Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hoping in the Ache

Yesterday was hard.
Really hard.
The kind of hard that takes hold of your soul in a vice grip and squeezes.
The kind of hard that makes your teeth ache.

The day started normal enough.
Same ole, same ole...those stressors that exist every day.
You know, the ones you get so used to that you barely glance up from your grindstone to take notice?
Work to do on the app, wondering when it will fly.
Plotting staging and rehearsal for a current directing project.
Figuring percentages on tasks and assignments to calculate final grades for my college courses.
And in the back of mind...
The vague knowledge that we had a visit to the vet that may change our world a bit.
Nothing too much more than usual, though.
Among it all, I wrote about hope, and I felt better about my normal.

But as of last night, sitting on my chaise lounge, staring straight ahead at the wall as I wept, things didn't seem very normal and hope had somehow fallen by the wayside.
What fickle creatures we are.
One difficult thing transpires...or a series of events crop up...and that piece on hope is forgotten.

A family is fractured.
Someone is sick.
The dog you've loved for 13 years is beyond help.
So then is your heart.
"A fractured, sick heart beyond help" choked me last night.

I thought back through the day's events and wondered how things had changed so quickly.
I thought back on petting that beautiful pup until she rested easy at last.
I thought back on growing up on a farm with sisters I loved fiercely.
I thought back on my Daddy's final breath.
I thought amid the rain and the dark and the hurt.

Then I grasped the reason my grief had reached this magnitude in such a short span of time.
I thought.
I didn't pray.

What had I just written about and had forgotten already in my turmoil?
The first week of Advent, a single violet candle lighting the way to hope.
What had I committed to finding each day this week and yet, hours later, had overlooked?
"Hope in the Lord, hope in our lives, hope for Jesus' birth, hope for what we want to birth in His name."
I started 2014 with this chosen Word.
I prayed to end 2014 the same way.
With HOPE.

Hope in Him.
Hope for healing.
Hope for peace in grief.
Hope in the strong, binding ties of family.
Hope in forgiveness and grace.

And I was reminded in that moment what I've come to know so fully these years.
That when life is offered up in prayer, nothing...
No fracture...
No grief...
No illness...
No circumstance whatsoever can choke you.
When life is offered up in prayer, there is only - and ever - HOPE.

{Hoping for each of you today.
Hoping you see Him in every circumstance.
Thanks for reading.}

Photo credit:  Randomsoleil on Flickr

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Week of Hope

We had a beautiful service at church yesterday.  
December...how did it get  here so quickly? 
During Mass, the sermon encompassed an explanation of the Advent wreath that we light the first Advent Sunday and throughout the Christmas season.  I love when I learn new things at church.  (Or maybe I learned this once and promptly forgot it?  Either way, the candle meanings were new to me.)  Here's how Deacon Luis described it.

Candle #1, a purple candle, represents hope.
Hope in the Lord, hope in our lives, hope for Jesus' birth, hope for what we want to birth in His name.

Candle #2, also purple, represents faith.
Faith in God, faith to sustain us, faith in Jesus' coming, faith for the every day mundane.

Candle #3, a pink candle, represents joy.
Does this need an explanation?  I think not.
The only distinction I like to make is that happiness is of this world, but joy is of the Lord.

Candle #4, back to purple, represents peace.
Peace that surpasses all understanding.
Peace in our path.
Peace in our homes.
Peace in our hearts.

The white candle in the center represents Christ.
As it says in the Lorica of St. Patrick, this beautiful Irish prayer I hold so dear...
"I arise today through the strength of Heaven...
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, 
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, 
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, 
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, 
Christ in the eye that sees me, 
Christ in the ear that hears me."

Every day of the year, not just in December, I know these four gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts I need to embrace more fully.
My project doesn't flourish, and I lose hope.
My family experiences turmoil, and I lose faith.
I experience sickness, and I lose joy.
My checking account wanes, and I lose peace.
DAILY I need these reminders...
the ones that tell me He is not only holding me up, but holding me together.
Reminders that He is in charge even and especially when I think I'm losing control.
Reminders that, if I only let these gifts grow in my spirit, they will take root, multiply and flower all around me.

