Seasons Come and Seasons Go

I’ve been thinking about this little corner of the web over the past few weeks.  This blog has meant so much to me over the years.  It was a place for me to explore various interests that I had at the time – cooking, sewing, photography.  Sometimes I’m afraid to look back over this little archive and see all I’ve written, worried it’ll be ridiculous or embarrassing.  And sometimes it is, but only slightly.  Usually, it reminds me of who I was then.  And how I’m not that girl now.

It’s strange how much can change in so short a time.  How things that once seemed like so important are no longer even on the radar.  This blog was a small place where I chronicled years of trying, experimenting, and exploring.  I think that’s why it doesn’t seem embarrassing to me know: because it’s such a picture of who I was then.

But this is also the reason why it has left me perplexed at how to pick back up.  In some ways, I don’t want to disturb this image of who I once was.  Just like me, though, this space can’t remain unchanged forever, or else it would be incredibly boring.  It kind of already is.

(Also coming up with a new name for a blog is more than I can do.  Let’s be honest here.)

So here I am, ready to try this again.  Except, it’s going to be different.

Previously, my life seemed to revolve around cooking, food, and photography.  These days, though, I’m generally grabbing something quick to eat while running out the door.  When I do cook, I shoot for quick recipes, and the fewer dishes, the better.  My big black camera, while still important to me, is mostly in its bag now.  It’s been almost a year since it’s been out.  I know, sad.  Most of my photos are now taken on my phone.

What’s life look like now?

As a full time student and a part time piano teacher, I’m either teaching, learning, studying, or driving between all three.  It’s a lot to try to balance, and can be super stressful at times (ok like all the time).

But here’s the (not really) secret: I love it.  I absolutely love it.

I have been given myriads of opportunities I never would have had otherwise.  It’s opened horizons, stretched me, and taught me so very much.  And I can’t wait to see what will come next.

So what’s that mean for this blog?

Some days, weirdly enough, this science major just has the urge to write.  Whether it’s a thought I’ve been pondering, a memory that pops out, an interesting experience, wondering why we do something a certain way, or nostalgia, it sometimes just begs to be written.

So that’s what you’ll see here: a weird snapshot of my mind.

It won’t always be pretty, it probably won’t be very good.  But I’ll enjoy it. Hopefully, you will too.  And maybe, in five years, it will give me something to look back on.

If you’ve read this far, you are a fantastic human and you deserve an award.

And that’s it.  Hopefully I will be on here more – and we’ll see where it goes.

 

 

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Thankful For

I’m…

thankful for family.

thankful for sunsets.

thankful for my puppy.

thankful for work.

thankful for warm blankets.

thankful for music.

thankful for my piano.

thankful for my piano teacher.

thankful for ideas.

thankful for understanding friends.

thankful for sibling parties.

thankful for being redeemed.

thankful for love.

thankful for laughter.

thankful for life.

thankful for beauty.

thankful for the country.

thankful for working together.

thankful for blood, sweat, and tears.

thankful for late nights and early mornings.

thankful for inside jokes.

thankful for knowledge.

thankful for wisdom.

thankful for grace.

thankful.

 

 

love,
Allison

(What are you thankful for?)

Friday

I had grand plans of posting about our trip to a you-pick blueberry farm this evening.

And then tonight happened.

But nothing really happened tonight.

I was in the kitchen prepping dinner semi-early, and Meiling and Noah were outside.  They had two Frisbees that they had gotten at the County Fair last night (we worked there yesterday).  They were the kind with the big hole in the middle – just large plastic rings.  They weren’t throwing them at each other, they were using them to…um…do things.  Like the put a long stick thing through both, then one carried one Frisbee and the other carried the other.  They hung things from them, dropped things through them, carried things with them.  And they showed us many of the poses.

Mom and Dad were behind me, just chatting, discussing (among other things) plans for tonight.  There weren’t a whole lot.

Once I had gotten dinner pretty much ready, I headed out the door to go pick up Drake from work.  On my way, I stopped at Sonic to get a medium cherry limeade, since Mom had a token for a free one, and she told me I could use.  So I got it.  A whole medium!  It made me feel so grown up.  A soda AND driving.  If myself 4 years ago could have seen me then, she would have asked who that person was, because there was no way that could have been her.

Earlier today I ran something over to a friend’s home.  After I had gotten over halfway there, I realized I had forgotten what I was supposed to take to them.  So I had to go home.  And it made my trip that much longer.  But I actually kind of liked it.  It was one of those beautiful days, not too warm, clear blue sky, just a few white, semi-wispy clouds, and all the colors oh-so-vibrant.  And there is just something  wonderful about flying down a country highway, windows down, radio playing, hair flying.  It almost made me half glad that nobody was home when I got there, so I just had to leave my things there.  No one needed to see THAT crazy hair.

