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Some happy thoughts on a sad day

It was a year ago today that my younger brother passed away in drowning accident. I recently mentioned some more serious thoughts about his life and example, because his life truly was focused on what was important – serving God. Today, though, on this day where tears keep springing to my eyes, I wanted to share a few things that can’t help but bring a smile to my face, even while the tears still come.

Just random funny stuff he would say on Twitter…

A quote from one of his sermons, which our friend Hannah Roy sketched. It’s very indicative of how Adam thought … thankful for even little and quirky things, but always with a mindset toward God. You can listen to his lesson here (first one under Sermons -> 2012). Here is Hannah’s sketch…

And my new shirt, which features one of Adam’s original drawings of a robot punching a T Rex. I love it. Adam had been planning to sell t-shirts to help put our younger siblings through college. Adam didn’t get to fulfill those plans, but some of Adam’s friends, including Stephen Rouse, have helped to make some of Adam’s t-shirt designs a reality. So thankful. And the mug is a random quote mug we gave Adam that he used a lot:

I miss him. But he still makes me smile.

10 things you shouldn’t miss

‣ ‣ ‣  1. Several of you commented on Friday’s post asking “how are you still blogging while moving?” I can’t claim I’m keeping up with everything perfectly – but has been hugely helpful. I can plug in tasks I need to complete for moving, tasks I have to complete for my shop, and anything else – and it sends me handy email reminders so I don’t forget anything! Super helpful.

‣ ‣ ‣  2. I absolutely love rainy days. The sound of the rain against the windows is just so soothing and lovely. I think Tim is the one who showed me … it’s an on demand rainy day whenever you want it!

‣ ‣ ‣ 3. Fellow readers: do you ever feel like you’re not sure what you should read next? Well, the aptly named should prove helpful. You input books that you enjoy, and it recommends books that others who enjoy your books also enjoyed. Simple but pretty brilliant! Not all the answers are perfect, of course, but it’s a fun place to start.

‣ ‣ ‣  4 & 5. Fellow writers: if you’re not familiar with … you’re missing out! It’s for November which is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, and the basic premise is that you write a 50,000 word book IN A MONTH. It is crazy, insane, and a ton of fun. And whether you do NaNoWriMo or not, if you ever have trouble getting motivated to work on your writing, I highly recommend Let’s just say that it finds ingenious ways to punish you if you stop writing, and it’s great to crank out a high number of words in a short time – you can always go back and edit later. ;)

‣ ‣ ‣  6. Fellow wives: (and especially those who like me who struggle with housecleaning) should check out Lori’s series on Cerebral Homemaking. It’s really helping me completely rethink how I approach homemaking! Although, being in the middle of a move … perhaps not the easiest time to implement! Still, once we’re in our new place, I can’t wait to really start putting more of it into practice. ;)

‣ ‣ ‣  7. I know there are a lot of charities out there, but one you should definitely check out is You’ve heard the saying “if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for his life”. This site lets you contribute to third world families in a way that’s even better than just sending money – you can send a goat, a cow, a flock of geese … something that will continue to help them provide for their family over a longer time period! Check it out, and you could help a family provide for itself in a meaningful way.

‣ ‣ ‣ 8. If you like to make to-do lists (and in particular bucket lists), you might enjoy … it’s a fun way to keep track of goals and aims. Checking off the goal “lose 20 pounds” or “move to Boston” or whatever goals you have from your list does feel good!

‣ ‣ ‣ 9. If you’re looking for a laugh on Twitter, you should follow Honest Toddler. Basically you’re following a fictional 3 or 4 year old with complete ability to talk/write/share his thoughts and feeling. He has status updates like, “Daddy’s home!!! Mommy’s telling him all the feelings she’d had since morning.” or “Learning about colors. When am I ever going to use this.” Makes me laugh. :)

‣ ‣ ‣ 10. And of course, a little shameless plug here, there are only a few days left to get August’s print of the month (shown below) for half off from my shop, FlourishCafe. Details are here. :)

What sites and finds have your found online? Share them below! I love to hear from you. :)

An Apology (+ this week’s cartoon from Tim)

Hi all,

We just wanted to send out an apology for last week’s “Fu Man-chew” cartoon. We in no way meant for it to be derogatory at all. However, a reader informed us of the negative history of the character, and as soon as we were made aware of it, we took the cartoon down. It may still be visible on other sites if it got shared there, but we no longer have it up here. We simply meant it to be taken as a play on words about the hairstyle (chu/chew) not at all as a reflection on Asians. (Much like Tim’s football cartoon with confused football players was intended to be a play on the phrase “play like you’ve never played before”, not a reflection on football players.) So we apologize if the cartoon came across as offensive – we certainly did not intend that in the least and have taken it down.
Tim & April

And here is this week’s cartoon….

New Tuesday Feature: Tim’s RTW Cartoon

Hello everybody! Tim the Husband here to introduce a new weekly feature on the Flourishing Abode. Every week at work I have to fax an RTW form to our warehouse, which isn’t even as exciting as it sounds. One day a few months ago I added some stick figures at the bottom of the page just to fill the void and to add an element of interest. Without intending to, these little drawings became cartoons and the cartoons became a pretty regular feature on my faxes. April asked me to share some of them here. They’re nothing special, but I hope you enjoy them!

Travel Vlog: Road Trip Games!

