Given to me in 2010.

I notice the different weeds in my patch of garden,
My little garden that I and my husband installed
When pests ate our grass,
Grass that wasn’t native to this earth.
We carved out our little plot and placed native plants there,
Things that were intended to grow in this sandy dirt,
Rather than the golf course turf that housebuilders and associations love,
But require water the sky doesn’t provide and nourishment the earth doesn’t produce.

I pull weeds.
And I praise the One Who created me.
And I praise the One Who created the weeds.

I see one weed that is beautiful.
It fans out like hot weather, bright-sun fern.
Its spidery, lacy fingers hide tiny creatures
That run in fear for shelter as I remove their home.
Its roots are shallow, so it comes up readily,
And breaks easily, leaving behind bits of itself
To regenerate and spread.
If I’m not careful to remove it completely,
I will have two weeds tomorrow where today
There was only one.

I see one weed that looks like a shoot of grass, similar to the grasses I’ve planted,
No big deal. But
The spike that grows up from the earth
Is half as high as the tap root hidden below,
Tying it in an underground grid
To its kin six inches hence.
I’m surprised by the strength and will,
How deeply dug in it is
And I reach for my spade.
As I gently pull and follow the root
With eyes that cannot see,
I bring all of it up and discard it.

I see one weed that dresses up in clothes of legitimacy.
Clever weed! You look just like my jasmine!
You slither through the bed, ingratiating yourself to me with pretty flowers.
But your stem gives you away before you
Choke life from this ground’s rightful resident.
Carefully I follow you, up and over and under and through.
I know you from your fleshy stem.
If I hadn’t paid close attention, you’d have taken over before I noticed anything
Was even wrong.
With you gone, the chaos diminishes and the path is clear again.

I see a weed that is just…so…weedy.
Surely I’ve seen your spindly stem and puffy head
Elsewhere? Just a little yank and…
Your roots, thick and fibrous,
Take so much earth with them, leaving a
Gaping hole.
I shake the dirt off, patting it back down,
But the scar remains.
Time will take care of it.

My gardener’s wisdom grows as I move from weed to weed, deliberately,
A little at a time.
The sun rains down, beating me, encouraging them.
O so tempting to work and work and work and leave it all out there in the work.
But would that be best? No.
The work would be sloppy. And so I work twenty minutes, until
The dripping sweat comes, and
The fair skin burns, and
The dizziness starts.
And I see there is more to do tomorrow.
And I see a tiny weed poke up from the patch I gave my strength to yesterday.
And I know all over again my work requires diligence to diminish the invasion
Over time.
But the work will always be.

He said yesterday, “Just spray them
Don’t wreck your back on this futile work.”
But – spray poison and render this plot barren
All for the sake of convenience?
At what cost? What else might the chemical kill?
My gardener wisdom grows.

I pull weeds.
And I praise the One Who created me.
And I praise the One Who created the weeds.

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Okay, my Dears. This is pure, unadulterated, bossy meddling. (But don’t let that put you off.)



See, here’s the deal. If you’re tired. If you’re depressed. If you’re stressed (see what I did there?) WALK. Why am I saying this? I’m preaching to you and me both.

In the summer in particular, my energy wanes. I blame it on a combination of the weird schedule (kids out of school, I’m juggling working from home) and the heat. Those factors combine to give me an excuse not to move, and I feel like a depressed slug who can hardly get out of bed. (How’s that for a visual?)

But I know the antidote from experience. MOVE. The problem is consistency.

So, this week, I’ve challenged myself with 6 things that I will do everyday. They aren’t hard, but they are challenging enough to, well, challenge me. One of them is to walk 6000 steps each day. It’s a low-ball number; that’s intentional. It’s enough to force me to go out for a walk, but not so high that I can’t reach it. Basically, if I take one or two 25-minute walks, I get 6,000-10,000 steps. If I miss my goal one day this week, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to try again the next day. I won’t quit.

So where does the bossy come in? I know some of you are tired — and you have PERFECTLY VALID REASONS TO BE. I know that you’re so tired, you feel like you can’t move. But please — try. Try to walk 20 minutes. Try to get on a stationary bike. Listen to music or your favorite podcast. Grab a friend and go for a walk together. But move. Just a little. Set a goal to try for a week, and that you won’t quit until you’ve tried.

I think you will be fairly amazed that, within the space of that week, you’ll have more energy. And you may even see your outlook brightening a bit.

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Lemon Curd Cream Pie with Fresh Strawberries

I just returned from a visit to Ireland, and now I have strawberries front and center on the brain.

I’ll be sharing more about my trip in other posts, but while there, we visited some lovely food suppliers in County Wexford, including Danescastle Fruit Farm. Wexford is known for its glorious strawberries, and now I know why. Delicious, juicy, and red through and through, this was some of the best fruit I’ve ever tasted, right off the vine.

