Happy New Year

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Happy New Year! (a few days early…)

Hoping your holidays were merry.

Sending you a lil’ sunset love from the lake, xo.

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Would love to expound, but I’m recovering from nerve compression in my neck. (In laymen’s terms: OUCH!)

No piano, minimal computer. Will catch up with you soon.

Wishing you a glorious New Year!

Enjoying anticipating 2017,

~ Kim

Twice As Nice (Croatian Chicken Paprikash and a Warm Boho Salad)

Two New Favorite Dishes

Since I arrived home, I’ve been vacillating between the life I started to eke out a year and a half ago after the fire (sorry to bring that up again) and “life” — after 3-1/2 months in Minnesota — following Mom’s Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Basically readjusting to my space.

Yes, there actually is (or once was) such a place, but some days I forget what that feels like. Between multiple phone calls to/from the care center, my Mom, the Realtor trying to sell Mom’s house from afar, her doctors, home inspectors… let’s just say I’m workin’ on it… a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

Croatian Chicken Paprikash

Thank God for wonderful foodie friends who know me — or at least my love of GOOD foodand who’s recent recipes appealed to my sense of the familiar.

Pictured above is Croatian Chicken Paprikash by Jasmina Brasovic. OH MY! (Be sure to scroll down to her recipe for this on FB.) Even though my grandparents weren’t Croatian (they hailed from nearby Hungary), going back to my “Czech roots” — or at least the flavors that once fed me due to mutual proximity — has been instrumental in grounding me. I sooooo needed that!

Thanks, Jasmina, xo.

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Add to that an unconventional side dish: Maple Bacon Kale & Roasted Potatoes by Ally Phillips — a “warm salad” per my Boho friend, whom I know won’t mind that I subbed spinach (minus the chicken broth) and fried leftover baked potatoes in a pinch — and you have some extraordinarily good eatin’ on your hands (or plate), not to mention hearty Comfort Food by genealogical proximity.

Jasmina and Ally both have Croatia in common — twice as nice — plus exceptionally tasty recipes! My Grandma would have LOVED how these lovely ladies “cook.”

Nourishment is more than just eating — it’s food for the soul.

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Enjoying trying something new while attempting to get back to the “old,”

~ Kim

Autumn at the Lake

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It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a “walk about” (mostly due to torrential rains, flooding, and snakes earlier this year) but it was such a gorgeous, crisp Autumn morning I needed to be out in it.

With camera in tow, I trekked down the driveway to gaze at the water…

Followed by a glance up “the hill.”

Autumn 1

Ahhhh…

Touches of Autumn are becoming more apparent — that tree literally changed color overnight! A blessing and a marvel.

Then it was off to the end of the lane.

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I love trees that tell stories. This one is a stalwart soul reigning over a tangle of untamed wilderness (which is one of the reasons I love Oklahoma so much… it’s still “unsettled.”) The local king of the jungle, so to speak.

Every year our trees surprise, delight, and inspire me with their stories in progress.

I hope to add my own one day.

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Walking was slightly “crunchy” underfoot so I stopped to admire the acorns.

A veritable feast for the squirrels!

Then I ambled through the neighbor’s yard on my way back to the lake and discovered this rustic scene.

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And this…

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Elements of play surround me.

(I love that!)

Near the shoreline, other trees shared their stories about “life in progress.” There’s no competition or hurry to keep up here. You simply go (or grow) — or change — at your own pace. It’s all good.

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And after that…

It was time for a closer look.

Or two.

Autumn 8

 

Autumn 10

I feel SO close to heaven when I’m wandering about God’s creation.

Closer to Oklahoma.

Closer to “me” — and you.

Autumn at the Lake

 

Enjoying sharing Autumn at the lake,

~ Kim

Cardinal Rule


Cardinal Rule

Cardinal Rule: “Of foremost importance; paramount.” (The Free Dictionary) “Central or essential.” (Vocabulary.com) “A substantial rule that is in place for a situation or organization… and it must not be broken at any time.” (Urban Dictionary)   “A fundamental rule upon which others hinge.” (Wiktionary)

Do you have a cardinal rule? (Do tell.)

Mine is: “Look for beauty, then share it.” (Even if it’s found in the ruins of your front yard — never mind that it resembles an archaeological dig at this point.) I’ve been known to “grid” a plot or two in search of hidden treasure…

Archaeological Dig I

Despite recent torrential rains, thunderstorms, fog, drizzle, and mist, I try to make a lil’ progress every day in my quest for undiscovered beauty, because “seeing” requires conscious effort and clean-up doesn’t have to be “work.” (Plus it’s more fun that way!)

My cardinal rule (re-stated) is: Share the wonder! Everything meaningful hinges on that.

Take a look-see…

Once rigid dishes and glassware were tempered and transformed into softer versions of themselves — like Moi. Life. People.

