On Purpose

stop the press

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?” –Winnie the Pooh 

Oh Winnie, our minds are tracking together. The weather will soon be warm and I am scanning my lighter-fare recipes. On menu this week is Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad. The recipe calls for yep, honey. Winnie, you are welcome to be our guest😉

And this new recipe from EatingWell is also on menu. I hope it’s as good as it looks. One Pan Poblano & Corn Chicken Fajitas. Speaks my language!

Summer isn’t far off. One list is on our kitchen board. I’ve found two things: 1) It takes more than a basketful of good intentions to make the most of the season. 2) Accountability (especially serious pressure from 4, 5, 6 and 7 year old grands) is a big help in gaining checkmarks. 🤗

Add flowers and front porch gatherings and it is a recipe for Summer Success.

I’m in the midst of writing a study, “Step Up Your Lead”, that I’ll teach in June. It is something I enjoy doing.

With that rundown and dreams of chasing lazy summer days, Quiet Chatter is taking a pause.

I’ll close with this that I love. The simplicity brings a smile.

I will miss chatting with all of you. You know where you can find me💗 Happy almost summer! Here’s to long walks and short ice cream cones.

Come, just as you are.

margi

PS: This face is how I am approaching next season! (Oh Kayleigh Kudlo, #8)

On Purpose

perspective

The Lazy Genius. This week I stumbled upon a podcast by Kendra Adachi. Her mantra is: Be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t.  Intrigued. I plan to check out more of her practical advise.

This podcast was on summer menu planning. Might be a little too formulated for me but I wish I had known some of her tips when I had a young family. Still, I picked up a trick or two in this season of life.

I can’t claim much on the genius title but I sure can relate to the lazy gene. My recent lazy is getting my refrigerator cleaned out.

Why is this biggest appliance at the Inn so difficult to keep tidy? Fridge has not gotten the memo: a place for everything and everything in its place. Mustard wanders, dressings choose orange juice as their bff. And where did fake bacon bits come from?

An ordinary man becomes a sluggard one small surrender at a time. Eek!

Unlike the sluggard, the diligent speak a different motto: “A little labor, a little energy, a little moving of the hands to work.” Instead of building a stack of small surrenders, they build a stack of small successes — taking little step by little step in the strength that God supplies.

Scott Hubbard -Editor, desiringGod.org

Or as I remind myself – chop a little each day. Give a hand to your poor fridge, trying so hard to stay organized. Or not. Talking to myself, “What matters most?” 😊

How are you doing building your stack of successes?

Come, just as you are.

margi

PS: Macien picked my daffodil bouquet from the edge of our woods. They smile and assure Innkeeper that window-opening days will be here soon. Don’t lose hope!

On Purpose

inn play

“Now the maiden lived all alone in the cottage. She kept herself busy by spinning, weaving and sewing and bringing cow parsley from the meadow.” ~ Grimm’s Fairy Tales

What do you do to inject some sunshine into your day? Assuming you’re not gathering cow parsley, I’ll make a guess that it has something to do with creating – be it music, gardening, baking, painting, building, crafting, etc.

So in need of a “flip the script” in my mind, I created. It is my favorite kind of creating. Easy, quick and inexpensive.

My creation only required 3 items. White beans (Walmart), straight vase and a candle.

Not wanting to waste my second bag of beans, I shopped my pantry for a smaller vase and candle, albeit the second candle scent reminds me of Balsam Christmas 😉

What to do with those last few beans in the bottom of the bag? I decided on one last little creation. Turned out to be my favorite.

With that, Innkeeper kept herself busy imagining all kinds of uses with that mini-bean jar. Anyone ever dye white beans🤗

I got my $1.29 x 2 worth.

Create: (6) to form anew, to change the state or character, to renew. -~ Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Ever wonder why we enjoy creating so much? Why it gives us joy to work with our hands?

“In the beginning God created…” Genesis 1:1

It makes sense. All the way back to the beginning. God is Creator and we are made in His image. He designed us and by the way, we are of great worth to Him.

“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” Ephesians 2:10

A simple beautiful truth. You are God’s masterpiece. And because we celebrate on Easter the empty tomb, Jesus lives.

Creating. Celebrating this season.

Come, just as you are.

margi

PS: Whatever is Cow’s Parsley? In case you wondered, it is Queen Anne’s Lace, which I assume is Cow’s dessert.