A Glorious County Wexford Strawberry

A Glorious County Wexford Strawberry

But…back to reality. I know, I know. Here in Florida, strawberry season is at an end. But if you happen to be some place where you can get gorgeous strawberries — or even if you’re dreaming of the next time strawberry season rolls around — you may enjoy having this one in your recipe box. But keep in mind also that lemon goes with so many other flavors. So feel free to substitute any type of berry. Blueberries would be especially terrific and visually striking.

I created this recipe for Easter. I wanted something fairly light (well, in taste anyway) and simple to make. And it turned out great!

Lemon Cream Pie with Strawberries

Lemon Cream Pie with Strawberries

Lemon Curd Cream Pie with Fresh Strawberries

1 Graham Cracker Crust (I used Martha Stewart’s Recipe)
1 Recipe of Lemon Curd (Recipe follows)
1 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
Strawberries of Similar Size, About 20, or other fruit of your choice (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or sliced peaches)

Instructions: Continue reading

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Oatmeal o’ the Week: Banana Chocolate

Happy Wednesday Thursday!  How is it already Wednesday Thursday and I haven’t talked about food yet?

(Well, for one…because this post was supposed to go up yesterday.  But it clearly didn’t.)

In this iteration of my blogginess, I envision sharing with you many blogs that are parts of series.  One series that I’d like to do is an oatmeal o’ the week.  I figure we all need to get some good soluble fiber into the old diet, but oatmeal can be so…dreadfully….boring.  Either that, or it’s so tasteless that you heap cupfuls of sugar on top.  So, just in case you need a little inspiration to make your oatmeal taste less like duty (ohh you!  you know what I mean) and more like a treat, I’d like to give you some ideas.  This week, submitted for your approval:  Banana Chocolate Oatmeal.

Some basics first, though.  I saw an excellent tip from a dietician recently that you should make your oatmeal with milk rather than water.  This increases the protein of the dish significantly, but it also slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, which, if this occurs too quickly, can cause a spike in blood sugar and a subsequent spike in insulin production.  So here’s my basic recipe that we’ll use with modifications as we add different flavours every week.

Brooke’s Basic Oatmeal Continue reading

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Top Ten Tuesday: Fabulously Lame Excuses Not to Work Out

Originally written 3 October 2008, isn’t this timeless?  Who among us hasn’t made lame excuses?  Because I’d really like to meet you.  No, really.  This is even more appropriate after yesterday’s post about fitness goals.

Since I haven’t yet sprung for the fancy underwater MP3 player yet (oh yes, it does exist), my mind wanders while I swim laps.  This morning, it wandered to all the excuses that I’ve made lately for not keeping up my fitness routine.  For your superiority-to-me-because-you’d-never-not-exercised-for-such-stupid-reasons-pleasure, I submit to you my Top Ten List of Fabulously Lame Excuses Not to Work Out:

Number 10:  It’s too hot.

Number 9:  It’s too cold.

Number 8:  It’s too early, and I’ve got such a long day.

Number 7:  It’s too late, and Continue reading

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Being Honest With Myself

Hi, I’m Brooke. (Hi Brooke.)

I eat a well-balanced diet, get seven hours of sleep per nite, I don’t watch more than 30 minutes of television a day, and I don’t eat too much salt. OH – and I walk two miles in 30 minutes.  That 16 minute per mile pace for the Disney Princess Half Marathon?  No problem.


So, I’m on a kick lately to, as Dr. Phil would put it, to get real.  And on my realness journey, I’m finding out a couple of things about myself:

  • I spend far too much time on Facebook and Twitter.
  • I don’t eat oatmeal nearly as often as I think I do (or at least I didn’t before I started logging every bite into a swell new app I found.)
  • A twenty hour work week, at home, with a baby crawling around, is difficult.  Not impossible, certainly, but difficult.
  • I don’t walk the 15 minute per mile pace I thought I walked.  I walk a Continue reading
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Oktoberfest Fehr-Family Style

Um, k….so “real” Oktoberfest ended a few weeks ago. And “real” Oktoberfest doesn’t celebrate the Fehr family at all; it commemorates King Ludwig I’s marriage to Therese of Bavaria. But if I can figure out a way to make a nice little ritual for my family, especially if it’s in the name of celebrating heritage, does it really matter if I bend the rules a little? There is plenty of time for history lessons later.

We are pretty consistent with this meal; and since it’s not the healthiest lowest-fat meal I make, we don’t have it often, so there isn’t a lot of room to improvise. It’s a shame, because there are a lot of delicious, comforting German dishes out there, and it would be fun to try something new.  Hmm…maybe our Oktoberfest needs to last more than one night…

Homemade applesauce ready to go

At any rate, we take this meal seriously, and every year, as late September spends itself, and the temperatures here in Florida cool to a chilly 85, our thoughts turn toward Continue reading

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