Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A beautiful day in the neighborhood



Yesterday was one of those incredible fall days in the Northwest – balmy, no rain, blue skies peeking through some white puffy clouds…



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We had to get out for a walk with our cameras.


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Notice how I said ‘our cameras’ all casual like I am a real photographer.


The neighborhood where we live is the same one I grew up in.  That means it is mature.  There are lots of large trees which make for beautiful spring and fall walks.


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These are the streets where I rode my banana-seat bike with the sting-ray handlebars.

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Where I waited for the school bus and hit Dave D with my umbrella when he called me Becky Bratley.

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Where we sat on the curb eating huge dill pickles or colored ice cubes in the summer.

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(I hope you’ll forgive me for filling this space with so many fall photos – I am just overwhelmed with the colors in God’s creation and love sharing them with you!)

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Many of the homes in our neighborhood have been remodeled and updated since they were built in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Ours hasn’t.  We are going for that retro look that is so popular now!



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This short little street is one of my very favorites...


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People who live here do a LOT of raking in October and November.


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Today it’s raining like crazy again but I’m sure thankful for a lovely walk yesterday.  And thinking of all those on the East coast who are suffering through that terrible storm.


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Thanks to my favorite photographer for going on walks with me, listening to me jabber along the way and sharing his photos for the blog.  I'm sure you haven't see the last of fall from me!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

From my sick bed



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I’m not officially sick and I’m not in bed but I felt kind of icky all day yesterday so I stayed on the couch with a pillow and blanket, surrounded by my laptop, a book, a cup of tea and two strengths of reading glasses – one for normal and one for small print.  I alternately wrapped myself in fleece because I was freezing then threw off everything when my body temp suddenly skyrocketed.  This could be the flu or it could be hot flashes. 

In other breaking news…
  • It’s raining here in Oregon. (!)  Soon daylight saving time will end and it will get dark at 4:30 pm.  Candles will be burning around here and I may even break out the white lights for my three indoor fall trees.  I’m going for cozy.

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  • These are new scents this year and I love them!
  • I’m working on introducing the Holy Spirit to my small group.  I know that if we can even begin to understand how incredible it is that God Himself lives in us, making all of His power and wisdom available to us whenever we need it, we will be changed women!
  • I pulled up most of my geraniums this week and planted purple winter pansies, flowering kale, and boxwood.   Many geraniums are still blooming, as are my impatiens – but not for long, I imagine. 


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  • In Oregon we have mail-in ballots.  I’m with you – cannot wait for this election season to be DONE.
  • I’m reading a good book that I’ll share more about when I’m finished!  A true story from 1945.


  • I bought candy for the 31st that I don’t like.  Ours won’t be one of the ‘do not miss that house’ stops in the neighborhood.  I remember a house in this same neighborhood when I was little where the woman actually invited you inside to bob for apples – and we did it!  Creepy to think about now.  Creepier still to remember the many teeth-marks (not all mine) I discovered in the apple I brought home.


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  • I’m in the midst of a soup adventure – trying at least one new recipe a week.  Last week was Pasta e Fagioli and boy was it good!  Really easy too.


  • Every year I think about how to make Christmas less about the stuff.   I love The Advent Conspiracy.  (Here is a cool advent calendar - you use your smartphone QR code reader to open each day of the month of December to get stories, pictures, videos and more.  Of course I can’t see any of these because I have a dumb phone but you can probably enjoy it!)  I know of children who have decided to give up all of their Christmas gifts in order to provide what kids across the world truly need and I am very convicted and impressed.  In our YWAM Gift Catalog there are lots of ideas for every budget!  100% of your donation goes to Ethiopia to make a huge difference in the life of a widow, orphan or struggling family. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It IS a small world after all

My little Sitemeter gadget in the right hand column keeps track of how many people read this confused little blog.  As of today, there were 12,000 page 'hits', which is very funny (and SCARY) to me.  


I can also see where my blog readers are from... Oregon, Washington, California.  These are my friends who  I pay a small monthly stipend to.

Then there is also Vermont, Missouri, South Dakota and Pennsylvania.  These dear folks have somehow stumbled onto the blog via Pinterest or by googling 'pharisee.'

But what about New Zealand, Egypt or Brazil?   What?

