Conversations Emotions Reflections

Fur on My Clothes and Sand in My Toes

Hello my friends! I have a question for you. Have you ever complained about something and then drastically missed it when it was gone?

I have two right now. I am missing fur on my clothes and sand in my toes.

Fur on my clothes

My dog died last April. Until then, I’d been living in loose fur. It was in every corner of the house, on the furniture, and in our cars. It was even on the clean clothes that came out of the dryer. There were lint rollers in every room.

It seemed inescapable. And now I miss it. I absolutely cherish the neighbor dog’s hugs which cover me from head to toe in fur!

Sand in my toes

When we lived in Hawaii, there was sand everywhere. Those tiny beach bits walked into the house on our toes daily. They stuck to everything and eluded my brooms and vacuums. I thought I’d never have a shoe, car, bed, or floor without sandy grit.

But since I’ve moved, I relish any opportunity to get sand in my toes. And if I can track it into the car, you bet I’m going to do it! The longer it lingers, the happier I am.

Do you know what I mean?

Banes to Blessings

Yes, I truly miss fur on my clothes and sand in my toes. It makes me wonder which banes of my current existence will become desired blessings in the future. What do I complain about that I should appreciate before it’s gone?

What about you! What previous nuisances do you miss now? And what current banes might become blessings one day?

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Conversations Recommendations

A Wonderful Winter Recipe Share!

Hello! Thanks for stopping by the Back Porch today. I’m grateful for your company! I would like to propose a recipe share to accompany this wonderful winter season we’re enjoying.

Our Wonderful Winter

This is our first winter in Northern Arizona, but our neighbors tell us we’ve had an unusual amount of snow. We’ve gotten something like 60 inches in the last two weeks. It is beautiful! I have only 2 complaints.

  1. It makes my daily trail walks all but impossible.
  2. It started 2 days after my husband’s hip replacement surgery, leaving shoveling duty to my son and me.

I must say, though, snowy weather is great for cooking and baking. And I’ve been doing a lot of that! So, I also have to say I’m grateful for shoveling duty, because it is a fabulous calorie burner while the trail walks are on hold.

A Recipe Share

This is where a wonderful winter recipe share comes in. What are you eating these days? Do you have any nutritious recipes to share? Could you use a few?

My hubby likes to base his diet on protein. I prefer to center mine on plants. Because we’re incredibly creative (read the sarcasm), we’ve dubbed our eating habits “Protein and Plants”. It works. At least it reminds me where to focus when I’m at the grocery store. We both also eat carbs, dairy, and fats; we just try not to make them the stars of our plates.

What do you think? Do you have any recipes I can try? Would you be willing to share?

Here is one of our favorites that you might enjoy. It’s quick, simple, and healthy to boot!

Chicken, Mushroom, and Asparagus Stir Fry

Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken, sliced
  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, wedged
  • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup stir-fry sauce
  • 1/2 cup oyster sauce


  1. In a skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add chicken strips; stir fry 5-6 minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from the pan.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add asparagus, and onion; stir fry for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; stir fry 3 minutes longer. Add water; cover and steam for 2-3 minutes or until asparagus is tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix stir-fry sauce and oyster sauce. Return the chicken to the wok and add the sauce mixture. Stir fry for about 1 minute longer or until hot.
  4. Serve with hot rice, or on a bed of greens.

Note: You can substitute any other veggies that you like and have on hand. Feel free to be creative with the protein too!

If you have a recipe for me to try, please share! I would love to use it for two purposes – to pray for you as I prepare it, and to nourish my family this wonderful winter. Please, paste one in the comments, or provide a link if you’ve already shared it. If you aren’t excited about posting it publicly, but are willing to email it privately, use my contact button at the top of the page.

Thank you! I appreciate you. Seriously – whether you have a recipe to share or not, I appreciate you for being here, for reading, and for being a present blessing to the Back Porch! Have a great day!

Conversations Emotions

Have You Lost Your Drive? Good!

This morning, in prayer, I heard myself tell Jesus,

“I feel like I’ve lost my drive.”

Immediately, as if He’d been anticipating those words, He said,

“Good. Move over. I’m supposed to be driving anyway.

Touché! Perfectly played.

He is Lord.

Jesus, take the wheel!


Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #4

Thank you so much for joining me today for the last post in the “Something to See” mini-series. Education by conversation and collaboration is the most enjoyable way to learn. Thank you for the interesting discussion!

I’ve been posting a handful of photos each day for a few days. In case you’re new to the series, you can catch up on the other articles here: Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #1, #2, and #3.

I’m hoping you might be able to give me some insight about the stunning summer flowers I’ve encountered while hiking around my new hometown. I’d love for you to comment the number and name of any blossoms which you can help me to identify. (Click the pic, if you like, for larger view and scrolling capability.)

Consider for a moment what it takes for a flower to bloom.

