s just something the classroom and a textbook can’t truly offer.

I’ve hardly told one soul about this, but I was interviewed for a podcast last Friday. The night before the interview I had a dream that when Bethany, the interviewer, arrived at my house, I sent her down to the basement to set up in Robert’s office while I settled some matters with my kids upstairs. (Somehow my kids all reverted to being 12, 10, and 7 in my dream and needed some wrangling before I could meet with Bethany.) When I finally started down the basement stairs, after leaving Bethany to fend for herself down there, I found her mopping up an inch of water that was covering my basement floor. Evidently my washing machine had broken and leaked water everywhere. I was horrified.

This horrifying dream may have been because I was fairly horrified about giving this interview. 3,000 listeners? Yikes. I’m horrified at the sound of my own voice.  I spoke at a women’s breakfast for a church in central Massachusetts in the spring, and still haven’t listened to the recording for which the pastor’s wife (Hi Christina!) sent a link. Every time I happen to hear a recoding of myself, I wonder why anyone wants to sit and talk with me at all. Ever. Seriously. But I’m learning that many people feel this way, and that all this self-horror is really just too. much. self. focus. And I pray God would rid. me. of. that.

I don’t know when the podcast will air, and I’m still not sure why the interview took the directions that it did. All I know is that I prayed…A LOT. Prayed that it would all be led by the Holy Spirit, and that the things recorded would be just the things that some other woman needs to hear. And Bethany prayed. And then we prayed together before we recorded. So, I’m trusting that, as confused as I was about what ended up being talked about, God has a purpose. Here, I’ll give you a hint:

Just don’t make the mistake of listening to the “hey, girl” podcast – with lowercase letters and a comma. That would NOT be the one on which I’ll eventually appear. (Or on which my voice will eventually be heard. Ugh.)

One of my favorite things. This group – a very random assortment – was gathered around my table on Sunday after church. No one moved until 4pm, as we listened to each other’s stories of faith and new jobs and spontaneous proposals and weddings and ultra-marathons and growing up a homeschooled missionary kid in Afghanistan. Sweet fellowship.

Speaking of opportunities to be horrified at the sound of my own voice, I was invited to speak at a women’s retreat the first weekend of November, and have been working with the women there to decide on a topic. Several themes have been on my mind, and I look forward to which one they’ll choose, so I can begin preparing. (Especially since I just discovered it’s one of my heaviest workload weeks for my seminary class. (Old Testament II)  (Good thing we get to drop three quiz grades!) But one theme has been jumping out at me in my own reading lately.

I’ve really only read the gospels this year – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. (With some occasional departures into the Psalms and Colossians in moments of desperation.) My goal was to read all four gospels each month, and I was able to keep up with that until summertime arrived. Since then, I’ve still stayed in the gospels, really wanting to soak in all that Jesus did, all that He was and still is, but I’ve not made it through all four each month. As I’ve read, a few things have jumped out at me, one of them being how often Jesus touched people, and how often they touched Him.

Especially precious to me is the story of the woman with the long term issue of bleeding who anonymously reached out and touched the fringe of Jesus’ cloak. She was immediately healed of her chronic illness, and Jesus knew immediately that someone had touched Him even though there were hordes of people pressing in on Him. When He investigates and she comes forward, He says

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

I just love those words. And I don’t think she was just made physically well. I think she was made wholly well – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and yes, also physically. That she believed Jesus was powerful to make her well was a choice by faith, and that faith made her well from sin first and foremost. It reminds me of the paralytic man who was taken to Jesus by his friends. His most obvious need, his most presenting symptom, was physical disability, but Jesus forgave his sins first and foremost. His eventual healing of the man’s inability to walk was only a verification of His authority to forgive sin.

Faith in Jesus makes us wellsafe, kept safe and sound, rescued from danger or destruction – meaning the danger and destruction of sin, and faith also makes us well…thriving, strong, resilient, sane, healthy, hearty, and more.

