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Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Endings and Beginnings…Thoughts for a New Year...

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. 

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? 

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. 

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. 

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Thoughts...

The year ends and a new one begins. 

I don't usually make new year's resolutions. It's not that I don't think they are a great idea. On so many levels they are. 

As a matter of fact, I read a statistic that if a person has a resolution they are ten times more likely to keep it. I think this is slightly amusing. How does one measure that? If I wish vs. set a goal, okay. it makes sense setting a goal vs. a wish is definitely engaging the brain and pushing one into making different choices. If I write down a goal vs. just state it, okay, there are studies showing that writing something down makes the brain view it as more concrete. But the ambiguous statement I mentioned is an interesting spin and I wonder how much that study cost. 

Can people change? Absolutely. Do the majority choose to change without pressure to do so? Not so much. Why should we change when life is comfortable? 

This year has been about some changes in my thinking and actions. And I'm not interested in coasting this coming year. I want to live my life, not sit it out. 

I'm going to be tossing out some quotes and thoughts over the next few days or weeks. Maybe even a goal or two. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Almond Pastry ~ Easy Vegan


12 ounces vegan cream cheese (I like Trader Joe's) 1 and 1/2 tubs is 12 ounces
2 packages vegan crescent rolls (again, Trader Joe's are currently vegan and I like them)
2/3 Cup agave
2 tsp almond extract 
1 tsp vanilla extract
Additional TBSP or two of agave
1/4 Cup or so of slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350

Press one entire package of crescent rolls into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan sealing up the seams. I lightly greased the sides and bottom.

In a food processor/blender combine the 2/3 cup agave, the cream cheese and the extracts. Process until completely incorporated.

Spread mixture over the crust base. 

Open the other package and press into a 9 x 13 in one or two rectangles (you can get fussy and use waxed paper and a roller and roll it out into a 9 x 13 sheet. I pressed each half of the dough into long rectangles and overlapped them a bit.)

Squirt additional agave over the top crust. Spread out a bit, sprinkle with almonds. The agave helps the nuts stick.

Bake 24-29 minutes until top crust is golden (I baked it 29). Cool completely, slice and serve. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Bark Doggy Bark




More please.

As I mentioned I was contacted by http://dogvacay.com/blog/holiday-recipes-dog/ 
asking me to promote a few dog treat recipes for Christmas etc. and asking me to check out recipes and share any of my own. 

The dog bark was a fun idea. But my grand dogs are vegan. So the bacon and cheese were out.

I also didn't have carob chips around. & aka dog mommy had carob powder though…so here's the recipe.

2 TBSP peanut butter
2 TBSP coconut oil
3 TBSP carob powder
1/8 cup of mixed add-ons that are safe for your four legged friends.
I used toasted coconut, peanuts, oatmeal and pumpkin seeds.
Melt peanut butter and oatmeal. Stir in carob powder until glossy and well mixed. Spread mixture over waxed or parchment paper. Sprinkle add-ons over 
carob mix and refrigerate until set. Give to dogs who've made Santa's good list. 


If you are looking for dog boarding in Omaha. Here's a link for that, too. 


Friday, December 20, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Howliday Fun

I got an email the other day asking me if I'd be interested in checking out dog treat recipes and posting it. "We're getting in the holiday spirit, which for most of us usually includes bonding time with family and lots of tasty foods. Since dogs are often included holiday gatherings, we wanted to put together a list of holiday-themed recipes that can be used to make homemade dog treats." 


Here's the link to see my options. 


And a link to the local dog boarding options in Omaha

Lily and Lola thought my participation was a great idea. 

So. This weekend, I'm going to be making a batch of doggie treats. I'm leaning towards the twisted candy cane cookies (with some changes, of course). Or the fun carob dog bark Vegan style.  





Thursday, December 19, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ Frying Pan Nonsense...

Baby Steps...
A few years ago, I had a huge attack of insecurity. I decided that I was a mediocre writer and lost my will to write. 

I judged my ability to review books. Why on earth would my opinion account for any thing? It didn't help that I got a couple of personal attack comments and emails from people who didn't care for some of my reviews, or me for that matter. Who was I to judge when I didn't have a clue what I was even doing? Writing rules and regulations, the mechanics messed with my mind. And I honestly didn't feel like I had any thing of value to say. (This, by the way, is a theme I'm currently struggling with in music. Feel free to remind me of this if I rant and whine about music later…k?)

