Thursday, October 1, 2015

Autumns' Calling

One of my long-time favorite seasons is AUTUMN.

With the exception of the craziness of school starting and the overwhelming, paralyzing feeling of the new school year and fearing the morning routine of running late despite what I would call major prep the night before…AUTUMN, is like no other season in my book.

AUTUMN doesn’t have to make a HUGE “I’m here” announcement.  It is a whisper.  It’s a gentle change.  Clearly different,but  The sun goes to sleep sooner and it has no problem sleeping in a bit later.  The hot, stuffy air becomes cool, sweet and refreshing.

It is crunchy leaves underfoot. It is sipping on fresh hot apple cider as you walk your little trick or treaters around the neighborhood, it is football {like it or NOT!!!}…and it is the anticipation of the Holidays peeking around the corner.

For me, it is as though Autumn has it’s very own calling card.  A simple card, really.  One without loud print, squiggly filigree, and a million different fonts. It is as though it beckons an invitation for stillness, for quiet…a small pocket of your time to pause and slow down. 

What is not to LOVE about calling cards, anyway?  It is the GIVER that desires a relationship.  A reminder that they care enough to see you again, that you are worth investing in, that you matter and are important.  God’s calling card to us is His Word…and within His Word, He refers to seasons.   He knows our lives are filled with change.
I don’t think that God made a mistake in starting His creation in a garden!!  There is so much to learn from the life of a gardener…and when I think of gardens I think of Autumn.  It has always fascinated me.
I think it is the reality of it that I like.  It is the imperfection and the yucky and the far from glamorous that is truly intriguing.  It is the jaunt out to the garden that was the envy of everyone on the block, not that long ago.  It was the garden that boasted the most fragrant of crops, the biggest and the best, that has become the nastiest sight almost overnight.  It is no longer brimming with beauty, but has almost become hideous.  All that seems to be left is the produce that didn’t quite make the cut.  There are the few  rotting veggies that were pulled off by helping chubby baby hands, bug-infested tomatoes that have enticed the neighbor dog and squirrels that were tantalized by the garden’s offerings…now ready for the compost.  YES, the compost!!!

Farmers that know what they are doing do not waste the scraps.  To them, it is necessary to use the material for next year’s glorious garden.  Indeed, it’s true.  It’s like gold.  A precious commodity and balm to nurture next spring’s beautiful crop.

I like to think that the best farmers in the world are great composters…and you know what?  I happen to know THE GREAT COMPOSTER.  He specializes in using every last bit of what we think of as debris and even has a use for the fallen leaves of AUTUMN that seem to have served their purpose and are so carelessly thrown away.  However, even the clippings are used as blankets to tuck the garden into bed for the dark, bitter cold days and nights that lie ahead.  The GREAT COMPOSTER has amazing resolve to take impeccable care of what belongs to Him.

If your life is feeling like a big heap of worthlessness, a life filled with no fruit, no beauty to speak of and unsightly weeds that you, yourself can’t even look at…allow THE GREAT COMPOSTER to take the scraps from your garden bed and, in His time, with His expertise…use it for next year’s crop.  Take His que and put some of the unsightly things to rest and wait patiently for what spectacular things He has for His new crop come Spring.  

I think if THE GREAT COMPOSTER were to give me His personal calling card today, it would differ from AUTUMN’S CALLING CARD.  I think it would still be simple…but it would be dirty, blood-stained and definitely hand-written.  I think it would be a bit tattered…and I think He would  be super-generous with His stack of cards.  He would give me plenty of extras to give out to those who are in need…just like me.  I think He might kiss me on the forehead and assure me that it is okay to be still with anticipation for the miracle of new growth to come.

I may be a bit hesitant to the miracle He has promised, but I think He would quietly remind me that it wont be long before the yuckies will be just right for the new soil that will produce beauty again…or maybe beauty for the very first time.

It is in the quiet days of Autumn when you are feeling alone and fragile that you will hold HIS calling card and read HIS words over and over again “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

And when the birds start chirping again, the sun goes to bed later and its sleeping in is no longer an option, the hot sipping cider is replaced with fresh-squeezed lemonade…your soul will soar knowing THE GREAT COMPOSTER has turned what was debris into something marvelous to ensure your garden bed will brim with new life, beauty and purpose.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fire Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is one of the easiest salads to make during the Summer.  Fresh veggies that are sun.ripened are easily available and packed with good nutrition.  There is no right way or wrong way to make one.  It is easy to use up your leftover veggies for a one.of.a.kind salad as well.  It is also super versatile as it can be the main dish or a side salad.  It's up to you!!

