Blue and Orange

Reminders of thankfulness

With so many incomplete rooms in our home, I like keeping the dining room table looking neat and like we could sit down at it. So Friday as Shane plugged away at work, I opened a box marked “Katy’s Ceramics”. To be completely honest, none of the stuff was great. It was from a summer semester I took of it, and though I was making good stuff, on some the glaze didn’t work out, running and sticking to the kiln, while others had little stones in the clay that popped big chips in my finished pieces.

So the decorating of the dining room table actually began when I flipped over the beautiful table runner gifted to me at my shower to the blue side and set it on our table. It needed something else, so I got out a lovely ceramic bowl someone else got me, being it was so lonely, off I went to the “Katy’s Ceramics” box. Pitcher after pitcher, tea pot after teapot got pulled out, and I played with them all until I came up with the ones that would stay, I added height and texture with some metal bowls, another gift, then added the bright pops of orange. Yet another gift I might add.


I went to bed that night feeling pretty pleased with my table that looked like it belonged in a home where two people live, so the next day I woke up energized and let Shane sleep in as I made some Frangelico French toast. This list of flavors added to the egg soaked bread may evoke some thoughts of the holidays, but we enjoyed it on a regular, old March saturday just as much.


Frangelico French Toast for Two

  • Four slices of hearty bread
  • 3 eggs, or as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon Frangelico liquor
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla butter flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Whisk the eggs together and the remaining ingredients
  2. Dip and cover the bread in the egg mixture, transfer to greased, heated pan and cook until no longer runny, and bread bounces back with a soft press


After a hearty breakfast and a nice visit from my sister and brother in law, we headed up to their property to pick out logs for our closet. We have many grand plans for our walk in closet, and we actually got really good headway on this project. I think we tackled that “to-do” list better this Saturday and Sunday, we worked together well, and even got to the painting step.

All weekend I was reminded again and again of how grateful I can and should be. I got to make our dining room table look inviting, and only had to purchase some blue flowers to finish the look I was after, we got to go pick out logs from our sister and brother in laws property, in turn, helping them clear some trees, and we patched and painted walls. In the end, we figured out where Leah would be staying when she came to visit. All of this got me smiling and excited, from the blue and orange center piece I made to the newly painted closet. Shane joked and said, “Are you happy because we finally went and picked out logs.” Yes, that made me happy, but more than just happy, I was thankful we could. I think thankfulness precedes real happiness.

Had I just been happy over the logs, the happiness would’ve faded when we came back and I realized the logs really just added one more thing to our over crowded basement. Had I just been happy over the paint, I would’ve quickly lost that bounce in my step after realizing we would need another coat. Had I been hinging my weekends happiness over dressing up my dining room table, it would’ve faded when I looked up at the dark, burgundy walls surrounding my bright little table.


I love verses about thankfulness. Some tag it in on the end, like oh, and be thankful. But I am going to include one that says in what ever you do to be thankful. I like that, because as I sit here at my dining room table, I am thankful for every piece of flawed ceramic’s, for they still look beautiful, I am thankful for each and every thoughtful gift that adds colors and textures to my home, and I am thankful for all the relationships behind each one of those gifts.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him


To-Do’s and New Goals

Week two at home and Shane was actually called off to work again. This left me alone with my list of things to do and Jagger. Most of these “to-do’s” are everyday things, that, if not kept a handle on, would spiral out of control. Laundry, dishes, and we always have dishes to do with no dishwasher in this house, and vacuuming. I admit, I may be a little obsessed with vacuuming, but we have mostly carpet, a hairy dog, and I like running around in my bare feet and don’t like crunching on his kibble he somehow gets everywhere. “To-write” is not necessarily on my “to-do’s”, but it gives me a welcomed break between scraping off wallpaper borders and vacuuming up papery messes, filling in holes, and doing more dishes.

I love lists and I love deadlines. I thrived in college because of this; I would get a list of things to do at the beginning of the semester from some professors and I would begin on papers right then so that when crunch time hit, my day was still my normal day. Now I write my own lists, some last a day, some a month. Goals I set aren’t “get this paper done a week before it is due” anymore, most often they have to do with work and often art call deadlines. Generally, I can be organized enough to get a goal done once I set it, and that is a pretty big deal considering how distracted I can get.

A common goal we both have, though I think I have a little more drive to get it done, is our closet. If it were up to me, it would’ve been done yesterday. Meanwhile, I am pretty sure Shane could go on living the rest of his life with his clothes being in the dining room closet, but I would like that place that keeps our clothes organized, out of site, and all together. I like that lists help me, or us, get organized, and I like to have completion date goals, but I can’t get so distracted by the goal that I lose site of the people around me, and am I still being kind, using love, and being patient? Things will get done, and I shouldn’t compromise relationships just for a goal.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Now my goals are different, and my “to-do” lists are different. They are evolving and including another person. So when someone asked me if I feel settled at my new home yet, I don’t. Not quite yet, and this isn’t a bad thing or a negative reflection on me or Shane and I as a couple. I am just still figuring things out.

With this in mind, Shane and I decided the closet was the first doable project, and while he was away, I got started on things. When I told my mom about the project, she suggested I set the deadline of my cousin Leah coming to visit to finish our closet by. Well, we only have one more weekend then she is here, so I don’t think that will be happening, which is slightly frustrating, as I would like it done ASAP. This is where that whole idea of patience comes in again, only this doesn’t feel like a little moment, like the whoopie pie moment, this feels like a big, all consuming thing. I have to work extra hard to remind myself, it will get done, don’t worry about tomorrow, just keep pushing forward.

Thankfully Shane and I each have an especially helpful family. Both sides are willing to pitch in and help out where ever, when ever. That meant that Saturday, before the men’s game feed at our church, my parents came up to help out in the closet. We knocked down walls took screws out, and really made some decent headway. At the tail end of their help, I began cooking our late lunch which included a venison skillet dish, orange smothered chicken breasts with gorgonzola cheese, lots of Jiffy spoonbread, and of course raspberry whoopie pies. Now the skillet dish made enough to feed a small army, and I automatically made double of the corn bread dish, and this all turned out to be a good thing as more family and friends descended to see our new home and eventually head off to the game feed right as the late lunch was ready to eat. We all ate together and enjoyed listening to kids giggle and got to explain future plans for our home.

This has taught me one valuable home make over lesson. Always have food. I can’t for a moment get hung up on my own expected deadlines for projects when, in all reality, we are doing an okay job fitting in filling in holes and tearing down walls between both of our jobs, and we are so fortunate to have family willing to come over and help in their free time. One way I can show my gratefulness to those lending a hand is by making food. To solidify this point, last night while I was at work, Shane’s brother came over and helped hang up closet things in another closet in the house and they ate the last of the corn bread and chicken.

So this morning I cooked up a hearty skillet dish with ham and turkey kielbasa. It may not be one for looks, as the white kidney beans didn’t hold their own too well, but it certainly is colorful with all the carrots. Because our beautiful 14 inch cast iron skillet doesn’t fit in our fridge too easily, I transferred it to this casserole dish to store until we eat it for dinner. If I am away at work again, and people come over to help, it is a one dish meal that will feed a small group of people of 4-6.

Skillet Cassoulet

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 oz turkey kielbassa
  • 8 oz fully cooked ham, cubed
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15 oz can white kidney beans
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • Pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil, add in turkey kielbasa, ham, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and cook until vegetables are tender
  2. Stir in beans, tomatoes, thyme and celery seed, simmer until heated through. Add pepper