miscellany monday on memorial day

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miscellany monday at lowercase letters
1. since i grew up in california, our family vacations often included trips to Cabo San Lucas, fish taco central. i have a special fondness for them, in a way where i could eat one (or five!) every day. i've made fish tacos on a few occasions, but these ones, these ones were to die for.  i adapted a recipe and made it my own. talk about fancy for this girl who doesn't love to cook.

baja california fish tacos, adapted from here

for the creamy sweet red pepper sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup red pepper jelly
juice from a lime (appx. 2 tbsp)
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
directions: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

for the fish:
1 lb fresh cod (i used frozen wild cod from Trader Joe's - great prices!) cut into strips of 2-3 oz portions
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup milk
canola oil
directions: in a dish, combine all the dry ingredients. in a separate dish, add the milk. dip fish into the milk and then coat with the dry ingredient mixture. pour enough canola oil into a large skillet to reach a depth of 1/4 inch. fry fish until golden brown on all sides, appx. 4-6 minutes. to serve, fill tortillas with fish and shredded cabbage. drizzle with creamy sweet red pepper sauce. take one bite and get swept off to the coast of Baja California.  

2. after spending nearly ten hours on delta.com, some serious finagling, the gift of skymiles, and the generosity from family members, we are going home to california this summer! it was no small miracle either - i had to book all our tickets separately and prayed that our kids wouldn't end up on random flights all alone. oh please come quickly, july. cool breezes, mosquito-less days, foggy nights, and gobs of family time could not arrive soon enough.
3. i got to take pictures of this pretty girl yesterday. we stayed in our backyard, used our neighbor's weeping willow tree and somehow it looks like we're smack dab in a jungle somewhere. fun!
4. i do declare we went to the most gorgeous wedding on saturday - it was our Pastor's daughter's big day. my honey played the music and i just sat. it's been a long time since i've just sat at a wedding and didn't have to take pictures. it was so easy. the bride and groom even left the aisle in a horse-drawn carriage. sometimes i want kelly and i to get married all over again just to create a dreamy day once more. but then i remember the price tag and the stress and praise God it's all over with. : )

5. i wore my ages old elephant necklace this weekend and have decided that everyone should own one. mine is from target (think 5 years ago). i bought it then for Republican pride, i do confess. don't hold it against me. ; )

6. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY to everyone. freedom costs many americans just that - and not only that, but their life, too. let's remember them today with highest honor. 

>>miscellany monday<<


our insta-graham life.

you can find me on instagram here ~

killed by cuteness. slayed, really. 
chipotle came to town. salsa, chips, and everything mexican has never been so tasty. if you don't have one nearby, i'm really very sorry.
soon, i am actually going to edit all of my wedding pictures and share them with you. careful! don't fall off the edge of your seats. ; )

why is she so cute? just why?? (for the record, Hunter, if you read this one day, i have twice as many pictures of your sister because you run from the camera or camera phone on most occasions.)

point to the ones you love.

i told her never to grow up. she doesn't listen though... she will be two in a few days. i can barely handle it.

my man left me a love note engraved on our patio in chalk letters. he so knows the way to my heart.
this is one of the books from my book exchange. every once in a while i'm game for a little mystery. so good!
would you believe me if i told you some dear souls bought us a new air conditioning?? ours broke and in the south it's nearly impossible to live without it, but they kind of cost as much as a small car. i'm telling you, God is never slow to meet our needs and proves to be a God of provision time after time.

my mom told me she didn't "ebay" so instead, she gave me some moolah to buy sage's birthday present for her. i didn't buy this, but i am kinda wishing i did. i mean. i can barely handle the vintage cuteness. and why aren't toys these days just as fabulous?

