Gratitude List #30

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this week! Where did the time go? I again am hosting Thanksgiving but everyone is bringing a dish so that makes it easier. I think having new dishes also helps make new traditions.

My gratitude list (in no particular order)

  • after having a wintry week a 60 degree day like today is always a treat. Opening the windows at the end of November is a day to give thanks
  • Being able to gather with friends in a pre-holiday get together for laughter and good food
  • Starting the holiday season in the true spirit and helping those who are not so fortunate
  • looking forward to having all my family gathered at the table
  • excited to get the Christmas decorations started this Friday (I don’t shop Black Friday but start the decorating instead)
  • only having a 3 day work week this week
  • having fellow board members on my townhouse association that are like minded

What is on your gratitude list this week?

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Nature’s Canvas

At the end of October I went to one of my favorite places, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. I usually meet some friends there in the summer and we hike, see nature and visit the wineries. One of my friends asked me to come down in October and see the fall colors.

At first, I thought we would be too late as here in Pennsylvania many of the trees had lost their leaves but soon realized many of the leaves would still be changing in Virginia. Little did I know the beauty that awaited me.

The main road in the park is 106 miles long. The South end still had leaves which were not the initial vibrant colors but rather a mature darker color. They truly were still beautiful and Mother Nature painted a beautiful canvas to all to see

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In the central portion of the park most of the trees had lost their leaves. Some trees were trying desperately to hang on to their color. This next picture was taken about 20 miles from the previous picture

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The second day we went to the north portion of the park. Here is where the brightest colors could be seen. The yellows and oranges mixed nicely with the last of the green in the tree. This is where the colors were their best.

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Summer there is a busy time with people hiking, animal watching and visiting the waterfalls for a quick cooling off.  Fall there is so much different as the only animals to be seen are the deer. Hiking is limited to short distances due to darkness coming so early. Fall allows time for thinking and enjoying the art nature has to offer.

I sit here tonight in the cold November but somehow the quiet, reflective fall trip still provides warmth and comfort.

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Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta Cheese

Since the weather is colder the dishes that require an oven can now again be added to the menu. I love seafood and shrimp is probably my favorite. I have orzo in my pantry but don’t use it often enough. It is a small but filling pasta.

I used fresh shrimp for the recipe but you can use frozen just as easily. This dish was an adaptation of one I found at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

Ingredients

2 pounds of shrimp peeled and deveined
1/2 cup of chopped yellow onions
1 tsp of olive oil
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
3 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 pound of orzo pasta(uncooked)
4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 cup of water
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup feta cheese crumbled

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan
3. Pat shrimp dry and lightly season with salt and pepper. Set aside
4. In a 4 quart pot combine the onion, oil, Italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp salt over medium heat. Cover the pot and cook stirring occasionally until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute
5. Stir in the orzo, increase the heat until the orzo is coated with the above ingredients (5 minutes)
6. Stir in the broth and water until the orzo is slightly tender (10-14 minutes). Stir in the tomatoes and shrimp- cook for about 10 minutes

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7. Pour the mixture into the baking pan. Sprinkle the feta cheese evenly over the top

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8.Bake the casserole until the shrimp are cooked through and the cheese is lightly brown (18-20 minutes)

9. Serve immediately and may use a lemon wedge if you like

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Gratitude List #29

It has been some time since I came here to write anything. The condensed version is that I didn’t feel like I had anything interesting to write. I think I forgot that I do not have to always have the most interesting topic or always on the go to write this blog. I lost focus of why I started to write. I have been thinking about picking up where I left off and decided this was the one post I should begin to again write this blog.

My Gratitude List (in no particular order)

  • grateful for the good health of all my family.
  • Work is still as busy or busier but I have come to realize I like the hectic schedule as it challenges me to be at my best.
  • Going to a conference and finding classmates I had not seen in 5 or more years. It was fun catching up and making plans to get together soon.
  • Speaking of the conference, it was great to get my engine restarted, learn many new things but find that nurse practitioners while different have many things in common and are the most supportive people.
  • While realizing things may not turn out the way I wanted, God still does answer prayers and gives me what I need ( cue in Garth Brooks Unanswered Prayers)
  • While not being the best about healthy eating and exercise, grateful I can hit the restart button tomorrow.
  • Planning Thanksgiving Day as all my family and some friends will be coming here. I enjoy cooking and having good conversation and fun.

What is on your gratitude list?

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Gratitude List #28

“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” ~Henry Ward Beecher

As I mentioned I was off last week, so this week was back to the usual routine. Of course, as is normal the week proved to be unusually busy and hectic. 10 plus hours a day was the norm. It was a rough week but I am grateful to have a job I do enjoy.

