Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer reads

I do love a good book suggestion, don’t you?  While you won’t always love the same books as me, you can do what I do and reserve them at your local library where it costs nothing to try out other people’s suggestions! 

I am reading the first book in Joel Rosenberg’s series and it, like his others, is one you don’t want to put down (unless the Olympics are on or you realize you actually have work to do).


I finished The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey.  It’s a good story but I wanted a different ending.  Don’t you hate that?

images (1)

This one, So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger, was the second by this author.  I absolutely loved his first book – Peace Like A River – and this one didn’t quite live up to that for me but I enjoyed it.

Today, I’m joining Centsational Girls’ Fair Weather Link Party:


Monday, July 30, 2012

Monkeying around

When the online photo-editor Picnik announced they were shutting down, many bloggers like me despaired.  It was free, user-friendly and lots of fun! 

I immediately began searching for something similar and have been using PicMonkey.com ever since.  They keep adding new options and their collages are wonderful.  Here are just a few of the things you can do…






It’s as simple as dragging a photo into the PicMonkey box - a few clicks later and you’re a graphic genius!   (My apologies to graphic geniuses everywhere.)

Try it yourself if you haven’t already.  But be careful – before you know it several hours will go by and you won’t know you missed dinner and possibly bedtime!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

These always get me

Remember this one from the 2010 Winter Olympics?

*If you're reading the blog via email or reader, you'll need to go to the blog page to see these videos.
I know this company makes lots of money with this really effective ad campaign - it is hugely popular.  I think it's because they target something that we all want and need:  love of family.

Because I love the back-stories as much as the Olympic competition itself, these videos were fun to watch.

Nope, P&G didn't pay me one cent for sharing all of this.  But I'm hoping when they find my blog, they'll send me a free disposable razor, a jar of wrinkle cream and a bag of dog food.

Ya think?


Friday, July 27, 2012

A whole lotta good stuff

I had a birthday this month!  Despite living with some chronic pain and the creeping effects of my advanced age, I am really thankful for every single year of my life. 

To start off my day, Jeff took me to breakfast at Vivace Coffee House and Crepery in NW Portland.  It was fun to go somewhere new so we told each other we need to get out more.


Mushroom and spinach crepe with sour cream ‘frosting’

Then we had a weekend away – mostly for work – but ending with a family picnic for all of the local adoptive families in Washington. 


I can’t really describe to you what it’s like for me to see these Ethiopian children at a park in the US, running around in cute clothes, eating hot dogs and playing with their siblings and several of their buddies from the orphanage.  Most were found abandoned in the dirt, behind a building, left on a hospital bed, likely by a young mother who couldn’t provide shelter or feed them.  In Ethiopia a single woman with a child is without hope of ever getting married and there are no social services.  Combine that with the grinding poverty that permeates the country and it is a desperate situation. 

In most cases, I have been looking at their sweet little faces for at least a year, usually longer, praying for a family for them, for their paperwork to be completed, for all of the transitions they face and for their families. I get health reports each month where I make note of their height, weight and health status.  I hear when they get a new tooth, start walking, get a cold and when they’re potty-trained.  I stare at pictures and watch video of them, fearful at first of my white-faced husband who is photographing them, but eventually showing off their personalities.  Joy and Jeff tell me stories of their interactions with each of them. 


So you can imagine how mind-blowing it is to see these same little ones finally wrapped up in the love of a mom and dad.  God has faithfully placed the lonely in families!  Psalm 68:6


(You can see more photos from this great picnic day at our YWAM Adoption Ministry blog here.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012



Lately I’ve been interacting with a loved-one and those encounters have been churning up all kinds of ugly in me – stuff I thought I had dealt with long ago.  Resentment.  Impatience.  Disrespect. 

It was years ago that I admitted to these these sins and asked for forgiveness.  I felt sure that they were in my past.  So why am I dealing with all of it again?  Have I been I fooling myself about being forgiven? 

The answer is NO.  God promises if I admit my sin, He forgives and cleans me completely of all guilt and shame.

No, those old sins are not available for debate – they’re long gone. 

But… the enemy certainly takes advantage of every opportunity to snare me.  It’s creepy how well he knows me and how cunningly he plants the traps I fall into.  He knows what triggers my sense of entitlement, my right to be treated well and appreciated, my tendency to climb up on the judgment seat. 

If I am not paying attention I will fall head-first into his carefully laid snares.  I’m starting to see how predictable he really is!  And how stupid I can be for not recognizing the same old traps.