With this fire roasted pasta salad, my hubby likes to add in a few of the fresh crunchy veggies while adding in the soft.roasted veggies that add a bit more depth and flavor.  If this were my recipe, it would be called "Lisa's Charred Veggie Pasta Salad"!!  Doesn't that sound appetizing?? :}

Scott's Firehouse Fire Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad

2  {16 ounce} packages tri-colored pasta...prepared according to directions on package.

Boil noodles in sea.salted water and drain.  Rinse with cold water and then salt and pepper noodles a bit.

1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 of one red onion, the other 1/2

1/2 of 1 large tomato, the other 1/2

1 zucchini, sliced

Add these veggies to a large Ziploc and add a bit of olive oil and 1 pressed garlic clove.  shake.
place in a BBQ veggie basket and roast over hot coals.  Let cook until roasted.  Cool a bit.

Add to pasta.

1 package sun dried tomatoes  {I use the dry ones}

1 small jar of artichokes, drained

1 can of black olives, drained

1 small jar of green olives, drained

3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced

Add the rest of the veggies including the other half of tomato and red onion to the pasta.
Pour 1 {12oz.} bottle of Romano Caesar Dressing on pasta.  Toss salad and serve.

Friday, July 17, 2015


M was once a mini-pie,
YUMMY insidy, mini-pie!

We are right in the thick of picnic season, although we picnic all.year.long as it is so much fun.
I'm always trying to find little treats that travel well and that are simple to make.  These little pies are just perfect tucked into individual parchment bags.

This time, I used Trader Joe's pie dough and homemade freezer jam!  {Speaking of freezer jam, last night I had a few friends over to make was the perfect little get-together to not only make jam, but to laugh, learn and snack away.  It took almost zero prep and we all combined our berries at the end for a mixed berry jam that was to.die.for!!}
For the PICNIC PIES,  I used a 4 inch round, fluted cookie cutter for the dough and put about 1 tsp. of jam in the center. Use fork tines to seal the half-moon pie and brush with a silicone pastry brush dipped in one beaten egg. Sprinkle coarse sugar on top. Gently, place the pies on parchment paper and bake at 425* for about 15 minutes. Aren't they sweet? Just small enough to enjoy with a cup of iced lemonade!!

Little rhyme adapted from Edward Lear...thank you Mr. Lear!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Old Fashioned Refrigerator Pickles

To me, a Summer isn't quite a Summer without a trip to the local Farmer's Market. The smell of the fresh fruit, veggies and kettle corn is so enticing! When considering Summer HOSPITALITY, whether it be simple or gourmet, the farmer's market is a great place to stock up on fresh produce, blooming flowers, and freshly-made breads.   You will want to incorporate these little treats into your weekly menu!

If you haven't tried fresh garlic, you will have to promise me you will at least try it. It is the best!

If you shop the farmer's market, do you have a special find???

Happy Thursday!

Old Fashioned Refrigerator Pickles
Adapted from Art Smith

2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Hain Sea Salt {non-iodide}
½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 Kirby cucumbers, scrubbed and cut into rounds
1 small onion, cut into thin half-rounds
12 cherry tomatoes
8 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and cut into half…lengthwise
¼ cup fresh dill sprigs

Bring vinegar, salt, coriander and peppercorns to full boil.
Sterilize two pint jars.
Jars should be hot when adding veggies

Layer into each jar:

1 cucumber
½ onion
6 cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 cup vinegar mix

Screw lid on and chill for at least 3 days…no cheating! May be stored for up to 1 month.


These make lovely hostess gifts, too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When God Ploughs Your Soul

How wonderful to take an old, cobblestone road through the meandering hillside in Spring.
Especially when you can spot whispering creeks that line the side of the many forged walking trails. It can be easy to imagine that those little gardens blushing with every hue have been there for as long as time has been...from a distance, that is...but as you get closer, there is no mistake that those plots of land have been cared for.  They have been nurtured...taken care of by a gardener with a heart.

What is it that drives a gardener to turn a bleak.looking piece of earth and transform it into a spectacle for his eyes...for the eyes of others?  He wants it to be a beautiful thing to behold!!  He wants the garden to produce beauty and sometimes it is tenderly thought out with nourishment in mind.  Maybe for his family or maybe for the purpose to provide for so.many others who may come along seeking the lovely or food for which they have been without .  It is his desire for amazing goodness that drives him to pursue his dream for this tender ground he stands upon.

