FOCUS_five minute friday


A single golden thread

Illuminating just enough to distinguish itself from the rest of muted-colored weaves and tangles

The dusty blue, mauve, silver, and green create a good, solid, needed, life foundation

But this tapestry we weave

This project we fasten with our hands

It remains like so many garments and treasures

Where the moth rots and the thief breaks in to rob

if not for that whispered river of thread making its presence known by simply showing up- in all we put our hand to

all we speak


and dream

And you know what?

That golden thread- it refracts on the whole, even the ugly messey stitches, even the torn places that will never be whole on the outside

Because the the golden thread is invisibly spooled to the river of life,

pouring out of our real home,

our true kingdom

Our haven; heaven.

It is there if we would only slow down from our doing and FOCUS

The dullness falls away

Linking up this Friday with Kate for another Five Minute Friday.

Click to read some real  honest writings or get brave and add your own.



wanna a wanton?_Mangia! Mangia! monday

This weeks Mangia! Mangia! monday comes compliments of my other half:

My Chef Tim.

culinary resolution

The main meal: shrimp wantons

The side: butternut squash

Last weekend was a miss because no sink = no motivation to cook.

I will note:

After about five days of eating out, of making sandwiches, cereal, canned soup, and passing that for dinner, I started to crave and seriously miss whole, real food.  I added steamed broccoli  and carrots to our crappy canned soup. Threw in chopped up mushrooms and sliced Havarti cheese to our quick omelets.

It just goes to show eating real food is not about dieting, or being a gourmet cook. It is about listening to your body long enough to let it get good and hungry and tell you what tastes good; not corporate-quick-fix-food-inc-America.

Anyway, onto the Mangia!

culinary resolutionShrimp Wantons.

This recipe is from a friend and co-worker.  He brought it over on a “brew night” and we inhaled it down recklessly like addicts.

Here is the recipe:


1 pound of shrimp {we used frozen because it is cheaper and with all the other goodness smothered in it, and then frying the whole thing up, fresh is not as important}

several cloves of garlic, minced

red pepper flakes

a few green onions {scallions} sliced thinly


1 package refrigerated square wanton wrappers

an 8 oz brick of cream cheese

3 jalapeno peppers: seeds and ribs removed, diced up

1/2 cup of your favorite cheese, shredded {we used sharp cheddar}

canola or sunflower oil to use in either a deep fryer or large pot

a shallow bowl of water

course sea salt


1} Fill a deep fryer or a pot with the oil and cook on medium.

2}  Cut the thawed shrimp into little pieces and put in a frying pan with a big fat pad of butter. Add  the garlic, green onions, red pepper flakes, and cook on medium low for no more than 5 minutes

3}   While your shrimp is getting nice and pink toss together your cream cheese {softened in the microwave}, shredded cheese, and your de-seeded jalapenos {don’t touch any part of your body after removing the seeds but immediately scrub wash your hands, or you will rue the day you decided to cook with jalapenos, my friend!} into a bowl.

4}  When the shrimp looks and tastes done fish it out with a slotted spoon and add it to the bowl of spicy gooey cheese, mixing it up good.

5}  Put the wanton wrappers in a single layer on a baking sheet.

6}   Put about one tablespoon-ish of your creamy shrimp mixture into the center of the each wanton square.

7}   Place your shallow bowl of water near the wantons. Wet your fingers in the water and run them around two edges of a wanton. Next, fold the square towards the cream cheese pinching the edges together to make a triangle. If the innards oozed out everywhere you filled it too much! Squeeze gently to get any air bubbles out. Do this to every wanton. You will feel like a pro by the time you get to the last blasted one.

8}   Throw the wantons into your hot bubbling fryer or pot and fry them up until golden brown…5-7-ish minutes?

9}   Take out with a slotted spoon and put on clean platter lined with a remnant piece of brown paper bag or a paper towel. Get an additional paper towel to pat off excess on the top of each wanton.

10} Sprinkle with course sea salt and serve warm to your happy tribe!

wontons 1


wontons 6

To makes this into a meal for six people we thawed two packages of our favorite frozen veggies:

Wegmans cooked winter squashed.

Just plop it into a saucepan with a little bit of water and and some butter and some salt and cook on medium low with a lid on.


As I wrote at the begging of this post my husband made this meal for us all.

It had been a rough, tiring week and so I was sipping our favorite boxed wine: Merlot Bota Box and finishing a book on the couch, instead of listening to music.

{See all my goodreads book reviews in the top right margin of my site}

Go ahead and share your own weekend cooking here in the comments or on my Mangia! Mangia! monday page on facebook.








