Saturday, December 17, 2011

Molasses cookies

The other day I made my Nanny's recipe for molasses cookies with Naya. I can still remember my little grandmom making them with me when I was little. She made them every year at Christmas. Christmas has a way of making you miss loved ones. It brought me joy though to watch my tiny girl in her slippers and apron carefully rolling the sticky dough. They are delish.
My to-do list has a way of slipping away with Naya around. Something about her boundless energy and sweet brown eyes. She's a tough one to say no to. But we do read lots of books, color, bake and make Harper laugh which is lots more fun anyway.

Nanny's Molasses Cookies
3/4 cups of butter
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of a molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of cloves
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt
Melt butter over low heat, let cool, add sugar molasses and egg- beat well.
In a separate bowl sift together flour, soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and salt- add to the first mix. Mix well and chill the dough for about a 1/2 hour. Form into 1 inch balls and "walk through the snow" or roll them in granulated sugar. Bake on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. I actually bake mine for about 6 minutes since I like them chewy. Enjoy.

what's blooming

reposted Dec 09

Everybody needs a garden. Okay maybe not a garden, but something that has the same effect of slowing your heart rate a little, helping you pause a minute and notice. A place an arms throw from messes that need cleaning and to-do lists, a place to sit for a few minutes with a cup of tea, to wander, to finger soft petals, to clear your head a little, to watch birds. I don't suppose I'm the only one that feels a sense of guilt at times for just sitting still for a few moments. Surely there is something I should be doing, and there always is.

"Is it an ocean of grace? Or an ocean of regrets.
Are we what we do? Or how we feel.
Or something different, something in between, something the size and shape of the perfect smooth rock that you close your hand around, just to feel its weight.

I am learning to be silent, to silence the seething within with patience and gentleness....
Gentleness is a great gift. I will ask for it and wield it in my house, with my family, spread it on my table like a cloth, throw it on the walls like a bucket of water, so it runs down and covers all of our mistakes...

And then I will wrap it around the small stone that I have in my hand, like a blanket."~ Rae

You can read it in its entirety here.I think about things in pictures and I love the way she strings together her thoughts. God is teaching me more about how closely connected love and gentleness are. How very humbling at times.

So back to my garden;I have noticed I find myself there just about every afternoon at about three having a cup of tea (my British daddy would smile). Up until last week I was amazed at the color that was hanging on despite the dropping temperatures and autumn winds... marigolds,zinnias and roses. Their deep pinks and oranges shining bright against a wash of tangled dying vines. And then last weekend, December brought our first snow of the year. A fresh white blanket stilled the landscape thrilling the children and taking with it the last of the blooms. But there are things quietly blooming in our hearts in this precious season of advent. I am seeing the tiny seeds planted slowly and over time starting to sprout. Sometimes in thoughtful questions, sometimes in simple little prayers that make make me catch my breath and bring tears.

Like the other night when Juden's prayer was this,

"Dear Jesus,
Thank you for all you give us. We love you. And someday we won't need the sun and the moon anymore because you will be all of our light. I'm sorry that you had to die on the cross for my sins. We know that you love us.

Friday, December 16, 2011



"Light your candles quietly, such candles as you possess, wherever you are."

There is a quietness starting to settle over me. A mindfulness to turn my eyes toward the milky winter skies filled with the barren tangled arms of trees. There is a need to hush some of the cacophony of the season a bit and reflect. There is this longing that comes with worship during Advent. This miracle that still brings a tremble upon uttering, that He who formed the galaxies with words, made himself low, put on skin. It was all for love...a love that has completely undone me. That in the mess that is my ragged, broken heart, He has come to dwell. So I remember He who came as a babe and long for Him who will come again to crush all darkness, disease and pain. That manger King who came into the stench and dirt will make all things new.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thanks for the words friends. This pendant is one of my favorites of the Picasso mother and child pieces. I am happy to be sending this pendant to Leah. She's a brand new mama living in Bangkok. Send you're thoughts and prayers her way as she is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer with a new born.

Monday, December 12, 2011

*Hands for Hope *giveaway*

The above mother and child charm is one my favorites of these handmade glass pendants. Just leave me a comment and I will randomly choose a winner and send it to you. It's a lovely gift, I think.

Hands for Hope group recently had our annual sale at a local street festival here and it was a huge blessing. Sunshine, good conversations and lots of sales!! This is a talented group of women who sell their handmade goods and donate all profits to support the Chattanooga based non-profit 1040 Connections. They work to prevent and help women who are or will be caught in the sex trade in India. Here are some pictures form the sale, the link to 1040 Connections and our FB page.

"Let us SPEAK to the injustices in our world.Let us MOVE the mountains of fear and intimidation."Let us SHOUT down the walls that separate and divide. Let us FILL the Earth with the fragrance of Love."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

i like street art

I do. I love the color, the feel, and the art it adds to the everyday. When I see an old building that looks tired and ordinary and someone makes it their canvas, it's like a little redemption. What's used up, dirty and old is made new and bright. Here are some scenes from around my town.

(above mural by local fine artist Shaun LaRose)

I like my town.

