Thursday, 31 October 2013

Lessons Millie Learned in October 2013

1.       Tips are confusing. Thus I am grateful that some debit card machines have an option to just type in the percent you want to tip and it figures out the rest for you. Cool, eh?

2.       Americans don’t seem to believe in guardrails. I was informed that guard rails don’t do much to protect you, anyway. But, at least you have the illusion of safety.

3.       I learned that I rarely regret the things I did – but rather the things I didn’t do.

4.       Things are often not as difficult or scary as you would think at first.

5.       You never know what’s going to make the biggest impression in a child.

6.       I hate Hallowe’en. Not particularly because of any doctrinal stance. It’s just so ugly!

7.       I learned that sometimes there is great strength in confessing one’s weaknesses.

8.       And sometimes we learn we’re not the only ones who are weak at times.

9.       Real life? Yeah, it’s more gutwrenching, messy, and confusing than we could imagine. But, it’s also more wonderful, joyful, and breathtakingly beautiful than we can foresee.  
- Millie

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Fall 2013

              There are days when the time is right for getting away. A test of strength maybe.  Just so you know you can survive driving curves not already etched in your mind. Just so you know that you can check yourself successfully into a B &B. Just so you know you can figure out how much to tip.


                We jokingly called it Celebration of Limbo, but deep down we knew those were just words.


                Maybe it was more a celebration of laughing…and eating two breakfasts in one morning…and picnicking in the dark. And remember how we were the only guests wherever we stayed the night? And just now – the last night and we can not sleep – the most terrifying paranormal sounding cat is meowing outside of our door.

                How about celebration of heart failure.  


                Or no. This is just life, really.

                Maybe that man at the corner store said it better. Discussing the size of our Tootsie Rolls, we said they weren’t the smallest, but not the big ones either.

                “The in betweens,” he said sleepily, plugging in the correct price. “You guys should form a band and call it that. Yeah.”

                Yeah. That’s us. Rocking our American money confusion and maps spread out on the dash board.  Maybe that’s what celebration of being in between looks like.


                Could people read it on our faces? Is that why every person skipped hello and went straight to “What on earth are you doing in these parts”?

                Do we need a reason?

                Well, maybe, yes.

                Funny how it comes to you when you are sitting footsore and quiet in a coffee shop with your chin in one hand.  Funny how Emily is absorbed in her book. Funny how Millie is sketching our messy hair. How I’m putting pen to paper.

                Fact is, we didn’t come to find ourselves. One deadbolts the doors before bed, one wakes up laughing. I fold our jackets and stack them in the back seat. And oh how they cheered me up Blueberry Hill Road. That was the closest I’ve ever been to shutting my eyes and just letting the car roll backwards.

We know darn well who we are.

                But we’re growing, like the trees that flick their amber leaves across our windshield and it is a sweet, sweet thing to do that together.

                Do you see how those trees stand tall? They know what they’re here for…no doubts under the cloud’s shifting shadows.
                We came to see them. Do you think we came to be them?


                Mm. Lets.

                And turn up the radio. The sun just came out.


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Photo Challenge Week 40 & 41


"A rich confusion of awareness lies below the level of our consciousness. Artists reach into that confusion and give it an order. As we stand before a painting or listen to music or read a poem, we suddenly see our own experiences and insights projected onto the details of the work before us.
Artist turn our pain into art so we can bear it. They turn our joys into art so we can prolong them. In song and statue, poem and painting, artists give shape to the affirmations and denials of the human race."
Leland Ryken

Something I'm Grateful For:


Friday, 11 October 2013


It's funny how things take you back a bit - back to another space of time.

It's funny that all it takes is a yellowed piece of paper and the smell of butter and brown sugar.

I found the recipe the other day and even though I was by myself in the kitchen, I laughed out loud.

I'm not  old, but I remember when this paper was brand new. And the lady with crisp black curls left pound cakes anonymously in our van...and a sister made something sweet every Sunday afternoon.

Those were some good is now.

So get out the pots and pans. Bake yourself some good taste today, darlings.

8 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup plus 2 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter and brown sugar, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Cook, stirring, about 1 min longer - the mixture will bubble but should not boil. Set the pan aside and cool about 10 mins.
Meanwhile, butter an 8 inch square pan, line the bottom with parchment and then butter the parchment.
Stir the egg, egg yolk and vanilla into the cooled sugar mixture. Add the flour, salt and nuts, stirring just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center is springy, when touched (the top may still look doughy) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few  moist crumbs clinging. 25-35 minutes should be adequate.
Set the pan on a rack until it's cool enough to handle. Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan and then flip onto a flat surface and peel off the parchment. Flip the backed blondies back onto the rack to cool completely. Cut into squares with a sharp knife.
*OR you can just omit the parchment, and leave the blondies to cool in the pan. No big deal.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Photo Challenge Week 38 & 39


Something I Hate To Do:


What Liv Learned in September 2013...

1. That if you are cross, lonely or feeling downright peevish...clean. Throw away, dust, reorganize the files, or make files in the first place. You may even mutter while you do this. It will feel wonderful.

2. In all my years of living in the same house as a woodstove, I have never made a single edible thing with it. During a power outage however, Millie and I were so bold as to fry eggs and sausage by candle light. I learned it was quite doable and a little bit fun.

3. I learned that turkeys are not nearly as alarming as my childhood self seemed to think. It was rather soothing and therapeutic to herd them in the dark with Katie.

4. This month I discovered that it is possible to actually enjoy having commitments and feel happy amid the lists and lines on the calendar. And apparently, stress attacks about life are (for me anyway) an optional activity! How did I not know this before?

5. I learned that I really need to work hard at completing full, clear sentences when I speak. Petering out is never a good idea, but it becomes downright bewildering to elderly folk.

6. I made sushi for the first time in September and learned that it is possible, pleasantly palatable and particularly pmessy.


7. I was convicted with the truth that critical thoughts of the heart will come out in the face, the words, the raised eyebrows. And I learned that truly loving someone has to start way down deep.

8. I learned just how much mental strain trip planning requires. And how on earth do you do anything without Google?

9. I re-remembered that Christians are people like everyone else and we can't expect anything different. Why do we even try to do that?

And most of all...

10. God is glorified all the more when He uses cracked vessels to do Kingdom work. How exciting to be part of the church , particular and universal, right full of these same people! Hold them close.

Over and out.