Wednesday, May 29, 2013

{p,h,f,r}, vol. 9

It's Thursday, it's Thursday, a pretty, happy Thursday! As ever, I'm linking up with Leila and her admiring followers to tell you of some small but special moments in my past week. Hop on over to Like Mother, Like Daughter for more peeks into the marvels of ordinary life.

Our oldest granddaughter Jordan sent us this photo of her and one of her sisters with SUPER curly hair (their hair is naturally VERY straight, something they inherited from me). They followed this video: to get their hair that curly without using a curling iron (they're really into being as low-tech as possible). I remember maybe 25 years ago longing to have curly hair just like Meryl Streep did in The French Lieutenant's Wife (anyone remember that film?). But long hair and mucho chemicals don't mix too well on a long-term basis so I learned to live with my straight hair. If I'd had this video to learn how to get curls, I probably would have looked like Shirley Temple through most of my 40's (not a pretty thought!)

even more {happy}
Last week I showed you a photo of the shrug I had just finished. When I saw the picture in the post, I realized that I didn't like the tie that I had made, so I made a new one that doesn't jump out at you visually and does a better job of creating the ruffles. Here's the TRULY finished project:

I have complained that it's a real stretch to find something funny to share, since I don't have any small children around who do cute things. But this week I have something! We went to the nearest city the other day for a doctor appointment and afterwards went to a very nice restaurant for lunch. Since my eyes were dilated I wasn't in any condition to be trying to take pictures of the restaurant (maybe next time), but as we were leaving the Pirate gave me something that through my half-shut eyes looked like a flier saying that they serve margaritas at 2 for the price of 1 all day. I stuffed the paper into my purse and we left. Today the Pirate asked me what I had done with the cartoon picture of us that the man had drawn and I had no idea what he was referring to. When he said he had given it to me at the restaurant, I fished the "flier" out of my purse and realized that it was a caricature of US that one of the restaurant employees had drawn! Here it is:

We'll definitely be going back to that restaurant to get our free margarita!

I am having an unending battle with our dogs to keep them from ruining my plants. They're pretty large - maybe 45 or 50 pounds? - and they are VERY frisky in their play. And they tend to be like Tigger, bouncing a little bit too enthusiastically and accidentally wrecking things in the process. When they go too far and I can't stand any more wreckage, I have the Pirate and his crewmate (a friend and neighbor) put up a fence to keep the dogs out of yet another part of the property. So far we've got 5 fenced-in areas; 6 if you count the vegetable garden, and when I saw for that for the last week the dogs had been running around our young mango tree and bumping it, causing fruit fall (which they then took all over the property) I got upset enough to decree yet another fence. This fence will also prevent them from digging holes near a beautiful young hibiscus in the same bed (which they keep doing). Here's the evidence:

And here's what we're doing about it (palo de arco sticks to be put in tomorrow as the vertical barrier).

hopefully that will reduce the dog-related frustration around here, at least for a while.

Garden to Table

Last week I found a recipe for onion jam, so I made some and after putting away a pint, I used the rest in one of my famous "one pot" recipes. When I first learned to cook the Pirate and I lived in an old 20x20 army tent and our only source of heat (it was winter) as well as our only cooking appliance was a two-burner longbox wood stove, like the one below only in worse shape.

So I learned to cook one-pot meals back then and this has been my favorite method of cooking since then (for one thing it cuts way down on the cleanup!). I thought I'd share this combination I made which turned out really tasty and had the added benefit of using up a bunch of kale from our garden. We're drowning in kale right now. It's pretty easy to do if you grow it - each "cut-and'come-again" plant is quite prolific and it's really easy to plant too much, even for a dedicated italian kale eater like me.

Here's the recipe for the ONION JAM (slightly changed because the original was a bit too fiery, even for us people south of the border).

2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 pounds of red onions,peeled and sliced in slivers (I used 3 biggish ones)
a minimum of 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced (I used 8 large cloves, but we LOVE garlic)
chipotle powder, ancho chile powder, cayenne or Tabasco (or a combination) to taste - or if you're really a heat wuss, use chili powder
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

On lowest heat, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 10 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Cover the skillet and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring once or twice. Uncover the skillet and add the spices for heat and the balsamic vinegar.

Stirring often, cook until the vinegar is reduced and the onions are a rich brown, about 10-15 minutes more. You can see from the photo below that there is no liquid left.

