Flourish Part Deux

Spring is my favorite time of year! I love seeing all the vibrant green colors of the trees and the pretty wildflower blooms as I drive through the city and walk in my neighborhood. Our weather here in Central Texas has been a roller coaster ride of warm and cool over the past couple of months, but the warm seems to be more consistent.

I’ve blogged in previous posts about my love for plants in Flourish Part I. In the past two years, my obsession with plants has exploded.

Me in my home office with real live plants in the background.

While in Washington D.C. a couple of weeks ago, I told my colleagues I have about 80 plants (indoors and outdoors) and they couldn’t believe it. When I returned home from that trip, I counted my plants, and the total is actually 98. WHOAH!!!

I was asked questions like, “How long does it take to water them?” And “what kinds of plants”? They were impressed with the details I’ve learned, such as how in nature some orchids grow on rocks and that they require less than water than people think to survive.

One of my bathroom orchids

I don’t really think about the time because it’s a hobby and self-care activity for me. I tend to them all the time in one way or another as they have different needs. I don’t water them all on the same schedule either because, again, they have different needs, so I water some more frequently than others. It also depends on the type of pot they’re in. Some points like clay pots dry out faster.

Here are a few outdoor plants I tended to over the weekend.

I love my new Fuschia Bougainvillea. She’s so pretty!
Some tropicals potted together and a variegated myrtle (black pot) I rescued!
Last summer’s sunflowers were so pretty!
Some old and newer plants I’ve been tending to.
She’s survived two winters thus far and continues to bloom. I forgot the name of this variety.
My spider plant is still recovering from last summer’s heat, but she’s doing much better, especially since I moved her location. I see some white blooms on her. My fern and porciana are also making a comeback. My peace lily (red clay pot next to fern) used to be inside, but she’s not been doing well for over a year. I thought the warm air in the shade would do her some good.
Last but not least, my beautiful hydrangeas in the front entrance are making a comeback.

I love to be rewarded with beautiful blooms and bright green leaves from all my nurturing!

That’s it for now. There will be a Part 3 to this series!


Food Chronicles: Crab legs times two

A couple of weeks ago, I was craving a crab leg boil, so I dethawed the frozen crab legs from my freezer I bought about a month prior. Now, my Haitian mom would not approve of me buying frozen seafood, but it is what it is. I bought some local specialty sausage from the grocery store the day before, like it was a special occasion. It was Easter weekend.

Some dishes I’d rather the experts prepare, but I felt bold and creative this particular weekend. While in the grocery store, I was also going to buy the crab leg boil seasoning, but when I red all the processed ingredients in the packet, I declined and decided to create my own seasoning blend with my spice collection at home.

You hear me talking in this video

My delicious crab leg boil: onions, potato, corn on the cobb, local sausage, shrimp, crab legs, and lots of spices.

The broth was so rich with flavorful.

My husband, Bryan and I, were the only two who partook of the deliciousness. Bryan ate some of everything except the crab legs. He said he’s not that big of a crab leg fan. I thought to myself, “more leftovers for me.” However, our daughter, Elise, had other ideas.  She asked me to make a seafood alfredo for Sunday’s dinner, which would be Easter dinner. Hmmm??? I hadn’t thought of that. CHA-LUNGE accepted!

This was an impromtu request. On Saturday evening, I checked to ensure I had all the ingredients, and I did. I’ve been removing dairy from my diet for health reasons, so I was disappointed this wouldn’t be a dairy free version. On Sunday, with my hands, I pulled as much crab meat as I could from the crab legs, and I chopped the shrimp into tiny pieces.

I planned to repurpose the corn, sausage, and potatoes from the crab boil for another dish like a soup, but that didn’t happen. Bryan and I added the sausage to some meals for a couple of days. Then, my week got busy, and I forgot to at least freeze the other ingredients. I was disappointed with wasting food. Sigh…

Creamy seafood (crab and shrimp) alfredo with tricolor gigli pasta
You hear me talking in this video. You’ve got to see me pouring the beautiful and light pasta into the roux.

