Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 30 and 31 ~ Connection (confessions of a recovering connection addict)

I have a love/hate relationship with connection. I love feeling connected to those I care about and I hate seasons of disconnection. I highly value connection.

My tendency is to feel safe, productive and happy when genuine connection is happening. I feel like I can handle anything that comes my way. This is especially true of my connection with Dave.

When we are disconnected, I feel mostly ... fear and insecurity. 

Quite naturally, with very little effort, Dave and I connect well 

          *when we are on vacation. So we love mini
            vacations throughout the year. 

          *when we are on dates, even something as
            simple as a cup of coffee together.

          *when we are in crisis, even a crisis of
            our own making. We become a team,
            spending lots of time talking, praying,
            supporting each other and problem
It is in our daily normal living that connection is harder, wonky, even sometimes disappointing. This is where we have to have intentional and thoughtful plans. It does not happen naturally.

This used to freak me out, as I often let a normal season of disconnection send me spiraling down a very unhealthy path. It was easy for me to shut down and even easier for me to blame Dave.

In case your wondering, this did not lead me to more connection. (do not try this at home) 

With the help of a therapist, I learned that connection is something that ebbs and flows. No one can be connected all of the time. And I learned healthier ways to ask for what I needed and wanted.

As a third culture kid, I think this will always be a struggle for me ... but an honest look at it has really helped.

Now you know why we love drinking coffee together ... for fun and connection.

How do you stay connected to those you love? 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 23 - 29 ~ Mini vacation in Door County

Right in the middle of my 31 day blogging series and my 28 day clean eating detox ~ we decided to take  some time away from the city and head to Door County, WS for a few days.

Not exactly the best timing for me, but I never miss an opportunity to hang out with my adventuresome husband. Dave is the quintessential tour guide.

Before we even left home, he had already scoped out the best coffee shops along the way. (my one and very fun concession to vacation and detox)

This picture just makes me very happy.  

Door Country is a beautiful peninsula in Wisconsin, with over 300 miles of shoreline. We enjoyed all of it. Beautiful parks, lots of water and gorgeous trees. We went the week after the peak season, to avoid crowds. 

When we were on this hike, I kept saying, "we are NOT in Chicago."


So much fun being together ... 


We are very wimpy in the drinking department, so we split a wine tasting. (really) And because of the detox, I only had a tiny sip. And Dave did not finish any of them. (I am sure the hostess thought we were nuts)

We also stopped in Green Bay, so Dave could greet one of childhood heros,

and, do the lambo leap.

We figured out that if we timed our drive home, we would arrive in Chicago just in time to hear one of my favorite writers, Jan Karon, speak. Miss Karon was southern, charming, very funny and shared her love for Jesus.

It is always hard to come home from a vacation, even a short one. But we came home to this charming next door neighbor. Yup, that helps.

When was the last time you got away?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 22 ~ Us

Dave and I are on a mini-vacation in Door County, WS. We love short breaks and it is always nice to get away from the hub bub of the city for a little while. 

This was a fun moment, as I took a tiny break from my clean eating to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee at Colectivo Coffee in Milwaukee, WS. I passed up tons of other treats and goodies all day ... but boy did I enjoy that coffee.

But mostly ... a day of talking, walking and site seeing with Dave. (my husband is the quintessential tour guide)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Day 21 ~ Off

I am off to spend some time with this guy.

And, yes ... coffee drinking will be involved.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 20 ~ Monday

It is Monday morning and I am wondering how you feel about Mondays. Which camp are you in this morning, or every Monday?


Mondays are one of my favorite days of the week. I love fresh starts, new beginnings, clean slates. It is also why I love January.

Fresh starts remind me of one of my favorite verses.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

For the past two years, I spend Mondays with my daughter, Jenny and now her daughter, Lillian. We talk, drink tea, prep meals for her week, do a little organizing and take a walk.

I love Mondays.

Which camp are you in?

 image credit: one

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Day 19 ~ Rest (or I love our bedroom)

Yesterday, as I cleaned our apartment, I noticed I was running out of energy. By evening, our home was clean, but I was starting to feel ill.

So today, while Dave is out in the suburbs preaching, I am reading a book ... one I could not wait to get my hands on.

New York Times bestselling author, Jan Karon, has (finally) written another Mitford novel. I love this series and have read it several times.

A  day of resting and drinking tea.

