January 31, 2014

Inspiration Perspective

Sometimes it's easy for me to feel inspired and other times it isn't.  For me the feeling of inspiration isn't the same thing as felling motivated.  Inspiration feels different to me; it's more of a light and happy perspective about anything I see that is beautiful.  I feel inspiration when I'm outdoors in nature seeing God's art, and I feel inspiration when I see man's art.  Sometimes I even feel inspired just looking around my home; it's simple, functional, and beautiful.  Best of all it's something I put together, you know; making a house a home.

Eidolon House - Home and Studio

I fill my home with bits of nature, music, photos of our life, a lot of sunlight whenever possible, and great memories.  Even all those rolls of leather in the corner of my little dinning area means something is happening in my life; something inspiring.

On days when I can't spend time outdoors, or when I can't find anything new and inspiring on the internet, I look around my home and always find something special and inspiring.


January 27, 2014

January Give Away from Eidolon House

Hi Friends!  Eidolon House Bindery is giving away a beautiful hand-bound blank journal!  

Click HERE to head on over to J & J Chronicles to find out more about the book and enter the give away!

Have a great week!


January 26, 2014

High/Low - A Sunday Ritual

My high of the week would have to be receiving a new set of scriptures!  Joseph and I ordered a new set on line and of course, in true bookbinder fashion, they will be rebound into something special.  We're both designing what we want our covers to look like and then Joseph will work his magic!  I'm excited because the last set of scriptures I have were from my Mission, like forever ago.  We're in a new season of life and feel we should have new, clean scriptures. 
This week I experimented with different oatmeal breakfasts.  My favorite is simple, cooked oatmeal with a bit of Greek yogurt and berries.  I made oatmeal with yogurt and fried bananas and peanut butter and honey; I did not like this at all!  Joseph ate his and said with was good, I threw mine away.
I made oatmeal, yogurt, and banana pancakes Saturday, and they did not disappoint.  The recipe called for 4 tablespoons of melted butter, I substituted the butter for smashed bananas.
Find the recipe HERE!

My low of the week would have to be the fact that this whole month we haven't been feeling 100%.  I caught the flu a few weeks ago and wanted to die, and Joe has been fighting it, but this bug will not leave us alone!  It's more annoying than anything to constantly feel blah.  But we're working through it and enjoying the beautiful weather we've been having here.  I'm not wired for sunny warm days in January.  I love the sunshine but I miss those cold blizzard days; they make me want to hunker down and settle in with a good movie or book. 

How was your week?
I hope your week to come is a good one!



January 25, 2014

Chapter Thirteen: Our Love Story (Joseph's side of the story)

When I received the e-mail telling me that my old friend wanted to hook me up with a friend of his wife, I was less than enthused.  I felt that I was doing alright as a bachelor, and that my life was more than complicated enough without adding dating, thank you very much.  But I could tell that my friends were excited, and I didn't want to let them down, so I agreed.  Plus, there was a part of me (I didn't know just how large a part at the time) that was very lonely and realized it might be good to get out of my comfort zone a bit.  After my friends gave me a brief description of what Jill was like - or at least what they thought I would like to hear about her - we friended each other on Facebook, and I looked at all her photo albums and read a lot of her old blog entries.  So I had three or four mental images of what she was like before I met her, none of which were entirely correct.

Jill's Facebook profile picture when I looked her up. (It was an amputee thing for her I guess.)
When I saw this picture I thought I was going to be meeting a gangster wanna-be.

The day we were to meet I drove down from Wyoming where I had been visiting my parents over the weekend.  Just before I left I felt a migraine coming on, and took something for it that my mother had handed to me.  I don't get migraines all that often, but it is always the aura that bothers me more than the actual pain, and this one was bad, or at least different than any other I had experienced.  At the time I thought it was the medicine that caused this, but in retrospect I think that the migraine was one of those that can be called a mini-stroke.  As I was driving I realized that I couldn't understand the words coming from the radio, I couldn't make sense out of the signs on the highway, and I couldn't string more than a few words together, unless they were curses.  In spite of the language center of my brain being on the fritz I made it safely to my friends' house and began baking bread for our dinner.  But although I was able to dissemble, I was a bit frightened at what was happening to me, foggy like my head was crammed with cotton, and nervous at meeting Jill, so when she arrived, I was not at my most gracious, I am sure. 

