Thursday, July 31, 2014

Friday Faves...Quick and Easy Chicken Salad

Sometimes you need a quick and easy no cooking summer recipe.
This fits the bill perfectly, and with my adaptations it's actually a bit on the healthier side
 than most mayonnaise heavy chicken salads.
My husband loves this, my kids and grandkids love this, and it's a favorite of friends as well.
Won't they be surprised to read this and find out it actually takes no real cooking skill!
We love this chicken salad served in pita pockets.
The grandkids prefer it served on a saucer with a side of crackers.
If you're watching your carbs, you can eat it wrapped up in lettuce leaves.
If you're not, try it on some grilled baguette or inside a yummy croissant or eat it in your favorite wrap.

It all starts with this, two cans of Kirkland chicken breast from Costco.
Each can is a little over 12 oz.
(you could also use chopped up rotisserie chicken or home grilled or roasted chicken breast)

To chicken add:
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I use olive oil mayo)
1/3 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup roughly chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)
1/2 cup grape halves (raisins or dried cranberries can be used as well)
salt and pepper to taste

That's all there is to it!
Keep the ingredients on hand for those "I don't want to cook" days and enjoy!

It's almost Friday, friends.
Have a
a BLESSED weekend!


TidyMomShabby Art Boutique

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Declarations of an older woman...

(Nana and youngest granddaughter)

In just a few days I'll be turning fifty seven.  That is definitely on the downhill slide of the fifties and way too close to the big six-zero for my liking!  It's all too easy to get depressed and give in to a bad case of the dreaded doldrums if I let my thoughts go down the road of worry, anxiety, and fear about aging and what the future holds.  So, I've decided not to go there and instead to head a different direction.  Won't you join me?

Don't Doubt~
As I look back over my life,  God's very evident care, protection and provision is clearly seen.  Why would He,  my good and perfect Heavenly Father, leave me now just because I'm getting older?  Ridiculous, right?  So, when worry, anxiety and fear come knocking, they are going to find a DO NOT DISTURB notice on the door to my mind and heart.  I might even include this scripture verse. 
" who have been borne by Me from your birth, carried from the womb: Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you."  Isaiah 46:3-4 Amplified Bible

Decide to Depend on God~
Once a year my husband and our church administrator have to meet with our insurance agent to decide if we are going to stay with or change our current health insurance plan.  Every year it goes up, up, up...this year it went up another 45%.  In this age of so-called "affordable health care",  if this doesn't make it clear that our dependence cannot be on our government to take care of us in our old age, I don't know what does. My dependence can't be on  money in the bank, Social Security, retirement plans, or other people.  God is the one Who gives me life and breath and He is the Only One Who I can depend on.  My husband and I have always tried to put God and His kingdom first.  We've been diligent to invest in things that "moth and rust cannot destroy".  Now, we are facing the future with our hands holding firmly to His.

Decide to be delighted~
I'm a firm believer that you are in charge of your emotions.  They aren't the boss of you.  So instead of being filled with dread about aging, I've decided to be delighted about it!  Why can't the rest of my life be the best of my life?  Isn't the God I serve the God who said that the latter things can be better than the former?  Why can't my older years be my best years?  Well, they certainly won't be if I  have a negative "woe is me" mindset.  For example, I can focus on the not so fun aspects of menopause, like hot flashes, or I can focus on saying a final farewell to the "monthly miseries"!   I can be depressed that my oldest daughter is on her own downhill slide to forty, (which makes me feel really old!), or I can focus on enjoying my grandchildren, (who keep me feeling young!).

Decide to be Disciplined~
Unfortunately, I'm not going to grow older and still be healthy and vibrant without some work on my part.  Besides my usual walking/running, I recently bought a few simple pieces of exercise equipment and have added some Grandmas With Muscles exercises to my exercise routine.  It's fun!  And of course, there is an attempt on my part, (most of the time), to eat healthy and drink lots of water.