I started in June of 2008 and I'm not exactly a daily blogger.  Or sometimes even weekly.  I've shared before how I've failed at doing any of the things you're supposed to do in order to have a 'successful' blog.  I rarely have anyone leave a comment - but then I don't often leave comments either!  I've just recently (with fear and trepidation) posted a few recipes on Pinterest that link back here.  I still feel incredibly vulnerable and often embarrassed putting myself out here on the web for all to see.

To be honest, I don't know why anyone reads it.  Mostly because I haven't exactly zeroed in on a purpose.

But I am so humbly glad that you do!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Need a suggestion?


Because I always appreciate a good book, movie or any other kind of recommendation from someone I trust, I thought I’d share.  (To be honest, I don’t know if you trust me or not.)

Reading…

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I got this at the library, as I do most of the books I read. Wonderstruck is written by the author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret (did you see the movie ‘Hugo’?  I loved it.)   It’s technically a children’s book written and beautifully illustrated by Brian Selznick, who won the Caldecott honor for Hugo Cabret.   It’s a thick book but that’s because of the more than 460 page of illustrations.  Those drawings tell half of this story without words.   Here is a short video of the author explaining the story:



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I’m also reading Jesus+Nothing=Everything by Tullian Tchividjian (Billy Graham’s grandson).  I like it so far – it seems to have a similar message as my favorite book – The Saving Life of Christ.  This message is being hammered home to me in my morning time in the Word as well:  with the Holy Spirit alive in me, I have everything I can ever need to live a full, fruitful, blessed, pleasing life for Him.  Apart from Him I come up completely empty, frustrated, falling into the same traps over and over.

Watching…

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Foyle’s War – the PBS mystery/drama series set in 1940’s England during the second World War.  I love these characters, love the storyline, setting, cinematography and the historical perspective.  Here’s a summary I think describes it well:

Each episode of Foyle's War, created by Anthony Horowitz (Midsomer Murders), blends real-life war stories with tales of treachery and suspense. Whether investigating sabotage, looting, stolen food or fuel supplies, police brutality of conscientious objectors, treason, or murder, Foyle and his colleagues must wage their own personal war amidst the tumult of a larger one. But more than a period whodunnit, Foyle's War is redolent with rich human drama subtly revealed through the lives of these main characters who make up the heart of the series. Steadfast and loyal to each other, they strive to uphold the values for which they and their countrymen - their loved ones - are fighting and dying.

I only wish they had been more creative in titling the series – “Foyle’s War” doesn’t draw viewers to the great story.  When Jeff suggested it, I almost didn’t bother to check it out.  After you watch the first one (we watch on Netflix) you’re hooked!  They also have this series at the library – just FYI.


Listening to…

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Hillsong Live – Cornerstone
Great worship on this album!

Eating…
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Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl
(I know you really didn’t need to know what I’m eating.)


Wearing…

Kidding!  I won’t ever do one of those blog posts showing you pictures of what I’m wearing today.  No one cares.
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pinterland


Help me! 
I’ve been pinning pumpkin and other cinnamon-y recipes like mad.

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Gingerdoodles
Also called Snickersnaps.  Mmmmmm.   These are a new cookie cross-breed, much like the designer dogs that are so popular.  


pumpkin cinnamon pull apart bread with maple glaze
Pumpkin cinnamon pull apart bread with maple glaze.
Anything with maple glaze is good but with bread and cinnamon?  Makes your mouth water.


pumpkin coffee cake


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Pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon syrup.
Well-done food photography is awesome.  Look at that steam!


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Upside down apple pie
No pie crust to make.

I have enjoyed these and many many other sweet and carb-loaded treats… without taking a bite!  I haven’t made one of these delicious-looking recipes but I’ve had fun pinning them!  My Pinterest boards for Fall Recipes and for Sweets are an embarrassing collection of sugar and flour-laden delights.  Boy am I ever thankful that this is a zero-calorie pastime. 

Instead, I am trying a whole bunch of new soup recipes this fall.  Last night I made this one:

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Weeknight Black Bean Chili
Super easy and it was really good!

Also on my list:

autumn veg soup
Autumn Vegetable Soup
from Recipe Girl

caprese soup
Caprese Soup
So fresh and yummy looking!

veg quinoa soup
Vegetable Quinoa Soup
Another way to use kwi-no-uh (as I say with a smirk)!

I think Pinterest can be a big time vacuum but I have to say, I’ve especially loved the recipes I’ve found and the easy way I can save them and other good ideas for all kinds of stuff. 