Be appreciative of all of them — especially YOU — you’re an artwork in the making! Gentleness is often shaped by the harshest of circumstances, and beauty is often staring you in the face… so LOOK! (Especially at your yourself.) You might be surprised by what you discover!

Be kinder and gentler. Loving. Soft…

A Softer Perspective

Enjoying unexpected art in the aftermath,

~ Kim

Still Waters Run Deep

Still Waters

Sometimes this space doesn’t accurately reflect the amount (or variety) of “writing, music, and photography” I actually do. (Or my love for long sentences…) My clipboard, college-ruled notebook paper, and favorite pen are constant companions — not to mention my camera — along with a stash of notebooks dedicated to ideas, to-do lists, poetry, musings, letter-writing, scribbling, and attempts at journaling. (My piano is also mere steps away.) Not so coincidentally, the aforementioned notebooks are color-coordinated and/or have hand-picked covers to match my wordy moods… writers are entitled to their quirks.

Currently I’m editing an amazing cookbook (more on that in a future post); last week I jammed with my fiddle-playin’ buddy, Joe, twice (we’re also playing for a cancer fund-raiser this weekend); and I was recently humbled and honored to have one of my photos published in an esteemed international literary journal. There’s often more going on in my life than meets the eye — or blog — and I apologize for my frequent lapses.

One of my ongoing writing projects — my “Dear Friends” letters — began over a decade ago. I was employed as a church secretary and each week I’d mail copies of Sunday’s sermon to ten or twelve elderly ‘shut-ins’ or folks who couldn’t attend church. (I’d also include a handwritten note of encouragement, but a sentence or two quickly became a paragraph or two, and finally a page — or two.)

When my tenure was done, I couldn’t help but keep writing to my Dear Friends (some of them tell me it’s the only letter they receive) and through the years my ‘list’ has grown from the original dozen to over 50 folks around the U.S. — often at the request of loved ones: “Mother so enjoys your letters… would you please keep sending them… and could you send one to my Aunt?”

What began as a simple act of kindness through ‘writing’ evolved into a passion for keeping the art of correspondence alive and well.

I used to write my Dear Friends letters by hand (back when I only wrote 10 or 12), but due to the increased volume I finally had to resort to a computerized version — which turned out to be easier for everybody over age 70 to read — my penmanship is nearly microscopic. Did you know it’s easier for the aging eye to discern Sans Serif fonts than Times New Roman? (I do my research.) That aside, I still insist on addressing every envelope by hand and signing each letter personally… and, I often include a handwritten note of encouragement.

Frequency-wise, my letter writing has slowed down a lil’ since moving to the lake, not counting the ones I regularly pen to my family (gotta have ‘deck time,’ not that I need an excuse!) — it’s just that I don’t have as much to write about as I did during the “trucking years.” What used to be an every-other-week travelogue gradually reduced itself to a life-on-the-lake update once a month — then every other month — and now four or five times a year.

Rather than regale you with further ‘hows’ and whys, here’s a (slightly revised) version of the latest edition:

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“God blesses us with His presence in so many ways, from the tiniest miraculous garden sprout to a sky-full of majestic panorama…”

In between, it’s the ordinary moments that bless us: simple things like food on the table, a roof over our heads, a better-than-usual cup of coffee, and the comforts of home. Day to day ‘ordinary’ gives us a deeper appreciation for the extraordinary.

This past Fourth of July, Russ and I opted to stay ‘home for the holidays.’ (Our usual modus operandi involves packing up the Jeep with a week’s worth of clothing and food, driving 24 hours up & back, and shuttling between our families in southern Minnesota.) This year our plan — or rather God’s plan — was to stay put! After the years we spent over-the-road (a transient ‘home’ at best), it was glorious to wake up in our own bed.

Ironically, we both woke up at 3:30 a.m. — don’t ask me why. But, it wasn’t too far off from our usual 4:30 a.m. start to the day, and the coffee and companionship made up for our lack of sleep. Of course, we were missing our families! Sometimes you have to make ‘the hard decision,’ but we knew in our hearts God meant this one just for ‘us.’

Once the sun got up over the hill, it became apparent that it was an ideal morning for canoeing. Earlier this year we’d acquired an ol’ ancient canoe full of dents and patches (still seaworthy in spite of its forlorn appearance) and this was the first time we’d ever taken it out on the lake together. It didn’t take long for us to resume our mutual cadence — Russ at the stern, me at the bow — slicing our oars through the water as though we’d been canoeing every day, instead of for the first time in almost a decade.

We paddled about two-thirds of the way across the lake, then let a light breeze turn the canoe so it drifted slowly back toward the bluff, and Russ spent the entire time casting and ‘trolling’ (of sorts) while I alternately closed my eyes and basked in the sun or scanned the scenic shoreline. (“Don’t ask me why” #2 — I didn’t get my fishing license this year, so I didn’t have my pole along.) Somehow I suspect we might have fared better fish-wise with two hooks in the water instead of one, yet I was content to observe — and he caught a keeper.

