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November Calendar Free Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

 

November is muted colors, fiery oranges and reds fading to browns and purples. The chill that has been hiding in the air stepping forward and taking the stage. Mittens and coats become a daily reality. It is a month of hot soup, casseroles, and feasting. A month about reflections on family, memories, and home. To dig into November, read this simple poem, make this perfect autumn chicken dinner,  and follow this practice of Thanksgiving.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen.

For the desktop, click on the small thumbnail below to view the large size image.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:
NOVEMBER 2015 desktop_v2 (1)

iPhone Wallpaper:
iphone NOVEMBER
iphone NOVEMBER_v2

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“Is There Beauty in the Monotony?” or “Why I Wrote the song Sunrise, Sunrise, Sunrise”

Sunrise, Sunrise, Sunrise

We have a window in our bedroom. Each morning the sun shines through in various colors, depending on the season and cloud cover and make of the light. It falls onto our hardwood floors.

Honestly, most mornings as I awake to this light and find myself next to my best friend (and often with a baby or child in our bed as well) I have a strong sense of gratitude. It is the birth of another day. And I get to spend this day with my Love and my family.

Then at the end of the day we are spent. It’s not easy raising kids and doing the daily, monotonous business of all that needs to be done. Many nights as we lay together in bed, exhausted, the moon brings soft light to this closing. That light glows through that same window and on those same hardwood floors.

There are many songs about living the day in and day out life, a poetic look at the sacred rhythms that, when stepped back from and observed, are quite beautiful. I wrote the song “Sunrise, Sunrise, Sunrise” with this idea in mind. Even the title exemplifies the theme I was going for.

On an additional note I was also inspired for this song by a strange source. And you all can make fun of me for this.

When I first heard the big, overly-dramatic song from Fiddler On the Roof “Sunrise, Sunset”, I was moved; even as a sixth grader. I loved the idea that day to day, season to season, life moves fast and it’s so good to share that with the person you love. I was moved in sixth grade hearing this song.

Now I hear it as a 37-year-old and WEEP. I mean SOB. No kidding. The bittersweet truths represented in the tremendous arc of this music takes me out.

So I wrote the lyrics of this song with the same premise. Together we have each day. We’re watching our kids grow and leave the house, we’re dancing and taking it from sun to moon until our last days. And we’re so blessed.

Sunrise, Sunrise, Sunrise (Lyrics)

Will you wake with me, In the sunrise
Will you wait with me in the moonlight
How we’ll lay, And both be held
Folding limbs
As last lights fail –

Oh you’ll walk with me
In the one light
Oh you’ll sing with me
The one line
How you’ll smile
How we’ll laugh
How we’ll stand
As oceans pass —

Oh you’ll dance with me
At first sight
And fall asleep, beat
After night after after night
How we’ll watch
Them fly away
How we’ll say we love the race that they would take –

Won’t you wait with me
For the sunrise
Holding close to me
In the one light
We’ll all move on Far from here
My dust to dust And your dust near –

Banoffee Pie Recipe

We have a lot of birthdays around this time – mine, Harriet’s, Beatrice’s and Tim’s are all within a few weeks of each other. Tim’s is the last of the great hurrah and this year for his birthday, quite understandably, he requested this pie (it is also the one I served for our medal ceremony).

Banoffee pie was invented in the 80’s in Great Britain. The name is a cross between “Banana” and “Toffee”. In case you, like me, are a little wary of anything banana, don’t let that off put you. The way Tim describes this pie is “it’s like I discovered a color I never knew existed and suddenly the world is more beautiful than before.” My only critique of this pie is that it is very rich and sweet, so for balance, leave the whipped cream unsweetened.

Betony’s BANOFFEE PIE

SERVES 8

For the Pie Crust

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1 (8-oz.) package of Biscoff cookies

For the Filling

1 stick unsalted butter
12 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 (14-oz.) can condensed milk (I recently discovered that the off-brand is not as good)
splash of apple cider vinegar – I find that acid really brings out caramel flavors
a pinch of salt
1 banana
1 pint heavy cream

Instructions

Make the crumb crust: Crush the cookies and salt in a food processor until you get a fine crumb texture. Transfer to a bowl and stir in melted butter. Press into a pie pan. Press the mixture up the sides of the pan with the back of a spoon. Chill the crust in refrigerator for at least one hour.
Make the toffee: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and melt over low heat. Add the condensed milk and bring the mixture to a boil for a few minutes, stirring continuously. The toffee should darken slightly (keep a close eye on it!). Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and pinch of salt and stir to combine.  Pour the filling into the crust. Cool and chill again for at least one hour until the caramel is firm.
To serve, slice the banana and place them in a single layer on top of the caramel. Whip the cream and spoon it over the toffee and bananas, sealing the filling in.

Mine is a take on this version by Savuer (pretty similar except that I added salt, a splash of acid in the caramel, changed the crust to biscoff cookies, and reduced it from 4 to one banana)

banoffee pie
(credit to Dale Fredrickson for this pic)

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Why I Wrote the Song “Boxing Shadows” or What Happens When You Get What You Want?

