Sometimes people can get on your nerves. It happens. But we are to keep our joy and our peace. So today we are going to focus on what God’s peace is and get ready for the week.
Enjoy, but have a fantastic week!
Sometimes people can get on your nerves. It happens. But we are to keep our joy and our peace. So today we are going to focus on what God’s peace is and get ready for the week.
Enjoy, but have a fantastic week!
When I am pressed for time I want a simple, yet still delicious breakfast. I always keep some homemade sourdough bread around so I always go to my favorite quick breakfast avocado toast. I like my avocado as guacamole, nice and smooth. See the previous post for the recipe on that. But feel free to add lib to this recipe and make it your own.
1 slice of sourdough bread
2 Tbsp of guacamole
2 Slices of tomato
1 hard boiled egg
Dash of Balsamic vinegar glaze
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Sprinkle of salt
I love avocados! They add such a creamy texture to foods and are super healthy. One of my favorite things to make with avocados is guacamole. It doesn’t matter if I eat it with tortilla chips, raw veggies, or on top of avocado toast, I love it and it makes the perfect snack.
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Juice of 1/2 a lime
For writers, let’s be honest you can spend what feels like an eternity on a story and think it’s done. Finished. Complete. But after a 2-3 day break from it, you feel like its not. That maybe you could do better. And this shatters your heart because you just want to be done. You thought it was a master piece. So what do you do next? Well, you gut it!
Say what? Well, hold on I only say this because I recently went through this. Over the summer I wrote a few short stories, one being a water story featuring a particular mythical sea creature. I worked hard on it for a bout a month and sent it out to be considered for a water themed anthology. It was rejected. I was like, okay where did I go wrong? Was it not interesting enough? Should I have taken a few different creative liberties? Frustrated, I just put it aside for a while and reworked some of my other stories. Just recently, I reviewed it again. And my perspective changed. The story was okay… but it could be better.
I’m currently in an Advanced Creative Writing class where each week we have to read two stories from the Best of Horror 2022 anthology and then two stories from our class peers. However, in order to get those stories each of us have to turn in a short story every month for 4 months that’s around 5,000 words. And for one of my stories, I chose to redo my water one. So I ended up drawing Freytag’s triangle out and then wrote in what the original story had, then asked myself a few questions. What if this happened? What if my protagonist did this, instead of that? What if I changed the ending and made it dark? When I answered all those questions I created another Freytag’s triangle with these new points. This really helped keep me motivated and on track.
By using Freytag’s triangle it helped me stay on track and helped me streamline my writing process. I was able to use parts of my previous story to create my new one where it felt right. I was able to polish it up and edited it to death. By the end I wanted to trash it because I was so sick of looking at it. But that’s when you know you tried really hard. After all that hard work, I actually loved the new story so much more than the original. Once I was really done, I sent it to a few of my beta-readers. After a few days on pin and needles one got back to me. Her comment made my day. She said, “I liked the previous version, but I love this one, it’s more tragic.”
Gutting my previous story did hurt, but it had to be done. Sometimes we think that our story is perfect. But let’s be honest we are really so close to the story we may not notice certain things right off the bat. However with some time you can look at your story with a fresh pair of eyes again and really see how it compares to your previous work or compare it to the works you are currently reading.
So keep reading and writing! And remember you are only one good gutting away from a magnificent masterpiece!
If you are a writer, have you ever gutted your story completely to make it better? And if so did you like the end product better like I did?
When life seems crazy and the world is acting up. What should we do? Focus on God and allow him to lead us. Today let’s meditate on what the Lord says in Psalm 91.
When I was growing up my parents took us to amusement park almost every year, Sea World. I loved it! I love anything aquatic, but my favorite mammals are typically the arctic ones. Having visited so often, I developed a deep love and fascination with orcas. I am obsessed. When I was six I had my entire room painted a baby blue and along the top of the wall we added a strip of wall paper that had an orca and a glacier with a baby seal on it. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.