Russ has such a natural grace about him when he’s fishing. The way he holds his fishing rod and the rhythmic way he reels in or ‘jigs’ borders on art! I derived more satisfaction out of watching him ‘at work’ than if I’d been handling a pole myself. (My attempts at fishing usually involve hooking every ‘snag,’ tipping over the tackle box, and spending more time with my hook out of the water than in to replace lost lures…)

After we reached the ‘driftwood trees’ in front of the bluff, we paddled between those massive petrified ‘ghosts of a forest’ from days gone by. Their weathered trunks and branches are much larger than they appear from our deck and I enjoyed getting ‘up close and personal’ with them. They must have hundreds of stories to tell — in fact, they do! Dozens of fishing line remnants dangle from their gnarled, silver-gray grip where anglers have lost their lures. (Made me smile; at least “I’m not the only one.”)

An added bonus was seeing the Great Blue Herons perched on random stumps. Slipping by in the canoe with no motor to startle them, we got close enough to see just how large those majestic birds truly are. Numerous cranes also glided back and forth to wherever a beak-sized breakfast could be found as their white wings blazed in the sun against a backdrop of aquamarine lake and azure sky.

Not quite ready to go in, we paddled westward along the rugged shoreline. The wind picked up a bit (not enough to swamp the canoe) so we paddled to the next bay and back — about an hour ‘by water.’ Just then, a bald eagle suddenly took flight, soaring above the treetops in singular, spectacular glory. Moments like those make your senses come alive… seeing that regal bird leading the way overhead, feeling the steady strokes of our paddles, hearing the rippling water caressing the canoe. It wasn’t just a blessing, it was a hug from God!

Our other senses were blessed, too — following this adventure, I grilled some mighty-good-smelling burgers and topped ’em with tomatoes right out of the garden. (You just can’t beat that ‘fresh tomato taste’ on a sizzling burger!) It was a wonderful holiday for both of us.

Sometimes I think Jeremiah 29:11 has become ‘popular’ because of the “implied” blessings in the NIV translation (no disrespect intended) and our inflated expectations of what they might be. Per the King James version (vs. 11-13), there’s more involved than God simply doling out His goodness and grace. He does intend to bless us, and He will — when we seek Him with all our heart.

I’ve come to believe that God’s greatest blessings are His peace and presence. They turn ordinary moments into extraordinary ones.

Enjoying doing what I do,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

Flowergram VIII

Dogwood blossoms

(Hover over the photos for the full effect…)

Spring is in full bloom and it’s time for another Flowergram!

(Can’t tell you how good it felt to wander about at will again, ahhhhh…)

I feel like I’ve been playing catch up here forever and a day, but the truth is: there’s no catching up with right now. You’re either in it or you’re not.

Lavender

Lately I’ve been re-prioritizing things, or at least re-scheduling them. Sometimes my creative soul doesn’t want to be confined to a time slot, but it’s necessary for me to discern measurable progress. (Plus I don’t get a dang thing done — or at least the important ones — if I don’t!)

That means making time for regular exercise (did I just admit that in public?!!), enjoying the beauty & benefits of “small plates” (more on that in an upcoming post), getting back to writing on a regular schedule, and practicing the piano like I just got booked at Carnegie Hall! I’m giving another concert in less than a week, I had a dual speaking & musical engagement yesterday, and life has been an all around profusion of activity.

Last month, The Man of Few Word’s son (my step-son) moved in with us temporarily, and with two fellas needing to get to work at different times and places (with one vehicle), guess who’s been designated taxi driver? I run TMOFW to work at 5:30 a.m. (10 mile round trip), take my step-son to work at 7:30 a.m. (20 mile round trip), pick up TMOFW between noon and 4:00 (such fun not knowing “for sure” what time) and, as things turned out last week, had to make the final pick-up of the day at 4:00 (four days in a row) to get my step-son, too. (Whew!) Thankfully, all of that will change soon (if Mama ain’t happy… tee hee!) and normal life will resume shortly.

Please.

Speaking of “profusions”… here’s one of my favorites:

As for the writing part, I’m thrilled beyond words to have an official part-time, work-at-home job as an editorial assistant/copywriter on a BIG project. (Details are confidential as of yet, but I’m doin’ the happy dance!)

If a picture could describe my elation, it would be this “homegrown” contribution to my Flowergram…

Color me tickled pink — with a lil’ bit of purple for fun. ;)

Flowerbox

How will you spend the hours you’ve been given today… backtracking or living?

It’s a delicate balance sometimes, and as fragile and fleeting as Spring blossoms.

Never be “too busy” to do the things that make you happy!

Dogwood Tree

Enjoying re-prioritizing,

~ Kim

© 2011-2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch