Country Chronicles: What I’m Into November 2013 Edition


I’m into the sun setting in splendor and three elk crossing my path on my way home from school. I am into comet sightings and the first snow falling.

I’m into slouching into a posture of listening, of holiday, of waiting. I’m into slowing my steps and retraining my eyes to notice the miraculous ordinary.


I’m into finishing my first class towards my graduate degree and loving every minute of the learning. I’m into my work again too, and the way my voice sounds like passion and I feel like this might be a good part of my call. I had a quick trip to California early November and I met some inspiring people, made some amazing connections, ordered room service, sat beside a pool. Sometimes there are just reckless blessings, my eyes are being opened to the fact that they don’t always look the way I think they might.


I am into the seasons changing and fall giving way to winter. I am into the way cold air feels on my face and the way my house smells when the firebox gets refilled. I am into the peace of snow and the way we all slow in the presence of it. I’m into the new movement of God in my heart, the way my words feel powerful and spirit filled and I sense Him again, just there under my skin. I’m into lessons learned. Like how my destiny is mine alone, how there is no one else who can live it. Learning that no one can take the place at a table that HE has set for me. That even when it seems that a dream has been lived by another? There is room at the table for me too. I’m learning what can be stolen are my quiet moments and secret places with the Lord…these are the only things I need to fight for my place. I’m learning that truth is in the subtleties; sin is in shift to the right or to the left, the corruption of the best and beautiful things (like friendships turned to interest of self, like motherhood turned to show).

 I’m into the kitchen again now that the weather has cooled and am loving this squash soup, these naan and chicken sandwiches (with chutney and curry yogurt dip).

I’m into ‘too much television’ and making all sorts of hibernation plans. My reading pile is growing. My writing plans are deepening. December…I love you.

I’m into her highland dancing, his reading improving. I’m into the way they are both growing and thriving and the ways they challenge all I thought I knew about myself, what I believe about parenting.


I’m into preparations for advent and slowing my heart and picking up some books. (Watch for this blog to become a bit more active over the advent season. If you want to join me in the readings that will inspire it pick up this and this).

What were you into this November???

Linking with Emily for “What I Learned in November” and Leigh Kramer:

– See more at:

Country Chronicles: What I’m Into March 2013

I’m into the church services that leave me speechless. Spell bound. Dissolved. I’m into the grief and the celebration of living in community. In one day I prayed with nearly weds and prayed for a wounded one. Life is like that when we tear down some fences. I’m into hanging out in the back where the story is still developing, where the mother grieving a lost son escapes to, where the boys with ADD hang out. 

Photo cred...Phil Collins

Photo cred…Phil Collins

I am into the bird calls returning, the woodpecker back. I’m into the stellar jays and the robins fighting and the swallows nesting in my bird house. I’m into the mallard pair who nest in the pond each spring and the way earth smells when it thaws.


 I am into her blond curls blowing in the spring winds and her dusty rose dress. I am into his construction projects, her endless art. I’m into the dams they build in the creek, the mud they sling, the trail they leave across my floor (well, ok I’m not exactly ‘into’ that, but it is what I am doing). 

wpid-20130401_124523.jpgI am into the sun finally creeping in through filthy windows and the motivation to get stuff done. I’m into cleaning out shelves, turning round furniture.wpid-20130402_191624.jpg

I’m into this book. There will be more to come on it (and I’ll even give away a copy) but it is feeding into my leanings and I am excited about it. I am back into Game of Thrones though I put it down for a time. I am into reading about marriage again and what it means and how to do it better. I’m into figuring this motherhood thing out, finding a rhythm wherein I still feel like myself. I’m into the poets, finding my attention span short. I think Mary Oliver and I would make fine friends. 




I am into feet gathered under my table, spring sun heating our backs. I’m into any excuse I can find to use fresh basil, tomatoes and reduced balsamic vinegar. I’m into risotto, salmon lettuce wraps, black bean salad, chicken fajita soup.


What about you? What is on your ‘best of’ list for March??? On the prowl for some new music…suggestions????