My son, Caleb, enjoyed the pasta so much that he asked me for the recipe, which he rarely does. He’s a great cook himself and works at a fancy restaurant.

In one weekend, I created two delicious meals with a star ingredient – CRAB LEGS. 🦀 I’m happy I satisfied my finicky eaters. I’m inspired to make a dairy free version of the seafood pasta one day. I’ll keep you posted.


Waiting on God

Every morning, before I get out of bed, the first thing I do after turning off my alarm is open my Bible app to read a daily scripture and a passage from a Bible devotional or plan I’m into at that moment. The plan lengths vary and are as short and digestable as 3-5 days, 10-14 days (sweet spot), 30 days to one year. They range from topics such as new to faith, anxiety, marriage, leadership, etc. I’ve completed many plans.

I love the plans because they provide practical ways to live out this Christian life. They set the tone for my day as I refuse to open social media or email until I’m filled with something spiritual because my being close to God is what matters most.

Today, I’m sharing the last day, Day 8, of the devotional “Waiting on God”. It sums up a great lesson. I chose this devotional for encouragement as I wait on God on what he has promised me. I hope it encourages you, too.

Waiting on God • Devotional


Intention for the week V.9

May has always been my favorite month, mostly because of the blooms and spring weather, AND it’s my birthday month. This May, in particular, will be EPIC! My daughter Elise will be graduating from high school twice (more on that in another post), she’s going to prom, my sister is visiting from Chicago, there’s Mother’s day, & my 50th birthday! Whoah! It’s going to be a month of celebrations!

I also plan to blog mostly every day this month in honor of my milestone birthday! This will be a challenge, but I’m here for it, and I hope you are too.

Intention for the week ahead. May I trust God for fulfilling my desires rather than relying on my own efforts. May I forgive and do it quickly. May I take strategic breaks to meditate throughout the day. May I treat myself guilt free. May I find joy in unsuspecting places. May I indulge in a cappuccino one day and a chai latte on another. May I be content in my blessings and smile more often than not.

Intention for the week V.8

On our way back home from church yesterday, our teenage daughter, Elise, said something so profound to her dad as he was making a case for his behavior the other day at a fast food drive-through. She perceived that he was rude. I wasn’t there. Elise said in her snarky way, “Intention doesn’t equate to impact.” Wow. I don’t know where she heard that, but I had to give it her – valid point!

I unpacked that a little in my head. You may intend a certain response or outcome, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will materialize based on actions you control. I suppose there may be instances where you don’t control the outcome, but for simplicity, let’s say you can.

My “intention” with establishing and sharing my intentions for the week in my blog posts is to ensure I stay focused and in a head space that is healthy for me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. By sharing, I intend to help others.

I want to approach life by being intentional about decisions I make that impact my outlook on life. I do go back and review what I’ve posted to keep me focused and provide direction for the next week. I don’t want to be typing words just for the sake of writing a blog post. My life is very full as a wife, working mom, and everything else. It’s easy for me to get swept up in it. These posts help ensure I have impact. With that said…

My intention for this week: May I not shrink in the face of pressure to not speak up or be myself. May I be honest, but kind and patient in my communication with others. May I dig into my endless well of calmness in the midst of any chaos. May I speak encouraging words to myself and my children. May I give myself an imaginary hug when needed. May I be in the moment more often than not and take good photos so my future self will smile at the memories.


Food Chronicles: Quick and Healthy

If it’s one thing I know how to do, it’s whip up a quick and healthy meal. I have the privilege of maintaining a well stocked pantry (and fridge and freezer) with nutritious options. I’ve been working from home for 3 years, so I’ve amped up my quick meal prep in this time. Cooking soothes my mind, and filling my body with nutritious foods is my favorite act of self-care.

Here are some ideas from real meals I cooked, ate, and photographed during the week.

Lunch one day, jeans and all, was a simple baked potato with vegan butter, nutritional yeast, vegan cheese, some green onions, & seasonings. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was delicious.
This is a fun way to eat tuna salad…I halved mini peppers & filled them with the tuna salad with a little extra seasoning on top.
Salmon croquette over rice with a salad. Yum!