I like how Eugene Peterson puts it:

Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up.  1 Peter 5:8

Unforgiven sin?  No.  Carefully laid booby traps designed for me?  Oh yes.

"God, you're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!" That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you're perfectly safe. His arms fend off all harm.   Ps 91:3-4

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A message from your smartphone

Trigger Finger Disease

My Darling,

You and I have grown very close since I came into your life, haven’t we?  We’re never more than a few feet apart and I love you for that. 

I want to remind you of all the reasons we’re so good for each other.  I give you directions, important information, answers to every question you can think of (well, okay, maybe not everything), games with friends, texts, tweets, breaking news and access to your FB news feed so you know what your friends are eating or when they post a new Inst*gr*m.

But… I’m staging an intervention here and I want you to listen up.  Today I couldn’t help but notice (because I do have a camera pointing both ways) that your son was sitting across from you in the restaurant but you didn’t take your eyes off of me for most of the meal.  I wish I’d snapped a pic of his face.  Then I had your complete attention during that conversation your family was having in the living room.  People asked you questions and you didn't even hear them - it was embarrassing!  I’ve heard your kids repeat “Mommy!”, their voices getting louder each time, while you updated your status.  And yesterday the car kept veering into the next lane as you checked to see what your friend thought about those new flip-flops you bought.

I have to say you’re scaring me.  No one can hold up under this kind of pressure in a relationship.  I can’t be your everything!  

We have to admit it - we need to take a break from each other.  Let’s start seeing other people.  Literally. 

I'll make a deal with you – put me away when you’re at meals or spending time with your family or with your friend for coffee (you know, when there is someone in the flesh to interact with) and I'll continue to make your life a bit easier and more entertaining.  I can’t BE your life.  I'm just not that into you.

And let's not kid ourselves - you're going to dump me anyway when the next upgrade comes along.


                           Your SmartPhone

P.S.  When you see someone with an old flip or slider or candy bar phone, be kind.  Refrain from laughing at them or saying things like “My grandma has a phone like that!”  They’ll eventually get a data plan – probably when smart phones morph into 3D devices and fold up into a tiny square.


*I wrote this because my 4 year old dumbphone is acting up and I’m considering an ‘upgrade.’  But honestly?  I'm worried about what might happen to me if I do.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


quinoa have a cup

I’m not the most cutting-edge when it comes to food. 
Or sun glasses.
Or cell phones.

But after embarrassing myself by pronouncing ‘quinoa’ the wrong way in front of several 20-somethings, I decided it was time to get my cool on in the kitchen.

I’d purchased some quinoa (keen’-wa for those who need help like I did) several weeks earlier but hadn’t tried cooking with it.  Tonight was the night!

What is quinoa anyway?  Because of its texture and taste, it’s often referred to as a grain.  It’s actually a seed and comes from a dark, leafy plant similar to spinach or swiss chard.  Quinoa is loaded with protein, fiber and nutrients, giving it its designation as a superfood.  It’s gluten-free and low on the glycemic index so although it can be used in all the ways rice can, it doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike that most carbs do.

I like it because it cooks quickly, can be served hot in a main dish or cold in a salad, and has a nutty, fairly mild flavor that goes with so many ingredients. 

I found a recipe at Epicurious but tweaked it based on what I had on hand and what sounded good.  It was delicious!  You could do some tweaking of your own so it’s made to your liking.  Here’s my version:

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa
Printable recipe here

2 Tbl lime juice
2 Tbl butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbl vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar

1 cup quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can sweet corn, drained
12 grape tomatoes, sliced
4 green onions
¼ cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper

Whisk together dressing in a large bowl.  Wash quinoa in sieve.  Bring 2 cups water + 2 tsp salt to a boil; add quinoa and bring back to boil.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the water.  Remove from heat, fluff, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed.  Stir in remaining ingredients; add salt and pepper to taste.

If you have a yummy quinoa recipe, please share the link in a comment!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Enter a post title here


I need a good post title for when I can’t think of anything else to post except links to other people’s creativity I thoughtfully share things I’ve found on the web with you!  Others have taken all the good ones: 

4 ways to take a walk like a believer
@Chatting at the Sky
After I read this, I realized again that I am a concrete/sequential person through and through.  Facts.  Figures.  Straightforward art.  Literal meanings.  But I want to be more like Emily so I can breathe in the deep color of love.

Sometimes I Don’t Want To Be Brave
@We Are THAT Family
Kristen is doing something amazing – she and her husband started a
home for pregnant girls in Kenya.  Just the two of them – no big organization, no corporate backing.  She is doing something really big and brave, even though she doesn’t always feel very brave.  And God is showing up in so many amazing ways.  This inspires me.

