Thursday, November 25, 2010

thanksgiving day recap

cooked my first entire thanksgiving meal today. everyone helped. awesome.
temperature outside during a last-minute walmart run for evaporated milk: 9°
number of cubes of butter used: 10
results: near perfection. juicy turkey, smooth gravy {thank you mr. coleman, who always makes the gravy at our house}, fluffy mashed potatoes, tart apple pie.

after the feast we headed up the canyon for some sledding fun... i went down once. then took pictures until everyone had cried at least once and my fingers froze and we decided it was time to go.

snuggled on the couch with my family and watched SHORT CIRCUIT to round out a 80's movie marathon. {last night it was THE BOY WHO COULD FLY—totally radical 80's movie if i do say so myself}


washed dishes.

mr. coleman heads out at 10pm with casey and micah for some black friday fun while i sit toasty warm inside the house blogging. {someone has to watch the babies.}

i am so grateful for the blessings in my life. two thoughts keep running through my head today.

first: this quote from george washington.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor...Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789... that we may all unite torender unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.

what a beautiful idea: a holiday set aside to remember the blessings the Almighty God has given us.

second: the lyrics to the song WORTHY TO STAND by jessie clark funk

When the war is done
and the battles of this life are through,
When the Savior comes
and the earth is full and new,
I will fall
on my knees
for the mercy He has shown to me.

when i think how much he has forgiven me of, my goodness. gratitude and humility in large enough measure to bring me to my knees. that is all i can say about that.

i hope you all had a wonderful, blessed day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

writing update, by the numbers

number of words in second draft when i woke up today: 46,162 words

number of words i deleted this morning: 2395

current number of words in my second draft after a writing marathon: 46,514

number of days it will take me to get my novel in "sharable" form if i keep up the current pace: 170

somehow, unhealthy levels of denial and stubbornness are leading me to believe i will be finished with this draft by the end of 2010. i really like my little cocoon-like world of make-believe.

**type, type, type**

Friday, November 19, 2010

ta da! my first quilt

say hello to my first quilt ever—pieced, sandwiched, basted, quilted, trimmed and bound all by me. far easier than i thought it would be with some online advice by redpepperquilts.

the back.

all shipped off to my lovely sister anna. my only regret is that i didn't wait for a day with better lighting, or for my kids to get home from school, to help photograph it. oh well. if i was a perfectionist i would have never started the quilt in the first place.

{anna, maybe you could take some pictures of it when it's up in the nursery? or have angela do it ;-).}

next project: a twin-sized quilt for my sassy niece clara...maybe...or another baby quilt.

eta: i'm not sure if you see the same thing i do, but it looks like my quilt is glowing in these pictures. dirty lens or a sign? what do you think?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

things that make me cry

things that made me cry this week:

-the barbie commercial shown during movie previews
-the carl bloch museum exhibit
-the news story about the 5 children's homicides this year in layton
-the passing of my friend's mother, even thought i never met her
-researching heroin recovery rates for my next novel

what about you? are you a cryer like me?

24 ¶ But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
• • •
26 ¶ And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and athrust it into my side: and be not bfaithless, but cbelieving.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast aseen me, thou hast believed: bblessed are they that have not seen, and yet have cbelieved.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

notes for you

notes for you.

print, cut on trim marks, stick in your kids' lunches, or slip them in your spouse's car or pocket.

love, me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

warming recipes

pardon me. i am feeling poetical today.

leaves tumble from trees and veil the ground in a riot of gold, flame, and crimson.
the wind's wicked cold bite stings cheeks and noses.
fall's splendor dallies but we don't mind.
we enjoy the glory of it knowing it fades all too soon,
and hope to postpone the arrival of crusty, gray winter.

and now, i share with you 3 of my most favorite, plant-based dishes to eat on a crisp, gorgeous fall day.

vegetable chili
serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 15.5-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5-ounce can cannellini or great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5-ounce can pork and beans (blobs of fat removed)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper

1. heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. add the onion, garlic, chili powder, and cumin and sauté until onions are soft.
2. add the tomatoes and 1 cup water. bring to a simmer, partially cover with a lid, andcook 10 minutes.
3. add the beans and return to a simmer. continue cooking, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the chili is thick.
4. remove from heat and stir in the vinegar. season to taste with salt and pepper.

serve with: cornbread or polenta.
source: real simple magazine may 2000, photo from

spicy black bean soup
serves 6

1 pound dry black beans
4 teaspoons diced jalapeno peppers
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken base
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

juice of 2 limes
1 avocado, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped

