25 years ago.

Gosh, when I take a moment to reflect on life a quarter of a century ago, Bob and I were living in the hectic pace of our senior year at Jamestown College…planning a wedding…navigating a cross-country move to begin teaching jobs in Southern California. Young and in love-full of hopes and dreams for the future.

Fast forward to the present…deep into new jobs this year-grade 3 for Bob-special education admin for me…supporting our daughter and her fiancé in their wedding plans…and heading to Haiti this week to do a little work and celebrate our upcoming anniversary with a few days at the beach.

A little bit older, but still deeply in love-full of hopes and dreams for the future.

Here’s to an adventurous spring break ahead…and to sharing the journey for nearly 25 years. Wonder what the next 25 will bring?

savor.

In just a week, Shauna Niequist’s new book will be released…Savor.  I will be eagerly checking the mailbox, as a pre-orderer, the book ought to be arriving very soon.  If you haven’t had the chance to sample any of Shauna’s books, please do…Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet and Bread and Wine.  She shares pieces of her heart – the real, raw deal – filled with warmth and charm.  I had the opportunity to preview and review her past two books – read about them here and here.

And to top it all off, Shauna shares her recipes!  My B’studs – a group of dear ladies that I meet every Monday morn at 6 am to share life’s burdens and joys, as we connect over a bible study or book discussion – took a stab at some of those recipes last week.  Oh my. Bon gou! Delicious!  There is something sweet about the gathering of friends around a dinner table.

Stephanie and Laurie provided crackers, cheese and olives. I do believe there should be olives at ALL dinner parties.

Nan made the Bacon wrapped-goat cheese figs.  I could have probably stopped right there.  So satisfied!

bacon wrapped goat cheese stuffed figsMimi made Brannon’s Caesar Salad – light and fresh and lemony. Shirley baked the Sullivan Street Bread – in fact, she even baked a second loaf in fear we may not like it. But we did!! (Sorry – Sooo busy eating that I missed pics.)

Krissy made the Steak au Poivre with Cognac Pan Sauce. Who knew you could made a steak in a pan?  I thought they had to be grilled!?! Oh and the sauce. Yum!

Steak au Poivre with Cognac Pan SauceAmy made Basic Risotto – but she never really follows a recipe when she cooks, so there were extras in her version…mushrooms and plenty of cheese…creamy goodness.

Basic Risotto

I chose to bake the Blueberry Crisp for dessert.  I am not gonna lie – baking a crisp without butter and sugar made me nervous.  Maple syrup? Olive oil? But it was amazing!  We ate it straight up with no whipped cream…in fact I could have eaten it for breakfast! Loved the crunchy oatmeal pecan topping.

blueberry crispGather your people…dig out some recipes…pour a glass of wine and savor the good things in life.  We did all of this on a week night…following a crazy day at work…and returning to real life the next morn.  Think what could be done on a Saturday?

Bread and Wine

But I do want you to love what you eat, and to share food with people you love, and to gather people together, for frozen pizza or filet mignon, because I think the gathering is of great significance.

All recipes can be found in Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist.

 

giving thanks.

Today I am giving thanks for so many sweet blessings.

I am excited for the two little boys that are ready to travel [and who have been in the adoption stage for a mighty long time.] Paperwork has been finalized.  Farewells and thank yous were given to their Nurse/Nanny Miss Nahomie and many others who have loved on them over the past years. The boys are enjoying this evening in a Port au Prince hotel before flying out tomorrow.

MissNahomie

I am thrilled that my husband has booked our 25th Wedding Anniversary vacation to the tropical location of Port-au-Prince! Oo La La!

I am grateful for the people of Woodbury Community Church that will be traveling with Team Kozefò in June.  We had our first prep meeting this past weekend and the anticipation of spending time with these folks and my pals in Haiti is just too much to imagine!

I feel humbly blessed by the generosity of family and friends that have sponsored ALL 54 students this year! Such a sweet gift to provide education for these boys and girls!

StudentIsadora

I am tickled by the adventures that I share with my pal Geftè!  Who knew that biking in the winter time is a real thing? And puzzles too – we just started our second 1000 piece masterpiece!

Hanging out with G

Tis a good life.  Thankful, Grateful, Blessed.

still dreaming.

