Think Warm Thoughts

Frost 1

When The Man Of Few Words ‘n’ I moved here a decade ago (during the summer), I was looking forward to a respite from the bone-chilling winters I’d previously experienced in Minnesota. New terrain, new seasons to assimilate.

Plus, I knew how to dress warmly.

Surprise, surprise… that winter Oklahoma had record-breaking lows.

Fast forward to 2018. I’ve officially become a weather wimp. Whenever our temps dip below 60º (15.5º C for my Southern hemisphere pals) I’m cold! I’m talkin’: put on a heavy sweater and socks — possibly a pair of ear muffs or a stocking hat (inside) — and throw on two more blankets at night.

Oklahoma hypothermia!

My hardier ancestors would be chagrined.

Frost 2 Lake View

Above is a photo out our frozen front door, but I still find frost beautiful. 

Every season has highs and lows, no matter what the temperature is (inside or out) and/or how many blankets you have to pile on.

Think warm thoughts and experience the JOY of transition.

Enjoying the unprecedented cold front… and hopefully 70º on Sunday, 

~ Kim

New Years Reasons To Smile

Armadillo Risotta with Oven Baked Shrimp Scampi

Recently The Man Of Few Words tripped on his way to work (at 5:00 a.m. in the dark) when his foot caught on an immovable object on our patio. After ascertaining the source of his unexpected imbalance, he cordially offered a greeting: “Hello, armadillo!” It didn’t budge. He finally had to step over it and they both skittered down the drive on their separate ways.

I recounted that story to my son when he arrived in early December and we both chuckled over the odds. Gotta love Okie “critters.” Fast forward to my grocery list.

My son said he’d never tried risotto so I added Arborio rice to my “must haves” intent on making him that wonderfully creamy side dish. Come grocery shopping day, he glanced at the list and asked: “Mom, what’s armadillo rice?”

Frame of reference is everything.

During the past year, I’ve experienced a number of highs and lows in my kitchen and elsewhere (aka: life), but food — really good food — has been a constant source of amusement and solace, not to mention an equalizer in the unexpected chaos. (Sort of like encountering an armadillo in the dark — you never know what to expect — or when.) Have FUN with it!

Enter a newly discovered “online” cookbook… Eating Heart. Goodness gracious, how it spoke my language — family, heart, and SOUL! (With fabulous risotto-making tips, among other things.) My son was pleased with the outcome. I added Shrimp Scampi, for FUN.

To round out the year, I offer a brief glimpse into my tasty existence as of late:

There’s SO much more, but that’s what the New Year is for… Hope. Truth. Inspiration! Will catch up with y’all soon, xo.

Sunset by Tom

Enjoying one or two last sunsets (and really good food) at the lake before 2018,

~ Kim

Extraordinary Evenings

Every day that ends with a sense of contentment is a good day whether I accomplish anything or not. Sunsets seem to affirm that. (We’re here to witness, share, and be, folks — not just “do”.) I grew up ingrained with a “doing” mindset and my self-worth was often measured by how much I got done. It’s taken me decades to get past that primordial training. Last year I put my life on hold to take care of my family, and as a result, I put The Man Of Few Words (“our” life… my life?) on hold for over six months, took an unpaid leave of absence from my job, and contended with limited cell phone signal,  almost no internet (save for my son’s tablet), and a Minnesota winter.

I was a mess when I got home.

It’s taken almost a year to regain my sense of “self”, feel the slightest modicum of creativity, and forge ahead with “my” life — or at least what I formerly envisioned it to be — while handling ongoing phone calls, daily crises, paperwork, and myriad “to-do’s” once I got home. Old habits die hard and fatigue can play funny tricks on your brain — not to mention sap your strength and leave you feeling hopeless.

Yet, I don’t.

Every day back at the lake is a stellar day… followed by an extraordinary evening. (Even when I don’t do a gosh darn thing!) Sometimes I just need to absorb it all. Contentment reigns.

During your tenure on the planet you’ll oft be presented with challenges you don’t feel qualified to face. “Buck up, buttercup” and face ’em anyway! There’s a lesson to be learned and life goes on. Things will gradually become sharper and clearer, even if you’ve had to put you (and/or your “envisioned” life on hold for unprecedented/unanticipated lengthy stretches and you question every decision.) Eventually, it will all make sense, Or, as TMOFW has oft encouraged me (while I wondered aloud about my sanity and ability): “When God wants you to be doing something else, He’ll let you know.” In the meantime, it’s segueing gently between my obligations and my dreams… being aware… and taking care of myself. (Even if it’s just looking at a sunset.)

As if to say “amen” to that thought, my poetic friend j.i. kleinberg recently published this poem entitled The Evening.

found poem © j.i. kleinberg ~ The Evening

After “all of the above”, this is how my life has been lately… halfway between my dreams and reality… with a lot of “blue” up for consideration.

Enjoying re-configuring life at the lake,

~ Kim

“K” is for Kim

K is for Kim

My K arrived today!