We should all rest when we feel crummy. I am glad the house is spotless. And, when I changed the sheets, I put out my favorite cheery pillowcase ... just perfect for these darker Fall days.

Two years ago, I spoke for a women's retreat at my home church in Seattle. It was delightful to be back and see so many friends.

In my lovely room, was a huge gift basket, full of all my favorititte things. Not many people know I like pillow cases, so I asked who did the gift basket. 

Victoria told me she reads my blog, and had been keeping track of things I mentioned ... pens, note cards, chocolate, nuts, lime green things ... and yes, pillow cases. (how sweet is that)

Pillow cases showed up in my post Top Ten Things I ALWAYS take on a mission trip.

ps. I often buy a book I really want to read, read it very carefully and then give it as a gift. (shhhh ... don't tell)

What do you do when you do not feel well? 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day 18 ~ Clean eating detox

Have you ever done a 28 day clean eating challenge? 

I have wanted to, so when my niece, Shannon, started working for Arbonne, and invited me to join her next Clean Eating group ... I was all in.

Here is why I chose this plan?

     *The fit kit comes with breakfast and lunch. 
       I get overwhelmed with planning 3 meals a day
       and now I only have to plan one meal.

     *Detoxing is no small thing. This program
       includes tons of supplements to really support
       your liver and your entire body while detoxing.
       (pre and pro-biotics, detox tea, fiber etc.)

     *I sampled the protein shake before I ordered.
       It was delicious.

     *The dinner recipes are delicious and work for
       my family.

     *There is a private Facebook group with 
       great information, recipes, a place to ask
       questions etc.

     *And, Shannon, is super cute and sweet.

Today, I finished day 9. I feel great and it has been pretty easy. I am looking forward to being a little lighter and a lot healthier as the holidays approach.

For the month of October, Shannon is offering a 50% discount off the 30 day fit kit supplies. It is a great deal. Check out her web site, or contact me if you would like her phone number.

I am off to drink another glass of water. 

ps. This is no dairy, no gluten, no caffeine, no sugar. What do I miss the most?
My occasional tall no-foam latte.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 17 ~ Solutions

There are so many things I love about living in our vintage apartment in Chicago.
We live on the top floor

Every day, I enjoy
          *hardwood floors

          *high ceilings
          *built in hutch

          *gorgeous details to the trim around
            the windows

          *a transom window

          *tall detailed baseboards

          *crown molding

BUT, there are a few things I really do not like:

          *lots (and I mean lots) of dust

          *really old windows

          *and, the biggest of all, only one bathroom

We host lots of overnight guests and get really creative with where to find a comfy sleeping spot for another person. (even six) But there is just nothing to do about only having one bathroom.

Recently, I did finally figure out a solution for a way to blow dry my hair, when the bathroom is occupied. (I know, small on the list of real life problems ... but made me happy.) Here it is ...

Yup ... that is a mirror hanging on the door knobs of my kitchen cabinet.

I am happy.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day 16 ~ An afternoon of inspiration and a book I could not put down

Do you ever need a little change of pace, a good cup of coffee and some inspiration? I do. And, today was one of those days.

Chicago weather was a little dark and rainy, a perfect day for an afternoon at one of my favorite browsing places ... Barnes and Noble.

Christy had the afternoon off, so we went together.

I always start with a stack of magazine to peruse.
Then a gorgeous stack of books and a delicious coffee. (always a tall no-foam latte for me)

But today was a little different. First, I am not drinking coffee for the month, and brought a tea bag from home. And second, I started reading a book that I could not put down, and skipped the rest of the stack.

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Ann Whiston-Donaldson, had me spell bound. Ann is a beautiful writer who honestly shares the story of the loss of their 12 year old son. 

My brother has buried a son, too early, and I was thinking of them, as well.

It was a different kind of inspiration then my usual afternoon at Barnes and Noble ... but I went away wanting to know Jesus a little more and wanting to be there for my friends in deep ways when they are experiencing loss.

Thanks, Ann, for sharing your loss. 

Where do you find inspiration?


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day 15 ~ Hats and hands

Well, we have made it to day 15. In honor of all of us 31 dayers making it half way to 31 ... I bring you a special treat. 

Meet my grand baby, Lillian.


Isn't she the cutest?

ps. Go back and look at Lily's picture one more time. Dave thinks it looks like she is taking her first selfie. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day 14 ~ARC's (advanced readers copy) and Maeve Binchy

There is a bookish girl that lives in our guest room. And when a bookish girl lives in your guest room, fun bookish things come in the mail.

