Friday, November 29, 2013

7 Quick Takes {No. 2}

Linking up for some more quick takes at Conversion Diary. Thanks for hosting, Jen!

Did you have a happy Thanksgiving yesterday? I had a post all written, and I tried to set it up to post automatically, but I must have done something incorrectly because it stayed in my drafts folder. (Live and learn!) Here's an excerpt from the post for my first quick take...we can always take more time for gratitude, right?

If you can find six minutes in your day today, I invite you to join me in seeking some quiet to pray this song of praise to God. It's called "Good to Me," by one of my favorite artists, Audrey Assad. It's a beautiful song for a moment of meditation and prayer. You could even lift your voice in song to pray, too. 

Praying your Thanksgiving is {was} full of an awareness of the Lord's love and peace...and goodness.

This year Michael & I celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents' home in Ohio. My mom always sets a beautiful table, and this year was no exception. Here are some pictures of the table and details:

I did the handwriting on the place cards. We made kraft paper luggage tags and used gold ink for the names. What do you think?

My mom used keys from my grandfather's old farmhouse where he grew up at some of the place settings. I loved the family history that she incorporated at the table. So special.

We had quite a feast, as you can see! So much yummy-ness...

This chalkboard sign in the center of our Thanksgiving table says it all. I am so full of gratitude for the abundant blessings God has poured out in my life.


Speaking of've probably heard about Haley and Daniel's new ebook, Feast! Real Food, Reflections and Simple Living for the Christian Year? I bought my copy earlier this week, and am just beginning to delve into the wealth of recipes and ideas this book has to offer. I know it will be a great resource as we begin Advent this weekend. 

I am so looking forward to some more time with family & friends this weekend. Hope you have a good one!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

praying the dishes

I have never really liked doing the dishes.

{nothing glamorous about them}
Unfortunately, my husband and I do not have a dishwasher in our apartment. Before moving to NYC I had always had one and, I admit, I took it for granted. (Now I know what a luxury having one can be!) Over the past several months however, my heart has started to change in regard to our dishwasher-less fate. I felt this change begin when I started praying the dishes.

Yes, I said praying the dishes. Let me explain.

First of all, you should know I am blessed to have a husband who usually does the dishes. I cook, and he cleans up - it's a system we have worked out together. So when I found myself doing the dishes, there was sometimes a bitterness in my heart. I was annoyed to be doing dishes after I had already made breakfast, baked cookies, prepared a nice dinner or whatever the case. I know it sounds selfish, and it was. Of course, I know that marriage (like many relationships) is give and take. I do not always cook the meals, and my husband does not always do the dishes. Sometimes one of us does both to help the other. That's how it goes, and that is a good thing! And doing the dishes is just one tiny example in a lifetime of loving one another and working together as a team.

I'm not sure where I first heard the concept of offering something up in prayer. This could be any number of things - cleaning the house, running/exercising, being stuck in traffic - or in this case, doing the dishes. Often times when I'd have this less-than-desirable task before me I would think to myself, "Okay. I am going to offer this up," and hope it would make the task more bearable. I cannot say that it worked. But I also have to confess: While I was offering it up in my mind, my heart hadn't gotten on board. And oh, is the heart essential.

As I mentally offered up doing the dishes for whatever prayer intention I had, I also had this frustration in my heart. I wanted to do the dishes out of love for my husband, and for the intention of something special, but it was a challenge. It helped me to have a very specific intention in mind. I persevered in the practice, and by the grace of God offering it up grew easier with time. I will never forget the first time my heart caught up with my mind's intentions. Finally I was freely offering up this typically mundane task as a prayer...I was praying the dishes. I knew because of the joy I felt - the fruit of the prayer was beautifully evident.

Now, I'm no saint - I don't rush to do the dishes and of course I still have moments of selfishness (more than I care to admit). I do, however, thank God for every day of my life...for my husband, my home and - yes - even my dirty dishes, when I find myself in prayer at the kitchen sink.

Do you ever "offer it up"? Do you have any prayer intentions I could pray for you next time I'm praying the dishes? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this topic - leave me a note or send me an e-mail!

Friday, November 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes {No. 1}

After reading many, many "7 Quick Takes" posts, I am excited to linkup at Conversion Diary & write my first set. Thank you for hosting, Jen!

If this is your first time here, welcome to my blog! I wrote my first post on Sunday, and told a little bit about how I chose my blog name, "in endless song." You can also get to know me a little more on my about page. I'd love to hear from you, too - leave me a comment or a note if you're stopping by!

Happy Feast Day of St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians! As a singer and conductor myself, and because my momma's name is Cecilia, she is a special saint for me. St. Cecilia, pray for us!

Though my husband Michael and I were married over a year and a half ago, due to various circumstances, we just received our professional wedding photo book yesterday! It was so nice to go through and look at some of our best pictures, remembering the details of our day. We are looking forward to sharing it with family and friends over the holidays, too.

