39 & Counting: January Poems

One of my 39&Counting goals was to read a poem a day and record which poems I read. So here are a few poems I read and a few of my favorite lines from each one.


1. “After Reading Lucretius, I Go To The Pond” by Mary Oliver

My heart dresses in black
and dances.

2. “Passers-by” by Carl Sandburg

Records of great wishes slept with,
Held long
And prayed and toiled for

3. “On Seeing a Tuft of Snowdrops in a Storm” by William Wordsworth

When haughty expectations prostrate lie,
And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing,

4. “Hurricane” by Mary Oliver

For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.

5. “When You Are Old” by W.B. Yeats

one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face

6. “Vintage” by Amy Lowell

It will lap and scratch
As I swallow it down;
And I shall feel it as a serpent of fire,
Coiling and twisting in my belly.

7. “Barcarole” by Pablo Neruda

Do you want to be the lone ghost walking by the sea

8. “The Author and Her Book” by Anne Bradstreet

9. “A Valediction: Forbidding Morning” by John Donne


I read many more poems, but due to crazy things going on at work, I wasn’t able to record them. I’ll try to do better in February. 🙂  Enjoy!

We Use Wipes

We Use Wipes

The Busy Moms


We use wipes. We

Break Fights. We


Kill bugs. We

Give hugs. We


Read book. We

Always cook. We


Watch toons. We

Nap soon.



In the style and form of

We Real Cool

Gwendolyn Brooks, 19172000
                   THE POOL PLAYERS. 
                   SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

39 & Counting: Recipe Challenge

One of my challenges for the year is to cook at least 6 new dishes. This is not too difficult to accomplish since I’m always trying something new, but here are three of my most recent experiments. Three more to go!




Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting  OH MY GOODNESS!!! Do NOT make these cupcakes because if you do, I will come to your house and eat them ALL!  The frosting alone is absolutely delicious and worthy of any cake. The cupcakes were quite tasty. And together, they are a deadly duo.






Gyros with Greek Chicken Everyone said it was delicious! Even the pickiest of the kids ate it (without the sauce).

This is a simple meal, but it requires quite a bit of prep work. So if I make it again, I will probably cut up everything the night before (or earlier in the day) and then cook the chicken at dinner time.  I cooked the chicken under the broiler since we don’t have a grill at the moment. I didn’t make the pita bread for this dish, but even with the store bought bread, it was delicious.



Skillet Pork Chops with Pan Gravy

I can’t paste an image here from the website, but everything was fairly simple for this meal. Served it with green beans and mashed potatoes. And WOW…the kids devoured it. I  made my “secret weapon” mashed potatoes. I boil the potatoes with diced onions and some garlic and then mash them all up together and use Greek yogurt in place of the butter and some of the milk. Salt/Pepper to taste. Good stuff!


Difference Maker

 “It’s time to live as though we believe we have something to offer. It’s time to release our authentic selves into the world.”

Emily Freeman

I’m midway through reading Emily Freeman’s book  A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live, and I’m going to do something a bit unprofessional. I’m going to recommend it even though I haven’t finished reading it. Gasp! Truth be told, I actually recommended it after I read the 1st chapter, but this time, I’m going public. It’s that good (so far). So…buy this book and read at least the first four chapters. 😉

As the title suggests, Freeman delves into how we can uncover the dreaming artist that God created us to be. How  we can dust off and display our true design. There are many quote-worthy passages, but here is one that most recently stuck out to me.

Freeman discusses her youthful success in writing  and touches on something I think is relevant to many of today’s wandering artists. She writes:

“After receiving such encouraging feedback from eighth grade all the way into college on my writing, I did the most natural thing a young writer would do.

I chose to major in piano. But since I didn’t love piano enough to get better, I did the next natural thing a young writer would do. I dropped my piano major and began to study sign language interpreting. Naturally.

Actually, it makes more sense than you think.

The natural thing to do when hints of your own design scare you is to run. Can you remember when you first ran away from this kind of desire, the kind carrying hints of your design?

This is what we do when we have forgotten who we are. We are desperately afraid of both our capacity for destruction as well as for beauty. We are terrified of our sin-burden as well as our image-bearing identity. We are suspicious of desire and don’t trust our own ability to sort out first and second things.”

book cover
from: Freeman, Emily P. Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live.
So let’s go on this adventure and discover the art we were made to live. Let’s surrender to His design.


God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

(Jenny’s blog has moved to wHereLifeIsReal)



Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name


God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied


Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name


God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied

songs by Need to Breathe
Emily Freeman blogs here.



This month, I will turn 39.

To celebrate the year I top the hill, I decided to make a list of some things I’d like to accomplish. My plan is to record this journey throughout the year, so follow along if you like. Click the link above to learn more about some of the items.


A New Year’s Prayer

A prayer that still comes to mind all these years later . . .
YEARS ago, when I was an undergraduate at Mississippi State University, I sporadically attended a local church–usually due to the promptings of my roommate. One Sunday during the Christmas season, an older lady came to me and handed me a small bundle of goodies–something they regularly did for college students. One of the items was a booklet that told the Christmas story. On the back page was this prayer. I copied it into a notebook, and since then it has moved with me to different states and traveled with me around the world. Several lines were particularly powerful to me at the time and have come to my mind numerous times over the years.

Dear Lord, Please Give Me…

 A few friends who understand me and yet remain my friends,

A work to do which has real value, without which the world would feel poorer…

A mind unafraid of travel, even though the trail be not blazed,

An understanding heart,

A sense of humor,

Time for quiet, silent meditation,

A feeling of the presence of God.

And the patience to wait for the coming of these things,

with the wisdom to know them when they come.

–W.R. Hunt

originally published Jan 2013


Death has innocent cries,
newborn sounds, feeble attempts
at first communication.

You can hear a voice dropping,
distance told by sound.
The ever growing gap–diminuendo.

Do you think they knew the sensation of falling?

Startled shoulders widening,
hands outstretched, backs arched in anticipation.
Head limp, necks not knowing how to hold things together.

Once in a museum I saw
a pile of children’s shoes.
At least five feet high–

it was just one pile.
I’m sure there were others in other museums.

Newborn cries can fill a hospital’s atrium,
swell in that empty place and
break through any sunlight that provides
witness to atrocity.