1. rinse and drain black beans.
2. combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
3. cook on high for 4 hours. reduce heat to low, and continue cooking for 2 hours, or until you are ready to eat (or just cook on low 10-12 hours).
4. fold garnish ingredients together and serve.

serve with: deep-fried tortillas or corn chips.
source: myself, photo from

butternut bisque
serves 6

3 pound butternut squash (right now you can buy these already peeled, seeded, and cubed at costco)
2 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken base
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
pinch each: nutmeg and ginger
sour cream for garnish (optional)

1. peel and seed squash, cube and set aside, if needed.
2. melt butter in a large pot. add carrots, onion and celery. sauté until soft.
3. stir in potatoes, squash, water and chicken base. bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 20 minutes.
4. add curry, nutmeg and ginger. pureé the soup in batches in a blender. return to pot. salt and pepper to taste.

serve with: homemade breadsticks or french bread
source: handwritten recipe booklet crafted by my friend kimberly, former college roommate and fellow maker/photo from

Sunday, November 7, 2010

lesson learned (and still currently being learned)

i've been waking up early to go to the temple once a week. 4:45am-hours-before-the-sun-comes-up-and-i'm -so-tired-only-sheer-faith-gets-me-out-of-bed early. i feel closer to god there, and can communicate more freely with him there than any other place. i feel spiritually refreshed, optimistic, empowered every time i leave.

also, each time i do the work for another melzer ancestor i feel like i'm gaining another person on my side of the war. i love these women. i can picture each of those strong-willed german women wielding swords of light against the powers of darkness in my behalf. too melodramatic? i think not.

i need all the help i can get.

so, a while ago i took a matter to the lord that i had been struggling with. after finishing an endowment session, i sat praying in the celestial room while the sun rose over the mountains, filtering through stained-glass windows and filling the room with light, naively thinking an answer would come so that i could go out that day or week and solve the problem with his help.

ha! i can laugh at myself looking back.

instead, the answer i got was this: rachel, beloved daughter (maybe i even heard a little bit of sympathetic laughter), this is not a trial. it is an allotment. for a lifetime. over the course of your mortal existence you will learn PATIENCE. i will teach you and help you. and it will all be worth it in the end.

oh. okay.

that is a hard thing to hear. no reassurance that my trial would pass any time soon. only an understanding that the experiences of my life were specifically designed to teach me patience.

i cried at first. i felt a lot of sorrow and self pity that the hard burdens in my life would not be lifted any time soon.

and then.

the words of elder maxwell came to me. words that i had read while preparing to teach a relief society lesson a month previous. oil that i had placed in my lamp, drop by drop, so that i would have it when i needed it. words that reminded me of my final destination, my final goal.

i'd love to share those words with you:

Being content means acceptance without self-pity. Meekly borne, however, deprivations such as these can end up being like excavations that make room for greatly enlarged souls.

Some undergo searing developments that cut suddenly into mortality’s status quo. Some have trials to pass through,
while still others have allotments they are to live with. Paul lived with his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7).

Suffice it to say, such mortal allotments will be changed in the world to come.
-Neal A. Maxwell, “Content with the Things Allotted unto Us,” Ensign, May 2000, 72

and this:

Patient endurance is to be distinguished from merely being “acted upon.” Endurance is more than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance; it is not only acceptance of the things allotted to us, it is to “act for ourselves” by magnifying what is allotted to us. (See Alma 29:3, 6.)

Therefore, true enduring represents not merely the passage of time, but the passage of the soul—and not merely from A to B, but sometimes all the way from A to Z. To endure in faith and doeth God’s will (See D&C 63:20; D&C 101:35) therefore involves much more than putting up with a circumstance.

Rather than shoulder-shrugging, true enduring is soul-trembling. Jesus bled not at a few, but “at every pore.” (D&C 19:18.)

Patient endurance permits us to cling to our faith in the Lord and our faith in His timing when we are being tossed about by the surf of circumstance. Even when a seeming undertow grasps us, somehow, in the tumbling, we are being carried forward, though battered and bruised.
-Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Endure It Well’,” Ensign, May 1990, 33

now every time i get frustrated, i stop and thank the lord for another tutorial on patience. my life is beautiful, miraculous, abundant. i am so grateful for temple blessings. for the gift of the holy ghost. for a perfectly patient heavenly father who loves me enough to teach me how to become like him. for the atonement that allows me to give my burdens and weaknesses over to the lord and allows him to make more out of my life than i could by myself.

now if i could only hurry up and learn this patience lesson faster...