The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Monday, January 31, 2011


An outdoor party in January...chilly but perfect. And likely, only in BC.

In lieu of gifts from our wee guests, we requested they bring food donations for those with less.

Ah, the gifts family. What a fortunate little boy.

I'm not sure how this all happened.

Last time I checked, he was only a baby.

It would seem we need our baby now. Yes, this family needs a baby.

Please please may it be soon.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Little Unknown Gift

I love her. Gifted with her book for my thirtieth, I've made many a project. (That's a plug if you ever heard one.)

I revel in the back to basics eloquent simplicity, making more with less, recycled, homemade (!), reflections of the past, soothing, satisfying creativeness Amanda Blake Soule emanates.

And, as such I frequent her site...and continue to frequent my book.

And each week - yes each one - (perhaps you want to insert "get a life, Ashleigh" here) I enter her sponsors' giveaways. The routine evolved well over a year ago and while nearly each time I roll my eyes at myself and feel it will never happen, I continue to enter anyway. Hmmmm, sound familiar? Continuing to do something to no avail? Ah hem, I digress.

There's always that small inkling of hope that maybe, just mayyyyybe my name will be randomly selected. Let's keep in mind that there are more than one thousand entries each Saturday and every Sunday.

Alas, this weekend I tried again. Both Saturday and Sunday I commented, left my name, and shut the computer.

But Sunday was my day, people. Among over 1500 other entries those eight letters forming my name were selected.

We celebrated (I use that term loosely) 28 months of waiting on Sunday...and as if it were a small "hang in there" reminder, I Won.

And after learning a bit more about the owner of the shop, I must say I believe it was meant to be.

Let's say - just for old time's sake - that perhaps the lessons here included patience, perseverance, hope, more perseverance, and a small dose of that lovely stubborn quality that resides deep within. I'm going to add faith into that mix but not so much for a superficial weekend giveaway as much as know.

Lesson learned.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I love documenting firsts. I may not be great at writing down all the milestones. I may neglect to keep record of some great feats.

But I love documenting firsts.

And today we had the joy of enjoying one.

{"mama, i'm three and three quarters right...not three and a half anymore?}

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Z Is For Zebra

There's been a little cabin fever in these parts. It can be expected around this time of the season each year. We might as well mark it on the calendar for it's anticipated timing. The roar of the holidays past, the hum of the daily and weekly routines a little mundane, both coupled with the pathetic gray looming above.

A little annual celebration, while distraction for a short while, was inevitably followed by the morning...a predictable somber wetness.

There's been enough bickering to drive any patient individual to remind him or herself to breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth, and to do so deeply and slowly at all times.

And on other days, said patient person declares, "To heck with the rain and chilly air outdoors. Layer up, waterproof yourselves: we're going to the beach. YES, the beach. Now."

And whaddya know. The beach guards it's promise of calming (ah hem, therapeutic), lapping waters, chilly salt-filled breezes, and a peace felt by no other wonder. It gives way to restored patience. As the rain pitter patters down, leaving momentary proof of it's drops on the ocean's otherwise calm blanket, I am reminded of Greater things. Contentment in the place and space known as here and now. Peace known as the Creator. Clearer Outlook understood as the reminder from Above.

These things, in the chill of a mid-January morning make the lack-of-feeling in one Mama's toes after dipping them (yes, still rubber booted) in the great open sea, a fleeting concern.

There's been an (anticipated) slowing in the world of referrals (again) which likely contributed to this "I'm going to lose my ever loving mind" morning. Perhaps. No, certainly. The inner-thoughts of "I cannot wait to hear two small boys and one small girl bickering together. I wonder how it will be. I wonder when it will be. I cannot wait for it to be," become a phenomenon which will certainly, in it's own time, reverberate within our four walls.

And won't that be one sweet day.

Until then. Until that day when three small children play together well and poorly, until they smile and cooperate, and until they bicker, until the thought of imperceptibly raising my voice occurs once more, I will pray for Great things. I will seek contentment from Above. I will wait.

Because "it's a 'z' Mama!...Look, this rock is like a 'z'....Hey!...'Z' like for Zebra" moments cannot be missed.

The bickering of three will be sweeter than the bickering of two. Inevitably louder. Though sweeter all the same. Yet, the bickering of two is the reminder of what is to come.

[You] got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kashi Granola Bars

I just found a yummy granola bar recipe - haphazardly - while messing around online. I threw it together quickly with the help of one small three year old...and when I say "with the help of...", I mean I lured him away from niggling at his sibling and told him he could watch me get all creative rarity around here.

It worked.

On the stopping-the-bickering front as well as the healthy granola bar front.

Shockingly, I omitted the brown sugar, lessened the honey, and substituted in a little applesauce. And, Santa brought us a plethora of Kashi GoLean (not complaining) so this seemed perfect.
  • 3 cups Kashi GoLean cereal
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats
  • (1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut - I added this simply for a boost in protein)
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup honey (go easy)
  • (1/4 cup brown sugar)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (we buy the "straight up" peanuts-only kind and it worked great)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Line a 9x13 inch sheet with either a silicone sheet, tin foil, or parchment paper.

Mix oats, cereal, craisins, raisins, and almonds in a large bowl.

In a saucepan, mix honey (and brown sugar). Bring to a boil while stirring. Add peanut butter and vanilla and stir to blend well. If you sub applesauce, this would be the time to add it.

Pour over cereal/oat mixture and stir well. Press mixture firmly (!) into pan. Let cool and cut into bars. Store in air-tight container. Freezes well, if securely wrapped.

Try not to enjoy too much (or allow little fingers to indulge too much) or you won't be able to cover the pan. Just speaking from first hand experience, ah hem.

I think flax meal would be great in this as well of course, as other types of nuts or dried fruit. Almond butter would likely be incredible too...but we're working through our peanut stuff before getting to the almond goodness.

Perhaps before signing off, I should re-address the "Santa gave us a plethora of Kashi" comment above. Yes, we are practical gift giving people at Christmas. Yes, cereal really is bare bones practicality. However, when small boys receive their very own box of cereal it's like gold. A no sharing gift is always a hit around here. Another detail which you may or may not have picked up on is that we are adopting. Yep, that's right. From Ethiopia. And, as you may or may not also know, Ethiopia is not one of the most wealthy countries. So, while the materialism of Christmas could easily take over we have tried not to allow such happenings in our home. Plus, we're just practical people. Oh, don't get me wrong there was plenty of Lego and other fun to go around this year. Santa did not disappoint.

But man, would you wet your pants if I told you what Ben and I gifted each other. That's a story for another day.

For today, enjoy a batch of Kashi Granola Bars.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Holy Snow Batman

After an incredible dump of snow yesterday, we went out for a short while - until some of us realized the depth to which it fell.

{classic shot - love it}

{don't let the innocent look fool you - garbage eater}

Little legs can only go so far without giving out.

The first official no-school-snow-day in our house was actually quite enjoyable. Jammies for the better part...a hair cut, bubble baths, and frozen banana pops. What?! Banana pops? Well, what else would you do on a freezing day but eat frozen foods.

We took this recipe and gave it a healthy twist.

Yes, us.



Well, their combo included hot chocolate (perhaps the second time in this house ever - the first being our last snow day). And, these two small children, systems shocked by sugar, makes for a rough crash at the end. So, we toned it down.

Stamp of approval received.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I've needed an Up for a few days. The 2011 positivity is still there. A new year. A clean slate. A fresh outlook. It's all great in that respect.

But the reality is still apparently. We are still waiting. Still seeking. Still praying.

We get closer...we've nearly perfected that routine. Closer and closer, still...not quite there. Within reach - nearly - but not attained.

Moments of hope and elation of thoughts (a call) to come followed by moments of slight despair (will the call ever come) followed still but the security found solely in faith.

Uncertainty and exhaustion remains.

So, heads bowed we share it, lift it all up to The One who understands the desires of our hearts. Who seeks nothing but the best for us. He, who knows.

And we continue to wait.