Add salt to taste (you won't need much). I recommend putting the jam in a glass canning jar - I filled a pint jar with a little bit left over for the dinner dish below. This jam will keep in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks. Serve it warm or at room temperature, or mixed into a hot dish.

Here's what I made using the jam:

[1] 1/2 to 1.5 cups cooked meat cut into bite-sized pieces (pork, chicken, beef - it doesn't matter what kind). The amount depends on what you have on hand and how many people you'll be feeding.
[2] 1/2 to 1 can of beans (NOT baked beans or chili, just beans - black, red or whatever you have on hand); or if you cook your own beans from dried (as I do), use 1-2 cups of cooked beans
[3] 1/2 to 3/4 cup of onion jam (your call)
[4] as much greens as your skillet can take on top of the other stuff - I estimate this to be about 1 bunch of bought greens.

[1] Put the onion jam, meat and beans in the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until they're heated through.
[2] First making sure that the food in the skillet isn't cooking too quickly, wash and chop the greens. It's best if there's still water from washing the greens clinging to the leaves when you put them in the skillet.
[3] Add the greens to the skillet and cover. Cook for 3 minutes, until the greens have wilted. Stir everything in the skillet so the greens are mixed in well and cook for another 5 minutes or so until the greens are fully cooked.

[4] Check for seasoning. Depending on how much heat you put in the onion jam, and how much jam there is in proportion to the rest of the food, you may want to add more heat (whatever type you like best) and/or salt.
[5] I happened to have a couple of hard boiled eggs on hand, so I used those for garnish. You might also use pine nuts or pecans as a garnish. Sorry the photo is so dark, but you get the idea.

As you can tell, I'm not a "by the numbers" person - whether it's cooking, knitting, or most other things. I've given you enough structure to keep from any large imbalances but still find the proportions you like best, and make it easy to adapt the recipe to what you have on hand. That, plus first, start with onions are my two fundamental cooking principles.

As they say here in Mexico, "provecho"!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Five Favorites - held in my heart

We went to the nearest city today (it's an hour away) and then went to evening mass and the Pirate's worship team practice, so I didn't have time to write anything earlier. However, I got inspired as I looked through my photos and want to share some of my most deeply held favorites with you.

[1] These guys. The males in my family - one husband, two sons, one grandson. There's definitely a family resemblance, don't you think? Thanks, Jordan, for the great collage!

[2] These angels. They stand on either side of the tabernacle behind the altar at our church. That's how I want to be before Jesus - barefoot and kneeling! Well, actually prostrate, but just being able to look at these kneeling angels stirs up a sense of awe in me.

[3] This man. I chose this image of him because he looks so very ordinary. I know he thought of himself as pretty ordinary, but consider how many millions of people he continues to influence to seek a deep and true devotion to Christ. I am one of those - I was set on the path to Christianity by reading The Great Divorce which my ignorant and unconverted heart knew described Truth. Thank you, C.S. Lewis!

[4] This window. This is behind the altar of our church, so it's the main thing we see. Our church is Nuestra Senora del Pilar - Our Lady of the Pillar - and that's her in the niche of the window. Soon after I entered the Catholic Church I read that the pillar on which she stands is a reminder of her solid and unshakeable faith. What an encouragement and comfort to have that image and its meaning present before us as we worship God!

[5] This place. This is one of many views from the homestead in the forest where this family started. It's now home to one of our sons, but we have a little cottage there as well, which is our home base when we go to the States. This place has been our anchor and foundation of our lives for 45 years. Those are redwood trees, by the way - our property is located in prime redwood forest.

For more favorites, scoot on over to Moxie Wife, and Dios te bendiga (God bless you)!

Beatitude Attitudes, vol. 6

Yay! It's Beatitude Attitude Tudituesday again! Since I rarely get my act together to do a post on Monday, this is usually my first post of the week - a perfect way to start.

[1] Blessed am I because the Pirate and I, after a Sunday day of rest that was a little TOO uneventful, decided to mix it up by playing the UNgame in the evening and ended up having several hours of really good, deep conversation (LOVE that "game"!)
[2] Blessed am I to have discovered that I can use Maseca (that's the special corn flour used to make tortillas) in place of wheat flour for just about anything. I made ginger cookies for bible study last night that were a big hit! This is the recipe I used, simply substituting maseca for flour:

[3] Blessed am I that the weather is FINALLY turning warm here in the tropics! for two days in a row I have not had to wear my sweater when I go out to water the plants in the morning.

