1/23/2015 Blessing: Kelly's Pub

The original plan was for me to drive my brother Bill to the Ramada Inn by the Spokane International Airport on Friday afternoon so he could catch his early morning flight on Saturday.

So I asked my friend April if she wanted to ride along on the way so I would have some company on the way back from Spokane.  And I figured we could stop and eat somewhere to eat on the way home.

Then I texted my friend Tina to see if she could join us on Friday night in Coeur d'Alene for dinner.  She said she could make that work.

Then I extended the invitation to a larger group of friends.

In the meantime, Bill tells me he only needs a ride to CDA on Friday.  Someone else will take him to the Ramada Inn.

By Thursday, he has a ride from Kellogg, to the Ramada Inn, via a get together with some of his friends in Liberty Lake.

By this time, my dinner with friends had snowballed to about seven people joining us at Kelly Pub and Grill in Coeur d'Alene, so I just kept with the plans of heading to Coeur d'Alene.

So I picked up April, and our other friend Kellee, and headed to Coeur d'Alene.  We were joined by Tina and her daughter Joanie, Connie, and Tammi.  Marian was going to join us, but she unfortunately had car trouble, and had to take her car to Spokane to get fixed.

This group of women that were gathered to dinner have quite a history together.  I have known Tina and Kellee since before going to Kindergarden.  I met April in grade school, and Tammi and Connie in junior high.

We have made it a priority in our lives to stay in touch and get together on a fairly regular basis.

It is a blessing to have a group of friends that you can, kind of spur of the moment, throw out dinner plans and have that many show up.

As we grow up, we realize it becomes
less important to have a ton of friends,
and more important to have real ones.

1/22/2015 Blessing: Mom's Okay

Since it was the last night before my brother was returning to his home in Greenbelt, Maryland, I invited him and my mom over to our house to join Paul and I for dinner.

When it was about time for him to arrive, I got a text asking for help when Mom arrived, because she had fallen on her way to the car at her house, and may need a little help.

Paul kept a lookout for Mom and Bill to arrive, and helped Mom into the house.

Mom made a bee line to the bathroom, because she had a bloody nose.

When she came out of the bathroom, it was obvious she had hit her face pretty hard on, we are assuming, the snow in her yard.  The force of the fall smashed her glasses into her face, causing quite a bit of bruising and swelling.

But, other than her face getting discolored and a bit swollen, a little scratch on her shoulder, and a swollen thumb, she was alright.

She was talkative, and immediately started putting ice on her face to relieve the swelling.

One thing that we discovered after Mom arrived was she had lost a lens in her glasses.  So Bill grabbed a flashlight, and went back to Mom's house to find the lens.  He was successful.

But as he was at Mom's house, the snow started falling, and he felt it was better to get Mom home ASAP before the sidewalks started getting slippery.

So we packed up the four dishes that contained our meals, and transported them over to Mom's house, and had a lovely meal of vegetarian stuffed peppers, corn bread, apple, beet and carrot slaw, and fruit salad.

Mom was amazing how she handled this whole ordeal, and it was a blessing that she not hurt badly.

1/21/2015 Blessing: Happy Birthday PEO!!

I belong to a Philanthropic Education Organization called P.E.O.

By being a member of Chapter M of P.E.O. here in Kellogg, it has given me a chance to get to know a lot of different women that I wouldn't normally have had a chance to meet and spend time with unless I was a part of this group.

Some of the women of mothers of people I went to school with.

Some of the women of people I went to school with.

Some of the women are people I only have interaction with at our twice monthly meetings.

A main focus of P.E.O. is the focus of the education of women.  Locally, we provide two scholarships to two KHS women who graduate from high school each year.

Internationally, we also have grants and scholarships and loans that women can apply for through P.E.O.

P.E.O. has their own private women's college in Nevada, Missouri called Cottey College.

Today I had the pleasure of hosting the bi-monthly meeting at my house.

It was also P.E.O's birthday today!!

I enjoy being a part of such a wonderful organization, and I have also enjoyed getting to know such a wide variety of women here in the Silver Valley.


