joy :: day three :: personified

today was not what i planned. i was home alone supposed to be working on homework. i tried. it just was a mess in my craft/work room and that is where i needed to do work.

so my time was not wasteful but sometimes wayward.

i actually started the day at the coffee shop, but there was a young man who was insistent that we all hear whatever he was telling his date. i think i may be old. i have realized that i need silence to work or read or concentrate really. which is funny because normally i don’t like when it is too quiet.

but the reason it was not what i planned, was because i had to miss my favorite girl’s softball games, to work on my homework. which i did very little of. my viking told me she played fantastic.

so, it was a long day. i am super bummed i missed a chance to cheer her on. i cleaned and tried and was productive. but missed my favorites.

they came home exhausted and windburned and starving.

i had the blankets ready. i picked up the pizzas, and i waited on them.
just the act of taking care of them was the happiest part of my day for sure.

because sometimes joy is spoiling. sometimes good ranch and a recap of plays awesomely executed, and acknowledgment of a room well cleaned is exactly what you need (minus the stinky feet).

but mostly, when the plans of the day change, i wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in this world than sandwiched between these two snoozing beautiful people. because they are my joy, and i don’t know what i did to earn their love. but i am the luckiest girl in the world that this is my life with them.

they are my joy.

to me, they are joy personified.

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joy :: day one :: at the table

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are we not like the earth?

the green easing into the brown?

the blue jutting against the reds, the wet rejoicing loudly against the parched?

are our souls not like the earth serged together,

as a weird, ever-changing topography entrapped with unexplainables & iridescence?

we cannot allow the distance of miles or the threat of difference

escape our very beings

of barefoot & proud

laced up & weak

regal & broken into

we are something beautiful.

we are one of each other

& of us.

your brother’s keeper is you.

your sister’s protector is us.

do you realize that the sand you throw

in the fight against our neighbor gets in your eyes too?

do we care?

we cannot hold out on love any longer.

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just as our sphere of weird & lovely, we create a masterpiece.

one of flavors, chock full of the unexpected & the radiant.

joy is realized together, as we congregate around:

a meal

chop, dice, sear – whatever.

let’s each bring our ingredient,

who doesn’t enjoy a table of stories?

who doesn’t long for recipes?

our ingredients count.

what traditions make (made) us

who we see (saw),

what we hear (heard).

we cannot blend enough.

because in the process of the boil,

of the stewing, we are one feast.

we are love.

everyone is different – on purpose.

differences to share.

our adobe oven accepts everyone the same.

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we are naturally like the earth yes, all the mountains, valleys, flatlands, tundras.

we are the yolks, we all can be the sous chefs.

bring your bowls.

put on your appetites.

let us be quenched by the flavors of our harvest.

let our bellies rejoice in the wisdom & laughter we consume.

let us know what joy means.

joy means we.

joy means us.

joy is

sharing love at the same table.

*******

i am writing as a 31 day challenge joining the nester in her quest to write for 31 days straight. you will be encouraged to find her words & images if you’ve never heard of her. she’s an inspiration for sure. of course i was supposed to post yesterday, the 1st of october. would you allow some grace please? i am on board now, and i’m hungry for joy.

oxo,

b

Confidence Can Cook :: are you ready for some footballlllll?

CONFIDENCE CAN LOGO

 

I am delighted to share another amazing recipe that my friend Ellen has gathered, tested, photographed (& hopefully enjoyed) with you all! Please, take it away Ellen!

During the Fall season, I always find myself craving yummy comfort food. I think it’s a combination of the cooler weather and football watching that happens in our house. While not all of these foods are always healthy, I do try my best to find some that are. 🙂 These turkey meatball subs are just that, healthy, but still full of excellent flavor. I think it’s the addition of the wine and balsamic vinegar to the sauce that really made these stand out. While eating them, we just kept saying how good they were! My two little ones loved the meatballs too, which is always a bonus in my book! If you are looking to skip out on the bread, these meatballs would also be great served with pasta or spaghetti squash. I think they would still bind together well without the bread mixed in, because of the egg white. Go ahead and give these a try, I promise you will love them!

