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Showing posts from 2015
   I could tell a million stories I could write a thousand words But never can this trip be translated It is deep in my soul And far into my heart And these memories will always be with me Family and friends that are family Laughing and walking through foreign cities Eating and drinking everything in sight To say this trip was amazing Would not be great enough language It was perfect in its own way The first of its kind I can’t believe it’s over But I can believe we went My heart feels full a month later These pictures are just moments In a sea of so much to take in To all the moments we have shared And all that are to come I thank you for loving me selflessly

Together At Last

Joy moved to California!!   My youngest sister decided our hearts could no longer be divided, packed up her tiny pants and moved across the country - AND in with me and Bill to our new house!  We have been in transition for a few weeks, and I feel like things are starting to feel more settled and fall into a bit of a rhythm.  All three sisters live within 20 minutes of each other and because of that, my heart is happy. Having her here is the most wonderful.  I am not sure I can put it into words.  She is contagiously excited and caring and she has made me feel at home in my new home.  I know our time is short lived and in no time she will have a bunch of friends and find a roommate and settle into a schedule apart from me, but I am clinging to this in between.  The time where we pass each other in the kitchen, we read the Bible out loud to each other before bed and we get take out Indian and sit and watch a show on Netflix while we eat and laugh.  This time is precious and

It's The Little Things - Thoughts On Moving In

Moving in is a process.  We have been in our new home for about a week and a half and it is starting to feel real and sink in.  These lovingly worn wood floors are ours, those oranges growing on those big beautiful bushy trees are ours, that pink sink that has held many plates after family dinners in the kitchen is ours, those near perfect roses growing outside the kitchen window are ours, and that sunroom that is warm and cozy and wonderful is ours.  It is all ours.  Every weird quirk and every fabulous feature.  We own a home and I am starting to believe it.  I am focusing on the little things, rather than being overwhelmed by all the projects. I am a list person, and I am learning that everything cannot get crossed off when you want it to when it comes to home owning.  The other day we ended up picking oranges and squeezing a pitcher of fresh juice rather than a bunch of other items on my to do list, and that is great.  I loved every minute of it.  I a

Portland - Thai Food, Coffee and People that Make me Happy

The second leg of our birthday trip was equally wonderful!  We traveled down to Portland as a big group and went big.  Walked a lot downtown, went to the weekend market, searched out a fabulous brunch with bottomless mimosas, acted like tourists (as you can see my friend making fun of us at Stumptown), ate some of the best Thai food in America at PokPok, strolled through Powell’s book store and spent a ton of time laughing and enjoying each other’s company. But seriously you guys, if you are ever in Portland (and you like Thai food), you MUST go to PokPok for Thai.  It is the closest thing Bill and I have found outside of Thailand and everything we had was incredible.  Also visit Stumptown Coffee Roasters if you are in the area, sure it is touristy, but dang it their coffee is delicious and worth the trip! I have to say, this traveling group was perfect.  Sometimes traveling in a big group can be very stressful and high maintenance.  Different people get really dramatic, i

Seattle - A Feast for the Eyes

As you will see, as I attempt to catch you up, we have been very busy!    While my posts may be brief, I just feel some things need to be written about even though they were awhile back now!    This trip was back in March, but it was too good not to post about now.       My husband turned 30, and I don’t want you to think we did not celebrate that! He is my absolutely favorite and spending time with him traveling is the most fun.  For Bill’s 30 th birthday (and my 29 th ) we took a family/friend trip up to Seattle and Portland for 5 days and explored the Pacific Northwest as a group.  My sister and her husband, Bill’s parents and Bill and I flew up to Seattle and stayed just outside the city with Bill’s Aunt and Uncle in their beautiful home.  We went to Pike Market and soaked it in eating oysters, watching fish get thrown, enjoying mid-afternoon beers at a brewery, and admiring all the local artisans, food and gorgeous flowers.  A couple of Pacific North friends drove up

We Bought a House!

