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:

Canoe 2

“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

In My Kitchen ~ August 2013

Basil Butter

Have you ever felt the singular-ness of your pursuit?  Been entirely happy with what you’re doing, yet experienced the human heart need to connect?

Today I was scooting around the house perfectly content with my hermit-like lifestyle — writing, rehearsing, yada yada — when I stopped to check my email.  (I still allow myself that much “technology” during my self-imposed internet hiatus.)

Pang…

While I’m not an on-line junkie by any means, sometimes a post will attract my attention… inspire me to get out my camera… make me want to share.

(Even if it means usurping my previous intentions.)

Enter Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Each month Celia hosts a delightful gathering of bloggers who open their hearts and homes and kitchens.  (By the way, she’s been doing this for a long, long time… discovery is a delight, even when it’s belated.)

A trip through the links in Celia’s sidebar is like gathering with good friends over coffee.  Trading kitchen secrets.  Finding out what makes each other tick.  Just plain feeling good.

And a lil’ less alone…

Here’s my contribution to August’s “In My Kitchen.”

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes ripening on my windowsill, glowing like rubies… and my heart.

Lace Curtain

…tempered by a lace curtain.

(Sometimes Oklahoma sunshine — and my enthusiasm — need that soft perspective.)

Garlic Toast To Be

Remnants of a day-old baguette awaiting transformation into garlic toast for dinner.

(Metamorphosis is my specialty!)

Yesterday, a friend and I enjoyed Bruschetta (Round 2) on the deck with a glass of wine… such sweet times.

Then there’s mustard… I like mine whole grain.  By the spoonful.

Maille Mustard

Tonight, however, it’ll likely end up mingling with the basil butter (first photo) to spread on the aforementioned baguette — or to serve as a stand-alone next to a really good steak.

Omaha Steaks

(The Omaha Steaks are courtesy of my Mom, xo; photo cropped to be mindful of my vegetarian friends. xo)

Don’t you just love their motto?  “Blend with laughter.”  Ah, yes…

All of this kitchen activity reminded me to remind you… be kind to yourself!  My body recently cajoled me (recalcitrant upstart that it is) that I’m not as young as I used to be — especially after standing umpteen hours in my kitchen.

Time for new mats and/or rugs…

Underfoot

My feet have appreciated the investment ever since.

Last but not least, love your surroundings.  See with new eyes.  A new appreciation.  A little less singular-ness.

Remember who you’re cooking for. .. and why.

Clothes Hung On The Line By The Man Of Few Words

Clothes Hung On The Line By The Man Of Few Words

Hope you enjoyed my first foray “In My Kitchen.”  A brief recap…

Care to join in?  Click here.

(Thanks, Celia!)

Enjoying cyber connections in spite of myself,

~ Kimby

P.S.  I made it a third of the way through August, which is a tremendous feat considering the appeal of your posts.  Thanks for bearing with my spontaneous, creative soul!

Flowergram VI

Flower Series 1

.  .  .

Flower Series 2

.  .  .

Flower Series 3

.  .  .

Flower Series 4

.  .  .

Flower Series Possibilities

.  .  .

Life is a sketch book.

Each day starts with a blank page.

The palette is up to you.

Draw/dance/paint/cook/write/sing/play.

What color are kisses?

My love brought me a banana split bouquet!

Enjoying impromptu affection,

~ Kimby

Solar Hugs

Nutmeg Honey Butter

I love those golden, glowing days of midwinter when sunlight streams through the windows, embracing you in warmth.

Solar hugs, so to speak.

– – – – –

That was the beginning of my post before our furnace gave out (sometime between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.), leaving me wondering why the thing wasn’t kicking in overnight. (!)

Thankfully, the “intro” still applies.

Handmade quilts (thanks, Sis) and Oklahoma’s moderate temps sustained us until the coffee was ready.  Never mind that it’s supposed to get down to 27° tonight — a temporary cold spell — I’m savoring the gorgeous sunlight that streamed through our windows this morning.

Warmth is a state of mind and I can’t help but feel cozy.

Definition of irony:  We bought a wood-burning stove this weekend.  It’s still sitting in the driveway. :)

– – – – –

Getting on with things, I love fruitcake almost as much as I love solar hugs.  (Please don’t stop reading.)

For those of you who despise the much-maligned holiday treat (especially if you’re petrifying it into a doorstop at this late date), this isn’t a tortured how-to.  My favorite fruitcake recipe can be found in Christopher Kimball’s The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook — a sunny-looking tome, if you’re so inclined.

