Cooking for Two - Another Delicious Recipe {...from the cookbook "One Pan, Two Plates"...}

The Preacher and I are happy empty nesters.  However, I do confess that going from cooking (pretty much) every night for anywhere between 6 and 12 people, to cooking for only TWO people...

...well let's just say there were lots of leftovers.  For a long time.

Then, I mastered the art of cooking for two.  I don't cook every night, like I used to when the kids were all living at home, but when I do cook - I often use the cookbook One Pan, Two Plates.

The Unstyled Lifestyle {...a house tour for no real reason...}

So, I've never been invited to participate in one of those "Holiday House Tours" at Christmas.  I want to say that "that chaps my hide", just because it's hilarious to say "that chaps my hide".

The Three Inescapable Laws of Art-Making {...any art, of any kind...but only if you want to be truly original...}

{The image of the dandelion has huge significance to me, in terms of the creative process!}

One of my great passions is The Creative Process.  I have the same reverence for the creative process, that I have for the finished product....the "masterpiece", whether that masterpiece be an amazing twist on roasting chicken, or a book about string theory, or a mixed-media painting,  or a Taylor Swift song.  The nuts and bolts of creativity are sacred rudiments.  Even the mechanics are holy.

The Past Couple of Weeks { pictures...}

So, here I sit, still fighting the tail-end of what I can only guess was a flu...which progressed into a bacterial sinus thing...complete with both eyes {cured by the Magic Prescription Drops}...

...but my ears are still completely plugged...

...yet I am determined to go preach at a ladies conference held in North Carolina this weekend.  Those of you who are praying people, I am officially begging   requesting prayer.  Because...minor detail...I still don't have my full voice back.

But all is well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

I wanted to share the last couple of weeks of life here at the cottage with you - in pictures.

I live the life of nine cats, with nine lives per cat, every single month.  According to my math, that comes to a ration of 81 fresh, new lives dispensed at the beginning of each calendar month.  (It makes sense to me...get on my level.)

I live every. single. dang. one of them.  All 81.  In full.

So this is my Preacher and I, a couple of weeks ago, on the beach after our youngest son's graduation from Marine boot camp.  {We had to leave for SC the day after our fourth grandchild - a baby girl -  was born.}

Our baby, The Marine, and his One Tough Mother.  (Um, if you are a confused new reader, that would be yours truly...I'm One Tough Mother.  ::cough::)

My Preacher - pretending to be as tall and as thin as his youngest son.

All that was going on at the same time there was the launch of the online class, "Becoming | The Unfolding of You"...where I am so honored to be one of the presenters.  This class is now headed towards being a gathering of almost 6,000 students from all over the world.  { is never too late to join.}

Yeah.  It was a busy January.

This past Sunday was Susanna Joy's first Sunday back at church.  I was teary-eyed because I was too sick to be there for it.  Does this picture not just slay you?

Deal with the cuteness.  Just deal with it.  I have to deal with it every day, you can deal with it for five minutes.

Yesterday morning, at about 5 AM, our Marine's leave was officially over, and we had to put him on a bus to his next phase of training...

Where will these boots take him?  The Lord knows...and only He knows.

As to be expected, I was a little on the emotional side.  For a lot of reasons I won't even go into here.  But this arrived in the mail, later yesterday morning, and it cheered me up just a little:

My "Mimi's Nest" ring from Melody Joy Designs arrived in the nick of time!  I needed to smile.  I have the hands of a kindergartener, but pay no mind to that.  I can still rock the giant bird's nest.  Each little pearl "egg" represents a grandchild - four here with me on earth, two in heaven {lost to miscarriage}.  I adore this ring.  It garnered several compliments from strangers yesterday, since...

...I GOT OUT OF THE HOUSE!  {That may be the only sentence typed in all caps in the whole history of this blog, which would be since 2008.}  Despite my still being under the weather, my Preacher launched Operation Cheer Up The Wife.

He took me out to a late breakfast, and then once around Cades Cove, in our beloved Smoky Mountains.  This never, ever fails to cheer me up, body and soul.

His photography skills are becoming crazy-good.  We are working on a dream of a joint-venture, where we use his photography and my art on a collaborative project for my art shows and my shop.

He climbed up into the bed of his pickup with his camera, to enjoy the scenery his way...and I enjoyed the scenery my way.  That man.  That manly man.  A man with the heart of a lion, and a grasp on the doctrines of grace and an ability to preach the gospel of the finished work of Christ that makes me love him more every single day.

And this might just be my favorite picture of him, in the whole history of ever.  Snapped just yesterday.

There was snow on the ground, and snow falling, and in spite of being deaf, with two stopped-up ears, and no voice... was magical.  Just a magical few hours.

One final Sanctified Selfie, and I will let you go.

I look forward to sharing with you the good report of all God plans to do, and will do, in the hearts of the women in Franklin NC this weekend.

I really do covet your prayers.