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Turkey Meatball Subs
INGREDIENTS
  • Sub buns
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free milk (I had to use a little more than this.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 3/4 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (I happen to think Delallo is the best store bought brand.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat broiler.
  2. 2. Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick shell. Place torn bread from 2 of the buns in a large bowl. Add milk, stirring with a fork until smooth. Add oregano, salt, turkey, and egg white to bread mixture, stirring just until combined. Working with damp hands, shape turkey mixture into 12-16 meatballs.
  3. 3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add meatballs; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add wine; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in marinara, basil, and vinegar; bring to a boil. Return meatballs to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until meatballs are done.
  4. 4. Arrange rolls, cut sides up, on a baking sheet; broil 1 minute or until toasted. Top bottom half of each roll with 3 meatballs, about 1/3 cup sauce, and sliced cheese of your choice. We used mozzarella. I broiled the sub open faced after I put the meatballs and cheese on.

Source: Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, Cooking Light

 

Thanks so much Ellen! I can’t wait to try these out with my meatball loving fam! 🙂 (I may sneak a few pre-meal taste tests too!)

If you loved this recipe, please show Ellen some love in the comments! I love when Ellen cooks, because it is always from her heart, and that is what this space is all about.

Happy Fall Comfort Food Eating!

sigggggg22

 

the wellness of all

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the wellness of all

the wellness of all

and others alike

is to be well with each other

elder, teen, babe or tike.

but what about the tweeners,

or folks in between,

can we give up on our wellness

our hopes, or our dreams?

well of course not,

you silly, you ninny, you fool,

we must break through our paperwork,

our taxes, the drool.

we must march ahead onward,

and fully with vim –

we are the tweeners, the lot of us,

whole, 2% or skim.

follow your dreams friends, as silly and outrageously awesome as they are.

for they may come true!

♥ cuteness provided by my nephews ♥

adventure, adventure :: backpacking in the moonlight

i went backpacking for the first time last fall.
where you wear your food, your clothes, your space to sleep, on your back.
and you set up camp at some lovely place, where the air is fresher than your lungs know what to do with.

at some point on our hike out.

at some point on our hike out.

we went up north in the lower peninsula of michigan, to the hoist lake recreation area.

it was magical.  i don’t have any pictures of walking in, but we walked in around 10 p.m., and it was just stunning. quiet, and peaceful, and coolish with a humid mist.

these two were pumped, as was i.

these two were pumped, as was i.

it was the kind of trip, where the planning is quick, and spur of the moment, and where the excitement of the trip is electric.  we had all the equipment we needed, and just decided to go.  we only had one real night/day to spend up there, and that was all we needed. i love my family.

she was ready to defend me against squeeters.

she was ready to defend me against skeeters.

my love has backpacked his whole life, and a.r. is following in those giant footsteps of his, and is quite the adventurer herself.  i love nature, i love being with my family, and i have definitely camped rustically (no bathroom, no showers, no people around you for a LONG while) before.  but, i had never backpacked.

in the morning, i felt peace.

in the morning, i felt peace.

it was not a very good night of sleep for me, but my sweets both slept amazing.  i was worried i would roll over a.r., and so, couldn’t quite relax.  but, i know if we could’ve stayed at least one more night, i would have been refreshed beyond my own understanding, because just the less than 24 hours that i was up there, i was refreshed.

these beauties were taking a bath close to us in the morning mist.

these beauties were taking a bath close to us in the morning mist.

we had a campfire, and campers food (a.r’s fave) we hiked during the day, we gathered sticks, learned more about our surroundings, and laughed in the wind.

my firemaker.

my firemaker.

we are blessed to have been able to go.

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morning coffee ♥

morning coffee ♥

this was our view. we couldn't see another person from our "site".

this was our view. we couldn’t see another person from our “site”.

