Category Archives: church

Cell cookies


I went to NIA class and had a good time. We’re almost done with the Dragon routine and we’re moving into a routine that has a lot of Indian music in it (think Bollywood.) When I got home we did some school, then went to the park (alone again.) Hannah practiced her ukulele and Grace drew and we read one chapter of the Helen Keller bio. When we got home it was time to make cell cookies. We do this every few years because who couldn’t use a refresher on parts of a cell that you can eat?

Hannah wanted to try Wed night youth group, so I took her and stayed for the women’s group. They just started on a book about fervent prayer last week, so I didn’t miss much. Our talk was about how the enemy distracts us and how we need to focus our prayers to provide stability in the world. It also hooked back into the sermon from Sunday, if the world says you are (fill in the blank) what does God say about it. Hannah had a good time and wants to go back, so we will.


Weekend – festival, ukulele, church, Fall drive


Saturday was a disjointed day. Grace went with the youth group to the Summerset festival and spent all day there. The rest of us went to lunch together, then Hannah and I headed out to the Aurora history museum for a free ukulele lesson while James walked and Bethany wrote. When we got back home we didn’t have long to wait until Grace was ready to be picked up. We did a pizza night and made our own pizzas and watched back to back Father Brown’s.

Sunday Grace went to her friend’s church, Hannah went to her class and I went to church. We started a new series called ‘Hello my name is’ talking about who we are in Christ as opposed to who we say we are on a daily basis. This came out better as a poem (of course.)

My Name

My name is despair,

I am hurt

but in Christ I am healed.

I am weak

But my name is strength.

I feel worthless

But Jesus calls me priceless.

My name is lost




and forsaken

but He gives me a new name,

saves me,

befriends me,

gives me rest,

refreshes me

and cherishes me

I am heartbroken,

But God mends me from the inside out.







The girls wanted to stay home instead of going on a Fall drive, so James and I headed to Old Colorado City to fuel up on French onion soup at La Baguette before continuing on our drive from 24 to 285.

It was sunny, then cloudy, then sunny again. As we were driving we could see the storm on the other side passing by. We were far enough back that we never encountered it.

The aspen as changing color and we found lots of nice picture spots.

I made vegetable soup for dinner and after some TV we all went to bed early.

The week – fish hatchery tour, Hyperspace arcade, talk like a pirate day, park day, cell cookies, trying to burn wood using Archimedes heat ray parabola, Creativity club, youth group, Hudson co-op, NIA, ukulele lesson, school.

Dinners – teriyaki chicken with snap peas and pad thai noodles, spaghetti and meatballs, tamale pie, lemon basil chicken with summer squash, pesto stuffed pork chops with asparagus, chili with green chile cornbread.

Tamale pie

cooking spray
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced poblano peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper
(If you want it to be even better ditch the boxed cornbread and make mine from scratch – recipe below.)
2 (8.5 ounce) boxes dry corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy®)
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk, divided
4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
8 ounces frozen corn, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
Cook and stir ground beef in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until meat starts to brown and release juices, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and stir in poblano peppers, salt, salsa, oregano, and chipotle powder; cook and stir until seasoned beef is crumbly and no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
Mix one package of corn muffin mix in a large bowl with 1 egg and 1/3 cup of milk. Whisk to combine. In a separate large bowl, mix the second package of corn muffin mix with 1 egg, 1/3 cup of milk and half the Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
Spread the prepared corn muffin mixture without cheese into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle corn over the muffin mix, followed by remaining half of the cheeses, then the beef mixture.
Spoon the corn muffin mix with cheese on top of the beef and carefully spread over the top with a fork, leaving about half an inch from the edges of the pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown.

Johnny cake cornbread (you can use this in place of the boxed stuff – obviously don’t bake it as directed, use it as the above recipe calls for.)

1/2 C sugar
1/2 C oil
1 egg
1 C Sour milk (add a few drops of vinegar to the milk to sour it, or don’t; it really doesn’t matter)
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
1 C + 2 T flour
1 C yellow cornmeal
1 t baking powder

Cream sugar, oil and egg. Dissolve soda in milk. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mix with milk. Stir until just mixed. Pour into an 8X8 pan (I use an iron skillet) and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes on until it tests done (knife in the middle comes out clean.)

