Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DPP 2011

December Photo Project 2011 begins tomorrow!  Can't wait to share this season with all of you. This is my fourth or fifth (?) year of participation.  My focus, this year especially, is on the Truth of the season as we live it here in our humble abode.   Jesus, the warmth of family, the flavors, the colors, the light & scents - Mmmmmmm!  Such an incredible time to pause, reflect and savor.  I hope you'll join in, but if you'd rather just observe, there is a facebook page (new this year!) and a flickr page for your viewing enjoyment.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Young Love

25 years ago I sat in the bleachers of Chief Moses Jr. High gymnasium for an assembly.  We got out of classes just to go hear the highschool jazz choir perform their repertoire for an upcoming competition.  My Civics teacher, Mr. Paul, had told me that his oldest son was in the choir and would have a solo.  From my angle, I couldn't see his face, but I didn't need to.  The voice was enough to make me (and all the girls around me) dream of being the girl he was singing to.  It was a Billy Joel song - "The Longest Time" & probably one of the reasons why I still love Billy Joel to this day.   It would be 1.5 years from that moment before 'the voice' & I  actually met face to face.  Mr. Paul and I would continue to have conversations about him during my Library Aide period and his planning period for the remainder of my jr. high year.  Then, when I was a shy, wallflower of a sophomore, he asked me to dance and I said 'yes' - and have been saying 'yes' ever since.
23 years ago today our pastor asked if I "would willing offer myself" as best friend, only lover, & dearest treasure to this handsome 6'5" chap who had been crying as I walked down the aisle to take his hand.  I said I would.  And I did.  Completely.
Happy Anniversary, Babe. You make me so happy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Doubled by Wonder

 Happy Thanksgiving! 
 Great Grama Virgie's Apple Pie
 Mama's Southern Pecan Pie
 Our traditional Wassail season begins
 A first.  Purple potatoes from the summer garden produce lavender mashed potatoes!  They were delicious, but you had to get past the color!
 Roasted to perfection turkey! 
 Small crowd this year, but it was sweet to share this day with friends.  The Wests and the Merwins totally made our holiday.
Our feast consisted of Garlic-Tarragon Infused Turkey, a Quinoa Cornbread Stuffing with Toasted Pecans, Croissants,  Fortified Tawny Port Raspberry Reduction, Antipasti, Green Bean Feta Salad, Pear Roquefort Salad, 20 Fruit Salad, Purple Mashed potatoes with rosemary and leeks, gravy, Asparagus, And serving Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, Champagne, Alsatian Pinot Gris and sparkling cider for the kiddos.  Oh & sweet potatoes.
  Apple Pie, Southern Pecan Pie, and Pumpkin Pie.  
Wassail and coffee and whipped cream for the pie.
Thoroughly stuffed, we vegged until 7 when we headed around the corner to the Merwins' to play games and hang out.  The girls beat the guys (soundly) at Taboo while we drank French Press and Wassail until 10PM. 
I was so ready to crawl between the flannel sheets and dream deeply!
Hope you and your Loves had a blessed day of reflecting on His goodness and reveling in it!

 'I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.' - G.K. Chesterton

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wherein J & D Fly Away & Return Home Again

With a moon that crisp and clear, we knew snow was on the way, again.

 Lots of colds and sniffles going through the ranks around here.  I'd been drinking up the green smoothie goodness in hopes of keeping it at bay while packing for the upcoming Patrick Learning Community in Torrance, CA.  It worked!

A storm blew in the night before we were to load up (along with the West Crew) to head over the passes.   We had just put snow tires on Orson, so we were prepared!
 A little aero-triptych to punctuate the metamorphosis.  A journey to the land of sun.
 Going over the Continental Divide is always gorgeous, but the dusting of snow sure intensified it for us!

I live in the most magical place.  But I am so blessed to be able to get away to places that re-emphasize that fact. 
Places where a golden sun sinks into a blue horizon of ocean...

 Where you can sip some good Jo, while listening to the surf roll in ...

And the flowers are still in bloom ...

Where Palm trees nestle in with Pine, & Maple, & Gingko...

& Where night lights dance on the tide along the boardwalk.  All the while you are wearing shorts in NOVEMBER.

We love our leadership training; our Oikos; our people of peace ...

We always leave so filled (with great food thanks to Lynn) with information to process and grow from, with affection for the great diversity of our teams, and with challenges ahead to face together.

Needless to say, when it is completed we need to unwind! 

J had planned for us to spend a couple days kickin' it in Laguna Beach.  We had a great dinner together at Nick's (highly recommend!) that night, but the next day the exhaustion kicked us instead.   We spent the day in the hotel room sipping Pelegrino, slurping soup, and watching Winnie-the-Pooh.