One of my biggest dreams was to see orcas out in the wild. But it never happened. Since I’ve gone to Anacortes, we’ve been on three different whale tours and each time the orcas were no where to be seen. However, there were other whales present like the humpback whale and also some seals, but they weren’t my beloved killer whales. So needless to say I was always disappointed. This time my sister went on another whale watching tour while we were in the area. And in case you didn’t know there are quite a few companies that provide this service. There is Island Adventures, Blackfish Tours, and also Spirit of Orca Whale Watching. The main tour company that we’ve booked in the past was Island Adventures and once we used Blackfish Tours. Each one of them was nice and I had no complaints about either one. Just make sure that you book a few months in advance to ensure you get the day and time that you want.
This time we booked with Island Adventures and met them at the dock. The boat was two stories and quite roomy and clean. As soon as they allowed us to board, Ari and I found our seats at a booth and followed along with the safety instructions that they provided to us. Then we were cruising. Briefly, Ari and I ventured out to the deck to enjoy the sites, but also the fresh air. The cool crisp air woke me up and the salty mist from the water coated me. I loved it. I forgot how much I loved being on the water. While we held onto the railing with each crest of the waves against the hull of the boat, their marine biologist began to speak about the area and the local wildlife that is typically found. They usually have bald eagles, seals, gray, and humpback whales, and of course orcas.
Right off the bat we found a small group of seals that were sunbathing on the rocks. We coasted around them for while as everyone snapped their pictures. After about ten minutes we moved on and I went inside to warm up. One of the best things about the whale watching tours is they have a little concession stand, so I grabbed some coffee and Ari and split an order of chili cheese fries. They were so good and I finally warmed up a bit. But I did see a zip up that caught my eye and ended up getting a new light jacket, which I promptly wore to layer up. So quick heads up, make sure you dress in layers if you do go out because it becomes extremely chilly during the boat ride. Pack a jacket or two, a windbreaker would be nice, a hat that covers your ears, a scarf, gloves, and a blanket. I know it seems like overkill, but you’ll thank me later.
We continued on course when we heard an announcement saying whales had been spotted. I glanced over at my sister and I remember saying, “They said whales. Why be so general. I bet they’re orcas.” Twenty minutes later we all rushed out to the deck to see a small pod of orcas swimming along the Orcas Islands. Together we huddled around trying to get the best pictures, but I glanced down at my watch and saw we were close to the turn around time. Even the marine biologist said it, but then the captain said, we aren’t going anywhere! I was so excited.
We followed the orcas and found out that they were actually out hunting a seal. There was one baby in the group and the marine biologist said it appeared that the older ones were teaching him how to hunt. I didn’t know this, but catching orcas in the middle of hunt is pretty rare. I hope you like some of the pictures I was able to get. I apologize for the lack of clarity, I should have brought my actual camera and not used my phone. I’d say the video is much clearer.
Absolutely freezing at this point, we finally turned the boat around. Everyone’s arms and hands were hurting from maintaining their photo ready positions. We ended up going over by an hour and a half. But I’d say it was well worth it because I finally got see my favorite mammal in the wild.
So if you haven’t been on a whale watching tour, you may want to book one for your next trip. They can’t guarantee you’ll always see orcas, but it’s always a great time and an awesome way to experience nature.
Have you ever been on a whale watching tour before? If so, what were able to see?
Over the last few years I’ve taken a few writing classes from LitReactor. I really enjoy taking these classes because I can see that my writing has started to improve. I no longer think about stories the way I used to in the past. One of the classes that I recently took in November 2022 was Bradley Beaulieu’s Good to Great. This class was a continuation of his previous class that I’d taken a few weeks prior, Science Fiction and Fantasy Toolkit. I liked his first class so much I wanted to take the next one.
This class was also a 4 week course. Each week Bradley would speak about a topic he felt needed our attention to help turn our book or idea from good to great. For week 1 we discussed connective tissue. This included techniques that could be used to strengthen your story. Week two followed up with pattern recognition. Bradley identified patterns that can be seen in various bestselling books in regards to plot and character. And weeks three and four as it’s all entertainment. These two weeks focused on certain techniques that could increase the entertainment for our readers and make them want to keep reading.