{T A L L shadows}
As I mentioned here, we have been enjoying taking pictures with our new camera, and are in the process of learning how to shoot in manual mode. Do any of you have any favorite resources/tips that you would recommend to a newbie DSLR photographer?

Yesterday I got to spend some time with three dear friends from college. All four of us have not been together since the many fun adventures we had back at the University of Michigan, and when we studied abroad in Florence, Italy. It brought back so many memories and just filled me with joy - what a blessing good friends are! 

We are really looking forward to going to my home in Ohio to spend time with my family for the Thanksgiving holiday. My parents will be hosting the family Thanksgiving this year, so I am sure there will be lots of quality time spent in the kitchen with my mom (and I am really looking forward to it!). Family is so important to Michael and I, and living far away makes the moments we have together even more special.

I used to sing this song, and it fits the spirit of the season perfectly. I hope you'll enjoy listening.

Have a great weekend!

pie love

'Tis the season for baking a pumpkin pie! Only in recent years have I made this an annual tradition, but it's such a fun (and yummy) one. I love to bake, and sweet treats are a big part of my husband's love language, so it works out well for both of us. The recipe below is essentially the classic Libby's Pumpkin Pie recipe with a teeny tiny variation. For my taste, this recipe has just the right amount of sugar & spice!

**Update: Linking up with Cari & more at Clan Donaldson for the Thanksgiving Recipe Linkup!

Pumpkin Pie

3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

{how to}
Preheat your oven to 425° F. Press your unbaked pie crust into 9-inch pie dish. You can make your own, or use a pre-made crust (like I did). Set aside.
This next step is just for fun: Take a couple scraps of the excess pie dough (you don't need much!), create a little ball, and then roll it out, as you would pie dough, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a knife or cookie cutter, cut out a shape or a letter. This can be a fun way to add a little pretty to your pie. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves.
Next, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin, sugar & spice mixture, and vanilla (I always let my vanilla spill over the sides of the measuring spoon for a little extra flavor!). Stir. Then gradually stir in the evaporated milk.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the unbaked pie crust.
Cover the edges of your pie crust with aluminum foil so your crust doesn't get overdone. Bake in preheated 425° oven for 15 minutes.
Reduce the temperature of your oven to 350° F . Bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. About 15 minutes before your pie is finished, remove the aluminum foil and place your (optional) cutout on the pie, once it has started to set in the middle.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Allow to cool for two hours.
After cooling, serve immediately or refrigerate.
Enjoy with gratitude and an optional topping of whipped cream.

What's your favorite holiday pie?


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

autumn day

On my birthday earlier this year, my camera took its last picture. The situation started with the best of intentions. My husband and I were all dolled up for an extra-special date night, and I wanted to get a picture of us. With no one else around to take one, I balanced my camera on top of a footstool on top of a table (maybe not my smartest move?). Let's just say it didn't end little point-and-shoot camera ended up falling to the floor and breaking. So sad.

{one of the old camera's parting shots--before the fall}

After saving up for a few months, we invested in a new camera, with my Etsy shop and this blog in mind. We were very excited when it came in the mail last week, and took it out for a test run over the weekend to begin learning how to shoot in the manual mode. It was a positively gorgeous day, and probably one of the last fall-feeling days this year. Despite the signs of fast-approaching winter and Christmas, I am soaking up every last crisp and colorful leaf that autumn has to offer!

"The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
and drippings of the honeycomb.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

{Psalm 19:1, 4b-10, 14}

Hope you're having a blessed and beautiful week...

Sunday, November 17, 2013


My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation.
I hear the real though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing
It finds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging;
If love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

Hi. My name is Elise, and this is my blog. Welcome! I'm glad you're here.  

Starting this blog is a little bit scary for me...there is so much unknown! Will anyone read this? Does that even matter? What will people think of what I have to say? (Think I worry much? Might as well be honest from the beginning.) Speaking of which, where do I even begin? 

Over the past year I have spent a lot of time reading blogs. I have become a faithful follower of many, in fact. Recently I found myself interested in becoming not only a follower, but a participant. I felt a tug to write my own reflections...share my heart-thoughts...record my memories in a special and intentional way. So that's what I hope to do here.

Even before I made the decision to start blogging, I daydreamed about what I might name my blog if I ever had one. The name I ended up choosing came to mind rather quickly. As a Catholic musician, I thought of my favorite hymn: "How Can I Keep From Singing?" "My life flows on in endless song," it begins. How perfect for a place where I plan to write about where my life is flowing, moving, changing, growing...where I try (and fail and try again) to follow Christ on this journey towards heaven.

My faith is why I am the woman I am. I don't, however, always have the opportunity or the courage to share that part of my life with others. I am hoping this blog gives me a chance to do a little more of that sharing. I'll also share other things, like stories and pictures and songs and recipes...we'll see where the song leads. For this blog's song is just beginning...
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am His
How can I keep from singing?

Related Posts with Thumbnails