Sisters in Spirit: Focus

mother full of grace

Sisters in Spirit is a series of blog posts by a group of women who felt that a spiritual perspective was lacking from the steady stream of news and information that flowed through their daily lives.  They each agreed to carve out a space on their blogs on a monthly basis for a spiritual conversation.  The topic this month is: Christmas traditions — how to keep Christ in Christmas and the New Year?

Bianca suggested this month’s topic: how do we stay focused on our faith, especially when this time of year is rushing to the rush? Never mind, most of the hustle and bustle has to do with celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus. (I can’t say “baby Jesus” without thinking of Ricky Bobby. Anyone else?)

Our family Christmas traditions are mostly focused on food, not faith. We have an orange in the toe of the stocking. Cookies and milk left out for Santa. Sticky buns first thing Christmas morning. A roasted ham or turkey mid-afternoon.

Mozambican nativity

When I have children, I’ll expand this to include an empty seat at the Christmas table, always available for the passing stranger. And I think baking a Christmas birthday cake makes sense when trying to teach little ones the symbolism of the day. We’ll also attend Christmas Eve services, celebrate Advent with a countdown calendar, and spend time reading the Christmas story.

{If you haven’t heard, I am a great theoretical matriarch. Mini tells me I’m the best mom without kids she’s ever met. Ahem.}

How do you refocus now that we’ve thrown open the doors to a new year?

I typically make a resolution list that would impress a 15th century martyr. Not this year. There will be no push to read a certain number of books, or lose a certain number of pounds. There will be no self-loathing exercises entries, or complaints about all that I haven’t achieved. Instead, I’m following my new favorite cheesy American advertising campaign and focusing on what I hope to gain in 2013.

1. Spiritual discipline. This year’s Bible study is the NIV One Year Bible. I’ll continue to study with my friend Tina weekly and am more than a bit excited about learning from her.  Hey! Maybe this year I won’t get scared off come, October, when things start getting dark and headless-horsemanish. (I’ve read up until October 4 years in a row and subconsciously quit each year. Come to find out, Revelations scares me. A lot.) Joshua 1:8

2. Financial discipline. Like keeping off that extra weight, keeping extra pennies in my pocket takes constantly telling myself, “No!” My mom had a stern conversation with me mid-2012 about how adulthood means learning when to tell yourself, “No,” or at least “Not now.” I’ve since found budgeting to be an entertaining game thanks to a needed shift in perspective. 1 Chron. 29:11-16

3. Finish that book! Novel numero dos is due for publishing the first week of April. I have, oh, a LOT of writing to do between now and then to meet this deadline. Matthew 7:7

4. Spend less time online and more time engaged. I’m cutting back on social media and posting here in 2013; ideally this will mean more quality writing, and more thoughtful sharing. Matthew 15:11

Here is to a 2013 where all of our goals are surpassed!

Blessings to you and yours in the new year,



Rebekah is a blogger, amateur photographer, and missions volunteer with Adventures in Missions. A lifetime of being a pastor’s kid, attending church regularly, and a private Christian school education gave her a lot of knowledge about the nuances of theology without a lot of faith. Now she’s trying to figure out how faith and theology applies to her relationships and daily life. You can find her online at  (on leave)

Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to a toddler boy, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs at 

Bianca is a newlywed Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband are expecting their first child in late summer. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on  






Merry Christmas!

Taking some time away to be with family and friends, celebrate the birth of Christ, wander the forest with Nelson and hammer out the last few chapters of that next novel.

Thank you for another wonderful year, friends. You mean the world to me!

Christmas 2012

Much love to you — and those you love! Merry Christmas!

See you in 2013,

Kelli and the honorable Willie Nelson Mandela

Super Secret Projects

This is the hardest time of year to blog. I have all of these somewhat-cute-but-really-well-intentioned gifts to share.

But I can’t, obviously.

So! How about a few random shots that don’t really give anything away?

Handmade Christmas 2012

So helpful, this elf. And by helpful, I mean always underfoot. And a bed hog.

Handmade Christmas 2012

Handmade Christmas 2012

Well, this does kinda give away the surprise. Randy! Don’t look!

Handmade Christmas 2012

Handmade Christmas 2012

See, Ma? I TOLD you that wine drinking would eventually come in handy.

I hope your holiday planning is going well, amigos. I keep seeing families driving through Golden with Christmas trees strapped to the roof of their cars. Every single time it makes me a bit weepy.

I LOVE Christmas. Hope yours is jolly! And if it isn’t, have a bit more eggnog. Works for me every time!



2012 Books


I recently finished a class studying character. We read:

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Mrs. Bridge

The Dwarf

Mrs. Dalloway

The title of the class? “Housewives and other Evil-doers.” How could I not sign up for that? My favorite book by far was The Dwarf, although Virginia Woolf lives up to the hype. Her writing is intense and confusing, yet often beautiful. I’ll need to read Dalloway five times to really get the meaning, me thinks.

Currently reading:

The Keep

Next up,  Open City, then Freedom. I’ve started Freedom twice without getting past page 100. With some time off at Christmas, I’m hoping to be still and really enjoy some time to read. There is new Chabon and Diaz to enjoy too. Oh, so many good books! So little time!

What was your favorite book this year?



Garden Summary

2012 Garden Totals

2012 Garden Totals

Finny convinced me to buy a kitchen scale this year to measure precisely what my little Colorado garden produced. In June, I planted two varieties of tomatoes (tiny and beef steak), cucumbers, three varieties of squash and one pot of basil. In total, it was about $30 worth of seeds, plants and soil.

The tomatoes go wild

The first freeze came at the end of September. It is going to take some time to adjust to this brief growing period. Gardeners in Arizona! You have no idea how good you have it with four full growing seasons. Look at what one hard freeze did:

2012 Garden Totals

Yes, those are frozen tomatoes still on the vine. I’m the dummy for not watching the weather reports better and getting everything I could’ve harvested. Of course now, it is in the 70s and winter is officially missing in action.

In warmer times, the Golden garden produced:

  • 8.99 pound of small tomatoes
  • 8.32 pounds of large tomatoes
  • 3.29 pounds of cucumbers (A fungus found my little plants, killing the bulk of this crop)
  • 7.72 pounds of squash (I didn’t weigh those that were stolen/half-eaten by the neighborhood squirrels.)
  • About 1 pound of basil

Not too shabby! The kitchen scale nearly cost more. Next year, I’ll skip the big tomato varieties (they always end up mealy), and plant more basil. There never seems to be enough fresh herbs come December.

Canning in gem tone

The best thing to come out of this summer’s garden can be found on my pantry shelves. With the 200 pounds of neighborhood apples, and the little garden that could, I was able to can more than 100 jars of chutney, jelly, pie mix, stewed tomatoes, pesto etc. I also took a page out of some homesteader guide and froze basil in ice cube trays with olive oil for cooking this winter.


Once the holidays are done, I plan on putting that tiny greenhouse out back to work; I wonder if I can push tomatoes and basil to grow year round?

If you are a gardener, check out Finny’s new company Indie Farms. Classes, recipes, ideas and of course, her hilarity all included. I am so dang proud of her!






Want to take a look at the mayhem that is currently my art/craft space?

Studio mayhem

Bags of craft supplies for well-intentioned but poorly time-managed gifts.

Studio mayhem

Bags of gifts purchased to make up for all those other gifts that won’t be done in time.

Studio mayhem

A select few gifts that have been completed. (2, not 15 — mind you.)

Studio mayhem

The token wrapped gift — first in the pile to be mailed.

Studio mayhem

And the ever-so-helpful elves.

Back to it,


Enough with the Gluttony!

Smart eating

I’m guessing many of you are floating along with me in the same “holy Moses, how did my pants get so snug already” gravy boat. Thanksgiving was delicious. And the two weeks since haven’t really been much different. My exercise routine hasn’t been the same thanks to work travel and lack of motivation once it turns dark at 4:45 pm. The result is tight pants. And dark red marks when I take off my bra. And fingers that look like happy sausages.

Rather than waiting for the first of January, when I’ll be a good pant size larger at this pace, I’m calling a truce on the nonsense. Not because I need to look a specific size to make myself feel good. (If that were the case, I wouldn’t have such a range of sizes already available to me in my closet.) But because I feel better when I am eating well and exercising.

Smart eating

That is the common sense part of this healthy lifestyle that we collectively throw out of the sled this time of year. It is madness and I’m just not playing along anymore. Yes, the bean dip tastes fantastic. And then keeps me up all night with a sick tummy. Yes, that next glass of champagne is lovely. And makes my head pound sooner than later. And oh, yes. That peppermint bark calls my name. And then mocks me with jiggles as I run.

No more.

Smart eating

This weekend I went through the freezer and pantry, made a meal plan for each dinner, and scheduled time in my calendar for exercise. Today is day 1; I’m already feeling better and sanctimonious about my choices.

Because really? What’s better than that smug feeling of fitting into your holiday dress and looking fantastic? Certainly not the feeling of another helping of sweet potatoes.

Fa la la,