"Creativity takes courage" - Henry Matisse

 The most difficult stroke always seems to be the first.



Miss A was pretty upset about the damage to our garden, and I was physically and emotionally feeling what the garden was portraying with its broken branches and hole-filled leaves.  

She said things like "storms are bad" and "every thing is just dead."

I threw out a challenge.  "Remember the song?  God can take broken things and make them beautiful. He can take this mess and turn it into something good."  It was less a moment of teaching, and much, much more speaking truth to my weary heart. 

These lyrics rang in my head:

Will you remind me now of who you are,
how you can take broken things and make them beautiful?

This song has been filling up our house lately.  Miss A has been singing along with me.

This broken to beautiful, I've seen it played out in my life over and over again.  So why am I surprised when it happens--not only in matters of the heart, but in physical reminders too--right before my eyes?

The other morning when I joined the rest of the family outside, the kids were ecstatically telling me garden stories.  I was half awake, and I wasn't entirely processing their excitement.

I ate and had some coffee.
Then they took me to see. 

You should know that I've found Colorado gardening to be a bit of a challenge compared to Midwest gardening. (It doesn't help that I'm not much of a green thumb to begin with.)  Thus far this year, I've planted cucumbers twice, and they've never grown.  Five green bean plants have sprouted up, but the other four rows have never grown.   Only two of the 12 watermelon I planted ever came up, and both were destroyed in the hail.  Spinach growth has been spotty.  So many seeds that haven't grown, lost deep underground for weeks and weeks without sprouting.

But as the kids took me to the garden, and I looked over that once barren dirt, and I was speechless.  Cucumber sprouts, row after row of newly budding green bean plants, spinach standing proudly in planted lines, watermelon sprouts peeking up on a hill that previously held none.

I marveled at these awoken seeds, trying to figure out what I'd done wrong in my gardening and why they'd suddenly come alive so fast and so well. 

That's when Miss A chimed in, and said with confidence, "God did it.  He made broken things beautiful."

And there it is: God's faithfulness, shown in a hail-torn garden.

As I've peeked in on our garden these last several days, I'm still marveling at the healthy sprouts growing so rapidly.  And I'm realizing another truth: it seems like God often uses these storms in my life to take forgotten seeds--lost deep underground--and help them grow.


Friday Favorites

Wow, this week has flown by.  While I've been writing, they haven't seem to have made it to posting, but they are coming soon, friends.

These stamped clay bowls look simple and the outcome is awesome!

I love the idea of a good scone, lingering over coffee, talking in British accents. Okay, maybe not the last part but I do love the idea of having a scone and chatting over coffee.  I will be trying these Paleo Vanilla Scones very soon.

Need photography inspiration? Check out these blogs.

25 watercolor projects for some good inspiration.

I heart breakfast foods, which means I think this is too fun!

Love these clever toy hacks.

Have a great weekend!


Weighed Down

Ever feel like a tomato plant hit by a hail storm?  Tattered and beat down?  Still standing but feeling defeated?

And no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to mend your own broken branches.

I'm feeling weighed down today.

Thankful for good truths in this song.

Take heart, friends.


Friday Favorites

Summer Reading Bingo we started this week. The kids were super excited!

These Simple Chocolate-Coconut Squares look like a perfect and easy dessert the kids would love.

Grilled Kale?  Friends told us about this recipe and I'm anxious to try it. Have you grilled kale?

Watercolor has never been my art media of choice, but I've always wanted to learn.  Inspired by Meg, I purchased some watercolors and have been having a blast trying them out.  It's nice to learn something new.  I've found some helpful tutorial videos here and here.

Check out new items in the Everyday Summit shop.


Brownie Bite Ice Cream

Oh friends, I wish I could have you all over to sit on our back porch and eat ice cream together. If I did we would have this new recipe because it is delicious.

Remember my weird issue with chocolate?  No chocolate for me but I love a fudgy brownie.   I made this Flourless Chocolate Cake for a recent bridal shower, except I made them in a muffin pan and they were a hit and definitely fit my fudgy brownie requirement.  Thus came the brownie inspiration for these brownie bites. 

This recipe is the best of both my vanilla and fudge brownie loving worlds.  

Please note these brownie bites are not 100% Paleo, this is due to the sugar chocolate chips and butter.  However, this recipe can easily be gluten and dairy free.  

Another thing to add, I used about 3/4's of the brownie's for our ice cream, how much brownie you add is up to you.  I wouldn't recommend less than 3/4's of the pan as it seemed to make sure there was a brownie in every bite.

Brownie Bite Ice Cream

You could make these brownie bites when you make the ice cream base as the ice cream needs to chill before churning and the brownies need to cool and freeze. 

For the Ice Cream:
Follow instructions for making Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

For the Brownies:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (check for gluten and dairy: Enjoy Life or Ghiradelli Semi-sweet are both good options)
1/2 butter or margarine (we use Earth Balance brand, they have a soy/dairy free option as well)
1/2 honey
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease a 9x13" pan.

In a double broiler over simmering water, melt chocolate chips and butter/margarine. When melted remove from heat an allow to cool slightly.

While chocolate mixture cools, in a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients.  Stir until combined.  Take care that your chocolate mixture is not too hot and you add slowly so as not to cook the eggs.

Spread into prepared 9x13" pan.

Bake for 25 minutes and check you want it to be firm on the top but you're looking for a fudge brownie so it's okay if it's a bit soft in the middle.  Continue to check every 5 minutes until finished.  Allow to cool completely in pan on baking rack.

While ice cream is churning, or before hand, cut brownies in to small bite-sized squares.  Remove from pan and place on another tray or plate, separating the pieces so they freeze individually and place in the freezer until ice cream is churned.

When ice cream is churned add in brownie bites.  Your ice cream maker may allow for this to be done while ice cream is finishing churning or you can place in a container and fold them in.

Enjoy right away or place in freezer to continue to firm up and enjoy later.

I hope you love it, friends, I wish I had more in my freezer right now I'd have a bowl.  

**I have yet to try these brownies with coconut oil instead of butter/margarine. When I do I will update the recipe.


Self Portrait Challenge

I've been continuing my self portrait challenge, although while it may be 30 days it's become apparent it's not going to be 30 days in a row. 

It's been a fun challenge, trying think outside the box as I photograph.

Day 7
 Day 8
Day 9
 Day 10
Day 11
Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

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