My Gratitude List (in no particular order)

  • The situation that prevented me from travel has been settled. It had a good outcome to which I am grateful
  • Even though this week was busy, I was able to get my needed sleep. I planned to do other things but realized I needed rest more.
  • I have gotten off my workout routine but starting on Tuesday, I am implementing my new routine
  • Excited to start the next class in Photography tomorrow. I plan to dedicate a day on the blog to post some of my week’s pictures
  • Have decided to become more active in my blog. I have missed writing and sharing.
  • Appreciate having a supportive and loving family-they make my life so enjoyable.
  • Busy work week means that we are doing a great job and also means I can continue a job I enjoy.

What is on your gratitude list this week

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Gratitude List # 27

Never lose the childlike wonder. Show gratitude..Don’t complain; just work harder…Never give up.” – Randy Pausch

 

This past week was to be the week I traveled to Arizona. Unfortunately some unforeseen circumstances prevented that from happening. While disappointed , the circumstance seems to have a happy ending  and I did get to enjoy some time off from work.

The above quote took on a special meaning this week especially the never give up part of the quote. Prayer, faith and trust became a theme as well as a comfort this week.

My gratitude list (in no particular order)

  • Good health is something that is on my gratitude list but not only for me but my family.
  • Being able to spend time with my family and truly enjoy the time together
  • I was able to take my granddaughter to her first baseball game. After the game the kids are able to run the bases. Watching her enjoy the entire experience was a very special day.

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(that is her and her aunt – my daughter rounding third base)

  • the ability to sit on your deck in the morning and enjoy the sounds of the birds as well as the view of rabbits and deer.
  • being able to donate items you no longer need. What is not needed by me may be of great use to others.
  • Enjoying the start of fall as well as Steelers football.

What is on your gratitude list this week?

 

 

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Apart at the Seams Book Tour

I recently read  Apart at the Seams by  Melissa Ford  and agreed to participate in a book tour.  I enjoyed reading the book as it was about an independent woman named Arianna. On the surface she was independent and had a great life ahead. She was a budding fashion artist, a single mother, and recently decided to invite her boyfriend Ethan to move into her apartment.  Of course,  life has a way of providing roadblocks and choices. Arianna through all her experiences learns what is important to her in both career and relationships.

After Arianna is initially rejected by Francesca (her supervisor), she wrestles with the idea of telling her co-worker and friend, Rachel about it. But then she confesses to herself that by revealing the criticism she may also be revealing a weakness about herself

“But if I tell Rachel about the conversation, then I’ll have to admit I don’t have a clue and that maybe, just maybe, I believe that there’s some truth in Francesca’s fears.”

Is this unique to women?

I think the feeling of being perceived as weak if she tells Rachel or Tabitha is unique to women.  I  think men have a tendency not to take the criticism as an attack on them. Their thought process goes more to back to the drawing board.

I definitely was able to identify with Arianna. I was a new manager and had a plan for changing my staffing pattern. I presented it my superior and it was rejected and I was told my idea would not work and was not one that fit in the hospital plan. I like Arianna never told anyone because I was afraid I would be seen in a bad light. In my career, I have seen other females keep silent for the same reason but not talk about it until years later.

A constant theme in the book is whether Arianna’s relationship with Noah is appropriate. Arianna wants to believe their friendship is acceptable because she desperately needs someone who understands the pressure of producing creatively. Rachel seems to believe her relationship with Noah is unacceptable, possibly even bordering on an emotional affair. How do you judge Arianna’s friendship with Noah? Would you be comfortable in engaging in a similar friendship yourself ?

I do not see anything wrong with having friends of the opposite sex. Throughout my life I have had male friends even when I was dating and married. We went to have coffee or go to a restaurant. I think this is the way it began for Arianna and she even told Ethan about her meeting Noah for coffee.  It did change into an emotional affair when she began to text Noah, go to the office for fittings and continue to want to see him after the clothing design was over. I think she tried to convince herself nothing was happening but the jewelry store incident opened her eyes.

If I was in a relationship I would not have been comfortable with a similar male friendship. The texting and feeling like a teenager with a crush, withholding information from Ethan about her and Noah would have definitely made me think I needed to cut the relationship between myself and the male friend.

Were you rooting for things to improve for Arianna and Ethan’s relationship? 

I wavered during the book. At first, I saw Ethan as someone who was immature and not responsible. He didn’t take the job that paid the most money but rather one that fit his hours and creativity. I started to root for them when I saw his support of Arianna and her first fashion design. I thought his support of her through her mother’s illness was great. As I read the cliché “opposites attract” described Arianna and Ethan. I thought once they started talking they realized that they were meant for each other. I found myself truly rooting for them once Arianna came clean about her relationship with Noah and truly hoped she had not ruined what she had with Ethan.  Arianna, Beckett and Ethan belonged together.

Please continue to the next leg of this book tour by visiting the main list at LavenderLuz.com.

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