As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Paddling With One Oar

Right after we "finished" sprucing up the sun porch, I spied something in one of our favorite antique stores: an old oar. 

Okay, maybe I'm not quite finished with my sprucing. Just this one last nautical touch. 

But, even though a sale tag dangled from it, the price was more than we wanted to pay for the oar, so we passed on it, deciding to think it over. I came home (now convinced that I "needed" an oar on the sun porch) and searched the internet market. Eek. Most were costlier than the one we had seen in the shop.

Oh well. We'll just keep our eyes out for an oar. Maybe we'll stumble on one some day . . . 

The following week, Ron returned home from a day out with his brother and brother-in-law at a steam show and flea market. "I have a surprise for you," he said. "Meet me on the sun porch."

He went out to retrieve my surprise and came in with . . . 

An old, weathered, perfectly gray-blue oar! 

I love it . . . even more than the one at the antique shop! It is prettier. It only cost $20. And it was a thoughtful gift from my sweetheart who not only noticed it in the myriad of items at the flea market, but bargained for it, and then had to drag the cumbersome thing around with him until they found a shuttle to my brother-in-law's truck. Priceless! 

Some women may want diamonds or expensive vacations. I am happy with my oar!

Have you ever felt like you were paddling with one oar? 

You get the picture? You're paddling as hard as you can, but with that one oar, your boat just keeps spinning around in circles and you're not making any progress? 

That's kind of how this summer has seemed.

So far the highlights (lowlights) have been driver's ed and dental surgery. Because that is what we have accomplished.

Two different beach outings? Cancelled. A "grand" summer sleepover? Postponed. Rescheduled. Postponed again.

Between our families, we have had strep throat, a Morton's neuroma, respiratory viruses, bronchitis, scarlet fever, hives, ear infection, and I may have left something out. Sigh . . .

Yes, it does feel like we're paddling 'round and 'round and not making much headway.

But . . . 

Is summer "fun" what it's all about?

Do we expect things to always go our way?

Are we learning and growing through our struggles and through our disappointments?

Are we depending on Him to direct our steps?

Are we trusting His goodness in our lives, knowing that it doesn't always look like what we pictured?

Can we accept the detours as readily as the anticipated route?

Could it be that when we think we are paddling 'round and 'round that we really are making progress, and that, in spite of our crazy paddling, the boat is moving closer to our destination? 

Dental surgery update:

First of all, thank you all for your prayers and your kind words! I have recovered surprisingly well! For the first few days, my jaws were sore and stiff and swollen, but the pain was manageable. Motrin, Tylenol, and ice were my friends. After mid-week, each day brought improvement. I have a big, ugly bruise to show for my troubles.

Even though I felt that I could probably do more, I gave myself permission to rest last week. Rest and healing go hand in hand, and it was refreshing both physically and mentally to put down the to-do list and the obligations. (I have to admit that I enjoyed my blogging break too.)

I am so grateful to the Lord for successful surgery and a smooth recovery! 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Blog Break

I am taking a little blogging break while I recover from oral surgery. My plans for the next few days include: 

Frozen coffees . . . 

Reading . . . 

Blended creamy potato soup (made on Sunday in preparation) . . . 

And ice packs. (Apparently, my pride was removed with my wisdom teeth or I'd not be showing you this no-makeup, no-smile, swollen-face photo.)

I'll see you in a few days! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

"You Are My All in All"

This song has been the prayer of my heart lately. And this is such a beautiful arrangement, interwoven with Pachelbel's Canon in D. I could listen to it over and over. (And I have.) 

Hope this summer week is off to a good start for you!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

One More Change on the Sun Porch

Yes, we did get a new rug for the sun porch

I must say, it's a good thing we made the changes when we did, because summer clearance is happening! We were able to snag a good deal . . . but another week and we may not have found a thing. 

I did a lot of browsing online, but when size and design and style and price were considered, we decided on this rug, which happened to be available for pick up in our local Pier 1 store. 

 Transformation complete! 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Pick Up That Cookbook! {Fandango Salad with Panera Bread Raspberry Vinaigrette}

Continuing with my plan to pick up a cookbook in my kitchen and try a new recipe every week . . .  

Ron bought The Panera Bread Cookbook for me when I was preparing to do my Bread on Tuesday series. Not only did I learn a lot about bread making in the introductory chapters, I also featured two different recipes from the book in my series: Three-Cheese Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

This time, however, I went to the "Soups, Salads, and Sides" chapter and chose a salad recipe to try. Good summer food!


2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
3 cups field greens, loosely packed
1 cup romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces, loosely packed
1/4 cup Panera Bread Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe below)
2 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese, crumbed
8 - 10 slices Mandarin orange

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a sheet pan. Toast for 5 minutes, toss nts, then toast for an additional 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan to cool. 

In a medium mixing bowl, toss field greens, romaine, and vinaigrette until well combined. Place the mixture on a serving plate. Top with the cheese, walnuts, and orange slices and serve.

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
2 teaspoons shallot, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil in a medium mixing bowl with a wire whisk. Once ingredients are combined, slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking to form and emulsion. 

When Kati and I made this salad, we took great liberties with the recipe!

First of all, this recipe says that it serves one. But we used one bag of romaine and one bag of a salad blend (I think it was a "spring mix" with green leaf lettuce, red cabbage, shredded carrots) and it seemed like plenty for the four of us. Of course, we were using it as a side dish; if it was the main course, we would have needed more.

Also, I bought fresh Mandarin oranges (clementines) because the recipe called for "slices." I found that I had to slice them before peeling to keep the slices whole. I later found that most online recipes for Fandango Salad use canned Mandarin oranges. Those would be fine, although I did like the presentation with the sliced Mandarins. 

I did not measure the Gorgonzola. I just covered the salad with what I thought looked proportionate, so I probably used more than the recipe called for. 

Kati chopped more than 2 teaspoons of walnuts (maybe 3?), but I think the salad could have used a bit more. 

Fandango Salad was so good! Fresh greens with a little tang, a little sweetness, and a little crunch made for a great summer salad. And we had about half of the yummy dressing left over. Not a problem! I'm sure it will be a good addition to other summer salads.

Coming soon . . . the recipe for this delicious panini that we paired with the salad! (We have already made these twice!)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Changes on the Sun Porch

You homemakers all know how one thing leads to another, right? And how making changes in one room leads to changes in other rooms? And sometimes you just get on a roll and change something up just because? (Even if it had nothing at all to do with changes anywhere else?)

Well, that's me right now. In the midst of changing and tweaking and sprucing things up and considering this and that and the other. And one day, I looked through the living room window at the sun porch and thought, I wonder how it would look to switch the table area and the seating area.

This  is how it was arranged before, with the table as the focus, but the seating area felt a little tight.

With the new arrangement, the seating area feels spacious and inviting. But the table is further from the door and from the pass-through window. It's fine for the four of us, but we'll see how it flows when we have a larger group. It won't be as easy to extend the table (with a folding table) for more seating, although we could just set up the folding table separately, maybe even using the wicker chairs at the table. We'll see. 

Then, of course, when you rearrange, you see things with new eyes. And my eyes began to see a few nautical touches for the summer porch.

Now my eyes are seeing an outdoor rug to define the seating area. I wonder . . .

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