Turning the Page

Hello all! It’s been so long since I’ve written on this blog. I’m in that happy stage of life where everyone is growing up and getting married, including me. I’m thrilled to report that this summer all of my prayers were answered when I married the love of my life. This blog has been all about the lessons learned in life’s next chapter and I’ve officially turned another page. In light of all the shiny newness that’s come with the conclusion of my days as a single lady and my ever deepening faith in the Catholic church, I’ve decided to start fresh and delve into more religious discussions in my brand new blog, Blessed in the Midwest. Here I will share my journey to faith, true love and perfect happiness as well as yet more nature photography. Thanks for stopping by and please join me on the next adventure.


Pat Prager’s Peanut Butter Bars

To any avid book nerds looking for a good read and the perfect winning dessert recipe for a Saturday evening with friends, I recommend Pat Prager’s Peanut Butter Bars buried in the pages of Kitchens of the Great Midwest, a novel by J. Ryan Stradal. This mouthwatering read is full of recipes like the famous, blue ribbon winning peanut butter bars (page 211) and is bound to leave you with a few introspective questions and a satisfied smile on your lips. 


  • 2½ cups crushed graham cracker crumbs (Seal graham crackers in a large ziplock bag and use a rolling pin for best results)
  • 1 cup melted Grade A butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon Grade A butter

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Pat into a greased 9-by-13 inch pan. Melt chips and butter and spread on top of the bars. Set in the refrigerator until firm. (I found 3 to 4 hours to be plenty of time for the bars to solidify but if you’re worried, you can always stick them in the freezer for a bit just to be sure). Cut into bars. 

Not a Cloud in the Sky

Snowshoeing in the mountains of Colorado on a cloudless winter day is one of life’s great joys and an annual tradition in my family. This year, my mom and I bundled up and cleared our schedules for a quiet walk in the woods. Although it didn’t take long to work up a sweat along the trail, the hike was well worth the effort. I felt like I’d stepped into a snowglobe. The towering pines and aspens were perfectly frosted with a layer of snow like white icing on a gingerbread cookie. My head was on a constant swivel as we walked. I’ve always loved Colorado winters but after two years living and working in Indiana, I’ve come to a newfound appreciation for that fantastic Colorado sky. These photos have not been doctored in any way. The sky really is that blue!

I Love You Because…

In my experience there are three reasons that people say “I love you.”

  1. Familial Love – Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but more often than not, you have no choice but to love the people you’re related to or the occasional life long friend. You’ll love them until the end of time, no question, but you don’t always like them. These are perhaps the only people on the planet who can repeatedly disappoint you while still claiming permanent real estate in your heart. They’re with you until the end whether you like it or not and even if you have trouble admitting it sometimes, you’ve never been able to picture your life without them and you don’t really want to. 
  2. Puppy Love – This is a monstrously inadequate term for one of the most powerful feelings a lot of people will ever have. This is the all-consuming thrill of a new relationship. There is a period of time when your partner can do no wrong. They are on your mind at all times and you wouldn’t have it any other way. This is when people start feeling compelled to say “I love you.” You’re experiencing feelings you’ve never felt before and in the moment, you don’t want to ever feel that way about anyone else. It feels right and good and makes you want to sing of your love from the mountain tops. You want the world to know that you are completely devoted to this person. 
  3. Committed Love – This is a conscious, active choice that you make every day, one that is often neither easy nor pleasant. People are flawed and if you spend enough time with one person, the rose colored glasses will fall away and you will see them as they truly are. To continue to choose them for and in spite of their flaws is, in my opinion, the mark of a successful relationship. Puppy love is wonderful and exciting but ultimately, if you can’t stand your ground on the bad days, the relationship is doomed to fail. Puppy love is saying “I love you” because it feels right. Committed love is saying “I love you” because you know it is right even when it doesn’t feel good. 

What do you think? Why do people say I love you? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

The List Maker

This was the product of a quiet afternoon with nothing to do but play with words. Someday, I’d love to be a character like this.

Photo by Djalma Paiva Armelin from Pexels

She’s measured and reserved, always on her way to something important. She flits through life in perpetual motion, like a hummingbird. Her bright wings only ever stop for a second or two while she sips the sweet nectar of a trumpet vine. That’s all the time she allows herself to catch her breath and refuel. Then it’s off to the races once again, those wings beating so quickly they are a transparent blur as she buzzes through the day. 

“Luck favors the prepared,” she’s known to say as she shoulders an enormous purse that she borrowed from Mary Poppins. And it’s true. She is never unprepared and eternally lucky. She’s ready for anything, whether it be a runny nose or a boring afternoon. All she needs is right there, tucked away in that magical, impossibly large purse of hers. 

She can always produce a pen and notebook out of thin air and books tend to follow her wherever she goes, fantasy novels mostly, like they’re hoping she’ll stumble into their crisp pages and take up residence there. Maybe someday she will. 

Look Up

It’s amazing what you notice when you look up. People tend to get caught up in the everyday stress and routine, glued to their phones, desks, computers, sofas. I’m guilty of it too. The hardest part of going out into the world is always making it to the front door. I hardly ever regret leaving my apartment in favor of activity and the possibility of making new friends but, for some reason, it’s one of the most difficult things to do. Of course, once I finally cross the threshold and begin to once again participate in life I always wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. The world is fascinating when you stop for a minute and let yourself soak it all in. Here are some things I noticed when I looked up during my recent visit to Little Italy in Ohio.

The Italian flag was everywhere! The red, white and green flew from nearly every porch, balcony and shop window. Even the turf at the park was colored to reflect the area’s Italian roots.

Christopher Columbus stood watch over the little park when we visited late one evening. 

Little Italy was in full bloom. The flag was hardly the only spot of color along the crowded street. 

The clearing of the bells of the Holy Rosary Church joyously declared mass in session throughout the day as people gathered to celebrate. Along the outer walls of church, small nooks house the likenesses of a few beloved saints. 

Even the parking lot guard rail was Italian, sporting a large red mustache.  

When was the last time you caught a glimpse of something that made you look up and smile?

POTD: Writer’s Brain

“Inertia is the death of creativity.”Austin Kleon

There is no such thing as writer’s block. That was some of the most valuable advice I’ve ever received and one key takeaway from a four year engineering degree. Writer’s block does not exist. Inertia exists. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it’s not. The trick is to keep writing when there is no guiding inertia. Make a habit of writing everyday. Practice discipline and someday everyone says it will get easier. 

That’s a kind of discipline that I’ve always struggled with. There is no defined finish line. There are no bounds to what I might or might not accomplish and the only person who stands to be hurt from my failure is me. Everyday that I fail to write I only disappoint myself. I’m tired of being disappointed. I have done so much in such a short time during my first year in Indiana. I have accomplished things that I never thought I could do. 

I am capable of this. I am capable of writing everyday, of finishing a blog post, of finishing a story. I can find the words. Even the wrong ones are content on paper. I need to jump in and do it wrong so that I can go back and make it right. I need to carry a notebook wherever I go and jot down any ideas that might pop into my head for fear of losing them in the sea of useless information which clutters my consciousness. I’m never going to expand my vocabulary unless I read and write every day. I need to keep a list of all the new words that I learn and I need to practice using them. I’m tired of murdering the punch line of a good story because I can’t seem to settle on exactly the right word. All the ones that come to my mind are grey and bland. They are generalizations, not a picture that someone else can see, taste, hear, smell. I want to be that good. I can be that good. 

This was a frustrated pep talk that I wrote to myself a while ago when I was having trouble making the wheels of creativity turn. How do you force the pen to move when inertia fails you?