Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sleepless Nights

Sleepiness Nights

I am awake. I'm not really sure why.
I have this sense of urgency. 
That if I sleep I will be missing something. 

It's like there are only so many days,
hours and minutes left to do so much. 

I remember when the kids were little
I'd hold on to every quiet moment. 
When I could just be. 

When no one needed anything. 
When I could just think in uninterrupted sentences.

Savoring the silence or some favorite music...
The perfect backdrop for those few moments each day 
When I could think my own thoughts and be by myself. 

I am a day dreamer caught up in the busyness of most days. 
I love these moments to think, ponder and reflect...

But I long to be a night dreamer sometimes too!  
Sleep eludes as these thoughts intrude. 

And I'm awake and I'm not sure why...  

But in these hours I ponder things that cannot be given voice
But can only be felt and understood when I am here. 
In the safety net of my solitude. 

I am awake and I guess I do know why after all. 
Auto pilot only works for so long. 

The clamor of daily life must be silenced now and then 
And I wonder if you are awake right now too.

And like me you are...

Just trying to catch up with your authentic, creative self 
And taking a deeply satisfying breath because it feels so good. 

Perhaps you also like to find that little space too
Between awake and asleep when you are
Just being, more than doing.

(BJM-Penned one sleepless night this week!)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Let's Discuss Apples~It's Autumn After All

Let's talk about apples. With all the talk about pumpkins this time of year we can overlook the wonderful harvest of apples and all the delicious things they can be used for in baking. I always remember the one variety of apples that we always got in our lunches as little kids. The tiny, all red sometimes soggy ones, remember? They are called the Delicious ones but actually I never thought so. For us the best eating apples are Fuji most of the year and Honey Crisp apples right now. Oh my goodness, they are goodness if you like sweet and crispy!

One thing I have decided is that there are two clubs of apple eaters...the ones that eat them whole and the ones who prefer them sliced. I belong to the later club myself. Eating an apple whole is kind of bothersome. For one thing it gets lipstick on my chin sometimes...annoying. And then what to do with the core often presents a problem if you are out and about. Hmmm, just give me slices. Lately we have been eating the Honey Crisp apples by cutting them in wedges throwing them in a baggie and adding cinnamon. Very yummy, cinnamon is good for your blood sugar should you have a problem with it, so healthy! And if the apple oxidizes a little it is not noticeable with the cinnamon to camouflage it. And it is 0 WW points. So Fabulous.

Lately I have been adding some autumn recipes and you have seemed to like that so I have another one for you today. I have never made this recipe but I will be making it next week for a baby shower. I have eaten it a few times at Maureen's house and it is incredible. Try it, you'll love it and it looks so easy. The recipe photo below is not the actual recipe just one I found online. When I actually make it on Wednesday I'll take good photos to share.

Apple Carmel Cake

The Cake Ingredients

4 Cups of coarsely chopped Apples
2 cups of Sugar sprinkled over the Apples
2 Cups of Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Soda
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt

Mix lighting all of the above.

Beat 2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Oil
2 teaspoons of Vanilla
3/4 Cup chopped Nuts (Optional)

Mix together by hand!
Batter will be thick, spoon into a greased 9x13 pan.
Bake @350* for 35 minutes...
Or until done.

Carmel Sauce

1/2 cup both White and firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Flour
1/2 Cup real Butter
1/2 cup unwhipped Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons of Flour

Boil for one minute!
Drizzle over sliced cake and serve.
And add some candles if it is your Birthday!

You can use any apples in the cake but I am planning on Pippins or Gravensteins. My Mom told me to always bake with these because they are not full of water and because they will retain their shape and do not just dissolve into the batter or get mushy. I don't bake that much but when I do I follow her expert advice.

My mom was right, the best baking apples are green!
And she made the best apple pie on my planet. So there you have another one...Happy Baking! If you lived closer and it was your birthday today...I'd bake one for you! Ah heck, even it is not your birthday I'd make one for you! :-)B

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~October 6, 2014

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Monday, October 6, 2014 
Outside my is 3:40 pm and I am just taking a break from my teaching preparations to do a little blogging.  It is warm and sunny out.  An Indian summer like we always get after it cools off and we think summer is over.  We'll be safely into autumn by Halloween, but anything goes between now and then.