God's Glory.

God’s Glory.

i beyond a doubt, believe that it was a perfectly orchestrated trip from my Maker to enjoy the end of last summer with my loves before the school year began again for a.r.

it was exactly what we knew we needed.

trifecta of awesomeness.

triangle of awesomeness.

no makeup, no worries.

no makeup, no worries.

it is one of my favorite trips of all time.  i was less healthy than i am now, but that makes me even more excited for this year’s trip!

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those two people are my heart.

the people in this picture make me so happy, even if i look like i need a nap, and a makeover! :)

the people in this picture make me so happy, even if i look like i need a nap, and a makeover! 🙂

goofballs in the woods.

goofballs in the woods!

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thank you Lord, for this view.

thank you Lord, for this view.

love is everywhere, you just have to look.

love is everywhere, you just have to look.

i heart wildflowers.

i heart wildflowers.

backpacking is amazing. i am an amateur, but i know if you have any questions about stuff we brought, or what you would need, r.l. would be happy to help you answer those questions.  it is something you should try.  just once.  i promise, you will come away relaxed, refreshed, and more in love with life.

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best girl. small frog. favorite.

best girl. small frog. favorite.

only a prince will do.

only a prince will do.

go out and seek adventure. it is a blast. i promise.

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we did it! (well, i knew they could do it, but i again, was less healthy then, and this was an accomplishment!). yay!

we did it! (well, i knew they could do it, but i again, was less healthy then, and this was an accomplishment!). yay!

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now go find some adventure!!!

sigggggg22

snippets of summer

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enjoying life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsmelling the flowers as much as possible.

2013-05-26_15-26-55_826being asked to “drive” the Jeep off road out of a HUGE, DEEP, MUDDY hole…

2013-05-26_15-26-40_79this angle does it no justice!  i got us out though, stellar off-roader that i pretend to be.

2013-05-25_09-38-54_665enjoying the sunshine on this beauty’s face as much as i possibly can (and that little furry nugget too).

2013-05-25_19-01-02_698a little of this…

2013-05-26_16-20-37_382a smidge of this…

getting my first final grade (an A!) for my new path. 🙂yay

 doing lots of this for homework:

2013-06-30_20-50-51_772 knowing that this isn’t perfect, but that i’m trying my best.

2013-05-28_16-46-13_672learning about different ways that this is art, and how i need to relax about it.

2013-06-03_17-42-45_557enjoying a lot of this

2013-06-16_20-28-27_369this

2013-06-28_12-50-13_527this and

IMG_20130513_100241there is quite a bit of my homerun hitter thrown in, which makes my heart SO happy

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and of course there’s always, ALWAYS room for this guy:

2012-07-22_20-51-06_765 (1)and of course some of this goodness too
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but no summer would be complete without a lot of this:

2013-06-27_15-41-37_237but, in my humble opinion, due to our rainy mitten weather this year, i haven’t had enough of these to enjoy (hint, hint, Big Guy 😉 )

2013-07-05_21-28-17_5and i can’t wait to use this to keep pop and vino cool, especially since my rl made it for me (it was my grandparents’) :

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this guy and i agree, it has been an amazing summer so far, and i’m so pumped for the rest of it! may your days be filled with the glory of His masterpieces

IMG_20130624_195844and may you always

sigggggg22

stitching love

Recently, I have realized I have several of these, one of which is this one, which is the catalyst for my words below.

my great grandma's homemade quilt

my great grandma’s homemade quilt

Some of us need it for warmth.  To wrap it around ourselves, and know that we are covered in its whole.  We are cold from everyone’s expectations. Including our own.

Some of us need it to sit upon, and reflect. To just be there upon it, noticing its stitches. Maybe we are unsure of how this whole thing is pieced together.

We are overwhelmed.

Some of us needed it to rest upon.  To just be still, and REST.  We are burdened and weary from too much waiting on this, and fretting about that.