PRESENT_five minute friday


DSCN0618I need something on the horizon.

Be it a speck of a promise,

a fragment of a goal,

an image not yet in focus.

Something to plan, shakes off my creeping blues.

Here is the thing:

This whole, “I need a plan”:

very often it leaves my mind scattered in the now.

Sometimes my NOW:

my kids,

my home,

my job,

my relationship,

my church,

get mis-alligned in my mind as the thing to get through till that other, {READ: BETTER} things comes breezing through the door.

I was sitting cross-legged gazing into our orange hot wood stove fire, the house quiet as a sanctuary, my coffee cooling because I just kept staring at those living moving coals, but not really seeing them at all. What I was seeing was all those people, places, events, in my life all lined up; but lined up all wrong.

Not happy with where I am right now, makes everything else as inviting as a soggy sandwich.

I know where this leads.

The downward spiral.

A vortex of frustrated depression.

I knew I needed The Presence to jar the funk that was trying to settle.

Singing a line or two of the first hymn that pops in my mind,

listing down of all the gifts I have received in the last 48 hours,

and finally, and most importantly, opening up and expecting The Word of God to speak into my right now.

This is The Presence.

A shift happens.

All my problems, all my flaws, all our life situations, are not solved:

but literally,

the atmosphere changes.

Like a sudden cool breeze on a muggy August afternoon.

That is the promise of The Presence.


Linking up with the lovely souls over at Kate’s place for another Five Minute Friday.

Click to read more


get brave and pen your own.

I promise it won’t hurt.



JUST ANOTHER WORD?_tell his story

Bloggers love writing about “their” word for the New Year.
I recall, about five or four years ago now, when I first heard about how listening souls where picking a word, instead of making the same old New Year’s resolution, to set their New Year on a hopeful good path.

I have had an informal “word” for the last four years or so, not so much heralded as whispered.
I do not believe I have ever posted about it before, as I tried to quietly grapple with what it was to look like, on me.

The response I heard:

For two years.



I am a classic: type- A-truth-telling-whatever-just-deal-with-it-go-getter.

Two years.


I put quotes on the wall about gentleness.

Found scripture with the word gentle.

Had the word hunt ME out like a basset hound on a rabbit.


I was not a gentle mother.

A gentle wife.

A gentle disciple.

But I needed to be.

Then, I heard distinctly the word:


That was more like it!  Thank you Lord! That is something I can sink my teeth into!

But, hold on.

What I needed to over-come nine times out of ten:



the damning, lying words from the enemy.

It looked a lot more like  humble self-disciple than kick-butt feminism which is what I wanted.

This year I did not pursue finding “my word”.

And yet it seemed to find me.

Like a favorite sweatshirt on Saturday; it wrapped around me, and felt right.

That word was “conquer”

Yes! Can I be a kick-butt-evangelical-feminist now? Turns out no. Because immediately when the Word was given, The Holy Spirit gave a firm caveat: “Conquer with a kingdom mentality like Christ; which  will be exactly OPPOSITE of how the world expresses the meaning of the word conquer”.


Last year’s 2015 word of “over-comer” was based on my inability to put Revelations 3 out of my mind.

The funny thing is this:

If you read the Revelations in the King James Version it uses the word “over-comer” to describe the the true church.

If you read the Revelations in the English Standard Version or The Message version it interchanges the word “over-comer” with the word “conquer”. {Yes, I know we are supposed to go back to the original Greek…I have not the time, but I do have The Holy Spirit}. And so it seems, just like my two year stint of gentleness, I am on repeat with “over-comer” and “conquer”.

And so I am left to wonder:
What does “over-coming” and “conquering”, “gently”, look like exactly?

Your guess is as good as mine.

But I want to get it right.

I don’t want it to be about me.

I want it to have the look, and sound, and flavor, and aroma of Christ.

Otherwise, it is just another word, man.

he who overcomes


blog fodder

Is there a word or phrase on repeat in your mind?

Does it stick though it makes no sense?

Does it scare you though being scared seems silly?

Don’t be surprised if it is God…waiting for you.


Linking up with Jeniffer Lee Dukes  at Tell His Story.

Click to read or get brave and write your own.


Got Naan?_mangia!mangia! monday

culinary resolution #2It’s Monday.MLK day Monday so that means kids are home and possible you are home too.

At our house the big people and little people are off work and school.

But before you get too jealous, let me tell you that we are all home, but without a fully functioning kitchen.

Throws a bit of a monkey wrench into my grand Mangia!Mangia!mondy visions of culinary glory.