  • First a seed must fall from its parent plant to a place where it can be nourished.
  • It has to grow many times it’s size, sending roots down, stems up, and leaves out.
  • Then it must develop buds.
  • Finally, with light, water, and God’s miraculous touch, the buds explode into stunning splendor.

The size, shape, color, and fragrance of each blossom was coded into the tiny seed from the beginning. But it could not fulfill its purpose if it stayed in seed form. It had to die to what it was, undergo amazing growth and transformation, and bloom. Next, it will wilt, drop seeds of its own, and start the process again.

These flowers are not only stunning in their surge of summer shimmer, but they are also superior object lessons. I want to be radiant and fragrant, showcasing the splendor of my Creator. But it isn’t as easy as just saying so.

  • I have to start small, die to myself, and submit to God.
  • I must embrace the process of learning, stretching, and growing.
  • As I am nourished by Him, I begin to develop opportunities to showcase the person He intended me to be.
  • In His perfect time, His beauty and fragrance surges through me in a burst of His stunning splendor for all to see.

Related Post: Angry and Convinced Someone Should Die? Make It Quick!

And, just like a summer blossom, my time to display His wonder will fade away. It is imperative that I invest in others, especially those younger than me, while I may. I need to sow seeds of my own.

Then those seeds, when planted, will follow the same lifecycle and the Savior will be showcased again and again, spreading joy and faith exponentially. That, my friend, is how you and I can leave legacies of eternal importance.

Let’s be perennial flowers, if you will, surging with stunning splendor in our respective spaces. May the seeds of our faith and obedience bloom through the generations and be something to see many years from now.


Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #3

Welcome back to the “Something to See” mini-series. Thank you so much for joining me. I’m excited to share today’s photos with you! They have me singing a song from my childhood.

Consider the lilies and how they grow, blossoming there in the field 
‘Tis not for their labor they flourish so, flowers of beauty to yield. 
Through the grace of God above, tending all in constant love, 
Every want shall be supplied, for God the Lord will provide.

Consider The Lilies, by Natalie Sleeth

I hope the pictures don’t take too long to load. Your time is precious, and I’m so blessed that you’re spending it here with me, admiring these spaces which are surging with such stunning splendor. I sure wish you could see these colors up close! Feel free to click on any pic to enlarge and scroll through them all.

If you’ve been following these posts, you know that I’d love your input on what kinds of plants these are. Please comment the photo number and any knowledge you have to share. So many of these flowers are new to me.

This isn’t a flower, per se, but this photo is also in my thoughts today.

Large bird with a stunning view from atop of a tall tree
Do you see the special tree-topper?

I took this picture, wondering what it would be like to sit atop the tallest trees. What a stunning view this bird must have had! I suspect this photo came to mind because of the second verse of the song in my head.

Consider a moment the birds in flight, everywhere filling the air. 
With never a worry they seek the height, nourished in bountiful share. 
Through the grace of God above, tending all in constant love, 
Every want shall be supplied, for God the Lord will provide.

Consider The Lilies, by Natalie Sleeth

While the spaces surging with stunning splendor are something to see and savor, they should point us to something even more spectacular. They should remind us that God really cares about us. He knows the details of our lives and gets intimately involved. I leave you with the third verse of the poetic song I just can’t seem to shake today.

For more than the lilies that bloom and grow, more than the birds of the air, 
Your Maker forever your need will know and feed you with heavenly care. 
Through the grace of God above, tending all in constant love, 
Every want shall be supplied, for God the Lord will provide.

Consider The Lilies, by Natalie Sleeth

Blessings, my precious friends. You are loved!


Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #2

Hello again! Welcome back to the “Something to See” mini-series. I just have to say THANK YOU so much for your help! I’m fascinated to learn what you know about the stunning splendor that is surging in open spaces all around me. The flowers are incredibly beautiful!

Waiting for my photos to load might take away from your reading time, so I’m posting just a handful a day for a few days. Aren’t today’s specimens spectacular? And oh, I wish you could see them up close and personal – they are breath-taking!

(Click any pic to see it larger and for the ability to scroll through them.)

Amazing, right? All flowers, but so different in size, shape, and color. Each is a masterpiece of God’s unbelievable creativity. Hmmm… not unlike you and me!

I would love your assistance identifying these blossoms in the comments. Just use the number in the photo’s caption and tell me what you know! And if you don’t know what kind of plants these are, simply comment on your favorite blossom. I am anxious to hear your thoughts!

I was reminded that I wrote about the surprisingly stunning summer blossoms when I visited Northern Arizona, on vacation, just last year. You can read my thoughts in this post from only months ago, when living here was still a future dream.

So much has happened in such a short time! I’m daily pinching myself, trying to comprehend how God saw us through all that it took to move. I feel extremely fortunate to call this beautiful place home. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share the spaces surging with stunning splendor, which are truly something to see.

I’m so blessed to have you along for the adventure. Thank you, my friend. You are precious to me!