Sunday, January 31, 2010

Odd Poppets

I love watching my kids create.
Cassia with her photography, editing, singing or card making. She does things with photos that make me dream. Her voice lilts about the house sweetly, trying new ways of singing the same ole songs.
Tofer with his cooking, dancing and music. He always has some new move to show us, some new dish he's been experimenting with that he can't wait to have us try, and the keyboard is never at rest when he is around.
And Minda with just about everything else. Knitting, collages, painting, drawing, or sewing. Even the way she dresses! It's obviously what she was created for. I've been knitting twice as long, but she is more consistant and twice as fast. She is happiest in the middle of a big mess of scraps and thread.
These are her latest venture. I call them Odd Poppets. She creates them from organic wool felt, without a pattern. She has an idea in her head and now it's in her hands... or, rather, in Conner's hands. The bird above was in Conner's stocking for Christmas. His name is Armstrong. His dream is to one day fly so high he'll land on the moon, but as you can see he is of a flightless variety (unless, of course, Conner is giving him some help!) Maybe, someday, they'll go there together. Maybe.
Her newest Poppet is a magician. He is going to be a marionette when Malinda finally gets his strings tied to his sticks. I call him Mergatroid, but she hasn't officially named him yet. She is hoping to sell them to raise money for her upcoming trip to Isreal. (June)
Wonder what her vast imagination and deft little needle will create next?
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Saturday, January 30, 2010


Cassia asked for a family gathering for her 21st birthday. May not sound like much, but with our schedules these days it takes some finagling. The day after her birthday we were able to come together and have a few of her favorite things. Fresh salmon roasted in olive oil and lemon, baked potatoes, and green salad.

Our family doesn't care much for cake, so we always find ways to stick candles in other things to make wishes from.
We couldn't be more proud of our beautiful firstborn. Sensative and caring, kind and warm - she may let go of things, but people she does not turn loose of easily. It doesn't matter if she knows them personally or not. I love to hear her laugh. One of my most favorite things about her. Especially when her Grampa or her Daddy are the instigators.
I wish I was still at home full time to make these days as special as I used to, but that isn't the season we are in right now. Right now I am thankful that we were able to find time to give to being all in one place, at one time, for one purpose - celebrating our daughter/sister/friend.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010


Hey all!  In case you can't tell, I'm finding it difficult at the moment to blog.  Looking for a job, playing hostess, trying to be a friend, mom, wife, etc... seems to be pushing internet aside right now. 
Just wanted to let you know it may be a bit before I can get back and update.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

what a day for a dayream

"I adore simple pleasures.  They are the last refuge of the complex." ~Wilde
My kids are all grown but I still love to pour over children's books, especially Brambly Hedge.  Jill Barklem's illustrations and artwork give me hours of sweet daydreams.  I love all the little nooks and crannies, each little detail of cupboards, and closets.  Attics, staircases that wind, hidden worlds, dainties, homemaking, teeny-tiny anything -- all my fascinations wrapped in a bookbinding, what could be more tantalizing?

I'm in serious book lust over the newest compilation - The Complete Brambly Hedge.  We own the 4 seasons book, but to have all her stories and mice in one volume would be heavenly.  I'm imagining grandchildren cuddled on my lap, both of us engrossed in finding sweet nothings, listening to the happenings of Wilfred or Poppy with our feet curled up like a tail around us~  *SQUEE* Utter delight.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Friday, January 08, 2010


Coffee buzz with Tofer - his treat! Coconut white chocolate mocha! MMMMmmmm...

Buzz word with Gordon, Minda and J. The Huntresses of Athena won. - - Minda came up with the team name.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Up on the Houstop - Who! Who! Who!

J. was out shoveling snow when he spotted a "cat" on the roof. It's a good disguise! LOL! He came inside excitedly to get me to take a photo when he realized it was no Kitty!
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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Just Over the Hill

How many do you count?
Minda spotted these Elk resting in a field. They didn't seem to care one bit that we were aiming cameras at them and snapping away.
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

One Small Change

I signed up to challenge myself to make "one small change" that will have impact on our enviornment this year through a blog I linked to from a friend's blog.  About 3.5 years ago I did this same kind of thing (paring down, changing habbits, giving things up), it lead to a lifelong friendship.  What will it lead to this time, I wonder? 
My commitment for the year is to buy more local.  I do pretty much 100% of what the other suggestions (stop using paper products, use energy saving blubs, recycle, use reusable bags...) were, but this is one I can improve in. 

