Slayed by Cuteness

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There is something about cute photos of hedgehogs on Pinterest that makes me want one NOW. I’ll scroll along the page and see one and then all of a sudden, my mind is blown and all I can do is melt and tell my husband, “I want a hedgehog!”

Source: via Mackenzie_McNamara on Pinterest

Seriously?! How you can you resist such CUTENESS?!

Source: uberhumor.com via Heather on Pinterest

That is when I break out the youtube videos. Like this one:

And that’s when I remember that I plan to reserve the wailing noises for future children. And I’ll leave the adorableness on my Pinterest page for now, thankyouverymuch.

Country Living

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I think I’m well on the way to becoming a country girl, perhaps a redneck even {albeit a Yankee one}. Why? Well…

I enjoy shooting my hubby’s Civil War replica pistol – and got a bull’s eye with it!

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We go cranberry bog hunting and cranberrying…

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{cranberry sauce making, here we come!}

And…we’re currently researching how to make HARD CIDER and because we’re insane like this, we’re actually going to attempt it. There’s an orchard nearby that sells preservative free cider. We’re going to buy glass jugs, stoppers and all the paraphernalia online and try our hands at it. I honestly hope that we can find the perfect recipe for something similar to Woodchuck Amber or the Fall Blend, but maybe we’ll hit on something even better!🙂

And just because, I have photos of house stuffage.

Our kitchen sink…soapstone! We picked it up at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore for a whopping $250.00. We are still so tickled pink about that steal – it’s going to be such a gorgeous addition to our kitchen, especially once we wipe it down with mineral oil and the beautiful blue grays shine through.
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The back of the house – we have two windows in! Bedrooms for future kidlings.🙂 I can’t wait to see the big kitchen window in there as well. It’s going to be amazing.
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Sunday Link Up

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This week, I’ve been jumping around the blogsphere just a bit…

Ashleigh Baker and overhearing conversations about God – a good reminder that we are all seeking, whatever path of life we’re on:

She moves quickly, clasping her hands and hugging them to her chest. Leaning forward again and she asks him, “But… but what about God? Does he… or she… have anything to do with it? The world, I mean?”

He sits back and nods slowly. “I do think God is running things here, spinning this world on his finger like a basketball, watching the way we live and giving us pointers on how to do it.”

“I think maybe I do, too,” she breathes, tilts her head. “But I don’t really know.”

Hop over her to read her Overheard Conversations About God

Sarah Bessey’s post about slowing down, resting and not doing everything, sinks in what God has been teaching me lately. This, especially this, is me most days:

And then, like most women, you can berate yourself for all the things you want to do and don’t do, all the things you think that Good Christian Women do. You can think about exercise and losing weight, about Bible studies, and helping orphans and widows, about money, about the whole hurting world. You can spend your emotional energy on all the ways you don’t measure up, sure, I’m doing this, but it’s not enough, it’s never enough, I’m never enough. You can look around at other women, other women you admire in real life or online or in bookstores or on TV, and think, well, look at her! I don’t know how she does it! I must work harder, I must do more.

Check out Start Small, Start with Sabbath

And Rachel Held Evan has me learning to let go and judge less – judge others and myself less when we aren’t getting perfect scores in life.

When I step back, when I think of my life afresh, it’s pretty darn impressive how much I can get accomplished in a given day: writing an 800-word blog post, responding to dozens of emails, running three miles on the treadmill, making dinner, praying, checking in on friends, keeping the faith when it’s hard, working on my marriage, resting, finally unpacking our suitcases four days after we returned from our road trip, and FINISHING A FREAKING BOOK. But rather than celebrating these impressive everyday “somersaults,” I tend to focus on the “deductions”: I forgot someone’s birthday (that’s a fifth of a point), the dishes haven’t been done (another third of a point), my jeans still fit too tight (a half a point), I never got to that last email (a fourth of a point), I snapped at Dan (a full point deduction for that one).