Others need it to see how their fabric is woven into it, relished for its unique pattern, and justified for its price.  We aren’t sure if we are worthy of it.

Others have never seen it before, and just being next to it, being able to touch it, is what they needed to start their own.  Does it really exist?  Or is it – just a tale?

Those who knew about it thought that theirs was small, not knowing that each of us, have our own, but when we stitch it together, we are making one big one.

Some knew, but had NO IDEA how big.

COMMUNITY.

Our quilt of influence.  Our Blanket of knowing smiles, and dancing of joyful tribes.

Our community of a hug, or a thrifted mug of coffee, just for us.

Our quilt may look crazy when scattered about, the textures bashing into each other in cacophonous swirls.

Without the other pieces.

But when we are physically done carrying around our quilt here, someone else will need to use it.

For warmth.

For protection.

For sitting upon and reflecting.

And our thread is the Good News.  This is not the end.  We are not aware of the whole picture.  Hope is all around.  Love your neighbor, love yourself.

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We have influence.  We can do the hard things.  We can love the weary.  We can build again after castastrophic events.  We are loved.  We are worthy.  We have warmth.

We are bigger and smaller than we imagined.  In the best possible way.

God.   His gift to us.

Our quilt is crazy.  It exists.

And someday, when someone asks for a place to rest, or if it exists, or to really have a hug with impact, we know that its there.

Just waiting for us to enjoy in its splendorous pattern.

Crazy stitches, different colors, looped together, forming a blanket of grace.

Just for us.  And everyone we meet.

Because we are human, and what binds us together is simpler than even we can understand or comprehend.

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One love.  For life.

One gift.  Of love.

One hope.  For tomorrow’s sunrise.

Each day.  Together we fight for this life to be better.

One blanket of humanity, warming the cold, covering the weak, sheltering the lost.

We are in this together.

One world community.

I am all in.

What does community mean to you?

random thought thursday:: ranunculus edition

ranunculus. is the plural ranunculaii??   i am obsessed & want to grow some this year. i keep seeing people post pictures of their gorgeous blue mason jars full of a bouquet of them.

where do you buy them in bouquets? trader joes? farmer’s markets?  where??? (i am desperately seeking ranunculussssessssss.)

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source

i am obsessed, & also an awful guinea pig parent  to gus D. guinea pig.  (although if you ask a.r., she is the mom, and i’m the grandma). i can’t be a grandma yet.

selfie, by a.r.

selfie, by a.r.

i believe i am over zig zags in the form of chevron. it gives me a headache. (i won’t share a picture, i don’t want to give you a headache).

planning a yard, garden and/or outdoor space is SO fun. paying for one is not.

coral curtains are fun.

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owls are overdone. let’s give the groundhogs a chance people. or? hedgehogs. think about all the cuteness with the spikes.

oh witty hedgehog.

oh witty hedgehog.

if you’d like to buy yourself one, (or me pretty please), you can find him here! 🙂

i love the color green, and the best version of green? spring. Hallelujah.

i got to go to the detroit tigers game and meet up with some cousins, aunts and uncles, and sisbomb #2. it confirmed the idea that my extended family on both sides is WAY better than yours. sorry folks, just the facts.

this post is brought to you by natural vitamin d. it helps regulate the crazy from eight months of sheer below 40 degree madness.

confused guinea caretaker – OUT.

sigggggg22

blueprint :: the Kitchens

at the Kitchen table with our family treats.

at the Kitchen table with our family treats.