Why Women Still Can’t Have It All
@The Atlantic
”If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.”

Have you ever been baffled by Pin terest?  I found these two posts to be really helpful.  I want to be able to find the source of a pin!

Bandanas = Cute Cloth Napkins
@The Pioneer Woman
How cute do these look?


I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Can you come over?


I hope you’re smack dab in the middle of a wonderful summer!  I always wonder how everyone’s days look in this season… mine start off with bright mornings in the living room with a large cup of coffee and my bible (as opposed to the very dark mornings in winter when it seems to take so much longer to wake up).  Lunches are usually outside on the deck.  Afternoons often include a homemade iced latte.  Evenings mean time in the yard watering (because we don’t have a sprinkler system like I got used to in Palm Springs – spoiled), walks in the neighborhood and staying up later since the sun sets after 9:00 pm. 

This week we have some friends visiting from the desert (hi Josh and Des!), I get to spend time with my friend Karen who is battling multiple myeloma and I have two bible studies at my house (more on that later).  It’s a week full of good stuff!

Because one of my very favorite things is to get together with a friend – new or old – for coffee (thus my blog title!), I really wish you and I could sit down together across a little table, sipping iced somethings.  I’d love to hear all about you!  Blogging can sometimes feel a bit echo-y since I’m usually the only one talking.  So do leave a comment please and tell me what your summer holds.

And you can know I’d much prefer a face-to-face if only you could have a cup with me!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Jam M’am


I used a flat and a half of raspberries (picked by someone else) for this freezer jam – and had one pint extra to eat!   Below is the recipe I used.  I usually make the low-sugar option but bought the wrong pectin.  You can’t adjust amounts in this recipe or something really bad will happen.

Raspberry Jam
Printable recipe here

2 cups crushed raspberries (I don’t take out any of the seeds)
4 cups sugar
2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 envelope liquid pectin

Mix berries and sugar and let stand for 10 minutes.  Add lemon juice and pectin, stirring for 2-3 minutes.  Pour into clean and dry containers.  Seal with lids and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.  Freeze all except one to store in your refrigerator ready for your toast in the morning or your vanilla bean ice cream at night!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

More ‘Memories of Summer’

Summer memories are some of the most lasting, for some reason.  I’ve shared some of mine on the blog before.  What things do you remember about summers in your childhood?

I remember my Barbie dream house with the cardboard furniture and the fake record albums that went in the stereo console.   I still have it.

dennis lin

I remember playing troll dolls for hours, making clothes for them out of felt and taking mine everywhere I went.   I believe the C*abbage P*tch doll is a direct descendant.


I remember playing Chinese jump rope and making Jacob’s ladder out of yarn loops.

chinese jump rope   cats4

I remember miles and miles of roller skating on a pair of skates that you clamped onto your fake Keds and tightened with a key that you wore on a string around your neck all summer long.  They looked a lot like these:

Looking at this picture makes me feel like a dinosaur.  Or a character in an Am*rican Girl doll history book.  “Meet Becky!”

I remember going to the A&W drive-in (not drive through) and getting a teen burger and root beer in a glass mug, brought to your car on a tray that hung from your window.  These were the characters (now restored) in front of the drive-in representing the papa, mama, teen and baby burgers.


I remember walking down to ‘Sev for coke slurpees and penny candy.


When I was older, I remember learning to drive in a bug like this one with a stick shift and no seat belts.  Check out that cool dash board.

vw collage

I remember tent camping and water skiing.  My dad actually built a fiberglass boat with an outboard motor and a bench seat for two.  This picture is somewhat similar to what our campsites looked like:


Except substitute folding wooden stools with canvas seats for those comfy chairs.  And erase that nifty screened enclosure.  Replace the two-room dome tent with it’s easy-up poles with a 6x6’ heavy canvas army tent filled with four leaky air mattresses and two kids instructed (loudly) not to touch the sides when it rained.  Add a heavy metal cooler full of Shasta pop, some Sea and Ski sunscreen and a frazzled mother who hated camping and you pretty much have my family!

I remember berry picking, bike riding, summer classes at OMSI, water ballet, sunburns and the whistle my mom blew from the front porch when it was time to come home for dinner.

Summer is for making memories!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Four on the 4th

The ultimate in lazy blogging is simply posting links to other blogs.

I have been that blogger.  But I actually appreciate when my favorite bloggers share links to great ideas, inspiring posts and interesting articles. Don't you?

I am doing none of those things today.

Today I am posting these:

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