Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday in the Word

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.
Psalm 145:13
God made me a promise. And I knew it when He made it.
So I am going to believe His promise.
And when I begin to doubt His promise, because there will be times,
I will remind Him of the promise He made to me.
And we will both know that it is a reminder for me...not Him.
God is good. And His promises are true.
Thank you, God. Amen.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Bear...our new family member.

It's Monday...already. The weekend was good...productive...restful. Can it be both? Yes, I think so.

The boys are off to school. Chris is off to "the office" weird to say after having a husband that's been in some form of construction for the past 18 years.

I have been making smoothies for the boys for breakfast for the last week or so...berries, yogurt, juice, protein powder, a little bit of banana (it can be quite overpowering)...they are a hit and reportedly keep them full until lunch. I haven't added anything green yet...we might have to experiment with that a bit first.

My job is going well...the time flies most days. Elementary school kids sure do get hurt a lot...or so they say. Bumped heads, skinned knees, tummy aches and mysterious aches and pains...amazing what an ice pack and a band-aid can do!

I thought I had more to talk about this morning...but suddenly I am drawing a blank. I think it's because it's Monday...I'm still getting adjusted to them. Summer hasn't quite worn off, yet.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Tempted to worry and fret...but will purposefully focus on goodness instead.
slow, restful morning
81 degrees with a cool breeze
an afternoon with a friend
a big dent made in the laundry piles
a few home repairs here and there
kids hanging with friends
guitar strumming and singing
ceiling fans moving cool air
sweetened sun tea
fresh vegetables from the garden
reminders to trust Him

How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?
Psalm 116:12

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday in the Word

11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
Psalm 85:11-13

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday morning.

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers. 

Psalm 1:1-4

Have a blessed day.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

well whaddya know...

Future cantaloupes, I hope.
It's almost 10am and I am still in my pj's. Can you say lazy?

Our first week back to school was good. We all made it through in one piece. I had a good initiation at my new job as Health Clerk in an elementary school. As I walked up to the school to report for my first day, I am not even in the front office doorway yet, purse and tote bag still in hand, and here comes a little girl holding a garbage can she had just thrown up into. Welcome to your first day! It was laughable...definitely.

I have some things to do today...drop a few bags at the thrift shop, pop by the pet store, make a run for some fresh peaches and strawberries before they're no longer available and, as always, laundry.

I still need to figure out what to make for dinner. I may make a chicken recipe I saw on Pinterest and serve it with a side of, what else? Zucchini!

We have grown quite a bit of zucchini this summer. I'm enjoying it while I can because the plants are beginning to look powdery with mildew. It'll be time to pull them soon.

The green beans are dying back and lots of the pods are dried up. I wish I could remember what type of beans I grew because I'd like to save the seeds to plant next summer. I'm just not sure if they're heirloom or not...seriously need to get on that darn garden journal I keep threatening to put together. Or get serious about only planting heirlooms.

I gotta say though, we are not having good luck with our heirloom tomatoes. Anything we plant that is heirloom just doesn't produce much, if at all. Some of them haven't produced one single tomato. Literally. It's frustrating really. We really must find some productive heirlooms. Suggestions are welcome...:)

Anyway...we are sticking close to home today. Readjusting to our new schedule. Trying to stay out of the heat. It's a sad day when you are happy that it has cooled to 98 degrees.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday in the Word.

“Because of the oppression of the weak
and the groaning of the needy,
I will now arise, ” says the Lord.
“I will protect them from those who malign them.”
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver refined in a furnace of clay,
purified seven times.
O Lord, you will keep us safe
and protect us from such people forever.

Psalm 12:5-7

Feeling raw and exposed lately. So many changes...good things happening...prayers being answered. And in the middle of it all I just keep trying to catch my breath.

Life is moving fast...I know I say it like every other day. is. And I am just doing my best to keep up.

My boys head back to school tomorrow. And I head off to the first day at my new job. Everyone will be heading in their own direction. That is life, I suppose. But it still can make for some anxious feelings.

So...I remind myself to look to the trust in believe that He will keep us safe and protect us...always. Thank you Lord.