What I do want to share is Nutmeg Honey Butter.

Golden orbs of goodness…

Golden Orbs of Goodness

Sunshine in truffle form. :)

Sunlight Truffles

Nutmeg Honey Butter

1/4 lb. quality butter, chilled  (I used Hope Butter)

2 tsp. honey

Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

Using a small scoop, shape butter into truffle-sized balls.

Place on a decorative plate.

Drizzle with honey.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Serve on bread, pancakes, waffles, or yes… the dreaded fruitcake.

Fruit Cake with Nutmeg Honey Butter

Here’s to sunshine and warmth in midwinter, especially when your alternative heat source has yet to be installed.

(I’m calling the furnace guy tomorrow.)

Enjoying solar hugs,

~ Kimby

Daylight Saving Time Frolics

Yes, folks, it’s Daylight Saving Time again (or the end of it, when an hour magically “disappears”…) and I’m tellin’ ya, it wreaks havoc on my entire being.

This morning I woke up at 4:30 believing it was 4:30 (my favorite time to wake up), only to discover it was 3:30… aarrggh!  It’s perfidy, I tell you, perfidy!

Be forewarned… this coming week, my thoughts will resemble the jumbled illustration above (confusing, but colorful nonetheless!) :) and I’m asking you to please bear with me.  Moving the hands back on the clock does not constitute an immediate “aha” by my bio-rhythms or brainwaves.

Thankfully, Oklahoma’s seasons follow the calendar — never mind the clocks — and it’ll continue to be autumn until the next season begins.  (I won’t mention the “w” word until it’s official…)

The only “cure” I’ve found for Daylight Saving Time is to spend as much time outdoors as possible.  Let’s take a walk, shall we?

Nature calms me down.  Clarifies my thoughts.  Causes me to forget.

What was I writing about…?

Oh yeah!  Daylight Saving Time…

What are your plans for the “extra hour?”

Enjoying (?) the semi-annual rite,

~ Kim

Fall Cleaning and How Food Imitates Nature

Dear Friends,

I’m such a letter-writer that it felt right this evening to pen one to you.  (Or as close as one can get to approximating “pen and paper” via computer…)

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about blogging (yes, I know… “Don’t blog about blogging…”) — but you know me better than to believe I follow the rules. ;)

In my quest to be a writer, musician, haus frau, artist, yada yada, I need to make the most of my time, as do you!  (I’m so easily sidetracked…)

Anyway… between all of the above, I found myself asking, “What is the point of blogging, eh?”  (Had to throw a lil’ Minnesotan at you, yah sure, you betcha.)  There are so many bloggers out there who do it so well and whose blogs I enjoy reading and whose recipes I enjoy cooking and eating!  Do I really need to write one of my own?

In a nutshell:  I found myself wondering whether or not I’d be better off spending time on “more important matters.”  (Funny how your brain emphasizes thoughts like that, only to come up short when it’s prompted to produce an actual list of said important matters.)

Surprisingly, a conclusion came out of the blue today (better known as an answer from God…) and it was: “Blogging gives you more people to care about.”

Say what?!  (An Okie-ism.) ;)

Truth be told, it took me by surprise.  Sometimes I feel self-centered blogging about “the life and times of moi,” but lo and behold, the purpose isn’t “me” — it’s you!  Woohoo!

I can live with that.

No… I enjoy that idea tremendously!!!

What I’m trying to say is that my blog was (and is) a means to find you… folks I’d never in a million years meet (or even know existed) were it not for this unique, fun, fabulous forum that opened up my world beyond Oklahoma, USA.

For that, I’m entirely grateful.  (Actually, I’m doing the happy dance!)

While I don’t intend to spend 24/7 commenting on your blogs, when I do, it’ll be with reckless, guilt-free abandon (hallelujah!) — because the whole point is furthering human relationships (even cyber ones) — and I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend my time.

Except cooking your recipes and eating… well, never mind.

There will be time for all of the above… including today’s thoughts on How Food Imitates Nature.  (The segue is short, I promise.) :)

Sincerely, Kimby

Yesterday I posted my Teriyaki steak stir fry on FB and G+ and today it struck me how similar it was to the photos I’ve snapped recently…

 

Gotta love it!

Now, off to see what you’re up to!  (And thanks for being here.)

Enjoying the blessings of friendship — and blogging,

~ Kim