My cousin Jane and her husband are expecting a baby boy, and my cousin Sam made a little video about a surprise nursery makeover he and my aunt and her husband and my uncle did for them. :)
I am loving the book Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung. I recommend it.
Chapter 6 is called "A Cruel Kindergarchy—You Need to Stop Freaking Out about Your Kids." :)
The last chapter, called "Embracing the Burdens of Busyness—You Suffer More Because You Don’t Expect to Suffer at All" has probably been the most convicting for me, and I think is the most unique content in the book.
This is a little video (from last spring; the video is from last year) about our church friend, Moe. Moe is in my Sunday school class, and his story is good to hear.
The man with the distinguished white beard :) who is having coffee with Moe is our friend Rich. Rich is a partner at the law firm where my husband works. (Rich's wife is my best friend, Pam.) They and some other families in my church shared their love of Jesus with Moe, who now shares it with other people.
The man in the video who baptizes Moe is my brother-in-law, Steve, who is also the pastor of our church.
So with no further introduction of various people :), here is Moe and some of his story. I hope it is a blessing to you.
This summer I found this salad on Pinterest, and thought it just sounded delicious. I've made it twice since, and wow, it IS so delicious!
Do you remember the salad bar at Sizzler when you were little...the one with pepperoni pizza and chocolate pudding? It's that kind of "salad." Lots of goodies in it.
I made it exactly as Jessica, the delicious recipe creator (it looks like she has a cookbook coming out in 2014) says, except that I just eyeballed the amounts of chicken and blueberries, and threw in a whole bunch of both. :)
Summertime Grilled Corn, Chicken + Blueberry Chopped Salad
with Honey Lime Vinaigrette
2 1/1 cups butter lettuce, chopped
2 ears grilled corn, cut off the cob
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
2/3 cup blueberries
2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 grilled chicken breast, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 limes, juiced
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
tortilla chips for serving
In a large bowl, mix together lettuce, corn, chicken, avocado, blueberries, tomatoes, bacon and feta.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper then toss thoroughly.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, olive oil and vinegar.
Pour over salad, then toss once more.
Serve with tortillas chips.
The school year is in full swing. Claire is in fifth grade (!!!) and loving it. Bob flew up to Oakland this morning and back this evening on business, and will fly up to San Francisco one morning next week and back again that same day. (He does this regularly.) I've already had a few school board meetings and a finance committee meeting. The church ladies started our eight-week Bible study this Thursday (we're going through The Organized Heart by Staci Eastin), and back-to-school night is this Monday.
It's all good, but it's busy.
So time to look at more vacation pictures from Cornwall in June. Ahh. :)
Bob and Claire spent an afternoon learning to surf.
It was tough work.
This is the Screech Owl Sanctuary in St. Columb. The Sanctuary helped the folks who made the film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole animate the owls realistically.
You'll recognize Port Isaac if you're a Doc Martin fan, because it's Portwenn. They weren't filming the day we visited, but they had been working on Series 6 a couple weeks before. I think Series 6 is airing this month in the UK. :)
I did not know what to expect from a real town that is also a fictional town, but it was absolutely lovely in every way.
Can you spot Doc Martin's house? Look for the gray brick and the orange-y trim around the windows.
Here's the school where Louisa teaches...only it's actually an inn now. But it was the real schoolhouse at some point. (That's Russ walking in front of it.)
Do you see Doc Martin's house now? :)
Here's Bob and Russ ordering a pint in the pub at lunchtime.
Here 'tis, close up. The dog didn't knock me over. :)
Do you remember Bert Large's restaurant on the terrace? This is it.
Russ was explaining something to Claire. They get along great.
Here's the other side of Louisa's school.
I didn't want to leave. But I'm glad we did, because if we hadn't, we would have missed Tintagel.
Geoffrey of Monmouth was the first guy to write down the legendary stories of King Arthur, and he placed most of the important events (as well as the related story of Tristan and Isolde) at sites in North Cornwall.
According to legend, Merlin disguised Uther Pendragon as Gorlois so that Uther could enter Tintagel and father King Arthur with Igraine, who of course thought Uther was her husband Gorlois since he looked like him.
Tintagel is also the setting for some of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King.
It's a hike up, but worth it, like everything in Cornwall is worth it. The views are breathtaking.
They found a naked child upon the sands
Of dark Tintagil by the Cornish sea;
And that was Arthur; and they fostered him
Till he by miracle was approven King...
Artist Molly Crabapple has illustrated excerpts from one of Susan Cain's talks (to the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce), and this is that video. :) It is short and sweet and I enjoyed it.