Of course I didn't shut up. I wrestled my thoughts and actions and kept on keeping on. I still wonder why I write my blog sometimes. I hit dry spells where I shut down and use the words of others or even better, God's Word. Other times I resort to empty humor or chatter and in hindsight I wonder at the thousands of words that have come from my mouth and off my fingertips and I hope that they aren't a cacophony of clashing cymbals. 

Occasionally, I get feedback that something I share makes a difference. And that helps me want to continue to pour out my thoughts. 

This novel has been extra challenging for me. The insecurity had me in bondage. So when I promised Michelle I would finish it I had some more wrestling to do before I could even begin. And once I started and found some enjoyment in writing it, I was pleasantly surprised. Even more so, Michelle emailed me and told me that somehow I had grown as a writer over my long hiatus. 

We are putting the final tweaks on the story. Michelle's editing skills are tight, taut and ruthless. The lady is gifted in grammar and she loves to slice and dice. Tonight, I got this comment from her. 

"Laughing Out loud. No, really. I know I've read this several times, but as I'm going over Fern & Zula for the last time before I send it off, I still freaking laugh out loud at lines like this: 

Fern knew by the glazed eyes and faraway stare that Zula had gone to the happy hostess in the sky banquet hall and might have the party already planned down to the folded napkin sculptures and number of M&M’s in each little hideous hot-glued theme-of-the-week candy cup.

You are such a freak and I love you." 

I'm pretty sure this will insulate my heart from insecurities and negative bombs that are sure to come my way. 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Vegan Peppermint Fudge and a Story Update...

I spent the last two days working on edits for Out of the Frying Pan. Can I be honest and tell you that I really like our story? Okay. That sounds so…so…prideful. But, it's the characters I like. Does that sound better? Because the characters are part and parcel, piece and pinches from lots of folks we know and/or would like to know. 

Okay, maybe this will sound better. Peppermint Fudge

I found this recipe in my inbox. Candy Cane Oreo Fudge. Yum. Right? 

Well, of course. The version I made of this hurts so good. So rich, so chocolately, just a perfect hint of peppermint and the mouth feel is crazy velvety. My good friend in grade school introduced me to Bavarian mints when I was a wee lass. I believe those are milk chocolate so they are off my radar, but I remember the feel and taste of those suckers and this is a more grown up version of that. I think I will leave the cookies out next time (after a few days the cookies get really incorporated and soft) and just go for the chocolate mint, or maybe add crushed candy canes with a sprinkle of candy cane on top. 

I live by a Trader Joe's and Trader Joe's has the Peppermint Jo Jos. Just saying. 

Change #1. 

Change # 2. I'm a cheapo. And I didn't want to buy coconut milk creamer. So easy the way she has it, but like I said,  I'm a cheap. So I found a recipe to make your own vegan creamer and since I wasn't putting it in my coffee, I was totally okay with trying it out in a recipe. 

And I wanted to take this a few places so I needed more fudge. So here's what I did, what we got, and here we go. 

18 Peppermint Jo Jo's, Oreos or Candy Cane Oreos (if using cookies)
1 1/8 cup of non-dairy milk
1 1/2 TBSP of agave 
3/4 tsp of cornstarch
3/4 tsp of peppermint extract 
5 and 1/2 Cups vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used the dark, dark ones) 

Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Crumble 16-18 Peppermint Jo Jo's reg Oreos or Candy Cane Oreos on the bottom of the pan. 

Pour milk into a saucepan, add the agave, and cornstarch. Heat until very warm. Add the chocolate chips and stir over very, very low heat until melted. Add the peppermint extract. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cookies. Spin or use a spoon to fill in any holes. Refrigerate two hours, cut the fudge into bite sized pieces and run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge. Return to and store in fridge. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Dashing Thru the Fudge


Dashing through the fudge,
in an ugly Christmas sweater,
trying to find "the" gift, 
distracted by the glitter.

Bells in kettle ringers hands,
making spirits divisive,
try to keep upbeat,
someone will complain.