Friday night was our last night with a fully operation kitchen and this is what I whipped up:

Naan Pizza

with grated fresh mozzarella

and dress it yourself toppings

Let me get this out in the open right now:

I love Aldie!

I do.

I tried Save-A-Lot in the early 2000s and hated it so much I swore off discount groceries stores for a near decade.

Then our grocery budget started to exceed our mortgage and taxes put together and something had to change {our first idea was to get our daughters to start working in the factories….pesky child labor laws!}

Aldie has converted this very much snub, albeit poor one, into a believer. With eating organic some of the time, simple whole foods most of the time, and my whole gluten intolerance thing, it was truly a Godsend.  It is not all canned preservative crap!

Anyway…the garlic Naan bread I used comes in an awesome 4 pack from Aldie, and can be thrown right into the freezer until you are ready for quick, fresh pizza night.

Fairly self-explanatory this is how we make:

Make It Yourself Naan Pizza

Supplies and ingredients :

A pizza stone {if you are in a serious pizza mood}

Large cookie sheet {if you need to feed a bunch of people quick…READ: children, tweeners and/or teenagers}

Cheese grater

Packaged Naan bread

Fresh Mozzarella cheese ball

Ricotta cheese

Marinara sauce {red sauce}

Alfredo sauce {white sauce}

favorite meat…cooked…gotta love pepperoni if you have a big crowd…pre cooked frozen chicken strips cut up and slathered in butter and hot sauce is an awesome chicken wing pizza quickie

sliced up favorite veggies

favorite seasonings

{few things taste better on this earth than fresh mozzarella, fresh garlic, & fresh basil with a dollop of ricotta plopped on top for extra fat cell reproduction}

Instructions for putting it all together:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 if using a pizza stone; 375 if you are using a cookie sheet
  2. Get your lovely puffy Naan bread ovals lined up
  3. Prepare any cooked meat you fancy
  4. Slice up some favorite veggies
  5. Grate your cheese
  6. Chop up or shake out favorite seasonings
  7. Put all your toppings into little bowl and line them out buffet style
  8. Have the obligatory “red sauce” or “white sauce” option set as well
  9. Get a bunch of spoons and let everyone dress it to their fancy !
  10. Cook the pizzas for about 9-12 minutes depending on what you cook it on.  Check often; when the cheese is gooey and the edges are golden, she is probably done!


got naan

On this particle night we had a very full house.

My husband and a few of his buddies were doing some home-brewing while I made the pizzas in the dining room.

So my back round music was several conversations going at once peppered with lots of “guy” jokes.

I was sampling my husband home brew he made last year:

He calls it America’s Hat.

Made with real bacon and maple syrup, grains, hops, and love.

Sorry it is not available to purchase…yet!

Cheers and Mangia!

And as always:



TIME_five minute friday


“time is all we have”

“the times they are a changing”

“no man knows his time”

and my personal favorite:

“time is more like a time-y whime-y wibbly wobbly…thing” {David Tennent in Doctor Who}.

We see the times, we feel the times.

We look back and shake our heads at the speed of it.

We look around and see it slipping pass us, tugging at us like persistent wind.

We try to peer ahead into it, a gypsy with her own concocted magic ball, and try to conjure a concrete good future, but let’s face it, most of it is swirling unknown mist.

When I think of the word TIME I recall Moses at the burning bush.

Taking off his sandals at this wonder he can’t wrap his head around, but instinctively trembles at:

He wanted to name it, asked his unknown God why couldn’t he and his people have a definitive name just like everyone else’s gods.

The answer:

The Great I AM.

A kinda lousy answer for those of us who needs specifics.

But the only right answer.

Time and God dwell in the same realm:

Near as your breath, awesome in its reach, and a bit of a mystery, but good.



Linking up today over at Kate’s place for another Five Minute Friday.

A great group of hearing, writing souls, on the best work day of the week.

Click to read lots of thoughtful, quick posts, or get brave and write your own.




Playoff Chili {Mangia!Mangia! monday}

culinary resolution #2So the NFL playoff season is upon us.

I don’t even enjoy watching football half as much as I use to; but some habits stay around for the sake of the nostalgia.

Football after church is a prime example.  Football after church is the best sure fire way to get my seldom still body to actually rest on the Sabbath.

Where there is football, there is Chili.



And so here is our 2nd Mangia!Mangia! monday recipe:

I call it:

Playoff Chili



My kids are annoying and hate chili so I do not make it as half as much as I would like because I turn into a mean mom when my kids will not eat perfectly good home made food. I mean a really mean mom.

This weekend they did not complain that much…which means they are growing up or the meanness is starting to work.