1/20/2015 Blessing: Chef Molly

Oldest daughter Molly called me saying she wanted to get some "Wah Hing" for dinner.  But then I realized that our favorite Chinese restaurant in town was closed for some renovations until next week, so I told her to go and get us something else for dinner.

"Surprise us," I said.

So when Paul and I arrived home, Molly was busy preparing a dish she has been talking about since I made homemade Mac and Cheese a few weeks ago. 

Better than Boxed - Homemade Mac & Cheese 
Vegetarian Mac and Cheese.

There is Mac....but no cheese.  Instead there is sweet potatoes, coconut milk, cumin and yellow mustard.

It was quite delicious.

Served with a baguette and a glass of red wine.

I was blessed tonight to have "Chef Molly" in the kitchen, preparing tonight's dinner.


1/19/2015 Blessing: Warmth

Today I am blessed by the warmth in my home.

This occurred to me as I was in my kitchen and bent down toward the floor to pick something up, and felt the heat coming through one of the vents.

The feeling was so nice.

Heat is something we often take for granted, because we usually have a furnace that keeps our homes warm.

And this winter we have had the added bonus of a fire in our fireplace most nights.

My bedroom is cold, but that is a choice I make, because I like a cool bedroom.  The room across the hall from my bedroom is also cold, but we have an electric fireplace in there that heats it up very quickly.

One winter our forced air furnace did quit working, but we are fortunate again,  We have electric heat in our ceiling that kept us warm until the furnace got fixed.

As I snuggle down under my covers at night, my thoughts often wander to those not as fortunate as myself.

Those who do not have the choice of choosing to have a cool or warm bedroom.

Those who may not have a warm blanket they can snuggle under.

I never want to take the warmth I feel in my home for granted.

One of my favorite blankets that helps keep me warm.

Sibling Assignment 2015.2: The Humor of My Mom #3siblings

I gave this week's sibling assignment.  I knew our assignment would be posted around Mom's birthday, so I thought it should be about her.  Bill's post is here, and Christy's post is here.

This is our assignment this week:

Write about something that you realized about Mom when you were an adult, than didn't occur to you when you were a child growing up.

There were many realizations about my mom that happened when I became an adult.  One of them was realizing she had a great sense of humor.

Growing up, I think my dad's sense of humor and joking around overshadowed Mom's humor.  I guess I always thought of Dad as the funny parent.  I never saw Mom in that light.

But one day I realized that Mom had a funny sense of humor, and was rather playful.

I think I really started seeing it once I had children, and watching her interact with my daughters.  I still remember the shock of seeing my mom get down on the floor to show Molly how to roll over when she was just a baby.  This was a side of Mom I had never experienced.

And all of a sudden, Mom was throwing out funny one-liners that cracked us up.

Her humor was much different than Dad's humor. 

It is fun to be with Mom and laugh and joke around.

As I visit with her friends and people who know her, I also see her fun and humor through their stories they share with me about Mom.

Mom is a true gem, and her humor makes her shine ever so brightly.


1/18/2015 Blessing: Ham and Bean Soup

Mom took the leftover ham from her birthday dinner the night before, and added it to some beans, and made a delicious ham and bean soup for all of to enjoy.

Mom's ham and bean soup....delicious!!
There was some bread and salad to accompany the soup, and some lemon  angel food cake Mom's neighbor Jane brought over to her, because she knows Angel Food cake is her favorite.

The comfort of ham and bean soup was a real blessing on a cold January night.

And the conversation after dinner with Mom, Bill, Christy, Paul and I was also enjoyable, spanning a variety of topics including the Seahawk football game, what does being an Introvert mean, and what were some of our funniest moments from Saturday Night Live that we enjoyed?

Tidings of comfort and joy were present at Mom's house tonight.

1/17/2015 Blessing: Mom's Birthday Dinner

Instead of birthday cake, I made Mom cream puffs, just as she requested.


Saturday we gathered together at our house to celebrate my mom's 84th birthday.  Her actual birthday isn't until the 19th, but Saturday night worked the best for everyone to gather together to celebrate.

