Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Few Things for Wednesday. . .

Two photos taken from the mountain climbing "blog"
(if it can be called that) shared in the sidebar.

First, I decided to share a couple of links with you (from the past two years) on the sidebar. I’m sure some of you noticed the “Gathering Up My Comforts” link I added either yesterday or the day before. That blog was me fiercely determining to focus on the many, many blessings in my life when things were not-particularly-easy. There really is power in counting your blessings. It changes your attitude, it changes your focus, it changes everything. It changes you. When I pointedly thank God, counting my blessings one by one, I recognize and affirm that He is good, that He is loving, and that He is worth all the praise I can muster. And, funny thing, praise begets praise, and the heart bubbles over in song, and troubles suddenly seem trivial. So, read Gathering Up My Comforts, if you wish. It’s the simple story of my blessings and comforts from Fall 2009 to Spring 2010.

Also added to the sidebar today are the pictures of last August’s climb of the South Sister in the Cascade Mountains. (One of the Three Sisters mountains--there is a North Sister and a Middle Sister, too. See top photo.) Everything was beautiful that day—the weather, the company, the mountain scenery, and the climb. I brought down a little red pumice stone from the summit of mountain (because the Cascade Mountains are a volcanic range), and it now sits in a little green dish on my mantle. It’s labeled “South Sister Summit Stone.” I’m not sure that you’re supposed to bring anything off the mountain, though. I told someone later that if everyone brought down a summit stone, the elevation of the mountain would begin to shrink! If you want a good look at God’s amazing creation in this part of the world, go have a look. It’s just a one-page blog.

Something Yummy-Healthy that doesn’t merit its own post. . .

Stir-fried short grain brown rice with kale
(and scallions and garlic and a shoyu and a squirt of lemon).

I saw this in Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook (she cooks great food). She calls it “Green Rice” and says her kids love it. I like kale anyway, but kids liking it is a great recommendation, so I had to try it. I didn’t follow Gwyneth’s recipe exactly, but I didn’t adapt it much, either (except that I used coconut oil, didn’t cook the chopped kale before adding it to the wok, and added a couple squirts of lemon juice). I could not quit eating this, and it was even better when I squirted some “Sarachee Hot Sauce” on top (I found the pictured “Sarachee” sauce at a natural foods store, so the list of ingredients on the label is short and recognizable). This is a great and tasty way to eat lots of super-nutritious dark greens!

Also not meriting its own post, in the “Unpacking the Boxes Awards” category, is a box I have yet to unpack. I’m scared to open it and wonder if I should just dispose of it. Yikes. So, the award for “Scariest Box” is this:

The contents of the box were on a really high shelf just off the laundry room, and we had no idea there were little critters running around up there! (Shudder.) I truly wore gloves and held my breath when I cleaned off that shelf. I couldn't bear to throw away all of those photos of my little children, but, really, I have to say they shouldn't be kept. I could call this the "Hantavirus Box!"

And look how many journals (filled with my daily scribbles) I have unpacked. And this is not all of them! I have spent far, far too many hours reading these journals, but I’ve laughed and cried and remembered. Those journals are full of great memories and give a real picture of a real life lived with joy, and sometimes marked by pain. (Oh, my kids were—and are—funny and sweet!), and mostly, looking back, I can see God’s protective, loving, guiding hand throughout my/our story. He has been faithful and good.

And there also are boxes and boxes of writing that I’ve saved. In a notebook in these boxes, I found the first post I ever put up on the internet—on an unschooling message board—way back in the 1990’s. All of my kids were still at home, learning, and I think Melissa was nine or ten then. I will post that old post here this week.

Have a happy Wednesday!


  1. such a heart-filled post with the bonus of a yummy looking dish. i prefer spicy foods so this recipe intrigues me and golly, i have some leftover wild rice in the deep freeze - wouldn't take any time at all to thaw it out, add some veg and seasoning. not the same as yours but a similar idea. need to look for that sarachee sauce in the store...

    mouse poop? ha! someone's got a sense of humor. ;o)

  2. Beautiful pictures of your hike, Susan! We are a hiking family, so I can appreciate from afar your experience. It looks physically challenging, yet highly rewarding. I recently read a magazine article on the state of OR, and from the pictures (and yours) it looks like a wonderful state for outdoor enthusiasts. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Susan - I am so glad to have found you!! I was so disappointed when you closed your High Desert Home blog (but understood that you needed to do just that). I just happened to click on a link at Silvana's - and here you are.
    I pray all is well. I will have to spend some time catching up with you. For is good to "hear" your voice again.

