happiness is what will save us

20170303_165258_resizedI just finished a wonderful book, “the happiness dare”  by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Actually, I worked my way through the book with a friend and we compared our answers/had discussions at the end of each chapter.   It’s the kind of book you write in the margins, underline sentences, draw arrows on the side of the page, dog ear the corners, write out your answers………  you work, you learn so much,  you re-read paragraphs to understand every sentence.  My paperback edition is a bit rough-looking after a few weeks of love/use.

I highly recommend this gem of paper and ink.  Jennifer has common sense, a splash of humor and as a follower of Christ, offers up a perspective that is doable, most helpful and at the same time, she somehow makes you feel like she is talking directly to you.

Working your way through this book is both insightful and encouraging.  I think of myself as a person who seeks the happy.  I look for it.  However, oh yeah, as you can tell by my lack of blog posts, I have stumbled lately with finding that sweet spot of happy.

This thing we call life has a way of tossing in some tricky times, situations and events that are not so happy.

page 259….. Jennifer writes…..” Believe me, I know that there are days  when happiness seems like an awful lot of work………….But those are the days when happiness is absolutely worth the work – even if it’s hard.  Because sometimes happiness is what will save us. ”

Did you catch that?  Let me take a moment and stencil that on my wall.  Oh yeah, you KNOW I am going to paint that somewhere in our house.

Happiness is what will save us. 

Currently our Spring weather is more like a lion than a lamb.  We have pouring rain, dark ominous clouds, 40* and a wind that is blowing plastic sacks around the neighborhood.

20170303_165249_resizedI needed to find some spring.  I went to a local nursery and bought some.  When I paid for my purchase, I said to the cashier, thanks for selling spring.  She laughed.

Then I did something that really made me happy.  I bought a door.

A little, tiny, 4 inch fairy door.  I want to welcome sweet, charming, happy fairies into our home.

When the grands come to visit, I want them to stumble upon a little tiny door that is hidden, just enough to feel special.  I want 20170303_202341-1_resizedthem to find a tiny bit of glitter sprinkled on the miniature stone step.  Makes me happy to think about.

Some how day dreaming about what’s behind that fairy door makes me happy.

20170227_143424-1_resized_2Crocheting a new baby owl hat makes me happy.  Sewing an apron for a birthday girl makes me happy.  Hiding a sweet love card in Mr. Right’s suitcase makes me happy. Buying fluffy, white towels makes me happy.

In this together, friends.

What makes you happy lately?

Chat soon.








soul food

I just finished reading, “The Apple Orchard” by Susan Wiggs.

It is the perfect end of summer read.  A book to read for the sake of relaxation.

I found myself picking it up so often, that 425 pages were eaten up in 3 or 4 days.  Wonderful entertainment to escape our daily, real life, sometimes with not so pleasant issues.

I recommended it to a friend.  She asked, via text,  “What’s this book about”?

I replied via text.  (I mention that because, it is supposed to be short, concise answers not an entire paragraph.)

Well written, fluff,  relaxing, family, sisters, running an orchard, food, mystery, a touch of romance, autumn, harvest………worth your spare time.

After finishing the book, a feeling of goodness has stayed with me.

One sentence, in particular has stayed with me.

The art of creating in the kitchen is good for the soul.

I fell head over heels in love with that sentence.  I know making Apple Kraut and allowing20150811_115644 it to mellow on the counter for five days, makes me smile and fills my soul with the goodness to come.

I adore making amazing food and sharing a sneak peek to Mr. Right.  In the hopes that his stomach will growl 20150812_174723and he will find his way home much quicker on that day.

I try and take mouth-watering pictures to pique his interest.

I constantly wish for a “Willy Wonka” type of cell phone.  One you can send smells and aromas via magical little particles.

I want to send him the amazing aroma of cipollino onions browning slow and low in a black iron skillet.  I want to send Mr. Right  the vibrant color of my Chihuly Salad along with the tang of lime in the air. 20150812_145520-1Here’s the thing, for the most part we take this stuff for granted.  Day in and Day out I cook.  We all cook.

I don’t want to be afraid of what people might say.  I really honestly don’t care that people talk about me like I am a housewife from the 50’s.  “nobody cooks from scratch anymore”.