But in the glorious season of Advent, a time of beautiful, patient waiting...
We are given the gift of a change of season.
A season of Hope.
Of Faith.
Of Joy.
Of Peace.
A season where, if we keep constant our hope and faith, our joy and peace will grow exponentially greater.
A season that exists to keep our eyes focused ever upward.
A season that exists to encourage our restless hearts.

This week, week #1 of the 1st purple candle, I shall focus on hope.
I shall pray for hope.
I shall hope for His coming and His hand in all I do.
I hope you'll join me?

{Can't believe we've reached this season of grace and giving.
What are you hoping for today?
Please comment here on on my FB page.
Thanks for reading.}

Monday, November 24, 2014

Giving Thanks Beyond Thanksgiving

This morning at church, the entire congregation was singing the customary verse during the Breaking of the Bread.

"Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world...have mercy on us..."

The chorus rang out.

"Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world...have mercy on us..."

The congregation continued.

"Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world...grant us peace...."

As the church sustained the last note until it ended in silence, we suddenly heard a toddler shout...


The congregation gave a collective chuckle at the innocent exclamation.  
Then I  thought about how that child most certainly must have felt the conviction of our voices raised in song, and I took a moment to consider the profundity of that which moved him to say it..."YEAH!"
Heartbreaking...in the most beautiful way.

It can be difficult to find peace in the "yes" (or "Yeah!") of that which God calls us 
To do...
To pursue...
To create.

Do you ever feel that way?
I know I do...100% and all together too often.
Even when I know what the right thing is.
Even when I know what I'm being called to do.
Even when I have clear direction....

I would sometimes rather whisper "ummmm..." than exclaim "YEAH!"

But today I have listened to the whisper and decided not to hide or to question, but to find peace in His direction and proclaim a resounding "YEAH!!!" 

So here's to continuing saying yes.
Here's to sharing all that we're grateful for.
Here's to taking part in the 

I hope you join me!

{Thanks for reading.
Thanks for sharing gratitude 
with your community.
Thanks for your grace.}

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Daily Mundane #31 - It's All Good

Ah, yes, my 31st October post written and recorded five days late.
As they say, though, "It's all good!"
I needed to finish the 31 Day Challenge for me even if it was a November 4th publication.
Just to say that I could.
Or did.
Or that it mattered.

Beyond that, I hope something of what was written in the "Daily Mundane" series mattered to you.  
Because, truly, you're the reason I write.
You with the busy schedule and crying children.
You with the insane workload and the hopes for marriage.
You with the God-sized dreams that seem impossible.
You with the empty nest and the illness and questions about "What has this all been for?"
It's for you...
And me...
And everyone who feels frustrated and slightly confused and doubts sometimes that their lives matter.

So, just to get it on the record....

You matter to me.

Thank you for visiting me in this sacred space.
Thank you for the times you comment on my words and thoughts, the crazy conclusions I sometimes draw but always depend upon.
Thank you for spreading the word and the Word.

If there's one thing I've learned over this past 31 days, it's that nothing in my life...
Or about my life...
Or caused by my life...
Is mundane.
There is no load of laundry or consoled teen or class taught or husband on the run or  meal prepared that doesn't happen for a reason.
His reason.
Your reason.
My reason.

It all happens for His grace.
By His grace.
With His grace.
And His grace is never ordinary.

{Thanks for sticking with me during this special time.
Thanks for reading the words and looking at the images.
Thanks for being true.
Here's to a great and grateful November.}

Friday, October 31, 2014

Daily Mundane #30 - Happy Halloween from Disney!

Just a little pictorial walk-through of my Halloween morning.
Loved taking a leisurely stroll of the park after teaching a workshop to 16 incredibly talented brass instrumentalists.  What a great morning!
Thank you, Jesus, for blessed work opportunities!

{One more little post tomorrow to complete my 31 Day Challenge...
One day into November but I feel great about it!
What an incredibly challenging challenge...but so worth it!)