That feeling carried over to my trip to get Drake, and the soda.  It was so beautiful.  After I grabbed Drake, we chatted on the way home.  He said that, since it was Friday, everyone there was joking, and having more fun.  It just added to my feeling of a relaxed, happy Friday.

When we got home, Mom and I were outside, when I heard some music.  And it sounded like it was getting closer.  Dad appeared around the corner holding the speaker from inside, music blaring, with Meiling and Noah behind him, bearing Frisbees.  We all started throwing the Frisbees back and forth, to the happy music.

And then Mom lit the burn pile, and the smoke outlined the sunbeams that were straining through the trees.  I ran inside to get my camera.

I took a few shots of the smoke, and then laid down in the grass, and took a few self-portraits.  They are among my favorites.  Not because they are amazing.  Because they capture the moment.

It wasn’t anything that we did, or really anything we did.  It was the feeling, the mood, that prevailed, that is what made it memorable.  The relaxedness.  The laid-backness. The love.  The feeling of family.  The whatever goes feeling.

We have been running almost nonstop for the past two weeks.  And I have been feeling pressured to do more school, and to be more busy (if that makes sense).

But the other day, Meiling and I were home alone.  And we were sitting on the floor in the family room, making friendship bracelets.  After that, we were going to read “Little House on the Prairie,”  which we call Laura.

While we were sitting there, I kept feeling like I should go do something productive.  School.  Prep for our trip.  Oh, I am sure that my room could have used a cleaning.

But I really just wanted to stay there.

And then it kind of hit me.  It’s summer.  I don’t ALWAYS have to be working, busy.  And this was one of those times that I was going to remember for a long time, if not forever.  And I don’t want to squish that, brush it out of the way, with “what-I-really-should-be-doing.”  School.  Cleaning.  All great things. 

But in the end, what do they mean?  What do they count for?

Meanwhile, I have a little sister who won’t be seven forever.  And what do I want her to remember about me in 10-15 years?  The older sister who was always closeted up with her books, saying, “SHH!  Please shut the door when you leave!”  or as the sister who took time to read, to make friendship bracelets, bake fun things, do projects.

Oftentimes, Drake, Noah, and I talk about all the things that we used to play.  The forts.  The games.  Like pretending that we were orphans (our parents had been killed by monsters – more specifically, their bites, I think), and we had to move from room to room, being orphans with no home now.  (Side note: we actually didn’t remember this one, but I found it in an old journal, and it TOTALLY sounds like something we would have played.)

And Meiling doesn’t have any of those memories.

Now we’re doing school, driving, going to work, running errands, cooking, programming, building, and other what-not, while Meiling is being her little self, at the same age when we were playing in cardboard boxes, cooking pretend food, and taping paper facial hair on one another (I don’t think I ever wore any of that).  And she doesn’t have any memory of that.

So I want to be the sister that takes time for her.  If not to play in cardboard boxes and make paper facial hair, but to at least take time out for her.  Read to her.  Participate in her make-believes.  And give her some of the memories that we have.

And tonight was one of those nights, in a way.

Just a random, fun memory.  Not perfect, but wonderful in spite of the imperfection, maybe because of it.  Or maybe because it seemed so great.

That was today.

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One Year

Today is the one-year anniversary of me being grain-free.  Back when I first started, I called it Primal.  But more on that in a minute.

I didn’t know what it was going to be like when I started.  I know this is crazy to say, because it seems obvious.  But when I started, it seemed crazy to me.  Even though I was doing it, I had NO IDEA what it would look like.

The first day of being Primal, I thought I was going to die.

Not really.

It turns out I had picked a really bad day to start, as it was a meal day at church that week.  I started the day with a smoothie, brought some carrot sticks to church with me, and then the only grain-free dishes at the meal were salads.  NO PROTEIN!  Man, I went home HUNGRY!

(Should I be worried that I can recall what I ate exactly one year ago?  You know, I won’t worry about it.)

For the first month is was difficult, and it was something I really had to think about.  I ate a lot of ground beef.  And a small amount of really dark chocolate.

The first time that I went “off” and had grain was one night when we went out for pizza.  I could have just ordered a salad, but I really wanted pizza.  So I ate the pizza.  That night, I woke up in the middle of the night, and didn’t fall back asleep for 2 hours.  I believe I had a mild stomach ache.  And I actually had to go look for my peppermint oil.

And that’s when I realized all of the symptoms that I had been having that had disappeared.

I was happier.  I slept whole nights.  I didn’t have nearly the number of stomach aches/upsets that I used to have.  I rarely, if ever, woke up in the middle of the night feeling sick.  I had forgotten the last place I had had my peppermint oil, since I hadn’t needed to use it in so long.  Previously I had always known where it was.  It had practically permanent residence in my room.  If it wasn’t there, it was in my purse.  Now it has taken up permanent residence in the basement.