And, hands full with His word, we seek wisdom. Letters forming words, phrases to remind us of Sovereignty. Of hope. Of truth.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
-hebrews 4:16

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct my prayer to You, and I will look up.
-psalm 5:3

Monday, January 10, 2011

Circa 1979

I'm a fan of 1979. It was a keeper of a year. Let's reflect for a moment, shall we...
  • Margaret Thatcher was elected - the first female Prime Minister of the UK
  • average cost to purchase a house in the USA was just over $58,000 (hello!)
  • Sahara Desert experienced snow for 30 minutes
  • first black-led government of Rhodesia in 90 years takes power and the country's name is changed to Zimbabwe
  • shag carpet was "in"
  • China institutes the 1 child per family rule (my understanding is that's being regretted now)
  • Sony introduces the Sony Walkman, which sells for $200 (that seems a little steep to me, compared to the cost of housing)
  • I was born
  • Gloria Gaynor produces her famous song, "I Will Survive" (I'm contemplating claiming rights on the song, in light of our journey)
  • Our house was built and it boasted the beautiful carpet being rolled below...did I mention shag was in?

We are thankful and blessed and grateful beyond words for the house, street, and town in which we live. When we purchased our house there were a few details we overlooked simply because the financial requirements (ie: mortgage) made the budget a little lean. Items like circa 1979 chairs and shag carpet were superficial details which simply could not and would not be deal breakers.

As of a couple weeks ago, shag carpet home owners we were no more.

That was one part of '79 to which I was not sad to bid farewell. (I realize shag is making a serious come back but anything over 30 years of age needs to be kicked to the curb - present company excluded.)

(we've since removed a few, ah hem, festive items...but you get the idea)

The chalk board was a mirror whose trim I painted and then sprayed with chalk board spray paint. (Did I just personify a chalk board? Yikes.) And I shared a bit about the chairs (with this library idea in mind) awhile back.

They like it.

And we feel as though we have completely entered the twenty-first century.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Malkam Genna!!

It happened for us, a couple weeks ago. Today, however, Ethiopia celebrates Genna...Christmas.

I love that what we (as a continent) seem to be seeking to achieve - simply celebrating with Reason - the Ethiopians have accomplished.

[...] As in other Orthodox lands Christmas is preceded by 40 days of fasting in which no meat or animal products are eaten. Also Christmas is celebrated January 7th, according to the old Julian calendar. However in Ethiopia more than in many countries Christmas or Genna as it is called in Amharic a language of Ethiopia, is strictly a religious holiday. In fact Christmas is not even the most important religious holiday in Ethiopia. Easter ranks first in importance and Timkat, or the baptism of Christ is second. Christmas is the third.

Also Christmas is not such a commercial event in Ethiopia as it is in the west. Gifts are not exchanged or if they are given are usually small. Children may get new cloths. It is however very much a family and community oriented day.

Malkam genna! Merry Christmas in Amharic.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Good Morning Sunshine

Sunshine Muffins

1 whole orange*
1/2 cup orange juice**
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cup flour (spelt substitutes in well here)
3/4 cup sugar (I use scant 2 tbsp - not even the adults noticed)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup extras such as craisins, black/blue berries, raisins, walnuts, etc (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.

Cut orange into chunks (peel on!!!) and throw in blender...yep, peel and all. Blend while adding orange juice, egg, and oil.

In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Seriously you don't need much sugar - oranges are sweet already, right?

Mix blender contents with dry ingredients and fold until completely moist. Add extras if you wish. We found blackberries to be a yummy addition.

Bake 15-20 mins.

*we had an abundance of mandarines so i just cut them up and they worked great
**i didn't have enough orange juice so i substituted the 1/2 cup of oj for 1/4 cup oj and 1/4 cup cranberry was great in that it added a bit of extra tang.

These are really healthy, filling (especially when adding your personalized favourites), and the kids eat 'em up...the big kids too.


Monday, January 3, 2011


Maybe it's the weather.

Perhaps the great company who just left. (sniff sniff)

Possibly it has to do with wonderful friendships picking up where they left off before Christmas.

Feasibly it is the sight of the bright reminding us that spring, while months away, is closer than we realize.

Perchance it is simply the fact that we are all up on our sleep.

Credibly it's the start of 2011. The turn of a new page, a new book from the shelf of our life. A clean slate, new chapter, fresh outlook.

This new year is starting out well with an extra dose of hope, faith, confidence in things to come. It could be the after effects of all. that. holiday. caffeine.

Personally - very biased - I believe it to be anticipation, joy, contentment, bold determination to keep the chin up, the lips curved in a smile-like-formation, and dauntless belief that this year holds great things.

It has started well my friends.

Very, very well indeed.