You may have read the post below of how tight our budget is this month, but since I had made this commitment I searched out what I could get from local farmers, maufacturers, and businesses.  Most of the produce I found was local or from the county - tomatos, cucumbers, grn. onion, grn. peppers, & carrots.  I bought local salsa, locally roasted coffee and locally produced granola and milk.  Though the crackers I bought were not local, the egg roll wrappers, the eggs, the yogurt and the butter were all Montana produced and mostly small companies/farms!  Feels good to have a goal!
Very excited to begin this journey!

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Christmas Letter - Better Late Than Never!

2009 is coming to a close, 2010 will begin unfolding in a matter of days. "Lighting one candle from another..." - Buson Though the last candle isn't extinguished in the passing on of it's flame, it will dwindle and eventually be forgotten in the light of the fresh flame. The assurance of light came from the giving of that flame, though. The remains of our year seem to be more from a bonfire than a candle, and we have felt it's heat. May 2010 be emblazoned by the tinder of '09.

Kindling the Paul family added to the pyre ~


*Working 2 jobs. Sage and Spa Salon where she is a guest care consultant. And Pizza Hut where she is waitressing. Both are allowing her to save for college, and she enjoys the diversity of the atmospheres.

*Enjoying the freedom of being on the road by herself.

*Building relationships. She would say she isn't very good at this, but no one who knows her would say she is anything but fabulous. She calls, makes cards for, emails, prays for, goes to coffee with, bakes cookies for and listens to her friends. There is never enough time for her to spend in connection.

*Walked down the aisle with Kara's grampa at the Chelgrins' wedding. Adoration was mutual.

*Sleep & rest are greatly coveted commodities. Reading, singing, & researching fill in the gaps of the waking hours.

*Looking back on this year she is able to trust more fully in the timing of God, and leaving it in His hands.

*Enjoying this rich season with family and community.


*Graduated in May.

*Also became a licensed driver in May.

*In July moved into his first apartment!

*Has been teaching and participating with dance teams. Hip-hop, break, & pop/lock styles.

*Began working at Rosaurers, but just last month was hired out at Bridger Bowl for the ski season. Saving for college AND shredding the Nar!

*Ultimate frisbee league all summer with Dadd-i-o. He loved it!

*Walked Kara's mom down the aisle at the Chelgrins' wedding. He kept her smiling, instead of crying.

*Music is still huge. Recording, writing, singing, and performing with increasing skill and passion.


*Graduated in May.

*Continues to watch her favorite 3yr old and 1yr old; Lily & Noah.

*Got dredlocks at the end of May. She rocks 'em.

*Planning on heading to Israel in June with some family friends who are becoming full time missionaries there. She hopes to possibly stay and train in archaeology instead of moving back to the snows of Montana.

*Took a class with her mom to become a nationally trained & certified phlebotomist.

*Walked two of the grampas down the aisle at the Chelgrin's wedding. They laughed the whole way.

*Going to physical therapy to correct those knee caps that have been popping out of place for 5 years. It's working!

*Reading, knitting, sewing, painting, creating- There is always a project going on.


*Resigned in January from Alliance Fellowship in Bozeman, MT. After 2.5 years the lead pastor was feeling the need to take the church in a direction that was not our heart, and so we stepped aside to allow his vision to come forward.

*Mom and Dad took us in while we tried to figure out what was next. The time with them flew by for us. We ate up every moment of being back with family.

*In May we were accepted into the Acts 29 church planting network and returned to Bozeman to see a new kind of church begin.

*At the end of May Dad called to let us know Grama Ella had died. Unable to return so soon we had to say long distance goodbyes. Closure across hundreds of miles is difficult & seldom satisfies

*Core group meetings began in June; gathering to dream, envision, and lock arms and hearts.

*Meeting people, getting into their lives, being available, seeing mindsets change - that has been the daily modus operendi for the last 6 months. Coffee cafe's, local pubs & eateries, in homes or at shops - he is constantly engaging.

*Ultimate Frisbee in a league with Tofer through the summer gave a much needed outlet for exercise.

*Became an uncle for the second time, several weeks ahead of schedule, when Shaun and Anna gave birth to Marion Elizabeth on a road trip to a friend's wedding in August.

*Officiated his first wedding in October for his younger brother, Joel. Welcome to the family, Courtney! So blessed to have you in our lives!

*Studying. Books, articles, papers, teachings, podcasts; The man has a thirst for learning.