There’s a story behind that and someday I may be at liberty to tell it, but not now.

Let’s just say its arrival was a re-defining moment in my life after a lifetime of being “nicknamed” something else.

My name is Kim!

Enjoying being “me” with a capital K, 

~ Kim

Beaded Beginnings

Hippie Beads 2

I grew up in the era of groovy. Far out. All righhht! The 1960’s.

But, on a small farm in rural Minnesota, love beads were a lil’ hard to come by.

So, I watched. Waited. Collected ideas. Five decades later, my creative space is finally starting to look like my dream.

Hippie Beads 3

Recently I began volunteering at our church’s Mission Store a few days a week, where the proceeds fund our food pantry. (I’ve always had a heart for feeding folks, be it from the quickly depleted shelves there or my own kitchen — every hour standing behind the check-out counter or my stove makes a difference in someone’s life.)

BTW, check-out clerks are allowed to “shop” during lulls and you never know what might show up in the donation bin. Last week it was Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume Two for 50¢.

This week it was groovy.

I spied the miscellaneous bag of beads when I walked in and immediately recognized their former glory and potential. (My dream!) Nobody paid attention to them for hours, so I watched. Waited. (Until my break.) Snapped them up and hung them up at home!

TMOFW smiles at my ongoing Boho notions.

Speaking of which… my friend Ally offers tons of inspiration and encouragement re: living the life you’ve dreamed of on her website and in her VRAI inaugural e-magazine. Plus, she’s hostessing a custom Boho jewelry give-away. Such fun! As she’s oft said: “Dreams have no expiration date.”

Yes ma’am, gal pal. Don’t I know? :)

Enjoying groovy dreams come true,

~ Kim

Rainy Days & Mondays

Todays forecast and reality

Life doesn’t always go as planned. The recent incident in Virginia was evidence of that (which makes this paltry lil’ post seem inconsequential), but it’s true. Every day we’re faced with situations beyond our control. Sometimes they’re the result of our own doing and/or decisions, but more often than not they’re the result of senseless acts — or “life.” How we respond to those events is key.

My plans this past weekend included watching the Perseid meteor showers (ditto on inconsequential…), but we had ten inches of rain with thousands of lightning bolts thrown in for good measure. Clear skies were not in the plan. (Here’s a link to The Carpenters’ song for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, or with my post title.) Contrary to the lyrics, I don’t let Rainy Days & Mondays — or “life” — get me down. In fact, my favorite line from the song is “Run and find the one who loves you.”  Great advice.

I believe those who perished or were injured in that senseless attack were loved by folks “who ran to find them” — or vice versa. Life is too short and unpredictable not to LOVE others and let them know it. Like them, Karen Carpenter experienced an untimely demise — a brief flicker of hope intended to bless the cosmos — cut short by other’s opinions or actions. (She died of anorexia.) Who will YOU listen to? Who will YOU love and “let know it?” Every day you’re given an opportunity to shine!

Recently I watched the movie Shine (re: pianist David Helfgott) and remembered why I cried the first time I saw it. So much potential, so much damage inflicted! Whether loss of life — or talent — world events seem to be repeating that trend. While we can’t control the senselessness, we can rise above it — gradually, gracefully, and gratefully. How could we possibly be grateful for any of it? Because someone cared enough to show up for what they believed in, no matter how briefly. And, love prevails.

By the way, I did get to witness one ‘beaut’ of a meteor at 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning before the cloud cover took over — a shimmering ball of fire that streaked across the lake. Keep an eye out for brief but brilliant shining stars. Their impact is eternal.

You can shine, too, whenever and however you decide to participate. Show up! Do YOUR thing and do it because you can — and because you love doing it. Make the most of your time on this planet and share your experiences. Don’t let differing opinions (or “life”) deter you from pursuing your path. You never know when you (or your existence and commitment) will be a blessing to everybody.

That said, here’s a sunnier view of my “writer-ly attire” (most days.) Dance with LIFE — even when it doesn’t turn out as planned.

Sunshine Shadows and A Sneak Peek at my Daily Attire

Enjoying celebrating those who show us “how it’s done” with grace,

~ Kim

Sealed With A Kiss

My kids’ n’ I finally got within hugging distance last week. I’ve traveled to see each of them (separately) and they’ve seen each other in between, but this was the first time we’d been together in three years!

These photos were snapped outside Four Daughters Winery. The food and wine were fantastic, as always! I ordered three dishes to share: Baked Brie & Garlic with Pecan Pesto & Seasonal Berries on Grilled Focaccia; Smoked Chicken Flatbread with Shitake Mushrooms, Roasted Tomatoes, & Freshly Grated Mozzarella; and Crab Rangoon Flatbread. Oh, and Smoked Brisket Tacos with blue corn tortillas for me. :)

Do I look a lil’ bit happy?

Enjoying Proud Mama moments,

~ Kim