He has done that for me. He has made this daughter of His well, and continues to do so on a daily basis. I’ve been praying for this wellness in one young woman in particular this week. I know the wellness is coming, but right now it doesn’t feel so certain to her.

So, I really don’t know how to transition from the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak to Taylor Swift, but I do hope and pray that Taylor comes to know this healing touch of Jesus by faith. How’s that?

This is from Urban Dictionary, and I have to say that I am in full agreement with this definition. 😉

My family and a few other Swiftie friends had a lot of fun tracking Taylor’s crazy marketing ploys for her new album a couple of weeks ago. The group texts were such a fun source of laughter and ridiculousness, and you know what? Sometimes laughter and ridiculousness are just what the doctor ordered.

For the record (I can never pun on purpose), I like her new songs. To be quite honest and vulnerable here, I think Taylor is a gifted, creative, gracious, strong, generous, humble, compassionate, and beautifully confident. I have a theory that people who love to hate on her, are actually just mad that she is able to embody all of those characteristics. Envy and jealousy are oftentimes obvious in our misplaced outrage. True story.

But I’d like to suggest a few edits to her most recent song, “Ready For It.” She has a couple of other songs that are just as suggestive, and I really wish she’d make a lyrical u-turn in this area. So, Taylor, if you are reading, tell me what you think of these changes:

I-I-I see how this is gonna go,

Propose to me, and we’ll never be alone

I-Island breeze, and we’re takin’ it slow

‘Cuz soon enough we’ll know

***

In the middle of the night, in my dreams

You should see our wedding day, baby

Mmmmm…

I can’t wait to be with you

So I pray and I pray

Are we ready for it?

I’ve got my eyes open for a part-time job for when Kayla goes off on her gap year or to college, and I’m really thinking Taylor might want to hire me. I mean…her songs only need this slight tweaking. And I could do it from home – after an initial meeting, autograph, and selfie, of course. It’s a win-win in my mind.

Here’s something else I haven’t told many of you, which has absolutely no connection to Taylor, well, except for the letter T. I’m going on a mission trip overseas. It will be a first for me. I’ve been on several mission trips – to Mexico a handful of times and to Louisiana to help with hurricane clean up in the early 90’s, but never overseas. I’ll get to work with a team and help with English classes, provide respite care for long term missionaries in the country, and participate in outreach to people on a spiritual (superstitious) pilgrimage during this season.  Here’s my team:

I’ve never had to raise my own support, though I’ve helped my kids do it several times. If you’ve sent me money, thank you so much. It has been so sweet to read the notes you’ve sent along with your gift, and I’m always overwhelmed by the joy with which people give. In many ways, you’ve taught me how to give – with both generosity of resources and encouragement. I’m not quite fully funded, but almost.

I leave in just about two weeks, and I’d really love it if you prayed for us – for many open doors to share the gospel, to bless others, to serve others, to learn about God’s work in a very different context than my own, and for safe travels. It’s still scary to me to cross an ocean in an airplane and leave all of my loved ones behind, but this invitation to mission and service seemed like one the Lord was asking me to take.

How’s that for randomness? Thanks for loving me enough to track right along.  I love sharing it with you.

Said Goodbye Again, But Not Without A Pic This Time

It’s a new season of family life around here.  I realized that again over the holidays when I was trying to create our annual Christmas card and discovered I had not even ONE photo of our whole family together from the previous year.  So, taking family photos was a top priority for the four weeks that Kory was home between his sophomore year at Baylor and his job back in Texas at Pine Cove Camp this summer. 

We took Kory to the airport early this morning, and it was bittersweet.  It is so nice having him home, and not only because he is so helpful around the house, at the grocery store, and at church, but also because he is so upbeat and positive and eager.  We laugh more when Kory is home. We talk about life and faith and current events more, because he initiates those types of discussions. (The only thing he asked for for his 20th birthday was the “Leading From Your Strengths” online test and evaluation. Personal development? Deepening understanding of himself and others? He’s all about it.) So, bitter? Yes, but also sweet, because every time he leaves he has such incredible experiences. We are so thankful for that.  Makes it easier to say goodbye.