Oh, crazy days, crazy days, will it ever end?
Oh what stress to dash and spin in an overwrought holiday.

Join me in taking a deep breath. Remember that Christmas doesn't have to be insane and disappointing. The more consumerism we buy into the less satisfying it is because it's not about gifts and matching Christmas china and over-the-top recipes. It's about someone. Someone who came as a baby, who lived perfectly and died to give us a gateway to freedom from oppression. Even the oppression of our crazy selves who want desperately to grab all the gusto life has to offer. Life really only comes from accepting the life and gift of Christ and letting Him guide and direct us to become a mini-Him. 

I hope your Christmas season includes moments of wonder and miracles. I pray that you find truth that touches your soul and your heart. I hope you connect with someone you need to spend face time with, and that your days are filled with laughter and memories, fudge and music. I hope your new year is touched with growth and abundant life. Not abundant busyness chasing after life, but the real deal. The kind that cause you to relax into the knowledge that you are not alone and you are desperately loved. 

I'm going to be sporadic the next few weeks while I dash about, or stop and do the things that are important for my sanity. This message should maybe be delivered on Christmas eve, but I wanted to share my thoughts while they were on my heart and in my mind…use em or lose em.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Amy's Vegan Margherita Pizza ~ Reviewed


 I hadn't tried Amy's Pizza yet. To be honest, I'm okay with Vegan cheese (Daiya is the best in my book) but I'm not a fan. Some pizza's are covered with cheese and honestly, it's just a little slippery to be tasty. 

Pizza is a favorite food of mine though. When we go out and Vegan pizza is an option I usually order it without cheese. 

Sometimes, when it's late in the day and I know there is no chance I'm going to get dinner made and I'm at the grocery store I cave and go for processed, simple, comfort food. 

I love that Amy's contains many organic ingredients. I also loved that Amy's Vegan Margherita Pizza had the perfect amount of cheese. Just enough to give a nice mouth feel and a satisfying flavor. I baked the pizza on a cookie sheet to get the soft version and the crust was satisfying, too, not overly bready, but not cardboard thin either. Margherita pizza is tomato, cheese and basil. The toppings were pureed and subtle and I would have preferred a fresh version with fresh basil and sliced tomatoes. However, that would not be easy to pull off in the freezer case. 

So, bottom line, if you are hungry and at the grocery store, and you want pizza real bad you could do worse. It won't scratch all your culinary itches, but it's definitely a quick, easy comfort food and satisfying on many levels. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Gingerbread Cookie Cups ~ Vegan




Gingerbread Cookie Cups 
makes approx 7 dozen cookies.

⅔ Cup Earth Balance 
⅔ Cup Coconut Oil (or Earth Balance) 
1 ⅓ Cup packed Brown Sugar 
2  TBSP EnerG with 2 TBSP water
⅔ Cup Molasses 
3 Cups Flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 Cups of Arbonne Vanilla Protein Powder (can use additional flour or another protein powder but make sure it's palatable)
2 tsp Baking Soda 
3 tsp Ground Ginger 
1 ½ tsps Ground Cinnamon 
½ tsp Ground Cardamom 
1 tsp Salt 
2 tsp Vanilla

Cream coconut oil/Earth Balance with brown sugar. Add egg replacement and mix well. Add molasses, vanilla, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and vanilla. Beat until all incorporated. Add protein powder and stir, add two cups of flour, mix well. Add the remainder of the flour and mix. Chill dough for two hours or more.

When ready, preheat oven to 350. Grease a mini muffin pan. Roll dough into small balls approx a tablespoon. Press balls into mini muffin tins and press your thumb or finger into the center. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Let cool in pan, loosen, pop cookies out and continue to cool.

When the cookie cups are cooled, pipe cinnamon cream cheese frosting into center of cookies

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

4 Ounces Vegan Cream Cheese 
1 tsp Cinnamon 3 Cups Powdered Sugar 
Milk (I used almond) as needed for consistency (use a TBSP at a time if needed)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ A Book Update...

Gotta use this picture one more time. It amuses me. 

NaNoWriMo update: One more scene to go. We are almost done. One more scene. Woot. Woot. 