My favorite are the ARC's that Christy receives. Advanced, pre-release copies of some really fantastic books.

Right now, I am reading Maeve's Times: In Her Own Words by a favorite Irish author, Maeve Binchy. (compiled after her death)

In our early years of travel in Europe, I received some smart advice from an expat. Susan recommended reading books from local authors whenever I could.

Thus began my love for Maeve Binchy (while I was in Ireland) and Rosamunde Pilcher (while I was in England).

ARC edition
This is a great book and I have learned so many fun and interesting things about Maeve Binchy. 

In October, 1968, Maeve was appointed Women's Editor of The Irish Times, when her father mailed them some of the many letters he had received from his traveling daughter.

This book is some selected writings from this season and it cover five decades of her essays. 

I loved this statement from The Irish Times, "Maeve's Times is funny and clever and kind, which are excellent qualities in both books and people ... what this wonderful collection of her work makes abundantly clear is that she was a superb journalist."

If you do not have a bookish girl living in your guest room, you will have to wait until the book is released on October 28. It will be worth the wait.

What are you reading?  


Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 13 ~ Love your neighbor ... bake them scones

My amazing White Chocolate Apricot Scones have been featured on my blog many times.

The first time was when I baked these for our friends when their daughter was killed in a car accident.

The last time was when I baked 250 scones for our daughter's wedding.

Today, I want to talk about Love your neighbor ... bake them scones.

As a follower of Jesus, I want to be known on our block, as a family that is kind and thoughtful and fun.

So, each time someone moves into our neighborhood, I try to make it over in the first week with these delicious scones.

If you have moved recently (or ever) you will remember the exhaustion and confusion.

Where is the coffee maker, the measuring spoons,  the pillow cases? You will remember working hard and being hungry, with no time to figure out just where the grocery store is.

Enter ... me, with a plate of wonderful, just baked scones, to say "welcome to our neighborhood."

Would you like the super easy recipe? 

White Chocolate Apricot Scones  
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup heavy cream

Glaze: 3 tablespoons butter
          2 tablespoons sugar, heated together

Combine dry ingredients. Add fruit and chocolate chips. Use a fork to stir in cream. Knead on a floured board 8 times.

Divide dough into 2 flat rounds. Cut each round into 6 triangles. 

Bake for 11 minutes at 425 degrees. Glaze while still warm.

Enjoy these delicious treats and share some with your neighbors.

ps. Thanks to a MOPS friend, Naomi, for sharing this recipe when we lived in Auburn. I have made them SO many times.   

What recipe do you most often share? 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day 12 ~ I miss you, mom

The last nine years has gone really fast and really slow. Nine years ago today, our family said goodbye to our adorable mom, Hallie

This is my favorite picture of my parents. My dad had just received a medal from the President of Viet Nam. It was for the spiritual and physical help he and his team provided to the people of Viet Nam, and was the highest award a civilian could get. (you can see it if you look close) It was probably the early 70's.

This is my favorite picture of my mom. It was the midish 90's and she was visiting us in our home in Renton, WA.

If you have lost a very loved parent, you know those first days and weeks and years are just gut wrenching and so very hard.

But nine years in, it is much sweeter. I cannot say that I miss her every day, but I miss her often.

I miss:

     *talking to her on the phone

     *the love she poured into my girls

     *buying her presents

     *her and dad's many visits to our home

     *sharing a new movie or book that I knew she
       would love

     *being able to talk with her about ministry and
       know as a ministry wife of many years, she 
       would keep it private

     *she and dad arguing about some small thing
       in the most hilarious way

     *her quiet shyness
     *her spunk and can do anything spirit

     *her 55 year partnership with my dad 

     *her awesome advice

     *taking her out to Starbucks

I could go on and on.  When I wrote a piece that my husband read for me at mom's funeral, I ended with, "Mom, you are the mom every girl wished she had."

Nine years in heaven. I would imagine it is going very well for her there. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 11 ~ Mugs

Mugs. It is embarassing the number of mugs that our family owns. Seriously embarassing. We keep sharing them with friends and still they continue to multiply.

We like a certain mug with a certain:




     *time of the day, etc.

Last week, we had a few days of really cold weather. I knew it was time to get out my mug for cold weather ... my sweater mug. 

My sweater mug was a gift from some lovely women. Just perfect.

What is your favorite mug this season?
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