Over the next few months I had times where I ate more grain, and times where I ate less grain.  I ate a lot of grain and other bad stuff in December.

So I decided to cut out all dairy, bad fats, seeds, nuts, nightshades, and berries (to aid digestion), in addition to being strictly grain-free and soy-free.  It was hard.  Very hard.  Although I felt better in some respects, I started eating more, and more often.  I gained the smallish amount of weight that I had lost.  I couldn’t go without snacking.

I only did that for three weeks before I started eating nuts, seeds, nightshades, and berries again.  It took me awhile to reteach my body not to crave food when I wasn’t hungry.

During this whole time I also struggle with the terms Primal and Paleo.

First of all, I wasn’t strictly either.

Second of all, I don’t agree with the philosophy behind either.

So I stopped saying Paleo/Primal (except, maybe, in regards to classifying and finding recipes) and started saying grain-free, and even gluten-free.

(I had really resisted the gluten-free label for awhile, since there is a difference between gluten-free and the way I eat.)

I try to be grain-free most of the time, and I have made it a goal to be gluten-free for six solid months.

Now I am contemplating going completely dairy-free for awhile.  I am still struggling with some eczema, and believe that the dairy may be the root of the problem.

But I am so thankful for the healing that the Lord has provided through being grain-free.

Love,
Allison

Today–11/26/12

I know that I haven’t posted about Thanksgiving yet, but I’m not going to post about that today.  I may or may not post about that in the future – we’ll just see.  I don’t want to make any promises that I won’t end up keeping.  🙂

Today was just a normal day of school, of life.

I made an imitation Chipotle dinner tonight.  I really wasn’t planning on making the whole thing a Chipotle imitation, but it sort of took on a life of its own, and I ended up making rice, beans, and salsa, in addition to the meat.  It turned out wonderfully (if I do say so myself).  Mom ended up running to the store this evening, so she picked up some Monterey Jack cheese.  They use a blend of Jack and White Cheddar at Chipotle.  I am a HUGE fan of their cheese, just to mention one thing.  I have gotten the same thing every time I have gone to Chipotle – a Steak Burrito Bowl with brown rice (now that they offer that, I used to get white), black beans, mild salsa, and cheese.  LOTS of cheese.  I think one time I had an actual burrito.  But I much prefer the burrito bowl.  Let’s just get it out there now – I LOVE CHIPOTLE!

O.K., now that we have that covered, I can tell you what I made for dinner.  I found this recipe for Carnitas* when I was looking for slow-cooker recipes for this month’s meal plan.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  The only change I made was to use significantly less cinnamon, but I will probably up it a little next time.  Although I have only tasted the Carnita meat when my family members have extra, and I am not completely stuffed (I have never ordered it myself, as I have a thing about Chipotle’s steak), I thought it tasted a lot like Chipotle’s, and the beans and rice did, too.  I just looked online for imitation recipes, and found quite a few.  Everyone enjoyed it.  The cheese was well liked by all (see above).

No pictures.  I ate it too fast, before I remembered that I should snap a photo to share.  🙂

 

I have been reading an herb book lately (not that unusual), and in it the author discussed how great a walk is for you during the middle of the day, to take a break from desk work.  I went for a walk today, and it was lovely.  Today was a bit chilly.  It was also gray, but I rather enjoyed both of these things.  I like the cold, gray days.  They always have a certain quiet beauty about them.  I can’t explain it.  There is just a quiet serenity in the days when they are cold and gray.  They are not so shout-out-loud beautiful as the Spring days, with the colorful flowers popping their heads up everywhere.  They are not so gorgeously beautiful as the Summer days, with the intense greens of the grass and trees, and the blues of the sky.  Nor are they so gloriously beautiful as the Autumn days, with the trees dressed in their best outfits for the last party of the season, as it were.  No, the cold, gray, quiet days of early fall and winter have a majestic, serene, quiet, calming, half-gentle, half-harsh beauty about them.  I love gray days.

So I brought my camera on my walk with me.  As I had my macro lens on the camera, and didn’t really feel like changing it, I thought it would be a good exercise to try to focus on little things, and to see how many textures and small things I could catch on my walk, instead of looking for the big things, the big picture.  I wanted to zoom in, as it were, on the little beauties that were hiding on the path, things that would usually get overlooked.

Here are a few of my shots.

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LOVE the moss

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And the grass

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Old barbed wire is so…country…

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…and just plain wonderful!

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Moss on a tree – not sure if I like this shot…

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…or this shot better.  What do you think?  One or two?

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Old rusty farm equipment

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Thank you for reading today’s ramblings!

Love to you,
Allison

 

*Note:  I have not explored this website, so I do not endorse everything on it.  I just like this recipe.  🙂

Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for.