Saturday we joined Eric and Lisa Strom in La Verne.  So awesome to see where they 'do life'!  
We had breakfast in old town, then got to see where Eric pastors before taking off for the "Hollywood" tour Little Red Insight style.  :)

Lisa drove us to her walking trails that over look La Verne.  It was lovely.  Fall was still in full swing & the riots of color were everywhere!

When Eric finished up his official responsibilities we took off to truly partake of the area...  Beginning in Alta Loma at Rancho de Philo's Sherry Winery.  They only open one week out of the year for selling their sherry.  We just happened to be in town for it!  Lucky us!  While they poured, they told us stories, and they poured us more - we did not argue.

After leaving the Cucamunga Valley, we drove to Claremont and walked the streets, window shopped, talked plants and other nothings-of-significance until we ended up at the wine bar where we settled into a cozy corner and ordered a flight of Pinots, a Zin, a Merlot, and a Chianti along with a plate of divine cheeses and whiled away a couple hours talking of music and life and the complex beauty of wine.  It was hard to say goodbye. 

Sunday, bright and early, it was time to return to the great white north.  And, as I said, we love being able to go, but we love even more to return.

And return we did. 

Tomorrow I begin working for a Naturopath in town, and there are just a few days left to prepare for Thanksgiving, and we celebrate 23 years of marriage just after that.
So full.  So beautiful.

Every minute unleashed all day is a beautiful minute; 
acclimatize with the pace,
And every entity sojourning upon the surface of
this earth is a beautiful entity; 
making this endlessly spinning globe a
beautiful place; giving rise to the famous
and immortal adage;
'Life is beautiful'.
Take wing. Live. Fly into life, full. Embrace. Be beauty.
~ Nikhil

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


The coffee cake was such a hit, I have to share the recipe with you.
Streusel Coffee Cake
1.5 c. flour
2 tsp. baking pwd.
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
1/3 c. sugar
2 Tblsp butter
2/3 c. milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg

sift dry ingrd. together, cut in butter. Beat egg, add milk& s.crm. - blend. Combine the liquid with the dry ingrd. Pour into oiled 8x8 pan and top with Streusel (below).
(the batter doesn't really "pour", and it isn't smooth on top when in the pan - it is sticky and has peaks and valleys all over the place).

3 Tblsp flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c br. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tblsp butter

mix together dry ingrd., cut in butter, sprinkle on top of coffee cake.

Bake 25 min. @ 400 degrees F.

 Our days and weeks fill up fast around here.  These morning moments of quiet, sipping coffee, appraising the week/day/month ahead, are a godsend.  Thankful that all those years on the ranch of getting up at 4 AM never really worked their way out of my life. 
Also thankful I no longer have to head out the door to feed horses and move handlines at that time of day!
 Sunday evenings are always spent with neighbors.  Having to be indoors now presents a bit of a challenge space-wise, but I have to tell you, I kind of enjoy the coziness and all the chatter and the togetherness due to the embargo imposed by the snow and cold.
I made this for dinner, with home baked Parmesan Focasia, and a simple green salad.  It's so delicious, and easy!  So, lucky you, you get 2 recipes from me today!

Roasted Mediterranean Chicken
1 16oz. jar Sauerkraut, drained
1.5# small purple potatoes, washed & halved
1/4c. vegetable broth
2 pints grape tomatoes
1 head of garlic, separated and peeled
2c. Kalamata pitted olives, drained
2 Tblsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Mediterranean seasoning (oregano, garlic granules, lemon peel, dill weed, chili flakes, spearmint leaf, thyme & mace)  (I found it at World Market)
8 pieces of chicken with skin
Fresh ground black pepper 
Juice of one lemon 
Preheat oven to 425.  
Toss all ingrd. except 1 Tblsp of oil & chicken, pepper and lemon juice in a large bowl (or directly in roasting pan)
Nestle chicken, skin side up, into veggies. Brush with remaining oil, sprinkle with pepper.
Roast until chicken is cooked through - about 35 - 40 minutes.
Transfer chicken to platter.  Squeeze lemon over veggies. Gently scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan before transferring to bowl to serve with chicken.

I'm eating leftover veggies today.  Had me singing Depeche Mode "I Just Can't Get Enough" as I was heating up seconds.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


forever is composed of nows.” 

The first snowfall of the season

Hot Thai Fish Stew and Rosemary scones at Co-op with my baby girl.

At the Emerson for a class and Farmer's Market


What the class taught me...
Movie seats
The Wonder of stillness and new sight

Conversation over a sparkling sip or two
 Coffee cake - blessing of navigating the drifts to my house.
 Tea wisdom
Patiently awaiting the changing to warmer days
 Friends arrived for games and laughter.
 PURPLE! The garden is still giving us bounty :)
Tonight more friends will arrive for a hot meal and sweet togetherness.  
Hope all your nows are composing a beautiful Forever...