Monday, January 26, 2009

Garden Spaces

Here are photos of some garden spaces as they look right now. Lots of work ahead, right? Bear in mind, folks, that I'm not really posting these to impress you (because how could they?), but more as a way to hold myself accountable to making them look like something different so I can post photos here of what they look like later! How messed up is that? Do you do this to yourself? Play games to get things accomplished? Or make to-do lists that you add things to after you've already done them, just so you can cross them off? Such is the life of a hectic eclectic, I suppose.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Verdant Dreams

O dreary, drab, garden space, how you haunt me,
Beckoning me to the kitchen window to stare out at your barrenness!

I long for luscious, ripe tomatoes, fragrant sweet basil or some frumpy, bumpy squash,
For the warmth to return to the soil so I can go put my hands in it and be renewed.


For now, dear garden, just rest, sure in the knowledge that fresh compost and warm rains are not too far away. And I'll try to sit tight, too - poring over my seed catalogues, planning my strategies to thwart the deer, using up the rest of the canned goodness from last year's garden.

And dreaming verdant dreams.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Ran across some old photos today and thought I'd share them with you. These were taken a few years ago on a visit to my Nana. If you're ever down around Sarasota, Fl., you should check out Myakka River State Park. You can take a guided air boat ride, picnic, walk the trails or walk through the treetops in the canopy walkway! It's a great way to see a more natural view of Florida. A few years ago, when these photos were taken, Kel and I took Nana and our boys. It was fun to introduce our boys to the beauty of the place, and the adventure of discovering the local wildlife! "Mama, Mama! Look at that...(and then in hushed tones of reverence)....ALLIGATOR!" Nana and Gramp used to take me there when I was young, and I remember having pretty much the same reactions and feeling that same excitement (in fact, I pretty much still do). Isn't coming full circle interesting?

Monday, January 19, 2009

the artist

Here is Mr. Philip, our artist in residence. Recently he had two pieces chosen for special honors. The first one is one that he did during afterschool, in conjunction with a lesson from the Booth Western Art Museum. It was chosen to hang in the museum in their Kids Cowboy Up Art exhibit. The other is one that he did at school that was chosen to hang in the library. So we had two "meet the artist" receptions in one night, and he was thrilled (as, of course, were his proud parents)!

This, I think is one of those moments when having our family close together finally really hit home for me. We were able to travel from one to the other with his adoring entourage of family members in tow, and it meant so much to me for them to be able to be there. I know that one day, when he looks back on that moment, he will appreciate the gift of having his extended family close, too.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Soup

Had some friends over today that we haven't seen for awhile. We played with the kids outside, chatted together and hiked around camp. It was a really nice day. After all the time outside in the chill, we were ready to come in and hang out by the fire, and have something warm to eat. Next time you have some leftover chicken, (and aren't on a diet!) try out this recipe that I made today.

Cheesy Chicken Soup

Combine the following ingredients in a large stockpot and cook over low heat.

6 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 gallon skim milk
2 TBS. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
pinch of dried cilantro
dash of celery seed
4-5 chicken breasts, chopped or shredded
1 can chicken stock
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8-10 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 block light cream cheese
2 cups water

While the above ingredents are getting hot in the stockpot, add these to a frying pan over med-high heat until cooked.

6 stalks of celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 stick of butter
1 large carrot, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms

Add the ingredients from the frying pan to the rest of the soup, and simmer over low heat for another 30 minutes or so.

You could start with a whole chicken, instead of the breasts and make your own stock and everything, but I was trying to use up some things I already had on hand.

I served it up (added some extra shredded cheddar for garnish) with some fresh salad and some dinner rolls our friends had brought with them. It was yummy!

edited to add: it does make an enormous pot of soup, but there were 9 of us, and not that much left over, so I think it was good that I made that much! You can always cut it down to fit your crew...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Seed catalogues!

I got my first two seed catalogues in the mail this week - hooray! I love going through the pages to see all the variety of things there are to be had. And learning a ton of new plants in the process.

I love circling, highlighting, and otherwise marking them up as I dream and plan the garden each year. The garden this year will have to be different than last year's, so I have some new constraints, but I have begun the dreaming process, and each catalogue gives me permission to dream bigger.

I can't wait until the next one comes!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Are we afraid of having too many fish?

In the beginning of Luke 5, the disciples have a bad day of fishing. Jesus, to have some space from the crowd, gets in a boat and teaches from there. Afterwards, Jesus tells them to lower the nets to fish some more. After some discussion, they finally do, and bring them in so full, they nearly sink the boats.

It is at this point that Peter pretty much freaks out.

The nets were filled and yet, instead of rejoicing, Peter was afraid. Aren't we all a little bit like that? Afraid for things to be too good? And so we sabotage ourselves, just a little, to make sure that our nets never get too full - as if losing a half -full net would hurt less than losing the whole thing.

We don't really intend to, but I think we listen to our inner critic (or our outward critics), or we allow people in our lives to get in the way of our success, or we think we're not worth what it takes to get where we want to be.

Peter is suddenly afraid because he is faced with the true person of Jesus and he can't handle it. In this pivotal moment, he freezes and essentially says,"You don't want me!" - and yet Jesus claims him as a disciple anyway, and gladly.

What a hopeful moment that becomes then for the rest of us! Peter, Moses, Isaiah - all say to God, "You've got the wrong person. I am NOT good enough." And yet, God chooses who God will - for reasons unbeknownst to us.

Not that I think God intends for us to all be successful in every endeavor. But perhaps understanding that our creator loves and accepts us, can give us permission to do the same for ourselves.