There, of course, it a whole, whole lot of editing to do. A whole lot. The way we were ping ponging scenes back and forth, whew, there's definitely some clean up in aisle five in our very near future. 

But it feels so good to have my final scene written and THE final scene written. Just one more transition scene for Michelle. 

Now. The editing. This might/could be very challenging. But the book is done, Dudes. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Apple Anytime Bars

Apple Anytime Bars

Coffee cake, brunch worthy, dessert a la mode. Yummo. 

Chocolate Covered Katie recently shared her recipe for Apple Crumble Bars. I am unable to resist tweaking, and her recipe was small. I wanted something to feed a crowd for our Thanksgiving brunch so I tweaked big time. And this treat won raves. 

Click on the above link to find CCK's version. And one of the other guests made her apple enchiladas which were off the charts, too. Click here for that one

Filling: Mix all the following together in a bowl and set aside. 

6 Medium to large chopped apples (Granny Smith are a good choice.)
2 TBSP cornstarch or arrowroot
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 Cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla

Crust and Crumbs: 

6 Cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Cups brown sugar (loosely packed)
2 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 Cup non-dairy milk of choice
1 3/4 Cup coconut oil (at room temperature)

Mix cinnamon, flour, baking powder and salt together until mixed thoroughly. Mix in coconut oil and and work it through until evenly crumb like. Add milk and stir well. 

Press 2/3 of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 greased pan. Spread the apple mixture over the crust. Cover the apple mixture with the rest of the crumbs. Press down a little. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let sit for a half hour or so. Serve warm or cold. Delicious. 


Monday, December 09, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Vegan Green Bean Casserole


Goodness. Let me give you one large chunk of advice…if you want to use fresh or frozen fresh green beans in a green bean casserole…steam them first. 

I did not. And they were a bit….crunchy, even after baking for 45 minutes. 
Green Bean Casserole

Approximately 3-4 Cups of fresh or frozen green beans (2-3 cans)
1 Cup of cashews soaked in 2 cups of non-dairy, unflavored, unsweetened milk
2 Large or 4 Medium mushrooms
1/4 of a medium onion
1 Clove of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
Vegan french fried onions. 

Steam the green beans if needed. See above note.

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 pan.

Dump beans in the pan. 

In a food processor add everything (including the milk the cashews soaked in) but the mushrooms and french fried onions. Whir everything until all is smooth. Toss in mushrooms and give it another whir until they are bits.

Pour this mixture over the green beans. Top with the french fried onions. 

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Easy Vegan Breakfast Rolls

These little buggars got eaten up real quick, so this is the only picture. Sad. 

So Easy and so Delish, though. Happy. 
 I made two batches. One a cranberry orange walnut, the other chocolate. You could combine the two for an extra treat. 

I was lucky to get a chocolate one. Seriously, there was only half of one when I got to the plate.  

You need (for 8) 1 package of crescent rolls. (right now Trader Joe's are vegan). 
An oven set at 350.  A cookie sheet.

Roll the triangles out and flatten them into the triangle shape if yours are mangled. 

Then for the chocolate filling. Place 8 to 12 dark (vegan) chocolate chips at the wide base of the roll but not all the way to the outside, leave a little breading. Then roll up starting at the wide end, ending with the tip. Pinch and curl the long ends in so the chocolate stays as contained as possible. 

If you want cranberry orange nut or a chocolate cranberry orange do the following. About a 1/4 cup of orange marmalade and a tablespoon or two of dried cranberries, a tablespoon of finely chopped nuts (and/or chocolate chips or white chocolate chips) This mix is tart. If you want to add a bit of sweetener you could, however with the glaze it was a great sweet/tart treat. Mix together and do the same as you did for the chocolate, dab a long blob at the lower wider end of the roll and roll em up. 

Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. They'll golden up nicely. 

While baking I made a frosting/glaze. 

1 TBSP vegan cream cheese
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
Splash of milk. Mix the cream cheese and sugar together, add milk in tiny increments until you get the consistency you want. 

As the rolls cool, drizzle or spread frosting/glaze over the buns. If you want to take it up a notch you could dust them with dried orange peel, finely chopped nuts, toasted coconut after applying the frosting. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Peanut Crunch Fudge Bars

Xta-Warning…evil peanut recipe.