I certainly was taken aback when she walked in:  A tiny girl in a ball cap and combat boots that said "Get in my way, and I will take you down," spunky, if not downright pugnacious, and I wouldn't have been surprised if she had been carrying a pistol in her hand bag!  I thought right away, "This girl will have no patience for you and your artsy ways.  Best just put on a brave face and make it through dinner."  I also thought it plain that she was far more interested in visiting my friend's wife than in meeting me, which was compounded by the fact that the two of them quickly left together to go do some shopping for some ingredient or another that we needed.  I certainly felt out of place in the whole affair.  As the evening progressed I began to realize that though it seemed Jill and I had almost nothing in common, I would still like to get to know her better.  After dinner we played some mahjong, and our friends left the game and the two of us alone for a short while for some reason - putting the kids down, I think - and we were forced to actually talk to each other.  After that, I was sure that I would like to at least be this girl's friend, if nothing more.

I think it was only the next day that I invited her up to my place to try to get to know her without the distractions of being at our friends' home.  At first, I felt just as awkward, clumsy, and shy, and I was sure that the evening was going to be a disaster, but it was ironically saved by another disaster:  Our experimental meal of lasagna rolls.  Now in all honesty, they were not as bad as Jill will tell you they were; just a bit crunchy, but somehow that broke down the barriers between us, and the conversation began to flow.  I know there are a lot of things you aren't supposed to talk about when you first start dating, but we broke all those taboos, and neither of us cared. 

Me baking bread for one of our dinners.
I couldn't wait until the next time I got to see her, and most of that interim was filled with fantasies of holding her hand, or kissing her goodnight as she got into her truck, but the truth is, I was just too terrified:  There was no way this girl could feel the same way I did, so I didn't dare make the first move.  All I have more to say on that matter is that I am glad she was bolder than me!

Another fabulous meal with the Tylers.
After that third date, we were together every moment possible, and work and sleep were no more than hours of drudgery that kept us apart.  The rest of that time is something of a blur, but I knew that being married to Jill couldn't come fast enough.  That blurring of time hasn't changed since then:  It feels simultaneously as if we have known each other our whole lives and as if we had just met.  Every day is new and exciting because I get to spend practically every minute with her, and the minutes we are apart are a drag.  I am glad that I was wrong about her having no patience with me and my artsy ways, and that we were willing to give each other the chance to know each other, because now we are the happiest couple imaginable.
Our kids!  They aren't this small anymore!

Our wedding party.

Read Jill's side of our love story HERE!

January 24, 2014

Chapter Twelve: Our Love Story (Jill's side of the story)

Picture yourself as a divorced woman who also had just broken off an engagement from your boyfriend of 2 ½ years; that was me April of 2011, and if anyone would have told me at that time, I would be married by August of that same year, I would have laughed really hard. 

It was the first week of April 2011 when I received a phone call from a friend who told me she wanted to set me up with a great guy named Joseph, a friend of her husband.  She described him as a bit eccentric, divorced with three children, and he had “different” facial hair.  I had just broken up with a man who some would describe as eccentric, and I was married before with stepchildren and one of those ex-wives that insisted on being involved in my marriage - my marriage not the children’s lives, my marriage.  My first question to my friend was, “what is his relationship with his ex-wife like?”  I really didn’t want to deal with another bitter ex-wife who would brainwash her children to hate their dad’s new girlfriend.  But, I agreed to meet him at my friend’s home over dinner, a dinner we would all cook together. 

Before meeting I Facebook stalked him and couldn’t really tell much about him other than he was an artist; the majority of his photos were pictures of his paintings and engravings, which was pretty cool.  I remember thinking to myself, “he isn’t going to be my type at all.”  I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination; I’m just a regular girl who worked a rather lame sales job, oh and did I mention that I lived with my parents because I needed to pay off major medical bills having become an amputee only three years before, due to a car accident?  So he was divorced with three children and all the baggage we know divorce brings into life.  I myself am divorced, had just gotten out of a pretty serious, but not the most healthy relationship, and was continuing my recovery from a pretty serious accident, you know losing my leg and all of that baggage.  On paper, this set up was doomed from the get go, would you agree? 

