Thursday, June 27, 2013

Riding the Waves of Life

When I stop for just a moment and think about all I want to do each day, I realize that my mind wants more than the 24 hours but my body is screaming for rest by dusk. I know that so many of us feel this way, especially us women.

As I've mentioned, I work at the dance studio in town and this week is our recital week! It's exciting, fun, and oh-so-rewarding, but it's also exhausting. With two other jobs riding along side (not to mention my more "domestic" job as well),  I've worn myself thin...which we all do from time-to-time. Hence the lack of posts this week. 

Our recital begins tomorrow evening and then we have a show Saturday early afternoon and one more Saturday night. Everyone has worked so hard and it's always beautiful and a lot of fun! I'm really excited for these young men and women! :-) This excitement, however, has also given way to my exhaustion and lack of time to do much in my garden. I love my job so I'm completely fulfilled... I'm just beginning to  notice signs of neglect on my garden.

Once this weekend has passed, I hope to be back to catch you up on what's been going on, what I've learned and hopefully share some new garden/food/life news!

But for now, I wish to leave you with this: go out into your garden and find a spot in which you can reflect and gaze at its beauty. Relax, enjoy it, appreciate it, and soak it all in because this moment will never be back again.


Monday, June 24, 2013

A Weekend at the Lake

After a week on the go, we made a last minute call to leave our home and garden to go explore some of the beautiful attractions here in Central Oregon. This was going to be our maiden voyage out camping for the summer. But with a last minute decision to go, along came some last minute stressors. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

{this moment}

Today, I'm joining Amanda (soulemama) and Olive & Owl (a link to her site) with {this moment}.

A simple picture from the week. No words, no explanation, just a simple moment of time captured and shared.

Please feel free to share your moments as well! It's so fun to see what other beauty is captured in a weeks time!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Garden Symphony

What a week it has been so far! Not only has it been busy, but my garden is beginning to bring on the first of its summer produce!
I've just picked my first handful of strawberries along with my first picking of sugar snap peas and Alaska pea pods! They are perfect; crispy, crunchy, and delectably sweet. The recent cold nights have definitely helped with their flavor.
But as I stood stooped in my garden bed picking my peas, and listening to the birds chatter as a storm rolled in, I was overcome with thankfulness and joy. What a blessing it is to be able to have a garden in which to grow food for my family. It's simple yet perfect and beautiful in every way.
Gardening centers me. It makes me aware of the world outside of myself and takes me to a peaceful place closer to Christ. I feel joyful, smiling with every moment no matter what it might be. When I finish working, my hands are stained; I have dirt under every fingernails; my skin is dry. But when I look at them, I see time spent in the presence of God.
This devotional is a perfect summation:
Prayer Song
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me - a prayer to the God of my life.
~Psalm 42:8~
I sing to You, Lord. My joy, heartache, and thanksgiving create a symphony of emotion. In the solitude of nightfall, I cannot help but sing. I release the worries of my day to Your care. I trust You with my today and my tomorrow. My panic turns to peace as the first notes of praise drift heavenward.
Your concern touches me. Your voice blends with mine for a few sweet moments. You wrote this song to comfort me every night. You share it with me so I can come to You when the confines of words and dialogue stifle meaning. By day, Lord, guide me with Your love. By night, free me with Your melody. In every moment Your are the God of my life.
(This prayer comes from One-Minute Prayers for Women)
Sometimes working in the garden creates this symphony for me. It may encompass the neighbors dog, the birds, a garbage truck, the race track, an airplane, a train, the fans from the mill...but together, it is a perfect testament to all the beauty God has placed in my life. It is magnificent.
I pray this verse and devotional takes you to a perfect place of wonder and peace.

Monday, June 17, 2013

30-Day Challenge...Update!

We are officially on day five of my 30-day food challenge. As a brief recap, I noticed our pantry, freezer, and garden were overflowing with bounty, yet we still had a fairly good-sized grocery bill each month. So I challenged us to go 30 days eating strictly out of our pantry and cupboard, freezer, and garden (making exceptions for things we can't produce: milk, cheese, eggs, some fresh fruits, and the occasional loaf of bread).