This summer is especially bittersweet, because Cooper will also be leaving soon. He graduated in May, and in just a few short weeks we’ll fly off to California together and settle him into a room in Uncle Stu (my brother!) and Aunt Rachel’s house in Palm Springs, CA where he’ll work on a golf course most likely and take a year to think and pray about next steps and what he would like to study. He’s been accepted to California Baptist University and Grand Canyon University, so he’ll also get to visit those campuses over the next several months to help him make a better decision.

I’m not sure what we’ll do without Coop around. His originality and wittiness are things we have come to love, not to mention his ever improving fashion sense. He’s a thinker, a ponderer, and when he speaks about the things he’s thinking ~ faith, people, circumstances, it is usually profound. He can also lighten the mood and remind us that we (mostly me) need not take ourselves so seriously or be so easily offended. That’s a good thing. So again, bitter, but also sweet, knowing that adventure, growth, and mentorship by a godly aunt and uncle await him, not to mention sunshine, sandy beaches, and swimming pools.  Two small nephews also await him, so I think his babysitting skills will get some sharpening as well.

This girl will become an only child (sort of) at the end of August!  Her dad keeps telling her that ALL of our attention will then be focused COMPLETELY on her. For some reason, she doesn’t seem thrilled by that prospect.  I, for one, am excited to have the next few years at home with my girl. She is truly a delightful young woman. Her faith is strong (“Mom, I want to learn something new and challenging in youth group…”) and so is her creativity (She completely re-decorated her room this summer with a fresh coat of paint and pops of style and color from Good Will and Target), not to mention her athletic ability (She lettered in Varsity track as a freshman this past year). She will really miss her brothers, though. I’m sure of it.

So, we celebrated Kory’s 20th birthday on Monday. Yes, 20th. Hard to believe. I’m so glad he was home for this.  We had a small celebration, mostly so he could see one of his most favorite families ever whom he kept missing at church ~ the Moylans, but a few other friends (Lois & Harringtons & Speights!) joined in for fajitas and ice cream cake as well.

We spent most of the evening doing this. Small children + balls + trampoline + birthday boy = endless-way-past-bedtime-entertainment. Really.

It was BEFORE the party ~ and I mean RIGHT before the party that we took these photos. I’m not sure how she does it, but somehow our dear friend, Lois, comes to the rescue of many families in chaos. Crisis, too ~ but mostly just chaos. She texted me about what time I wanted to take family photos and I responded that I wasn’t sure I could fit it in with all the other tasks the day was requiring. That’s when she asked me to send her my shopping list.

So, not only did she take these photos from about 3-4:30 on Monday afternoon (in next door Northampton), but she also picked up Kayla at 1pm and they went shopping for all of the party food, unloaded it, and set it out for me to work with later. It was amazing. I could not have pulled the day off without her.  We definitely wouldn’t have had these photos if I’d tried. I only wish we’d had a passerby take one photo with Lois IN IT. Sigh…

Our last round of family photos a few years ago had me strategizing colors and outfits for WEEKS.  (I am not good at that!) Would you believe we pulled these together in about 10 minutes? That’s what has to happen in chaos, but it is not my preferred mode.

We DID manage to make a quick trip into Starbucks before heading home. The photo session happened just around back of the store, and the green mermaid was calling out to us the whole time. She’s very persuasive.

 Kory has just landed in Austin, where my dad is picking him up and probably planning on a Mexican food dinner somewhere.  He reports to summer camp and a cabin of 10th-12th grade boys on Saturday. Cooper is off to a lawn mowing job ~ one of three summer jobs he’s had which have earned him enough money to buy a car once in California.  Kayla is writing a letter to a beloved pen pal and printing recent photos to go with it.  Robert is off to a late meeting at church after a very early men’s breakfast (and trip to the airport!) this morning. I am taking a break from cooking dinner and studying ethics this evening to write all of this down. Somehow it’s helpful and healing.