A few weeks later we all met up at my friend’s house to cook dinner and get to know everyone better.  The menu was tomato soup with homemade bread for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.  When I arrived at my friend’s house, Joseph was already there.  When I walked into the house he was kneading bread dough in the kitchen, he had long hair with an English styled mustache - the long twisty kind - a beard, and he wasn’t wearing shoes.  His speech wasn’t very clear either.  Turned out, Joseph had suffered a huge migraine earlier that day, and took some major medicine before our dinner date that affected his speech, and I think his vision too. 
I think we used every single dish in my friend's kitchen!
 I hadn’t seen my friend in a while, so I was busy catching up with her, basically ignoring Joseph.  Let’s just say our first date wasn’t what you’d say, going smoothly.  The food however, was delicious and as the night progressed, the conversation was good by the end.  I left around 11:00 o’clock and thought I wouldn’t hear from Joseph again. 

Perhaps the best tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich ever!
The next day I received a very nice email from Joseph, we set up another date, this time at his house, just the two of us.  About a week later I drove to his place and tried cooking lasagna rolls for dinner.  I had never made them before; let me say one should never try a new recipe on a second first date.  The lasagna rolls turned out dry and crunchy, but the conversation was nonstop!  We talked about everything; about ourselves, politics, religion, our families, past relationships, old friends, new friends, education, careers, his children, should I keep going?  I left that night feeling excited to have met someone that I could talk to about so many things.   
The worst lasagna rolls imaginable!  Joseph was a perfect gentleman and ate them anyway, even though with each bite bread crumbs would jump off the roll and shoot up his nose and all over his face.

On our third date we watched a movie together.  For practically the whole movie Joseph sat next to me with the back of his hand pressed next to the back of mine.  He was so cute, scared to make the first move, so I finally just grabbed his hand, and we enjoyed the rest of the moving holding hands together.  We kept dating, dating, and dating, and somewhere in between all of our dating, I met his children and parents, he met my parents and family, oh and we fell in love.  By June we were engaged and we were married on August 1.

Our silly daughter, Krista.

Macsen, 10 going on 40.

The amazing Diego.

Joseph made my engagement/wedding ring from a 1962 quarter.  Quarters 1965 and older were solid silver; they aren't anymore.

I can’t begin to tell you all of the comments we got from people because our relationship moved forward so quickly.  Some people said we wouldn’t last a year, others said we’re moving too fast and didn’t know each other.  On the flip side, my parents were happy for us, and Joseph’s mom suggested we forgo a wedding and just go to the court house to get married; I really liked that idea.  Joseph suggested that we might want a wedding, a story of our marriage that is more than just a court house marriage.  He was right; we planned a small wedding with our families and close friends, and it was beautiful. 

Here’s the thing, we both had been in bad relationships/marriages before, we’re both in our mid 30s and wanted to be married, and we both deserved to be loved by a true partner and friend.  It just so happened that we clicked, and became each other’s true partner and friend.  There was no analyzing our relationship, there was no “what-ifs” killing our happiness, there was absolutely no way naysayers’ comments would make us stop to question the feelings we had for each other.  To be honest our situation was kind of awesome, and wasn’t a force to be trifled with.

I think the best part about Joseph and me is we haven’t been apart since we got married, and we don’t get tired of each other either.  I don’t have the need for “girls’ nights out” like I needed in past relationships.  We miss each other if one of us has to go out, we still have so much to talk about, and every day I love him more than the day before.

Read Joseph's side of our love story HERE!


January 21, 2014

A Tough Day Eating Healthy. . .

Today was a particularly hard day in staying focused and eating healthy; I wasn't in the mood to cook at all.  Let me repeat:  I did not want to cook at all!  This morning I cooked oatmeal with fruit for breakfast and for dinner I made roasted broccoli with leftover pulled pork, and THESE roasted sweet potatoes!  The sweet potatoes where actually a bit too sweet for my liking. 