Crust:

1 Cup coconut oil melted
3 Cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
4 TBSP milk of choice
1/3 Cup loose pack brown sugar
1 tsp salt.

Mix it all together and form it into two balls. Grease the sides of an 8 x 11 and press one of the balls into the bottom of the pan. Save the other ball or freeze it for later. Or 1/2 the recipe if you are a fun hater.
Preheat oven to 350.
Filling:


In a bowl combine:

3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup brown rice syrup (corn syrup would likely work just fine, as would honey)
1/4 Cup milk of choice or water
1 TBSP of Ener G (or cornstarch or arrowroot would probably work)
1/2 TBSP vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Stir well.

Add 1 1/2 Cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups peanuts

1/2 Cup crushed peanuts
Stir. Pour over crust.

Bake for 35 minutes at 350. Let cool and serve. If you keep it in the fridge you will lose a tooth so let it get back to room temperature before serving to guests.






Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ German Chocolate Yum Bars

I have this need to experiment. So why not just feed that need. Right? I wanted to make pecan pie for Thanksgiving but not just any pecan pie. Oh no. How about a pecan pie with chocolate and coconut and let's see, isn't that what German chocolate is? Caramel, coconut, chocolate and pecans. Yup. 

My pie didn't look real hot. The caramel bubbled over in the oven. UGH. Fortunately I had been lazy and left a cookie sheet on the bottom oven rack and it caught the drips. Yes. There are benefits to taking the lazy route sometimes. Anyhoo. I thought I'd try this again in bar format. It still bubbled and grew but didn't pour out over the 8 x 11 pan. I'd suggest the cookie sheet trick just in case though. 

The crust makes two. So either stay tuned for tomorrow's recipe or freeze half, or double the filling and gorge yourself. So delicious. 

Crust: 

1 Cup coconut oil melted
3 Cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
4 TBSP milk of choice
1/3 Cup loose pack brown sugar
1 tsp salt. 

Mix it all together and form it into two balls. Grease the sides of an 8 x 11 and press one of the balls into the bottom of the pan. Save the other ball or freeze it for later. Or 1/2 the recipe if you are a fun hater. 

Filling: 

Toast a 1/2 Cup of coconut. (put on cookie sheet, place in 350 degree oven, heat for 10 minutes, stir, put back in for 5. Is it golden and fragrant? Good, if not, put it back in for a few more minutes til it is. Set aside.

In a bowl combine: 

3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup brown rice syrup (corn syrup would likely work just fine, as would honey)
1/4 Cup milk of choice or water
1 TBSP of Ener G (or cornstarch or arrowroot would probably work)
1/2 TBSP vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Stir well.

Add 1 1/2 Cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups pecans or pecan pieces
1/2 Cup shredded coconut
Stir. Pour over crust. 

Sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Bake for 35 minutes at 350. Let cool and serve. (Can be served warm but it firms up better as it cools. If you keep it in the fridge you will lose a tooth so let it get back to room temperature before serving to guests. 



Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ Seriously, the Last Wrap Up Post AboutNaNoWriMo….

I never actually signed up for NaNoWriMo. And we didn't follow the directions. In NaNoWriMo you are supposed to crack out 50k words in the month of November.

That's about 1600ish words a day with a few days off. (if you are wondering what 1600 words looks like, this drivel right here, that you are reading, the whole column is probably about 400 (376 actual count) and clearly, I'm struggling…just sayin.)

That's a lotta words. Especially when you are trying to make them good ones, ya know? Our book, Out of the Frying Pan, went into NaNoWriMo with about 50k words already there with most of them spit-polished and shiny.

We need 80k for publishing purposes. (Drum roll….) We cracked out 21k in November leaving us with a mere 9000 words to go. I wrote a scene yesterday, as did Michelle, so now we are at 7.5. I also started writing a second scene. We have four more chapters to go to clean all the details up and at this point I think we are both so excited to finish we will have it cracked out very soon. We each only have five or six scenes to write. And the editing process will go pretty quick I think since we have several eyes who are offering to check it over for us once we are happy with the process.

