Thursday, May 28, 2009

what's for dinner?

well, technically, what WAS for dinner... this was a night this weekend. a super simple, but delicious, summer meal.
started with fresh basil (gift from next door neighbor - yay!).

had some chicken breasts (the go-to-wonder-meat.) we sliced sweet vidalias and layered them in a casserole dish and topped with fresh spinach.
next we topped with the chicken breasts and seasoned with steak and chicken seasoning blend (the kind you grind as you use it.)

fresh, juicy, sun-warmed tomatoes sliced atop the chicken give it another layer of sweetness.

sprinkle with basil chiffonade. (fancy-talk for fine ribbons. stack your basil leaves and roll them like this:) next, run your chef's knife through, finely cutting into ribbons. (this technique is awesome for any fresh leaves...)
and your "french-for-ribbons" chiffonade...


i'm sure you know, but you should always use the quality of wine you'd like to drink when you cook... not just in case you want a sip while you work! this was left from the night before - a sprinkle of Chardonnay (or any white would work...) lends the onions and spinach and chicken some delicious juiciness!

bake at 350 for - well, till it's done... whole-wheat-drop biscuits make it the perfect meal.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

you call to me...

Papa, my heart's love...
why is there not more scribbling in the margins? why are the pages not more worn? when those far from me give their very lives to guard a few pages, how can i callously plunk the pure gold of these Words onto a shelf? you desire not service, but repentance... you desire not works but love... and you will break me until i come back to your heart...

Monday, May 18, 2009

sweet happiness.

ok, my dear hubby says i am now officially addicted, obsessed, and unreasonably entranced (well, entranced is a me-kind-of-word, but still...) with the great ikea. it's true... after living through my parents vicariously as they built their dream home, a gorgeous, custom home but built on a chic budget, i longed for an ikea of my own. it has arrived. last week, we made the pilgrimage. it was supposed to be a recon mission, as we drug nana (willingly!) along, and although i had a list of new-bathroom-renovation needs, i anticipated checking out my options and bringing daddy back for the actual purchasing expedition. not to be, because, alas, there was more than enough to check off my complete list, and add on a couple impulse purchases. sweet jr., my son-after-my-heart, thank you for spotting my long-desired french press. yeeeeeeessss...

i love a rainy day...

remember the amy grant song? i do so love a rainy day... it makes me feel nostalgic and snuggly and drowsy and energized and longing for a cup of tea or coffee or cocoa... and it makes all my little people want to go play in it! come to think of it, next time i think i'm gonna join them. it's a good thing our forecast calls for more showers this week. thank you, Papa, for rainy days...

please can we puddle-stomp?
"if all the raindrops were lemon drops, oh what a rain that would be... standin' outside with my mouth open wide... ah, ah, a ah, ah ah ah, ah a ah..."--barney

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

medieval in modern...

This is the most crazy thing I discovered this week... on St. Augustine Beach, tucked in amongst overgrown brush and gates, right on a hill on a residential street, I passed a CASTLE. What? I had to stop and catch a couple photos... and guess what I read on the sign? This "decorative" castle was built to the glory of Jesus Christ. Go visit the website here and see more for yourself. What a mysterious and interesting history. Can you imagine having your wedding here?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

dear, dear friends

my hubby sent me away for the most AMAZING day yesterday! i headed off to st. augustine around 6 am for a day of learning from some of the best of the best in wedding photographers... from noon till after nine, they staged all the aspects of a wedding, shot, and taught. i was in photography heaven, with some real romance thrown in... the models who "played" the bride and groom are believers who are "for real" newlyweds and photographers, as well. although we, the students, weren't able to shoot, i can't WAIT to try some of the awesome techniques on my upcoming brides!

to sweeten the trip, i got to visit one of my very best friends and bridesmaid, "aunt haley," and her hubby, along with their four beautiful girls. "coach," dad, is the athletic director of a Christian school, and my sweet haley-friend teaches there, as well! die-hard north carolina and georgia "dawgs" fans, their home is a sports fan's dream. their family radiates Jesus and covenant family-life, and the few middle-night hours i got to catch up with my heart-friend are dear to me. i just had to share, because my quick stop was a reminder to me that friendships are all-too easily set aside in life's busy rush, and i value the fellowship Papa has blessed us with. and... with their permission, i want you to see the four young women of God my friends are raising... who ever-so-willingly let me at them with my camera in the five minutes before they headed off to school!

thanks, girlies, for letting me join you for cartoons and visit your cool classrooms!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

marriage equals two plus...

