I am the wife of my best friend, mom of 4 school age kiddos, and driver of a messy minivan; I am a Jesus seeker, a reader, a runner, a spectator, and a friend. I am the owner of a restless heart. I love to travel and hang out at campfires. I drink a lot of coffee and love a good glass of wine.
First of all, let me just start by saying I don’t like to pick favorites. A favorite feels so defined and I don’t like to commit to one thing (except my husband, Tim, of course – he’s my favorite). I’ve wanted a tattoo for a while but I haven’t gotten one and likely never will because I cannot for the life of me decide on something so permanent. I like to paint rooms in my house every few years because I am easily bored. My favorite colors come and go with the seasons and my mood, but ironically tend to trend with Crate and Barrel. So, let’s just say all of these would make my top 5 list…..
My Favorite Place to Travel: Colorado. In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller said, “The mountains themselves draw us into greater stories”. I feel like this is true. So many of my stories are tied to higher elevations. My family moved to Denver for 3 ½ short years when I was 9 and it changed my life. From learning to ski in the winter and hiking and camping in the summer, Colorado formed much of my childhood adventures. When we moved to Iowa when I was in 7th grade, our family continued to return to the Rockies every Christmas.
Colorado has become a place my family now loves to go. Our kids have learned to ski and snowboard, they have learned they like to “climb” (hike is a bad word for some reason!) Last summer, Tim and I climbed Long’s Peak. We stood at the top of the world and marveled at our Creator.
In the mountains, I pause and breathe deeply. I do things with intention. The mountains are where I feel small, but deeply loved and part of a greater story.
My Favorite Coach: I have been so fortunate to have some really great coaches in my life. I couldn’t play a ball sport to save my life, but swim and run – yes. Judd Anderson was my high school swim coach (pictured above). When I was a senior, he had already been coaching for 25 years. He is still a swim coach for Muscatine High School. Fifty plus years of practices, meets, test sets and hundreds of high schoolers.
I could tell you stories of how we had to swim outside in COLD fall weather with frogs in the pool, how he called a friend of mine a “turd” in the water, how he hollered when we skipped practice. But really? He cared for his athletes. It truly didn’t matter if we were state-bound or just trying to finish the set. He set goals that each of us could achieve and we all knew we mattered.
He keeps records of the top 50 times in every event and he updates and publishes them every year. Every single year he adds new names. My name is still in there a few times, but so is my sister’s. She has been gone 10 years now, but her name is still in that book. Judd recognizes people matter, being named matters, and what we do matters.
My Favorite Band: Mumford and Sons. I love them. They are part folk, blues, bluegrass and rock. Sometimes they are a little country, but their most recent work was with an African band. They sort of defy category. Maybe that is why I like them.
I have seen them live twice. The first time was in Nashville at the Ryman Theatre which is really an old church, with amazing acoustics, but you sit in pews up close and it’s an unforgettable experience. They are thoughtful, honest and and a little raw.
“In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die and where you invest your love, you invest your life. Awake my soul.” – Mumford and Sons “Awake My Soul”
My Favorite Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup. You guys. This is the best recipe. Soup heals many things and in the fall this one can heal just about anything. Make it, share it, give it. It will not disappoint.
1 3 pound Butternut Squash
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 Tbs butter
1 large yellow onion
3 stalks Celery
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
6 cups Chicken Broth
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Thick cut croutons
1. Preheat oven to 350 deg
2. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds, brush with melted butter or olive oil
3. Cover with foil and bake about an hour until soft, let cool and scoop out the flesh. Set aside. (Short cut – purchase already peeled and cubed squash and roast in olive oil for 20 minutes. Shorter cut – purchase already peeled and cubed squash and just throw it in the soup with everything else)
4. In a dutch oven or a large stockpot, heat the butter and the remaining oil over medium heat.
5. Add the onion, celery, and sage and sauté, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are translucent and tender (about 10 minutes)
6. Add the squash, broth and the remaining salt and bring to a boil.
7. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid is flavorful. Remove from heat.
8. Using a blender or a food processor, blend the soup in batches until smooth.
9. Return to the pot and keep warm.
10. Top with sage, croutons and grated Parmesan
My Favorite Thing in My House: The cow chair. Last year, in a desperate attempt to create more space in our home, we took out our formal dining set and replaced it with a secretary, a wine rack, and two reading chairs. One of those chairs is a fake cow hide chair and I love it.
It is the quirkiest thing and of course it reclines. We read in it, Tim takes a nap in it, we have good conversations with the kids in it. I guess a decorator would say it’s a statement piece. Maybe. Mostly it’s ridiculous, but I love it.
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