Next? Get it published. Michelle has an agent who's shopping it. Here is my advice for any wannabe writers. Immerse yourself in the writing world for a decade or so. Learn everything you can, give away your time for free. Read a whole lot and review the work of others. Support your more talented friends who begin to publish. Then somehow attach yourself to at least one of them and weasel your way into being published by osmosis.

Sweet gig. Eh? Oh, and with the "1 Million Dollars" Michelle and I will split on the publishing of our book, we will probably be able to buy each other a fancy latte and maybe a gooey treat of some sort and if it's a really great advance, one for each of our husbands. Probably not the kids. But they will all get a copy of the book.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ December Has Arrived and What a Month November Was...


That means NaNoWriMo is no mo. Ha Ha. Sorry. 

How did I do? Did we get it done? 

I cracked out four final scenes on Saturday in an epic attempt to throw myself at the finish line tape. But. The tape didn't snap. However. Michelle and I wrote THOUSANDS of words (most of them keepers) during our marathon month of writing. We are almost done. I think 10 more scenes will finish it. Trust me when I tell you this….it feels so good to have this thing almost done. And it feels amazing to have enjoyed the process. The last time I put effort into the novel I felt like a fake writer. But plugging away at my blog, reading some good books, honing my skillz, has paid off in that I think I have now somehow incorporated the knowledge I've been chasing into something I can now instinctively do. Worth a million bucks. Not really. Writing pays peanuts, but grasping something elusive. That's a big deal. 

You have a dream? You going for something that feels like it won't ever happen, keep on keeping on. Never give up. And I'm preaching to myself. Clearly, the same will be true with the violin. BTW. I was able to write several scenes on my I-phone while in the nursing home and hospital with my mother-in-law, but I was not able to practice violin while visiting or watching and waiting. My violin took a back seat. No. Let me be honest. My violin took it's place in the trunk of my life last month. 

But, the times I played I remembered what I was supposed to do. That's a plus. And, I have made a commitment to this instrument and I can play. Like my teacher said every time I play I'm adding to the cosmic music of life (He didn't really say that, I kinda just boiled it into a ridiculous weird cheesy line for entertainment purposes. He did say every time I played I was making art.) 

November was crazy. What with my mother-in-law's fall and broken bones, to the procrastinated article and recipes I put off writing til the last minute, to a foodie holiday, to a book writing frenzy, to a effort intensive Arbonne business building activity, to a clean out the basement and take a load of stuff I'm not using and not going to use to the local mission I am glad to look behind me and then turn my face forward and take on December. One day at a time. 

The picture? Vegan German Chocolate Bars before they slid into the oven. A delicious creation. Recipe coming soon! Have an awesome Monday!  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Chirp…Chirp


chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp
said crickets, crickets, crickets. 
small Thanksgiving poem. (lame, silent, like an e) 

I think I will take poetic license 

poetic license
noun
license or liberty taken by a poet, prose writer, or other artist in deviating from rule, conventional form,logic, or fact, in order to produce a desired effect.
Origin: 
1780–90 

and call it a haiku. 

hai·ku

  [hahy-koo]  Show IPA
noun, plural hai·ku for 2.
1.
a major form of Japanese verse, written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables,and employing highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one ofthe seasons.
2.
a poem written in this form.
Origin: 
1895–1900;  < Japanese,  equivalent to hai kai haikai + ku  stanza; see hokku

My little Thanksgiving haiku. Note. Poetic license has been around longer than haiku so poetic license trumps.

The Thanksgiving crickets chirp because I have nothing to say today. And I have a long shopping and to do list and a few things to accomplish to make Thanksgiving smell and taste yummy.

So. With no more ado. Here's to a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and yours. I hope you find joy in the interaction you have with loved ones, or in connecting with new friends. I hope you find more than food for the belly and instead find gratitude and growth in the upcoming year.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ Random Words from Our Work In Progress


Just for fun. Just because I need something to post here. I've decided to share a few snippets of what I've been writing this month. 