I remember driving home from college several states away on a whim once, to surprise my dad and see him perform a lead role in a church musical. When I arrived at a rehearsal in session, I was asked to join the closing prayer. I remember the pastor asked a pretty lady to lead the prayer, and when she spoke, her voice was filled with such sweetness that I thought, “I’d like to get to know her!”
Fast forward a few weeks, and I arrived home for the summer between college semesters. I met a handsome boy who loved Jesus and whose voice could melt butter, and I was smitten. Not long later, I knew without a doubt that this was the man God had chosen for me. (And if he didn’t, my dad informed him!) Imagine my sweet surprise when the mom of this handsome boy (MAN!) was none other than the pretty lady I had heard pray that rehearsal night.
Fast forward a few weeks, months, and years, and lots of life changes. There have been moments of life-happenings in which each of us (my husband, his in-laws and mine, myself, and eventually our brood of five arrows!) have shown clearly how awesome were the gifts God has poured into us, and how He has drawn us together to make a beautiful tapestry of love and service. There have also been moments, though, when the innate human-ness (read: sin nature!) has been glaringly evident! Both my sweet husband and I have had to make adjustments and grow through personality differences groomed in part by our upbringing and life experiences, and along with us, our families have done the same. There have been moments when I am sure each of us has thought of the other, “What in the WORLD??!!”
Recently my mom-in-law came for a visit, and we did some “adventuring” together. I’ve been going through major life changes as I build a business and try to maintain excellence as a home educator and wife, and her visit was a welcome break to “go play” a little bit more than lately. It was in the midst of a couple of days without my hubby, and I had a chance to just enjoy her for who she is as we played with the kids.
I took a photo of her that made my heart melt – she was laughing at a crazy antic of my littlest, I think… or she might have been giggling at something I had said. In that image, through that giggle, I remembered again that lady that I had longed to get to know. My Papa reminded me that when I married the man of my dreams, I gained a whole extended family, and a significant part of that is his mom, a woman who is in many ways so different from me, and in a crazy number of ways, very similar. I know, for instance, that part of why he loves me is that I am strong and a “go-getter,” a trait illustrated in his momma. I also am reminded that so many of the traits I adore in my man (after almost 14 years, I still melt when he cries at weddings!) were gifts from her.
Looking at this image reminds me again that marriage is a culmination of two lives, and a beginning of one… and that one combines and weaves together two distinct units, but ones the Father wanted together. With “the in-laws” come challenges, to be sure, but more, come the blessings. Thank you, Papa, for the chance to remember through my lens, the first sight I had of my husband to be, as I was drawn to the heart of his mom.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

baby in the bullrushes.

that's what i thought of, anyway. for more of this beautiful two-weeks-new baby boy and his family (our precious friends!) click to the loving legacy photography blog!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Papa, hold me...

as i rock my sweet littlest before nap time, i am breathless at the intensity of communion between two humans. he nuzzles as deep as he can - face to my neck, and his breath gives me chills. he wriggles and writhes to reach that perfect spot of comfort and familiarity. each of my precious ones is a nuzzler - always has been. (thank you papa, for this is my language of bonding...) but perhaps more than each of them, this one is particular about how he will be held. there's a ritual to be followed. sound machine on. favorite blanket to shoulder. neck nuzzling. prayer, then our family lullaby, and down. never one to be happy in a bed not his own, this one demands the routine, and we, each of "his people," happily oblige.

this day he can't settle. he actually takes my cheeks in his chubby hands, looks deep into my eyes as if to communicate his wishes, and moves my head into a different position; promptly nuzzles again and assumes that "heavier-than-i-really-am" relaxed state.

he is safe, and he is well aware that he is loved. he knows that i long to please him, and he is not afraid to ask for what he needs, even in the way of small comforts.

i want to nuzzle, Papa. i ache to bury my face in your neck and breathe on you and gaze into your eyes. remind me, as you did today, that while you are wild and wonderful, fearsome and all-powerful, you are my Papa who desires me to take your face and call to your heart, for you have called to mine since before i was conceived.