Recipe: Sarah’s Peach Sangria

Sarah’s Peach Sangria

Mouthwateringly succulent. The hint of mint adds just enough contrast to the palate to fully appreciate the peachy goodness. Dry ginger ale adds a subtle layer of complexity, complimenting the fruit with some sparkle. (Perfect for hot summer nights!)

1. Mix together and steep over night in the refrigerator:

1 Bottle Barefoot Pinot Grigio
1 Cup Peach Liqueur
1 Cup Peach Juice
3 Ripe peaches, sliced
10 Green grapes, halved

2. Ready to Serve
Fill highball glass 3/4 full with Sangria mixture.

3. Add Sparkle
Fill to just under the brim with Dry Ginger Ale.

4. Garnish
Accent with fresh mint sprigs, gently crushed to release flavor.

Seven Things I Am Grateful For (About My Husband!)

I was barely 19 on my wedding day. Barely.

Excusing their divorce, many people say, “I married young. I’m a different person now.” But, when I think of my relationship with my husband, I smile at the thought of how we not only grew up together but that we’ve grown together.

In a few short days, it will be our 11th wedding anniversary.

Real Zest is asking its readers to, “write up a list of things you’re grateful for.” I can’t think of a better opportunity to note the things I appreciate and admire most about the love of my life.

1. He knows what he believes and why.
When Tom speaks or writes, it’s never with wishy-washy words. It is direct. It is confident. He rarely offers a thought without much consideration, and he considers everything. Knowledge, especially about God, is a passion for him. Not only does he study works of those whom he agrees with, but of whom he is opposed. He inspires me to want to learn more and to think more — not just open my mouth absentmindedly.

2. He knows how to relax.
A little over a month ago, he asked if I wanted to go to Jamaica — just the two of us. I said, “Yes, but…” and he said, “Don’t worry, my mom’s watching the kids. I’ve got the details covered.” From the lovely beach, to the tasty food (and unlimited alcohol) to a luxurious hotel room, our recent getaway was phenomenal. When he’s not at work, Tom brings laughter with him. He plays games with the kids in a playful, yet competitive way. He insists on my taking off my apron and sitting down and relaxing with him for a late-night movie. He reminds me to take time for myself, and volunteers to watch the kids. “Here’s some cash. Go out with your girlfriends and have fun.” How cool is that?!

3. He takes an interest in his children.
When he comes home, he asks what our children learned. He carefully looks over their papers and asks questions. If they want to pursue a project or idea – like making cheese or learning about a particular event in history – he makes sure they have the information and supplies to explore their thoughts. He is patient when he teaches them, carefully noting what they understand, and where they need more encouragement via the whiteboard. He knows how to bring out the best effort in their work. He makes me desire to be a better teacher.

4. He provides for his family.
Stewardship is very important to Tom. He invests his money, and plans for our future. He takes care of our needs – from groceries to home repairs. Although I have a tendency to be a miser, he makes sure that I never have to feel guilty for asking for money. He knows how to stretch money, and he researches his purchases carefully. His diligence in our finances helps me to want to do my best with the resources entrusted to me.

5. He challenges himself.
When he starts to freak out in full SCUBA gear, he collects his thoughts and tries again. If he has an opportunity to get a new certification in information security under his belt, he studies diligently so he can pass. He always strives to do better and to set new records. Bejeweled is no exception. Tom’s tenacity helps me to keep trying, even when I feel like giving up.

6. He is supportive of my interests.
He makes sure I have time to study for my childbirth classes (even watching our children for a week while I went to Florida for my certification), and that I have all of the books and materials I need. He knows I love to write and encourages me to concentrate on my topics and study more about them so I can write from an informed perspective. If I ask for seeds for my garden, he helps me put together a budget and makes sure I have everything I need, even down to lovely planters I’ve had my eye on. He sends me emails with ideas and links for things that have been on my mind. Tom’s support gives me freedom to be myself and to maintain my identity as a person — making me easily contented to be called “mommy”.