By the end of the day, I’m a regular McKayla Maroney, standing on the medal stand with a silver medal around my neck, giving the world my very best “not impressed” face.

Take a quick look at her post, Celebrating Somersaults

What blog posts hit home for you this week?

Five Minute Friday: Stretch

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Deep breath, this one is a new one for me, a bit of stretching in of itself. I’m participating in Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday Challenge.

Today’s word and challenge?

STRETCH.

We laugh ruefully, my sister-in-law and I, as we bend and stretch and reach to touch our toes, but can’t. And my sister pokes fun at us, limber from running daily she can reach her toes.

I’m no longer limber, but I *am* stretched thin. I feel like Bilbo Baggin’s statement to Gandolf: “I feel like butter spread over too much bread.” My workplace has stretched me thin these days and I’m continuously amazed at how much you stretch and stretch when you feel you will break.

I know God is using period of life for a reason, but I am more than ready for it to be over. My muscles ache from it all. I’m tired. I’m teary. I’m angry, far too often. And yet, I get up every morning, get up and find enough of myself for a work day and overtime again.

Somehow, He’s providing a little strength each day to get through each moment. And too little of me suddenly becomes enough through Him.

Five Minute Friday

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

Bright Flashes

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I saw a hummingbird hovering over my box of flowers on the landing outside our front door yesterday.

I gasped when I saw it and stood still, vacuum in hand, eyes riveted on the blur of wings, a long beak and feathers. No more than an instant and it was gone, out of sight by the time I’d rushed closer to the door.

It was a brilliant bright spot in my day and I wished I could capture it for infinity.

This is my home: every day these days

Why? Because…I’m a workaholic, I come home, I’m tired and any bursts of energy are used for things like, um, making jam that isn’t a necessity and you’d think I’d do  something with the piles of paperwork and laundry before I started messing in the kitchen.

But…that’s life. And jam-making is therapeutic these days, because physically creating something is good for me after sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day. So…I’m making jam and the apartment will be clean again, eventually.

At least, I hope so.

(And it’s rather daunting to hit ‘publish’ on this one because I hate looking like a slob…but seriously, how do other people have time for a full-time job, a social life AND keeping the house spick-n-span?! Forget the social life, I don’t have one…)

Kissin’ Kate, er, Krista’s Peach Preserves

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I took the afternoon off from work yesterday – a mental health day, yay! And what did I do? I ran some errands and bought a few things, including a gift for my niece who is due in November, a gift for my grandmother’s birthday and…fresh peaches from a local orchard.

Then I went home and made peach jam, in spite of the heat 85+ degree heat.

I think I find jam-making therapeutic these days. We made blueberry jam Tuesday evening when I got home from work (a rough day and I honestly felt like I needed to get SOMETHING accomplished since the rest of the day didn’t clear much off my internal to-do list at work) and suddenly, Friday morning, while sitting at work it dawned on me.

Peach jam.

Cue a watering mouth. And an immediate text that I sent to my hubby: “Peach jam. Yay or Nay?”

His response, of course, was YAY!

Oh, the fruit of my labor. I love it. I love how it looks and I love how it tastes like summer in a jar. I can’t wait to make another batch of it to share with family and friends.

(Random literary reference: Kissin’ Kate in Louis Sachar’s Holes made the best peach preserves in town. Not sure what hers tasted like, but mine is pretty darn delicious!)

[in the kitchen] Five Favorites

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I love playing in the kitchen and wish I had more time to experiment and try new things. Unfortunately, long work days limit me in this area. Nonetheless, I try to spend time in it on a regular basis because we love healthy, delicious foods and there’s nothing better and more healthy than cooking for yourself.

And what’s one thing (aside from great ingredients) that  makes cooking easier, more enjoyable?

Kitchen toys. Oh yes. The knives. The pots and pans. The cute mixing bowls and fancy-schmancy mixers. And then there are my favorites.