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“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer”

-Jim Carrey

What happens when you get what you want?

Let me tell a personal story.

I had a strong, single-minded dream for several years of my life. I desperately wanted to achieve this dream. It was a goal that I hoped for and prayed for and worked towards. Honestly, it was really a strange and simple dream.

I wanted to release an album with Worship Circle Records. (I’m sure many of you are wondering who Worship Circle Records are…)

I had been writing and leading worship music for many years and Worship Circle Records had put out my favorite album of all time in this genre. Their album “Enter the Worship Circle: Circle One” was a stripped down, raw collection of great songwriting and expression. This little, independent record company was being led by great people and I wanted badly to be a part of it.

Well, I got the chance to do it. After a songwriting intensive and through good relationships (and this is many years later) I released an album with them. I had done it. I had achieved this goal.

Rewind just a bit. Before anything with the album went forward I remember my wife turning to me and saying, “You know, if you get to do this and release an album with them you’ll just find something else to obsess about afterwards. This isn’t really an end-all goal that will make you happy”

As the record was coming out I smiled and enjoyed it all, but my wife’s words stuck with me. It wasn’t but a few months later that I started thinking: Now what? I know this is an arrival point but… what’s next?

What happens when you get what you want? What happens when you reach that goal or achieve that victory? After the initial joy and sense of success, what are we left with?

Nothing. Not really. That sounds so defeatist but it rings true to me. After you climb that peak you deeply enjoy the moment and then you climb back down. And you start dreaming about other peaks.

That’s okay.

I think what that teaches us is that it’s not about the peak. Life needs to be about something more expansive and all encompassing, something bigger than our goals.

There’s an incredible remake of the cartoon Wile E. Coyote (NOT done by Looney Toons) in which he CATCHES the road runner. He’s floored that he’s actually done it. He has his friend over and they have a feast. He’s says something like, “You know, it just tastes so good when you work for your food…” But then his friend asks him, “Now what are you going to do?” Even WE know this is a big deal for Wile E. We’ve seen him make countless tries (and loved seeing the failures) to achieve this goal.

The rest of the cartoon we see Wile E. spiral into deep depression and a directionless listlessness. (The gag ends with him strapped into a catapult of his own creation then it quickly cuts to him with his buddy again and Wile E. has become a born again Christian. A cutting joke, but perhaps appropriate?)

I wrote the song “Boxing Shadows” to work through the tension of these questions. What happens if I actually get what I want? What happens when I fail? What happens after each peak is conquered? Will my desires become less? Will I feel like it was all worth it?

On a musical note I did something very on purpose in the song. It begins with janky toy-castle. This is actually a toy my daughters own and they LOVE that I use it. The sound represents to me that thin, immature idea of ourselves as kids. The self-importance of our singular heroics trying to sound strong.

Then the song actually ends with a real trumpet blast (my friend Craig Basarich is incredible). I wanted the song to close with this feeling of maturity and joy that we have in the trials and tensions. That we DO achieve but that’s not what it’s about. It’s that we keep on growing and becoming. That’s where the true adventure lies.

Oh, you won the war, you won the war
and now you’re wandering how you’re so alone
You got the part, you got the part
but why are all lines so damn short?

You’re boxing shadows, you’re not the hero
of great renown, there’s room to grow

Oh, when do you know, when do you know?
That all the work was worth the pay in tolls?
My dreams still howl, my dog still growls
the pack is running faster every hour

You’re boxing shadows, you’re not the hero
of great renown, there’s room to grow
You’re boxing shadows, you’re not the hero
of great renown, there’s room to grow

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The New Project Releases: See & Hear “Becoming”

Becoming is the new art and music project from Giants & Pilgrims.

Says Tim Coons in a recent article:

“The project comes from a central idea. When I was young, I couldn’t dream very far. My projections were one day I’d have a wife and kids and be a musician. Well, I have all that now. Am I done growing up? Am I all wise and coasting from here on out? I have ‘arrived’ haven’t I?

“It was a nice surprise to know we never stop growing up. It’s never all figured out. We are still in that process of ‘becoming’ who we’re meant to be, because, though the body may slow down and stop, the soul never does. It’s always dynamic.”

You can listen and purchase the album here.

You can see and purchase 3 prints of the art series here (full series available November 6th).

If you’d like a combination of album + prints pick get that special here.

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1952 Halloween Illustration

October Ideas and Activities around the Theme “Lore”

For this entire year I’ve been doing an at home curriculum with the family (Lucy 6, Hattie 4, Beatrice 1). Tim and I call the project “Abacus” and we’re sharing it each month for the fun, challenge, and community of it. Each month we choose a theme and then come up with a bunch of activities around that theme. Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.
Explore past months themes here.