Cam has been awfully tempted to go down to the grocery store to purchase something for dinner. And to be completely honest, he's not alone. Some nights, after a long day, all you want to do is get food in your belly; no forethought, no preparation, no mess, very little clean-up. But we have stuck with it and so far, so good! Here's what we found for dinner so far:

Day 2:
 By the end of the second day, I found myself alone, once again, for supper. I wanted something quick and tasty...I was just hungry to be quite frank. I found a few shrimp in our freezer, along with a small piece of baguette, and peas. Along with my homemade rhubarb dressing, avocado, goat cheese, and fresh garden salad fixings, I created a wonderfully tasty shrimp salad. I quickly sautéed the shrimp in garlic and olive oil and placed them atop my salad. It wasn't anything fancy but it was delicious!

Day 3:
We decided to hold a spur-of-the-moment garage sale first thing this morning so we were preoccupied all day. We didn't have time to think about getting anything out for dinner, nor did we have the gumption to try our hand at something new.

So we fell back to a classic: spaghetti with homemade venison pasta sauce. We did a quick microwave thaw of a pound of ground venison. We browned half, and made the other half into burgers and placed them into the freezer for another day (I have a feeling they will appear as our evening meal in the very near future :). I had some homemade pasta sauce in the freezer, so we thawed that and added it to the browned meat. This set atop a bowl full of spaghetti, finished with parmesan and a small salad and garlic toast,..yumm! Quick comfort food, made with our fresh produce and meat! It was scrumptious!

 Day 4: Sushi night!!

 Tonight, we wanted to treat ourselves to something a bit more time consuming and fancier than what we had been doing. But, of course, it still had to stick with my challenge guidelines. We bent the rules slightly - because it sounded soooo good - by going to the deli at our local grocery store and buying 4 imitation crab legs (I know, we're cheap...sometimes, they cant even get it to register on the scale so they give it to us as a 'sample'!). Aside from that, we had everything else.

We had tried a few new ingredients in a few of the rolls. We added mango, created a spicy crab with a wasabi mayo we had on hand, avocado, and the usual veggies. They were so divine!

As a quick side note: we found that Trader Joes carries a premade seaweed salad mix. We bought one a while back and used it with this meal. While it is slightly different from the restaurant salad, it was equally delicious! It mad a decent amount; along with the sushi we made, it was plenty for two...but I could definitely have eaten more:)

Day 5:

 After work, I opened the door of the freezer hoping something would just jump out at me saying 'eat me!' That didn't happen, so I rummaged through the shelves looking for something a little different. I found a pound of ground chicken that desperately needed to be used. That was going to be dinner. Easy enough.

A while back, I made a Thai dish that was easy and really good. Something about the salty-spicy-sweetness of homemade Thai cuisine sounded really good tonight, so I went with it.

I just picked our Bok Choy (yay!!) that I grew from seed early this spring. I chopped up a small head of that and added it to the browned meat. I made a sauce of lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sugar, and toasted sesame oil, and added it to the meat and veg mix. I made some whole-wheat couscous to be the bed for this beautiful Thai stir fry. I topped it with fresh cilantro and the mango we had left-over from sushi the night before. It was perfect!


So far, so good! We've diligently stuck with it! It can be challenging but I have found it to be fun. It has forced us to be creative with what we have and to make the most of the beautiful produce we are so blessed to have growing out our front and back doors!

Have you joined us in this challenge? If so, what kinds of things have you come up with in these past few days? If you haven't, consider joining me! It's a fun new little journey.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!

Today is the day we set aside to thank and show appreciation to our fathers. For me, although I didn't get to see my dad in person, it was a day when I wanted him to know just how much I appreciate all of the love, attention, teaching, guidance, understanding, discipline, and friendship he has given to me. I have learned so much from my father; lessons that are abundant and priceless.

As much as we love and honor our fathers, I was reminded today of just how much they honor their role as father. This prayer came from our daily devotional and I found it so fitting for today!
Father's day, from a fathers perspective:

Friday, June 14, 2013

{this moment}

Today, I'm joining Amanda (soulemama) and Olive & Owl (a link to her site) with {this moment}.

A simple picture from the week. No words, no explanation, just a simple moment of time captured and shared.


Please feel free to share your moments as well! It's so fun to see what other beauty is captured in a weeks time!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

30-Day Challenge

Homesteading is an adventure. You are constantly learning and adapting to nature, circumstances, life, abilities...the list goes on! But that's part of what makes this journey so fun and unique. With every sunrise and sunset, we are presented with new opportunities and challenges.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Things

Great things have been going on in my garden...almost without me lately. I've been so busy and overwhelmed that I have had a hard time spending a peaceful moment here without being bombarded by the barrage of things I have to do...none of which involves my passion for gardening. It has been hard but if I can muster up enough energy, I have tired to spend a few minutes immersed within my oasis.