On Purpose

oats, beans and barley

What was singing in my head was not what I found. Gotta love Dear Google.

I remember an old song having to do with oats. After some fun research I found it. Maybe it will be familiar to some of you?

It is a folk song that traveled from Britain to America. The words go back to 1898 but the tune hails a long ways back to 1650. It is an action song that tells a story and is meant to be performed by children.

Oats, beans and barley grow. Oats, beans and barley grow. Can you, I or anyone know How oats, and beans and barley grow?

There is a progression through the song, and on this post. Wink, wink.

The farmer sows the seeds. The farmer waters the seeds. The farmer hoes the weeds. The farmer harvests the seeds.

It’s a lot of work for that farmer just so I can open the round Quaker box and enjoy my Steel Cut Oats. With 7 frozen blueberries. It’s a keeper for my “spirited energy” pursuit. Thank you Farmer Ben for the oats and a big thank you to daughter Danae for the recipe.

While I’m still humming about oats, here is what I’ve been making on repeat- one of mom’s favorites. Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. (I switched from raisins and she nary looked back!)

These inexpensive baking mats make kitchen life just that much breezier. I was very late to this party. Thanks to Kristin, my daughter-in-law-so-loved, I nary looked back to my old ways. Easy clean and easy store! However did I manage☺️

Just as Farmer Ben found it to be true, there are rhythms to our lives that run on routines. And routines are good for the soul.

Routines require rigorous discipline from within. Right about here is where Innkeeper squeaks out HELP!

Shakespeare in Hamlet said, “Assume a virtue if you have it not.”

Problem is, I’m not very good at pretending. There is better counsel to be mined from the Ancient Words that I love so much.

“God has spoken with clarity through the Written Word, the Bible. The practice of tying our spiritual disciplines back to the Truth of Scripture is what grounds us.” ~ Eugene Peterson, Author

Searching the Scriptures in the early morning has been part of my well-loved routine since my school days. Now I’ve added Steel Cut Oats.

Hopefully not accompanied by Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies.

Farmer Ben and I are happy for your company. ~ You all are the best💗

Always come, just as you are.

margi

PS: Out the door for Monday morning spring walk. The birds were twittering. The sky was beautiful. I enjoyed a conversation with God. And hoping it was the last day for scarf-wrapping. 32°

On Purpose

worth the cost?

Last week I shared that I have “stalled out” these past few weeks, finding myself in a fog, or a slog.

It was why I opened the pages of my latest Amazon purchase: “Mastering Life before It’s Too Late” by Robert Morgan.

The author’s premise is stated right off the gate. “The Bible is the best self-improvement course ever devised. Our days are not accidental or incidental.”

The author uses language that inspires life at the Inn: “There’s a special blueprint for your life… What we need is spirited energy, courtesy, character and a well-regulated life.”

Yes, please. A “well-regulated life” kept me reading. Capture each day. Be pleasantly productive. Awaken each morning with a zeal to tackle both the big and little assignments God has given in your day.

As the Innkeeper turned the pages, the once-stalled heart began to beat a fresh rhythm.

I really didn’t plan to make this post a book review. But I’m a reader, and I like to call myself a thinker. In the pages I’ve found just what the author promised: “By following ten biblical patterns, you can gain control of yourself, take charge of each day and finish your life’s work well.”

I’m to Strategy #8. Next heading: “The Executive Joy of Pleasantly Productive Leadership.”

Last quote: “Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” ~ Joseph Addison

Innkeeper is a wee bit more cheerful. Certainly, more resolute. There is a “one thing” I’m chasing after, “Well done, my faithful Innkeeper.” ~ God

While I can’t brag yet on spirited energy, I’m believing it is possible, just as soon as I stop overeating my Blueberry Zucchini Bread. This week I’m trading out the Blueberry Bread for a new-to-me food – Steel Cut Oats. What trades do you make and find helpful to keep your energy up?

My plan: 1/4 cup oats with 7 frozen blueberries at 10 am. Will keep you posted if anything remotely close to spirited energy follows☺️

Always come, just as you are.

margi

PS: While writing we got what we hope is the last of our snow. This little junco kept me company. I imagine his little chorus, “Be cheery until you feel cheery.” 🎶

There is something to be said of pursuing a life devoted to “one thing.”

On Purpose

inn-keeping

What am I holding on to? What am I letting go of? Two questions out of my Define My Day journal.