[4] Blessed am I to have a family in which everyone appreciates each other and makes an effort to stay connected. I have known so many parents who are either estranged from one or more of their children, or their grown children don't speak to each other, or the cousins don't even know one another. Even though all three segments of our family live hundreds of miles from each other, we continually look for ways to reach out and do things together. Here's a picture of son Josh with his son Ethan and two of our other son's daughters, Jordan and Elisha, who went with their uncle and cousin on a school trip to Washington DC and environs because Josh wanted to spend time with them outside the normal "everybody together" setting.

[5] Blessed am I to have an excellent opthamologist in the city nearest to us (an hour away) - AND he speaks English! Although I'm fairly fluent in spanish, when it comes to talking about eye problems, it's a relief to know that my doctor will definitely understand what I tell him. His name - believe it or not - is Dr. Lettuce! That is, his last name in spanish is Lechuga, which is the word for lettuce.

[6] Blessed am I for our trip to the Big City today (well, the biggest one within several days' driving). The Pirate took the afternoon just to explore and we found a lovely restaurant for lunch. Usually we only go there for major shopping expeditions (or as Pooh put it, Expotitions) but today we just puttered around the area near the cathedral and went to our favorite "five and dime"-type store. Yay! NOTE: the photo below is not that store, but the municipal mercado showing the mayoress (alcaldesa) shaking hands with someone.

[7] Blessed am I to live in a country where women aren't obsessed by their weight. Nobody I know here talks about dieting or trying to lose weight. They DO care about their health, and sometimes make adjustments to their food habits for that reason, but weight is not an issue down here. That's a MUCH more emotionally healthy perspective than the way that most Americans think about their weight, which is often based on a concern for physical attractiveness according to the culture's standards. We could benefit from considering the perspective of those saints who gave no thought to outer beauty but instead focussed their attention on inner beauty.

I herewith direct you over to Rakhi's blog, Pitter Patter Diaries, for more blessings.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

{p,h,f,r} vol. 8 - sewing and knitting

I got inspired by Auntie Leila's beautiful shawl that she made for Deirdre and decided to do a post that shows a couple of the things I've been working on now that they're finished.


This used to be a pair of white pants. I ripped out the inseam, reshaped it, and sewed it into a skirt - by hand. Then I dyed it. It has a really neat triangular section at the waist (the pants came like that) which is very flattering to the figure.

I love hand sewing, including darning. I got into it when I was reading Little House on the Prairie to the boys when they were small, and the description of Mary sewing by hand inspired me to try it. I've made a lot of clothes by hand, including a very complicated, tailored suit, and do a lot of my "repurposing"-type sewing by hand.


I'm FINALLY DONE with this project! I got a little too creative and used 5 (FIVE!) different yarns for the front of this shrug, with strands of two different yarns at all times, in different combinations so it wouldn't be too stripy. Bad move! It wasn't hard to just took forever because I had to keep changing the yarn combinations, AND at the same time I had decided not to use a regular stitch pattern but basically wing it so the texture would be nubbly without any obvious repetition. Oy! What was I thinking? Anyway, it's over now (although I may make a different tie) and I haven't sworn off knitting or anything so I'm happy.

I always have a hard time coming up with something funny, probably because I don't have any littles in the house who are a source of unending amusement. We do have 2 dogs who are amusing to us, but I don't want to bore you with dog pictures every week, so this part is always a stretch for me. So this week I'll tell you a funny story instead. I went to music practice with my husband last night - he's in the group that does the music for the main mass on Sundays. Down here that means two guitars (my husband plays lead), a keyboard, primarily to do rhythm, and six female voices, none of them trained, all of them altos with small ranges. They practiced for 1.5 hours last night, doing songs that they have done literally hundreds of times before and it was chaos! People sang off-key, they couldn't remember how the melodies went, the group leader (the other guitarist) couldn't remember what key the singers were able to sing in. The entire rehearsal was like that, and apparently it's always like that. They didn't bother to work out the glitches; they'd just go on to the next song. The amazing thing is, when it's time to actually play during mass, they always sound great - confident, strong, and on-key. Well, hey, I guess if it works there's no reason to sweat the details, eh?


This is my sewing machine. A long, long, time ago in a land far away I used to have an electric sewing machine. Then we moved to the country and homesteaded and I got a treadle, which I loved! However I still had my electric machine and my best friend had no machine, so I gave her the treadle (since she also didn't have electricity). Then eventually my electric machine died and I didn't bother to replace it because I was into sewing things by hand. But I really wanted a treadle machine again!

