In Gratitude

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Awhile back, I use to post trinkets of thanks each week.  I felt that in expressing my gratitude I was able to put positive vibes out into the atmosphere, and illustrate that it is often those seemingly minuscule or insignificant items or events that end up constructing a full life.

So, after a four year hiatus, on this 13th day of April, I am so very grateful for…

~a new computer and refreshed space in which I can write.

~Apple Support and their aid when this non-techy gal tried to set up the above mentioned computer. Whew.

~my seven year old, who led me through on the of the best yoga sessions of my life.

~this new book by Ashley English, and the fabulous recipes it contains.  Many of these recipes are sure to find themselves on my kitchen table in the very new future.

~a freshly mulched garden. (And yes, that is a glass of wine on the fencepost.  One needs some mode of relief from the back pain of hauling said mulch, right?)

~several days with family this upcoming weekend—sure to be filled with farmer’s markets and swimming, farm-fresh food and tasty cocktails, laughter and tears.

“Oh, Jam? I Love Jam!”

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I think I love jam just as much as I love Friends…and what could be better than an entire Friends episode dedicated to jam?  Love it!  That’s why all afternoon, as my four year old and I worked in our strawberry-coated kitchen, I couldn’t help but hear Joey’s voice in my head repeating, “Oh, jam?  I love jam?”

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Yesterday, while my oldest was away at camp, my tiny sous chef and I worked with Pomona’s Universal Pectin, a wonderful low-sugar pectin (as we did in this post as well), and ended up with some absolutely fabulous results.  When making jam last year, we used the low-sugar recipe options included with the Pomona’s Pectin.  This year, we tried out two no-sugar options, taste tested them this morning, and yummy…delicious!

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The first recipe we tried was simply the cooked strawberry jam recipe included inside the Pomona’s box.  We used the honey sweetening option and it is delicious.  The second recipe we tried is from the latest issue of Taproot.  And oh boy, let me tell you, this recipe is amazing!  It is a strawberry-maple with vanilla jam recipe, specifically designed for Pomona’s Pectin.  And the best part about this fabulous recipe is the only sweetener is maple syrup.

Happy jam-making season all!

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Friendship

This morning when my alarm woke me at 5 am, I was shocked to hear the sound of rain pounding down upon the roof above me.  Wonderful precious rain, finally.  So instead of leaping immediately out of bed to start my day, I decided to lie there a bit longer, thanking God for this storm that He has brought us.  From this place of gratitude, my mind began to wander to the fabulous weekend my family and I just shared with a wonderful group of friends.

It is amazing to me how strange, small circumstances, brought us all together nearly 13 years ago.   And those seemingly meaningless situations have carried us to this point of true friendship.  These women are people I have worked with, learned with, and lived with.  I have shared my passions and fears with them.  So many times we place so much emphasis on our family, those people that are related to us biologically through the blood we share.  But the bonds of friendship can be just as strong as those familial ties, and that line then blurs between family and friend.

We have now added so many beautiful children to the mix, and it is always amazing to me that at these gatherings, despite the fact that many of them have not seen each other in over a year, they seem to have a shared bond.  It is a miracle to watch these tiny people, mold lifelong friendships through their play.  Their reckless abandon and ease in which they interact with one another is breathtaking.  There is no awkward point where they are shy or uncomfortable, like so many adults often are upon first meeting or after not seeing someone for an extended period of time.  Instead, they fall instantly in step with one another as if this is something they do each and every day.

True friendship is so difficult to come upon, and this weekend brought this concept back into the light for me.  I am so very thankful for these women, their husbands, and their babies.  Our family.