Everyone makes “their” chili a certain way.

It is what makes preparing chili so nice…there is no wrong way and the recipe can variegate and adopt to your own tastes.

Whilst making my version of chili this is what I sipped on:


Best Brown Ale


Brewed and bottled by Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, MI

Brow Ale is my favorite craft beer. I can only drink one though or I am stuffed.


For music whilst I was sipping and cooking I had on my new Adele Cd that my husband bought me for Saint Nicolas Day…yeah I make my family celebrate obscure European holidays.  He now regrets buying it for me because according to him “she sings everything the same and it is always about some sad depressing break-up. She needs to get happier or stop dating, or stop making music”

But I love her music because I love singing about sad things dealing with relationships.

Unto the Mangia!

Playoff Chili

Starting with the ingredients:

a big pot

metal spoon or fork

wooden spoon

2 pounds of lean ground beef

1 pound of mild Italian sausage

tap water

1/2 an onion

1 shallot

3-4 cloves of garlic

some butter

some baking cocoa

some real maple syrup

2 jars of stewed tomatoes

1/2 can of red kidney beans {only because I don’t like a lot of beans}

a generous hand of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and hot sauce


Step #1

dice up the 1/2 onion, the shallot, and mince the garlic cloves, adding them to your pot, then add a big pat of butter and cook on low stirring often until the onions start to soften and get translucent in color

Step #2

add both of your meats and about a cup of water, stir with a metal fork/spoon

Step #3

add your jars of stewed tomatoes; DO NOT drain the water but add it along with the tomatoes

IMG_0419{I used my canned jars we did up from the garden this summer. Every August I hate to can because it is annoying and hot and I have way too much back to school stuff dominating my life to care about preserving food that I can get for only a few bucks anyway…but come winter…I am SO happy with my complaining grumpy August self for being a wanna-be-Laura Ingalls-trooper and canning those stupid tomatoes in my hot dirty kitchen while I lament loudly, that the school year needs to start earlier}

anyway…back to the recipe

Step #4

add your kidney beans, whole can, half can, or no can; the power is in your hands…don’t you feel important

Step #5

this is the sneaking step…it is the baking cocoa & real maple syrup step… just a add a few spoon fulls…it gives your meaty concoction of goodness a surprising zip of sweet and scandalous undertones of smoking chocolate

Step #6

now add that generous hand of salt,pepper, Italian seasoning, hot sauce…again the power is in your hand

Step #7

Stir it all up with that same metal fork/spoon. If it looks thick add some more water until in looks really soupy.  You need a lot remember because it is going to simmer for hours. Set your burner to medium/low.

Step #8

After an hour of simmering check on your chili.  Switch to a wooden spoon at this point.  Stir.  Take out a bit of goodness.  Wait a moment so you don’t scorch your tongue instantly like I always do and taste.  I bet you will immediately say to yourself:

“This needs more_____self”

So go ahead and add it. Be it cocoa, syrup, salt, garlic, ect. Keep doing this for like another 1 or 2 or 3 hours…whatever…you can’t over cook…just keep adding a little bit of water as you see it start to thicken…until you and your mouth are happy!

Additional Side Recipe to Go With Your Chili

IMG_0426In our home chili aint chili without cornbread


So here, as an added bonus, is my cornbread recipe



{*please note*}

I am one of those weirdos who must put ingredients in perfectly good cardboard or plastic containers from the store into glass jars…therefore…the handy recipes printed on said grocery containers get chucked.  So I really do not know the proper corn bread recipe…I always throw it away and am too lazy to google it…you have been warned.

In a bowl mix together:

1 cup of whole ground corn meal

1 cup of flour

1 cup of milk

1/4 cup of oil

1/4 cup of sugar

1 egg

a bit of baking soda and baking powder.

Pre-heat your oven to 420 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients, starting with the dry ones first until gloppy, not runny…if runny add more flour…if too gloppy add more milk.

Grease a small square pan with butter and add just a bit of flour to coat bottom lightly.

Spoon in your cornmeal and put into the center of your pre-heated oven.

Cook for 20-25 mins.

Here is another sneaky step:

When bread is done take a butter knife and cut slices through it in a lattice pattern like this:



Now get a bottle of honey and squeeze the honey out into the the cracks, just let it drip in there…there is no real correct method.

Wait at least 10 minutes until serving.

Your sweet gooey corn bread can be eaten as a side, with extra butter slathered on it or course, or you can take a piece and add it directly to your chili.

Sour cream and/or shredded cheddar is also awesome.


Here is to making food your kids won’t eat and watching the NFL…which they don’t like either!