After many years we found one in a junk store and bought it. It was in great condition and also had the original manual! The first thing I sewed on it was matching aprons and prairie bonnets for my 4 forest grandchildren, who LOVE the Little House books. They literally wore those aprons until they wore out. Since then, although I still sew most of my clothes by hand, I use the treadle for other projects - pillows, curtains, etc. I'm about to start on a big quilting project so I'll be using the machine a lot in the near future.

For more pretty, happy, funny and real things, hie thyself over to Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Five Favorite (Growing) Things

May has got the jump on June in terms of things "bustin' out all over", and here are five things that I'm particularly happy to see growing:


Our naughty dogs do a great job of protecting our property but they get excited and push against our fence, which started to lean out alarmingly. The Pirate put guy wires along the parts that were most vulnerable, and I bought some bougainvilleas that will end up filling out all along the fence. The nice thing about bougainvilleas is that they have thorns - not terribly big ones, but enough to deter dogs - so they do double duty: keeping the dogs from the fence and beautifying an otherwise unused area.


We're seeing more and more baby bananas on our banana plants, which means that a mere 6-9 months from now we'll have a lot of bananas! It's amazing to watch them first show up, then get bigger quickly, but it takes a LONG TIME for them to be mature enough to pick (they should be picked green and ripen off the plant).


Some of the first things we planted here were citrus trees. Unfortunately our spanish wasn't very good at the time so we didn't know what kind of citrus they were (although we clearly had several kinds). One of them bore fruit a few months ago and we found out that it's a sour orange (a type of citrus common in northern Africa and the Arabian peninsula and other hot places). I just found some new fruits on the same tree - it promises to be prolific. Sour oranges are used in place of lemons in cooking, and have their own exotic flavor.


I LOOOOOVE strawberry guavas! I can eat as many as you can give me! I was SO excited to find a whole bunch of baby guavas on our guava tree (although it's still bush size).

And now for something from the animal kingdom:


Our forest granddaughters are in 4H and they raise goats. Two of the goats just had kids. The first set (goats generally have two kids at a time) was two males; the second set was two females. The girls are slowly building up a milking herd. Neighbors buy their goats' milk (it's healthier for you than cow milk, and tastes great), and one of our granddaughters has gotten into making goat cheese.

For favorites of a completely different type, go to Hallie's blog, Moxie Wife, and see all the neat things that people have to share!

Beatitude Attitudes, vol. 5 - the food edition!

Yay! It's Beatitudes Tuesday! You all, doing this HEART exercise is just what Doctor God ordered! I hope you'll include this exercise with all the physical exercising that many of you are committed to. Jog on over to Pitter Patter Diaries to join us on Tuesdays.

[1] Blessed am I that we live 2 blocks from a cafe that serves made-from-scratch french fries. SO much hassle to make at home, and SUCH a treat to order for lunch!

[2] Blessed am I that my husband makes such tasty beef jerky. He's famous in these parts for his jerky, which he sells at an upscale food store. He just created a new recipe that is sweet and spicy...mmMM!

[3] Blessed am I that we live in a town where mangos are everywhere, so of course mangos are free for the picking much of the year.

[4] Blessed am I to live in a country where we don't have endless choices of ingredients for meals, but what we do have is simple to put together and nutritious (and tastes great, too!)

[5] Blessed am I to have home-grown vegetables (courtesy of my husband) and fruit (my department) to eat.

[6] Blessed am I that our town has an ice cream store where the ice cream and ices are hand-made with local ingredients. My two current favorite flavors are corn (it's amazingly sweet) and rosemary with lime (the most refreshing combination of flavors you can imagine). Other great flavors: guava, mango, banana, and many more. You can get any flavor in scoops or as paletas (ice cream bars).

[7] Blessed am I to live in a place where bread is not a part of most meals. I have a gluten sensitivity and happily I'm not continually tempted because the flour that is used most here is masa (a type of flour made from corn, but not cornmeal). Masa is what corn tortillas are made of, but because they know I can't eat wheat, I've had friends make me very tasty cakes from masa, as well as cornbread (more elegant than American cornbread made of cornmeal) and many other yummy foods. Who needs bread? Not me!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Monday Musings: prayers of the saints

Our church is located along one side of the town plaza where all the community events occur. A few days ago when we arrived for the evening mass we discovered that there was going to be a free dance that evening on the plaza, and a band was setting up and practicing as we entered the church to pray the rosary before mass. The noise continued throughout the rosary and during the mass, which the priest shortened because the noise was so distracting.