Daily Mundane #28 - Autumn Days

I don't know if it's because my daughter is off to college and he feels sorry for me;
Or if he is maturing;
Or if his tastes are changing;
but my son was very much into decorating for fall.
He's been complaining about it for weeks, the fact that I hadn't even gotten the crate of autumn decor out.  I thought it would pass, but he kept hammering away at me.
"When are you going to decorate?"
"Mom, it's almost Halloween and we don't have anything out yet."
"I thought you said you were going to decorate this weekend, Mom?!?"
So my husband lifted the box down from the rafters on Sunday, and when Braden asked me when I was going to start, I told him, "I thought I'd do it while you're at rehearsal tomorrow night."

"Nooooooo!" he practically shouted to my complete shock.  "I want to do it together."
I tell ya', I'm not focusing on the why of this heart change.
I don't really want to know.
(Because I'll admit it...at this point, I'm not beyond accepting some pity decorating.)

True, my house is exceptionally postured for a fall look since those warm colors are the ones I love surrounding us with.  It doesn't need much to achieve the look.  (And thank goodness, because I haven't purchased one fall item in about a decade, and I've had to chuck tattered scarecrows and faded pumpkins year after year.  I'm down to the bare bones.)
Still, when you throw up some autumn leaves and a few gourds, it's amazing how comforting and extreme the transformation is.

Hope you enjoy our Daily Mundane #28...and I gotta give credit where credit is due.  Almost every decision, down to the 1/2 inch move of a candle position, was Braden's.

"Y'all" - a little homage to my roots...
Love this footed bowl and my mother-in-law's vintage tablecloth
Brae's design...he chose the plate holder in gold then went back and forth
quite a few times on the distance between candle holders.
LOVED watching his process!

Just add a few leaves & my dear Daddy's painting leaps off of the mantle!

Love that Braden put his kindergarten turkey in a place of prominence!
Each feather describes all of his blessings:
"Family, my talent for singing, my schools, aunts & uncles, friends, my cousins,
jokes & laughs, great food, fantastic neighbors, my talent for baseball."
So, so precious, these memories.

Love the "jumping into leaves" position
Braden put the anatomy man in.

Happy Fall...officially from GDMFTD!!

{Love my special boy.
Thanks for reading!}

Daily Mundane #29 - Turn the Radio On

Thanks, Toby Mac, for singing these poignant, uplifting words into my world as I drove to teach my classes Thursday!  I wrote a post nearer the beginning of this 31 Day Challenge about this very philosophy.  I know I continue to hear the song because I continue to need the reminder.  So today, just for you dear readers, I am sharing!  Enjoy!

Speak Life

Some days life feels perfect.
Other days it just ain't workin'.
The good, the bad, the right, the wrong
And everything in between.
Its crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart with the words we say.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die.

So speak Life, speak Life...
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life...
When the sun wont shine and you don't know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak speak speak...
You speak Life,(oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak Life. (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

Some days the tongue gets twisted;
Other days my thoughts just fall apart.
I do, I don't, I will, I won't,
Its like I'm drowning in the deep.
Well it's crazy to imagine,
Words from our lips as the arms of compassion.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die.

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest, darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak speak speak...
You speak Life,(oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak Life. (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

Lift your head a little higher;
Spread the love like fire;
Hope will fall like rain
When you speak life with the words you say.
Raise your thoughts a little higher;
Use your words to inspire;
Joy will fall like rain
When you speak life with the things you say.

Lift your head a little higher;
Spread the love like fire;
Hope will fall like rain
When you speak life with the words you say.

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest, darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak speak speak...

You speak Life,(oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak Life. (oh oh oh oh oh oh)
You speak Life,(oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak Life. (oh oh oh oh oh oh)
Some days life feels perfect perfect perfect.

Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Read more: Toby Mac - Speak Life Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

{Thanks for reading.
Now go speak life into someone's world today!}

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Daily Mundane #27 - Shaking Things Up

I shouldn't have to say much on this post...the page should speak for itself.
If you are reading it from my blogger site, you will see how I'm shaking up my mundane.
If you are reading it from your email inbox, you have no idea what I'm talking about.
(Click here to get up to speed.)