The above picture is not my town but how pretty is that?
Check out this page.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


So thankful for this little bear...he knows our faces, he makes us laugh constantly, he's altogether precious...our little joy bringer.

reposted November 09

Today I wandered with my three little ones through the graveyard. The sky was a pensive bluish-grey that leaves you with a feeling maybe a storm is near. The wind was sending what's left on the trees sailing toward earth. There is something peaceful about graveyards. Perhaps a sense of perspective comes as you walk past names, dates, history, so many stories, so many dreams. Of all those stories there are some things that you know bond them all, life, love, friendships, brokenness, dysfunction, desires, hope. I feel so very small and a strong sense of the brevity of it all. It's changed though, everything has changed since five years ago today, when I buried my dad. There was a time when he was my strong hero.. doesn't every little girl want her dad to be her hero? We spent sunny afternoons catching sunnies and he hammered nails in mason jars so I could catch fireflies. He was gentle,rugged and invincible. Then one day he was old, frail, vulnerable and dying. He needed help in ways I wasn't ready to have to help him. I found myself sitting in front of him in his wheel chair. He held his paralyzed hand and I tried to help him finish a painting. Golden light came soft through the window of that Autumn day. I saw a sorrow in my father's eyes I had never seen before. It tore at my soul and it was then that I joined the the family of the wounded. It was not that he lacked faith, for he knew where he was going. It's just that life doesn't always fit into our tidy theology. In his eyes I saw a man who feasted on the stuff of life to his very core, the scent of the earth in his hands as he gardened, the poetry of clouds, the faces of his five children and the faces of the little ones he would never meet... he missed it all...even while he was still here. And I could see it in his beautiful ocean gray eyes. I put my cheek on his and went back to mixing oil paints through tear-filled eyes, while he looked at the canvas with a vision that was slipping away. I'm not sure what compelled me to write this afternoon. It is not a place I go to often but it is real, raw and human and it changed me. And surely there are those memories and pictures in my head that are painful and sacred and beautiful and I keep them locked up tight like a treasure trove, so that they remain untouched, unchanged by the light and air. So, what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my dad, for everything he was and everything he now is. I am thankful for the healing that God has given me and for the wound that with its bearing allows me to see others' wounds and have compassion. I am thankful for my Savior who will put an end to all death and disease. I'm thankful that my dad is home and enjoying life of which all the beauty he knew here was merely a glimmer. I am thankful for the history and the story I carry with me.

"Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea."

part of Fern Hill
by Dylan Thomas

Monday, November 07, 2011


reposted from November 08

Autumn is my favorite season but it also seems that my mind goes involuntarily back to the last days I spent with my dad while he was dying. Our last conversations, the last thing I fed him, the last songs I sang for him,the last time I heard him laugh, his sadness, his worship and the rapid disintegration of his dignity. I don't really want to go back to those end days so I try to not let myself.

There is so much I love about the Fall only intensified by my desire to share it with my children. So we spend our days outside, on walks, collecting treasure, throwing rocks in the water, we try to take our work and play outside to soak up every last drop of the fleeting daylight. There has been healing and these Autumn days have been quite magical really. Do you ever pass a place where the golden light is so surreal you just want to lie there all day?

Today however I knew it would be hard not to remember that four years ago today I held his hand and watched him die. I wanted to be outside with my family on this pristine day, much like that day four years ago. So we drove a little ways to a mountain to hike and escape for awhile. As we drove I watched the trees, their colors as thick as oil paint and the notes of this song penetrating my soul.Definitely worth taking a minute to listen. Suddenly the way the leaves spun and swirled across the road from the truck in front of us like sunlit sparks from a fire seemed to be in unison with the lilting melody and the memories of him. I was overwhelmed with how purely glorious the sights and sounds of aliveness are. I let the quiet tears fall into the reflection in the window and let myself go back there for a few moments.

The other day I was walking with the kids at the Nature Center and Juden was asking all sorts of questions like why we were always outside lately and what happens in the Fall. I told him that Autumn would go by quickly and that once it gets cold the leaves turn colors and they die and the trees are all bare. He looked very sad and said, "mommy, I don't want the leaves to die and turn back into soil." So I tried to explain the natural process of life and death in nature and that the leaves die and replenish the earth to make room for new life in the Spring. But they get to turn all the colors of flames and shine their brightest before they die, the best I could do in four year old terms. I looked around at the sun shining through deep yellows and red and thought of how my dad seemed renewed and like the truest version of himself right before his journey ended.
I have a little matchbox which reads,"Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I've got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible..." G.B. Shaw
My dad made his life shine brightly in a million ways and I like to think I am continuing some small aspect of the burning.

Grief can take on so many faces. There is the grief which causes momentary sighs of melancholy and there is the grief that torments your dreams at night and wakes you sweating and gasping for air, grief that makes you wonder when you will have a tearless day. I have experienced both, and once you have stood alongside a grave where your loved one lies, you are never really the same. But four years later I can testify to God's power of healing. There is a void that can not be filled at holidays and in family pictures and in all of our hearts but I can see now, God's tender mercies and I trust in His perfect plan.