Thursday, September 8, 2016

Living in Eucharist

Summer, though not technically over, is giving way to autumn. I've been blessed this summer with one of my favorite things--hiking. Most weekends I've worked in a hike or two, in contrast with last summer when I only got to do one hike. And I love to hike! This is by no means the end of  hiking for me this year, but as the seasons change I reflect on the why's and the where's of my wonderings.

'The Mountains are calling' from GreetsDesigns
The first 'why' is my passion for hiking and nature! Growing up in a small town in western Nebraska may not sound like hiking central, but, quite frankly, what else was there to do? Scottsbluff National Monument and the Wildcat Hills were my childhood playgrounds.

View from the top of Scotts Bluff National Monument

Second, hiking is a great way to spend time with people. It's a wonderful way to get to know folks, just walking in the diverse beauty of nature there is always something to talk about and an ease in the quiet. There is an intimacy created with that beauty paired with the absence of distractions, like electronics, that can allow talks of depth that might never occur otherwise.

Nature cheaper than therapy by OliveandThistleCo

The list of why's could go on and on(there's the exercise thing, for example), but my number one motive for hiking is to live in Eucharist! In the midst of His creation I am grateful. I am nourished and revived in His Beauty. I am inspired to share His Love and Beauty and continue to seek Him first.

As for the 'wheres" here, in chronological order, is a list of my spring/summer hikes:

  •  Snoqualmie Falls -- this was part of a special day, the day after our daughter's wedding, with very special folks.

Randy, Karen, me & Jim at  Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge

Me & my precious kids

  • Twin Falls -- first adventure with our hiking group 
'Ridgers Hike'

Nisqually Delta

Also got to kayak there

Just outside Golden, Colorado

Em on the trail

  • Mt. Si -- this summer's toughest hike by far!
Katie took this from the very top(where I dare not go)

  • Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap -- another group hike. This was so much fun, our original plan was to hike Sheep Lake and then we just kept adding on more trails. The burgers at Wally's after were especially delicious!
This is part of the Pacific Crest Trail

Patty & I on Rattlesnake Ledge

Agent Dale Cooper's favorite pie, this is another reason I love to hike, after hike treats

Great fun watching the paragliders from the top

Amazing views 360 degrees from the top

My hope is that each and every one of us pursue our passions, as they are a gift from God, and in so doing live in Eucharist! 

Linda <><

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Magnifying Mirror

Half joking I asked for a magnifying mirror for Christmas a year ago. You know, just wanted to make sure I got all those chin hairs that were getting harder and harder to see with my aging eyes. That mirror, a gift from my daughter, has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

As a child of the 60's in a small Nebraska town I grew up with carefree summer days, riding my bike (without a helmet) to the municipal pool most afternoons. Like my buddies, I'd get a bad sunburn, peel and have golden brown skin for the duration. Perhaps you know where I'm going. We never thought twice about sunscreen. In fact, as a teen, baby oil ruled as we 'layed-out'.

Fast forward a few decades and while looking for those pesky chin hairs I found a dark spot on my otherwise unmarked nose. I didn't think too much about it, but enough to mention it to my doctor on a recent visit. He sent me to the dermatologist who said the basal cell carcinoma had probably been growing for five years. I'm on the other side of the surgery now with a skin graft and a couple of scars as my reward. I know it could have been worse and I'm grateful for the gift of a magnifying mirror.

As I thought about the mirror and the scarring I couldn't help but think about the internal pain we suffer. That which is barely visible on the surface, but left unchecked grows deeper and more destructive. Like the skin cancer opening it, extracting it might feel worse and more painful initially. But that's where the healing begins.

Sometimes professional help is the only road to recovery. I wouldn't pretend to know the first thing about surgery for skin cancer. Counselors, pastors, therapists may be the only way to begin for some. Sometimes a good friend with a listening ear, God's word and prayer can open a deep, deep wound and begin the healing. Quiet times in this noisy, busy world can break through the surface of a heart that is breaking.

Exodus 14:14 from Subtle Prints on Etsy

When it comes down to it there is only one answer, People need the Lord. In this scarred world we live in He is the answer. I'm living proof. 

My advice is use sunscreen, wear hats, and more important take time to be still. Take time to let God be your magnifying mirror.

Linda <><

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Grandma’s Brown Sugar Drops

It's that time of year! Treasured memories flood my mind when December rolls around and this year, well, this year is a bit different. You see, it's my first year as an orphan. To be orphaned at 57 years of age is a blessing, but still, those wistful feelings can't be ignored. I remember it like yesterday, Mom would teach all day and come home to bake cookies, dozens and dozens of cookies and some peanut brittle, fudge and divinity. I remember laying in bed, watching the sparkle of the Christmas tree lights, listening to the Christmas albums playing on the record player and smelling Mom's creations. It just doesn't get any better than that.