Do you pin?  Have you spent more or less money as a result?  Have you gained or lost weight?  Have your husband or kids had to drag you away from the computer because you got lost in Pinterland?

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Crashing your own Pity Party



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I don’t seem to feel sorry for myself too often.  I’m not sure why that is because I certainly have a long list of stuff that is equally or even more disgusting about my attitude sometimes. 

But every once in a while I find myself thinking something like...

This is ridiculous.  Why do I have to put up with _________? 


Maybe for you it takes the form of a comparison with someone else.  As in:

Must be nice.  She never has to struggle with ________.


Or

Well I would be happy too if I had that {job, marriage, body, you-fill-in-the-blank}


These are never thoughts to be proud of.  And if they happen to make it from our minds to our mouths, it’s even worse.

I think one of the first steps we take that distances us from God (and it’s an almost imperceptible move away from Him) is through self-pity or self-indulgence.  It turns us from God because we're looking at ourselves instead of Him.  In his book “The Screwtape Letters,”  C.S. Lewis says that we’re like toads that can be cooked to death by merely bringing the water of self-interest to a gradual boil.

The remedy? Call it what it is – SIN

Agree with God about how ugly and deadly this attitude is. It’s a bit frightening to think about how long we can coddle these kinds of thoughts without realizing what it’s doing to us.

I’ve found it helps to confess it to someone else.  Saying it out loud brings an ugly truth it into the light.  Don’t you think the enemy prefers that we keep stuff like this under cover?  Determine not to cooperate with him in keeping it hidden.  Confession takes away the enemy's power.

The antidote?  Refocus on all there is to be thankful for.  Perspective is everything!  If I can take my spot next to God’s throne and begin to see from His point of view, I find that gratitude wells up in place of self-pity.  It moves me off center and reminds me Who has given me so much.

Which brings me to this video I recently saw - First World Problems Read By Third World Kids.  It speaks for itself:




Perspective.  Wow.

**Just found this on Kristen's blog today - we're on the same page!


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Photo walk



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Today after getting some necessaries done, I grabbed my camera and did what I’d written on my ‘to do’ list for today: 

        * photo walk

I haven’t been sleeping well and feel like I’m also fighting some sort of a bug.  It’s the last sunny day (or so the weatherman says) after a record-breaking sunny, dry stretch and I knew I’d feel so much better if I was outside on a long walk.   I was gone almost two hoursIn the middle of the day!  And I’m so glad I was. 

There is something to be said for the cultures that stop at some point in the day to rest, sip tea, chat with friends, just to cease working and enjoy.

I took my camera because I am trying to learn how to take good pictures and I need practice.  I am notorious for reading a great tutorial on manual settings or asking my husband how to set the aperture and then promptly forgetting everything I learned when it comes time to get a great picture.  I can visualize how I think the shot should look but I forget if I leave it on AUTO or Av to shoot one of those cool bokeh pictures (blurry in the background with something in the foreground in crisp focus).  If I actually find a good bokeh shot on my disk, I’m really just lucky.  More often I get pictures like these, taken on my walk today:

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Just not sharp or focused well.  Then there were these two:

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No idea what happened.  And that’s a problem because unless you know what you’re doing wrong, you can’t fix it.  Hmmm. 

But I did get some good shots.  And most of all, I had such a wonderful time just being outside.

This was the sky today (honest, I took a picture of the sky!):

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It’s fun looking UP!

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Our colors are not at their peak yet but there are some trees and shrubs that are already showing off.

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Would you feel comfortable if a strange woman was taking close-ups of your shrubs??


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All the streets in our neighborhood are named after trees:  Cherry, Spruce, Pine, Elm and ours is Chestnut.  Doesn’t Chestnut sound like a cool name for a street?  It is unless you have an actual chestnut tree in your front yard.  They make a mess.

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Let’s take a blurry zoom in to see what’s creating all this debris in the street…

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Here’s a chestnut in its burr:

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They ripen, fall off the tree and when they split open, the brown-shelled nut is inside.

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You then roast them on an open fire while Jack Frost nips at your nose.  I know street vendors sell roasted chestnuts in New York and my neighbors could do something similar in their driveway.

I finally ended up back in my own yard where I could snap pictures to my heart’s content without feeling like I was doing something sinister. 

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I know the rain is coming and I’m really ready for it.  Everything is bone-dry and needs a good soaking.  But I so enjoyed this beautiful fall day!  Thanks for sharing it with me!

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