Out of the Frying Pan…coming soon. Editors may allow the following words


Red and black Jackson Pollack streaks everywhere, her hair had gotten plastered to her tears. Her eyes had turned into melted Hershey's kisses and everything was wet. Flynn sucked in a deep breath almost tasting the brine from her sadness,


Fern slid on her black track jacket and zipped it all the way up to her chin. Then dug out the black stocking cap tugging it down over her hair and tucking the silver wayward strands up under the knitted band. She turned to face the other two and quirked an eyebrow at their apparent lack of readiness. "Chop. Chop. Ladies. And Zula. I am not going anywhere with you all dressed up like an entire circus act."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Holidays Around the Corner

Here's a holiday suggestion. I personally have no experience with passive aggressive folks. I just hear about their antics. But I found a website where you can create memes and, well, I thought the creepy Willy Wonka guy would just be so much fun…right? 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ Book Stuff and A Cheap Download

Michelle. You know her as my partner in crime…most of it anyway. 

Michelle is multi-published. That's kind of fun, I wonder how often she uses that in a day. Hmmm.

"Hello, nice to meet you, I'm Michelle, I'm multi-published." awkward pause "Oh, no, thanks, but I'm not interested in buying three years worth of five different magazines for $200.00." 

Anyhoo. First off, her third book is on sale for ridiculously cheap. Here's the skinny. 


‘Tis the season to grab a copy of A HEART DECEIVED for $0.79 at http://tinyurl.com/llp4z83. Start your Christmas shopping with this historical romance…
Lies just may be the death of Miri Brayden, unless Ethan Goodwin—a master of deception himself—can rescue her before it’s too late.

Secondly, she's working hard to sell the crazy book we are writing. Yes, that's right. She is talking to her agent and they are putting out feelers. 

So how's that for motivation? 

The answer, I wrote two scenes last night. And I am 99% sure we can finish this little puppy as per our goal. We are now down to the page turning finales. I'm writing suspense and danger right now. Maybe I'll share a paragraph with you sometime soon. Duhn duhn duhn (that's mysterious music in case you didn't pick up what I was laying down). 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Scribble and Scrambles…Smudged.

Today, I am grateful for all the people who have left footprints and fingerprints in my life. 

Big or small, every one I encounter leaves a smudge or an imprint. 

Some teach me that I don't want to follow in their path. Or that I don't want to engage with them long enough to have a visible imprint on my life. They have taught me that wisdom says that I don't have to make every mistake on my own, that I can learn from others' mistakes, too.  I am grateful for those folks. They have been sandpaper in my life, knocking off bits of flesh while I attempt to love them. And they have given me the opportunity to see the Holy Spirit producing supernatural fruit in me as I am given the ability to be patient or kind or merciful. These folks have driven me to prayer and humbled me as I realize that without God, I am so very broken.  

Others have left footprints I want to follow. Some are even lit up because of who they are, or more importantly Who they follow and reflect. I am so grateful for those folks. Because they remind me that God is good all the time…even through adversity, even through sorrow, even through the most painful moments in life. God is so very, very good. And they remind me that God can accomplish His will in my life. He can shape me into the person He created me to be. 

So. Thank you. Thank you all for being smudges, and imprints and reminders of how very big God is. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Serials and Scenarios ~ House Pickin



Here is what I'd like for you to do. Vote on Fern and Zula's house. 

Go to Michelle's Blog and weigh-in with your comment/vote there. Pick a house, any house for the Hopkin's lovely abode.  


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Drive By Thoughts…Continued

If you want this to make sense you might have to read the past two days posts first. 

I'm talking about healing pain vs. pain. 

The inevitably of pain and choosing to open up the pain that brings healing and life verses the pain of living while dying inside. 

My mother-in-law wanted to wait for surgery because she didn't feel good. And had she waited, her systemic consequences would have increased her pain and the decay process. 

Her surgery anchored the broken parts. It gave the broken parts a purpose and direction. There was security in the wrapping of her wounds, and safety in the security. There is no future need to break a half-hearted healing attempt causing extra trauma because the parts were in the proper place when the healing began. With the security she now had greater freedom. When three areas of her body were broken she could lay flat. But, when those breaks were stabilized she was able to sit with help, stand with help, and walk with help. One by one the tubes and ties to the machines that provided food and circulation and waste removal were removed giving her more freedom. 