We have tried to expand outside of our comfort zone even more this year by trying a few more new things. I've already told you about the sunchokes we are planning to grow (our order keeps getting pushed I hope we get them in time to plant this season) but there are a few more we have decided to take a stab at.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Life & Living

My life feels scattered at the moment. I have been so overwhelmed lately by the changes going on that I haven't really had a spare moment to explore my passions; the things that I find fulfilling. But that is life. And I am learning, slowly, that we must take the things God gives us and work with them. So when I read this verse tonight, I was so struck that I wanted to share it:

How to Live
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
~1 Thessalonians: 11-12~
God, You created life to be a process of growing and becoming. Learning how to live becomes a lifelong journey. Just when I think I have arrived at the place where You will surely have me stay, change happens and I am prodded to go further.
As You call me to keep moving and growing, I abide by the guidelines You offer in Your Word. I lead a quiet life focused on You. I mind my own business and strive to earn the respect of other people by working hard. And each day I renew my commitment to walk in Your will
(This prayer comes from the devotional book One-Minute Prayers for second favorite devotional to date!)
I hope this brings you hope and comfort...and a guidance on how we are to live. We must always take great comfort in the fact that, while things may be constantly changing, God's plan is always in effect.
What does this prayer evoke in you? I'd love to hear...we are all growing and learning together!

Friday, June 7, 2013

{this moment}

Today, I'm joining Amanda (soulemama) and Olive & Owl (a link to her site) with {this moment}.

A simple picture from the week. No words, no explanation, just a simple moment of time captured and shared.

I would like to briefly share a bit more about my moment. This day, five years ago, Cam & I were married. He captured my heart for the first time when we met in college...and it has been his ever since! It's been a whirlwind five years, but so full of wonderful memories! I have loved every moment of it and can't wait to see what the next five bring!

This day also represents another special is the same day that some 60-years ago, my grandparents were married! These two are a great example for us, and we pray we will be blessed with as many wonderful years together as they have!

 Happy anniversary!

Please feel free to share your moments as well! It's so fun to see what other beauty is captured in a weeks time!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Finally, after a long winter and a very blustery and chilly spring, summer is upon us! We've been met with beautiful weather and I feel like it's finally time to plant the rest of my that is exactly what I've done!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Needs and Contentment

Every morning, the sun rises. It floats across the sky throughout the day until it reaches its final destination to denote the close of another day. It sets, falling beyond the horizon leaving us with magnificent color and then ultimate darkness. It's constant. It's predictable. And we all-too-often take it for granted.

These last several days have been spent busying myself with things. Things I enjoy, but still things that need to be done. Instead of feeling fulfilled and grateful, I feel tired.

We all experience this at times in life, I know. Sometimes, it's a struggle to put on a smile and mask our true feelings. But lately, as I've gone about my daily tasks and obligations, I feel humbled by these feelings. Humbled because I know there is so much more to life than just our daily struggles and even moments of bliss. This prayer helps remind me of this:

With or Without
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything though him who gives me strength.
~Philippians 4:12-13~
Lord, Your hand has guided me though times of want and times of plenty, I thank You for being my Source of strength and guidance. When I hungered for more and thirsted of opportunity, I followed Your way to brighter days. You guided me though years of abundance so that I could be a devoted steward of my blessings. My status in the world's eyes might change, but my relationship with You remains the same.
Teach me about contentment, Lord. When I have material wealth, may I still long for spiritual direction and nourishment. As I experience difficulties, lead my thoughts and prayers to You for direction and hope. I can do all things and survive all circumstances through Your strength.
(The preceding excerpt was taken from One-Minute Prayers for of my favorite devotionals and sources of encouragement!)

This verse provides me with so much hope and strength. No matter what I am facing - whether it be blessings or hardships - Christ is constantly present, guiding me in the direction He has laid out for me. The same is true for us all. We must be willing to accept His guidance and follow his lead.

I'm still learning how...but I'm looking forward to what He has in store! Will you learn with me?

How does this prayer and verse impact your life? I'd love to get your insight!

Thanks and enjoy!