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

An October Saturday

L. M. Montgomery – “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”


The man is out-of-town and we woke up to the first rain having fallen in ages. The shadows cast slightly differently across the ranch as the sun rose later. The clouds are hanging heavy in the valley and the leaves turned over to yellow. The children are refusing to leave the house and so, I suppose, it is time to admit the seasons are a changing…winter is indeed coming.

I don’t mind so much. Not when it means I can read for three hours, make pumpkin pie french toast, light candles, hush the whole world. Life can be such a frenetic rush, sometimes it is so beautiful to not make a plan, to wonder what I want to do with a day. A fort is built for the kids, they’ve moved in beds, snacks, and most recently asked if they could watch Cinderella in it. I may not see them until dinner.

So for me? This afternoon I am enjoying:

This. I don’t know why this translation is striking me…over the head…over and over today. I’ve kept it open all day today and I return and return. Do yourself a favor. Do the same thing tomorrow. Let it settle in deep.

My lovely friend opened a BEAUTIFUL etsy shop! Way to go Shelley!

THIS Josh Garrels beautiful video…RAD.

Possibly the funniest film to come out of the youth ministry department…ever.

Watched this trailer at least five times so far. Cannot wait…one of my favorite novels of all time. And then? This, and this, AND THIS? Might spend fair coin at the movies this fall, it is a book to movie extravaganza.


Finished book two of “Song of Ice and Fire”. Fighting the urge to begin book three.



And this little bit of Wendell Berry for you… (hosted by Suzannah who is writing out “31 days of Making Peace”. WORTH THE READ!)

Happy weekend friends!





Country Chronicles: What I Want to Remember of September 2012

We played hide and seek with the moon tonight. We chased him all the way home and E shouted “surprise” to him whenever we found him. The clouds hid him sometimes and at other moments he covered himself completely with the mountains. Still we chased.

The two point buck ran in front of us for a while. We climbed Sun Valley road and he ran before us, the moon seemed just steps in front of the deer. For a moment we thought he might be able to leap right over it.
Hey diddle, diddle.

And these fantastically ordinary mamma moments are the ones I seek to create. To savour and remember. So…with that…the things I can’t forget, am so grateful for… about September 2012.

717) How our girl shouts “SURPRISE” every time we come around any corner ever.

718) Little girl, pirate swords, dress too short, patent leather boots 😉

718) This week we launched the research study I am co-coordinating. You can read about it here. It is going to be fun.

719) Launched a new church service last week. I really loved it.

720) Worlds. Best. Bird. Nest. The cutest birds ever.

721) Construction projects. The skating rink to be is in the background…the wood fired hot tub, made from a giant dumpster is burning some days. Yes. There is no doubt that Switchback Ranch is fast becoming a hick paradise. And I am in love with it.

722) The most glorious September days…Walks and talks.

723) His quiet dignity…

724) Her exuberance, zest for life…

Jesus. Thanks.

Linking with my friend Emily who launched her book this week! YAY EMILY!

Celebrating with you! 

Foodie Friday: Once a Month Cooking #1

I am the worlds messiest cook. When I have cooked a meal, the spectacle I leave behind is rivaled only by what other people’s kitchens look like on Thanksgiving. It is partly because I make most everything from scratch. Partly because I have the attention span of a gnat and usually have started eight things when I really should just have started 1. I love to cook. It is my stress reliever, my art, and generally the only way I know to take care of people. I have trouble if you come over and don’t let me feed you. I would rather make a fuss over you in the kitchen than look you in the eyes.The problem with this however is that I HATE CLEANING MY KITCHEN!

Anyways. I have a new favorite thing I want to share with you. For the first time this month (in preparation for the craziness that is September at our house) I did ‘once a month cooking’. I made a mad mess in my kitchen (like I would for making a simple kitchen meal) but this time I came out with 24 meals in my freezer.

I prepped:

Cilantro lime chicken (2 meals)

Steak fajita (2 meals)

Lasagna (2 pans)

spaghetti Sauce (1 bag)

Taco Soup (1 meal)


Butternut Squash Soup  (3 meals)

Borscht (5 meals)


Thai Chicken Wings (1 meal)

Pizza dough (5 pizza nights)…I always keep this on hand. It makes beautiful focaccia bread as well.