Ignore the time stamp - Our realtor forgot to update the date! Wow it’s been awhile friends!! In my absence I have been concentrating on being present, practicing yoga and moving into a new home!  Yoga has become a 3-4 times a week practice for me (over the past 4 months) and my heart feels satiated by it.   I found my forever form of exercise and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.   It has truly made my heart soar and brought me such peace in my own skin.   In other news, my youngest sister moved out to California and the three sisters are reunited on the West Coast!   Her presence has brought me such joy and peace and wow I feel like crying just typing these words.   This season of life feels really rich in love and family.   Blessed doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel. Bill's Parents with us when we went for our property inspection This past weekend Bill and I moved into a house that we purchased, and to say it is glorious wouldn’t be giving it enough cr

A Penny For Your Thoughts - On Living a Quiet Life

For Print of Image Above   I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of quiet lately.   For me this is especially valuable. Generally speaking, I need noise.   I turn on the television for background noise.   I put on music when I am in the bathroom getting ready in the morning.   I talk constantly.   However, what I am finding is that I need to make space for quiet in my life.   I think quiet, in the right way, can be associated with humbleness, simplicity, comfort and peace.   There is nothing wrong with noise, but sometimes I find it important to allow ourselves to just be present.   I think practicing comfort in quiet will bring my anxiety down and teach me things I do not anticipate, and I feel the Lord’s confirmation of that to me in my prayers and devotions lately.   1 Thessalonians 4: 11 & 12: 11  and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12  so that your daily life may

A Season of Reading - Shantaram

The Amazon Synopsis reads as follows: " 'It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.' So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay.  Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere. As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums, and serving his appr

Beautiful Words - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

My littlest sister sent me the following words and I let them wash over me every day since.  They are not just true, but they are settling.  A gentle but necessary reminder to take a step back and look at life in a slow and meaningful way.  Progress is gradual and time is rewarding and healing.  I hope these words bring you peace in the midst of frustration and chaos as they have brought me... Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability— and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what t

Food I Ate Friday - Bread and Wine Cassoulet

This recipe hugs you.  Cassoulet is essentially the French version of an American casserole, and it delivers big time on flavor and richness.  It is my definition of a cozy winter meal.  The combination of flavors is surprising and wonderful and just offers you a retreat for a little while.  It is the kind of dish I want to make as an annual tradition so I can look forward to it all year long, and not have so often that I stop appreciating it's goodness. I hope that you love this as much as I did and that it warms your hearts and homes.  Please let me know if you try any of the recipes I post and any comments you have!  I'd love feedback :) Ingredients 1 Tablespoon olive oil 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed 1 onion, thinly sliced 1½ cups chicken broth 3 carrots, peeled and chopped 2 parsnips, chopped 1 tomato, chopped 2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained 1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme ½ heaping teaspoon Kosher salt ⅛ teaspoon b

Beautiful Words - Be Still, My Soul

I am starting a new Series called Beautiful Words because I run across a lot of poetry, music and quotes that really speak to me and I would love to share those with you all.  My attempt in this will not be to draw attention to inspirational movie quotes that could be expressed in a Pinterest meem, but rather to use eloquently written words to facilitate thought and delve us into someone else's expression of the greater issues of this life we are in and how to live it best.  Geez, I hope I can pull that off!  My first selection below is a hymn from church two weeks back that made me think how often I try to avoid thinking of death unless it is currently affecting me.  This hymn was not timed because someone in our church had passed away, but the focus is to remind us that our ultimate goal is being with the Lord when we leave this earth.  I need to be constantly reminded that my life is not my own and that what we do and believe and prioritize on this earth determines our futu

A Penny for your Thoughts - More and Less List

Since it is still January, I feel like I can still squeeze this post in :)  Rather than doing a New Year's Resolution list, I decided to take a different approach and do what I like to call a "More and Less List".  I have already started putting into action quite a few of these items, and am looking forward to focusing on them more and more.  I like the beginning of the year as it always gives me a chance to re-evaluate my priorities.  I remember every year that there is always room for growth, this year was no exception.   As I look over these lists I know that God is so good to me that these are the things I can spend my time focusing on.  I would encourage you to make a list like this just to get your mind thinking this way.  This also gives you no ultimatums and just helps you to focus on priorities.  I think I often feel like a failure if I do not hit a goal, but this type of list helps me remember it is about reinventing the way I live and not a number on th