But first, a backtrack. I already shared that my very kind neighbor, Sam, offered to let me try out her food processor. So I did. As it happens, our very kind neighbor said we could keep it. It was just collecting dust at her house. Thank you, Sam!

So yes! We’re holding on to you, processor. Processing at the Inn kitchen is kind of fun🤗 Zucchini Gratin with Yellow Squash (mom loved it💗), Zucchini Blueberry Bread (thanks, Kim, for your recipe!) and ordinary humble Cole Slaw.

Hello Spring🌿 You showed up at the perfect time! We welcome lighter and brighter. Farewell Winter. We’re letting you go.

In one of my many readings, I came across this quote: “Action produces traction.”

I’m struggling to gain traction. I’ve sorta stalled. I miss creating my own rhythms. I miss the quiet unhurried pace of my former life before mom’s cancer.

Somedays, with a migraine for company, I feel like I’m on one of those dizzying roundabouts, looking for an exit. And there is no exit. Do you ever feel that way?

No matter how long or ragged the days may be, there is always a reminder, written on my wrist bracelet. Never quit.

Then these ancient words found in Nehemiah 8:10: “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Joy in the goodness of God builds traction.

I’m both holding on and letting go.

And while circling the roundabout, God has given me some pretty great friends. Gifts, really. Because it is hard to hold on and harder to let go all by yourself.

Thank you to so many who have given me the gift of understanding. Thank you to those who are praying for mom (for almost two years now).

And if you are here reading my chatter, I consider you my friend⚘️

Come, just as you are.

margi

PS: If you are on a roundabout of your own, I’ll gladly share my words with you💗 Finding smiles and joy.

On Purpose

a tale of two bikes

Just about this time last year, my husband bought me a three-wheeler. Remember this bike, which I quickly named Grapesicle?

(Backstory – I love riding bikes, but after my ankle and foot bones break, I wasn’t confident of my balance on a two-wheeler.)

The Grapesicle and I immediately shared a friendship. We took off flying through all our little streets, waving at people in our neighborhood I hadn’t met yet. It was love at first sight. Oh, the many happy summer hours of riding.

And then Innkeeper woke up from her very pleasant dream.

Sadly, the tale hit a first bump in the road when Mr. Innkeeper took it for a spin. Then his words, “It’s going to take some getting used to.” Might be the understatement in my year.

Ever the optimist, I thought how hard can this be?

I jumped on and headed for my first spin. I could not have been more wrong! I barely made it around one loop. Deflated, I had to admit #1, I wasn’t in any kind of physical shape to handle this heavy of a bike, and #2, this bike did not offer the security from falling I was looking for.

Grapesicle and I sadly parted friendship. The bike is stored in our son’s basement.

In January, I had another dream. This time, on my old Walmart $89 bike, which I have not named.

I’m working on getting back in some sort of shape in high hopes that maybe the balance won’t scare me. I am determined. Ever the optimist.

Come summertime, if you spot an Innkeeper flying through the streets, wave. I’ll wave back 🤗

Come, just as you are.

margi

PS: Kitchen appliance update. The tally on a food processor was close. Thanks to my very kind neighbor (Sam💗), I have one sitting on my counter to try. The investigation lives on. I hope to report yay or nay soon.

On Purpose

up in the air

Well, not literally. I’ve not flown off to a tropical climate with sandy beaches (only in my wishes).

This is a more grounded kind of up in the air, aptly named indecision.

On and off for years I have debated about purchasing a food processor. It’s a bit pricey, though I paid more for my Kitchen Aid and Vitamixer, with no regrets. They have performed well. 5*****

I have never owned or operated a food processor. But somehow, I caught the bug to make coleslaw, minus the grater box, that is in my kitchen just waiting to “get-cha.” This week I copied off a recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Same grater box.

So my conundrum. I recall years ago reading an article about ownership and over-stuffing a house. One point stayed with me. Every single purchase you make costs you, long after the bill is paid.

The costs can run high… in real estate – where is this getting stored? In maintenance – cleaning it. Think of a nice 50-foot boat. Do you own the boat, or does the boat own you? Each of us weighs the costs.

Off the waterfront back to my kitchen. I can’t give up any more counter space. (And I would have to do some juggling to make it fit in my cabinets.) My Kitchen Aid, Air Fryer and Keurig are the “beginning and end” of my countertop appliances.

So my Chatter Question. Do you have a food processor? If so, do you use it? Could you easily live without it?