Mostly for the month of October, I just want to soak it in. October is my favorite month and it always just seems to fly by. I love the way the air feels, the way it smells, all the tastes, the colors. Everything. And, I am pretty married to our traditions. I just want to do October-y things in October. So, bear with me on this theme, because it is pretty loose. Normally I would insist on something a little more narrowed down, but I love that most of the things we would want to explore anyway in October fit within “Lore” and it adds some depth to our stories we would already be telling.

October Dates to Take Note of:

October 1st – International Coffee Day (very important…we make a point to celebrate this everyday at about 7:00am)
October 24th – United Nations Day
October 31st – Halloween
And don’t forget that November 1st is All Saints Day/November 1 & 2nd = Day of the Dead

Local: Greeley, CO events:

Oktobrewfest – October 2nd-3rd (sorry if you missed this!)

I don’t have any other events for October, someone help me out. What goes here?

List of Ideas and Inspiration for LORE:

MYTHOLOGY/ANTHROPOLOGY (is that what this category is…?):

Make a wall/chart of Witches, goblins, pumpkins, fairies, ghosts, ghouls, vampires, changelings, silkies, chupacabras, etc and learn some of the folklore behind where they come from.

 Learn about ancient Egypt and Make mummies – wasting a roll of TP and playing a mummy game would be fun too.
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Spend a day learning about Day of the Dead and doing day of the Dead activities –

Common Practices for Day of the Dead Day of the Dead is annually celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. The first day, called “Día de los Angelitos” (Day of the little angels), is dedicated to the souls of deceased children, while November 2nd is set aside for the souls of adults. Before these days, families may clean their homes to prepare for the arrival of the souls of their loved ones. Many also visit cemeteries to decorate the graves of the dead with their favorite items and flowers. Graves and ofrendas are decorated with papel picado, photographs, cherished objects, marigolds (cempasúchitl), and skeletons made of paper or clay. Food and drink are placed on the ofrendas for the dead. It is believed the dead enjoy the tastes and smells of the food. There are many important foods associated with Day of the Dead. In particular the main dish is mole, which is meat (usually chicken or pork) cooked with a sauce made from chilies, chocolate, peanuts, and other ingredients that vary by region. Pumpkin candies, rice pudding, and tamales may also be offered. Bakeries produce special bread called pan de muerto in the shape of people or bones and decorated with pink sugar. Stores also sell skulls made of sugar or chocolate, adorned with names, for children and adults to eat.

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These look neat to make too – (I can’t find the original source for this image, but I think these just use those precut scrapbooking paper wrapped around a candle holder)
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Learn about Greek Myths
I especially like this book – 
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Create our own little Apple Holiday, complete with new traditions

FILMS:

We don’t do Scary movies around here (seriously don’t get that at all…) But, we do love halloween shows –

Pirates of the Caribbean (since Lucy wants to be a Pirate for halloween)
Big Fish
Nightmare Before Christmas
Adams Family Values
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Ghost and Mister Chicken
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Old Nic at Night Shows:
Sabrina the Witch
Laurel and Hardy
Adams Family
Little Rascals Spooky Hooky
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Bewitched
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There is nothing better than watching old black and white spooky films with popcorn, fancy root beer, and or hot cider. So October to me…
(By the way, we just discovered that Tiny but Mighty Popcorn and it is wonderful! A new favorite…)
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LISTEN:

Lore podcast (Grown-ups Only)
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Listen to all our Halloween mixes!


READ:

Read all the Stephen Kellogg versions of American Folklore books: Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Mike Fink, Johnny Appleseed, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett
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Read the Littlest witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennet – one of my favorites as a kid, I am excited to revisit it with my own kiddos.
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Read Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg – If I remember correctly, some awesome halloween scenes in this one.
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Read some Edgar Allen Poe
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Find a good kid version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow
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PLAY:

The Telephone game (the connection is about how folk lore is passed on through generations)
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Visit a pumpkin patch (We always go to the Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch)
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ART:

Make Shadow puppets – or just get some from one of the many wonderful Etsy shops

Carve Pumpkins and make Turnip lanterns (the original jack-o-lantern!)
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Sew Halloween costumes but also learn about the characters they are portraying (right now Lucy wants to be a pirate and Harriet a Princess, not sure about Beatrice…)

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SCIENCE:

Save old spice bottles and make pretend Potions
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Also make homemade Soda potions

October 2015 desktop

October Calendar Free Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

October 2015 desktop
Last night we built a little bonfire and sat around it with hot cider and marshmallows and watched the sunset. The air is just starting to have that icy edge in the evenings that wakes up your lungs. We love October so much around here. This tree is from a little scrap of very old vintage fabric I found at a thrift store a long time ago. I have always loved it, but there was never enough to actually make much out of. I will happily look at it all month and I hope you enjoy it too.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen.

For the desktop, click on the small thumbnail below to view the large size image.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:
October 2015 desktop

iPhone Wallpaper:

Two simple choices for iPhone wallpaper – 
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