I am thankful for....making the decision to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 36 years ago.  It has been the best thing ever.  We have worked hard and grown and served others and been served by them, and come to know Christ in a better way and we have had an abundance of blessings.  

We have learned so much of the Savior's ways and grown in our faith and  dependence upon His grace. And we have made wonderful life long friends that have supported and sustained us through it all.  We have been happy through thick and thin because of our choice and desire to believe.  We have felt joy in our sorrows knowing He is with us to lift us up.

From the learning room...persistence and daily good habits help us accomplish the big things.  That and just never giving up when we feel like it.  We can and must push through it.  When something is right we stick with it even when it is hard.  We can and we do hard things all the time. 
It is how we develop our character and become who we are eventually meant to be.  We should not believe the things we think about ourselves are true just because they pass though our heads through negative self talk.  Instead we should ask ourselves the good questions like what did I do well this week to move towards my goal?  If it worked...repeat it.  It is by small and simple things that good things are brought to pass.

I am reading...Cooked by Michael Pollan.  Pollan offers some very convincing arguments for how cooking our own food at home is the best way to regain our health as a nation.  It is a sequel to Food Rules.  Also very straight forward and compelling for health and well-being.  I am trying hard to relearn how to like cooking again.  As you know if you come by often it is not my favorite thing.  But I am willing to learn to love it again.

From the kitchen...Taco salad tonight.  Looking forward to that.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...letting our burdens go is a big thing for most of us.  We want to hang on to them and own them and worry about them.  This is non-productive.  We need to enlist the help of God in overcoming this and being faithful.  Worry and fretting is a form of unbelief and fear that we just don't need in our lives.  We do our best and find faith instead of fear.  We carry on and find the win in laying it all down.

Someone I am praying for this week...Friends and family that are struggling or incapacitated right now.  Our good friend Stephen who had shoulder surgery today and Hazie still recovering from her eye surgery. Annabelle a baby born with multiple problems just a few weeks ago, and Ben an 11 year old boy with a serious battle with leukemia right now.  Praying also for all those who have personal and unknown struggles and that need prayers as well.

I am missing...Carol...come home soon!  It is just not the same when you are gone.  Tomorrow will be a struggle without you there to entertain me. Sigh...

I am hearing...Josh Grobin's Hidden Away.  That guy's seriously talented.  On my bucket list to see in concert one day.  I just got an invitation from my new friend on Pinterest, Connie Smith, to join her next time she goes.  I'm in!

One of my pleasures...Mondays when I can get so much done without interruptions.  Getting up at 5:00 am is painful but has its definite advantages. I also take pleasure in the day after General Conference for our church and all the cool things to reflect back upon.  

Pet Peeves...Seeing political signs going up everywhere.  I don't mind that but I detest the politicians that never return to take them down after the election.  Such poor manners.

Past Remembrance...the other day I drifted back to my childhood  memories  and recalled when my mom would put me on the kitchen counter and wash my hair.  She would lather up my long hair and then form it into a unicorn's horn and she'd let me sit up and look at it in the hand mirror.  It was mighty cool and very tall.  Then she would rinse all the soap out and rinse my hair with cold white vinegar.  It smelled so yucky but made my hair squeaky clean and tangle free. What made me think of it...opening a bottle of white vinegar and smelling "that smell" again.  Oddly I hadn't thought of that since I was a little girl.  Funny how the smell of something can trigger thoughts like that.  Two others fragrances that come to mind...Aqua Net hair spray (being a teenager) and Noxzema (summer, swimming and sunburns.)

I am quoting...Pinterest...Thought this was funny but looking for a paradigm shift so I will exercise more and feel better.  Getting the new lifestyle under control, now must get to this.  Diamonds sure would help though.

If I could change one thing it would be...that I would not need a dental implant to the tune of $5,000!  Holy Cow.

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...there are 8 seasons of Foyle's War.  Can hardly wait to watch it when we get the chance.  I am in love with that man.  He is so sweet, with a sadness about him that his eyes cannot conceal.