(there is always one picture in each post that refuses to be like all the rest. i'm trying to forgive it.) our puppy dog has some eye troubles. the kids are tenderly loving on her every minute. presh to the max! 

these are tiny little moments of our week. how was yours? happy Memorial Day weekend, my dears!
linking with these fine ladies:

friday favorite things | finding joy
life rearranged


determined steps

it was five minutes to 5 pm, i just pulled in from the grocery store, and got the kids ready to go on our afternoon run. the sky looked threatening, but after consulting with the trusted weatherman, and a hearty "the rain will hold off until tomorrow," i continued on. in the smack dab middle of our run, at the farthest point from our house, we hit a torrential downpour. let me set the scene: woman running like mad to get her two kids in the stroller out of the storm... people drove by probably thinking i was such a lame mom or if they were nice, maybe felt sorry for me. i ran a mile as fast as i possibly could, while pushing 90 pounds of precious cargo plus a stroller, to get to our neighborhood pool, to seek a covering under the pavilion.

in the meantime, i was trying not to curse the weatherman. only in their profession can they be wrong all the time and it hardly matter. the other day there was a 60% chance of rain, but instead no rain came. then, the day when there is supposed to be none, it's a torrential downpour. funny! kind of.

we reached the locked gate at the pool, but a woman was there, letting her older kids enjoy a swim in the rain. she opened the gate and our eyes met in a familiar stare.  in a neighborhood of some 800 homes, people tend to look familiar every now and then. her warm smile made me feel comfortable. we small talked under the shelter as the rain pounded down harder and harder. come to find out, she was one of the nurses that was with us at the hospital when Sage was born. we talked then about living in the same neighborhood, but had not run into each other until now, almost exactly two years later.

she told me about how tired she was. i could see a sadness in her soul. for whatever reason, she quickly confided in me, said her marriage was not good and had been in shambles for years. this day was the hardest day in a long time because she ended up sleeping at a hotel the night before. she had read Psalm 57 that morning and begged the Lord for His mercy in the midst of this trial. i told her i read James 1 that very morning, and talked about considering trials with pure joy. we exchanged numbers, i told her to call me for anything and that i would pray for her. the rain stopped. hope sat before our very eyes as we saw the end of big and bright rainbow smack dab in the pool parking lot.

i'm kind of certain that our meeting was a God-thing;  the rainbow sealed the deal. i had been to the pool that morning and met no one... and i normally pray that i will meet moms, to build relationships, to know them, to meet people that don't know Jesus, so that i can share with them His name. i consider it my mission field. since there weren't any moms there that morning, i was bummed and felt like the day wasn't all that i intended it to be. but lo and behold, in the midst of a rain storm, forcing me back to the pool, at a time that i normally would have never been there, i met a woman in need. in need of knowing that someone would pray for her and that she now has help close by. i came home after that encounter reminded full on of how i often plan a path for myself but the Lord always determines my steps. detours aren't really accidents, of course. they certainly are destined.

may i always see the beauty in living with determined steps.


miscellany monday

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miscellany monday at lowercase letters

ONE. swoon. the end.

TWO. that terrible moment when you realize you were giving your daughter only 1/2 a teaspoon of antibiotics instead of 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons... especially since it was five days into it... i'm guilty as charged. she promised to forgive me.

THREE. kelly plays music at weddings. i take pictures at weddings. between last month, this month, and next month, we will have had 15 weddings between the two of us. maybe this is why we are exhausted??

FOUR. i made fresh salsa yesterday from here. this would happen more often except for the fact that our grocery store sells some fancy salsa that tastes so fresh it transports you to a garden. after crying over onions, dicing like there was no tomorrow, all i kept thinking was, why didn't a dear soul buy us a food processor off our registry eight years ago? and, since they didn't, why haven't i bought one in the meantime? i don't know. one thing i do know, though, is that Kelly's ban on me ingesting onions still stands. this morning i woke up with onion breath hangover, resembling the stench of death. even so, it was worth it. the salsa was so good, it made me not regret buying the healthy flax veggie chips because i could hardly taste them beyond the onions (normally i wish i would've gone for the sinful kind of tortilla chips, if there is such a thing). because i'm not interested in seeing just how long i can ramble over salsa, let's move on. sorry to disappoint you. 