If you are not familiar with Susan Cain, she wrote a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. In Quiet, she explains and then questions America's "Extrovert Ideal" and our cultural bias against introverts, and really knocks over the stereotype of "introvert as unfortunate". It was an encouraging and interesting read, and I took much away from it.
She is also known for the excellent TED talk she gave, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.
Cornwall suits me well, and I was very sad to leave.
I'm still sad.
But it makes me happy to talk about it and share it with you. :)
Last year just Claire and I were in Cornwall, and we were only there a few days, but this year Bob could come, too, and we stayed for ten whole days. And now he is hooked, too! I am telling you, there is something very addictive about Cornwall.
This is a Clootie tree. You sometimes find Clootie trees next to wells or springs in Celtic areas.
(Cornwall is a county in England, but more apropos to their identity is that they are one of the six Celtic nations. The other five are Brittany, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales.)
A "clootie" is a strip of cloth. The belief was that you'd bring your sick child to the well, and tie a strip of cloth that had been dunked in the Clootie well onto the tree. When the cloth had decomposed, the child would be healed.
But some of the things hanging on this Clootie tree were plastic, so that kid is not going to be better for a long time.
This is Lanyon Quoit. It is older than the pyramids, and like most megalithic structures, nobody is exactly sure how it was made or what it was used for.
Unlike most places, Cornwall does not keep you at a distance from its megaliths. You can walk right up and touch them and climb on them, and have a nice little visit with the cows, too.
Cornwall was the world's major tin producer from around 2150 BC until the last mine closed in 1998.
Well Cornish lads are fishermen
and Cornish lads are miners too.
But when the fish and tin are gone,
what are the Cornish boys to do?
One smart Cornish lad we know started a fantastic tour company called Western Discoveries, which is how we have gotten to see all this cool stuff for two summers in a row now. We highly recommend Russ if you ever find yourself on the Penwith peninsula. He gives superb tours, and is a very thoughtful and nice person.
The deepest shaft in this mine is 250 fathoms (one fathom=six feet) under the ocean. I kind of have a mini panic attack thinking about that.
We stayed in St Ives again, at Little Leaf again, in room 3 again. :) We love Little Leaf! Danny and Lee are so warm and friendly and fun, and you can't beat the hilltop location because you wake up each morning and go out front and look down at the harbor.
It's a climb at the end of the day to get back up to Little Leaf, but then you feel it was okay that you had all those cream teas. We will always stay there, as long as they'll have us. :)
I hit the Cath Kidston sale. :) Whoo hoo.
This restaurant was new to us ... Alfresco. The food was delicious and the service was delightful. I don't eat seafood, but somehow Claire loves it (like her dad) and got the scallops.
Here are our other favorite restaurants in St Ives:
St Andrews St Bistro
Martin, the owner, is delightful, and his daughter who waits on the tables is charming. Everything we have eaten there is delicious. Make a reservation.
Harbour Fish and Chips
I love this place. We have eaten here our first night in St Ives two years in a row. :) They open the doors up to the harbour, and if you can get a table by the window, it just feels so relaxed and good to eat and look out.
The Balancing Eel
THIS is where the best fish and chips in St Ives are. :) But get your order to go.
The Cornish Deli
This place is tiny and fantastic. We have eaten here for lunch a couple times, but you could go every day of vacation and have something really interesting each day. (They also have summer dinner hours starting in July.) Yummy traditional and newly envisioned Cornish food choices. Bob had a game burger that had all kinds of different game meat in it. (I'll have to ask him what all was in it. I can't remember.) It's also a good place to buy food souvenirs, like Smuggler's tea. :) There are only a couple tables, so make a reservation.
I'm doing summer book club at my house again, and I chose Rebecca for our first book, because I knew we'd be in Cornwall and I thought it would be fun to read while I was there.
So I was so excited to accidentally stumble upon this house in St Ives. I didn't know she had vacationed there!
I made the book club girls look at some of my vacation pictures. I know. How rude.
"Kernow" is Cornish for "Cornwall". The Cornish flag (which is not oval and doesn't have "Kernow" written on it ... this is a car sticker) is called "Saint Piran's Flag." Saint Piran was the patron saint of tin miners.
The flag is supposed to represent veins of tin inside the dark rock.
If you go to Cornwall, you have to try a saffron bun. How did Cornwall get saffron, you may wonder?
Some people think the Phoenicians traded it for tin in Cornwall long before the Romans ever set foot in Britain.
This is Barnoon cemetery in St Ives. It was beautiful and interesting.
I would like to be buried there.
Read the inscriptions on the stones if you're able.