Monday, August 13, 2012

around here.

Oh here we are...the last few days of summer vacation. It is still hot here...two more days of 100+ temps are breathing down my neck. It's been really, really hot for the past few days but thank GOODNESS for a functioning a/c unit. Oh my many people have had their a/c go out and honestly, I don't know what I would do. Sell my left kidney, more than likely, to get a new one! I have lived summer's here without a/c and it is not good. At all.

Anyway...only a few days left of our summer break. Then it's back to school, back to work, back to getting up early. So we've got to get ready!

I have been looking for lots of healthy brown bag inspiration. Chris and I will need a lunch daily and the boys will take lunch 3 times a week and buy the other 2 days. We don't want the same thing every day so I'm trying to get creative...and organized!

The garden is hanging in there. I gotta say it hasn't been the best year for our garden. We've harvested plenty of zucchini with enough to share now and then, which I love to do.

We've harvested tons of peppers that have yet to be used...they're waiting patiently in the crisper. I want to pickle them but don't know how and haven't found a recipe that sounds like what I'm looking for...yet.

We have one cantaloupe far. And a few cucumbers. But that's about it. Even the nasturtiums aren't doing as much this year.

I don't know if it's because we're on a drip system this year and I'm not out there as much hand watering? Or if it's just an off year for gardening? I do know that I haven't seen hardly any bees this year. I did at the beginning...but not so much lately. It worries me...and makes me want to get my own hive all the more.

Just got a call from the school I will be working new hours are 9:30-1:15 with opportunity for extra hours on a regular basis. I know...I'd be jealous, too. :)

I guess that's about it. It all seems like so much more in my brain. Today Ian and I will head out to get a few more things for school and a haircut. And maybe a couple of lunch boxes for Chris and I. I might just try the compartmentalized containers from Glad...they look pretty handy. We'll see... far, so good. What's going on around your neck of the woods?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Squirrel! Thinking of the Fall garden...and then I got sidetracked.

I didn't grow ANY of this. But I'm going to!

I don't know if having to think about the Fall garden right now is a relief or just plain mean!

We are in one of the hottest stretches of weather this week and next...over 100 degrees for days in a row then "cooling off" into the high 90's. I have been resisting the urge to complain about summer because, honestly, it's been pretty darn mild. So I was trying not to jinx it! But regardless of the high temperatures, it's time to start thinking about that Fall garden.

We got a late start on our Fall garden last year. It was the first time we had even tried planting anything to grow during the winter. We grew broccoli, chard and collards. I wanted kale but the big box store didn't have any. So I settled for collards. We ate the broccoli and the chickens ate the rest. But this year I plan on being better about "shopping" my backyard. I will find some good recipes for greens to have handy and when the food is ready, we will eat it. (That's the plan, anyway!)

You know, learning to live on what you eat and grow in your own yard takes some getting used to. Making the switch to locally grown, locally raised, non-processed foods is a process. For a long while I read and read and read and gathered a ton of information. Maybe too much, processed foods, no chemicals for cleaning, all glass storage, grow your own, buy local, save money, grass fed, free-range, make your own fill in the blank.


Honestly, it got to be a bit overwhelming. Reading blogs was inspiring...but it also got to be a bit frustrating. I couldn't keep up. I couldn't do it all. How come "everyone else" could do it ALL but  I kept running to the store for bread, detergent, meat containing pink slime, fish sticks, Clorox spray and mac and cheese in a box?

I'm a creature of habit it seems. I was raised using modern conveniences. And forming new habits is proving to be easier said than done.

It wasn't realistic for me to think that I was going to bake ALL of our bread using whole wheat flour that I grew and ground myself. Or preserve ALL of our food that I grew from organic seed. Or make every single cleaning supply using vinegar and orange peels. You get the idea.

I finally had to take a step back and put things in perspective. I decided that I would do what I could, what I enjoyed and what was feasible for my family. Then I could slowly learn the rest and apply what worked for us.