I started to get huffy in my thoughts - "Why aren't they considerate? Why didn't someone in the local government (offices across the plaza from the church) tell them to wait until mass was finished?" Then I remembered the christians in Pakistan who, when they hear a disturbance outside, are hearing bombs and gunfire. They have good reason to expect martyrdom when they hear loud noises. All we had to expect is a community dance!

This thought led me to pray for all those christians in dangerous situations, and to commit to a day of prayer for them every week, especially for the priests and bishops who must guard their flock as best they can. It's times like this that I most clearly see the hand of Mother Mary teaching me how to pray as she prays, so that I might join with her and with all the saints in their prayers for us who are still fighting the battle. That is also something I pray for daily - her guidance in learning to pray more like her.

As a protestant, I knew I was drawn to prayer and intercession. I always spent a lot of time in prayer, and was involved in intercessory groups. But all that I learned about prayer in 40 years of devoting myself to it was pretty minimal compared to what I have learned through the examples of the saints since I became Catholic and gave myself permission to read their stories. And to find the treasures in written prayers! As a protestant I thought that the only prayers that God heard were the spontaneous ones, because only they could be "from the heart". How far off the mark that was! O the depths of the riches of the prayers than have been created from the hearts of the saints and prayed for centuries! The structure of these prayers is like a guideline into the depths of the human heart, deeper than I could ever go on my own, even after 40 years of trying. Just as lectio divina does in meditating on the scriptures, the prayers of the saints that we have had handed down to us draw us into reflecting on the mysteries and glories of God, and serve especially to teach us how to intercede for others "in the name of Jesus" (in the same way that He does).

Another amazing aspect of the prayers we have received from the saints is that people all over the world are praying the same prayers. And if you have a daily prayer devotion such as the Liturgy of the Hours (otherwise known as the Divine Office) or the rosary or the chaplet of divine mercy, you can be sure that many people around the world are praying the same prayers WITH you at the same time. Now THAT's the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace made manifest in the Body of Christ!

That's not to say that spontaneous prayers have no place - of course they do! They're our conversation with our Father and with the other members of our spiritual family. But some of the "set" prayers, because they don't require our minds to focus on the words, serve as our spiritual breathing in and breathing out. The classic example of this is the Jesus Prayer, much favored in the Eastern Church: "Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner". The Hail Mary, the chaplet of Divine Mercy, and numerous other short prayers can serve the same purpose - enabling us to "pray without ceasing", even as we give our outward attention to the tasks before us.

I'll end with the first verses of Psalm 5, which were turned into a song that we sang a lot in the 70s. It's still one of my favorites, and because of the melody the psalm is embedded in my memory and my heart.

Give ear to my words, O Lord
Consider my meditation.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry
My King and my God
For unto thee will I pray
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning.
O Lord in the morning will I direct my prayer
Unto thee and will look up.

He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him (1 Chronicles 5:20b)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

7 Quick Takes - Looking for Answers

I rarely get around to doing SQT, but there are a few questions bobbing around in my head that I'm hoping someone will have the kindness to answer.

[1] How do you have a conversation with a fellow blogger except through commenting on her blog? Do you just boldly ask for people's email addresses? I absolutely refuse to get sucked into Facebook or Twitter, so those aren't options for me.

[2] Speaking of Facebook, is anyone actually using Google+ which looks to me like it's trying to shove itself into Facebook's territory? If so, how do you use it? Since we presumably all use blog readers like Bloglovin' or something similar, and those who want to know what all their best friends are eating/thinking/doing right this minute are using Facebook, is Google+ extraneous, or do I need to step into it?

[3] Speaking of Google+, it appears that the Friend Connect widget that everyone used to use (where it shows photos of each person who's following your blog) has gone the way of the dinosaurs and apps that are more than a year old, and nobody's using it anymore, is that right? I guess if I want to know who is following me (if anyone) I have to hope that they connect on the Google+ button.

[4] For or those of us who are congenitally allergic to TMI so won't be promoting our blogs on Facebook anytime soon, does anyone have words of wisdom about how to actually develop "bloggy" friendships? Colleen Martin, if you're reading this, I'd sure appreciate a comment since I know you don't do Facebook and you DO have off-blog (but still virtual) relationships with other bloggers.

