Friday, June 25, 2010

She Cooks (mostly)

I have scarcely cooked all week. My entire family has been out of town this week - away at camp - so I've been home alone. The first evening I cooked myself dinner and it was quite good. I was sorry they missed it. After that, I didn't cook at all. Not breakfast, lunch or dinner. (I did throw a pre-made pizza in the oven one night, does that count as cooking? I didn't think so.)

Today they return and tonight I'll return to cooking. That is if I can remember how. Actually I'm excited about doing some cooking again because one of the best cooks I know - LeAnn Rice - just launched a new cooking site called She Cooks. Go check it out and comment to win a set of Rachael Ray knives and year's subscription to the Food Network magazine.

Plus, Ann Kroeker's Food on Fridays post has inspired me to try cooking some kale. (Yeah, I know, me too. Ann was persuasive.) Oh and before I forget, for Father's Day I bought Rick some Alder wood grilling planks. We've never grilled on wooden planks but I figured we'd give it a go this weekend - your tips on using those are welcome.

Hope you make something yum-ray this weekend! 

(She's Rachael Ray and says "Yum-o," I'm Rachel O. and say "Yum-ray." Cheesy, right?)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Zest Welcomed

Welcome! In today's devotion I talked about cultivating a "zesty life." About intentionally enjoying life - to the glory of God its creator - through the simple pleasures in our days.

This morning I slept in after driving home late last night from the talent show at the rustic summer camp my kids are at this week.  I arose to see a scarlet red cardinal out my windows.  I watched him. His coloring is outstanding – I especially love to see cardinals in the snow at wintertime.  Then I thought of the verse about not a single sparrow falling to the ground without God’s knowledge, and how God cares even more intensely about you and me. I gave God thanks for the way He cares for me most care-fully.

So today I’m on a mission to notice the little evidences of God’s care – and to enjoy each one, starting with the breakfast on my kitchen table.  I will not be rushing through saying grace, but genuinely thanking Him for the size, color, taste and healthful benefits of blueberries.  And I plan to savor those berries!

zesting lime

What can you notice or do to feed your enthusiasm for this day?

Care to share something beautiful from your day so far?

Thankful for birds and berries.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Joy in this Lifetime, Utterly Free

                 1,300+ people in Budapest show the joy of the gospel on Sunday in April 4, 2010.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Beach Photos

One of the fun experiences from my weekend with my fellow writer chicks was our walk to the Kindred Spirit mailbox.  If you've read Marybeth Whalen's book The Mailbox, this is the beach town and this is the mailbox that novel is based on.  It's not often you get to walk with an author through the setting and scenes of their novels.  So here were are - baseball caps, dark sunglasses, no makeup, big smiles and all.

us walking to the mailbox  On the nearly 4 mile round trip walk down undeveloped beach together, we talked a lot, paused to take pictures of shells or jellyfish, and a few of us even developed blisters on the bottom of our feet!

us gathered around mailbox

  Me, Marybeth, Lisa Shea, Alice Wisler, Mary DeMuth:

     all of us minus Whittle at the mailbox

We finally made it to the Kindred Spirit.  It was chocked full of letters and notebooks and pens.  Reams of words were poured out onto those pages. Some from locals, many from tourists.  Some lighthearted notes, others letters filled with anguish.

me and MB with Kindred Spirit notebooks  me reading Kindred Spirit notebook

Here I am looking through some of the entries in one of the notebooks.   I couldn’t find a single unused page to write on.  

Marybeth found a spot in another notebook and wrote an entry about our visit – listing out all of our names.

                                                    mb writing in notebook

me and MB at mailbox 1


Me & one of my favorite gals, Marybeth.  If you look closely, her hat says “The Mailbox” in rhinestones.  Fashion star Shari Braendel made it for her. She’s also got a picture of her book cover on her t-shirt and a copy of the novel with her …. which made for this perfect shot of The Mailbox in the mailbox:


                                     The Mailbox in the mailbox

Photo credits: Mary E. DeMuth

Thankful for like-minded friends.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Can You Explain the Gospel?

A summarization of the gospel, on video, by Southern Seminary:

What is the Gospel? from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

                          Extremely thankful for the gospel!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sand and the end of myself

Several months ago I imagined an intimate gathering of female Christian writers - just to have a relaxing yet productive weekend away together. Like a girlfriend's writers' retreat. I thought we could read, write, talk about our latest projects, brainstorm together, walk the beach, pray and write some more. Then in the evenings, we could cook together and share a meal.

Well, I'm happy to say I'm spending this weekend with several writer friends - Marybeth Whalen, Mary DeMuth, Lisa Whittle, Lisa Shea and Alice Whistler - doing just that. We congregated at this beach house yesterday on the southern coast of NC - the setting for Marybeth's novel The Mailbox which just released. Have you gotten it yet??

This morning before our writing session began, Alice opened our day with a devotion.  And a short writing assignment.  We were each handed a note card and asked to write one single word that comes to mind when we think of the NC coastline.  I wrote down the word "home." Then we passed the cards back to Alice and she redistributed them, ensuring we didn't get our own word. Our task was to take the word given us and, in 2-3 minutes, fill the front of the card with whatever came to mind with the word we received.  We each began silently scribbling down thoughts with our pens.

My card said "sand."  And this is what I wrote:

Sand ... A billion tiny particles, each one small as a mustard seed, each able to be brushed from the back of your leg with the flick of your wrist.  But together, they hold back the ocean in its place.  They cushion the fall of toddlers, beach balls and lovers alike. They give shelter to crabs, mollusks, and imaginary knights in child-made castles.  Individually they can do nothing - much like us apart from God - but together they are glorious enough to be worth the drive.

With that line I reached the end of my card space -- and with that thought, the end of myself.  Which is a good place to be when you sit down to write for his glory.

Off to write - hoping that if you find the end of yourself today, you also discover that God is right there ready to be more than enough for what you lack, need or do.

Thankful for sand.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You Have Mail ... I think, maybe not ... I forget

Reading the newspaper yesterday I noticed a headline that probably caught many eyes.


The sub-heading read, “Turn off Your PC, TV and iPhone, put down your coffee, and read this.”

So I read it while I continued to eat my Chick-fil-A.  Well, it didn’t say anything about putting down your nuggets and lemonade.

Here’s a few facts I learned over lunch:
  • Office workers switch among computer programs (like work software and email and Facebook) about 37 times an hour.
  • The Unv. of CA Irvine found that people interrupted by emails report increased stress compared to those left to focus.
  • Stress hormones reduce short-term memory. 
  • While heavy multitaskers believe it makes them more productive, research shows they actually have more trouble focusing and experience more stress. Remember more stress = forgetful.
  • Less than 3% of the population can easily juggle multiple information streams well. Scientists at the Unv. of Utah call them “supertaskers.”
What I found most interesting in this article was this:

“Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.

These play to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats. The stimulation provokes excitement — a dopamine squirt — that researchers say can be addictive. In its absence, people feel bored.”

In other words, always checking messages, tweets, blog comments, texts, and FB status updates can not only distract us but stress us. It can dampen our memory, steal our joy and leave us bored with everyday, non-wired life.  Hummm. Do you agree?

So I wonder, are you a supertasker?  Or do you fall in with the other 97% of us?

Thankful for technology - God, help me use it wisely! 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sing it with Me

My daughter's orchestra class watched this film recently. I think this clip pretty well sums up what I wanted to get across in my devotion and subsequent blog post earlier this week.

Enough said, right?

I have a feeling I'll be hearing this song in my head for a  while - oh happy day!

Thankful for music.