Healthy eating

Healthy dinner

It was Finny who taught me that if you roast your squash with the seeds in tact, the flesh will be sweeter. Sure enough. We’ve been eating a lot of these stuffed acorn squash. They are easy to prep and versatile. This week, I made them with spicy fava beans and brown rice. (And what isn’t better with a dash of sriracha?)


Avoidance and Crooked Seams

Sew! Avoid the edits!

Sew! Avoid the edits!

Sew! Avoid the edits!

Sew! Avoid the edits!


I have other writing projects demanding of my time, so logically I’ve thrown myself into a fairly complicated sewing project. (Why is it we so often avoid what we really want to accomplish? WHY?)

I post these wonky sewn seams to ask the myriads of you who know how to do this better for some help. How do I get the pieces to line up with more accuracy? I’m using a rotary cutter and a seam guide. I’m just not sure on what to do to not have it be a bit off, other than step back and talk it up with a “one of a kind, oddly imperfect perfection!” talk.



The Ever Hopeful Gardener

Spring 2015 Garden

I’m starting the garden a bit early this year because I am having some construction done at my house in the next month. I need to have the patio wall rebuilt, which inhibits access to my tomato growing beds. So, I’m switching things up and planting in a different area this year. I took Finny’s advice and tested the soil first, made appropriate amendments and got after the planting with mostly seed and a few starts.

Spring 2015 Garden

Spring 2015 Garden

Spring 2015 Garden

The planting couldn’t have come at a better time. Once I was done, it started to sprinkle rain and continued doing so for the next day. Hopefully these little veggies take root and we have a bumper crop of broccoli, leeks, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and beans. The four tomato plants in the garden were volunteers from last year’s crop. There are a few others over there I may try to rescue and plant in pots before the construction begins.

Spring 2015 Garden

Spring 2015 Garden

Once the garden wall is rebuilt, I’ll plant some of these 72 tomato starts too — from Indie Farms and Native Seeds/SEARCH. And I saved a handful of seeds and plenty of ideas for another garden bed I’m planting in a couple weeks in Mesa too.

There is little that makes me more hopeful or optimistic than gardening.


Muhammad Wept

Clean and Simple Mantle

This week’s attack on a Parisian satirical magazine should make us all irate. What makes someone pick up a weapon and forge forward to kill? What makes someone so full of anger and evil that death is the only option?

I am not sure, but the video of the attackers leaving and allegedly shouting their love to Muhammad is preposterous.

Murder is the coward’s way. It is easy. It doesn’t require intelligence, but simply a weapon. And murder in the name of faith is ridiculously stupid. Whether Christian conquerors, Nazis or the Islamic State — killing to prove your belief system is superior might be the most poorly thought out strategy ever.

How did that train of thought go?

“Hey! They are making fun of us! They are calling us barbarians. They are drawing cartoons about how violent and backward we are! I KNOW. WE SHOULD KILL THEM TO PROVE OUR POINT.”

The only thing this violence has created is more hate, anger, evil and quite possibly more war. (And, of course, fan the flames of the exact source they were trying to extinguish. The magazine’s cartoons are more prominent today than ever. Well done.)

While men in black stormed the offices of this magazine with their weapons, shooting and killing with abandon — an actual storm is ravaging Syria, leaving millions of mostly Islamic refugees in peril. The news wires are full of photos of dead children — those who have frozen to death in the latest weather while hiding in icy refugee tents with their parents.

Healing the sick. Feeding the hungry. Housing the homeless. Loving the orphans and the widows and those who feel cast aside. Letting others you disagree with speak and trying to understand, rather than silence — this is how we should express our faith. This is how we should evangelize.

Love is how we show our character — regardless of who or what you worship.



DPNs? Check.

Fingerless gloves

Fingerless gloves

Fingerless gloves

One of my resolutions is to learn several specific new sewing and knitting skills. For example: working on double pointed needles. This fingerless glove pattern was the right fit. With a bit of coaching for Sarah to get that thumb right, these are coming along nicely.

Next up: log cabin quilting squares.

What would you like to learn in 2015?


Sing Alleluia

Nelson, before

Hi friends! Did you have a nice holiday? Celebrate the New Year with bubbly and fireworks? I hope it was delightful. I am happy to have taken some time away to spend with friends and family. I had a break from work and have returned full of excitement about the tasks at hand, along with a lengthy list of resolutions and goals for 2015.

It is going to be a great year!

One use of time I’d like to be more mindful about is reading. I’ve let my reading for pleasure slip, spending more time watching Netflix or silly episodes of Castle. This year, I’d like to read a book a week and provide a review here. I have a room full of books I’ve already purchased that are of interest, and are begging for my attention. Two reviews of books finished during the holiday break:

1. Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber. I heard about this memoir during a podcast of “On Being.” Nadia, a Lutheran minister covered in tattoos, was interviewed about her irreverent attitude about faith and how she feels God dragged her back into a relationship. I was crying by the end of the episode. My faith hasn’t wavered, exactly. But there have certainly been times of life when I was regularly attending church vs. lately. (I’ve been happily spending far more time seeking God on mountaintops, with my trusty hiking companions, than man-made sanctuaries.) Nadia sums up so many of my feelings on being in a relationship with God. Her spunky, vulgar, incredibly apt perspective about faith is exactly what I needed to read.

I’m only sad I didn’t attend her church — “House for All Sinners and Saints” in Denver when I lived in town.

One of many passages I found spot on:

“There is a popular misconception that religion, Christianity specifically, is about knowing the difference between good and evil sot hat we can choose the good. But being good has never set me free the way truth has. Knowing all of this makes me love and hate Jesus at the same time. Because, when instead of contrasting good and evil, he contrasted truth and evil, I have to think about all the times I’ve substituted being good (or appearing to be good) for truth.

“Very often I will avoid the truth until my face goes red… When someone like me, who will go to superhero lengths to avoid the truth, runs out of options — when I am found out or too exhausted to pretend anymore or maybe just confronted by my sister — it feels like the truth might crush me. And that is right. The truth does crush us, but the instant it crushes us, it somehow puts us back together into something honest. It’s death and resurrection every time it happens.”

One more, concerning her love for Mary Magdalene and how we should respond to violence and tragedy when we don’t know what to do:

“What Mary would do is show up and remind us that despite the violence and fear, it’s still always worth it to love God and to love people. And always, always, it is worth it to sing alleluia in defiance of the devil, who surely hates the sounds of it.”

Yes. So much yes. 5 out of 5 bananas because this book will stick with me for life and I’ve already bought copies to give as gifts. Yes.

Nelson, after

2. A Sudden Light.Did you read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein? Well, this is another one of his lovely novels. It is set in Seattle and is about generations of fathers and sons in the same timber dynasty family who have to reconcile each other’s desires about wealth and the environment. It is told from the perspective of a 14 year old boy, Clever Trevor, who you’ll fall in love with.

I really enjoyed this story once I got into it. 3.5/5 bananas, absoloodle.

Nelson, on the other hand, is loving being able to see again — but not happy about always being cold. I pulled out the electric blanket for him this weekend. I think it is safe to say his Colorado roots have been officially transplanted.

Happy reading and rocking the first week of this sweet year!