[5] Okay, I'm sure everybody is tired of my yammering about tech issues - now for something completely different:

This is a photo showing you the raw, unadulterated, natural condition of the "dirt" we have around here. It looks like it's composed of lots of little pebbles which are held together by something which acts like cement. Without water its natural state is so hard you can't dig a hole in it - you have to use a spike (and some strong manly muscles!). But if water is poured on it it turns to just kind of melts into its component pebbles. I'm amazed that anything grows in it at all, but as you can see there are lots of native plants all around that are doing just that. The details of God's work are truly marvelous!

[6] While we're on the subject of God's marvels, how about these beans!

While our granddaughter was here she planted them and exactly 60 days later we were overwhelmed with the harvest! We just gave a bunch away and the Pirate is making Dilly Beans with some and I've been using beans in our dinners, but there are still too many. AND too much kale, and NOW all the crookneck squash is coming in. We seriously need to work on doing a better job of succession planting but the Pirate thinks it's too silly to plant ONE bean plant every week, or TWO kales, etc.

[7] Which brings us to the weather. Apparently y'all are now having the kind of weather you'd expect to have in May. However, down here in Mexico it's STILL cool - yesterday we almost got a fire going in the fireplace. We're having serious fog every morning - the kind where you can't see across the road - and you have to wear long-sleeve shirts or even sweaters for a good part of the day. I live in the tropics, folks! This is WEIRD weather!

For more weird and wonderful takes by other adventurers, go see Jen at Conversion Diary.

Beatitude Attitudes, vol. 4

Yay! Rakhi's back! I'm so THANKFUL, Rakhi, that you offer this opportunity to reflect on our blessings each week. The perfect antidote to a case of the blahs, or being tied up in knots, or other less than ideal mindsets. Anyone who's reading this, come join us, it's a refreshing break from your daily struggles.

[1] Blessed am I to have a spiritual director. I think of all the people who are looking for a spiritual director, and the much larger group of people who never heard of such a thing and don't have anyone who can help them to grow in their faith and holiness. My spiritual director (who is also our priest- the one on the left in the photo) is the 4th one I have been privileged to have, and he is the best of all!

[2] Blessed am I to have a husband (the one in the middle in the photo) who loves God with his whole heart. Last Sunday we had a congregational meeting to go over the basic rules of the diocese regarding each of the sacraments, and in the discussion of the various ministries and services that the laity have in the church, our priest had to give a long series of examples of who he would authorize to be a godparent and who would not be appropriate. The issue in question was whether someone who is faithful and obedient in the Church, but whose spouse is not, could be a godparent (the answer was that the faithful one can and the non-practicing spouse can't). Since this situation applies to a fair number of people in our parish, it brought home to me how blessed I am that my husband and I have been together on our faith journey for the past 40+ years (and it hasn't been a straight-line path either!)

[3] Blessed am I that we have excess to share with friends when they're having rough patches: food from the garden, tools, clothes, money. It's been a little tight for us this week but when I found out that my good friend broke her arm and therefore can't work (cleaning homes) and so can't send money to her son in the city to pay for his meals and transportation while he's in school, I was SO glad that I had enough available to cover their needs. God especially blesses us in the ways we find to share with one another.

[4] Blessed am I that our weather is unseasonably cool (in the 60s at night!) with fog in the morning. That means that it's not too late to plant some things that I had neglected to get in the ground when it was "the right time" to plant.

[5] Blessed am I for the gift of discernment of the obvious. This is a new thing for me, and one which is making my life SOOO much easier. I tend to "over think" things and this past week I've had several breakthroughs where I have simply "seen" the obvious answer for something I've been pondering for awhile. Simple! Done! I hope this continues...

[6] Blessed am I when I find a new-to-me blog that is uplifting and full of grace. This week I found All Things Reintjes and I have just finished reading through all of Christina's back posts. Although it took several hours, I have no regrets since I had just come back from having 3 cavities filled at the dentist's and my entire mouth was numb, so I was too discombobulated to do any of my regular stuff. Now if I could just figure out how to pronounce that name!

NOTE: this is NOT my house :)
[7] Blessed am I that I am able to take "time out from regular stuff" without having to be really sick to justify it! I remember how secretly satisfying it was to get the flu because I had an excuse to stay in bed and read. Now that I'm retired, nobody's expecting me to be anywhere or do anything so I can take time outs whenever I want to (not that I want to very often - I love having a regular schedule to keep me from totally spinning out).

Head on over to Pitter Patter Diaries for more blessings, and bless us with your contributions to the list!