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Keep Your Pantry Clean

pantryEver have the urge to clean out a closet or office, only to get in the middle of the task and feel overwhelmed by it all? The worst is when someone walks in while all the junk is out of hiding and question what you were thinking! I spent the morning cleaning out my kitchen pantry (this is not a picture of my pantry). Thankfully, nobody walked in on me, because it was a mess! I love to cook and to try new recipes that involve ingredients that I don’t use everyday. I have a pantry that is packed with various oils and spices, many that have been used only once or twice. I’m not a hoarder in any other realm, but am more likely to buy an ingredient than to even bother with looking to see if I already have it. Ridiculous, I know.  I pulled every single ingredient out, checked for expiration dates and multiples, and put everything back together again. I wasn’t terribly surprised to find three jars of turmeric and some garlic powder that expired in 2006. I even alphabetized my spices so I can quickly see if I have one or not!

Bear with me, there was a significant thought that came to me while doing this mundane task. Our marriages can be a lot like my packed pantry; full of old stuff that we hold onto for no other reason than to say we have it. Sometimes we need to take the time to pull everything out and look at it, re-evaluate it and decide if  we really want to keep it anymore. It takes hard work to get rid of the clutter of years of accumulation, and it looks the messiest, and the most hopeless, when you’ve got everything sitting out in the open. But you’re also the closest to the goal that you’ve been in years. The key is to keep at it; keep picking up every item and intentionally deciding if you need it anymore.

Those hurt feelings from a misunderstanding years ago? Maybe it’s time to address it and throw it out.

The shame of a critical spirit against your spouse? Perhaps now you’re ready to make the decision to stop it once and for all, and get rid of it.

The memories of those first weeks in your first home together? Hold onto that, place it in the front where you be be reminded often, if you want to.

You get the idea. You are in charge of your pantry, nobody else gets to decide what stays and goes. Do the work of cleaning it out, so you know what you’ve got and also what you need.


niceLately I  have had the ‘pleasure’ of driving our teenage daughter to the chiropractor three days a week after school. She is a serious student, so for years now her mood has depended on how her school day went, how much homework she has and any looming projects in mind. I am accustomed to treading lightly, easing in to test the waters, but with the addition of an appointment right after school most days, the mood is grim because she is not to the point of the visit helping her pain yet, just calling more attention to it. Each day as we are walking into the office my girl hisses some remark about how much she hates being there. It’s all emotion, and she seems much more relaxed as we leave, but I have come to dread the whole process as much as she does.

Recently I was texting my guy, lamenting the fact that I am subjected to this over and over again and do you know what he said? “Keep pressing forward. Thanks for taking the crappy attitude.” That’s it. He didn’t try to fix it, or talk me out of feeling what I felt. He noted my frustration and thanked me, helping me to see this as something I choose to do for our girl, even if she doesn’t appreciate it. He handled me, and I love it.

So often all we really need is some empathy; an acknowledgement, thanks or encouragement at just the right time can inspire us to continue pressing on. Who needs to hear your words of encouragement today? Don’t try to fix or placate, just love on someone with kindness and understanding. Maybe I can work a little more of that into the car ride….

Kale Quinoa Bowl

imageWe spent the weekend out of town, eating out for every meal so when we got home we were all craving something light and healthier. I found a recipe through Buzzfeed and made several changes to it, and we really enjoyed the end result. I think it would be even better with grilled chicken or shrimp.

Kale Quinoa Bowl

2 c water

1 c quinoa

1 bunch of kale

juice and zest of one orange

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 c feta

1/2 c pecans, toasted and chopped

salt & pepper to taste

Boil the water and add the quinoa, cook for 20 minutes on simmer with the lid on. Add the kale and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. In a bowl, pour the quinoa and kale mixture and add all ingredients. Serve warm or cold. Serves 3.



To the Well-Intentioned but Ignorant Parents of Teenagers.


I agree with this 100%.

Originally posted on Kayla Nicole's Blog:

I’ve been mulling over this topic for quite some time, but this morning it became increasingly clear to me that I must say something. Folks, stranger danger is a real thing. And even more real today than it was ten years ago thanks to, you guessed it, the internet.

I speak specifically to the parents of kids old enough to be on social media. Of course, I am no such parent, but I am a teacher of those kids. I am also only 6-10 years older than the high school students I teach. Maybe that makes me unqualified to speak out, but maybe it makes me the most qualified candidate. Many of my colleagues and the parents of my students are old enough to be my own parents, so I tend to share a comaraderie with my students. And yet, I am far enough removed to be able to speak in ways that…

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Buffalo Chicken Dip


  • This is serious football game food, it’s always the first thing to go.

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wayRiding in the car with my son, chatting about the future, these talks are happening more and more often. We are traveling to Chicago this weekend for a ‘serious’ college visit and making plans for Colorado soon and I am struck by the way these kids have so many options in front of them. I ask a question or two about someplace specific and he responds with a knee jerk “no” and another school is off the table. Never to be considered again. When our daughter was looking a few years ago, her first criteria was a good website; if the site was unclear or difficult to navigate it was eliminated from the list of candidates. It seemed so reckless at the time, but it was important to her. I felt like I was watching an alternate future being discarded, while she probably saw it as narrowing her choices.

As parents we know how big this decision is, it paves the way to their careers and potential mates, their friendships and experiences. And yet, if our son eats a bad burrito on the way to a college visit it can change his entire opinion of that school. It occurs to me that as adults we do the same thing all the time. We don’t necessarily understand the gravity of our choices and often make decisions based on emotion and the thoughts of others. I’m reminding my son to pray and seek God’s wisdom, while making all kinds of seemingly benign decisions on my own each day. The truth is that we put so much weight into these big decisions – college, career, mate – when it’s the small ones that can determine who we are going to be.

I’m guessing that God watches us make choices all day, some intentional but many quite reckless, and we are shrugging off opportunities and alternate futures all the time. He assures us that He is aware of our past and our future (Psalm 139:5), and He will tell us which way to go, if we will seek Him (Isaiah 30:21), the trick is to seek Him in the small, as well as the big decisions in life.


Share the Load

daypackIt happened again. Recently I received a phone call that puts dread right in the peaceful spot of my heart; it wasn’t terrible, but a reminder of places we have been before.

It was just another day, a very full, busy day with a night to match it. I felt like I had bent down and picked up an over-sized backpack and strapped it on my shoulders, to carry around in the midst of the chaos, bumping into things and threatening to knock me over. Through the years I have learned to choose my timing when sharing a burden with my guy. It’s not fair to unload on him while he is working, and I knew he had a tough meeting scheduled for late in the evening. I decided to hold onto it, but it was obvious that I was struggling. The backpack gets heavy. He came home and we had a few minutes before the next thing on the calendar, he asked what was going on and in our own language, we had a quick exchange with me assuring him details later. It was as if he had unzipped the pack and moved the contents around, making it easier for me to maneuver.

A few hours later my guy and I were able to really talk, unloading each pocket and removing the load, and then we prayed together, handing it over to God. I would like to say that all the stress and baggage was gone but that combination of events reduced the weight I had been carrying to a the equivalent of a small daypack, nothing that could be forgotten, but manageable. And now he’s carrying the same thing, we’re a couple of day hikers, sharing this journey and the load. We all need someone we trust to help us look at the stuff we have, to remove what we shouldn’t be carrying alone and to help us to walk it out together.



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