Each week there was a lecture on the particular topic Bradley was discussing as well as a homework assignment to turn in. He always gave us about a week to complete each assignment. And for me that was more than enough time. I usually turned mine in a few days early, mainly because on occasion I didn’t know what else to do with the assignment, I’d hit a dead end. I could’t think anymore. And once I turned it in I figured I was done. Bradley always gives feedback and is super encouraging. He continues to deep dive into the individual worlds his students build. In this class he continued to see where we were currently in our writing and also could tell from his experience where we were trying to go. With that in mind, he would give examples using your characters of what you could do next or books that might help you. I really appreciated that. I’m now a lot further in my thought process in regards to the novel I am currently working on. And I know that without this class it probably wouldn’t have happened.
If you are on LitReactor and see this class being offered and you want to write a novel. I would say don’t second guess! Take It! It was well wor
As you cruise north with the windows down, leaving the city of Seattle behind you and enjoying the wind as it swirls into your hair. You will notice the highway lined with gorgeous, vibrant, green trees. If you continue going you are going to hit one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen, Anacortes. As you enter the city and continue driving around, you’ll notice that the trees remain, but the region become a little more rocky. Then you’ll begin to see large bodies of water start to appear to your right. And a little further along, you’ll drive along steep cliffs that over look Deception Pass.
Deception Pass is a State Park. As you drive across the bridge you’ll see the deep rich blue waters glistening below you. There are places along the side of the road where you can park your car and walk along the bridge or head down towards the water. I’ve done this plenty of times. I love coming to this park because I can’t get over how lovely it is. When I stop by, I always bring a hat and some sun screen so I can stay as long as I want, unbothered. Just remember, it’s by the water so it’ll be a little chilly, bring a jacket and a windbreaker. This go around my sister and I brought our friend with us.
She’s never been to this park before. We ended up parking the car and then carefully walked down steep trails towards the rocky shore. Slowly, we made our way. I kept taking multiple photographs trying to savor every moment. I’m not usually one for outdoor adventures, but I am when it comes to being here. The ground was slightly soft as we walked from some recent rain, but the rocks helped us along our path. As we walked, we could hear the water lapping along the shore and finally the land flattened out. Around this time there were areas where people could park their RV’s and there was a cabin for restrooms. After we passed all that and stumbled out of the vegetation, the entire area opened up revealing the ocean mere feet away from us. Our feet crunched along the rocks as we ran to the waters edge. The water swirled along the shore and then relapsed back into the depths. Ari and I stood by the water for a bit just to enjoy it, while our friend parked herself on a weathered log.
Over a few feet away from us a dog was playing in the water, retrieving a stick his owner threw, when a small black head popped out of nowhere. I had to do a double take because for a second it almost blended into the water. But sure enough a seal had stopped by to see what was going on. Not sure if we’d see anything else, Ari and I walked along the length of the beach listening to the waves as people fished or sat back and enjoyed the view. After a while we walked back the way we came and ended up going for a hike just under the bridge and ventured off in the opposite direction, one that we’d never travelled before. The scenery was just as beautiful, but way more bumpy and our friend was tripping a lot due to the uneven landscape. It was nice, but after 20 minutes of walking with no end in sight we called it quits and headed back to the car with only one thing on our mind. Lunch!
Tired we drove back to Anacortes and headed to one of my favorite spots – Calico Cupboard. There we were able to warm up with the best mocha and latte. You forget how cold it can get by the water, but that made the coffee that much more delicious. The food was fantastic as usual. The only disappointment was that they didn’t have any of their cream puffs that day. Apparently they make them from one particular shop and then send them to the others. But that was the perfect way to end our outing before we headed back to the AirBnB for some much needed rest.
If you are in the area, check out Deception Pass and also Calico Cupboard (they have 3 locations in the area).
Have you been to Anacortes before? If so where did you go to have some fun or eat?
When I am craving time away from the hustle and bustle of my everyday life I usually plan a trip out to my favorite place in the whole wide world- Anacortes, WA. I don’t know why, but when I first went to Seattle I just fell in love with the area. Some would argue that it rains there all the time, but me… I’m like who cares? I love that too! Just sit me down in a nice cozy chair with a large cup of coffee and I am at peace. Typically, I go to Seattle and make my way to the coast of Anacortes at least once a year or every 2 years. If you fly in to Seattle and then drive north for about an hour you’ll find yourself in the most beautiful lush green area – Anacortes.