I do.  I do it every single day.  My husband is worth the effort.  I am worth the effort.  Our dog is worth the effort.  It goes with out mentioning our children and grands are so worth the effort.

I adore my husband.  I am thrilled to come up with amazing food that he likes and enjoys.

Doing so, does indeed feed my soul.  Then in turn, his soul is fed by the food made by my hands.

Oh, and don’t forget, I find it a privilege to cook and bake for my friends.  It is my sincere pleasure to share with our friends.  Wait, don’t think I am like a 25-year-old, just learning to bake and wanting to make friends.  Giving away everything to anyone.  I like to trade like anyone else.

I adore baking rolls and sharing.  However, after several attempts or invitations for sharing a meal at our home, if it is not returned, I am okay with that.  I won’t push my cooking, baking, soul food onto others.

There is something of value about soul cooking. It nourishes the people that I adore and love.

Baking and cooking for our family is something I value.  I take great pride in the job I do.

No, it is not popular to say, I made this ravioli from scratch.

No, it is not popular to say, I made this apple crisp from scratch.

No, it is not popular to say, this soup, pie, bread, Almond Milk, salad, kraut, rice and beans………..are all from scratch.

While it IS popular to say, I bought it at a big box store.  So much easier and cheaper.  I am busy.  I don’t have time to cook or bake……………..

I don’t want to fit in.  I thought I did, once.

I am old enough now, not to believe that for one moment.

When I send a picture of falafel patties waiting to be gently cooked and edges made brown and crispy, the moment he gets home………..I know he will be eager to join me at the dinner table.

May the food on your table tonight feed your heart and soul.

delicious read

bookwormBook Worm.  Do people even use that term anymore?

Funny how you never see the police pulling over people for reading books in their cars? (Yes, I have seen people reading with the book propped up on the steering wheel also eating cereal and playing a musical instrument and….. that is a whole different post.)

While growing up, my middle sister was a book-worm.  She would stay in her room and read and read and read.  Until my mother would shoo her outdoors.  My mother would say, you need sunshine & fresh air. So my sister would, with the book open, not really taking her eyes off her page, walk slowly outdoors, throw a quilt on the grass and plop down and continue reading.  My mother was happy and my sister was happy.  Ah summer.

A book so good, you delay getting out of the bubble bath.

A book so good, you delay standing up to start the potatoes for dinner.

A book so good, you peddle past your 4 mile goal on the stationary bike.

Wait for it kids…………………A book so good, you don’t even think about turning on the television and you actually turn off your phone.  Yes, that good.

Let’s hear it for summer reading!!!!



What the heck is going on?

The other day, Mr. Right and I were waiting for the library to open.  It was about two minutes until 1 pm on a summer Sunday. Much to my happiness, there were 27 people (young and old) waiting!!!  I know this because I counted.  Then I counted how many people had books.  3.  Everyone else was there for the computers or the air conditioning or the video check out.


We were returning two overflowing bags(side note:  new book bag is working wonderful!) of books.  We exchanged them for more ……………books.

While I do oodles of research during the other 9 months of the year, there is something fun and wonderful and happy, and scary, and exciting and relaxing about summer reading.  It is free and easy and anything goes.  Such a pleasure.

I am currently reading a novel.  While you all know I can’t keep my hands off a good murder mystery………..this is a regular, no dead bodies, no mystery, no cops and robbers, book.

And BOY HOWDY is it a GREAT summer read. “Delicious!” A novel by Ruth Reichl.  delicious, a novel

Yes, that Ruth Reichl, editor in chief of Gourmet magazine for 10 years, best-selling author, mom, wife, cat owner (as if you really “own” a cat).  She is smart and witty and has a knack for drawing the reader in and holding on.

She makes lovely and hilarious observations. She has this charming ability to capture people and celebrate them.

“effortlessly entertaining” as one critic wrote.

paragraph four, page 67, “The meal was the epitome of simplicity, but it made me feel as if, until that moment, I had never really tasted anything.  Later we wound our way through the hills, singing arias from our favorite operas as we peregrinated from one tiny town to the next.  Late in the afternoon we suddenly found ourselves embroiled in a traffic jam.  I believe it was cased by a religious procession.  We sat there for quite some time, and then Remy leapt from the car, crying, “let’s go!” as he began to climb the hill.”

I am only on page 127 and I gotta say, it is sitting here, taunting me to finish this blog post and fall back into the story.

