Saturday, July 17, 2010

Urban Garden Paradise: Tips and Tricks

Ok, so I've started reaping from my sowing! Look at these beauts'. Not that I am the most proficient green thumb (oops I forget to water kind of a lot), but I figured I would share some of my tricks and tips for urban balcony gardening learned along the way (read: so I don't forget next year).

1. Garden Smoothies- when I water my plants, I make a "garden smoothie!" Combine chopped oranges, coffee grounds, and other biodegradable material in your watering pitcher. (like apple peels, coffee filters, garlic skin, lettuce leaves, carrot shavings, decaying leaves, etc) Pour into pots and stir in for a nutrition infused soil!

2. When planting tomatoes, eat bananas and put the peels at the bottom of your soil before the seedling goes in. This will create an infused soil right off the bat.

3.  Mix coffee grounds in with tomato soil, for acidity. They like that.

4. DONT FORGET TO WATER- especially if its going to be a hot day.

5. Keep a compost pile going and hot for some on hand fertilizer for your potted plants- they soak up all the dirt's goodness real fast and need some food every so often!

6. Prune smaller leaves at the bottom of the plant near the base, as well as random stems that arent doing anything. This will allow your plant to concentrate its efforts on fruit bearing and not maintenance of smaller random leaves. (Don't go too crazy with this.)

7.  Rearrange plants for best sunlight. After a while you will notice what spots get the best sunlight for your plants!

8. Enjoy your garden and its glory.

9. Take pictures and document the process!

10. Read your Bible and pray every day, and you'll grow, grow grow!

Any tips you would like to share with us? 

Thursday, July 15, 2010


 "You will know you are truly a servant when someone treats you like one."

-Chris Brauns 

.what a necessary word this week.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Restaurant Week 2010

Ok, so I posted about this last year, and I'm continuing to be enamored by the glory that Providence Restaurant Weeks brings to the area!

 Providence Restaurant Week and there are some great specials going around. Check out the links and menu's Ive included!

Choose from more than 75 Restaurants
$12.95 for a three-course lunch
 $29.95 for a three-course dinner

Places that I will definitely NEED to check out: 

CAV  for their fish tacos or bison burgers, salmon frittata! Whew.

Local 121 Point Judith Fried Calamari Po'Boy, Big Train Farm Cucumber Puree
native corn relish, queso fresco, chili oil, hand cut fries!

Loie Fullers smoked tomato bisque soup, snapper burger, and Pot de creme! Yum!

Pane E Vino Carpaccio di Manzo -Thin Slices of Raw Beef, Tangy Horseradish Aioli, Rucola & Capers, Ravioli con Polpa di Granchio- Lump crabmeat Ravioli, Roasted Garlic & Saffron Cream Sauce- Sign me up!

Pot Au Feu Quiche Du Jour- Freshly baked in a pastry crust with a variety of seasonal ingredients, Pate Maison-
Chicken liver mousse with French Brandy and croutons, Crepes aux Fruits Frais-
A pair of house made crepes - hand flipped – thin and tasty, Quarter folded around sweet brandied cream and topped with fresh fruit of the season. Oh my heavens.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Whats on Your Shelf: Mike?

For todays installment of On Your Shelf, we are lucky enough to get a participant from all the way across the world- Russia! Michael and his wife Karen are a career missionaries working in Nizhny Novgorod. I had the privilege of meeting them while I was over there, and they are a blessing. 

Check out Mike and Karen McDonald's blog HERE for some awesome updates about their ministry in Russia.

Whats on Your Shelf?

Kindle, Nook, or iPad? What do you think of e-readers?

Sony Ebook Reader – I like the Sony, it has it limitations, but it is nice to be able to carry one hundred books at a time – good for long Russian train rides.  The Nook gets bad revues.  Ipad is too big, Kindle looks awkward.  I used to own an RCA eBook reader – it was a first generation eBook reader.  The company was purchased by a bigger group, they then managed to bankrupt the company.  The reader was really well designed.  If they brought it back with “E-ink” technology I would buy it in a second.

Where do you most like to read? Anywhere
When? - Anytime

Favorite genre of literature?  History, apocalyptic novels (non-Christian), alternative history I will read the history of anything. Missionary bios and Methodist church history. I am trying to learn to read books that I don’t agree with, it helps me to see things from a broader perspective.

Best novel you’ve read? I really liked Exodus and Mila 18 by Leon Uris, but really how do you decide upon a favorite novel – I really don’t read a lot of what many readers consider “great”.

Most influential book in your life outside the Bible?  “God’s Smuggler” the book that sent me to Russia, and “God’s Guerrillas” (out of print) introduced me to missions and the need in Europe

Who are some of your favorite writers?
I actually don’t think in terms of favorite writers – it really depends upon the genre.

What makes their writing great?  See above

Do you have any “pet peeves” about writing?  Writers who say the same thing over and over again

Reading habits? (e.g., Pen in hand? Coffee? Diet Coke? Music playing?)   Coffee if possible, or something cold preferably Coke Lite

Elephant ear or bookmark?  Never, never, never turn down the page of a book – I do highlite in some books

Approximately how many volumes are in your personal library?  Several thousand. Most are packed in boxes.  I have probably given away or sold 1000 or more over the years.

Favorite children’s book?  The Runaway Bunny

Favorite library you’ve ever visited?  I find libraries overwhelming – to many books, to many choices.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fighting for Joy and I-O-U-S

Honestly, I have not been very joyful lately, and sadly more than a few people could probably testify to this. It has been an uphill fight to keep the joy of the Lord as my strength- instead of letting lies and sin contribute to my weakness.

Recently while reading some blogs, I stumbled across this blog which featured a quote from John Piper's book "How to Fight for Joy" and it really hit home. The following chunk has been a helpful tool to aid me in seeking God. Take a gander:

I—Incline "Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain." (Psalm 119:36)
O—Open "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law." (Psalm 119:18)
U—Unite "Unite my heart to fear your name." (Psalm 86:11)
S—Satisfy "Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." (Psalm 90:14)

I—(Incline!) The first thing my soul needs is an inclination toward God and his Word. Without that, nothing else will happen of any value in my life. I must want to know God and read his Word and draw near to him. Where does that “want to” come from? It comes from God. So Psalm 119:36 teaches us to pray, “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” Very simply we ask God to take our hearts, which are more inclined to breakfast and the newspaper, and change that inclination. We are asking that God create desires that are not there.

O—(Open!) Next I need to have the eyes of my heart opened so that when my inclination leads me to the Word, I see what is really there, and not just my own ideas. Who opens the eyes of the heart? God does. So Psalm 119:18 teaches us to pray, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” So many times we read the Bible and see nothing wonderful. Its reading does not produce joy. So what can we do? We can cry to God: “Open the eyes of my heart, O Lord, to see what it says about you as wonderful.”

U—(Unite!) Then I am concerned that my heart is badly fragmented. Parts of it are inclined, and parts of it are not. Parts see wonder, and parts say, “That’s not so wonderful.” What I long for is a united heart where all the parts say a joyful Yes! to what God reveals in his Word. Where does that wholeness and unity come from? It comes from God. So Psalm 86:11 teaches us to pray, “Unite my heart to fear your name.”

S—(Satisfy!) What I really want from all this engagement with the Word of God and the work of his Spirit in answer to my prayers is for my heart to be satisfied with God and not with the world. Where does that satisfaction come from? It comes from God. So Psalm 90:14 teaches us to pray, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

God, help me to find joy, and that that joy will be purely in your wonder and perfectly holy self.