So much has happened since this blog's inception three years ago.
First I planted myself here.
Then I created a new website for my writing. (closing soon...)
When the miracle of regaining my voice was rained upon me, I had to rethink the "Cynthia Writes" website and title since I was starting to work again in theater.
And don't forget about my gorgeous project, "Branching Out in Faith" - the iOS app.
So many things were happening.
I needed a concise space in which to display them.

So my sister, Theresa, in her infinite talent and ingenuity, created such a space for me.
(Hire her...she's brilliant!)
"Cynthia Branches Out" went live in July....
All of my special projects housed under one gorgeously designed roof.
Still, I wanted this space to continue to speak for itself.
To speak to all of you good people who stop in daily or occasionally to read these humble words and, hopefully, allow them to affect your day.

These last four months, however, when I've clicked over to this blog from my website, I've felt a bit jarred.
The look and feel of them are so different.
Thus in the last few moments of this 31 Day challenge, I wanted to take the opportunity to streamline the two looks a bit more...
To better reflect my desire for peace in all things.

The color and random graphics of my previous blog design served me well for three years.
And one day, I'm sure you'll find everything I do under one site.
But until then, I hope you enjoy the new look of this space as much as I enjoyed creating it.

{Thanks for reading.}

Daily Mundane #26 - Lessons in Food, Part IV

Before I close my series on daily mundane lessons in food, I wanted to share with you an amazing and much needed conversion that has occurred during my recent quest for wellness.

For some reason, since the death of my father, I have had NO DESIRE to cook.  
Now, to fill you in on the background, I have always loved puttering around in the kitchen.
From hearty, homemade fare to trying gourmet recipes; from decorating cakes to planning, preparing and hosting dinner for 40, I've loved cooking.  I've embraced it.
I was raised by gifted cooks.  
No formal training, just good taste and instincts.  My Mema and Poppy owned a restaurant. My Grammy was the personal cook for the church leaders.
My mother's forays in the kitchen are always spot on.
Cooking together has been a true source of joy for my sisters and I over the years when our families have gotten together.  
My children even inherited this love.  They were in cooking classes by the time they were tweens.

But something changed within my heart when we lost my dad.
I started feeling anxious about going to the grocery store.
I didn't want to boil a pot of water much less prepare an entire meal.
And forget about the planning.
My poor husband...every time he asked, "What do you want to do for dinner?" you'd have thought he asked me to turn my key to detonate a nuclear bomb.
I've been a mess!

But something beautiful transformed within me these last weeks as I've followed specific recipes since starting The Plan.
I don't know if it was perusing the shelves at the organic food market...
Or having everything laid out in such a way that I don't have to think...
Or if it's the chopping and slicing and dicing and seasoning and sauteing.

I don't know if it's the sight and smells, handling and anticipating...
Or the feeling that everything I am putting in my body is good for me - body, soul and spirit.
None of the reasons matter really.

What matters is that I'm once again engaged in something that, for my lifetime up until two years ago, has brought me profound joy.
And the humdrum doesn't feel like it.
It feels special again.
It feels right.
It feels somehow sacred.

So, as a close to my food thoughts, I'd like to finish with a sweet little prayer for cook's I found on the blog, "Reorganized Simplicity."  This verse puts a little form to my rediscovered love for the kitchen and all it's blessings.  Enjoy!

{Praying for all good things for 
your bodies, souls & spirits too.
Thanks for reading.}

Monday, October 27, 2014

Daily Mundane #25 - A Much-Deserved Celebration

So, here's the reason I chose to take a three day sabbatical from my challenge.
I was busy celebrating the life of my nearest and dearest friend in the world.
My Lisa.

Lisa and I met in 1986 where she promptly laughed her way into my heart.
We became roommates and lived together in 5 different locations with approximately 150 other roommates moving in and out (okay, okay, maybe 11) for the next 10 years.
Until the day in June of 1996 that I became a wife.
She was the maid of honor at my wedding...
Is "Aunt Lisa" to my children...
And, as she says, is my partner in crime.

She drove me everywhere for three years until I got a car...
(How did I not have a car in Southern California for three years?!? Yikes...)
Has worked beside me...
Danced beside me, both onstage and the Baxter's dance floor...
Sung beside me both onstage, in karaoke and in church.

