Nurturing Oneself

I had an early brunch with a dear, dear friend of mine this morning. As we sat in her sweet little breakfast nook with tea, boiled eggs, and stollen, we chatted about how the year was going and she asked me what I was doing to nurture myself. Honestly y’all, I babbled out an answer full of things that made her go “THAT’S what you find nourishing?” Things like scheduling things, making sure everything had a task associated with it, being better organized, etc. She expressed a bit of doubt with my methods, but being the gracious hostess she is, she just let it go and the topic moved onward.

I got home a while later and really started thinking about it. I am not really a planner. Oh, I try and try to be, but in the end every plan lasts a few days and then I scrap it. So I spent some time just meditating on the idea of nurture and what it meant to me.

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Nurturing me means extra time around everything so I can digest experiences. Yes, that means a bit of planning, but it is soooo good to have time around things and not just be chock-a-block busy.
  2. Nurturing me also means time for music, which I have not been making. The words “I haven’t played the piano since I got these progressive lenses” slipped out of my mouth and now that I’ve ruminated on it, I got the glasses in January (9 months ago) and haven’t really touched the piano since my mom died.  Hmmm….
  3. Nurturing me means time to read. I have “Time to Read” in my Habit Tracker, but how much have I really been reading? None. Like one day a week, which is very close to none for a Lisa.
  4. Nurturing me also means eating foods I actually like. My husband is very good about cooking dinner, but he is very bad about making food that I really am fond of. Part of that is that the kids hate everything and part of that is that we really, Nick and I, have a totally different palate. I’ve been cooking my own lunches this week and eating all the things I love, like mushrooms and onions and zucchini and sweet potatoes and cabbage, and have been so happy at lunch time!

Anyways, that’s what’s on my mind today. Time to go eat the mushroom/onion/zucchini/feta dish that’s been sauteing while I type. 🙂  Hope y’all have a good afternoon!

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ALTON BROWN LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Neighbor Bread

Here’s the story: on Wednesday morning, I went to my friend Stephanie J’s house for coffee. She served the MOST DELICIOUS coffee cake EVER. It turned out to be a recipe one of the neighbor’s had given her…and she had used figs that another neighbor had given her to make it. Wednesday night I was over at the (recipe) neighbor’s house for a wine tasting party and asked for the recipe. She laughed and introduced me to Debbie, who is her “neighbor” at work who had given HER the recipe.  Hence the name Neighbor Bread. So I posted about it to facebook and this recipe now has a following. I’m posting it here in slightly edited form (It was originally sent in to a newspaper and “my” copy of it has the newspaper bit at the top, with bits crossed out, underlined, and whited out & written over, with copious notes at the bottom.).

Neighbor Bread

AKA Fresh Fig Bread with Sherry

Spread the slices with cream cheese or butter and serve at breakfast or teatime, or for dessert.  Moist, sweet, and lightly perfumed, fig bread goes well with tea, apple juice, or sherry.

 

1 ½ cups stemmed and coarsely

chopped ripe dark or light figs

1 teaspoon  each ground cinnamon and baking soda
¼ cup dry sherry ½ teaspoon each ground nutmeg and salt
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts ½ cup salad oil
2 large eggs

Combine figs and sherry; let stand at least 15 minutes. Mix together flour, walnuts, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.

In a mixer bowl, beat sugar, oil, and eggs to mix. Blend in flour mixture; gently stir in figs and sherry. Pour batter into a well-greased 5×9 inch loaf pan. Bake in 350 degree oven until bread feels firm when gently pressed in center, about 1 ¼ hours. Let cool in pan 10 MIN. Invert onto rack to cool. Slice to serve. To store, wrap airtight and keep at room temperature up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Makes about a 2-pound loaf, or 12 servings. —Lee Jordan, Concord, California.

Notes on page from Connie (as passed on from her friend Debbie):

-can substitute port for sherry (or marsala)

-if using “cooking sherry” omit the salt

-place wax paper along bottom of pan & grease generously

-takes about 16-17 small figs, or 2 cups untrimmed figs

-can substitute pears for figs (takes about 3 pears- peel them)

-maybe add extra yolk if using pears.


Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

Bible Study Fellowship

About 11 years ago, when we first moved to Tyler, I was invited several wonderful places to get plugged in to the local community. One of them was Bible Study Fellowship (hereafter known as BSF). I went to a couple meetings towards the end of their year, met some lovely people, but ultimately decided to join the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) group at the church I actually attended (BSF meets at another church across town), which also on Wednesday mornings.