  4. So good to find you if you were lost!

    Anyway, I could relate to the box(es) of journals and of the reading of old ones with laughter and tears. See that second journal from the top, on the stack in the front, the red Mary Englebreit one? Yes indeed, have one just like it dated from December 3, 2000 to August 12, 2001.

  5. I'm so glad you are posting again. I would check back at "High Desert Home" hoping for some news, and was delighted to see your new blog! I love kale and eat it or drink it almost daily! The recipe looks yummy! We too have a box packed of mementos that the mice were in. BUT, we haven't had the courage to go through "that" box yet! :-) I still drink your green lemonade! Your house is adorable and I love your floor lamp find. Thanks for continuing to encourage!! Lisa

  6. OK. That green rice sounds amazing. I LOVE kale and I'm pretty sure I'd love that Thai hot sauce. I wonder if I can find it around here???

  7. after you re-post that first post ~ how about sharing that recipe for amazing healthy chocolate peanut butter cups? please?? :-)

  8. Gee, I think you have to keep the childhood photos. Can't someone invent a super-duper disinfectant just for mouse-poop photos? I'm sure there's a market for it.

    I'm looking forward to reading that first internet post. Sounds downright archeological. I probably saved some of those, too. Somewhere.

    And I'm so glad you have time to contemplate a bit this summer, Susan. And that you're posting about it!

  9. Susan, you have been a blessing to me in many ways. I see God's grace in your life. I have been praying for you this morning. I am going back and re-reading your posts at High Desert Home, as I read your new ones here.

    I don't know if you want to talk here about homeschooling. I would love to hear how things were in your home in the high school years, if you have time or interest to chat on such things. Thanks for being a blessing! I hope your day is a lovely one.

  10. Hi Susan. I love your new profile pic--so pretty! Did you color your hair? I love it.

    I just received the new Gwynneth book as an anniversary gift and that green rice caught my eye as well. I'm loving reading through the entire book--Gwynneth seems so sweet and family oriented.

    Can't wait to go check out your other blog . . .

  11. Mom: the green rice sounds delicious (and simple!), especially with the sarachee hot sauce. I hope I can find it easily in Portland so I can try making the rice soon.


  12. Jane, I love that you just get right in and cook what looks good to you! :-) Fun. I hope you find the sauce. It's kinda spendy because but I justify it by reminding myself of how long it will last with just me eating it! :-)

    Silvana, I do remember that you are an outdoorsy family. Fun! (And you seem to get exactly what that hike/climb is about!) Oregon (and the whole western US, actually) is a fantastic place to be for hiking in the mountains and for overall stunning scenery. I love living here.

    Linda, I am so glad you found this little blog, too! Welcome. It's really nice to see you again!

    Cathy, it's great to see you again, too! And that's funny about the journal. Mine was a gift from my mom in 1997. :-)

    Lisa, how nice to "see" you again! And thank you for the encouragement. I'm still drinking the green lemonade, too! :-)

    Beth, I don't know if you'd find the hot sauce in a store there. It's made in Oregon, and I don't know how big the company is. But it's sold online! :-) Do make the green rice--it's yummy (I made it again yesterday).

    To "the momma"--yes, I will share that recipe soon. :-)

    Laura, you are funny! I'll let you come up with that special photo-disinfectant. . . And, wow. Great minds think alike, eh? You said posting that old post sounds downright archaeological, and look what I titled that post (An Archaeological Dig. . .)! :-)

    And to the other Laura. Wow, thank you for praying for me! That is so good to hear! I'll definitely get to a point of talking about highschool homeschooling. There are a lot of things I'd like to say, but summer is running out. . . I'll get to it, though! :-)

    Mary Beth, you are sweet. I'm glad you like the photo (and said so!) because every time I look at it all I can think is how washed out I look! :-) And thank you for the hair compliment, too! I occasionally get a light weave (a sort of barely sun-kissed look) in my hair and that's it. I go from that to all natural (for some reason, I have no grey in my hair yet) and back again. Oh, you'll like the green rice! I agree about Gwyneth. I was surprised by the book (she can really cook), touched by her love for her father, and struck by her joy of family togetherness.

    Hey, Aimee. :-) I know for sure you will love that rice, and, yes, it's really easy to make. The sauce does make it extra good (if you like that kind of thing, and I know you do). When we went shopping last time you were here and bought the sauce, I was thinking that I needed to squirt some out into a container and give you the rest because how much does one person need! But I forgot. Next time. <3