Beef Stew (2 meals)

balsamic onion pot roast (made and eaten today)

Everything is ready in Ziploc bags labelled with the instructions for the day and requires only that I either toss it in a crock pot or fry it up quickly. I feel like this is going to make a huge difference in my life. I will never be organized enough to be a meal planner, but I feel like this will give me a little bit of structure but still allow me choice if for example I end up with unexpected company or whatever. It saved a TON of work because you just kept cooking…the fry pan was in use the whole time, so I didn’t ever have to do more than a quick rinse. Onions for borscht, then onions and meat for stew, then straight on to browning the roast. At another stage I had two fry pans going with ground beef. One I seasoned for italian and the other mexican. Then I added tomatoes and paste and proceeded to whip up two lasagnas and freeze the rest for spagetti. The mexican seasoned beef was also split in two…one left as just seasoned meat for taco salad or burritos and the other added to the ingredients to make taco soup. I did my own thing but I found this, this and this helpful. Thanks for the inspiration Esther!


Foodie Friday (on Saturday): Borsht


In my kitchen this week:

When you come from the land of ‘sunshine and borscht’ (like actually it is on the town marquee),

and you see dill, cabbage, tomatoes and beets at the farmers market, there is only one thing you can do. Its Doukhobor Borscht time. I’m not of Russian descent but as a girl my family would often joke that we should change our name to ‘Toddoff’. The number of people in my graduating class whose sir name ended with ‘off’ was astounding and that isn’t the end of the folks descended from this ethnic group. I can tell you one thing…these people know how to make yummy soup (and also how to consume butter). I cut at least half the butter out and it was still ok.

Printable recipe here

This week (for about the twentieth week in a row) I’ve found new things to do with Greek Yogurt. So good all alone (fat-free, high in protein) or used to replace mayo in most recipes (salad dressings etc). This week I made this dill sauce for salmon (yum) and also mixed it with a bit of cinnamon and drizzled some caramel sauce on top for a dip for apples.

Also in my kitchen this week? I’m a little obsessed with the Moosewood Cookbook I took from Leanne when she moved. But I gotta tell you DON’T TRY the “Pasta with Creamy Spinach Walnut Sauce“. I had high hopes but it was kind of gross. I did replace the spinach with beet tops so maybe they just didn’t have a strong enough flavour or something? I don’t know. In any event it was gross.

Happy cooking friends!!!

Foodie Friday: Summer Lovin’

Welcome to a new feature on ‘one thing blog’. I’m calling it “Foodie Fridays”…a little update on what is happening in my kitchen in the previous week. It will be boring most of the time and honestly I am just trying to figure out this kitchen business. Join me as I learn if you like!

Currently…I am oven-less. It is ok. Most of the time I just bbq (or occasionally steal from the boys downstairs…THANKS GUYS!). So most of this week was stove top.

Loving this week~

~ Oh Ina…These coconut cupcakes might be the death of me. I topped mine with cream cheese icing, toasted coconut, and marshmallows covered in toasted coconut. Have mercy.

~ Really, my time in the kitchen is just about finding ways to eat garlic butter. This might be the best way yet! Parboil any veg you want (tonight I did farmers market zucchini and green beans) then fry them for five minutes with garlic butter and fresh parmesan. It is all you will want for dinner.

~ Melissas version of “Santa Fe Chicken Salad”. Each June I bbq a whole box of chicken breast so that I can make salads for dinner all summer. My best one so far was:

Mix 1/4 cup Ranch Dressing

1 TBSP Chilli powder

1 tsp cumin

1 TBSP your choice of bbq sauce

(this makes enough dressing for large-sized salad that feeds several)

Mix together and put on salad of your choice (I do lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers and a bit of cheese). YUM (I know if you are going to have a salad for dinner it really should be healthy…I don’t know what to tell you except…YUM).

~ Starting to prepare for the preserving season! Here are some super cute labels free from Better Homes and Garden.

~ If you do a road trip you should eat at Wildfire Grill in Osoyoos. It kind of looks mediocre from the outside but everything we had was really yummy. Then hit Osoyoos Gelato, because it is hard to be in Osoyoos and not get ice cream, this is the best we had this summer.

What are you doing with the beautiful produce this week?

What is your favorite Okanagan fruit stand?

What is your ‘go to’ summer salad recipe? I would LOVE to hear!