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I’m Moving! Update Your Readers!

June 7, 2012

It was in April 2005 I began blogging in an effort to get my writing juices flowing again after feeling depleted creatively. And the name I picked was Dance by the Light which later morphed into Dancing by the Light. So I feel nostalgic and a little sad to give that name up. However, the time has come.

I have merged the content of this blog into a new blog:

So update your bookmarks and readers because I don’t want to lose any of you. I’m moving to a new address!

Tea Sets, Fields, and Flowers

May 29, 2012

My latest session is a lovely one and live on my photography blog. Enjoy!

Mother’s Day Weekend

May 15, 2012

Mother’s Day weekend was a busy one. Friday night the boys’ had their homeschool co-op presentation. That consisted of them singing two songs. Well, maybe not actually singing. One kind of sang–very timidly–looking like he might cry, while the other one looked around and counted the house lights. They also had their artwork from the year displayed in a classroom, as well as their science activities.

Josh spent Saturday competing with some of his friends in a Tough Mudder. Below would be an “official” picture taken by a Tough Mudder photographer of Josh coming out of some sort of muddy tunnel. He and his mates did quite well, although his fingers are all cut up.

Saturday evening we had Mother’s Day celebrations with Josh’s side of the family. It was great to see them all again and spend time out on the deck enjoying the beautiful evening.

Sunday I was greeted with lovely handmade cards from the kids and some of my favorite Jo Malone fragrance from Josh: Pomegranate Noir (although seriously, all her scents are fantastic!). I always used to have such a problem finding a scent I love, and I’ve struck gold with Jo Malone.

The afternoon and evening were spent up at my mom’s. It was such a picturesque day I went crazy and fell in love with my camera all over again and took tons of pictures. To check out all the fun we had, visit my photography blog . . .

How did you spend Mother’s Day?

Tortellini Salad

May 4, 2012

Tonight we tried a delicious salad from Super Natural Cooking Everyday. It was the Tortellini Salad with avocado, sprouts, cilantro, and pine nuts. The grocery store I visited was out of pine nuts, so we didn’t have that to put into it. Also, I tried to find whole wheat tortellini but couldn’t. However, after more research I discovered Wegman’s sells it. I should have guessed that.

Honestly, this pasta salad was fabulous! It was full of fresh flavor. Surprisingly so, seeing how very simple the dressing was. Definitely a keeper!

1 lb. cheese tortellini
8-10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 head broccoli, cut into small trees
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. olive oil
Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Small handful sprouts
1/3 c. toasted pine nuts
1 avocado, sliced into small pieces
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add the tortellini and cook according to the package instructions. About 1 minute before the pasta is finished cooking, add the asparagus and broccoli to the boiling pot. Cook for the final minute, drain all together, and run under cold water just long enough to stop the cooking.

In the meantime, make the dressing. Combine the minced garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, whisking thoroughly to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Toss the pasta, asparagus, broccoli and cilantro with about half of the prepared dressing. Add the sprouts, nuts and avocado, and a little more dressing, and toss gently to combine. Keep the extra dressing on hand to refresh any leftovers; the pasta tends to absorb it overnight.

31 Day Veggie Fest

May 1, 2012

Happy May Day!

To kick off this month our family is going vegetarian for 31 days. For probably about a year Josh has wanted to try something like this, but I kept putting it off. Grocery/meal planning are about my least favorite things to do, so making more work for myself in that department just sounded like a pain.

Last year we bought our poultry from friends in Lancaster who sell pastured poultry. This provided the backbone to our meat-eating diet. This spring, due to various reasons, we were unable to order from them, so we sadly are not going to have their poultry stocking our freezer. Last year, we also participated in a CSA with Rousedale Farm and were more than pleased with the experience. Sadly, they’re not offering a CSA program this year, so we signed up with Flying Plow Farm instead. I’m excited to start receiving their veggies towards the end of this month!

Last year I learned to eat vegetables last year I didn’t know I’d like: Brussel sprouts, kale, collard greens, beets, and turnips are now some of my favorite veggies. It’s not just that I’ll eat them if they’re put in front of me, but I love them more than the vegetables I’ve grown up on like beans, corn, carrots, and so forth.