:: the idea man ::

my papa was a builder.  brick by brick he planned the great structures he would erect in the metro detroit area.  he and his brothers became known for their quality of workmanship.  they have a few local Detroit landmarks from their years with the DMKitchen Building Co.

but, in my eyes, their legacy, especially my papa’s, are their families –  their testament that faith in God, with love and hard work, yields joy, in every circumstance.

we had to say goodbye to the house that my papa built this past fall.  it was a very long, time-consuming process for my family. it was emotional.  it was dirty.  it was hard.  i helped moved a few things and kept a few things too.  but of all the things that i still have, it is without a doubt, not the things, but the feeling of home, of love and togetherness that i will take with me when i think of that beautiful peach house (complete with trap doors & various cool built-ins).

i remember hot july days playing water tag, and fishing for guppies with salty crackers and big nets at their lake.  my cousins, sisters and i would tuck the “caught” fish in our dug up sand ponds right on the shore of the lake.  my papa would sneak us Cheetos and Cheese Puffs from those bright blue canisters, while my grandma told him not to spoil us (full well knowing he probably was, that was my papa).

i remember taking trips in his pale yellow work truck, and him whistling an old tune about it being “hard to be humble”.  laughing, knowing that after he finished singing, we would share a giggle, and have some breath mints.  The roll kind, with the shiny blue and white wrapper.

i remember the crisp hugs after church, followed by countless french toast breakfasts with watered down orange juice at their house on sundays.  sometimes, when we were lucky, we went out to eat instead, and he would order Moons over my Hammy from Denny’s.

every christmas eve we were at the house…loud, chaotic joy.  all the grandkids.  plenty of wrapping paper.  one year, almost every one of my cousins and sisters received pearl jam’s Vitalogy cd.  we have joked about it ever since.

:: the architect’s best friend ::

gRAMS

my grandma just passed away february 1st of this year, and her funeral was the following week.  i have never attended a more beautiful ceremony of someone’s life.  it was a celebration.  my mother (with help from some aunts and uncles) wrote and read a poem about my grandma’s life, especially with a few nods to her Don (my papa). my sister and cousin read our grandchildren memories aloud.  there were plenty of tears and laughs alike, and the jist of all the 90 years she lived the good life here on earth, was this:

each day is a gift, name your blessings one by one, cherish those family and friends whom you have, and never, ever try to do anything without “fuel for your tank”.

i will remember all of these nuggets of wisdom from my grandma, but i carry a part of her every single day.  i am named after her, and some other cool chicks named barbara from my family tree.

barbara is a name that i have always held with a bit of curiosity.  to quote one of my favorite bands: “could i have been anything other than this”, to which i wonder, if my name had been jessica, or betsy, or monica, would my life have turned out differently?  i think so.

my name is a part of me, it is stitched into my dna.  it is the scottish treasure of a grandma i just said goodbye to, and the feisty english opinions of my intelligent, independent mother.  i am the sixth.

i cherish it even more now.

:: the imprint ::

yet, a name means nothing if your heart is not attached to your attitude, your gratitude, and most importantly your love.  barbara to me, means living my passion, just as my ancestors did, just as my grandma would have wanted me to.

what i noticed about her funeral and wake, was that people did not attend to remind us that she was the great builder Don’s wife.  they did not visit the church because her name was Barbara Kitchen, or was the first woman deacon at the Kirk, or because she faithfully volunteered at Beaumont every Wednesday for nearly 3 decades. (*that is me just mentioning it to brag on her.  she was a gem, whom i was privileged enough to care for a few times a week for the last couple years before she entered into a memory care facility).

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:: leaving their cornerstone ::

they came, because no matter what she did, she enjoyed life so fully, and loved her family, friends, church goers and hospital visitors so well, that they felt it important to tell us what a wonderful, happy, loving woman she was.  that she was kind.  that she prayed for their well-being, and they wanted to say thanks to us, and mainly, to celebrate her love for God that was so clear in her day-to-day life.

there were several blueprints that we retrieved before we left the peach house on Lakewood back in the fall, tucked away in musty boxes and briefcases.  the winding circle driveway encapsulated with trees will always remind me of the intelligent and thoughtful way that my grandparents built their home.

but none were as profound as the blueprints the Kitchens left for all of us:  every day is a gift, name your blessings one by one, and know, that home is more than your name, or your address, it is in your passion.  their passion was love, God, family.

i plan on building my life according to their blueprints.

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