Besides Mom, Paul and myself, was my brother Bill, sister Christy, brother-in-law Everett and daughter Molly and her boyfriend Kai.

When family gathers together to celebrate birthdays, that is a real blessing.

The menu for the evening included baked ham, which Mom provided but I baked, using a glaze of the quince jelly I canned a few months ago from our quince bush in the backyard.   I also made a Greek salad, cream puffs for dessert, and tried a new baked bean recipe in my crockpot that was a big hit.

Christy provided the potato dish, and her and Bill partnered together to create a cranberry sauce that also cooked in the crockpot.  Bill also provided some bread and wine.

Christy also served up some interesting adult beverages before and after dinner.

The food was delicious, the conversation was enjoyable, and the company was the best.

1/16/15 Blessing: Creative Coffee Time...It's In The Bag

This bag means coffee and creativity.

I am a bit of a "bag lady".
Most of the things in my life that I am involved with have their own special bag.
I have a computer bag, a book club bag, a church bag, a PEO bag, a Creative Masterminds Group bag, a Sixth Street Theater board bag, a church Endowment Committee bag.....
Well, you get the idea.
For Christmas, my mom gave me a knew bag.  And this bag contains items for when I get together with my friend April, and have coffee and talk about making our lives more creative.
Once a week we try and meet somewhere for coffee and plan our monthly CMG gatherings, encourage creativity in one another, and talk about our lives.  We talk about aging parents, sibling relationships, dreams we want to come true, how to handle the down times, and celebrate the up times.  We share tough things.  We share triumphs.  It is a really good thing.
These weekly coffee and creativity get-togethers are truly a blessing.


1/15/2015 Blessing: Booth and Bones

I have been catching up on the seasons of "Bones" that I have not seen on Netflix recently.  The last time I watched this show, Bones had proposed to Booth, and but their nemesis Pelant told Booth he would kill five innocent people if they got married, so he had to postpone the wedding.

This was back at the end of season 8.

Last night I was blessed to have Paul by my side as we sat on the couch to see Booth and Bones bring down their nemesis, finally get married (of course I cried), and go on their honeymoon.

Paul had worked late at school, but when he arrived home, he settled down next to me, and we watched the episodes up through the honeymoon.

It was so relaxing, enjoyable and comfortable to be all alone in our house, watching some good TV.

11/14/2015 Blessing: Houseguests

I really like having people can and stay at my house.

It is great to reconnect with people in the relaxing atmosphere of your living room.

Tuesday, a daughter of some dear friends came to spend a few days at our house before she heads back to Carroll College to begin her adventure with student teaching.

Jamie also brought another guest, her cat Lily.  In fact, they are staying with us because we are "cat-friendly" people, and Jamie knew Lily would be welcomed with open arms!!

Enjoying having Lily and her owner Jamie spend the week with us.

We have a lot of history with Jamie.  We watched her grow up since she was about six years old.  She was one of Paul's students and actors.  We attended the same church, and her and our daughters attended the same church camp many summers as they were growing up.

It was fun to visit with her about her amazing trip last summer to England, how her family is doing, who now live in Oklahoma, and her and Paul had a great discussion about teaching English, because that is what she is going to do once she graduates in May.

We also took her out to eat so she could get her "Casa d'Oro" fix while she was here.

What a blessing to have Jamie and Lily under our roof this week, and reconnect with one of our favorite people.


1/13/15 Blessing: My New Crockpot

I love my new CrockPot.  What a blessing this has been to cook with the past few weeks.

I have an old CrockPot that was a wedding gift, given to us in 1986.  It still works, but it is small, and I was ready to get a bigger one.

So I put it on my Christmas list, and Mom was generous enough to give Paul and I a new Crockpot for Christmas.

So far, I have used it to made Red Curry Lentils, French Onion Soup, and to keep a big pot of pasta warm.

I like having a bigger crockpot, so then, when I do make a pot full of some kind of dish, there is more than enough to take over and share with my mom and brother.

I have a Pinterest board completely dedicated to Crockpot recipes, especially ones that have no meat.

It cleans up easy, and the Crockpot's stainless steel matches the rest of the kitchen.