Decide to not fear Death~
Let's just face it, I'm not middle aged anymore unless I live to be a hundred and fourteen!  I've actually thought a time or two about how many years I might have left here on planet earth.  It's a bit sobering.  Yet, I made a decision long, long ago that helps me to not fear death.  As a wee, little girl I gave my life to Jesus Christ and received Him as my Lord and Savior.  Because of this, I have every confidence that I have received His gift of eternal life.  When God says it is my appointed time to die, I will be going to the home my heart has always longed for.  Just as my heart breathes a sigh when, after a trip away from home,  I finally arrive back home and get to sleep in my own bed, so will it be when I reach my forever home with Christ.  My heart will know that this is where I have always belonged.  And so, I have nothing to fear or dread.

Decide to Pursue my Destiny and Purpose~
But, for now, I'm still in the land of the living, and God's Word has something to say about that!
For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.] Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible
So I guess God doesn't take back His destiny and purpose for me just because I'm getting older.  In fact, it doesn't appear to me that I can retire from doing what He created me to do.  I believe that as long as I have life and breath I have a God-given purpose for being here and I should be seeking Him to show me what that is and how I am to walk it out in my everyday life.  

 As I stare into the face of my fifty seventh birthday, I declare that I have decided to age gracefully and joyfully.  Amen, so be it.

still following,


USE this for BLOG

at 3-D Lessons for Life


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer centerpiece...

In the summer I seem to lose my will to work.
Just keeping up with the normal chores at home takes firm resolve.
When the weather is fine I get restless. 
I find myself gathering up grandkids for a swim in the river,
or wandering the fresh produce market 
wondering why the hubs doesn't think a supper of cold, juicy watermelon is an adequate meal.
I've caught myself dreamily searching the internet for vacation cottages on the coast of Maine
and daydreaming about driving a convertible down the coastal highway all the way from Oregon to San Diego.
My point?
Summer is not my most productive time of year.

So, a simple summer centerpiece that takes no work at all is just my cup of tea.
The hubs brought me home some freesia yesterday. (Happy wifey!)
I placed the freesia in a hobnail milk glass vase that I found at the Goodwill some time back.
(Most of my hobnail milk glass has been purchased at the good old GW.)

Next I placed some sea shells in a milk glass candy dish.

Last, but not least, I added my favorite Citrus Vanilla candle from World Market.
(I always watch for sales and for the email coupons I get from World Market.)

My centerpiece sits atop a favorite bread board with a homespun style kitchen towel underneath.
Easy Peasy!

 So, does anyone else out there get summertime lazy-itis?

still following,

Monday, July 28, 2014

Treasures from the sea...

(editing using Picmonkey's tranquil at 70%, then one layer of Kim's 99 texture, lighten, 30% opacity)

The dunes around the beach house we rented for our family reunion were topped with sea grass.
I had to clip a few of the sea grass "plumes" to take home with me.
And of course, I'm always on the lookout for sea shells.

( edited with Picmonkey's tranquil 70% and Kim's 2810 texture, darken 100%)

( Kim's evolve texture, screen mode, 25% opacity)

(edited by desaturating 20%, Picmonkey's sepia 40%, Kim's just a touch texture, lighten, 20% opacity)

( edited with Picmonkey's tranquil 70%, and Kim's quest texture, darken, 50% opacity)

(edited using Picmonkey's tranquil, 70%, and Kim's 2110 texture, multiply mode, 50% opacity)

( edited using Picmonkey's tranquil, 70% and Kim's rue marion texture, multiply mode 50% opacity)

still following,


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Family Reunion Week thanks...

This is our third year of gathering in the rented beach house that is nestled in the dunes there on the point of land with the bay on one side and the sea on the other.  It's comforting to return to the same place these years since my siblings and I, (and our children and grandchildren),  no longer have Mama's house as our place to gather.  The familiarity feels like a warm embrace.  

The sky was blue and clear each day we were there.  That's something we don't take for granted on the Oregon coast where gray skies, biting wind, and drizzle can occur any time of the year.  This year the children played outside on the dunes in summer shorts, only putting on a light sweatshirt or jacket in the evening when we would gather round the bonfire and make s'mores.

 Soft sand surrounds the house. The dunes that form a natural barricade from the bay on one side and the ocean on the other are topped with tufts of sea grass. I'm not one to go around barefoot, but this place seems to call for it.  Keeping sand out of the house is an impossibility,  much less keeping it out of shoes, so a pile of shoes lays on the floor by the back door,  most of us shedding our shoes before climbing the dunes and following the path through the sea grass  to walk by the sea.