I am curious about...what life will feel like once I am done working on these conference presentations coming up on October 18th.  I'll be able to just breathe maybe?

Plans for the rest of the week...haven't thought much about it until right now.  Just the usual routine. Work and play and sleep and go for some walks. You know.  I am starting to think about the holidays a little.  I got all my fall decor out and up so that is the gateway to all of it. I do love doing it.  The warm feelings that fall engenders take me a long way.  I'm in the nesting mood.  Just want to stay home and cozy up.  Shuffling clothes between summer and fall until summer is gone.

One of my favorite things...seeing my hubby so happy in his new wood shop.  After over three and a half years of laborious toiling with David, it is finally done.  He is doing the fun stuff now and he is in his glory.  It is really pretty sweet since he has wanted this since he was 17.  It was even sweeter to watch Jim and Dave work together.  There are few friendships as devoted as theirs.  They did an absolutely amazing job.  It looks like it has always been there nestled beneath the tall trees that surround it.  The outside is beautiful, the inside is, well "industrial" but beautiful to them.  So many regular tools and big shop floor tools that I couldn't tell you what they even are...but he is in hog heaven.

One thing that made me so happy this past week...Receiving an original wedding picture of my grandparents from my 2nd cousin in Arizona, Our grandparents were siblings.  Thank you, Jim Godfrey. Cousins are the best!

The most surprising thing this past week...hearing from one of my best friends in grade school through Facebook.  Sixty years has passed since we had contact.

A photo I am sharing this week...


Just a picture of the sky I took while waiting at a stop light last week.  This is not a typical California sky.  Love these billowy white clouds and the bright blue sky.  Hope all is well with you dear readers!



Friday, October 3, 2014

Hazel is Growing Up!


It seems like long time since I have written about our Hazie Jo. She turned 7 on September 24.  The week before she had an eye surgery.  Both her eyes are still very red but Jen says she is improving. She is going to have a very big and seriously major surgery on November 10.  The surgeons are going to attempt to straighten her back up enough to minimize her lung pressure from the scoliosis.  They will do it by putting in some lever type things between her ribs and then slowly over a long time widening the space between them so she won't tilt so much to the right.  She is such a willing and compliant child.  She doesn't like the idea but she doesn't fight it either.  She reminds me so much of my Mom when she was in her last years.  An Easy Patient.  Please pray for her to have a good outcome in November and that she will stay nice and healthy this fall so they can proceed with the surgery.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Beautiful Way To Move Forward Today

Dawn...Each New Day 

I seriously don't think I could accomplish a single thing if the Lord had not seen fit in His wisdom to allow us a new beginning whenever we need it. And even when we don't think we need it, we get a new morning every day!

I read a blog post by a good friend who talked about her weight loss struggles. It just made me realize how much I have been coasting. I recently joined Weight Watchers again.  I will never give up but sometimes I take long vacations from it.  Too long.  I just have to dust myself off and look forward with hope and determination and resolve.   

Sometimes my perceptions in this department get very skewed.  If ever I want to know how skewed my perceptions can be...I can use the scale as my tool. It seems like when I should be up I'm down or vice versa fairly regularly.  I can't use it for self-esteem but rather as a tool.  And not just one day but serval days in a row which shows me that people fluctuate daily but the trend needs to be downward.  That is all.  If you graph it you will see what I mean.  To know I am doing well I just have to eat well.  Then no matter what the scale says I am OK.  However when I get into the game playing on the scale or ascribe too much importance to an ounce here and there it gets ridiculous and controlling and self defeating.  

As we sing in one of our church hymns, "Do What Is Right Let The Consequence Follow.  When I go long periods staying off the scale I know it is because I know what the consequences are for not making the best choices most of the time.  There is nothing complicated about it.  It is what it is.  Denial is dangerous.

The complexities of what motivates us to do and be who we are continue to confound me. Still waters run deep and I think for each of us it is a combination of so many factors. It is never just one thing but many experiences and hurts, and failures that add up and become the devil's favorite tool~Discouragement. Without hope there is no faith to go forward with a plan that will work. We have to kick discouragement to the curb and just keep going no matter what happens. Never giving up!