Well, a little while back, I asked you all what are your favorite road trip games, and mentioned an upcoming vlog about it … so here it is! (If you’re reading this in a reader or email, and can’t see the video above, just click here) By the way, after the little ending segment, there’s a bonus clip of us playing one of the road trip games. Keep in mind … the emphasis of that game is more on cacophony than being on key. ;)

Leave your thoughts and comments below – I always get excited when I get a new comment notification! :)

Battle Pineapple

I love to cook and experiment with new flavors in the kitchen- particularly when I get to try my hand at new flavors from another country. However, the flair of their local fare often comes from ingredients that are easier to obtain there than here. I’m hesitant to shell out a lot of money for some unusual foreign ingredient if I don’t know how to use it very well or even if I will like it!

Such was the case, as some of you may know, when I tried to make Hot and Sour Soup. If not, let’s just say that my inordinately strong pregnancy craving for Hot and Sour Soup was effectively crushed by the resulting swill.

And so, usually, my longing for culinary creativity must simply find another outlet, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I still long to travel the world through the flavors on my plate.

Such longings are sometimes nurtured and coaxed by the wondrousness that is Iron Chef America. Two chefs are given 1 hour to prepare four courses for a panel of judges- but every dish must contain the one “secret ingredient” which is revealed immediately before the cooking battle begins. FASCINATING!

A while back, I had Iron Chef on in the background while I was working. It was “Battle Pineapple” and each chef was doing his best to craft each dish to incorporate pineapple. Very interesting! I wasn’t looking at the tv at the time, so I never saw what it looked like, or what was in it, but I heard the commentator mention that one of the chefs was making a pineapple salsa.

Pineapple salsa.

Pineapple salsa!!!

PINEAPPLE SALSA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahhh, all the culinary gears in my mind started whirring. I knew I was going to make a meal based on pineapple salsa. It just sounded so … gloriously delicious! But what would you eat with pineapple salsa?

Caribbean jerk chicken, of course. I just knew it.

Had I ever made jerk seasoning? No.
Had I ever even tasted anything Caribbean jerk? Nope.
Did I even know quite what Caribbean jerk seasoning was?? Nada.
But I knew it would be perfect with pineapple salsa … which I also had never tasted.

And then – fate. I was at the store, and there were beautiful fresh pineapples at beautifully low prices. I snatched one. My little herb/patio garden has been flourishing lately and I knew I had jalapenos and tomatoes ready to pick, as well as some fresh herbs for seasoning. Pineapple salsa, you are about to become a reality! But that little nagging question was still in the back of my mind- what exactly WAS this jerk seasoning that I was going to make to go with it?

Fear crept in – would I need some strange ingredients? Would it be outrageously expensive? Would I be serving pineapple salsa … with nothing else? I tried to squelch the butterflies in my stomach and started Googling Caribbean jerk seasoning.

What is it? Can I make it???? Will this work?!?! MY POOR PINEAPPLE!!!!!! I don’t think I can convey to you just how agitated I was.

And then … there was some beautiful singing and flowers were blooming and sunlight was streaming down on my face …. I had almost everything I needed either in my garden or on hand already! I only had to buy ginger and brown sugar- both of which I knew I would use in other ways as well. I bounded away to the grocery store.

Because of all my agitation over whether I could reasonably make jerk seasoning, I never had a chance to worry about how it would taste … even though I wasn’t strictly following any recipe- I made my own up based on the various recipes I read online. But somehow I knew it had to work. The only question was what to have on the side.

At the store, I found some beautiful baby portabella mushrooms, and so the meal was complete in my mind. With the crazy zesty, spicy and tropical flavors in the pineapple salsa and the jerk chicken, I wanted something earthy and mellow to balance it out. Knowing what I already had on hand in the kitchen, such as some broccoli that needed to be used, I could picture the final plate in my mind-

Carribean jerk chicken over rice, served with pineapple salsa
Caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms seasoned with thyme
Broccoli sauteed with garlic

I grabbed the mushrooms, and after a long hunt for the practically hidden basket of ginger root, I headed home.

The night before I planned to have this exciting dinner, I made the marinade for the chicken – and then there ensued the results from forgetting to take my contacts out before dicing the jalapenos. = Ouch.

Then comes the day to eat the long anticipated pineapple salsa. I gathered my fresh ingredients … its so nice to have an herb garden! Fresh ingredients are not only more flavorful and more fun to cook with; they are also just more appealing. Compare:

No, never mind, there is no comparison!

fresh is greater than driedin flourishcafe

The dishes came together and the kitchen was filled with a warm spiciness. If you, like me, didn’t know what was in jerk seasoning, some of the strongest flavors come from hot peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger. Recipes vary, but these were some of the curious and aromatic scents filling the air. The pineapple salsa looked beautiful- just petite dice some fresh pineapple, ripe tomatoes, sweet onions, jalapenos, and cilantro and you will see. Everything came together, and we sat down to eat. For the first time, I was suddenly afraid it wouldn’t go together- it might not taste good! It might be terrible! What have I done?! This is CRAZY!!!!

Crazy, yes. Crazy DELICIOUS! My sixth sense had been right along. The pineapple salsa and the Caribbean jerk chicken were simply perfect together. Tim, my husband, raved. I savored the meal. I traveled to Jamaica and back. It was a lovely trip.

Have you ever had a culinary epiphany? Or a culinary disaster – like my Hot and Sour Soup? Tell me about it in the comments, below!

Happy April Fools Day!

It is now my month! I officially claim it – mine!
Well, I suppose I have to share it with anyone else who is named April…

And how fitting that my month starts off with such a fun day of jokes and humor!

Did someone say something about it being fitting that my month starts off with a day about fools? 
*glares around* 
No? That’s right. I didn’t think so.

And what better way to say “Happy April first” to your favorite fool than with this necklace for $125 on Etsy by the well-known seller Polestar … be the first to jump on that hot new First-Meal-of-the-Day-Chic trend:

Share you April Fools Day experience with me – I’m always looking for inspiration. ;)