I look forward to many more hearty meals prepared in my new Crockpot.


1/12/15 Blessing: Easter Cantata is Back!!

The Easter Cantata is back!!

I am so excited Joy Persoon has decided to once again bring back the Silver Valley Christian community coming together to present the Easter Cantata this coming Palm Sunday.

It has been almost five or six years since we had an Easter Cantata, and we finally came together to begin rehearsals.

There is something about gathering together with Christians from across the Silver Valley to unite together to share the message of Christ's Redemption through his death on the cross, and being raised from the dead.

And Joy has such a gift of bringing people together to sing and worship God. 

It is an honor and privilege to sing alongside these men and women as we practice and prepare to share this beautiful Easter message on Palm Sunday.

I am blessed to unite with people who love the Lord, and love to sing the Easter message, and share it with our community.


1/11/15 Blessing: Talking About Amazing Grace

One of the parts I like most about being a part of my church family is hosting a small group Bible Study in our home.

Right now Paul and I are hosting a study based on a Philip Yancey book called "What's So Amazing About Grace?"  Each week he poses a different question about showing grace to people who we don't find it easy to be gracious toward.

Hosting this group, and having a discussion with the group members was my blessing for Sunday.

And what I like about each of our discussions is, no matter our views on the myriad of topics we are discussing, is that we need to show all people grace.  And each week it is another reminder to me of how Jesus wants me to live out my life here on earth.

We need to be kind, loving, gracious, merciful.

Even if we don't agree.

Even if we have been victims.

Even if we feel prejudice.

There is no exception to reaching out in love.

Jesus spells it out pretty clearly.....love your neighbor as yourself.


Sibling Assignment 2015.1: Celebrating the Holiday Season #3siblings

After an almost four year hiatus, my brother, Raymond Pert at kelloggbloggin.blogspot.com, my sister Inland Empire Girl at gatheringaroundthetable.blogspot.com, and myself, Silver Valley Girl are resurrecting our weekly "Sibling Assignments" for the year 2015.

Sister Christy came up with this week's assignment:

" As we wind down from another holiday season with family reflect on how the celebrating has changed over the years." "

You can find Christy's blog post here and Bill's blog post is here.

Christmas is always one of my favorite times of the year.  I love decorating, shopping for gifts, planning and cooking meals, and spending time with family and friends.

When Paul and I go married we lived over in Montana, and would travel to Kellogg for Christmas to be with both sets of parents, who both lived in Kellogg.

After Molly, our oldest daughter was born, we decided Christmas in Kellogg needed to be an every other year thing.

Also, the first year Molly was born, we stayed in Montana, and started our special family tradition of having a meal from another country on Christmas Eve, and making food from that country, and finding out how the country celebrates Christmas, and often doing some of those traditions with the family.

At first we only did our special dinner when we stayed home for Christmas.  But then we started doing it on the years we went to Kellogg as well.

During the first year of Molly's life, we moved from Montana to Meridian, Idaho, and would stay in Meridian one year, then again go to Kellogg.  Eventually Paul's parents moved to Meridian from Kellogg.  So one year we would celebrate with my family, and the next year stay in Meridian, and celebrate with Paul's family.

When we moved to Kellogg in 2000, we decided Christmas would be a time to be at our own home, and have our own traditions.

The girls received footie pajamas and vests.

So for the past 14 years, we have hosted our Christmas Eve dinner, having dinner from another country.  Often we would invite other friends and family to join us for this dinner.  Then we would attend Christmas Eve service at church.

Christmas Eve Moroccan Dinner
Then Christmas Day dinner would be at Mom's house.

A few years ago, both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner started being at our house.  But we would still go over to Mom's house on Christmas morning and share breakfast and open gifts under Mom's Christmas tree.

Most of the time my sister Christy and her husband Everett would come for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Depending on schedules, brother Bill would sometimes be at Mom's house with his wife Debbie.  But sometimes they would stay in Eugene. Or they would spend Christmas with their children.