I talked about Men an Tol last summer.
Here's Mousehole. ("Mowzzle")
Do you know the story of The Mousehole Cat? (There is also a DVD, which Claire and I both liked. It is very sweet. I think we will try to watch it every year. It's available on Amazon as an instant watch.)
I love the reminders everywhere in Cornwall that you are never farther than sixteen miles from the sea. :)
And I love how so many of the houses have names instead of numbers.
I'll post some more pictures later.
I keep meaning to tell you that several weeks ago, I did, finally, paint our living room. :) I ended up choosing Benjamin Moore Gray Lake, which I learned about and loved in these sunroom makeover posts at The Lettered Cottage blog.
I LOVE it! Which is very unusual for me on the first color try. It is very peaceful and calm, and depending on the light in the room it looks gray or blue. I don't think I expected myself to ever paint anything gray, or for gray to feel fresh, but somehow it does. I just love it. I think I will do the dining room later this summer.
I used Benjamin Moore Aura (their top-quality) paint, which I had never done before, because it is $60.00 a gallon (!!!) and that just seemed nutters.
However, the guy at the store talked me into it (I know), but it only took two coats (one gallon) to completely cover the bright yellow, and I mean not a hint of yellow was showing through. I've never used a paint quite like that before, with such good coverage. (I'm not doing an ad for Benjamin Moore. I'm just telling you, it was great.)
When I just painted Claire's room last week, I was painting over the exact same yellow (Melted Butter by Behr), and I thought, "Well, I'll save some money in here and just use Behr Premium Plus (which is Behr's top-quality paint but is only $32.00 per gallon), but that took three coats of paint to cover (four or five using the brush in the corners), and I had to buy a second gallon, so my cost was $63.00.
So! I think I will use Aura from now on whenever possible, because two coats makes painting very fast and almost pleasant.
I will take some real photos of the living room later with my real camera, but for now here is a fake photo from the fake camera on my phone. :)
Claire's room has evolved over the years as she's grown. It is always a compromise between her love of extremely important treasures, and my love of tidiness. :) (Cubbies have been helpful.)
ps The new paint color is a very pale, watery blue called Breakwater White (Behr). It looks grayer in these photos than it actually is.
Claire gets out of school on June 13. I really cannot believe fourth grade is almost over. I was just getting the hang of it!
Olive the Cello has held up well this year so far. She's actually a half-cello. If Claire keeps eating Cheerios for breakfast and growing like a weed, I think she will move up to a three-quarters size this autumn. We shall see.
Today was the end-of-the-year strings concert. We've come a long way, baby. :)
I have found a pretty nifty replacement for Google Reader. In fact, I like it much, much better. It's called Pulse. Do you know about it?
I thought I'd tell you a couple things I learned about Pulse by messing with it, which you would probably figure out on your own, but maybe this will save you a minute or two. :)
When you create your Pulse account, there will be a bunch of example categories over in the left sidebar that they've made for you. They call these "pages," but they function like folders. Each page holds different blogs or websites. You can get rid of these example pages and sites if you don't want them (which I didn't), and replace them with your own.
To get rid of one of these page/folders, click to open it up. Then delete every website listed in it (to delete, hover on the website's name and click on the x when it appears), and as soon as you've deleted every site, the entire folder will be deleted.
Now you can hit the "add content" button, and type in the name (or URL) of any blogs YOU want to show up in your Pulse feed. If you search by blog name, the top result that comes back is not always the blog's main page, or even the blog itself. What I discovered is that if you just keep hitting the return key, you get different results each time, and eventually the blog you are looking for will show up. For instance, if you enter "suziebeezieland", you get some random pages from the blog, or you get the Facebook page for suziebeezieland, or somebody's flickr set that says "suziebeezieland", or an Italian search engine ... See?
But just keep hitting the return key until you see the actual blog on top , and then click on the plus sign to add it to your feed. (Once you've added it, a blue checkmark will appear next to it.)
You can also just add the exact URL, which usually gets you the main blog page right away. :) But not always.
Pulse will give you the option to add this blog you've chosen to a new "page" (which, remember, is actually a folder that will hold different blogs that you add to it). I just called my page "Favorite Blogs," and I added all the blogs I read to that same page. I guess if you read a ton of blogs, you could separate them into categories and have different pages for each.
It's possible that none of what I just said made any sense to you without context, but if you go make a Pulse account and mess around with it, you'll see what I mean. It's extremely cool, I think, and sure beats the old feed readers, but you have to fiddle around with it at first to customize it to your liking.