I didn’t sleep a wink last night ~ watched every hour pass by on the clock by my bed which is currently located in our basement. It’s been a week of chaos and it finally caught up.  Actually, the chaos (with a heaping dose of heartbreak and disappointment) can be traced back for quite some time now. (How many of my blog posts have ended like this, I wonder?) But isn’t that usually how it is in the “now and not yet”? That theme has come up in my seminary courses over and over. I know this is not my home, and I’m grateful for that. Even still there have been great gifts in the midst…

a grocery list texted and taken care of
a gathering of friends
a family together
photos to capture a season
future plans and places
refreshing mermaid drinks
tears wiped and understood
laughter
good food
beach balls and trampolines
prayer

and even good, bittersweet goodbyes.

Tonight I am so sleepy, but so grateful for all of it.

P.S. I saved the best photos for a future Christmas card possibly coming your way. (Thanks, Lolo!)

Cape Octobers & Good Things


So…October 8 came and went, and nothing out of the ordinary happened.  Maybe the “good thing” that was supposed to happen is something we don’t know about yet, or maybe it was a call to count our current blessings ~ good things that we may be taking for granted. Admittedly, the “prophecy” sounded like it was something big, new, and exciting, but nothing of the sort really occurred.
Lots of regular “good things” have happened, though.
We did have a safe drive to Cape Cod on Tuesday night. We arrived around 11pm, got a good night’s sleep, and didn’t have to set alarms for early morning wake-ups. We’ve been coming to Cape Cod every October for many years thanks to the generosity of a sweet family in our church.  It’s been a good time to take a break after all the craziness of the end-of-summer and fall church activities.  When you live in a college town and have a congregation full of students August and September are full speed ahead.
Robert’s back is just about completely healed.  His constant pain is almost no more.  He’s even been able to run a bit, but not with me on the pavement yet.  Hopefully soon.  This healing is such a good thing ~ something we’ve prayed for daily since December.  And it’s all come about in the last week.  We are so grateful.

Important communication happened on the 8th.  Maybe even breakthrough communication that has possible benefits for everyone involved, granting growth, maturity and freedom.  And this was communication with several different folks about several different things ~ hard, burdensome things, and wonderful, celebratory things.

The beach is always a good thing ~ especially the beach on a sunny, blue sky day.  We took a walk in the sun and wind and enjoyed the refreshment that comes with being out of your usual surroundings and away from your usual responsibilities.  Shoes off, sand between your toes, sunshine on your face. Good things.

This week is an “off” week for Classical Conversations and homeschooling and that’s a good thing for  Cooper and Kayla ~ and me.  They put in a lot of hard work during the week to meet deadlines and complete assignments, so it’s nice for them to have a bit of an academic and mental vacation.  It also happens to be fall break for my seminary, and while it’s nice to have a reprieve from a heavy reading load and weekly quizzes, I do have a mid-term exam next week and a research paper due at the end of the month.  It’s okay though.  I really love what I’m studying and researching.  Good things.

Thursday morning, before we went to the beach, I went for a long run.  Running is such a good thing for me.  It’s a gift to have health and strength, to be outside in a beautiful place, and to have time to think and pray. I’ve also been memorizing Romans on my runs.  Amazing how memorizing it and therefore meditating on it can be so different than just reading it.  It feels like I understand it so much better.  I read Hebrews 9 and 10 before my run.  I love Hebrews ~ maybe more than Romans, I don’t know.  And what I read this morning is relevant to my research paper.  Wow. Good, good things.
I didn’t realize how close I was to the beach at the mid-point of my run!
Speaking of running, I received the gift of new running shoes while here at the Cape.  Church Planter Catalyst (Robert’s new 2nd job) wives were each given a $100 gift card recently. I knew exactly what I would buy.  My old running shoes had over 1300 miles on them, and so it was time.(Actually, it’s time at 500 miles, so this was overdue.)  The local Sports Authority had just my size and brand. This morning’s 8 mile run felt especially good in these new Asics, and they are perfectly timed with the training I’ll be doing in the next couple of weeks for a half-marathon with my friend Betsy.
We’re missing Kory on this trip, but here’s a throw-back to 2008 when all five of us were here, and we played a fun round of miniature golf.  We did talk to him on Wednesday night.  He was super-exhausted and super-excited all at the same time with things join on at school.