Another big part of our family's Christmas tradition is going Christmas caroling.  Some way or another we try and carol to friends and neighbors sometime before Christmas.  The past few years we had a caroling party, but, because of Molly's early departure to Colorado, our caroling this year was mostly just our family, and we went out on the day we celebrated our early family Christmas.

This year was a different year, with big changes.  Our oldest daughter Molly traveled to Colorado for Christmas, so we had an early family Christmas. 

Early Christmas Fondue Dinner

Mom has been having some pain issues, so to make things easier for her, our family did not go to her house for any kind of Christmas festivities this year.  Everything was at our house.  Even though I know it was the best decision for mom this year, it was really hard not having that time at Mom's house opening gifts and having coffee and special breakfast items at Mom's house on Christmas morning.  I always really enjoyed that time.

As things changed for our families as Paul and I got married and had children, things will continue to change for our family traditions as our three daughters grow up and create their own lives and their own family traditions.  It will be fun to see what things they create on their own, and what things remain the same.

Christmas Day
But no matter what happens each Christmas, it will always be spent gathering with friends and family and sharing love, music, good food and good conversation.

And celebrating the birth of Jesus.


Blessing 1/10/15: Creating a Vision for 2015

Today's blessing was having six of my friends from my Creative Masterminds Group come to my house to share good food, good conversation, and create Vision Boards.

What is a Vision Board, you say?

Here is how my friend April explains what a Vision Board is:

a little bit more about what a vision board is . . .
a vision board is simply a collage of images or words that help you define and clarify your dreams and goals. or, as one definition states, they are “powerful manifestation tools that tell your sub-conscious mind what to go out and bring to you” (!).
so how do you make one? it’s easy (and fun).
simply flip through a pile of magazines, looking for images and words that jump out at you. you may already have an idea in your head of what you want represented on your board. or you might just see what strikes you as you look through the magazines.
it’s entirely up to you – there’s no right or wrong way to create a vision board. mine tend to have a lot of words on them. yours may be all pictures with no words at all.
then you arrange what you’ve cut out on a piece of cardstock or poster board, and glue it down. voila! your blueprint for the coming year.
Here are some photos from the day:

Here is to a new vision for 2015!!


1/9/15 Blessing: The Gray Has Lifted

Ever since Thanksgiving I have been in a bit of a funk.  A little out of step.  A bit off.

The holiday season is usually a busy time, but this year I just felt unusually overwhelmed.

I had to not do some things we usually do during the Christmas season, because I just didn't have the energy to do it.

It was weird.

I probably was a bit depressed.

Some people describe their depression as a black hole.

I would describe mine more like a gray fog.

And for some reason, I could tell yesterday the fog was lifting.

I can't really explain what happened, I just know something changed.

It is like driving down the road in the fog, and all of a sudden, you break through the fog, and the sun is shining.

That is what it felt like.

What a blessing to have the gray lifted.


1/8/2015 Blessing: Helping Hands

Tonight we were scheduled to have worship team practice at church to go over some songs.  During the Christmas season we don't meet, so we wanted to get together and go over the songs.

When we arrived, our worship leader Chris was already there, and we started looking at the keyboard, which gets put on the floor during Christmas season to make room for the Christmas tree on the platform.  When Simon, our drummer, arrived, he and Paul decided to take the tree down.  Chris had already started taking some of the decorations down around our choir loft.

Throughout the evening, we all pitched in and took the tree down, vacuumed the platform, got the keyboard in place, moved the drums out, and got a lot done.  Simon and Paul also got all the microphone cords organized, and everything looked good on the platform, while trying a new look with the keyboard in a different position.

While Chris and I sang through some of our new songs, Simon and Paul listened and sang along while they worked on making the platform looked more organized.

It was a very fruitful night at church, pitching in and helping get things done, even though that wasn't our intent at all. 

Working together to make things better is always a good thing.


1/7/15 Blessing: Holy What?

Tonight Molly, Coco and I went to Sam's for dinner.  I enjoyed fish and chips.  Coco had chicken strips and fries.  And Molly got Eggs Benedict.

After dinner we drove down the road to visit Grandma Mary, my mom, and Uncle Bill, my brother.