He knows that it is going to take hours upon hours, days upon days... years and years with continual care to get this clay.ridden soil ready for the seeds.  Is it worth it?  Will his time and effort make a difference?  Will it matter?  Will it be worth all of the extra steps to prepare this soil for the seeds and saplings?  Any good gardener knows where the secret is in the ploughing.  The soil must be cut into, lifted, turned over and broken up,  It can be downright discouraging at times, it can be overwhelming, it can be unpleasant with lots and lots of things that can get in the way...but rest assured...this gardener has no intention of giving up, throwing in the towel and forgetting about the plans he has for his land!!  He patiently works what others would consider the impossible, he knows the soil he is working with like no other...he knows what needs to be stripped away and what needs to be worked into spots that are lacking.  As time goes by, some can be critical about the gardener who is still ploughing away.  They can shake their heads as they walk by in sheer disbelief that anyone could envision anything for the lackluster piece of land...but it is obvious that this gardener is bound and determined to bring BEAUTY that He knows will indeed come.  Not overnight...but it will come.

Do you feel like your soul is being cut into, lifted, turned over and broken up?
Do you feel like your life is not worth it?  Like maybe you don't matter?

Guess what...your very soul is God's garden?  It is.  He is the Gardener with A Heart.  He is the one who desires AMAZING goodness for your life.  You are being pursued by Him.  Are your emotions shot?  Is life out.of.control to the point of wondering if you can take your next breath?  Perfect.  The Gardener has already taken that into account and has it all figured out...despite the ones who shake their heads in disbelief that your lackluster life could be anything but an eyesore, let alone a life of BEAUTY!!

This Gardener sees way beyond the dirt, rocks and grime.  He sees the future.  He sees what others will see...possibly way down that cobblestone road.  He sees the plough set aside...and His masterpiece blushing and beaming as the sun kisses the garden goodnight.
And it is quite possible that the stories of the pitiful plot of land will be told for generations to come.
Not only about the impossible...but about the Gardener who knew just what to do in order to achieve His dream and plan for the His garden.

May you allow Him to plough your soul...weed it, nurture it and prepare it for seeds...

Seeds of JOY unspeakable.
Seeds of BEAUTY beyond belief.
Seeds of Love without measure!!

"Why are you downcast, O my SOUL?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God"

Psalm 42:11

Your family LOVES YOU, Landen, Del, and Twinsie

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mimi's Instant Baby Oatmeal {make ahead}

There is  just something  nostalgic and hugely satisfying about making your own baby food!!  I know. I know.  Who has time for that???  You do!!  This takes minutes to make, is quite inexpensive and is packed with good.old.fashioned nutrition minus all of the preservatives and chemicals.  Your baby, and family will thank you!!

Mimi's Instant Baby Oatmeal
Lisa Pearson

12 cups old-fashioned oats, divided {gluten-free if needed}

1 cup C & H brown sugar {less, if desired}

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup dried apple sure to get the tiny apple pieces to avoid possible choking hazard

Blend 6 cups oats in the blender...kinda like a rough chop

Add blended oats to large mixing bowl with the rest of the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and dried apples.

Place 1/4 cup dry mix to small glass jars with lids.
For older children and for adults, fill larger glass ramekins with 1/2 cup dry mix.
For on.the.go...fill paper soup containers with desired amount of dry mix and forget about having to wash the dishes.

To Prepare:  Shake container and cover oats with boiling water.   Place lid on container and let sit for 5 minutes.  Cool oatmeal off with a bit of formula or cream and ENJOY!!!

A little side note...we LOVE taking these on morning picnics and hikes.  All you need to prepare is a thermos of HOT WATER!!

AND, speaking of babies...our "BABY" just turned 21!!  We are more proud of this young man than words can tell.  He had my heart from day 1 and he continues to bring lots of adventure and joy to our family!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

French Lavender Lemonade

Good morning from my sunny, cozy, little living room.  Baby Ady is taking her morning nap and I have a few minutes to blog.

Isn't life interesting?  Just like with nature, God gave us seasons in our lives...and I am so thankful for that in so many ways.

One of my favorite verses is found hidden in the book of Nahum..."The lord is GOOD, a STRONG HOLD in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in HIM."  Nahum 1:7

You don't have to look very far to see that our world is in serious trouble.  Lives are in shambles.  People are hurting deeply and life can seem dark and dreary, but as sure as the sun is bound to shine again, our lives, too can shine even more brightly despite circumstances in resting in the fact that we have a GOD who is guaranteed to be our STRONG HOLD.

I hope that today you will retreat to HIM who holds this fragile world in His hands.  He is trustworthy and the safest place to hide while the storms of life blow over.

French Lavender Lemonade
Lisa Pearson

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

8 sprigs fresh lavender

1 fresh lemon, sliced thinly.

Bring all ingredients to a gentle simmer.  Turn off.  Let syrup sit for a few hours.  Strain into a glass bottle.  Store in fridge.  Add to lemonade or to champagne.