Tuesday night he interviewed Ian McCaw, the Athletic Director at Baylor, in front of a crowd of 300 students in the Lead Living-Learning Community. His day leading up to the evening event was completely chaotic, and he sent out a desperate plea for prayers via text early in the day. We prayed for him and for the event, and it ended up going well ~ all of it.  Good things.

So, lots of good things this week. Not of the prophetic dream sort, but still our life is often overflowing with good things that I never stop and acknowledge.

We still have three more days at the Cape, and it’s good to be away. When we return home, life will be very full and fast-paced.  It will be so good, but so busy. For now…we’re soaking up the good rest and good times with each other.

Gluten Free/Paleo Friday: Chicken Tenders With Creamy Cider Sauce

Last Saturday was the perfect day for apple picking.  It was even hot outside, which I always hope for in September.  We went to an orchard we’ve never been to before called Cold Spring Orchard which is actually the one run by UMass.  I remember having someone from the orchard come and speak at The Amherst Woman’s Club years ago.  He brought samples from a large variety of apples.  It was my first time to try a Honeycrisp and a Macoun.  Both are delicious.

 I don’t remember the variety we picked last weekend, but they were large.  Very different from the Macintoshes we typically pick.

Kayla and Cooper were thrilled about picking apples, or was it that they were thrilled about what came after apple picking (a trip to the mall) and just decided it was a necessary evil?  Oh, they really didn’t mind it at all, but it’s so funny to watch the transformation over the years ~ from toddler giddiness to teenage nonchalance.  At least they don’t try and climb the trees anymore and throw apples at each other. Actually, I’m a little surprised about that last part.

 The big apples filled our two half-bushel bags in no time at all.  Robert headed home to finish up sermon and other work for Sunday, and the kids and I headed to the “big” mall to meet up with the McCullah family girls in search of wedding clothes for this weekend.  We did not have any success, and I told my crew that the six mile run I’d been on earlier that morning was a breeze compared to walking the mall for four hours with five teen and tween girls and one baby.  Oh my.  And to leave empty-handed….

The wedding is tomorrow, and none of us have any clue as to what we’ll be wearing.
Monday night we returned to our tradition of having Lois over to watch The Voice.  She made bouquets for the bridesmaids while watching.  I made some homemade applesauce and also a paleo version of this recipe from about three years ago for our dinner together.  The only differences are that I did not “bread” the chicken tenders, but rather baked and broiled them, and that I substituted coconut milk for the heavy cream.
This pic is of the GF “breaded” version from a few years back ~ and before the cream was added and sauce thickened.
And here’s the paleo version:
Chicken Tenders with Creamy Cider Sauce
10-15 chicken tenderloins
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, finly chopped
1 apple ~ peeled, cored, sliced thin
1 tsp thyme
2 cups apple cider (not juice)
1-2 cans coconut milk (or cream) ~ I used two because I wanted extra cream and sauce overall.
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
For chicken: Place tenderloins on a baking sheet.  Rub with olive oil (or coconut oil) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in a 375 degree oven on middle rack for 15 minutes.  Turn the broiler on after fifteen minutes and move chicken to top rack.  Broil about 2 minutes each side.
For Sauce: Heat coconut oil in skillet adding onions, apple slices, and thyme.  Sauté 3-5 minutes until apple and onion are softened. Add cider and bring to a boil.  Keep boiling until liquid is reduced a bit.  Stir in coconut milk (or cream), dijon mustard, and salt and pepper.  Continue simmering and stirring until the cider sauce is slightly thickened.
Spoon sauce over chicken tenderloins to serve.
Our side dishes were sweet potatoes and sautéed kale.
Enjoy ~ and have a great weekend.  We’ll be rehearsing for the wedding tonight and spending most all of our day wedding-ing tomorrow with a wonderful couple from our church.  Kayla and her friends will be serving during the cocktail/appetizer hour as well as throughout dinner.  We’re praying for no rain and a beautiful outdoor-among-the-gorgeous-foliage ceremony.  S’mores and camp fire will be the grand finale if the weather cooperates.
Now…to find something to wear for all the boys and girls here at my house!