I use a Mac and Safari. I don't know if it works great with all browsers. It has worked great for me so far.
My mom sent me this recipe. It was a big hit over here tonight. I'm still eating Nutrisystem's foodlike products, but I have been giving Bob and Claire actual sustenance. This was easy-peasy to make and they gobbled it up.
(Claire orders real, sizzling-on-a-pan fajitas whenever we go to a Mexican restaurant, and she said she was crazy about these. Thanks, mom!)
Baked Chicken Fajitas
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips, or chicken tenderloins, cut into strips
15-oz can diced tomatoes
4-oz can diced green chilies
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 T vegetable oil
2 t chili powder
2 t cumin
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t salt
12 flour tortillas, warmed to serve
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Mix together chicken, tomatoes, chilies, peppers, and onions in the dish.
Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
Serve with warmed tortillas and enjoy! Serves 4-6.
I had the nicest Mother's Day weekend. I hope you did, too. On Saturday we went to a very sweet wedding at our church, and on Sunday morning we went to church and Sunday school and all talked about how happy we were about that wedding. :)
I spent a lot of the weekend on the back patio reading and enjoying my family and crazy pets. I think Mother's Day to me is Official Permission to Relax. I never have that "I should be doing something productive" feeling on Mother's Day. What a blessing.
Last night we went to The Luggage Room, which is one of my favorite restaurants in Pasadena during the spring and summer. (I don't like sitting inside there particularly, so that is why I prefer it in spring and summer. My favorite thing about California is how much we get to eat outside.)
I like to sit at the long wooden tables on the patio and eat avocado pizza (with basil and lemon zest and sun-dried tomatoes ... it is DELICIOUS) and talk. :)
One of the good things I read this weekend was Talitha Piper's sweet letter to her birthmom. I was blessed by that.
I hope your own weekend was nice. What did you do?
Every spring, Claire goes to the Kidspace Children's Museum with her dad and gets a Painted Lady caterpillar. Then she raises it, watches it turn into a chrysalis and then a butterfly, and releases it into our backyard when it's ready.
She named this year's caterpillar/chrysalis/butterfly "Noodles". :)
Here are two good working definitions of introverts and extroverts:
I believe both introversion and extroversion are God-given personality traits, and because each is God-given, each can be used to His glory.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:3-5)
I happen to be an introvert, and am always interested in learning ways that I can use this introversion to glorify God. How can I best serve the body of Christ, using my very own personality? My attempts at life have never gone well when I've tried to be someone I'm not. :)
One thing I have noticed when I've read articles on introversion over the years is that these articles tend to be defensive in tone, or to have a somewhat bitter flavor. This is probably because introverts recognize that modern society is geared largely toward extroverts: if we're not careful, we can spend a good chunk of our lives either feeling like a fish out of water, defending our own preferences to people who think something is wrong with us, or just feeling completely exhausted and awkward trying to be extroverted. I don't think that's what we're supposed to do with our introversion. Nope.I've read two excellent articles lately that recognize the potential of using introversion to God's glory.
In a recent discussion of his 33 years in ministry, introverted Pastor John Piper detailed how he learned to love others through his personal gifts and limitations:
Plead with God to make your in-disposition to be with people a blessing to people. In other words, I would say after 33 years, my default after preaching is to go home and pray and read, not to hang out for three hours over a meal. That’s my disposition. I do hang out for an hour and pray with people, and I’m glad I do, and it is rewarding to do it.... If you're wired that way, instead of constantly praying God would make you another kind of person, pray that he would make you really useful for people. I think he’s done that for me....
He goes on to explain exactly how he thinks God has best used him in his ministry as a pastor.
In her article Four Lies About Introverts (see? we tend to go on the defensive), Amie Patrick, the introverted wife of an extroverted pastor, writes,
The lie I'm most tempted to believe is that the way God has wired me is incompatible with the life he's called me to live.
She goes on to dismantle four misconceptions about introverts (extroversion is the Biblical ideal; introverts don't like people; solitude is selfish and indulgent; introversion is incompatible with teaching and leadership gifts) and to advocate a view of introversion and extroversion as two complementary and important models of leadership within the church.
... my leadership gifts aren't expressed in the same way as my extroverted husband. I tend to lead best from a more contemplative place. My creativity flourishes, and my best ideas rise to the surface when I have time to be alone more so than when I'm brainstorming with others in a highly dynamic environment. Since there is no one-size-fits-all model for leadership, our churches will be best served when there's room at the table for extroverted and introverted leaders alike.
I was blessed by the insights in both of these articles. :)
I am thankful for the chance to support this film
and to help defend the defenseless.