When we arrived, it was just about time for Jeopardy to begin, so we watched Jeopardy while trying to figure out if Mom's friend Beverly actually lived by Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, or were we "Lost in Translation" from the previous conversation.  Because, upon further investigation, we found out the assisted living home Beverly now lives in used to be the Holy Names Academy.

We think that is where the confusion lies.

Once that mystery was solved, we moved on to "Wheel of Fortune", and tried to figure out how old Vanna White and Pat Sajak were, because that show began in 1983, 31 years ago, and they were there at the beginning.  Wow!

(Upon further investigation, Pat Sajak is 68, and Vanna White is almost 58.)

It was a blessing to spend time with two of my daughter, my mom and my brother, having some good laughs, and getting all the answers, whether from Mom's conversation, Jeopardy, or Wheel of Fortune!


1/6/15 Blessing: Curled up by the Fire with a Good Book

I was very proud of myself.

I had never built a fire in our fireplace before.

We have lived in this house for 9 years, and I have never built a fire.

I did have to feed it a little more newspaper to keep it going at times, but it worked, and I made a nice cozy fire to sit in front of while I read my current Maisie Dobbs novel, "An Incomplete Revenge". 

It was the perfect antidote to my first day of being back to work, where my head felt a little fuzzy, and I was plagued with a headache all day. (I rarely get headaches).

After a soak in the bathtub, I sat and warmed by the fire, and was transported back to post WWI era England, as Maisie Dobbs encounters hops fields, gypsys, and the smoky streets of London, as she investigates her current case.

A quiet home, curled up next to the fire, reading a book, with my black cat Cozomo snuggled next to me, purring away.



1/5/15 Blessing: SNOW DAY!!

Friday the snow really started falling here in the Silver Valley.  We got about a foot here in Kellogg.  Then the temperatures changed, and the rain started falling on Sunday night.

And Kellogg was now a soggy, slushy, slippery mess.

And since the situation was so hazardous, we got a message early Monday morning that said this:

Due to hazardous conditions, there will be no school today. (Monday Jan 5).

January 5th should have been our first day back to school after our Christmas break.

We had just had 16 days off.

And now we got one more.

I'm not sure why it felt so good to have a snow day.  But it did.  It was a blessing.  It gave me a chance to get some things done that I had been putting off for the last 16 days.  It gave me one more day to refuel and rejuvenate before going back to work at Kellogg High School.

It was nice having that one extra day.


1/4/15 Blessing: Zoe Hangout

I love how technology brings us closer to our loved ones, especially when they are miles and miles away.

For the last week, our middle daughter Zoe has been in New York City.  She was leading a group of about 15 students to help and serve others in the city.  She was very busy, so we didn't talk much throughout the week.

But she returned home Saturday night, and Sunday night we had a Google Hangout.  We hooked the computer up to the television, so we could all see and hear Zoe on the TV, and Paul, Molly, Coco, her friend Sidnee and myself could all talk and communicate with her on her laptop.

It was a blessing to hear about all her experiences feeding others in a soup kitchen, preparing meals for people with AIDS and other chronic ailments, to hand out food to others in a pantry, so visit with some New Yorkers who had lived in the East Village most of their lives, and get the history of the area, to hear stories of how different organizations help the homeless population in NYC. 

To hear what is was like being one of over a million people who spent New Year's Eve in Times Square.

To see her smiling face on the screen toward the end of our conversation, when she shared about how good and accomplished she felt after leading this group all week on this trip.  She should feel proud about all she did.

I am blessed to have a daughter with Zoe's heart who wants to serve God by serving and helping others.  I am looking forward to see what her next ministry opportunity will be.


1/3/15 Blessing: The Coffee Shop

Uptown Kellogg has a coffee shop!!

I have been longing for a place to go have coffee and hang out for a long time.

Recently, The Rusty Cup Coffee Shop has opened.  It is nice and cozy, with good coffee, nice atmosphere and friendly owners.

My Saturday blessing was going up and enjoying this coffee shop with my husband and daughter Coco, who is home on break from college. 

And to have my husband say to me, "we need to do this every week".  You don't have to convince me!!  He said he needs a little help making sure we do it, but we are going to make it happen!!