*Officially retired from homeschooling at the end of May. All graduates are moving on.
*Thinks her nephew and new niece have to be the cutest people on the planet.  Shaun and Anna are great parents.

*Trying to find footing in this new adventure of church planting. Enjoying the aspects of community and hospitality.

*Continues to be a photographer as jobs arise. Her camera was upgraded this year. She is enjoying the perks.

*Also trained to become a nationally certified phlebotomist. James calls her his little bloodsucker.

*Needs to get in shape; 40 will be no fun flabby.

*Continues to cook, clean, chauffeur, give advice, and find things others have lost. Now if only she could find what seems to be missing in her own world.

The grace of God and the generosity of friends have allowed us to pursue this endeavor without too much trepidation. We are so grateful for both and feel undeserving of either.

We hope that this new decade holds wonders, and surprises, blessings and joys in abundance for you all!!

Please feel free to print the photo for your fridge!  Hopefully next year we will be able to send hardcopy! :)

With Sara

I seldom get out of the house it seems. Not that I am complaining - I love being home. But when Matt and Sara called me to help them surprise their family after Christmas, I knew I would be setting aside some time - Time for Sara. The day after they arrived I met them at the Co-op for lunch (Lucy snacked on her hat).
Sara had some work to do, so after lunch we whisked off to the Daily and shared a scone (well, I had a nibbled - that nursin' mama can pack it in and you would never know it!!) while she took care of business. Lucy and I snuggled and played peek-a-boo.
New Year's Day we drove out to Lion's Ridge and spent a few more hours with them (this time as a family) before they headed out to MN. Love them. Miss them already. So blessed to have had HOURS - even though it felt like moments.
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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Tighten the belt - Suck in the gut

Our family (of 4 now that Tofer is on his own) has a very small budget for food this month. We entertain quite a lot and we like to eat good, so I set out on a quest. My task seemed simple enough; Find meals that could be made for pennies that were healthy, tasty and filling. For those of you, who like me, are trying to create meals out of thin air, here is my January menu.
I knew there were going to be lots of beans/legumes, noodles, rice and other grains this month. All are cheap, all are filling and most (if prepared correctly) are healthy. My recipe search began with these things as a base. My only other criteria was that no recipe could have exotic ingredients, or rare ingredients (though I do have some on hand that not everyone would have, I think), and they couldn’t use any meat that wasn’t already in my freezer. (I’m 90% vegetarian, but my family is not, so I try to please their taste buds too). I had organic burger, fish, chicken and roast & not a lot of any of them, so they would have to stretch too. I took stock of my pantry next. Most of the ingredients were already there!!
I had lentils, red beans, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red lentils, & split peas. Cous cous, penne, soba, egg, rice spaghetti, rice shells, brown rice Orecchiette, vegetable orzo, quinoa curls, farfalle, and lasagna. Quinoa, polenta, oatmeal, flax, pine nuts, farina, almonds, chick peas, wheat germ, & brown rice. YAY! I would need to buy Jasmine rice, potatoes, cornmeal, and spelt flour for the recipes I had amassed. I would also buy fresh produce, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee and some frivolous things such as crackers, whole wheat tortillas, coconut milk, & egg roll wrappers!
Now for the menu!

This is what I cook most. I try to make sure there is enough made to have leftovers for lunches.

Spicy Shredded Chicken Soup (I won't be using canned stuff this recipe calls for, and we'll leave the corn out altogether.)
tortilla chips
We like SPICE. I always seem to have Sriracha sauce, cayenne, dried red pepper flakes, JalapeƱo slices, and other things to spice up a recipe.

White chili (again, no canned goods, and no cheese)
Corn muffins
Because our menu is limited, I didn’t want “same-o - same-o” meals. I could have done chili, spaghetti, shepherds pie, etc… but I want my family to enjoy coming to the table and for it to seem like the quality hasn’t changed even though the budget has. White chili is a great way to change up the ordinary, but still get the mileage it offers to a budget!

Stroganoff (I had a can of mushroom soup, so I'll use it, but normally I make this without it)
Lemon butter green beans
This is a compromise. I won’t eat the beefy stroganoff, but my family hates green beans (??? - what is not to love about green beans?)

Egg rolls (I don't use a recipe.  We shred Napa cabbage, onion, carrot and sometimes sweet red pepper for the filling.  I squeeze a quarter of a lemon over it and mix it with a bit of fresh ground pepper... roll it up in a wrapper and deep fry it in ex. virg. olive oil)
Lemon and garlic noodles
I have only recently begun making these little gems! We all love them and there are never leftovers. They are gluten free, vegetarian, and easy!

