if we; even though; i am


if we leave out or exclude, because they aren’t blood. 

i am thankful to be learning about 100% inclusion. 

if we shame or scold because they aren’t saved. 

i am thankful that maybe the peace i receive from my relationship with my Creator could help someone else experience peace too: even if, even though.

if we back down or stay silent because we don’t want to rock anything even if the side of love is tipping it all in the way of safety.

i am thankful that there is an anchor for all of it, always.

if we forget to say it, if we want to leave it behind, and step fully into wholeness of healing, but waves of fear keep us timid. 

i am thankful for healing, in all ways, in all its own timing, in all days.

i we have more than enough but our plans get spoiled by the inconvenience. 

i am thankful for abundance and leaning into the uncomfortable ways in which i can learn to give more always.

if we experience differently by the sheer truth that our cells do not rage with pain- unfelt because of the side of history, unaware of inequalities, no fear because we have been sheltered from it. 

i am thankful that my ignorance is being shattered. i am thankful to unlearn my viewpoint, and relearn that my privilege isn’t something i can dismiss without causing pain to those i love. 

if we feel we are less, have less, deserve more, expect more because it isn’t fair. 

i am thankful that my brain is seeking, still seeking to notice this narrative and distrust it with every ounce of equality i can muster. i am thankful that the bitter is softened with the sweet. i am thankful for the seasons, the changing of the skies, to show me that we are always moving. i am thankful that i believe we can live them, these seasons, together, going forward, with compromise, hard work, and shared pieces of apple pie. i am thankful that even if this holiday is sweet and hard, i have hope that we see each other, reach out, teach more: of sharing, of past sacrifices, of past pains that need to be healed still, and that most importantly, we can eat together. ONE table, ONE shared meal of grateful grace, even with its flaws, even with, even because of : if we, even if, 

i am thankful. 

joy :: day one :: at the table

photo (16)

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.

photo (15)

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.

photo (17)

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.



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



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!




Turkey Meatball Subs
  • 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


  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!



Confidence Can :: Cook!


One of the many things I need help with is cooking!  I have a few foodie friends who I am always asking for new and delicious recipes, and my lovely friend Ellen S. was gracious enough to be the first contributor to the Confidence Can series.  YAHOOSKI!  I couldn’t be more blessed or proud to be this sweet lady’s friend, and cheer on our Spartans together, so please enjoy her contribution!  Thanks Ellen.  🙂

Soup’s On!

Around my house whenever dinner is ready we say “Soup’s On!” using a voice that we do our best to make sound like my Father in-law’s. This is how he lets the family know it’s time to eat and now we are continuing this tradition at my house too. In this case it was actually soup that was being served.

It’s winter in Michigan so let’s just say it was an easy decision to try out this Pioneer Woman soup recipe. As soon as I spotted this Italian Chicken Soup on Pinterest, I knew it was the next new recipe I wanted to try. Let me tell you that I am SO.VERY.HAPPY. I did. This recipe was easy to make and it also fed my family for 4 days. Being a full time, working mom, knowing that I had this awesome soup waiting for us in the fridge for dinner this week gave me much excitement. Some may call me lame, but seriously, having a good hearty meal that you can reheat in a few minutes for 4 straight nights equals gold to me. And no, we didn’t get tired of eating it 4 days in a row! It’s that good. Do yourself a favor and add it to your list of recipes to try SOON.

Italian Chicken Soup
*original recipe is from The Pioneer Woman. Recipe below has been adapted by me.

Ingredients you will need:

16 oz. Ditalini Pasta (short macaroni noodles) I found them in the DeLallo brand.
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (used to coat noodles after cooking them)
3 Chicken Breasts
8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Diced
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Diced
2 stalks Celery, Diced
2 whole Fresh Jalapenos, Diced (Remove seeds) Don’t worry the soup wasn’t too spicy at all!
1 small can of diced green chiles
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (used to sauté vegetables)
1 can (28-ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes, Diced. ( Keep the juice because this is added into the soup.)
2 cups Heavy Cream ( could substitute fat free half n half for healthier version.)
5 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Oregano
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (used to sauté Oregano)
Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
Parmesan Cheese Shavings, For Serving

Cooking Instructions

Cook pasta in a pot according to package directions, being sure not to overcook it. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool. Toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.


Place chicken breasts in a large pot and cover with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer chicken, covered, for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered for another 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and shred meat. Return shredded chicken back into the broth and set aside until later.

Dice canned tomatoes and return them to their juice. Set aside.

Heat a small skillet with the 2TBL of olive oil over medium high heat. Add oregano. Stir the oregano around for about a minute over heat to avoid burning. Turn off heat and let oregano sit until you are ready to add to soup.

In a large pot sauté onion, peppers, celery, and jalapenos in olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes.


Add chicken broth, shredded chicken, green chiles, and tomatoes with their juice. Bring this to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add cooked pasta, cream, and all the oregano and olive oil from the small skillet. Add salt and pepper as needed to satisfy your tastebuds. Stir and heat mixture on low until it is hot again.

Serve with lots of Parmesan sprinkled on the top, or whatever kind of cheese you like. I also topped ours with fresh croutons from my favorite local bakery. Enjoy!!


