27 November 2014

thankful for...

photo taken in T√łnsberg, Norway

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!

This year I am giving thanks for....

A warm home and garden produce

My husband and the ways we’ve grown together over the past couple years

Pottery, painting, sewing, knitting, and creativity

Friends, new and old, near and far

Legacy Ministries

The chance to visit my sister this Fall and see her college world 

Students who remind me why I want to be a teacher

My family and how they love, support, and encourage me

The ability to bike to work

All the birds along the river that make my ride to work more enjoyable (the other day I saw two bald eagles on my way home!)

Opportunities to travel, experience different cultures, and meet new people

God, prayer, and our church family

The inspiring beauty of nature

What are you especially thankful for this year?

16 November 2014

cabin weekend with parents: 2nd edition.

A cold spell hit Wichita this week. On Wednesday I biked to work. I knew it would be cold, but wasn't really thinking and I just went for it.  Oh man, was it frigid and windy! I heard later that the wind chill was at -1 degree. I took a long, hot shower afterwards to warm up and then drank a cup of steaming hot tea.  Today I woke up and saw pure white as I glanced at the window. I can't deny the beauty and peacefulness of snowflakes drifting down from the sky, but I am so glad that all this cold weather hit our area after our annual cabin trip with my parents.
Over veteran’s day weekend Josh and I met up with my parents in Lake of the Ozarks State Park.  We had beautiful, sunny weather, which made the hiking just glorious. This was pretty much a repeat of last year’s trip; same cabin, more hiking, more good food, and definitely quality time together. We had a prayer service on Sunday morning and sang Taize songs and hymns together. This year we even went to a movie; we saw Interstellar. It was interesting and aroused a lot of discussion. Have you seen it?
A highlight of the trip for me (other than hanging out with my parents and Josh) was our hike on Sunday. We were walking past open fields of tall grass and up and down rocky hills. We stopped at a natural spring to cook our quesedillas and eat on the flat rocks. Somewhere along the trail I was filled with awe and peace. I felt so refreshed, energized, and grateful for the beauty of creation.
Another highlight, oddly enough was discovering wild persimmon trees along the road that runs through the State Park. One morning while walking, I noticed the orange fruit hanging on a bare tree. We saw evidence of a deer nibbling on the fruit and we decided to try it too. We were hit with instant cotton mouth! I love persimmons, but it seems hard to get them at the exact right ripeness when they won’t attach your mouth with dryness. Nevertheless, I was delighted to identify the plant and to see that fruit is growing in the forest.
I tried some new recipes I found through the internet and wanted to share them with you. Sometimes I need a little inspiration for camping cooking and I’ve found good recipes at dirtygourment.com. 

Lunch: quinoa and kale salad with quesedillas-- We bought pre-made guacamole to add to our quesedillas. If you have backpacking stove and skillet these are easy to make on the trail. 

Dinner: skillet lasagna--We started with homemade marinara sauce, which was delicious! Make sure to cook all the veggies first. We skipped that step and it was a mistake. Cooking a lasagna in a skillet works well when the vegetables are hot; the cooking is really just to melt the cheese. 

Snack: banana granola bars-- These didn’t really stay together like bars, but ended up more like granola. Still, this was delicious and I recommend the recipe.  
I love those parents of mine and am always thankful to spend time with them.

03 November 2014

the winsome press.

I’m so excited to tell you about my new creative project, The Winsome Press. This is a new thing that my friend Kelly and I have been working on for some time now. It started last Spring when we both wanted some motivation to make more art. We started giving ourselves weekly project ideas, which later morphed into a decision to focus on getting better at painting with watercolors. Over the summer we both practiced watercolor painting and it was fun! We learned some things and enjoyed being more creative. Somewhere along the way we were asked to participate in a craft fair here in Wichita and we decided to start an etsy shop. So now we have The Winsome Press. This is a way for Kelly and me to paint and be creative, and also to share our creativity with you! You can take a look at our etsy shop here
I had a fun time kicking off our new business at Craftacular, a handmade market, in Wichita a couple weekends ago. I was unsure how this would go. Would it be worth all the effort? Would anyone buy anything? Josh helped me with the set-up and display quite a bit; during the first hour we debated over where I should stand and how much I should talk to people. Do people want to chit-chat while they’re shopping? The first hour was a bit slow, but eventually more and more people stopped to look at our art. And finally, someone bought something! I told myself before the show that if one item sold I would be happy.  That first purchase boosted my spirits and I felt more confident to greet and talk to people that walked past or stopped to look at my booth. I ended up having a great time chatting with shoppers and other vendors. I was especially blessed by visits from family and friends who came by the craft fair. 
It was a good experience to participate in a craft fair, but now Kelly and I are focusing our attention on the online marketplace. We look forward to sharing more about our creative process with you here on my blog in the weeks to come. And if you’re interested, check out our etsy shop!