All of that to's what I'm going to plant in the next week or so and hopefully we'll eat it!
  • beets
  • bush beans
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • radishes
  • kale
  • onions
  • garlic
  • shallots
  • sunflowers
How about you? Are you planning on growing anything over the winter?

(Oh...and by the way...I just sprinkled some homemade carpet fresh on my carpet. Baking soda and essential oil in a mason jar. Shake. Let sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle over carpet using a sieve.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wednesday in the Word {on Thursday}

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are
worth more than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:6-7

Yesterday got away from me. The house was empty all morning...I wrestled with the washer and dryer as neither one are working right...I prepared for an appointment in the afternoon...I got stuck with a needle for a TB test...I brought home three teenage boys afterward and fed them an impromptu dinner of nachos...drove them to youth group...came home and prepared Chris' lunch...wrestled with the laundry a bit more...watched some TV and before I knew it...I realized it was Wednesday.

Summer schedule...or lack'll be good when school starts only because we need to get on some sort of routine again! At least I do!

Luke 12:6-7 was the "scripture of the day" at As soon as I read it, I knew that it was for me. Fear is nipping at my heels. Always, it seems. Fear leads to anxiety. Anxiety leads to depression. The constant undercurrent slows me down. I have been talking with a friend, a kindred spirit, a sister in Christ...over the last couple of days about all of this...fear, anxiety, depression. It's good to talk about it with someone who gets it...who doesn't consider it weakness. Who knows how it feels to try and live life all the while battling this underlying heaviness that always wants to bring you down.

It used to get me...every time. But over the years God has taught me how to fight it...with Him, with prayer, with scripture, with strength, with choices. In the past when depression would hit I didn't think I had a choice to pull out of it. It took me down. I felt bound by its mercy...and believed that I had to just try and stay afloat during an "attack" and wait for it to decide to go away.

That's not the truth, though. I don't have to be at its mercy. I don't have to let it stop me. I don't have to wait for it to decide to leave. I can choose to walk away from it. I can choose to not listen to it. I can choose to turn away from it...the darkness, the temptation to crawl in bed and stay there, the isolation. I can turn away from all of that and look to God instead...look to the the Truth.

Is it an easy choice? Not at all. Fighting this battle has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. There were many times I felt defeated and figured that medication was my only choice. But medication was not what God wanted for me. He wanted me to rely on Him, not pills.

(Speaking of which, I have opinions about medication and specifically anti-depressants. I will share about that more another time, hopefully soon. I've been formulating a post about it in my head for months...but it's a sensitive subject that I want to approach carefully and treat with respect.)

In the meantime...I fight. I rely on God. I am reminded that I am strong...that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me...I am fearfully and wonderfully made...I am worth far more than sparrows...and I don't need to be afraid.

Lord, help me to remember your promises...bring to mind your Truth when I am looking in the wrong with me, protect me, guide me, watch over me. And I will do my best to do my part...Amen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

endings and beginnings

Don't you just love Queen Anne's lace? I do.

For someone who isn't a big fan of summer I am feeling unusually sad that it is soon coming to an end. The weather will continue to be hot well into October but the vacation ends in just about a week. And I am not ready.

I've mentioned before that planting a garden helps me get through the summer with a more positive attitude. Living in an area that turns brown, brown and more brown, being able to go out to my backyard and see lush, green plants bursting with life and food makes the stifling heat more bearable. Not enjoyable...but tolerable. And knowing that tomatoes won't ripen without heat...well, it's become a fair trade-off.

But it won't be the tomatoes that I miss most when summer comes to a close, or the garden, and definitely not the heat. It will be my boys. I love having them around and I will miss them when they go back to school next week. I'm finding it hard to believe and accept the fact that they will both be in high school. And...the fact that Seth will be a senior is really killing me. Really. I'm not ready. I see lots of crying in my future.

But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

I guess the good thing about endings (if I'm trying to be positive here...) is that endings make way for beginnings.

Beginnings like a new school year with lots of fun things in store.