7. He makes me blush.
He knows how I love to be touched, and it delights him to please me. From not-so-innocent brush-bys to putting his arms around me and kissing my neck while I’m working in the kitchen, he always makes me warm to my toes. In the middle of the night if I get up to help one of our children, he instinctively wraps his arms around me in his sleep as soon as I hop back into bed. He holds my hand in public…. even in Japan.

What seven things are you grateful for? Post them at Real Zest ASAP for a chance to win a $100 Zappos gift card :)

What do you love about the love of your life?

Beautiful Spiderweb: Arigope Aurantia

Nestled amongst the blades of Freesia I found this lovely yellow garden spider.

The first thing I noticed wasn’t the spider itself, but its amazing zigzag stabilimentum.

The weaving was so vibrant and fine, I thought it was a piece of light blue plastic mesh netting, perhaps a scrap from a bag of fruit. Upon closer inspection, however, I realized it would have been impossible to have landed so perfectly in the center of the web, let alone for the spider to be sitting upon it.

What have you recently discovered in your backyard?

Why Are Christians So Afraid of Dying?

Here’s something to read with your morning coffee.

“There is a real theological problem if our Christian hope lies entirely in God’s ability to heal, and not in the resurrection. Hope placed entirely in God’s ability to physically heal is, in a sense, misplaced hope because even those who are healed die eventually. True Christian hope is an eternal hope that goes beyond death.

I know I could die tomorrow and I could die 80 years from now. More than likely I will die somewhere in between. All of my loved ones face the same fate. I know even if I were to be stricken with a deadly disease and then healed, death would still come for me eventually. No matter how many bananas I eat, that truth is inescapable.

And yet, so many of us, as theologian Stanley Hauerwas has said, are desperate to think medicine will get us out of life alive, even though medicine can’t do that. We are terrified of death.”

Brian Kiley via Relevant Mag

For some sobering encouragement and extra chest hair, please check out the article in its entirety here.


I really don’t like the thought of dying.

I love life.

Last week, during 45 minutes of terrifying turbulence while flying over Russia – during which, I barely heard over my pounding heart – it got so bad, the pilot told the attendants over the PA system to secure their food carts and fasten their seat belts immediately. My one comfort was that I was seated by the emergency exit. I thought, ‘Well, *if anyone on this flight is ready to die, it’s me. So, if this plane goes down, I can give it my all and not be scared.’

That didn’t stop me from praying for our safety, though.


Believe it or not, I’ve already thought about what I’d like to be read at my funeral.

Are you ready to die?


This reminds me of a story.

In 2000, Tom and I lived in a second story apartment. Our downstairs neighbor, a single guy running an internet job search agency, was away on vacation.

It was winter.

Tom worked the night shift.

Thomas, my oldest son, was born in early March of 2001. I definitely had the pregnancy waddle going on.

In the middle of the night, I heard glass break and then lots of banging noises in from the apartment downstairs. I popped a clip in our Beretta and slowly opened our door. From the upstairs balcony, I could see that the door to the downstairs apartment, supposedly vacant, was ajar.

A light was on.

More noises.

I quietly closed my apartment door and called the police.

They showed up, and I slowly opened my door and whispered hello. I kept the door open a crack to watch.

They got into formation, two guys on the stairs from a higher vantage point, and two guys on the ground floor.

The older of the two on the ground said, “You go first.”

The younger cop said, “There could be someone in there. I don’t know what I’m going to be facing here.”

The older cop said, “You’re a cop. It’s your job, no matter how scared you are. Now do it.”

He did.

Turns out the idiot neighbor left his lights on, and left the windows open. It was pretty windy, and a vase knocked over. The house was old and there were weights in the window frames, which banged the house violently in the wind. He was notorious for leaving his door unlocked, and it never did shut very well without a good kick.