Amazingly, this is what happens to me when I really look close at my spiritual and emotional conditions and attitudes. When I hang on to a sin like unforgiveness, or choose to be easily offended, there's pain, but I'm also stuck, bed-ridden, drinking and spewing what is being fed to me. It's not until I choose to let God reveal the ugliness inside of my broken self and let it go to Him where it belongs, do I find direction and healing. 

I can not carry around attitudes and sorrows that are not mine to demand revenge or payment for. Because there will be no satisfaction in the failure of that person to provide what I'm seeking. I love the Psalm that David penned about his guilt. The aching, the physical damage that was being done in his body due to his unconfessed guilt, and the freedom and healing that came once he confessed. 

The times that I've been at the end of myself and I've poured out my ugliness to God, or my confusion, or my pain….it's ugly. Not going to lie. There are boiling tears, words that shouldn't even be in my vocabulary spewing out of me along with snot and goo. And when I'm done, I'm spent. I lay there, exhausted and with squinty, swollen eyes, and I thank Him for forgiving me or taking my burden. And I fall into a dreamless, peaceful sleep. The next morning, the world is different somehow, or maybe it's me. And I'm aware of processes becoming normalized, a knitting together of broken bits, and I know, that there is healing in the house. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Drive By Thoughts

I've discovered that you can write a book on an I-Phone. Do I recommend that? Nope. Not at all. But the commitment I made does not waver in the midst of lots of hours spent elsewhere than in front of my computer. I have now written two full scenes on our Work in Progress (WIP) from a hospital room.

Yesterday I mentioned what I had learned in this process about brokenness and surgery and the inevitable pain of life.

I'd like to add to that.

My Mother-in-Law was in horrible pain before surgery. Even though drugs are good, they confused her and didn't really ease her pain. Just masked it. After surgery, whoooo baby, she was so in the land of la la. Her pain was intense and her communication skills were deadened by the anesthesia. It was rough to see. She was as white as the hospital sheets and kept saying she wanted to understand but her brain was foggy. Once again, as they added pain medication, she would fall into a blessed sleep.

But what a difference yesterday morning made. I walked into her room bright and early and was shocked at her clarity and her color. She had turned from looking like death to very much alive. Her pain level was under control. she was completely tracking with the nurses, asking appropriate questions and remembered the night before, and she even smiled. The afternoon and evening brought even more improvement.

Not only is healing pain better because life is back in the house. Healing pain is quicker. Had she waited an extra day for surgery, there would not have been improvement. Not at all. There would have been more dying. Lying flat, unable to move, the consequences on her whole body were real and a concern. The gastrointestinal system, the circulatory system, the immune system. All were at danger of worsening….

I've got to go. I'll continue this tomorrow. Blessings on your day.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Take Care

Life is indeed what happens when you make other plans. 

My mother-in-law had her surgery on her elbow and hip yesterday. Even though several times she thought she would reschedule because she didn't feel very well. Poor little thing. 

The worst is over. The healing process can now begin. And it's going to be a doozy of a healing process. But, as the nurses told her when she asked to reschedule, pain is inevitable. The pain of healing is productive and going somewhere and there is an end in sight. The pain of fear, waiting, lying in brokenness is wasted pain. They didn't quite say that, I embellished. 

So today, please, use the railings, tread with purpose, wear your seatbelt, don't text and drive. Because the pain of prevention beats the crap out of the pain of oops. 


Monday, November 11, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Monday Blessings

Quite the eventful weekend. 

First up was 24 hours of Arbonne conversation where I was inspired and challenged. Plus the eight hours round trip which included more encouraging and challenging conversation.

I managed to crack out a few words here and there when I had a chance to work on Out of the Frying Pan. 

Also there was time for some reading for the book review that is due before Thanksgiving. 

And last night's snuggles on the couch with stinky, adorable grand dogs. 

The biggest event was spending time with my mother-in-law who fell and broke her hip, collar bone and elbow on Sunday morning.  Calling the ambulance, going to the ER, hearing that everything that hurt was broken, watching her slip into morphine induced sleep…thank you, Lord, for morphine. And realizing that no less than five details falling into perfect place were absolute God sends, because without them, things could have been so much worse. 

I am calling the rest of this month… No Room For Negativity November. Because there just isn't. Ain't nobody got time for that.