Fast forward 11 or so years and here I am again at the end of a study, joining into a new-to-me group. But this time it’s better.  Well, not BSF. BSF has always been good.  I’M better now.  I’ve had 11 years to find my way through life, make friends, lose friends, finally get some sleep, and to find out what’s important to me and what is not.

I went to my first real meeting this morning (last week I attended a one-on-one welcome session with the lovely lady that had been my HR director at a former job, oddly enough).  It was such a good morning. I’d finished all my personal Bible study during the week and was prepared for conversation.  I made my way to my classroom and found a group of women that I found delightful.  It was such a nice mix of women willing to speak out and ask the kind of questions that might intimidate others (either with their incisiveness or with their apparent lack of knowledge) and women that were quiet until a specific thing they felt passionate enough about to warrant speaking and still others who, like me, just had what seemed to be the most simple of answers.

I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and made my way to this group. I think it’s going to be a very good thing in my life. 🙂

Flying!

Getting back on The FlyLady bandwagon and getting my house/life/sanity under control. Spring Break was fabulous, but the cleanup is going to take a while. Have had a nice last few days at home. It is so good to finally be at home and get things done that need doing. I’ve updated my household notebook and finally put some of my lists in sleeves so I can use the dry erase marker on them. I love technology, but somehow my brain does not equate checking something off a digital list with crossing something out on a paper list. My brain wants paper.  What can I say?

Also had a fantastic time having coffee with a sweet, uplifting friend of mine.  Have I mentioned how much I love having coffee with people?  And that I will continue to call it “coffee” til the end of time regardless of whether or not actual coffee is involved?  Oh yes I will. BTW, I need more people to coffee with.  I am available during the day and will even make time for coffee with dessert in the evenings for all you working gals because I still love you even though you’ve gone off and left me during the day (boo hoo. sniff-sniff.)

Writing retreat weekend in progress

Packing for the writing retreat. This year's necessaries: yoga mat & teapot.

Packing for the writing retreat. This year’s necessaries: yoga mat & teapot.

This year we spent our retreat at my parents house because it was a) empty and b) free.

This year we spent our retreat at my parents house because it was a) empty and b) free.

Food discussed (pinterest purused). Food eaten (after much delay). Publishing industry discussed.

More food purchased (Fresh!).

Slept (my first time with puppy in bed). Woken (puppies have small bladders).

More food eaten (Fresh muffins are good).

Writing discussed. Writing pondered. Writing stared at. Writing done? Possibly.

Food prepared (Steph makes a yummy marinara). Food eaten.

Writing pondered. Writing discussed. Writing read about. Writing done? Maybe.

Now time for more food preparation.

Looking up recipes for fancy food our families would not eat.

Looking up recipes for fancy food our families would not eat.

Making fancy dinner. Mmmm....

Making fancy dinner. Mmmm….

My Christmas presents from Steph made for fun retreat time.

My Christmas presents from Steph made for fun retreat time in the morning once I realized I was never going to actually write again.

Just before leaving, Steph came over to my house to visit Nick and the kids and we finally got a picture together.

Just before leaving, Steph came over to my house to visit Nick and the kids and we finally got a picture together.

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While the cat’s away, the mouse will play…

I’m not sure which is which in this scenario, actually. Nick and the boys went off to a Winter Family Weekend and did this all weekend:

Conga line!

Conga line!

Square dancing

Square dancing

This may be the largest Gaga Ball group ever

This may be the largest Gaga Ball group ever

Carnival style games

Carnival style games

I drove home and spent time putting things away from our week at Grandma’s house and then went off and did this:

Hanging out with Asher and eating Christmas goodies

Hanging out with Asher and eating Christmas goodies

I love hanging out at my friend Lisa's house. It's soothing and fun all at once.

I love hanging out at my friend Lisa’s house. It’s soothing and fun all at once.

Looking at all the pretty trees at sunset.

Looking at all the pretty tree skeletons. I like to take walks and imagine myself in the wilderness with no one around for miles. It helps my creative brain fill back up.

I really can't get enough of winter sunsets. I took a walk and peered through all the tree limbs.

I really can’t get enough of winter sunsets. I took a walk and peered through all the tree limbs.

It paid off…

Okay, so the evil website wasn’t so evil. Everyone I emailed yesterday emailed me back today. I’m really happy. I got in touch with some long lost friends. 🙂

One hasn’t changed a bit and lives in St. Louis, one is being as mysterious as usual, one has changed a ton, and another is in Peru. Hehe