She has lent me her ear and shoulder in the rough...
Her easy smile and warmth when I wanted to laugh...
Best of all, she walked beside me in everything, most importantly on our roads to finding faith and peace in Him. 

So, in honor of almost 30 years of friendship, I say "thank you" to my best friend.
I say, "I''m praying every great and beautiful blessing over your life."
I say, "What would I ever have done without you on this long, wending road of life?  This road that has led us to His grace and love?"
You are simply the very best.

Happy 50th birthday, dearest Lisa!!
The first picture we ever took together!  How do you like that 1980's hair?!?

My 21st birthday party that, of course, Lisa planned for me.
Now we've celebrated her 50th!

My hair short here...and hers, red!  Enduring friendships even when hairstyles aren't.

So grateful Lisa loves my husband and he loves her!
He chose her as his sponsor when he converted to Catholicism.
No longer sleeping in on Saturday mornings after a  long Friday night of dancing.
Now we 
do things like get up early and feed the hungry at the Los Angeles Food Bank.  
Much, much more rewarding!  Who'd-a thunk it?

And, as always, we celebrate with one another!
A bunch of girlfriends at my Colleen's graduation party in June of this year.

Lisa was the first one there!

{So grateful for this friendship. 
As always, God knew what I needed when I had no idea.
Now go out and hug your friends.
Thanks for reading!}

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Daily Mundane #24 - What's Truly Important

I was on the 31 Day Challenger's Facebook page for a moment this morning and read a question posed.
"What have you learned about yourself and your blogging since beginning this challenge?"
As I reflected, I knew immediately what my answer was.
In fact, there are two answers.
And the second is the answer to why I haven't posted in several days.

I learned that if my aim is to write to the exclusion of everything, I am more than capable of doing so.  I could fairly easily find something to post about each and every day.
That's really good to know.

But the second thing I've learned is that I don't want to write to the exclusion of everything.
Because my aim in life is to Live.
And mostly, help, serve & cherish those around me.

So...my mundane lesson for Friday is simply - I have a choice.
Ignore life and write all the time.
Or live life and write about those things I learn.

Yeah, I choose the second.

{Catching up from my gratefully chosen sabbatical.
Thank You, Jesus, for making Your choices for me clear.
And thank you all for reading.}

Friday, October 24, 2014

Daily Mundane #23 - Thursday Commute

Thursday lyric time!  

There are sooo many songs composed from across all decades, generations and genres that I love...
That truly speak to me...
That inspire me.

Then there are the songs that, in addition to loving them, I feel are really important.  
Important philosophies to embrace and absorb.
"Lead Me" by "Sanctus Real is one of these songs.
Ever since I heard this song months and months ago, it has planted itself firmly in my heart, the importance of the lyrics in our modern 21st century families beyond comprehension.  
It's a song that parents and spouses across the board could benefit from embracing.
But, even moreso, husbands and dads everywhere, I think, could understand and internalize.
There is a link attached to the title below.  
Give it a listen and if you feel  the way I do, I encourage you to share it - especially with the important men in your lives.

Love, love, love it!!

Lead Me

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying

"Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone."

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying

"Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone."

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I am called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't you lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

{Thanks for reading...and listening!}

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Daily Mundane #22 - Food, Part III

In the Venn diagram of food:

God made kale.
I love God.

I love kale.
(Sauteed with olive oil and shitake mushrooms.)

Thank you God for superfood!

{Thanks for reading this lengthy epistle.
Have a great day!}

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Daily Mundane #21 - Lessons in Food, Part II

One brief but profound lesson.
When I was so incredibly hungry at the beginning of my "Plan" journey last Monday, I could barely function.
I couldn't think straight.
I could hardly focus on getting myself what I needed...much less focus on asking Him for help...or communicate with Him in any way.
And that was with three protein-less meals and a snack. 

I thought of every person in the world who has nothing to eat.
Doesn't know where their next meal will come from.
If it will materialize at all.
And yet, many of these are starving people pray...seek...listen...answer...thank Him daily .
How great is that faith?
And how can we not do everything in our power to help them find that sustenance?

This picture I snapped at the Women of Faith conference in September
says in one sentence exactly how I was feeling last week.