Today we honor Martin Luther King Jr. who boldly spoke truth and stood for justice…who shared his dream with the world.  And yet today we are still dreaming of that day when justice becomes a reality for all of God’s children. Day after day, experiences of incredulous injustices occur across the world…and in our own communities, schools and neighborhoods.  At times, these situations that we encounter seem way too large to begin changing, and yet if we each take courage to speak truth and stand up for the things that matter, lives can change…they do change.

MLK_justice

In a little over a week, two more little dudes from our Primary School/Orphanage in Haiti will be arriving. Geftè arrived near Christmas on a student visa, living just a neighborhood away…Stanley and Davinsly will be rolling into my small little world next week – following their 2-1/2 year adoption process…all attending the same little community church I do. And so I continue to dream for these boys and for others – for a life filled with love, opportunities, freedom, kindness, patience, generosity and justice. Thank you Dr. King.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

GeftèStanleyVinny

free evenings.

I am relishing in the new found freedom of free evenings!  No class for me!  After a year of taking three classes at a time, I am now a free woman!  Evenings without class…without homework…without some silly reading or assignment hanging over my head.  I feel like I have discovered a sweet new life!

Tonight there was a visit to my pal Gefte’s house…I mean my friend Amy’s house.  There was cooking…like real cooking…chopping, sauteing, stirring and simmering!  A glass of wine…or two.  Chats with friends. American Idol. Travel planning for a weekend in Dallas.  Good stuff.

And Facebook…oh Facebook!  Totally got the giggles over this post AND the comments…check her out…Kristin Howerton (Facebook stalker that I am…do not even know her…but there is a connection to Haiti, so I feel like she is my pal…virtual friends-cyber mates) You can also read her witty words here: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/

Cheers Friends!  Thanks for sticking with me through 12 months of crazy school life.  Look out!  I am back!

Kristen Howerton

name change

the best we can.

2015/01/img_0807.pngThe new year. Resolutions gone by the wayside for many by now. Jan 10. Visions of a fresh start…healthier choices, exercise, more discipline, full hearts, fulfilled dreams, extra kindness…fading on day 10. But wait! Do not lose hope. Trust the words of wise Maya and do your best…until you know better…and THEN do better.

Each day we have the opportunity to make choices in how we choose to live. Some of them will be good and others not so much. Do not beat yourself up over the “not so great” choices…reflect, learn and choose differently next time. Some circumstances are completely out of our control that we simply endure…and so we must move on, adapting to the curve balls that life throws us.

Life can be hard folks. I know people making tough choices every day…future decisions being made that are hard and heart-breaking…simple choices that can influence the trajectory of life. At times, the choice should be considered for a while…pros/cons…what ifs…AND at other times, the choice is an impulse-a reaction of the heart. It is all okay. Do your thing people. Do your best. That is all.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5

one word 2015.

Tis a new year, and time to reset…to select a focus or plan for 2015.  Having been a girl that loved setting resolutions (often twice yearly – Jan 1 AND the Start of a New School Year in Sept – Yikes, I know, a bit over the top-at least I can acknowledge my quirks, right?), I switched over to the one word philosophy in 2011 with a word that ended up opening my life to all sorts of crazy new things.

Here are words that have been selected over the past few years.

possibilitiespeace-and-joy

learn

So with a fresh calendar ahead of me to write the story of 2015, I am choosing:

treasure

This year, I long to simply treasure it all – the simple, ordinary things of life (like jammie days and homemade dip for chips)…the big moments-like a wedding [yea!  june 26]…family  (enjoying my girlie in the house for six more months, 3G-three generation-Book Club, vacations, meal times, date nights)…friends (great conversations, silly adventures, good food and good wine)…downtime (to read and reflect)…Haiti connections (trips, FB chats-using Google Translate, practicing my Creole with the three new dudes that will be here in my community soon.)  My small group girlies. My work. My health.

and SO. MUCH. MORE. to savor and to treasure.

Even as I sit here, in my jammies on a Saturday afternoon with my third cup of coffee, I look around and value this little space I’ve created in my home to enjoy…books and travel pics, a work space that inspires, family photos on my old piano.  Life is good.

quiet time spaceChoose a word.  Choose to live intentionally.  Make the most of your days.  Cheers to the new year!