The stress free fall into the pages of a good book are very liberating.  You can become the characters or just simply drink espresso and watch from afar.

Beach_Read_Nasos_Zovoilis_251855-590x420I love to indulge in summer reading.  No notes.  No highlighter.  No serious discussion over dinner.  Just reading for the simple pleasure of reading.

Have you been to the library this summer?  Have you dropped your kids off at story time, while you thumbed through the “new book” rack? Have you sat on the beach, with a big floppy hat and read a steamy paperback?

Don’t fret, there is still a month of glorious summer reading time left!

May I gently suggest a trip to the library?  Or stop reading this and download a book on your Kindle.

Another gentle suggestion?  May you value yourself enough to bathe yourself in the Grace of time spent reading for fun. Just for you to breath and relax.  No pressure.  Just the act of reading to let off a little steam.  Like that crazy hissing valve on a pressure cooker.  Only, not as noisy.

I would love to hear what you are reading this summer.  Please share.

Don’t you love going to the book store or library and seeing where they showcase “staff picks”?  I am always so curious as to how a book is so beloved that a staff member is willing to put their name on it and shout to the world……..read this book, it will change your life!

I don’t know if “Delicious!” will change your life.  I do know it will bring you hours of entertainment, relaxation, and time to breathe and escape.

Please share,  I would love to hear and check out your summer “pick”.

Woman in deck chair on beach

book look

Spring has developed into glorious days of sunshine, here in our neck of the woods.  Each day I take my bike out onto the deck and pedal through the glowing sunshine and drink in oodles and oodles of natural,  healing vitamin D.

Some days I text and ride.  Yep, it is okay to chat with girlfriends while you are biking nowhere.  Pretty safe and four miles of biking goes by in a flash.

Other days, I take my book of the day out with me.

seven year switchYesterday and today, found me flipping the pages of Claire Cook’s book, Seven Year Switch.  It is quick, only 237 pages, fun, a bit silly and happy.  Believe it or not, no murders and no mystery.  Just a light-hearted, delightful story of love.  A feisty single mom trying to stitch together a future.  It sort of feels like a summer beach read.  You know, the kind of book you read on vacation?  Your mind doesn’t work hard, you are more easy-going and relaxed.  Just for fun and happy.

I would highly suggest you find it at your local library.  Well worth a look.

Hey, while you are inside the library, may I suggest a book by Michael Moss?  Salt Sugar and Fat.  Amazing book, filled cover to cover with information that will rock your world.  It will also lend itself to a healthier life for you and your family.sugar salt fat


What books are you currently reading?  Love to hear about your good finds.  Happy Reading, friend.




family table

One of the big reasons that I removed my blog postings from Face book, is the ugly or less than stellar remarks.  While I am open to a brisk dialog if we disagree, being mean and ugly just doesn’t work for me.  I have an entire post to write about the social media and how we are not being kind to one another.  Saving for another time.

This is a book review.  Nothing more.  NO politics are involved. The book was written by a mom of 6 boys, one husband, 6 daughter in-laws and oodles and oodles of grands.   This book is about getting the family meal on the table, picnic table, tv trays, blanket on the beach………..you get the idea.  It is about celebrating and favorite traditions.  The photographs in this book are glorious and will make you smile.

Some of the recipes are old favorites, not all are healthy.  The overall view is trying to get a meal put together for twenty plus something every single time they gather.  It is about connecting as a family and feeding their souls as well as their stomachs.   Some recipes are simple reminders like:  oh gee, a Caesar salad sounds good.  Some are more time involved.

romney family tableIf you are in your local library and come across the book “The Romney Family Table” by Ann Romney………..check it out.  If you have someone on your list this holiday that is a cookbook lover, or a mom of many or few, buy the book, give the book.  Yes, that lovely of a book.

You learn about the backbone of a huge, working family.  Instead of listening to what the media has to say about people in the public eye, I thoroughly enjoying reading and learning for myself.

I must say, from the time, I cracked open this beautiful book, drooled over food pictures and laughed over food and family antics and traditions, until the very last page, I felt like I had been graciously invited to share a family meal with a very nice American family.

It was a book well worth my time.  Somehow after reading this offering, I felt like I could and want to do a little something extra at our next family gathering.

Happy Reading, cooking and picture-taking!  Enjoy.