An inquiring Innkeeper would love to know. If you would like, drop a yay or nay in the comments. A purchase is hanging in the balance🤗

We will see if slaw or chocolate zucchini bread shows up at the Inn.

Until next time. Come as you are.

margi

PS: A sober pause as the news carries us far away from the Inn and the ordinary. We have front row seats to more greed, more evil, more suffering, more heroics, more horrific images, more sacrifice, more patriotism, more prayer, and more love. So we sit at the Inn with heavy hearts and do all we know to do, holding all the innocent people close to our hearts. Lord, have mercy🙏

On Purpose

march-ing time

Another five days, and we will turn the calendar to ending-our-winter month. I can not wait to open our windows to a warm breeze, to walk outdoors minus the winter garb, and to trade out boots for sandals.

Meanwhile, inspiration arrives via my Greek yogurt.

Good words for one who is working on patience these last winter weeks.

Innkeeper cooks. On my Spinach Salad recipe it is marked “Aunt Vi.” Making this Deeks’ family recipe reminds me while I “patient” my way to window-openings, stay present. Time already goes too fast. Chuck’s high-energy aunt has been gone a long time.

Innkeeper marches out of winter with yogurt, spinach and this question:

What are three actions you can take today to make it a success?

#1 send out two cards, #2 finish writing ch 5 of Bible study, #3 walk between raindrops.

Seizing the day with this colorful low- cal low-carb break.

Press on, my winter friends. What three actions can you take?

Come, just as you are.

margi

PS: Next week, Innkeeper plans to ask your opinion on a kitchen “gadget.” Today, let the colors bring you a smile☺️

On Purpose

good enough?

Oh baby. Well actually, oh Babycake.

Having seen a friend (Tanya) make these cute little mini cakes, I made an impulsive Amazon purchase. And then I made one more.

This cute little purple machine showed up just in time to help celebrate our grandson’s 7th birthday.

I read the simple-enough instructions and went to work on Phase I.

It was easy, considering Innkeeper is an amateur on babycaking. (One disappointing find – you can’t just use a cake box; you need to make cake from scratch, using their recipes.) So Red Velvet Cake it would be. When all the cake balls were baked and cooled, I popped them into the freezer. Easy peasy, awaiting Phase II.

The morning of Macien’s party, I assembled my workstation along with enlisting Mr. Innkeeper’s help. (In my experience, having a level-headed brain working tandem with my sometimes un-level brain has worked to my advantage.)

Step 1 – microwave the vanilla marshmallow store-bought icing in a coffee mug for let’s try 30 seconds. Perfect.

Step 2 – insert lollipop stick into the cake balls. Dip into the icing. Then sprinkle with sprinkles. So far, so good.

Step 3 – this is where the cake balls and I fell apart. My second impulsive buy was this pink holder-upper latex find, which, judging by the photo, would fit my need perfectly.

I will spare you the angst of my $11 purchase, but it was a waste of money. I later went back to my Amazon order, and had I taken time to read the description, I’d have saved $11 and avoided Phase II disaster, which might be strong a word, except it wasn’t. Even Mr. Level-head was running out of options. How to prop these cute little cakepops up.

After several tries, and with no foam in the Inn to stick the pops into, we were left with plating them.

Into cold storage they went. At party time, I artfully arranged them.

Cue the birthday tune. The cakepops were a big hit!

Is there a moral to my story? Yes: there is no pressure to perform. After all, I was making these for 9 children ages 7 and under, not for a ladies’ bridal shower🤗

Are you an over-striver? I work at perfection and never get there. So, I am in a season of learning to relax. Think my cakepops – smiling as my round balls got one-side-flattened.

But there is one area of life I do not stress over, and it is far more important than my kitchen capades. When my days of innkeeping are over, I know I have a reservation with my name on it. It’s a move up. And it’s not based on my performance.

Heaven is a very real place. So many of my family and friends are there ahead of me. Jesus, my best friend and Savior, stands with His arms open wide, accepting reservations.
(I’d love to share how, if you are uncertain, find me. #440-225-3319 or monkjo@live.com)

I’m not exactly sure if we will be dining on heavenly made cakepops, but this I do know. We will be strolling the Streets of Gold, where I imagine the Chatter will continue. How great it will be.

Come, just as you are.

margi

PS: Cousin pileup around our birthday boy and his dad. The two babies missed the pic. We now have #7, #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2 #1, #0 (10 mo old Max). God’s gifts to us.