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - Christmas in Baltimore

Christmas in Baltimore was pretty close to perfect.  I haven't written about it yet, because I feel like trying to put it into words is impossible.  There was some magic in it though, that is undeniable.  Below are images that show a few of my favorite things about the Holiday Season.  Some things you will not find in the pictures but I hold close to me heart is the French pressed coffee every morning, the wine that flowed all week long, the hide and peek games (you read that right) with my niece, the laughter and tears, the wonderful meals, the genuine words, the sincere hugs, Christmas morning as a group, my parents welcoming hugs, my Italian sister-in-law's bonding, Christmas Eve Service in Baltimore, walking around the Inner Harbor, watching my niece try on all the items from the dress up box we gave her, and some dear friends that were there for it all.  I think our society is so obsessed with capturing a perfect image of their time together and posting it online, but I f

Food I Ate Fridays - French Onion Soup

Another holiday idea that came from my other sister in law, Cirsinta, was for my sisters and mom and I to all buy the same cook book and begin cooking through it together.  I will share more on this in the future, as another blog is being designed for it as we speak, but what I want to share today is a recipe that my husband has requested I learn to make for years.   French Onion soup is one of those things I put off learning to do because I was intimidated by the process, but as I embrace cooking and trying to cook new things that have previously seemed overwhleming, I am learning that simple meals really are simple, sometimes you just need to take the time to cook them well.  This soup turned out fantastic, and is definitely something we will make again.   I hope you find time to enjoy cooking and invest the time into making meals you and your loved ones really love.    Directions Heat in a soup pot over medium-low heat until the butter is melted: 2 Tbsp. unsalted butt

Sister Bonding - The Pyrex Picker Sisters

You know those gifts that you get every once in awhile that are just perfect?  Someone spent time and energy picking them out just for you and they were dead on.  Well I actually got a couple of those this Christmas (Faith your box touched a very special place in my heart, Cristina those mugs were so wonderful and let's not forget the bike my husband is getting me!), but the one I want to highlight today is one that brought me and some very special women in my life together in such a fun and unique way.  My Brother and Sister-In-Law hunted through thrift stores and  found me and 5 other wonderful women two matching pieces of a vintage pyrex sets picked out individually for us and our personalities.  Mine is called Autumn Harvest and I could not love it more - I mean a sprig of wheat on a rust colored container... need I say more! Each sister was requested to be looking for pieces to complete their own set and to help other ladies complete theirs.  To say this has been a fu

A Season of Reading - Wild

The Amazon synopsis reads: "Wild is a powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an 1100-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe - and built her back up again. At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than "an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise." But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone. Strayed faced down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with

Food I Ate Fridays - Sausage, Kale and Spaghetti Squash Boats

Ingredients 1 medium spaghetti squash or 2 small spaghetti squash 1 1/2 lbs. Italian chicken sausage, casings removed (We got spicy) 1 yellow onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 bunch kale 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling Salt and pepper 2 tbsp pine nuts, roasted (almonds worked just fine as well) 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften. Using a sharp knife cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the halves, with the cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until you can poke the squash easily with a fork. Let cool until you can handle it safely. Meanwhile, prepare the kale by removing the center stems and either tearing or cutting up the leaves. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add th

A 30th Birthday and a Surprise Vegas Trip

It feels surreal that I am even celebrating my close friends 30th birthdays, but Bill turns 30 in less than 2 months and his buddy James hit the big one in November.  Him and his lovely girlfriend and their sweet son (our godson) came into town for a visit and we surprised him with an overnight in Las Vegas!  I want to brag on James for a second, he is such a humble guy.  He always wants to bless everyone around him and would give his last dollar to make someone else more comfortable.   In Vegas we ate, drank, played a little, walked a lot and went to a Cirque Du Soleil show at Treasure Island.  Even though it was a short trip, it felt sacred.  A lot of the time we spend together as a group feels that way.  It was just fun to be somewhere new experiencing it together and laughing and walking.  Sometimes all you need is good friends to make a trip memorable. The entire time they were here felt fast and slow at the same time.  When we are with them time seems to slow down