Gluten Free/Paleo Friday: Kale Avocado Salad (A brunch and providential produce, too)

Happy Friday!

It’s beautiful here today, and as much as I dread the coming cold, it is nice to have a bit of a break from the humidity. Feels like you can breathe again. My fall wreath is now hung on the front door, which usually doesn’t happen until October, and I’m mentally planning a future weekend outing for apple picking.  This yearly tradition always sneaks up on me.

We probably won’t get around to it tomorrow, because Kayla will be off on a field trip to Salem to tour the Custom House (she recently trudged through that prologue to The Scarlet Letter), see the homes of Nathaniel Bowditch AND Nathaniel Hawthorne, follow a walking tour of Salem, visit the Witch House, and possibly end the day walking around historic Rockport.  I’ve been to the House of Seven Gables before, but I’m jealous of all the other things she’ll get to do tomorrow with homeschool friends.

I’m excited, though, for how I’ll be spending my day tomorrow.  It will involve shopping for groceries, cooking, baking, and setting up for a brunch at church on Sunday.  I spent time planning the menu and decor yesterday with some help from Pinterest, and maybe I’ll take pictures and tell you about it next week.  Our church always does a “Back to School” or “Fall” cookout after the 11:15am service on one of the first Sundays of the school year, but the 9:15am service folks always miss out on this event.  This year, Robert wanted the early service people to have their own special lunch ~ or brunch, in this case, so he asked if I’d be willing to take it on.

I actually love doing things like this.  Oh, there’s never really time for it (homeschooling, housekeeping, seminary, small groups, coffee dates…), and I do get tired of cooking (my family wants a meal EVERY SINGLE night!), but I also love creating something special for a church event ~ or houseguests or birthdays, etc. It makes me happy to create a meal and space where people feel comfortable and indulged in something beyond the usual fare.

Okay ~ well, maybe I’ll tell you more next week when it’s all over. For now you could pray that people WILL be blessed by the meals provided on Sunday and delight in the grace of sweet fellowship.  Good weather would be wonderful, too ~ as the later cookout/picnic is always held outside.

Here’s a recipe that I’ve made several times since the spring. It was originally inspired by a salad I get at Whole Foods on occasion and also influenced by one in the Elana’s Pantry cookbook I’ve mentioned before.  It does require a tolerance for kale ~ even raw,  “massaged” kale ~ but it’s a really tasty way to get this super-food into your diet.  I think it’s so strange that the grocery store which is almost literally next door to my house (I’ve walked there at least twice this week) carries kale all the way from Texas.  We are surrounded ~ again, literally ~ by local organic farms that have an abundance of kale.  The farmer’s market is brimming with several different varieties.