Pesto Stuffed Pork Chops

3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chilled basil pesto
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
4 bone-in pork loin chops, 1 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Mix feta cheese, basil pesto, and pine nuts in a bowl. Use the tip of a sharp boning or paring knife to cut a 3-inch slit in the side of each pork chop, 2 inches deep and 1/4-inch away from the bone, to make a pocket for stuffing. Stuff pork chops with pesto filling and secure with toothpicks.
Mix black pepper, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, and thyme in a small bowl; rub both sides of each chop with the spice mix. Place chops into a shallow baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven until chops are browned and stuffing is hot, about 40 minutes. An instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of the stuffing should read 145 degrees F. Brush chops with balsamic vinegar and bake until vinegar forms a glaze, another 5 minutes.




After doing some school like this lesson about converse, inverse, conditional, biconditional and more statements and this lesson on single cell organisms, reading about the life of Helen Keller and reading about the Revolutionary war, we headed over to St. John’s for music at noon.

We liked the trumpet playing more than the organ playing.

Hannah tried to look like this carved face outside the church.


We saw some FB pics of what Joel’s troop had been up to that morning, practicing evacs over rough terrain.

Then we headed over to Civic center park to hand out bananas and water for Kindness Krewe. No one else showed up, so we didn’t feed too many people, water is heavy to carry and we only had 24 bottle and 20 bananas.

We didn’t even make one whole block before we were out of both. From there we went to LM’s because it was close and I needed to get some paper gift cards made into plastic ones. We dropped Grace at Gwen’s house to hang out for a bit, I made dinner, Hannah posed with Maisy and we watched a Father Brown.

Weekend – Park hill tour, NBTS 15th anniversary party, 25th church anniversary


Friday we got home about 2pm, started laundry, then Grace and I went to see her friend who was in the hospital. Hospitals suck, so Grace wanted to go and hang out – I think she wanted the adults to leave the room (but we didn’t.) James made spaghetti for dinner, we watched some TV and went to bed.

Saturday James and I went to the library for a walking tour. The girls did not want to go walking, so they stayed home and hung out with friends. When we got to the library I had three different librarians (from three different Denver libraries) recognize me and they asked where the girls were. Yes, we go to a lot of library events. Our walking tour started at the Pauline Robinson library, she was Denver’s first black librarian, brought books from black authors into the library and was responsible for integrating Lakeside (amusement park.) Walking in this area you can see that it is starting to come back.

There was a strip mall fire that pretty much brought down the neighborhood that was already in decline (a food desert area.) So, when funds starting coming in from the city to add buildings and services, the community was asked what do you want? There is a new rec center, a boys and girls club, a new elementary school and a mental/physical health building that offers garden space (and farmers market), hydroponics (plants and fish), mental and physical health facilities, a pre-school and an alternative school for troubled kids.

I walked with a coordinator of the facility and told her that our HS group wanted to: tour the facility and host a Preschool Valentine party. I’m excited for both of those things. We continued up the street, walking in the road for the most part since this area was designed during the 40’s-50’s when Hollywood curbs were in and pedestrians were out.

This intersection in Park Hill was across from a park (which had a gazebo ordered from a Sears catalog, paid for and put together by local Girl scouts.)

The area had no access to grocery stores, markets, clothing stores, you name it. So a market district was introduced, some people thought this would be the end of Park Hill (1920’s), but obviously it was not. There is a book store co-op that was started by local Moms back in the 70’s at the end of the block that is still going strong. Here and there on the street and in alleys are guerilla art and gardens. Bringing a little plant life and a little quirkiness to the area.

There were also lots of ‘Little Libraries’ in the area, some were registered, some were not!

Hickenlooper lives around here, we saw his house, but I didn’t take a picture. We passed some old churches and one church that now houses two different congregations.

We finally made it to the Park Hill library and sat down for a bit, drank water and had snacks and listened to the story of the library. There were 9 Carnegie libraries in Denver (Byers, Decker, Park Hill, Woodbury, Smiley – still standing) and (Denver central – now the McNichols building, Warren- now lofts, Dickinson -now houses an architecture firm and Elyria – now a private residence.) Park Hill doesn’t look like a traditional Carnegie library, but it’s there under that awful stucco.