I went to this coffee shop about a week ago with my friend April, and she shared with the owners a text I had sent her back in November when she texted me to ask me where we wanted to meet for coffee.  This was my reply:

"I want to meet at the funky coffee shop in town with the big comfy chairs and the really good coffee...oh wait, we don't have a place like that....it is only in my dreams.  So, I don't know where to meet...oh, and that coffee shop I dream about has a big fireplace, too"

So, this place is pretty close to my dream place.  Comfy couch instead of comfy chairs.  Good coffee.  Electric fireplace, but it does look like a fire!!  Am very blessed to have a place to go now.

I have a feeling I'm going to become a regular!!



1/2/15 Blessing: Good Food, Good Friends

I spent the day today preparing a meal. 

I love cooking.

I love cooking for others. 

One of my new favorite recipes to make is Crockpot Red Curry Lentils.  If you want to check it out, you can find the recipe here.

In addition to the Lentils, I made hummus, cucumber salad, and Naan bread.  I made some Jasmine Rice, and also had some great things to put on top of the lentils, such as coconut milk, chopped peanuts, cilantro, limes, apple, pineapple.

I got a new crock pot for Christmas, and this was the inaugural recipe.  This recipe serves about 16, so we had plenty.  I took some of the lentils, hummus and naan bread over to my mom's house so her and brother Bill could enjoy this meal for dinner. (And, thankfully, they loved it!)

Later, our friends April and Eric Lee came over and we enjoyed a wonderful meal around the table, next to a crackling fire in the fireplace.

Preparing delicious food, enjoying wonderful company, and spending time with good friends.

That is what goes in my Blessing Bag today.


The Blessing Bag

My sister shared with me a great idea that Elizabeth Gilbert shared on her Facebook page, about having a Happiness Jar.  Here is what she says to do:

Dear Ones -
Here it is the end of the year, and I thought it might be a good time to re-introduce to you all the concept of a Happiness Jar.
Here's me with mine!
What is a Happiness Jar? The simplest thing in the world. You get yourself a jar (or a box, or a vessel of any kind) and every day, at the end of the day, you grab a slip of paper and write down on it the happiest moment of the day.
Even on lousy days, you do this. Because even on lousy days, there is one best moment (or at least, one least-worst moment.)
You stick that little piece of paper in the jar.
Over the years, you have a record of your happiness.
On bad days, I will thrust my fist in that jar and go fishing — pulling up a handful of great moments that I would have utterly forgotten, had I not documented them.
I've been doing this practice for years, and I love it.
If my house ever caught on fire, this would be the one material object I would grab before I ran out the door...because what's inside this jar? THAT'S WHERE IT'S AT — the whole point of this life.
Over the years, my Happiness Jar has taught me much. What continually amazes me is what ends up on the slip of paper every day. Not awesome events, not huge achievements — usually just a small and tiny thing, a moment of awareness...that moment when you step outside and between the house and the car you get hit on the top of the head with a beam of sunlight, and suddenly feel awash with gratitude simply for being alive, and you think, "Yes. This is it."
It's usually something that small — and something that grand.
So I though I would do this.  Only I am more of a "Bag Lady" as opposed to using jars, so I am going to have my Blessing Bag.  I thought this fitting, since my sister gave me the bag for Christmas, and now it has a wonderful purpose.
Plus I have been wanting to get back into more consistent writing on my blog, so this is a good way to be more consistent on my blog, and share my blessings each day, too.
My brother posts Three Beautiful Things on his blog each day, and it is so encouraging to see what beauty he sees each and every day.  So I am going to focus on blessings.
I will not only write it down on a piece of paper, and put it in the bag.  But I will also write it each day on my blog, and share it with whoever want to read it!!
1/1/15 Blessing
Today I spent time with my friend Tina Curry.  We went and saw the movie "Unbroken" which was fabulous.  It was so nice to see a movie do the story from a book justice.  Then Tina and I went to Bardenay's and had lunch, and it was delicious.  We had a really good talk, and it was so much fun spending time with one of my oldest and dearest friends.