I love listening to the rain. Not a huge fan of overcast, but the sound of rain I love. Light rain or thunderous, pounding rain – every bit of it is fantastic. It is soothing and peaceful and wonderful.

I am that person who turns off the ac and fans at night because it means I can hear the rain, the birds, the crickets, and the trains. It is far too easy when inside insulated structures to forget that we are not alone here on planet earth.

I also think that not wearing much clothing is fantastic. I love wearing wraps. Sarongs. Boombas. Kangas. Kikoys. They are bathrobes and skirts and dresses and table clothes and shawls all in one – always full of color. They do nothing for one’s figure and they are the essence of comfort. And now I have a traditional American bathrobe made of orange and purple Tanzanian kikoys. Fabulous. And now when I blow dry my hair I will no longer have to adjust my wrap to make sure it stays on.

There is something fabulous about eating food out of the pots they were made in and drinking beer out of a can. Tapioca pudding – made at home, never store bought. Some people don’t like the texture, but I find the whole equation to be simply divine. Smooth creaminess, some texture, milk in large doses, and Dominican vanilla. Trader Joe’s Simple Time beer… simple and unassuming, it belongs on a porch in the rain.

And so that is me. Right now. Dressed in my orange Tanzanian/American robe, sitting on my porch with the ac and fans off inside, hearing and feeling the rain, empty pot of tapioca pudding and nearly empty beer sitting beside me. Life has been busy and full. Full of fun and deep conversation. And I needed a night just for me – just to breathe. Maybe another day you will here about the fun and thinking that has been had. For now, this is simply perfect.

review: walking on water

Title: Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

Author: Madeline L’Engle

Genre: creative nonfiction

Form: paperback

Recommended: definitely

Thoughts: To L’Engle, art and faith are inseparable – and through this book she winds the two together in such a way that it is at once explanation of the creative process and devotional. To everyone who is an artist, this book will sing to your soul. If you want to understand an artist, this book will open up their world. This is one I will reread until it falls apart. 

carrot cake



This is the carrot cake recipe that I grew up with – one of those recipes that mom would make and everyone always loved. It is the recipe against which I judge every piece of carrot cake I buy – and no restaurant or store has measured up. And, yes, when I want to, I do make this a multi-layer cake that is picture perfect cake (however, I never add silly little iced carrots). So this is that recipe with, as always, a couple of modifications that make it even better.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup plain apple sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable oil


Mix all dry ingredients. Add and mix the wet ingredients except for the carrots and coconut. Fold in the carrots and coconut, one at a time. Bake in 9×13 plan at 350 degrees F for 45 min or until done (toothpick comes out clean).

When cake has cooled, frost with homemade cream cheese frosting – trust me when I say that it is worth the effort. (Approximate frosting recipe: 6 oz cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp milk, and enough powdered sugar to make it smooth – around 1 lb.)

review: the five dysfunctions of a team

Title: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Author: Patrick Lencioni

Genre: business, management

Form: audiobook

Recommended: Yes, for all of you who work in team settings and are wondering why something just is not clicking.

Thoughts: In this book Lencioni’s presents a fable of a management team that is not functioning and the process it took to make the team work. At times long winded and seemingly over-direct, the fable does what it sets out to do: clearly demonstrate what Lencioni terms the five dysfunctions of a team (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results).  

review: overcoming the five dysfunctions of a team

Title: Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Author: Patrick Lencioni

Genre: business, management

Form: audiobook

Recommended: Yes, if you are working to build a team and want some good practical examples.

Thoughts: This book follows The Five Dysfunctions of a Team providing a ‘how to’ overcome the dysfunctions he illustrates in his fable. Given that much of the book provides clear directives for how to do certain exercises to build teams, I do not suggest listening to this as an audiobook as you will want to reference specific parts of the book.