Anacortes is right along the Skagit River and it empties out into Puget sound. We recently drove up there and stayed at a AirBNB in the downtown area of Anacortes. The airbnb was cute. It had a full kitchen and two bedrooms with 2 bathrooms and a large living room and garage. I really enjoyed my time there. The only thing I would complain about was the fact the mattresses were hard and I couldn’t sleep well. Other than that it was fine. Since we had a kitchen we went to one of the local supermarkets, there are about two of them there and bought some essentials so we could cook breakfast and a dinner, but go out and enjoy the local food at lunch time. One of our friends who happens to live in Seattle joined Ari and I. She is an amazing cook and said she’d be in charge of the cooking. And of course we didn’t mind because everything she cooks is delicious!
The downtown area was very quaint with various small businesses lining the street. There were bookstores, an ice cream/fudge shop, clothing stores, a few restaurants, and the pier. We were actually within staying within walking distance from the shops, so most days my sister and I would take a leisurely walk just to get out and wander around. We felt completely safe and after a day of just walking about remembered where everything was. They do have a Starbucks there and we did go there just to chill and also start planning out what we wanted to do for the upcoming year. But we also made plans for what we wanted to do in the area as well.
One thing that I would recommend is speaking to the business owners or employees. They can tell you where you may want to go for food or for entertainment. We spoke to one of the workers at the fudge/ice cream store and she told us that we definitely would want to go whale watching. Apparently, there were some orcas in the area. Little did she know, we already planned on doing that. But it made me feel better hearing this, because I’ve been whale watching three times already, and hadn’t been able to see the whales I dreamt about seeing in the wild… the orca. The employee also suggested that we go over to Deception Pass if we wanted to spend time out in nature and enjoy the quiet. Deception Pass is a State Park that has the most beautiful view of the water and also covered areas for hiking. We definitely made plans to go there as well, because we wanted to hike for a bit.
If you are an outdoor type of person then I would highly suggest going to Anacortes. Have you been there before? If so, what did you end up doing out there?
In my next post I’ll talk about Deception Pass and also our whale watching tour.
I enjoy all of my enameled cast iron pieces that I have gotten from Le Creuset. In reality, I use either my brazier or dutch oven at least once or twice a week. They are one of the best things that I have ever bought. And then I saw the Bread Oven.
In case you didn’t know, I recently started trying making various types of bread. I have foccacia mastered at this point, but still working on the sour dough. I have my starter that I feed once a week and then pop in the fridge, but I also have one on the counter that I feed frequently. I have two starters in case something happens to one. I normally make my sour dough loaves in one of my dutch ovens. I actually have 6 total. I’ll post about each one soon and why I had to get each one. But that’s for another day.
About a year ago Le Creuset came out with their enameled cast iron bread oven. The interior is a black enamel, rather than the white enamel that is typically found in the dutch ovens/braziers. I really wanted one, but I needed a dutch oven more. However, I was able to try the bread oven recently. It was actually quite simple to use, just like any other piece I’ve used of theirs.
I only had one concern while I was making my dough. Did I still put the parchment paper down or just let the dough rest on the actual cast iron of the oven? Apparently if you want the cool design embedded into your bread as it bakes, then don’t put down the parchment. If you don’t care, then you can put the parchment down. I ended up not doing the parchment.
So I preheated my oven with the bread oven inside at 500 degrees. Then as soon as I heard the ding from the oven telling me it hit the appropriate temperature I carefully removed the entire oven out and lifted the lid to place my dough straight in the center of it and made a slit on the top of the dough. Then I put it back in the oven covering it with the lid for a 20 minute bake and baked it for another 25 minutes with it uncovered.
It turned out beautifully. Probably one of the best loaves I’ve made yet.
I do love this piece, just be aware you may be limited to just bread or a skillet cookie, or cinnamon rolls in it. But if you bake a lot of bread and want to have that dome cover then this may be a good buy for you. They sell them at Le Creuset.com and also at the Le Creuset Outlets.
No matter how you want to bake your bread, I wish you happy baking!
Let me know what kind of breads do you like to bake?