I am now drooling, and know what I’ll be making this week!  Thanks so much Ellen.   Now go out there and be confident in your cooking people!  Soup’s On!

frizzy hippie gets fit – volume one


i am frizzy hippie.  this is what i really look like.  no photoshop, no editing wonders, no instagram lovelieness:

i am very overweight.  i am unhealthy.  i don’t move enough.  and i want to change.

i ate fruit and a granola bar for breakfast.  that’s a start, right?
i want to be a runner.  i WILL be a runner.  i already told my fam that i will be.

i hate lying, so i better start, right?
i want to be fit.
i want to look faboosh in my swimsuit that will be new, in a smaller size next summer.
i don’t want to make excuses.  i DON’T want to make excuses.

i want to play soccer again.
i can do this.
wanna watch me get fit?
follow this blog.
send me encouragement.
email me HEALTHY recipes.
convince rl that i will clean the blender every time.
i want to paddle board, and mountain climb, and ski if that’s what i feel like.

i will work my whole life to keep up this attitude.  it’s a good one to have.

take at least an hour a day for myself, and everyone will benefit, especially me.

i will work HARD –
one day at a time.
one meal at a time.
one minute at a time.
i want to live the life i was intended to.
fit and happy.
frizzy hippie gets fit.
join me won’t you?

my myfitnesspal username is beforeverlovely.  i know, shocking, right?  🙂 


true devotion, the five hour pie, & cold toes

this is a bit of a random post. but, since it is technically after midnight as i’m typing this, that’s okay – qualify it as a random thought thursday, wouldja?

it’s also okay that i am baking a pie right now, my very first strawberry rhubarb to be exact. my grandma Francek’s recipe. i try to remember my sweet, loving grandma in all the best ways possible. by always being stubborn when i know i’m right, and by trying to make her most delicious homemade foods. we have enjoyed spaghetti pie, i’ve yet to learn about how to really make her bread, and tonight i’m attempting her homemade strawberry rhubarb pie.
it has so far taken me five hours. because i made homemade crust too. and because i shopped twice for the rhubarb, and the checkout dude didn’t know what it was when i bought it. win win. let’s pump some knowledge up in heeeeere.
now, i’m not a baker. but i yearn to bake pies. all kinds of pies. i would love it to be a relaxing, mellowing type of baking.  the flour, the wistful thinking, the apron that is so dear.
ENTER::The Pioneer Woman
she, The Pioneer Woman, is a blogger. big time. has two cookbooks, and a TV show with the Food Network.
me, i am a blogger. little peanuts. have three cookbooks(that i didn’t author), and have a TV, and no cable currently.
we, TOGETHER, will teach me how to stop being such a klutz with dough, crust and meringue (whatever exactly that is).

i’ve already told you about how i cooked 4 lbs. of macaroni noodles while trying to make PW’s homemade mac and cheese. that folks, is CLASSIC babs (me).  right?

but, alas tonight, i was willing to forget said flub of recipe, because i forgot to buy the box of crust to make the pie. oy vey. another CLASSIC babs move.
and, since my toes are about 21 degrees below zero at the moment, when i realized this (it’s only because in Michigan, you can get sunburned one weekend, and worry about your plants dying due to frost TWO weekends later!), i decided that a trip to the store was out of the question. plus, sometimes after a long commute home, i’m lazy.
the true devotion part: i just finished listening to the book True Devotion by Dee Henderson on CD in my car(oh, i hope that’s her name, the CD book thing is in my car and i’m serious – it is LEGITIMATELY freezing outside), not only do i know i earned cool points telling you i am making my dad proud with B.O.CD’s , it made me think of rl.
because, the real reason that i’m up this late mom, is that i needed to use the rhubarb (it spoils kinda quickly), & i love pie, & i love rl.

now that, is true devotion – braving the elements, lack of sleep, and of course tasting it first to make sure i don’t poison him!  and his true devotion to me is cleaning the kitchen mess with no dishwasher.

the end.

random thought thursday:: why linner edition

Steak Sandwich picture courtesy of The Pioneer Woman

1.  we have brunch.  it’s great, and when my older sister worked at casa lupita (may it rest in delicious best-Mexican-food-ever peace), we rocked out a few family brunches.

2.  we have a “late” lunch.  huh?

3.  we have an “early” dinner.  wah?

4.  why do we not have a linner


5.  why, you ask?  because we can’t just treat brunch like it’s the queen bee of meals, and treat linner like the leftover forgotten about the now cold appetizer from last night’s party that you were supposed to wrap up, or clean up (yuck).

6. i like to eat, and i’d like to invent a time-table meal.  as in, too late for lunch? just in time for linner.  no time for table settings and fancy desserts?  linner is your winner winner, chicken dinn-whoops!  see, already mistreating the poor old gal.

7.  because for the umpteenth recipe that you’ve printed/”pinned”/pined over on your sister-in-law’s neighbor’s blog, you just want something NOW.

8.  linner can solve the problem of what’s for this time that is slightly before dinner or a smidge after, or in my case, my-love-works-a-completely-different-time-than-i-and-i-don’t-wanna-eat-alone time?  in the case of linner, i can rock out a linner appropriate outfit, and invite some pals, ala Sex and the City with a simple “linner y’all?”  group text.

9.  btw, I am the Carrie (just cuz of the fabulous frizzy hair).  Smile  without all the HBO-rated stuff, and because occasionally i wear ridiculously colorful outfits.

10.  because right now, my stomach is grumbling, and linner is sounding faboosh!

11.  because it just sounds cool.  and at linner, you can drink a mojito or gingerbeam, and no one will judge you, since it’s after noon, and before dinner.  (in case you’re into that kinda thing).

linner for peace, linner with friends, linner forever!

ps.  when i asked rl what should i use as a photo for linner, he said without hesitation:  steak sandwich.  may it be noted that i’ve never made him a steak sandwich and now feel obligated to live up to Pioneer Woman’s unrealistic goals for my honey’s appetite.  oh  boy, here we go!