That’s it for this post. Who knows what quick and healthy options I’ll be creating this week!


Travel blog with food and how I reset

My work trip to Rockville, Maryland, and Washington D.C. was productive, invorgorating, and most of all, enlightening. It was an exercise in learning new information, applying this information, and collaborating with others to plan for our state. The depth of work we did would not have been possible without meeting in person. This was my first work travel trip since the pandemic, so it’s been over three years. This trip was enjoyable, which is saying a lot for a state employee attending to state matters.

Three days, two nights, and I barely took photos on this trip, but after all, it was a work trip. However, one night, I had the pleasure of enjoying Ethiopian food for the first time with 5 of my colleagues, and it was amazing. I took photos. I kept wondering, “Where have I been to be living this long and just now partaking of this delicacy?”

Actually, every meal I ate was delicious, including my vegetable plate of grilled cauliflower steak, green beans, and mushroom risotto for day one’s dinner at Founding Farmers in Washington D.C. I just forgot to take photos. It occurred to me a few hours before our flight back to Texas that the seafood in this region had to be delicious considering the Atlantic Ocean in its backyard.

With any trip where I travel overnight, when I return, I do the things that bring me back to equilibrium. Think about it: the hustle and bustle to and from the airport, the traveling in unfamiliar places, eating different foods (albeit tasty), sleeping (if I manage to do that) in an unfamiliar bed, and not drinking as many fluids as usual….all of these activities and more take my body out of equilibrium.

One of the first things I do is get a relaxing, steamy shower and good night’s sleep. My husband, Bryan, got us home after midnight early Thursday morning. Remember, we had a late flight. I was grateful that I took the rest of the week off, so I slept in later on Thursday morning. I usually unpack my bags quickly, but I took my time on Thursday.

I was craving my nutritious foods, so I began prepping for my green smoothie and some fresh juice.

Produce for fresh squeezed juice: apple, ginger, celery (going bad), carrots, & a cucumber.

Usually, completely unpacking helps me feel accomplished after a trip, and I tend to do it the day I return. This time, I didn’t completely finish unpacking until Friday morning. I put a few items back throughout Thursday. I took my time and didn’t feel rushed.

I spent the weekend filling my belly with nutritious foods, tending to my plants, doing a little work catch up, and nesting with my family! I’m refreshed for the week ahead.


Intention for the week V.7 (Traveling blog)

This week, I’m in Washington D.C. for a work conference. It’s hard to believe I haven’t traveled for work in 3 years, but it’s true. The pandemic has changed our lives so much, particularly my work life, because I’ve also been teleworking for 3 years. Never would I have imagined myself as a “social” worker, enjoying working from home, but alas, here I am enjoying it.

I’m in D.C. with about 7 other colleagues and my boss representing Texas. We arrived yesterday on different flights. Considering the time I arrived, I didn’t get to see any of the sites. My last trip to D.C. was in the nineties on a high school field trip. At that time, I saw the Washington Monument, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Lincoln statue, we drive down Embassy row, and maybe a few other sites.

The conference agenda is pretty jam-packed with activity, so I’m not sure if I will get out to explore the city today. However, I will try depending on how I feel. I’m going to get a quick workout in before I start the day.

Intention for the week ahead: May I be in the moment and observe and absorb as much as I can, may I smile and breathe as often as possible, may I not hesitate to speak my mind, but also listen, may I pace myself, may I stretch morning and night, and may I enjoy my stay in Washington D.C.
Me waiting patiently to board the plane at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. 4/17/2023

Daily Prompt V.1

What is one word that describes you?

One word that describes me is resilient. If you know me, then you know. My 16 year old self couldn’t have imagined my life today and what I’ve been through. I always manage to get to the other side and not without some bruising at times. I seek the light in every situation, no matter how painful.

I personify the saying, “I don’t look like what I’ve been through.” But there have also been plenty of joyful times mostly because I choose to be grateful and focus on the blessings.