Sunday, January 30, 2011

gratitude day 6: personal revelation

[The Annex by Hollie Chastain]

today i am grateful for personal revelation.

having the holy ghost as a constant companion is one of the greatest gifts in my life. through personal revelation i have been prompted to stay when i wanted to leave, to keep going when i wanted to quit, to respond with kindness when i was angry, to speak up when i was afraid, to believe in myself when i felt worthless.

the holy ghost, and more specifically, the personal revelation i have received from God through him has made me better. more than i would be by myself. it has shortened the gaps between who i am now and who i hope to be.

Julie B. Beck said:
"The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life...It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the Spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks. Personal revelation gives us the understanding of what to do every day to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek those who need our help. Because personal revelation is a constantly renewable source of strength, it is possible to feel bathed in help even during turbulent times." -Ensign, May 2010, 10–12

[anna, does this answer your question about more gratitude posts? i think i'll keep going until i reach 21, but it might not be every day. i apologize. i sometimes can't live up to my own expectations.]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

mixtape winter 2011

good winter morning! there are few things i love more in life than making my own mixtape. the best mixes are like a well-paced book—a few intense scenes followed by a quiet one, rinse and repeat.

allow me to share my latest mixtape with you. i can't stop listening to it. i wonder if i'll ever get sick of these songs. guess there's only one way to find out. if you'd like me to hook you up, send me an email or tell me in the comments ;-).

White Knuckles | Ok Go
Orange Sky | Alexi Murdoch
Shake Me Down | Cage The Elephant
Kites | Geographer
Night Winds | Geographer
Verona | Geographer
Mustache Man (Wasted) | Cake
I Was Made for Sunny Days | The Weepies
Hummingbird | The Weepies
Giving Up The Gun | Vampire Weekend
Big Jet Plane | Angus & Julia Stone
Yellow Brick Road | Angus & Julia Stone
Derezzed | Daft Punk
Normandie | Shout Out Louds
The Comeback | Shout Out Louds
The Ghost Inside | Broken Bells
Babelonia | School Of Seven Bells
Don't Carry It All | The Decemberists

Monday, January 24, 2011

lepidoptera love

there are one hundred things i should be doing right now besides blogging, but you know me: play first, work [harder/faster] later.

we finally photographed the makeover of emma's room, in which she requested butterflies. take a peek!

close-up of the butterfly migration. emma painted the flowers in the polkadot pot. tempra on canvas.

emma helped me design the artwork below [and seen framed in her room], including colors and her favorite saying from a children's song. if you'd like to make your own print , click on the image below, then print on 8 1/2x11 textured paper. we love arches drawing paper. trim down to 8x10 if desired.
if i have time, i'll post some before pictures and some more details.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

gratitude day 5: date night

i'm grateful for date night. holding hands, popcorn, dark theater, and remembering why i fell in love with mr. coleman.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

gratitude day 4: food

i love food, in its many colors, textures and varieties. i love sun-warmed raspberries from the garden, honey-sweetened greek yogurt, a bowl of warm soup. i love to eat freshly prepared, whole foods. i love the way i feel when i treat my body with gratitude and respect by choosing with care what goes inside it.

food can heal. i learned that last year.

have you made a commitment for the new year to eat healthily? allow me to share some of my favorite, healthy, delicious recipes, some that i promised i would share months ago.

roasted root vegetable salad-sweet, savory and tangy all in one dish
serves 6

3-4 beets, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 parsnips, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 medium shallots, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 big pinches of sea salt
2 bunches of scallions (green onions), greens topped off, and halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon heavy cream or creme fraiche (optional)

1 cup wild rice, uncooked.

preheat oven to 400F degrees.

cook the rice according to the package directions. meanwhile, in a large bowl toss the beets, carrots, parsnips, and shallots with 1/4 cup of olive oil and 2 big pinches of salt. when the ingredients are well coated, turn them out onto a large baking sheet in a single layer. there will be a bit of residual oil in the bottom of the bowl, gently add the green onions to the mixing bowl and push them around a bit until they are coated as well. if there is room on your baking sheet add the onions in their own corner (they take less time to roast and you will need to remove them), or place them on their own baking sheet. place in the oven.

the scallions will likely finished baking first, remove them when they are well-browned, roughly 20 minutes. the rest of the vegetables usually take somewhere between 40 and 60 minutes. let them go until they are deeply golden and tender throughout. check them regularly, flip them with a metal spatula once or twice along the way, and if any of the smaller pieces are getting too dark pull them off the pan.

while the vegetables are roasting, start the dressing by pouring the red wine vinegar into a small bowl along with the chopped shallot. if you have the time, let it sit there for twenty minutes or so. then whisk in the mustard and salt, before slowly drizzling in the olive oil, whisking all the while. whisk in the cream, taste and adjust with more mustard, vinegar, salt, etc to taste.

when they are done roasting, remove the vegetables from the oven. in a large bowl toss the wild rice (if you're going that route) with a splash of the vinaigrette. you can now either transfer the rice to a serving platter, as a bed for the vegetables, or you can add the roasted vegetables to the bowl and toss them with the rice, the rest of the dressing, and half of the scallions. turn everything out onto the platter and serve topped with the remaining roasted scallions.

french onion soup-easy, yummy, crockpot recipe
serves 6

4 cups water
6 beef bullion cubes or 2 tablespoons beef base
1/4 cup butter
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sherry

Place water and beef bullion/base in crockpot. Set to high. In a large sauté pan on medium heat, cook butter and onions, covered, for 15 minutes, or until onions are soft and beginning to caramelize. Add the flour and sherry to the onions. Stir, then dump in the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Serve with cheesy french bread and a green salad.

