Dish-To-Pass

What is your first thought – when you’re asked to bring a dish to pass?

We’ve got a potluck after church today. Our daughter is among those being confirmed. And everyone is getting together post-service to celebrate in one place versus everyone going off and doing their own things.

My co-workers will vouch for this: my potluck staple is salad. Fresh, leafy greens, strawberries often on top and perhaps some sliced almonds, salad. Usually, while others heavy, fat-laden, cheesy and fulfilling home-cooked dishes would get snarfed up, I’d go home with a good deal of lettuce left in the bowl.

But, I can’t do a ton of heavy dishes.  I just can’t. I feel awful for hours afterwards, even eating in moderation. Those spaghetti hot dishes, macaroni salads and meatballs that often grace potluck tables really are good, they really are and I enjoy them immensely. But I eat more like a rabbit. I graze. Mostly on fresh fruits and vegetables. And, well, cheese and bread. I just feel better. And the older I get the more I realize I’ve got to watch what I eat as much as I fit in any exercise. So salad it is.

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But as I get set for this mornings potluck, I’m thinking back on some of the more common dishes my mom and dad used to make and take – German Potato Salad, Goulash, Cheesy Broccoli and Rice, Mint Ice Cream Brownies.. to name a few. And I’m feeling like perhaps I’m missing out by bringing .. well, a nice leafy green salad.

So I’m wondering what others may say is their favorite, home-cooked, bring to the party, make ahead of time and stays delicious, potluck or one-pot dish? The ones you love to eat or make?

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As I flip through one of my mom’s old, well loved and used church cookbooks, I’m not certain any of the casseroles are ones I want to necessarily make, not today anyway. But they do bring back some wonderful memories of dishes made and shared with friends, and time in the kitchen and around the dinner table with family.

And if all I continue to make are salads, what sort of well used recipe cards or cookbooks will I be passing along to my kids?

Thunder

The clock just turned twelve. I had hoped to sit down to write hours ago. But I got sucked into a movie with the only two that were still up, the Cowboy and one of the twins. It’s been awhile that we had his littles here. The end of the school year and holidays always kind of mess up co-parenting schedules a bit, so it’s been longer than usual that we’ve seen them. We’re soaking up each moment we can, while we have them.

Besides a couple of the horses munching on the grass yet in the pasture nearby, I can hear only the rumbling of thunder off in the distance. Rain storms have been in and out of the area and throughout South Dakota since last night. The mixture of the storms along with the recent heat we’ve had, have made for some beautiful skies throughout the day – magnificent cloud formations and the sun peeking through only moments later.

Horses

After suffering through a seemingly never-ending bitterly cold winter, it all now seems so far away. The weather recently has made for what feel like those quintessential, absolutely perfect summer days. And I love summer storms. Not the crazy, violent kind - and storms around here do kick up some pretty nasty winds.  I’m just talking about those refreshing summer showers, maybe some thunder and lightning. The kind you can smell coming – kind of summer rains.

As the skies cleared this evening, it just felt like one of those nights my parents used to go for walks through town when we were kids. I was wiped out, along with everyone else after a busy day. But we cleaned up from dinner and while everyone else sat down to watch a movie, I laced up my running shoes one more time and headed down the road. So glad that I did. The palette of colors that stretched as far as the eye could see, in-between very dark storm systems which were producing a heavy mist on the ground in the distance – were these gorgeous pink and orange pastels, almost like a water color painting. I picked up the pace of my leisurely walk in the hopes I might get home and grab my camera fast enough to catch even one image of it.

Not so lucky. The best colors were long gone. But I decided to grab some of the last light of day, anyway. I’m absolutely blown away at how quickly the days go by anymore. While nearly half a year has gone by already, I’m excited summer is upon us.

Welcome, June. It’s good to see you again.

Storms moving back in

 

 

Home Office

The Cowboy told me at least two years ago now if not three .. this was shortly after we first met but well after we knew this was such a good thing .. that if I would consider a move to South Dakota, he wanted me to have freedoms I wasn’t able to enjoy in the past. That of a flexible life and schedule. A career where I could pursue any number of my passions and do so from the solitude of our acreage or wherever else my work might take me. He and his dad would build me a small office, a space all my own out here on the acreage. It wouldn’t take any time at all to put up, he told me. His dad builds steel buildings and this would be a quick and easy project. All I needed to do was say the word.

