• family,  ramble

    Change: Entering a New Season



    It’s a time of change here on the Nelson farm. Not only are the leaves beginning to turn shades of yellow, the fruit ripening, the tomatoes bright red in the garden, but our lives are twisting and contorting into the next phase too.


    I’m not that kind of gal who ends August with the longing for pumpkin lattes and winter sweaters. I like summer. All the time…Summer. Spring is good too, but fall, that means change. I’m not a fan.

    This is the year we’ve known would arrive, but kind of pushed aside as a someday occurrence. Our oldest child is preparing to move out. He’s taking on the world and forming his own identity and life.


    And he’s ready.


    I have no doubt that this is a good and positive thing for him. It’s a necessary step in becoming the man God designed him to be. This is the time where he takes responsibility for the choices that will shape his future.


    We’re proud…and a bit reluctant.


    Reluctant to let go of the little boy we love so dearly. And reluctant to share the young man we’ve come to really enjoy. What a cruel twist. You raise your kids through all the spills and scrape of childhood and the crazy mood swings of adolescence, then they leave right when you see the fruits of all your parenting.


    But that’s how it’s designed. And I trust that this too is good. I’m so thankful for all the years we’ve had under the same roof. There will be more family memories to treasure. More trips. More adventures. And of course, there will always be a room waiting if he wants to come home.




    “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;”

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-22


  • ramble

    The Procrastination List


    A Field Guide to Procrastinators - 12 Types of Procrastinators - Find the procrastinator in you


    I have a problem. I’d love to tell you about it…another time.


    Okay, here the thing, I procrastinate. There are just some things I do NOT want to do. Eventually they pile up, and I have to suffer through Procrastination Catch-up Day. Today is that day.


    I started by making a list. After all, why not start by doing a task other than one of those pesky put off chores. So, I made my list and quickly came up with twenty-two items I’ve been avoiding. I’m sure I missed quite a few, but we’re not going to worry about that.


    The list gives me an interesting picture. There’s nothing about writing, or reading, or exercising. I do those without being told. Many of the things revolve around communications, like letters that need writing, or phone calls that need making. Introvert to the end!


    I can’t avoid the list any longer, even by writing this post, so off I go. I’ll start with number one then work my way down.


    Maybe not. Number two doesn’t excite me. I can do that later.


    What about you? Do you put off tasks? How do you catch up?

  • family,  ramble

    It’s the Simple Things: Reclaiming Time

    Last March, that’s five months ago, our dishwasher gave out. My husband, who believes in the ability of all appliances to return from the grave, suggested he could fix it.


    Again, that was five months ago.


    The kids don’t stop using dishes because there isn’t a magical box below the counter to vanquish the gunk.


    “No big deal. I’m tough. I can handle this,” I say in March. And really, it isn’t a huge problem. People are facing all kinds of horrific challenges. Washing dishes by hand isn’t a trial or a hardship. It’s only a time snatcher.


    I came up with a creative way to get the kids involved. Grandma and Grandpa like to spoil them with sugar cereals. After one of their visits I put a requirement on this indulgence. In order to have a bowl of the yummy stuff, five dishes had to be washed. This was wonderful until I reached for a glass from the cupboard and my fingers slid along the surface. GROSS! In an effort to save us all from food poisoning, I went back to the suds…alone.


    After many failed attempt to revive the dishwasher, my husband called in a professional. It took only minutes before the man declared our machine dead. No longer able to be revived. Pull the life support and let it go.


    You have to know that by this time my husband had taken the dishwasher into the backyard, put it up on blocks, and wired it to the electricity by a long string of coax sprawling through my kitchen. As if our creative fencing and dryer repair hadn’t already given us the gold stamp of redneck approval, we’d now hit a new high (or low).



    All that’s behind us now. We brought in an installed the new washer last week. It’s beautiful, quiet, and washes the dishes with such ease. And my time has exploded.


    Let’s take a look:


    5 months without a dishwasher.

    110 episodes of the Dick Van Dyke show watched on my laptop while washing dishes (help keeps things in perspective).

    Each episode equals 25 minutes. That’s 2750 minutes.

    I watched (really listened) to the program only a fraction of the time I washed. Let call it half to be generous. That brings our total to 5500 minutes.

    Five months is approximately 22 weeks. Which means I spend about 250 minutes per week washing dishes. That’s 4 hours and 10 minutes a week!


    The kids are back to loading their own dishes and taking turns unloading the dishwasher. This may not have worked out so well for them, but for me, it’s wonderful.


    In four hours I can:

    Write 4,500 words.

    Edit 40 pages.

    Write 5 blog posts (it takes me much longer to blog than to write in my manuscript).

    Critique 4 submissions from my critique group.


    Life is so good!


    Hey, take a second to notice the new gizmo at the top right of the screen. If you could add your email to my list, it will make you eligible for future giveaways. Trust me, you will not be sent a bunch of email and I will never share your information.




  • ramble,  recipe

    Coconut Cream Cake, OOPS!



    I discovered this recipe just before Easter while searching for a new treat to bring to a family event. How could I possibly go wrong with a cake made of coconut and cream? Here’s how. I left the cake in the refrigerator and only remembered it after we’d traveled an hour down the road.

    So, we had a lovely Easter with extended family, returned home, and ate way too much cake. It was as yummy as I’d hoped. The recipe quickly became a family favorite.

    A few months later, I baked two cakes. The first I delivered to our church to be served after a memorial service. I returned home from the drop off and my husband ushered me right back to our SUV so we could take a look at a car he thought we might want to purchase.

    We came to the address listed in the ad, and as we walked toward the garage something felt wrong. I ran my hand over the back of my jeans and immediately my fingers were covered in coconut goo. The cake had leaked onto the seat, and I had sat right in the mess. As I stared at my dripping hand a women emerged from around the corner. Yep, there I was covered in glop as she reached to shake my hand.

    I greeted her with a blank stare and this profound statement: “I have coconut cream on my hand.”

    To her credit, she didn’t hesitate or even ask how I could possibly have gotten coconut cream all over me while standing in her driveway. She just offered me a sink to wash up.

    And we didn’t even buy her car!

    So, what’s the point of that story? I don’t really have one. That’s the benefit of a blog. I can ramble on about anything I want. But I will offer you a reward for having made it through this post. Here’s the recipe:


    1 box of white cake mix.

    3 eggs

    1/3 cup of vegetable oil

    1 cup water

    3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

    14 oz. coconut cream (I find this in the mixed drink section. If you can’t find coconut cream, coconut milk will work but use the thickest brand. That means shaking them in the store.)

    14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

    1 cup heavy whipping cream

    1 tablespoon white sugar

    flaked coconut

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with non-stick spray.
    2. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, water and coconut flavoring. Beat for 2 minutes and pour into pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
    3. Mix together coconut cream and sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
    4. Poke holes into the warm cake using chopsticks or something similar.
    5. Pour mixture over slowly, allowing it to soak into the cake.
    6. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
    7. Whip cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over cooled cake. Sprinkle top with flaked coconut.
    8. Do not forget the cake.
    9. Do not transport cake on an uneven car seat.
    10. Do not sit in coconut goo.

    Enjoy! Leave me a comment if you use the recipe. I’d love to hear what you thought.



    photo credit: RobynAnderson via photopin cc