Monday, April 26, 2010

Gratitude #261-280

261. Jonathan passed his oral exams and the board is recommending him for ordination to the next presbytery. Praise The Lord!
261a. My husband looks at the potential in all things
261b. not the things that hinder us from achieving or cultivating or discovering that potential
262. Story time
263. Dress up
264. Lunch time on the back porch
265. sisters that giggle and play with one another
266. Beautiful Blue-eyed girls
267. "Mommy, you boo-fi-ful"
268. "Say cheese Yah-yee (how to say "Lily if you can't say your "l's")...Cheese!"
269. Lily's gonna walk soon!
270. Communal baths--reliving the onsen
271. Annie loves babies
272. Annie's ridiculous but wonderful swimsuit from Granne. Stay safe Annie. Learn to swim.
273. Cousins close in age
274. The smile behind Lily's ever-present paci
275. Little girls who wonder at the world
276. Martha's determination
277. The way Noa is and loves to be a big girl
278. Watching Aunt Sara love being a mommy, and be so amazingly good at it
279. Little girls learning to love one another, share, live in light of grace and nurture one another even when thrown up against each other's flaws...a great reminder that I am to do the same.
280. "For as high as the heaven above the earth, so great is the steadfast love of the Lord toward those who fear him, As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." --Ps 103: 11-12


Monday, April 19, 2010

Gratitude #226-260

226. JDI
227. 31 sweet years of life, love and blessing poured out upon my husband
228. his daughters, Annie and Lily, who bring out sweet things in him otherwise unseen by most
229. That Annie has been singing all day, absentmindedly
230. 2 hour morning naps
231. a pink butterfly net
232. finding cheap(er) grapes
233. The corn grew 2 inches this weekend
234. The sunflowers grew 1 inch this weekend
235. "No mo monkies jumping on da bed! One fell off and bump him little head. No mo monkies jumping on da bed..."
236. Lily played independently for 20 minutes this morning while Annie and I read books
237. rain
238. sunshine
240. Jonathan made lunch today--yummy
241. two sleep-overs with the Nolls this weekend
242. a pretty purple ring from a sweet auntie
243. A handy husband who fixes things
244. Discovering new books
245. Wise Words for Moms--Ginger Ploughman
246. The dollar bins at Target
247. Carol-Mom's pot roast recipe--Thanks C-Mom! It was Delicious and your second son felt so loved
248. A 3 hour round-trip car ride to talk and catch up
249. Two girls splashing in the bathtub this evening
250. Annie fell asleep in my mom's lap while she read her books at bedtime
251. back rubs
252. foot tickling
253. "Pays God fom who all bessings foooooh! Pays him all keeechooos hee beeeyooow"
254. Newark Iversons love Orlando!
255. Grandma and Grandpa Chase
256. Rihanna
257. Lily exploring the cupboards
258. Annie making train stations and waiting for pretend trains that arrive only in her mind, especially since we live in America and nobody here rides on trains.
259. Lily eats with vigor and gusto
260. earthy authenticity

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Take the Boston Cream Pie. BCP. It is the dessert of choice for a number of the men in my husband's family--his father, his uncle, his brothers, and of course, Jonathan. Until I met Jonathan, BCP was a pretty cake behind the glass, a big slice of something my family didn't indulge in, filled with challenging steps, fattening ingredients and big calories. Since marrying my man, I have moved over into the eat-real-but-with-moderation camp. We buy nothing that is low-fat or fat free unless God made it that way. But I digress. The point here, is that I had never even heard of BCP until I met Jonathan and suddenly, I am thrown into a world where I have to make it once a year. And let me tell you, friends, it is not easy. It is more than not easy. It is hard. Make that Hard, with a capital H. HARD.

Below you will find my history with the BCP. It is not a good one, but friends, this year, oh this year, I am going to win. I am meeting my nemesis in the kitchen and I am going to win. I have already made the golly-poo-ree-fa-lootin pastry cream and it is a success! Praise the Lord! Tonight, the cupcakes. Tomorrow, the ganache. And Friday night, we will savor BCP in a new way: as a cupcake. What? You think I can't do it? Watch me.

2006, Norfolk, VA--BCP cake turns out okay, but a bit dry, pastry cream is majorly lumpy (corn starch=evil) and ganache (what the heck is ganache, anyway?) = too hard, as in, not too difficult, but rather, un-spreadable. Jonathan ate it anyway, but it was before we were even married. I think he considered calling off the engagement.

2007, Orlando, FL--Buy a yellow cake mix which helped the cake part considerably. Ganache=improved, but too soft and a little grainy. Pastry cream= still lumpy

2008, Orlando, FL--Buy BCP at Publix. It is better than anything I've ever made, but still "not really as good as [Jonathan's] mom makes it"

2009, Orlando, FL--Forget the whole stinkin' thing and make Ice Cream cake. Much easier. Wish Jonathan liked ice cream cake as much as BCP.

