Friday, February 26, 2010

Fun Finds Friday

Praying in Color

A new (to me) way to talk to God. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I've always found it hard and a bit boring to pray. I know, I should (and really I do) want to spend hours talking to My Savior. It's just that every time I sat down to have a long conversation with The Lord I would end up falling asleep, or at the very least, loose interest and start day dreaming.

We were staying with some family and I saw that the lady of the house was sitting in the front room by herself coloring... I asked what she was working on. She said "I'm Praying in Color, have you heard of it? I think you would like it." and handed me a book.

I had no idea that there were other ways to pray than with your head bent, eyes closed, and hands together... So I borrowed the book! I took it home and read it cover to cover, and to tell you the truth didn't know what I thought. The basic idea is to draw your prayer. for example: writing the names of people you are praying for and drawing/coloring around that name while praying for them... but it's not just about praying for people, it works with just about anything that's on your heart. There were a few concepts that scared me a little, like praying without language (sounded a lot like meditation, and that word reminds me of some new age religion), but then I started to think about people that don't have a language (such as some of the deaf kids that used to come to us at the ranch, 12 years old and no language) ... and I do truly believe that they still have the ability to pray... so I let God out of this little box that I had put him in and here's what I learned:
  • There's more than one way to pray.
  • Hanging out with God (even not talking) can be amazing!
  • "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly"
  • God like's to work outside of the box (he's a creative God).

Start praying in color, or something equally as "outside of the box" and tell me what you think!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Afternoon Adventures

New Places

The last few days have been spent in the comfort of some one else's home. We've been house sitting for the couple Danny works for. Our days have mostly been spent stoking the fire, playing (with these cool trucks ->), coming up with creative meals (in an awesome kitchen complete with a vitamix), and jumping in the hot tub whenever possible. The life of luxury!

There are just two little obstacles:
1.) Dogs, Within seconds of arriving the dogs chewed up one of Sati's shoes and one of our beloved cloth diapers! Yeah, I was annoyed... Does that mean I'm not an animal person?
2.) This is a house of proud hunters so there are animals hanging all over the walls (don't get me wrong, hunting's not a bad thing, Danny hunts as well). Sati is scared to death, with good reason, of the deer hanging next to her bed at night and has been crying herself to sleep, poor thing!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Plastic's Back

Actually, plastic is here to stay. And, in all honesty, it does have it's place. Using plastic for safety in car seats and bicycle helmets has probably saved a ton of lives and livelihoods. And where would we be in the medical field without it?

Plastic bags, however, do not. Filling our day to day world with thin plastic bags is not only terrible for landfills, the environment, and hard to recycle, but it's quite a safety hazard for children. Reusable bags are such an amazing alternative, even if they do initially stress the environment a bit with the production process. The canvas bags are heavier duty, have the potential to look really cool, aren't any kind of safety hazard to your family, and they're made to be reused! So, problem solved, right?

But what about the plastic bags that are already here? Lets put on our creative hats and repurpose them! We started using old plastic grocery bags as trash can liners (admittedly not the best way to use them, but a step in the right direction). We then started wondering if we could really reuse them in a sustainable way.... so we looked into it on the, oh so amazing, internet and found that people had been wanting to do the same things as we did. We saw some amazing things: bags, wallets, belts, earrings, broaches, and even a quilt made with plastic bags.

We took this idea and ran with it... the most recent adventure for plastic in our home was as soles for Sati's new shoes! Oh, the wonders of discarded plastic bags.

::Note: We use our reusable bags for shopping purposes, and only take plastic bags that have already been used and discarded by somebody else. We like to see plastic bags being fazed out of stores and are only trying to find creative, sustainable ways to use what is already here. WE DO NOT SUGGEST USING MORE PLASTIC (you know, like double bagging in target) IN ORDER TO CREATE THESE WORKS OF ART. But we would love to see what you come up with (ask your neighbors for their used plastic bags, or even raid the "to be recycled" bags at your local grocer)::

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fun Finds Friday

Chai Tea with Coconut Palm Sugar

The newest addition... (hopefully regular addition) to State Side. "Fun Finds Friday" is all about things that I've recently discovered and LOVE! I'm guessing that most of these posts will be food related... cause, um, yeah, there is just so much good food out there.

My sister-in-law was taught by and Indian woman how to make real chai tea. She shared the recipe with me, I adjusted it a bit, and I've been addicted sense. It's amazing, really!

Ready to use dry chi spice:

  • 1 TBLS cinnamon stick (I use more)
  • 1 TBLS ground ginger (I usually use a heaping scoop)
  • 1 TBLS pepper cornes (I use more)
  • 1 TBLS cardamom
  • 1 TBLS coriander
  • 1 TBLS cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)

put all ingredients in a coffee grinder and grind it to a powder. Put it in a jar and wait for a cold day to fix up a nice cup'a tea.

For a single serving fill mug half water and half milk (I tend to use more water and less milk). Then put one black tea bag and a spoonful (you'll have to adjust amount to your tastes) of spices in and warm in the microwave on medium DO NOT BOIL never, ever let it boil... add a spoonful of sugar (*very important ingredient because the sweetness is what brings out the flavor and makes it spicy... otherwise it's just tea*) and enjoy!

For a large batch (my favorite way) fill pan with half milk half water (again, I tend to use more water and less milk). Put in one tea bag per person. pour spices (to taste) on top and heat on the stove top on med-low till hot. DO NOT BOIL.... (I've burned my tea way too many times... terrible, terrible waste)! Add sugar to individual cups and serve.

Wait, there's more. Like I said, I'm totally addicted to the stuff and started thinking that I was eating way too much sugar. I wondered if there was a good alternative out there (most artificial sweeteners make me feel like crud). Just then... I won a giveaway on a friend's blog! ~ Thanks Mare!

Coconut palm Sugar ~ This stuff ROCKS! it's low on the glycemic index, and has a wonderful nutty smell and taste that is a perfect complement to the Chai..... yummmm! It's also socially conscious, and environmentally friendly, so it's really guilt free all the way around. I can't wait to try it in ice cream and just about everything else.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Renewed Look at Life

Our family is using this season of lent to focus on turning the way we live into something that has purpose (living in a way that truly honers God, others, and ourselves) and also something that we love, really, really love. This means many things need to be converted!

I will try to capture some of these exciting little changes and rejuvenate this tired, over-neglected blog with stories of life being grabbed by the horns. My hope is that you will be encouraged to do the things you love and be who you want to be.

Say hello to the new us!

::This picture was taken yesterday right before we got into the rafts and headed down the river for the first time this year. I'm anticipating much more of this in the near future (before the river dwindles down for the summer months)::

What do you want your life to look like? Have you been making that happen?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Updated (recent photos that bring a smile to my face)

the family up at Johnsville ski lodge.

living up the rays at the beach in Ventura

little Porter Lohn (my brother's baby) and his puppy dog