The children play on the dunes from morning to night with only occasional adult interference. They can be seen through the large living room windows.  They've been warned not to go over the dunes without an adult.  "If you can't see the house, you've gone too far over the dune." we tell them.  Baths are a must at the end of the night as they come in covered with sand from head to toe.  Sand settles on the bottom of every tub in the house.

My siblings and I comment on the passing of time.  Someone mentions how it seems like yesterday when my oldest granddaughter, eleven years of age, was just a baby.  I comment that my sister's oldest granddaughter was out playing in the dunes last  year, but now she seems to have matured past the point of wanting to play with the younger ones.  My oldest sister mentions that her husband will turn seventy next spring.   We all shake our head in disbelief.  Me, I wonder how I can possibly be turning fifty seven in a few days.  And the reunion itself, we looked forward to it for so long, and how can it possibly be time to say goodbye already?

On the drive home, I notice that the fields of farmland that were green the last time we drove to the sea,  have been cut and the golden hay lies on the ground ready to be gathered up.  Harvest time will soon be here.  The yearly cycle seems to repeat more quickly with every year that I age.  I feel the desire to stop and mourn a bit as I see time passing and us all aging.  Even the youngest of us, my youngest grandson, is already nearing three months old.  I want to stop time, yet I also wonder what his personality will be like at age two.  You can't stop time, I remind myself, so savor the time that is right now.

I thank the Lord for the blessings of each day, writing down the ones I remember.  I savor the goodness that this week contained, appreciating the truth that every good gift comes from God.  I comfort myself when time passes all too quickly, by reminding myself that this life isn't all there is.  Most of my family members have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior so His promise of eternal life means that we will have eternity to be with each other.  I remember Mama's last prayer when she asked aloud that not one of her descendants would be lost, but that all would come to know Christ, come to love Him.  I echo her prayer in the depths of my heart.  Amen, Lord Jesus, so be it.  

I come home and the busyness of unpacking, washing our sandy clothes, and doing some chores that were put off in our preparations to leave, occupy my mind for a while.  It's when I sit down to go over this week's list in my gratitude journal that it all comes flooding back.  What an amazing God! He took our broken family, and has made something beautiful.  Are we perfect?  Farther from it than you might imagine. But we are blessed beyond measure, we are rich in God's blessings, and we are a family that loves one another.  A "thank you,  God" is the least I can give in response.

Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone) 


-the lawnmower suddenly deciding to start when we had given up hope 
and thought we were going to have to finally replace the old thing
-God's gracious provision
-reading 1 Peter on a "Jesus date"
-cooler weather making for a more enjoyable run
-taking the two youngest granddaughters on a walk to play on the school playground 
after not seeing them for over a week while they were on vacation

-the hubs going grocery shopping with me
-sharing a Costco frozen yogurt

-waking up to the sound of a  summer rain after a long dry spell
-the hubs working from home today
-running errands with him-and him treating me to Chipotle, one of my favs
-stopping by our second born's house to borrow something and getting to love on the grands for a few minutes
-getting everything done on today's to-do list

-the smell of the rain
-baking Mama's oatmeal cake recipe and oatmeal cookie recipe to take to the family reunion

-five year old granddaughter getting to ride with us to the family reunion

-stopping at Mo's for lunch and meeting up with our second born's family there as well as running into our nephew and his family
-everyone arriving safely

-beautiful weather

-my grandkids and great nieces and nephews playing together all day in the sand and the sea

-playing Catch Phrase and belly laughs
-campfire time 

-our oldest brother facetiming us since he's in India and couldn't be here for the reunion
-going crabbing together-what fun!

-my sisters and I finally going through Mama's jewelry 3+ years after her death, 
(and the blessing that there was no greediness or bickering or hard feelings some go through)
-flying the kite

-eating the crab-YUM!

-the hubs and my son-in-law having a safe drive back home in order to preach on Sunday
-youngest daughter's boyfriend joining us at the reunion to meet the whole family
-this whole wonderful, beautiful day

-many hands make light work-getting the rental house ready for us to leave
-hugs good-bye
-the hubs text that church was really good
-a hubs that encouraged me to stay for the whole reunion even though he couldn't
-the blessing that all of my kids and grandkids got to attend the reunion
-our safe travels home

gratefully yours,