2010, Orlando, FL--April 15 pastry cream=PERFECT. Praise Him. Tonight, cupcakes. Tomorrow, ganache. Photos to come

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pool Days

Lily, 9 months old

Annie, 28 months

Gratitude #200-225

200. Jesus, who forgives me
201. Jonathan, who forgives me
202. Annie & Lily, who forgive me
203. An hour and a half straight to journal and to read on Saturday morning
204. free balloons at publix, especially the pink ones, for little girls and little boys
205. a flute in worship, so bright and so clean
206. kefir grains...I I am, I'm thankful I'm thankful I'm thankful
207. Hosea 2:
208. Getting to know my precious nieces for this sweet time in when they are so near
209. "The Dandelion Communitea Café"
210. Yummy vegan food
211. Buttercup Rooibos tea
212. my chacos, 10+ years old, still going strong
213. hand-me-downs from my mom
214. white easter lilies
215. my own pale little Lily
216. Jonathan loves to add things to our blog
217. A husband who can fix everything and who is smarter than our sink!
218. Winning a battle this afternoon re: naps
219. a quiet house
220. Catching up in the entropy race...I was definitely losing for awhile
221. Homemade muffins
222. bear hugs
223. lip kisses
224. pausing for a moment in the day
225. light
226. laundry on the line
227. fresh strawberries in the fridge
228. soup simmering on the stove
229. alliteration
230. poetry

Friday, April 09, 2010

Easter Photo Shoot Part 2

Easter Photo Shoot Part 1

We wanted to get a photo of Annie and Lily
but Annie is a free spirit, and it was hard to get her to sit still

but Lily has a longer attention span than Annie,
not to mention, she can't walk yet.

Annie did return briefly to steal Lily's leaf
she was worried Lily might eat it.
"Not eat leaf baby E."

Sisters Welcome Spring

Donned in little green and white outfits adorned with little animals,
Annie and Lily
celebrate Spring and sisterhood
on the porch,
in the sunlight,
on one of the first days of Spring.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Happy Birthday

Last Wednesday, on his birthday, all he wanted was to build a garden in my backyard

He came over in the afternoon and worked hard, digging up grass and raking over soil to make a little plot, a little spot of earth that would grow and flourish up in the Florida sun and rain and over time, produce some food.

And he wanted to do it with Annie.

He bought Annie a little trowel and together they planted a row of corn, some tomato plants, okra, lemon cucumber, two types of squash, watermelon and cantaloupe.

Annie dressed for the occasion. She donned her pink, gardening gloves, yellow sun hat, pink rain boots and earth-digging attire.

We baked cupcakes to celebrate the day and wrapped them in a box.

And after all was planted, we ate them.
Despite the look on his face, dad really liked the cupcakes.
There was a better picture of him, but it was an awful picture of me,'s my blog, so this photo won. sorry.

And Lily ate zucchini.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Gratitude #175-199

175. My bible, Jonathan calls it "the cadillac"
176. The resurrection
177. Resurrection Buns
178. Sara-Beth reminding me to be thankful
179. The squiff
180. Baby E.
182. learning to be hopeful and optimistic, not cynical
183. ice cream
184. fresh fruit
185. warm feet
186. cloudless skies
187. a new vegetable garden, due to produce in July(ish?)*
188. A dad who wanted only to build a vegetable garden in my backyard with Annie, Lily and me for his birthday last Wednesday
189. inflatable swimming pools in the back yard
190. Julie and Keli
191. Judah, Hadassah, Amelie and Josiah...soon-to-be some of Annie and Lily's best friends
192. A husband who is excited to sell his motorcycle so that he can buy me a birthday present
193. Jonathan, who manages to take incredibly difficult tests without stressing out the rest of us and still protect our family and family gift in my life
194. Annie's dreams
195. "Annie go Een-Dee-ah! Annie ride ephacent! Ride big one!"
196. Aunt Heenah
197. Jonathan's hot new sunglasses
198. Dartmouth Park
199. anticipation

*more on this to come

Saturday, April 03, 2010

St. Francis and the Sow

Because sometimes we need to reteach a thing its loveliness, not of its own "self-blessing," but blessed by Creator God's perfect hand that made each creature that way he did,
the way he meant to.

by Galway Kinnell

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flower again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Two Poems

Good Friday musings from Sara-Beth and two poems for your pleasure and pause.

The Incarnation, and Passion
by Henry Vaughan

Lord! when thou didst thy self undress
Laying by thy robes of glory,
To make us more, thou wouldst be less,
And becam'st a woeful story.

To put on Clouds instead of light,
And clothe the morning-star with dust,
Was a translation of such height
As, but in thee, was ne'er expressed;

Brave worms, and Earth! that htus could have
A God Enclosed within your Cell,
Your maker pent up in a grave,
Life locked in death, heaven in a shell;

Ah, my dear Lord! what couldst thou spy
In this impure, rebellious clay,
That made thee thus resolve to die
For those that kill thee every day?

O what strange wonders could thee move
To slight they precious blood, and breath!
Sure it was Love, my Lord; for Love
Is only stronger far than death.

Matthew 27: And He Answered Them Nothing
by Richard Crashaw

Oh mighty Nothing! unto thee,
Nothing, we owe all things that be.
God spake once when he all things made,
He saved all when he Nothing said.
The world was made of Nothing then;
'Tis made by Nothing now again.