We passed by some of the Boulevards put in by Mayor Speer during the city beautiful movement. Some of the money that was used was questionable, but hey, we see wide lanes, lots of trees and green spaces, so now we don’t care. We continued our walk through the neighborhood and noticed missing streets. Our next fact was a math one, the streets were laid out in an oblong rectangle twice as wide as it is long. Some streets are numbered but have names (Montview), some streets are 23rd on one side and 24th on the other and some just disappear completely. Also the golf course at City park was once a field full of cows, there was a lot of dairy making going on in the area when it started. We got back to the Pauline Robinson library and thanked our guides and headed back home. We weren’t home long before it was time to go to the park for our HS groups NBTS party and 15th anniversary party.

We had food and more food, cakes and doughnuts, games, coloring, tattoos, a photo booth and glow sticks.

We met two new families and had fun catching up with everyone.

Trying to get all the kids in the picture was hard….

I had to save the table art in photos.

Sunday we went to church and Hannah got to try out the new middle school room she’s in, she liked it. We went back for a lunch at the church celebrating 25 years, 15 of those in this building and the previous years in an elementary school in the area. This church started out as Highlands Ranch Christian church, then a bit later became Mountainview Community Christian church. It was the first church in Highlands Ranch that was a new church, not a plant from another part of Denver or an arm of a church located elsewhere, just the first (non-catholic) church to build in the area. We’ve had some ups and downs as a church, a major pastor shift happened some years ago and some of the church split over that, but some of us stayed and continue to get fed (sometimes literally fed) and volunteer here.

We pretty much lazed away the rest of the day, making only one outing after dinner….

The week – school, worship dance, St. John’s music at noon, Kindness Krewe, park day, NIA, youth group, CRUSH fest, HS skate, TNO, youth fest outing, ukulele class….feels like I’m missing something….

Dinners – crockpot chicken enchilada casserole, Asian lettuce wraps, pan fried tilapia with tomatoes and feta, sesame beef with fried rice, chicken creole pasta.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

16 Boston Bibb or butter lettuce leaves 
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
1 dash Asian chile pepper sauce, or to taste (optional)
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef and cooking oil in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and discard grease; transfer beef to a bowl. Cook and stir onion in the same skillet used for beef until slightly tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir hoisin sauce, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and chile pepper sauce into onions. Add water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; cook and stir until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter and pile meat mixture in the center.

Sesame Beef

1 pound round steak
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Mix soy sauce, sugar, oil, garlic, and onions in a large bowl. Set aside.
Cut steak into strips and add to bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 30 minutes.
Cook in wok or frying pan until brown, about 5 minutes. Add sesame seeds and cook for additional 2 minutes.




Saturday Bethany came home, took the girls to Chipotle for lunch, then they all walked to Target. James and I went to Castlewood canyon to hike to the dam. We started at the observation deck, then went to the Lake gulch trailhead.

It was pretty smoky from the Montana fires, not that you can tell in the pictures.

We crossed the creek and saw the dam – or what’s left of it. The dam was built in 1890 and lasted until 1933 when it broke and flooded Denver (Denver’s second worst flood.)

We went down to the creek bottom trail to get a better look.

We had to go up on the way back (since it was downhill all the way), but it wasn’t too bad. We went to Saltgrass for lunch and had some Royal crown and coke slushies that were very good. Back at home we rested and watched Ace in the Hole. I forget where I read about this movie, probably one of the books I’m reading, but it was a good movie about media, ethics and how human interest stories are made.

Image result for ace in the hole movie

Cat logic.

After dinner we took the girls to LM’s for Swinging Saturday. There was a nice sunset on the way.

We had 3 pumpkin chai ice creams and 1 oreo.

FB live video of the music and dancing here. 

Sunday we went to church (Daniel in the Lion’s den), had lunch at home and then took James to the chutes. He tubed for a bit, then spent the next 2 hours jumping in with us. The water was at 121 CFS and 57 degrees, but it was 92 out, so it felt great. Hannah was posing.

After we got home and cleaned up we Facetimed with Joel and had BBQ ribs for dinner. Joel played some music for us on his guitar and violin, talked about an upcoming PT test, drills and showed us his room (he redecorated.) One cool thing he did was he covered a whole wall in Army sheet music. After we hung up with him we watched a Blake and Father Brown, the girls had a friend come over and she stayed late (since she didn’t have school on Monday.)

The week – school, picnic, hike, Louise Penny at LT (just me), NIA, Penn and Teller, Blue man group, Park Hill walking tour, Homeschool group’s 15th anniversary party, church and our church’s 25th anniversary picnic.

Dinners this week – grill night, garlic lime chicken, pulled pork BBQ, Vegas, Vegas, breakfast for dinner, 15th anniversary party cookout, 25th church anniversary picnic.

Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken

3/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons lime juice

In a small bowl, mix together salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, thyme and parsley. Sprinkle spice mixture generously on both sides of chicken breasts.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons garlic powder and lime juice. Cook 5 minutes more, stirring frequently to coat evenly with sauce.



I forgot to write the notes down from last Sunday, but this flows better with two Sundays of notes.

We are delving into the book of Daniel at church and really the message that we are all Daniels living in a less than Jesus friendly environment is never going to change. If you are a Jesus follower, then this is your Babylon. The world is never going to be for you, never going to follow God the way you do – we live in a fallen world and the headlines on the news every day show us that when men harden their hearts – evil abounds. So, how do we change that?

First – what is your identity? What is your purpose? If you don’t know who you are or what you are doing here – it is very easy for the world to get to you. Through isolation – making you believe that you are the only person who does that Jesus thing. Through indoctrination – teaching things other than what you believe. Through identity confusion – if you don’t know that you are a son or daughter of the King, you can be made to believe anything about who you are, how you were made and what your future holds. Living in Babylon, Daniel and his friends were pushed to become Babylonian. They were given new names, fed different food, separated from their tribe, taught new ideas and told that they were no longer one thing, but another. But none of this changed Daniel and his friends because they knew WHO they were and WHAT their purpose was and WHY they were there. The culture we live in constantly changes, are you pulled back and forth in the flow? Or are you a constant, knowing who you are, what you are doing here and who placed you for that purpose?

If you don’t know who you are:

you are loved,

you are unique,

you are special,

you are amazing,

you were created for a purpose,

you are not defined by your circumstances,

you are not defined by your past,

you are saved – if you want to be,

by grace – which you can’t earn,

you wear a crown if you are a Jesus follower because you are a son or daughter of a King.

Secondly – choices. We all make choices every day. Big ones, small ones, but your life is a series of choices. If you know who you are then you have a line in the sand. When you need to make a choice, make it a God honoring one. When temptation comes, you have a place to look if you know where the boundary is – if you want to honor God, then your choice is sure. Honor God with your actions. Don’t fall for the peer pressure of ‘everyone’s doing it’ or ‘no one here knows you, so you can do something you wouldn’t normally do’. Could Daniel have eaten the food that was offered to him? Yes, no one there knew him, no one would know if he broke a rule – but he honored God with his actions, he declined to eat the food that he knew was not going to honor God. Honor God with how you treat others. The guards respected Daniel because he did his job well and was courteous and respectful to those around him. Honor God with your words. Words are powerful, written or spoken, so use them to honor not to defile. Honor God with your knowledge. Daniel and his friends were given more resources and learned a lot in their training time. The more the knew, the better they were able to serve, the better they were at serving the more people they influenced. They were able to show and tell others about God because they made a choice – to honor God in everything they did.

Living in a fallen world is not easy. I can’t change others, but I can change myself. Knowing who I am, why I am here, making God honoring choices and tending to my purpose here helps me on my path and helps others too.

Sunday, Pond day, Hudson, dress like a cow, 7/11


Gosh, we haven’t been to church in forever – heathens. Hannah kept falling asleep in big church, it was distracting. The message was on Rahab, that bad girl (but not bad forever) who helped out the enemy spies, saved her family, was listed in the genealogy of Jesus and showed that faith without deeds is dead. We went by the mall after church to walk around, I saw this cool pillow.

We had lunch, then dropped everyone at home and I went to a NIA jam that was 1.5 hours of constant movement. It was hard to move in that room with 40 other ladies dancing around too, but somehow we managed. I didn’t feel well after that so we stayed home, had pizza, then went to get ice cream at Coldstone, then back home to watch some TV and chill with Maisy.

Monday Alex and Bethany stayed home to watch a movie while the rest of us went pond swimming.

They found some giant clam shells and smaller ones that they used as puppets.

We left as rain started falling on the other pond. We grabbed a bite and got back home, cleaned up and chilled the rest of the night.

Today we picked up a friend and met some more friends at Hudson gardens. We wanted to catch frogs, but they must have done something to them, we didn’t see any. We did find one big crawfish molt and caught about 6 live ones, saw the flowers and beetles and bees and that was about it.

We got our cow on and got free food at Chick-Fil-A, always good to get free food.

Then we went to 7/11 and got free Slurpees, again, free tastes great!