1)        The wok. I love that thing. We didn’t have one on the registry, but one of Ty’s cousins gave us one with a bunch of other kitchen things. It took me a few months before I even attempted to use it, since I had schnill experience with them at all. But now? Oh LOVE. Steaming veggies is my favorite quick thing method with our wok.

2)        Garlic press. Seriously – the best thing ever. All you have to do is pop a clove into the press and voila, crushed garlic. No cutting, peeling or mincing involved. So easy! I love this little thing and use it often – because we use garlic in meals that often!

3)        Cast-iron skillet. There’s nothing like cooking meat on cast-iron. Gah. Love that pan.

4)        Stoneware! I have one Pampered Chef stone, a shower gift from my aunt, and it’s beautifully seasoned, we use it so often. We use it for anything and everything, from French fries to cookies to home-made pizza and more. It holds heat beautifully and everything cooks so well on stone.

5)        The knife set. We spent most of the first month of our married life with just two small (albeit, beautiful) knives. After that month, we’d had enough of it and used a few gift cards towards the large purchase of a good knife set. I love that thing, especially the knife sharpener.

I do own a beautiful apple green Kitchenaid – a gift from a wonderful group of friends – but I actually have yet to even take it out of the box. Our kitchen has serious space limitations and so I chose to pack away my ‘cement mixer’ (as hubby likes to call it) until we’re in the house. It’s going to be so much fun when I’m finally unable to unpack it and put it to use in our new kitchen! I may need to write a follow up post and let you know if it makes it into my top 5 favorites – I’m really hoping it will!

What are your top five favorite kitchen toys?

Houses & Hopes

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It suddenly occurred to me the other day, as I dreamily thought about our future home, that I want more than just a comfortable house with pretty things and room to grow.

And like always, I made a list (because I love lists).

What do I want for our home?

– I want a house full of love. Love for God, love for my husband and love for family, friends and future children. I want the foundation of our life together to be banked on that one: LOVE.
– I want a home that rings with laughter and bubbles over with JOY. Not fakey, pretend stuff, forced because you’re supposed to have it. I want the real deal. The genuine McCoy.
– I want it to be full of purpose and LIFE.

I don’t want…

– I don’t want a house full of discord, hatred. I don’t want the walls to ring with constant battles and arguments, bitter words and the total opposite of love.
– A home where depression and discontent lurk in the corners.

It’s funny, how God works. I find myself praying these prayers – Fill these walls with love and joy! – and discover that I’m praying more for myself than I’m praying for the house. A foundation and walls, a metal roof and wooden floors, they make up a house, a future home, but it can’t make a difference in the happiness or love in our family. The joy and peace I crave and hope for only come from one central Someone: God. And obtaining these treasures are found in the daily choices that I make.

Board by board, we build our house, and choice by choice, I continue to build my relationship with God. Do my choices reflect a desire to be content and happy where He has me at the moment or have I chosen to stack on more boards of discontentment? It’s like Rich Mullin says in his little book The World As I Know It: Through the Eyes of a Ragamuffin, talking about his experiences while renovating an attic:

…I say, “I know how it hurts to be torn up. I am often choked on the litter left by my own remodeling. I know what it’s like to settle (by the grave act of a strong will) into the despair of believing that you are wasted space. I have felt the blows of heavy hammers that nailed me to a sense of uselessness. I have been shaped by some pretty careless workers who came to the task of making me and lacked any craftsmanship or artistry. I know the pain of wanting to be changed and yet being distrustful of changes, of wanting to be worked on, but being suspicious of the intentions of the Worker. But here is some good news: He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. However messy it may be now, however confusing and scary it appears, however endless the task may seem, we will someday be glorious, beautiful, alive!

So, we continue to build a house and God continues work on the renovations of my soul. It’s going to be a life-long project, this house and family and life, and it’s going to be a life-long project to find myself renovated completely…but so good to be working on it now.

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