FIVE. i have to savor this moment once more. i present to you: my kids eating vegetables without a fight. courtesy of none other than salsa.  salsa is my new hero.


our insta-graham life

you can find me here:

life rearranged

what i really want to know is how i ever managed to do meal planning before pinterest?? up next week:
ps. normally, we have chicken, rice (or cous cous) and beans. because recipes are ridiculously pricey. so many ingredients! but every now and then, i have to make some really good things for sanity and taste buds sake.

doing their school work. it ends up looking a lot like coloring.

why have i not visited this site sooner? veganbaking.net :: be still my heart. trying this brownie recipe soon. Hunter will never be sad over missing out on desserts ever again. ; )

saving this one for her wedding.

scenes from last weekend's beach wedding.

a swanky southern wedding. it was a fairy-tale. most gorgeous wedding i have ever seen. real pictures coming soon.

baby girl eyelashes. with her "must" - pink flower in hair. she will only stand to have pink hair accessories. purple? no. she cries. green? even worse. only PINK.

they are besties, for sure.

my grandma and aunt left this week. SAD. i cried. why does California have to be so far?? 

i'm off to second shoot another wedding this weekend! better start drinking my caffeine now. : )

friday favorite things | finding joy


rejoice over real marriage

i was 19, the day i walked down the aisle, all i had to my name was $80 in my bank account, an outstanding balance of $90 on my American Eagle credit card, and a decrepit Volkswagon Jetta. it's safe to say Kelly didn't marry me for my money. oh yeah! he even bought his own wedding ring. i did pick it out though, let the record show. (if you have nothing at all whatsoever to do with your time, you can read more here)

as a sophomore in college that year, with a new last name, a fancy band on my ring finger, feeling warm and happy with every fiber of my being, this marriage thing felt really good. the honeymoon didn't end on the sunny hawaiian island of maui. it's safe to say it lasted a whole year. and then the surreal faded and the real set in. it was still good, just not as fairy tale like.

seven and a half years later, by God's sweet grace, we are without an itch and as committed as we were on day one. but the thing is, this marriage gift, it goes deeper and farther and wider beyond all the sweet sentimental feelings. because if that's all it was, this love thing may not stand the test of time.

the greatest goal of it all, is to conform us to someone Greater, to chip away the rotten, rid our hearts of it's selfishness and to serve. we have this opportunity, laid out right before us every single day, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our spouses. it's simple and hard all at once, thank the Lord there is a Helper for us.

you see, the beauty of going through a pretty and messy life with someone is that you get to help each other, give lots of grace, receive lots of grace, and in the end, with a heap of prayer, hope to be a mirror of Christ and His church. and what an honor that is. let's rejoice over it and give God glory for this gift. amen and amen.

also? i do declare, Kelly Graham, that i'm happy you took a chance on marrying a teenager.  i love being your wife. 


miscellany monday

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miscellany monday at lowercase letters

1. i have been a prime lenser for as long as i've had a dslr camera. this weekend, i borroed a zoom lens from my super-kind friends and was never happier. oh the versatility. i'm ruined for life. my nifty fifty will always have a special spot in my heart, but not having to run 100 meter sprints to get a shot is somewhat dreamy. i spent 14 hours this weekend taking pictures as the second shooter for two weddings. i am not used to working this hard and/or much! i had a blast with this fancy photog. it's safe to say that i want to take pictures for life. : )
2. my mom and step-dad live on a pretty little lake, it's perfect for fishing, and pictures of course. and fishing pictures.

3. this is the one where Hunter told me he was fishing. with binoculars.

4. today my little sister, Melanie is 12! happy birthday, pretty girl. xoxo.

5. i do think i love sunset shots. the end.

6. hey girls, the 80's called and they want their neon net gloves(?) back.

7. kelly pretty much had the kids all to himself this weekend while i worked. i missed them so! thanks babe for being the best.

8. this is Sage licking frosting off of a decoration from my sister's birthday cake. do you see all that delight?! i'm raising a girl after my own heart. : )

{miscellany monday}
carissa graham. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.