Enchilada Casserole (No recipe here either.  I use browned burger, spices, refried beans, minced onion, and crunched tortilla chips.  Mix it together - put it in a 13x9 pan, pour tomato sauce over it and add a bit of shredded cheese or queso to the top and bake it til it is heated through.)
Green rice (only thing I change is the broth.  I use vegie)
We love Mexican food, but this month I can’t afford all the cheese and guacamole and sour cream… This way we get the yumminess that is all things Mexican, but that fills us up and doesn’t break the bank!

Quinoa Black Bean salad  (you'll have to scroll down the page.  I won't use corn.  and I add hot peppers)
Bulgogi wraps and sauce (what they don't tell you about are the vegies that are seared along side the bulgogi - mushrooms, cabbage, green onions, peppers.  I don't have Kimchi, so I won't use it. I don't care for Mirin so I'll use a white sherry that is in my cupboard.)
I spent two summers in South Korea and Bulgogi was a staple for each meal. Bulgogi means ‘fire meat’ . It’s basically spiced beef strips wrapped in lettuce leaves with other vegies and dipped in a sauce.

Green Cous-Cous
Dijon Chicken (I leave out the sugar.)
Basil, Tarragon and green olives mixed with couscous and pure cloudy olive oil. Mmmmmm!

Grecian Lentils (similar to this - but a recipe from a friend adds a 1/3 c or red lentils, a Tblsp. capers, and mushroom broth instead of water.  It is served with a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.)
Brown rice with saffron and peppers
Green and red lentils in a lemony broth with spinach leaves and capers. I usually have a little bottle of capers in the fridge. It doesn’t take many to add a little zip to dishes. I’ll be using frozen spinach because I had already.

Apple muffins (There you go Juanita!)
My friend Sara does a version of this with butternut squash that is very tasty, but I didn’t have butternut and I did have carrots, so I’m changing it up!

Lancaster pork roast (nothing really special - throw it in a slow cooker with some spices and let it cook.  Add broth if it isn't making enough to keep the meat moist.)
Potatoes & sauerkraut
We have been blessed with a Mama who has given us organic, grass fed meats. She’s awesome. One of the last times she came she brought a pork roast. I hadn’t used it yet, and now I am so glad! Sauerkraut seems to be another staple. I have a jar in the fridge and a jar in the pantry. Time to use one! My family isn’t a huge fan of kraut, but I am! When I mix it with diced, pre-boiled potatoes and cook it with a little garlic and pepper, they not only eat it - they go back for seconds!

Egg fried rice (I use regular rice - chilled thoroughly!!)
Orange chicken (I have minced ginger in a jar in the fridge, so I'll use that instead of fresh)
Asian noodle salad (I leave out the cahews and the chicken and use rice noodles)

Another compromise! I won’t eat the orange chicken, but my mouth is watering at the thought of this salad and rice!

Smoked Portobello soup (instead of liquid smoke I'll use dried, smoked mushrooms and rehydrate them)
Chive sour cream scones (leave out the sugar and add chives!)
I adore mushrooms! Love - sweet, sweet, love of any dish that incorporates the pungent fungus! LOL! I’ll set some of this aside without chunks of mushrooms for the family though. Their’s will have some beef in it.

Broccoli Pesto Orecchiette (No recipe.  Just steamed broccoli mixed with pasta and pesto.  Pesto is another thing I usually have a jar of in the fridge.These 2 flavors aren't usually paired together, but I like them.  I'll add some toasted pine nuts before serving.)
Grilled Tilapia (I'll just use the dill in the cupboard though.)
I may add a bread or some other side to this meal… not sure… we’ll see when the day arises.

Cajun Salmon Salad ( this is just salmon tossed with cajun seasoning and olive oil broiled for a few minutes.  Served on a bed of lettuce & cucumber with black sesame seeds on top. )
Dirty rice (i'll leave out the sausage.)
A can of salmon in my pantry made me go looking for a recipe that could make it more appetizing. Canned salmon is so gross looking. I wanted a strong seasoning and one that would add color & perk it up! The dirty rice is a typical Cajun dish. Black beans, peppers, onion, and tomato. I’ll let you know what we think of it.