We need to stop the negative self-talk. It is more than positive affirmations that are needed. You can tell yourself you are a thin and healthy person even when you are not but, once that hits your brain, your brain tries to figure out if the thought is true. Quickly everything you know tells you the positive affirmation is a lie and you throw it out as nonsense, or worse yet it becomes a negative affirmation. It then produces the 'why am I this way' type questions, leading to discouragement and eventual defeat. This applies to everything not just weight loss.

Recent studies have discovered that our brain works by solving our dilemmas by answering our questions. As an example...When we are unable to succeed at losing weight we ask ourselves why this is? Immediately our brain sets out to answer that question. I am just not good at this, I love my ice cream (or whatever), I have never been successful at this, I'll just gain it back, people will be watching me to see how long I can keep it off, I hate to exercise, it's my genetics, etc.  The thought occurs to be me that being overweight is probably more difficult than losing weight.

What is even more important is concentrating less on the weight and more on being healthy and fit.  This is probably a good idea.  As we improve our lifestyle the weight loss will follow as a natural consequence. Right? That changes the whole process from what we don't want (being overweight) to what we do want (being fit and healthy.)  Thinking and acting in a positive frame of mind is always a winner.  It also takes the sting out of the many past personal failures and puts it where is should be.  Focusing on improved behavior.  You are the same person of infinite worth no matter your dress or pant size.  Sometimes we forget that.

Think of something that you are struggling with, again we will use weight loss as an example...Ask yourself this question instead..."Why am I a fit and healthy person?" Why am I a happy person?" What things have I been successful in accomplishing in my life? Immediately your brain starts to answer you with real, not hoped for positive affirmations! This is powerful. Try it. Seriously try it! Another word for this is gratitude.  I was amazed at the difference and have been using this when my thoughts go to self persecution.  I have had some  very positive results.

One reason I love my Weight Watcher meetings so much, and my friend of over 30 years that is teaching it, is because Lanette goes the extra mile. She puts in lots of hours outside the meeting room, researching concepts like this that really do bring success. The success you will see is not just in the weight loss arena but applicable in many aspects of your life.

Another simpler way of seeing this concept is to ask yourself what am I doing RIGHT to accomplish this goal? Our brain automatically goes to what am I doing WRONG if we don't direct the question differently. I promise you, your brain will answer you and reveal to you what you can and have already been doing. This actually does kick discouragement and a desire to quit to the curb! We all need this tool when struggling!

When discouragement comes and is allowed to follows that it's very hard for us to continue on any kind of journey when we feel sad, alone, depressed or afraid of success. We may have a habit of thinking that we can never measure matter what we do.

This can be brought on by something someone will say or just something we think and it drags us down to the depths for days sometimes. Thoughts precede feelings. This I know for sure! We have to control our thoughts and not allow anyone else to have this power over our thinking or to allow ourselves to think we are incapable or unlovable. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why we do this.

Just like God loves us not because of who we are, but because of who He is, we must love ourselves because of who we are (His daughter/son) not because of who we perceive ourselves to be. (Our self-esteem) Isn't one of our greatest desires to be loved unconditionally rather than judged and misunderstood? In Christ we have that. Where does the hope and faith come from if not from this gift? I know I cannot find it anywhere else.

Passing unrighteous judgment on ourselves or others destroys hope. We have to stop doing this. And sometimes when others do this to us we have to realize it is because of who they are not because of who we are. What a brilliant concept. Why would we assume they are always right? This is not a good way to think.

I am one, I am only one, no more than one, no less than one. We cannot keep internalizing offenses, we just have to be more thick-skinned and carry on, secure in His perfect love. We need to listen and contemplate criticism, but we do not need to beat ourselves up, even if there is some hint of truth in what is said. We need to take a positive spin on it and just quietly determine to become better, ever moving forward. In this way we abandon pride and acquire humility or the ability to be taught. Simply put, our brain can derail us or help us. We just have to pursue the right questions as we try to solve our dilemmas. This really works; talk about new beginnings! We just have to retrain our brain to think in a way that helps and encourages success, not defeats it.

Sometimes the whole scramble gets confusing~
we need to step back and view each component specifically!

And remember we need to be a friend to ourselves
as well as to others.