I'm proud of myself for not talking Joseph into running and grabbing us something, but the craving for something "take-out" is still there.  I shall carry on another day!


January 19, 2014

High/Low - A Sunday Ritual

So many things went well this week!
Joseph and I had a successful week of eating healthy, which always feels good.
I found a blogger who lost 135 pounds and has been able to keep off her weight for 6 years!
The best part about her diet is she eats (healthy food of course), but her recipes are delicious!
For those of us who find happiness in cooking and eating, this is a big deal!
What I found most inspirational about her though, is she didn't hate herself when she was heavy.  She appreciated the experiences she had and how her character was built as a heavy person.  Her whole view of being heavy and then losing weight and living healthy is so refreshing, I recommend you spend some time reading her blog.  Click HERE
I went to listen to 911 dispatch calls in McKinney.  It was pretty fun and nerve racking at the same time.
I had fun cooking up a storm this week.
The weather has been absolutely perfect!  60 degree days and 40 degree nights!

We had such a productive week, it's hard to think of a low actually.
If I had to name something it would be that Joseph is not feeling 100% yet.
It's like his cold/flu is trying to stick around as long as possible!

Here are a few of the recipes I cooked this week!
Made BBQ sauce for our pork sandwiches which was super easy!
Find the full recipe for BBQ sauce, cooking the pork, and apple tart slaw HERE!
Made this delicious 460 calorie sandwich this week!  Click HERE for the recipe!
I made mini taco salads, only 210 calories!  Click HERE for the recipe!
I made these cute little tortilla salad bowl cups too!  See how to do it HERE!

How was your week?


January 17, 2014

In the Kitchen at Eidolon: Mini Taco Salads with Lime Rice

One taco salad is only 210 calories!
Check out the full process of how I made these HERE!


Random 5 Friday

My husband and I have stayed motivated to eating healthy and I'm so proud of us!
By now I usually find some odd justification to run to Wendy's.

I've tested to be a 911 dispatcher, and the other day I went in to observe the dispatchers.
It was fun to listen to the calls.  I ended up crying over a call from a young women
who just had a baby and she'd been bleeding pretty bad that day.
Maybe being a 911 dispatcher will be harder than I think. 
I don't have the job yet, but I'm hopeful!

I often prefer the company of animals rather than people.
My pets are so sweet. 

My husband and I have been watching Magnum P.I. on Netflix.
I shouldn't admit this, but we've had a good laugh at some of the filming and outfits.
Mostly, we've enjoyed the episodes. We're nerds. 

I learned how to knit and crochet last November.  
I'm crocheting my first blanket for my sister's birthday.
Crochet is like meditation and a lot of work at the same time.
I'm loving it!

A doodle drawing my husband drew of us when we were dating.
The doodle drawing I drew of us when we were dating.  It's clear who is the better artist.

I hope you've all had a wonderful week!
Have a fantastic weekend!


Linking with A Rural Journal's Random 5 Friday HERE!

A Day of only 1210 Calories. . .

Ever wondered what 1,200 calories looks like?
Here you go!
An open faced egg, avocado, and cheese sandwich = 460 Calories.
One mini taco salad with lime rice = 210 Calories, I ate three = 630 Calories.
Three squares of a delicious Symphony bar = 120 Calories.

Not a bad looking 1,210 calorie day is it?
I have eaten delicious food and even chocolate!  I've drank over 32oz of water too!
I feel full and I feel like I've accomplished something.

Have you set goals to be more healthy this year?
What are you doing to live more healthy?


January 16, 2014

In the Kitchen at Eidolon: Open face Egg, Avocado, and Cheese Sandwich

Today I made a healthy and delicious lunch I'd like to share with you!
See the process of how I made this HERE!



This Man. . .

This man. . . 
not only has the coolest mustache. . . 
he is a talented artist, bookbinder, conservator, and. . .
he's the kindest man I know.  
I'm so very lucky to call him my husband!
I love you Joseph!