southwest quinoa salad-healthy, quick, vegetarian
serves 6

1 heaping Tbsp. grated lime zest
1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well (soak for a few minutes, drain in fine strainer) 2 cups water
1 can petite diced tomatoes with chipotle chiles
2 cans black beans, rinsed well
1 small can chopped black olives
1 cup chopped tomatoes (i like cherry tomatoes straight from the garden, but grape tomatoes would be good too)
1 cup frozen corn (i love the organic sweet corn from costco)
2 scallions, chopped (including most of the green part)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

whisk together lime zest and juice, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper in serving bowl. simmer quinoa in water, uncovered, about 10 minutes. turn off heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. (strain any excess water with a fine seive and dump the can of diced tomatoes over the top.) add quinoa mixture to dressing and toss well, then stir in remaining ingredients.

raw ranch dip-perfect for dipping all those raw veggies in, but you've got to soak the nuts/seeds overnight so plan ahead
makes 1 cup

1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup hemp seeds
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh herbs (i like dill, basil, and parsley, and i'll use dried herbs in the winter when i can't pull them straight from my garden)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water, more or less

soak nuts and seeds overnight, then drain. blend everything but the water in a blender or food processor until smooth. add water until the dip is your desired consistency. i like mine thick so it doesn't invade other items in our school lunches. you may want to add more water if you plan on using it as a salad dressing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

gratitude day 3: my body

i'm grateful for my body. the too big parts, the too small parts, the adult acne and hypersensitivity too.

i can hear music. i can see beauty. i can taste cafe rio's chicken salad. i can run and not be weary, walk and not faint.

i remember a specific moment. i was in 7th grade, examining a picture of myself with intense dismay. look how skinny my calves are. look how big my thighs are. [i think i weighed 80 pounds.] look how flat my chest is. i spent the next decade obsessing about the imperfections of my body.

what happened? there was no angel, no trumpets sounding, no sudden realization of the truth. instead somewhere along the way i began to appreciate the things my body allows me to do. how miraculous it is.

i played a piano solo at a funeral with that body. i fought off an infection, typed a novel, kissed mr. coleman, cooked a meal, hugged a grieving friend with that body. i danced. i ran 13.1 miles.

i grew four babies in that body, shapeshifting each time, four perfect miracles. i nursed those babies for four years, altogether.

four years.

i am grateful for the miracle of my physical body, vessel for my spirit, the too big parts, the too small parts and all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

gratitude day 2: music

it doesn't matter if i'm playing beethoven's sonata pathétique or zez confrey's dizzy fingers on the piano, listening to band of horses or brahm's requiem, or singing hymns at church. music hits me, moves me, changes me, in a way that nothing else does.

music soothes distress, pushes me to run farther/faster, helps me earn a living, and brings me joy. also, concerts! diversion! fun!

i love discovering new bands and reminiscing as i listen to an old favorite. i cannot ever get enough, which is why i am so grateful to know that there will be music in the next life.

thank you, world, for music.

what i'm enjoying today:
the decemberists new album, streaming in its entirety here, to be released jan. 18.

Monday, January 10, 2011

REVOLUTION by jennifer donnelly

i know i already posted today, but i really wanted to share this book with you. it's for music lovers, writers, historical fiction lovers, anyone who loves a good coming-of-age story. and no, you can't borrow my copy because i am going to reread and reread until i figure out how donnelly does it.

REVOLUTION by jennifer donnelly

stunning, heart-breaking, masterful prose. a book about a troubled teen, riddled with guilt, with only her music helping her hold on to her sanity. donnelly is a master of the metaphor, one any writer would do well to study for her sheer writerly-crafing-genius, but she is also so much more. she takes a wounded, imperfect character, makes her grief, guilt, paranoia, and rage real for the reader, and then leads us on an incredible journey to healing, hope and peace. with cleverness, subtlety, and judiciousness.

if this were a movie it would be rated "r" for language and a few references to substance abuse—but in my opinion, totally worth the read and i wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone 14 and up.

gratitude day 1: lucas

inspired by my friend brook, i'll be posting something i'm grateful for every day for the next 21 days.

day one: lucas
because every day is fun and new and exciting with him.

what he's been up to today:

(1): lining up the pictures of the kids in his preschool class in two rows–his friends on the top row and the kids he "doesn't like" on the bottom row.

(2): playing with his "big brother" that he made by stuffing some of his clothes with blankets.

(3): playing in the flour {or as he described it, "making roads and quilts"}. i'm glad he's got a little bit of me and mr. coleman in him.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

the reason my sewing machine + i are on a break

two more quilts. given as christmas gifts.

the first, sewn for my sister angela and her husband clint, i have titled: angelateral {or, alternately: why i will never hand-sew a binding again}

the back:

the hand-sewn binding in all its glory:

the second quilt i almost decided to just store in the closet, unfinished. i had run out of sewing enthusiasm, plus it's crooked, so i was embarrassed to gift it, but in the end, i sucked it up and sewed a binding on it. my kids were sad to give it away. they love that soft minky fabric on the back. i hope my sister-in-law loves it like they do.

i have entitled this quilt: charity {for private reasons, which some may understand}

Thursday, January 6, 2011

clara's bunting quilt

this really is a recap of my vacation. for the first week i was in arizona, the only thing i did was quilt and eat. (possibly there was a small amount of swinging and playing at the park. more on that later.).

here's the first quilt i finished while i was down there, for my niece clara. i'm already missing all that green grass.

the front:

the back:


i love you, clara jane. i hope you are enjoying your brand new baby sister.