I rarely cook breakfast as our family is no longer on the same schedule with everyone being done with school, working odd hours and having different body clocks.  My breakfast is coffee.  Around 10/ 10:30 I'll have some sunflower seeds, or an orange.  The others may have some form of cereal, toast or fruit.
Lunch is similar.  We have finger foods and leftovers.  If you were to walk in at lunchtime around here you'd most likely see a plate of pickles, olives, sliced cheese, crackers, fruit, greek yogurt, nuts, and some vegies (carrots, cucumber, sweet pepper), or someone pulling out last nights dinner and reheating it!
 There you have it.  Those of you who wanted to know well in advance should be rejoicing!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Hello 2010!


10 years into a new century already?  I remember thinking about this day when we entered this era.  Looking back on the last 10 years is mind boggling.  Hard to believe some things were 10 years ago, and other things seem more like a millenia ago - "10 years?!  That couldn't have been just 10 years!"
10 years ago I was a homeschooling mother of a 10, 8, & 6 year old, had been married for 11 years & was the ripe 'ole age of 29.  We had been out of Bible College and back at our home church for 6 years.  J had just stepped down from leading worship at every service while working 60 hrs. a week selling Hondas, and we were heading into a downward spiral with God, our friends, our relationship, & life in general.  I am so thankful our God is the God who redeems, who rebuilds, who refreshes, and who holds us close to His heart. 

2000 was one of the longest years of my life.  I came to the end of myself in many ways (I think there are still ends to come to), and so did J.  God began to show us the grace of His soveriegnty. We began a journey to relearn what the Gospel of Jesus really is.  We began to be set free from having to 'do' because of man-imposed requirements and expectations, and to 'do' from the outflow of what was happening in us and who Jesus is. 

I just finished reading through the book of John again & the thing that stuck out to me most was that Jesus did nothing, said nothing, went nowhere without the leading of His Father.  He made no apologies for doing or saying or going because it wasn't His choice, His will, or His way.  This is what God has been working in us for a decade... What can I say?  We're slow.

We were so hungry for this new found grace.  We ate up every podcast, sermon, book, or article that explained further, helped us go deeper, and gave our hearts' cry validity.  Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Tim Keller, Alistar Begg, Rick McKinley, Donald Miller, Jon Eldredge, AW Tozer, CS Lewis, Voddie Baucham, Greg Harris, and many others nutured what the Holy Spirit was doing in us. 

Even though soverignty was more validated than it ever had been in our lives, we still had questions of "why?", for us, it was taking so long to step into the calling we knew existed.  Men we hardly knew saw it on our lives, but those who were closest to us seemed not only to ignore it, but squelch it.  Why was God allowing it?  Did we have more to learn?  Were we still becoming those who could hear The Father's voice? 

I heard, just 3 years ago, about a study done by a man named Richard Rohr.  I don't agree with everything I have read, but this made my spirit leap when I heard it.  It was on a man's life journey and the things necessary for a man to fully become what he is called to be.  He graphed it, which I can't show you here, and at certain points along the graph were divergences.  Something significant needed to happen in order for the journey to continue upward toward the positive life.  One of those things happens around the age of 25 (the age J was when we were returning from Bible college), and again around the age of  30 (about the age he was in 2000).  I wish we had known this then.  Friar Rohr showed this: 
· Men must have the affirmation and guidance of wise mentors. 
· Men have a need and a responsibility to mentor future generations.
We already knew it by the time we were shown the study.  J had desperately longed for someone to not only see his potential but to nuture it and give him a path of opportunity to grow in it.  He also desired to have young men to disciple - to follow him as he followed Christ; to see them come into their callings; to see them become disciplers.

Hindsight is always clearer than foresight, right?  We know now that not having those things lit a fire beneath our spiritual butts.  We became passionate & intetional in seeking out wise men who would give affirmation and guidance to J., and encouraging others to not wait for it to happen.  And, J. began to seek out those men with hungry hearts to be discipled - to ask the tough questions, & to encourage and support as they began their upward journey.  Being believed in does something to our needy human hearts.  Hindsight doesn't bring comfort to the past, but it does offer peace.  With peace we can move forward.
Our current place in this journey, 10 years along, has more leaning on knowing God so fully and completely that there is no need of further understanding.  But, golly, it's hard to let go of our humaness.

"If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here!  How will in be known that Your people and I have found favor in You sight except that You go with us?"  Ex.33:15&16  I'll say even more - How will Your Name be exalted in the earth, How will Your people and I ever go beyond, How will The Father be glorified if You do not go with, before and behind us?  I believe 2010 is the beginning of an epoch - The beginning of a new period marked by radical changes and new developments beyond what is humanly possible; the telling of which will draw the hearers "further up and further in".

Want to come?