Staying closer to the Lord seems to be the answer to every problem, burden or concern. For all things unto the Lord are spiritual. My desire is to remember this day by day! I will ask myself the right questions to my dilemmas and trust in myself in addition to the Lord, so I can accomplish the desires of my heart. I am putting all my eggs in one basket~The Lord's.

When I hear something that is true,
I know it~ if I am living close to Him.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pumpkins Are So Iconic and Verstile in the Fall

Beautiful Sunflowers are a treat aren't they?
But it is about the pumpkins at this time of year!

This photo just made me feel so happy
~Pumpkins can be Beautiful!~

The truth is I'd rather decorate with pumpkins than eat them. Some pumpkin recipes I do enjoy but I adore they way they look, almost always. Give me some pumpkins and gourdes and I am happy when Autumn rolls around. I am enchanted with most colors but these, these are my favorites and have been for way too long. New England probably sealed my fate on that forever.

Even though this is exactly like our silver van,
I promise this is not ours!
When I saw this I really had a good laugh.
Who needs this many pumpkins from the pumpkin farm?
Oh, I want this in our front yard!

Pumpkins are so much fun and versatile.
Here are a few of the things I think are great about them...

Topping my list is decorating with them as I mentioned!

Look what Cindy did and check
out her others by clicking

flickrI like this one too. I think one year
I will bedazzle some fake

pumpkins by painting them black
and embellishing with jewels!

This one is my favorite~Be Still my beating

One of my favorite pumpkin in my collection
so far,
this year it is in our kitchen.
This is my year around art work
above my desk in my office.
Love....Love it.

Dining Room Centerpiece

Halloween Night Dinner

One pumpkin hallowed out and cleaned, remove seeds, string etc.
One cup instant rice plus needed water
1 lb hamburger, garlic, bell pepper, onions, salt and pepper to taste
(this is kind of a do your own thing mixture depending on what your kids like.)
1 can of cream of chicken or mushroom soup plus a little H2O
Add veggies if desired

Poke hole in lid of pumpkin. Grease outside of pumpkin and place in a roasting pan. Cover stem with foil. Fill pumpkin and bake at 350 degrees for 1-2 hours until pumpkin scoops out easily like potatoes. Good for the little goblins before they go out Trick or Treating on a cold dark night.

Gramma Jo's Pumpkin Bread Recipe

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs well beaten
1/2 vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin non-spiced OK
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in wet ingredients and blend well. Pour batter into greased and floured pans. Either 2- 7 inch pans or 3 or 4 mini loaf pans or muffin tins. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. (Adjust baking time according to size of pans.) Cool 5 minutes in pans and then remove to a cooling rack. Recipe can be doubled or tripled and freezes nicely wrapped in foil.

Follow your favorite recipe

And my all time personal favorite
~get away coach with a handsome prince!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Autumn! My Favorite Time Of The Year!

  1. The color: PUMPKIN
  2. Excited grandchildren that love picking out their own pumpkins.
  3. Caramelized Apple Cider From Starbuck's.
  4. Local Fall-Fest activities
  5. Dried, salted pumpkin seeds
  6. Nesting
  7. Bringing out the cozy blankets and throws
  8. Watching movies near the fireplace with Jim
  9. The anticipation of the entire Holiday Season
  10. Crockpot cooking
  11. Candles and candy corn
  12. The crackle of leaves beneath my feet
  13. The smell of fireplaces burning in cozy homes
  14. Goards and other seasonal decorative items
  15. Carving Jack-O-Lanterns with the kids
  16. Not having to dream up costumes anymore!
  17. Pumpkin bread
  18. Corn stalks and hay bales
  19. Scarecrows
  20. Red, gold and yellow leaves on and off the trees.

I also love all the fun photos of the kids playing and having fun this time of the year. Isn't it sad that we don't do this kind of stuff when we grow up? Maybe we all should in a few weeks when the leaves are deep on the ground and it is cool and crispy out. Thanks for the idea, Zachary!

And lastly, the Beautiful Autumn Wreath that my good friend, Sydne, made for me a few year's ago. I love this wreath! I love all the feelings of the approaching holidays it stirs up within. It is my favorite time of the year.

What do you love about it?