Years later, families combined under one roof in one state and some long overdue repairs and remodeling done to the house to better accommodate us all, the office has now become our focus. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Before the snow started to fly last November, we re-roofed our old red barn with used tin found on Craigs List (I say we, loosely. The Cowboy and his dad tackled the majority of that project. So glad it’s over. So is the Cowboy’s mom who couldn’t stand to be over here watching her husband and son 30 feet in the air working on it.) Since then, the cold winter kept any work in the hayloft at bay. But we are feverishly back at it.

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We recently found more cool, old tin from the Stockyards in Sioux Falls for some of the interior walls.

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Sioux Falls Stockyard Steel Panels

And a farmer just down the road has been planning to burn his old livestock barn to the ground. We’ve gone and pulled boards to use for trim and another interior wall.

Insulation has made the loft remarkably comfortable and drywall is going up where barn wood and steel panels aren’t. I’ve saved an old light fixture to use in the space. Friends offered to part with two old windows from their grainery, we’re using those too. We found the coolest old tailgate to turn into a desk. I talked with a friend tonight who’s an auctioneer and let them know we’re looking for a couple of old wood cabinets I might use for storage.

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It may not be in the time-frame we initially talked about. But the delay allowed us some wonderful opportunities to do things differently than we might have otherwise and make use of a great existing space. It also allowed me to start building a business that is now ready for a little more elbow room.

For each step of this journey - with the Cowboy, with my daughter, our families, friends, even my ex, my career, faith and life – incredibly humbled and grateful.

 

“Just Trust”

Love all, trust a few.

The word, trust, has come up quite a bit for us today. The Cowboy and I had a conversation about trust first thing this morning in regard to a project we’re working on together with someone – and that what we’re counting on from this other party, will happen. Trust came up again later today in regard to an article I’m working on, that I’ll do right by the people involved in it because it’s a genuinely sensitive issue.

In the midst of another interesting discussion tonight. The words, “you just need to trust .. ” were part of a lengthier text we received a few moments ago.

There are reasons, that after years .. heck even days of working with someone, living with someone, knowing someone, you just know that you can trust that person. Wholeheartedly.

Or, that you can’t. Sometimes trust goes away with one incident. Other times, no matter how many chances you give a person, no matter how much you love them or want to believe things will be different this time around, trust is just hard to come by. Why? Because they’ve shown you time and again they can’t take responsibility for their own actions or tell the truth, they’ll screw you over for fun, for spite, to get ahead or .. for really no good reason at all other than a lack of empathy, if given the chance.

Trust – and respect – need to be earned. Not demanded. And I’m amazed anymore at how often people feel these two things are a God given right. Mistrust, more often than not, doesn’t just happen. For no good reason. Heads up.

Can it be earned back? Absolutely. Do people change? Of course. But trust is a biggie. And re-gaining it doesn’t happen overnight. Or, just because someone tells you you should.

There isn’t a morning that goes by I don’t wake and put every ounce of trust I have in the Lord that people all over the world, and in our own circles, will do right by each other. When that doesn’t happen, which is often the case, I trust there is a reason we have yet to learn. And we try again tomorrow.

Sunday

It’s quiet, the kids are gone this weekend and everything that is usually in motion – sits very still. There are a lot of sounds on weekends like these, that we really miss. But instead of dwelling on what’s missing, the Cowboy and I like to take these opportunities to reconnect and get a lot of work done around the acreage we might feel guilty doing, otherwise.

So … counting the blessings that do surround us this Sunday. The sun is shining. There is a gentle, warm breeze blowing. This is a beautiful spring in South Dakota.

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The snow is quickly melting.

Not sure it matters though. Another storm getting set to blow in tonight.

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Goat tying clinic

The girls can not wait for rodeo season to arrive. They caught the bug when we entered them into their first rodeo late last season here in South Dakota. They’ve been ancy to get back out into the arena, ride barrels and poles, rope and compete ever since.

While we’re still a ways away..

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This past weekend the two took part in their first goat tying clinic. We weren’t sure what to expect.. if they’d like it or not, how their horses would do, if they’d catch on quickly. The days were long and the indoor arena was colder than the temperatures outside.

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But a good time was had by all. They made some new friends, they got it, so did their horses and they are both now determined to work on improving their own best times. And, see the rest of the kids – a fun bunch from the clinic – again soon.

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