My life is so full.  I sometimes don’t know how to say it, but I am so thankful for so many things.

I think I live the best life, for me.

I am astounded every time I think about all that God has given me, the wretched sinner that I am.  Why do I have all these wonderful things, me who deserves them so little?

I am so thankful that I have been saved from my sins.  I have been forgiven much.  Very much.  I am thankful for God’s hand in my life, guiding me and pointing me in the direction He wants me to go – in the way that most pleases Him.

I am so thankful for my family – 5 such awesome people.  They make me laugh every day.  We have so many great memories together already, and I look forward to many more.

My extended family is wonderful, too.  I’m thankful for them in my life.  Again, there are so many memories and happy times we’ve spent together.  Love you all!

I can’t believe the great friends that God has given to me and my family – you are such a blessing to me!  Sometimes I wonder how I got to have these lovely people as friends, and although I can’t figure it out, I am so thankful for all of you!

I am thankful for each day God gives to me.  Each day is such a blessing, just to wake up and be.  To enjoy so much.  Just to live.

I am thankful for all the interests God has blessed me with.  Cooking.  Cheese making.  Soap making.  Nutrition.  Herbal health care.  Midwifery.  There are so many, and they make me so excited.  🙂 I can’t help being thankful for them.  Basically, I’m thankful that God make me, me.

I am so thankful for all the beautiful things around me.  The trees in the pasture across the road.  Sunrises.  Sunsets.  The rosebush outside my windowThe creekThe woods.  Our lovely property.  I look out of our windows so many times and think, “I live on the most beautiful place on earth.”  Because it is so special to me, and I know the places.

So this is what I have to say:

Thank you, God. 

Thank you for these lovely people.

And thank you for this lovely life.

 

With so much to be grateful for,
Allison

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Some loveliness that I spotted the other morning

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Yes, I Can

When I was 10, 11, and 12,  I used to love to crochet.  And I played piano, usually for an hour a day.  I loved crocheting and piano.  Crocheting was more of a hobby, but piano was something I did a little more seriously.  I somewhat viewed it as something that I always wanted to do (although I couldn’t have articulated it then).  I loved piano.

I loved to sit down and just play.  Songs I had learned, books of songs from musicals.  Just play for hours.

My family joked that I was glued to the piano bench.

But when I was twelve, my wrists started hurting.

I can’t exactly remember when, but one day my right (I think) wrist started hurting.  Then the left started.

This lasted for about a month.  It was December, and I didn’t get to do the present wrapping.  (I usually wrap all the presents for my parents, except my own.  I think they have Drake wrap those.)  I was pretty inactive, doing lots of reading, and not being able to do a whole lot else.

But then it went away for awhile.  I had already quit crocheting, and although I did dabble in it a few times over the next few years, I never really started crocheting again.

I was able to continue playing piano until I was 14, when my piano teacher married and moved away.  Although I took a few more lessons here and there, I wasn’t able to seriously play seriously anymore.  It aggravated my wrists.

At first this was really hard.  Mostly because my wrists hurt if I did anything.  Sometimes they hurt so bad that I couldn’t even read a book – it hurt to hold the book and turn the pages.

We tried all kinds of different things – some seemed to help, others didn’t.  My wrists seemed to get gradually better.  I was able to type again.  I was able to cook and bake.  But they always hurt if I tried to play piano or crochet.

This bugged me some times worse than others.  Sometimes I would feel as if playing piano was a season – one that was now over.  It would hurt a little, but, hey, if that’s the way it was, that’s the way it was.

At other times it was so difficult.  Listening to classical piano made me sad, because it reminded me of what I couldn’t do.  Seeing other people play also reminded me of this.  All these things just seemed to start a recording in my mind that repeated:

“You can’t.  You can’t.  You used to, but you can’t.  You can’t.  You can’t.”

And I really didn’t have anything to say in defense.

Because I felt like I couldn’t.

I was still teaching piano off and on through these years.  There were times when I would enjoy it.  But then there were times when I would think, “What good is a piano teacher who can’t even play the piano?”

A few weeks ago I decided to play the piano a little bit every day.  I was able to prove to myself that I could still read music (a skill that I thought I was losing).

And it didn’t hurt – at least not at first.

I also tried crocheting again.  I made a dishcloth, and then I started to think about what else I could make.

I decided to crochet a bagful of cupcakes to give to a little friend who loves cupcakes.  So I started.

I finished the first cupcake on Monday evening.  I set it on top of my bookcase, where I can see it.

And you know what it says to me?

“You can.  You can.  You CAN.”

Although trying to play piano and crocheting has caused my wrists to hurt some (they are hurting right now), I am hoping to be able to work through it, so I can at least play piano again.

And it’s so nice to have something to prove to myself that I can.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me this.

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The cupcake on top of my bookcase

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All finished!

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