We’ve been watching and reading lots of food too: Forks Over Knives, Simply Raw, Michael Pollan’s books, and Fast Food Nation to name a few. It’s just a fact: eating more vegetables is amazingly good for you.

I realized the past several weeks that eating a vegetarian meal once a week or so had slowly taken over more days in my meal planning. Actually, without even planning on it, we were only eating about two meals a week with meat in it anyway. Also, my desire to eat meat has been diminishing as well. That and I can’t actually even eat as much meat as I used to. I used to be able to put away a whole chicken breast along with two sides for dinner. Now, it’s more like a half or a third.

So, all of these circumstances converged and making it the perfect time to try going vegetarian for 31 days.

I’ve pulled out a bunch of vegetarian cookbooks from the library, my standard fave being Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Sawnson (her blog is here.) Funny thing is, when I first checked this book out of the library a year or so ago, there were only a couple of recipes I thought looked “good” and would have made. Now, most of the recipes look/sound good to me. Shows that my tastes are definitely changing . . . for the better.

I’m sharing all of this because I want accountability, so I might as well make it public! Also, I want to “journal” the experience with my readers and share delicious recipes I discover along the way.

Also, I need help! Got any delicious vegetarian recipes you’ve tried? Send them my way! Post links to the recipes or your own blog posts in the comments section. Let the veggie fest begin!

Mud Face | This Moment

April 27, 2012

Joining Soule Mama for a {This Moment} post: A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

But I am going to add a few words today because I can’t help myself.

This picture I took of Sophia this past week sure did remind me of a picture of Duncan when he was about the same age . . .

Some things never change. Kids love mud!

Thankfully, one thing that did change was I learned to take better pictures!

Multitude Monday | Great Giver

April 23, 2012

Always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. -Ephesians 5:20

Nancy Guthrie writes in The One Year Book of Hope:

“God gives, and God takes away. But let’s be honest. We just want to give, don’t we? . . . Genuine gratitude is a response not to the worth of the gift, but to the excellence of the Giver. If gratitude fluctuates with our estimation of the gifts, then it’s not really gratitude. In reality, that kind of gratitude is disguised idolatry.

I know you can barely stand to think about being grateful in the midst of your loss. You may think I’m crazy to suggest that you could be grateful to God for who he is and all he has done for you as you face the empty chair, the empty bank account, the aching emptiness of what was once your life. But if you refuse to nurture gratitude, you will become bitter. So would you turn your eyes from your loss and disappointment to the great Giver, asking him to reveal more of himself to you so that you might grow in gratitude? Would you ask him for peace and joy that only those who nurture gratitude are given?”

It’s just another week here at my house. No huge losses. Nothing as weighty as the above quote might suggest has happened to test my gratefulness. But such circumstances have happened in the past, and will no doubt surface in the future. So today it’s time to train myself in the simpleness of a thankful heart for the everyday blessings:

601. My dearest friend, Robin, coming over for an evening of pizza and chatting last weekend.
602. For friends who pass on clothes to us when their kids are done with them, so that we don’t have to spend lots of money on kids’ clothing.
603. The screen door on, ready for summer breezes.
604. Cuddles with Sophia.
605. A long Sunday afternoon nap and a Sunday afternoon drive.

606. Windows cleaned for spring.
607. Sophia “singing.”
608. God’s grace on our marriage and that we truly don’t have many conflicts.
609. Boys’ help at the grocery store, pushing their own little carts around.
610. Six pints of homemade stock to freeze made from pastured chickens purchased from friends.

611. Selling a camera bag I don’t use within 2 days of posting it was for sale.
612. Weeding flower gardens.
613. Reading to the kids outside on a quilt on a spring afternoon.
614. First ice cream trip of the year to Broom’s Bloom Dairy.
615. Sophia talking more, saying words like: draw, car, paci, stinky, brothers.

616. Freshly mopped floors.
617. Lilacs on the kitchen table.
618. Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
619. A quiet morning with rain falling, the sound of wind chimes.
620. A rainy lazy Sunday. Time to knit and watch Forks Over Knives and an episode of Doc Martin.