The “Go Texan” twist-tie on my Massachusetts kale is interpreted by me as a little “wink” from God, which you may think is reading way too much into a twist-tie, but that’s okay. I don’t mind being thought silly for believing that God is capable of revealing His love for me and my plight of being an alien in a foreign land through my leafy greens.  He has the hairs of my head all numbered, so there’s no doubt He can guide the produce buyer’s hand at Big Y on my behalf. 😉

Here’s the Texas/Massachusetts recipe:

Kale Avocado Salad

1 med. bunch kale, washed, de-veined, torn in small pieces
1 ripe avocado
1/2 – 1 red bell pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp orange juice (fresh or from a carton)
2 tsp honey (Optional ~ the orange juice sweetens it quite a bit!)
salt and pepper to taste

Place washed and torn kale into a medium sized bowl. Pour olive oil and orange juice over the kale and massage it with your clean hands until the kale is thoroughly coated and softened a bit.  Let sit for 10-20 minutes while prepping the rest of the ingredients.

Depending on how much you desire, cut red bell pepper into medium diced pieces. Add to kale mixture and massage a bit more.

Peel and chop the avocado.  Add the pieces to the kale and massage until the chunks of avocado are mashed up and coating all of the salad.  Leaving some of the avocado chunks intact is okay, too!

Add salt, pepper and honey and toss to coat.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!  I’ll be making another version of this salad for the brunch that involves chicken, wild rice, apples, and cranberries.  Can’t wait to try it!

A Poem and a Latte Help, I Guess.

 It’s already happening. I couldn’t wear shorts on my run this morning and had to pull out the long-sleeved t-shirts as well  Next thing you know ~ probably tomorrow morning by the looks of it ~ I’ll be wearing mittens on my morning runs.  Mitten day is always a sad day, because it ominously marks the beginning of what is really almost 9 months of winter in my opinion.

While working on her algebra this morning, Kayla complained of being cold.  Though I felt her pain, I had to tell her to get a blanket and put on some socks and a hoodie, because we are certainly not turning on the heat mid-September.

Oh, I love fall and colorful foliage and pumpkins and fire pit gatherings, but if my fellow New Englanders are honest at all, they will admit that summer really only started two weeks ago.  I was wearing my hoodie on the beach in August remember?  It’s just not fair.  Why does summer have to be the shortest season of all?

I spent all last week learning about “natural revelation” or “general revelation” which is regarding how God reveals Himself in nature and its beauty, seasons, and patterns.  That the fall season arrives every year without fail is understood to be a witness to the covenant faithfulness of God. That the sun “rises” every morning a sign of His goodness, His provision.

“If this fixed order departs from before Me, declares the Lord, Then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever.”
Jeremiah 31:36

“Thus says the Lord, “If you can break my covenant for the day and My covenant for the night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed time, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant so that he will not have a son to reign on his throne…”
Jeremiah 33:20

I suppose I should be worshiping when I have to put on extra layers, but I am whining instead.
I received a letter from Lars last week in which he described a tree just outside their picture window and overlooking the Cape Ann Atlantic. Apparently this tree, with its reliable-weather-predicting abilities via its early or late leaf-turning, has declared with undeniable evidence that we’re in for a very long and harsh winter. Evidently, the tree has never been wrong.  I really hope it’s a fluke this year.
One person in my house is giddy over the change in season, though.  It’s the same person who needed to bundle up to do her algebra.  In her excitement and celebration of all things fall, she typed a poem about it. (She’s aware of her misspellings and mistakes, and didn’t want me to post it in this form, but I just love the typed words on her “typewriter” paper.)
When she wasn’t writing poetry, she was researching recipes for dairy free “pumpkin spice lattes” (her doctor asked her to eliminate lactose for a while), and spending time in the kitchen creating them. She shared the final product with me while I studied.  It was almost “paleo” but contained quite a bit of sugar.  This one is made with coconut milk (she actually used coconut cream!) and real pumpkin.  We even own a little hand held “frother” now, so our homemade drinks can look and taste extra official.  It was super-yummy, and I’ll request honey to sweeten next time!
There really are so many things to love about fall, and I am thankful to live in a part of the country famous for its autumn majesty, but today I am grieving the end of the short-lived days of warmth.  And if the predictions are correct, (because Lars’ tree isn’t the only one) I’m also grieving the impending harshness of the coming winter.
Good bye summer. See you next August. Maybe.