{Thanks for reading.
Have a blessed &  full day.}

Daily Mundane #20 - Lessons in Food, Part I

(Spoiler alert:  This post has it ALL!  Intrigue, discovery, danger, daily mundane, autumn's season of change and the introduction of a new. best. friend.  Read on if you think you can handle it.)

The advent of this post was formed last Monday, but I needed to let some days pass before addressing it.  You see, I just wasn't in a position to write in an articulate and objective way regarding this topic.  
Where do I begin?
Hmmm...perhaps the background.

It all started last year with a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Kari Patterson, over at Sacred Mundane.  She was describing a book called "The Plan" which had been recommended to her mother as she fought and dealt with the ramifications of Parkinson's.  Kari committed to following the plan in support of her mom.
I was intrigued.

"The Plan" is a type of elimination food program. It's not a diet. More of a journey of finding which foods cause issues (such as inflammation, migraines, weight gain, foggy thinking, lethargy, etc.) and which are safe for the individual tester.  I felt that I was being called to make a change at that time, so I bought the book.
After reading it, I realized it would take an incredibly significant time commitment and searched the calendar for the appropriate 20 days that were clear for the testing phase.
My discovery?
There is never a good time.  There is always something going on.
I knew I had to just take the plunge, so I chose the requisite 20 day time period after my surgery in April...
Then promptly ignored it.
(Classic Cynthia...)

Let's skip ahead to last Monday.
I finally felt so awful in my earthly vessel that I was left with no choice but to move forward.
I started the three day cleanse.
(Now, don't freak out here.  I don't subscribe to wonky, deprivation diets.  This was not extreme as we think of extreme.)  
I ate three meals and one snack that day.  
It's just that the fare was very different than what I am used to.  
Translation?  Grown only from the ground.

One hour in, I had decided this was a terrible idea.
One day later, I knew I was in danger.
In danger of either losing my mind or committing "Plan" heresy by robbing my pantry of all salty snacks...better yet, someone just give me a piece. of meat. Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!
Five days later, I felt clear.
More energetic.
The vestiges of health returning daily little by little.
(Just don't ask about my daily 3:30PM crash.  I've almost got it figured out.  Sigh...)

Anyway, today, 8 days later, I am almost completely adjusted and actually craving some of the food I have been preparing.
Now, if I never had to see another piece of lettuce - radicchio, kale, baby romaine or otherwise - I would probably be a very happy woman.
But, truly, the food is really good, and I am getting used to my new daily mundane of preparing each meal.  
(Interpretation:  Chopping, dicing, grating and paring ALL DAY LONG.)

So in honor of this renewed sense of enjoying God's bountiful goodness "from farm to table," I'd like to share my favorite recipe so far. 
This is a lovely seasonal offering - it just feels like Autumn.
The best news is that it's really easy on the wallet.
After all, you can buy approximately 300 carrots for a buck and a half, so even those of you adhering to a budget can partake.

But before I hammer out the recipe, I want to introduce you to my new. best. friend.
Truly I couldn't have gotten through the last week without this friend by my side, taking care of most of the prep work for me.
Without further ado....

Introducing...the Zyliss vegetable peeler!

Making her God's Daily Message for the Dense debut...

(I hope I haven't embarassed her!  I just don't know what I would have done without her the past week!)

She blew through this stack of carrots in about 6 minutes.  Formidable, I tell ya'!


1 1/2 lbs. carrots
1 zucchini
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic
Raw ginger, peeled and minced, to taste
Cinnamon, cumin, onion powder to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 quart water

Chop veggies and simmer with spices in water (for thicker soup, use 1/2 quart of water) until soft.  Puree in blender or food processor.  Makes 6-8 servings

(My notes:  I omitted the onion powder.  And before eating a singular bowl, I add a few Tbsp coconut milk.  It's also great with goat cheese sprinkles on top for those of you who would like to add some protein!)

Please enjoy and feel free to share this beautiful Carrot Ginger Soup recipe.
It's easy on the tummy and, depending on how you season it, has a sweetness with a kick that I've really enjoyed!
Buon Appetito!!

Recipe credit:  Lyn-Genet Recitas, The Plan

{Told you this post had it all!
Thanks for reading!}