621. Praying through Psalm 19 and 51. Thankful that God purges my sin, creates a clean heart, and restores me to joy.

Spray Painted Urns

April 17, 2012

Last year I came across a great idea over at Nesting Place: adding color to your garden by spray painting urns. I had some urns that I thought would perfect candidates for spray painting; urns that looked very plastic-y. The only problem was I had a hard time finding paint. Last year I looked for plastic spray paint, but didn’t really find many options or colors I liked. So the project was put on hold.

This year, a trip to Home Depot proved to be much different. There was a huge array of fabulous colors of spray paint that would adhere to not just wood and metal, but plastic too.

I chose to go with purple as my color of choice. The plants that will be blooming in the flower beds I put the urns into are pink Echinacea and yellow day lilies. I think I like the look, although I’m not totally sure. The pansies and dusty millers in the urns still have to “fill out.” I might like ferns in there better, I don’t know. I’m thinking the urns might look a bit too glossy (semi-gloss was the only option) but maybe some weathering will happen naturally? The good thing is, I can always repaint them a different color or even with textured spray paint. I think I’ll give it the whole summer to decide. What do you all, my faithful readers, think?

And please ignore the weeds in the flower beds. Haven’t gotten that far in the gardening process yet!

Doll Love

April 9, 2012

Little girl sure is loving her doll these days. Dolls, books, and drawing being her greatest loves right now. Everyday she brings much sunshine and joy into our lives. She wrestles with her brothers and also hugs them all the time. “We have the sweetest sister!” the boys often comment. The sibling love is adorable. That’s not to say their aren’t screams when she wrecks their trains. But they really do all have a blast together.


Real or Not Real?

April 6, 2012

In book 3 of The Hunger Games, The Mockingjay, one of the characters goes through a form of torture called mental hijacking. The enemy uses his memories and twists them, tapping into his innermost fears. Once this character is physically rescued, he still has to deal with the aftermath of mental confusion and fear. He no longer knows what memories are real or distorted. The way he copes in order to find his way to reality is to make a statement to those he trusts around him and then to ask the question: real or not real? The response he receives helps him unlock truth from lies.

I finished The Hunger Games trilogy the other night and am feeling a little wrecked. Overall, the ending has a feeling of hopelessness and despair, of being caught in a fear of the future. The only thing we’re given to hang onto is the good we see in other people and to recount that good to ourselves in an effort to keep going on. But is that really enough?

I can’t help but contemplate the affect of reading The Hunger Games versus other books that tell true and similar stories of those who’ve been tortured, drugged, beaten, and pawns in the hands of unjust governments. Of Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. Of Daughters of Hope: Stories of Witness  & Courage in the Face of Persecution by  Kay Marshall Storm. Of the magazine The Voice of the Martyrs. I remember being astonished by the feeling of hope and even joy recounted by women who’d suffered unspeakable woes in Daughters of Hope. How could this be? How how how can someone go through such miseries and still keep living? Let alone feel joy and hope in the world?

Today is Good Friday. When we remember the ultimate torture of Christ. Physical, mental, spiritual, it was all laid on Him. He took all the atrocities we’ve ever committed against Him and our fellow man and bore them all the way to Hell and back. Why? 1 John 4:14-18 gives us a clue:

The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Jesus became the Savior so that we wouldn’t have to be captured by fear. So that we wouldn’t have to fear anything that anyone could do to us because the ultimate fear has been taken away: fear of God’s righteous wrath because of our sins. Instead we can abide (what a beautiful word) in Him. And when we truly abide in Him the result is love.

When Christians suffer, we have the choice to suffer distinctly. Whether the trial is a personal crisis, physical illness, or at the hands of an evil regime, there’s still the possibility to cast out fear through the love of God and have hope and joy. I’m not in any way marginalizing the suffering. I’m just saying there’s the possibility of living, really living, in the fullness of Christ.

And so today, of all days, I remind myself of reality. I remind myself of the truth:

My name is Danielle. I’m a child of God. Jesus died so I could abide in Him. And when I abide, fear is overcome. I can have love and joy and peace in any adversity. Thank you Jesus for bearing all my sins in your body and redeeming me to be your own. Help me live in the light of this truth everyday.

Real or not real?