As a child I was a picky eater, but I loved almost all of my mother's Christmas baking. The exception was a brown sugar drop cookie filled with pecans and fruit. I didn't keep the recipe. Thank goodness my 89 year old aunt still has it, because my tastes have changed. Aunt Lea can't bake anymore, so a dear friend and I went yesterday and did some baking for her. Now she has some of her favorite Christmas cookies to give out as in years past. It was a special day creating new memories for this old orphaned girl.

I'd like to share Mom's 'almost lost' cookie recipe. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Grandma’s Brown Sugar Drops

Mix thoroughly:
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar 
2 eggs

Stir in:

½ cup sour milk, buttermilk
or water

Sift together:

3 1/2 to 4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Chill at least one hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet  Bake until set -- 8-10 minutes.

Holiday Fruit

Add in:

1 ½ cups broken pecans
2 cups candied cherries (red and green)
2 cups dates

Place one pecan half on top of each. Make these smaller.

Jeweled Cookies

Add in:
4 cups cut up gum drops

One half gum drop on top of each.

Jeweled Cookies

Perfect Peanut Brittle

Peanut Blossoms

May your holiday season be filled with precious memories of time spent with loved ones. 

Merry Christmas to all!
Linda <><

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Soup Weather

Seattle Japanese Garden

It's full on fall here and I love it! We had an especially hot summer, so the cool, crisp days are a welcome change. Quite honestly I could eat soup all year, even on the hottest days, but there is something comforting about soup simmering on the stove filling the air with the bounty of the harvest. 

Beautiful Savoy Cabbage

In searching for a recipe with bok choy and sweet potatoes I found this Chinese Nine Vegetable Hot and Sour Soup. Not something I would normally make, but so, so tasty! I had never cooked with savoy cabbage before and I thought it was really lovely when I cut into it. 

Adding the bok choy
The recipe filled my Dutch oven. 

Making enough for several meals at home and some to give away. 

As you could imagine prepping nine vegetable is pretty time consuming, but well worth it for a giant pot of simmering, savory soup!

Just some of my over used prep gadgets
Do you have any favorite, overused kitchen gadgets?

A colorful soup to enjoy on these colorful autumn days. 

Sunset from my front yard

My hope it that you, too, are taking time to enjoy autumn and the harvest.

Linda <><

Monday, March 2, 2015

March On

The month of February slipped by in my house and, quite honestly, I'm glad it's gone! Don't get me wrong, here, in the Pacific Northwest it was a beautiful, unseasonably warm, dry month. But there was that painful Seahawk loss and then flu hit our home and hit it hard. Might have had something to do with sharing those sticky Skittles at our Superbowl party. In fact, the whole neighborhood has been sick.

On the bright side, we celebrated my better half's birthday(and Valentines day) between bouts of flu with our sweet children and a great home-cooked meal, including an incredible chocolate blood orange tart made by my daughter. I also got to make my Cabbage Burgers which I make every year for my aunt on her birthday. Since we can only buy traditional 'Nebraska' cabbage burgers in Nebraska they are a real treat for her. They are a labor intensive treat!

Cabbage Burgers or Runza

I am grateful to have accomplished anything when, for the most part, I just wanted to sit and sleep! The 'tidying up' continues and I've begun listing my de-stash.

Crobots: 20 Amigurumi Robots to Make  in Cage Free Fibers

Yesterday, feeling rested and refreshed, we took a walk through the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Washington and discovered more blooms than usual for this time of year! 

Pacific Bonsai Museum

I'm grateful God is with us through the tough seasons. Really, if we didn't have hard times, how would we truly understand the wonder and depth of simple, joyful times?

Philippians 4:11B by GodsWordandWorld on etsy

Here's to a productive, joy-filled March!
Linda <><

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Just Another Day in Paradise

Yesterday my daughter and I loaded the back of the pick-up truck with 7 boxes and 11 bags of discards to take to the thrift store. 

Now there is room in my moms old steamer trunk
for some of my daughters' treasured toys

And today the discarding continues, it feels good. But it also feels good to get out and enjoy this beautiful world. 

Paradise at Mount Rainier with Edith Creek and Tatoosh Range

After another powerful message at church on Saturday night we chose to head for the mountains Sunday morning. Needless to say we did not require long underwear! It was in the 60s and with the sun reflecting off the snow and the workout snowshoes provide we were just plain hot!

You can see the steam coming off the top

We packed a snack for lunch.

Our view for lunch

We've been promised rain for next Sunday, that's fine, we'll be glued to the TV.

A mountaintop 'twelfie'

I hope you, too, can take time out from your everyday activities to celebrate the beauty of God's creation!

Heading back down


Sing for joy, O heavens; shout, O earth. Break forth with song, O mountains, for the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion upon them in their sorrow. 
  --  Isaiah 49:13

The end!

Linda <><