While I may not be happy that Seth is going to be a senior...he is ecstatic. It's not that I am not happy. It's more like, "Hey wait a minute...weren't you just born 4 days ago?" And while I may not be ready for my "baby" to be a freshmen...he is thrilled to finally be at the high school. So I will be thrilled for him.

Beginnings like new jobs. Chris and I received new jobs on the same day last week. He had been interviewing and talking to a local company about a position for about a week and made the decision to accept the job last Thursday.

On that same morning I was called in to an interview as a Health Clerk (think school nurse :) at an elementary school and was offered the job that same day. It's part-time and a foot in the door. I accepted it.

Chris started his new job last Friday and is looking forward to learning new skills.
I start my new job next week and am looking forward to having something permanent.

In one day our lives made a complete change.
It was time.
We are excited and hopeful.
It feels good.

Monday, August 6, 2012


photo credits

“But tomorrow, dawn will come the way I picture her,

barefoot and disheveled, standing outside my window

in one of the fragile cotton dresses of the poor.

She will look in at me with her thin arms extended,

offering a handful of birdsong and a small cup of light.”

~William Collins


Our next home is going to have lots of windows and be filled with light.

Our next home will have a window over the kitchen sink.
I never knew how much I loved a window over the kitchen sink until I didn't have one.

I have a memory of looking out the front window watching the rain fall. I was maybe 7 or 8. I was running through the months of the year over and over in my head, making sure I had them memorized. The house was warm and smelled celery and onions cooking on the stove. Mom was making something good and I was waiting for it to be time to walk to the Bookmobile...which I did, in the rain. I wish I could remember the title of the book that I borrowed. But I don't. All I do remember is that it was so good I read it in an afternoon and was disappointed that I had to wait weeks until the Bookmobile came our way again.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday morning...

This reminds me of my Papa Gene.


It's a beautiful Sunday...

We are lazy and tired and decided to stay home from church.
(edit: we ended up getting ready in a hurry and going to church. It was good.)

Instead we will get ready for the week to come.

Summer is almost over. Already.

I think the boys and I will try to do something fun.

Chris started a new job on answer to prayer.

I was offered a new job that same day...and I accepted it.
(more on that later...)

God is good.
All the time.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

a few experiments: medicinal herbs, homemade dog food and kombucha

Experiment #1: Growing Medicinal Herbs
I took an herbal class a few weeks ago and loved it. It inspired me to plant a few of the basic medicinal herbs in my own backyard. To plan this herbal garden I borrowed Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide from the library and thought it was so good and informative I went to the book store and bought my own copy. As luck would have it, I received an email from the herb farm where I took the class and they were having a sale on all of their plants....40% off! I went the next morning and purchased lemon balm, calendula, self heal, lemon catnip (by accident...not sure how I did that...ah well), echinacea, comfrey and St. John's wort. It will be a while before I have enough herbs to harvest for oil infusions...but you have to start somewhere!

Experiment #2: Making Homemade Dog Food
So our dog Reggie has had a skin issue since last summer. It improved over the winter but then came back this summer. I haven't been able to pinpoint, for sure, what the problem allergy? environmental allergy? poor immunity due to diet? I don't really know for sure. What I do know is that his skin is icky, he is constantly scratching and he stinks. Poor guy.

Well...the same way I don't want to run to the doctor every time some little something happens to us, I feel the same way about the vet for the animals. I am grateful for vets and for modern medicine. But I believe that just like we can help ourselves, we can help our pets holistically, as well. It's worth a shot anyway...and if nothing works at home, then off to the doc we go. (Unless it is an emergency situation or there is a lot of blood involved. I know my limits.)

After some poking around on the Internet and reading lots of information on foods dogs can and can't have, what's beneficial for what, etc. I decided to make a food supplement to go along with the mid-priced lamb and rice kibble that we feed him. This is what I came up with....

Homemade Dog Food Supplement
5 cups brown rice - cooked
one large sweet potato - cubed/skin on
4 medium carrots - cut in chunks/skin on
chicken broth or water
1/2 cup lentils
2 cloves garlic*
4 T Flax meal
2-3 T olive oil

Cook rice and set aside to cool. Prepare vegetables, lentils and garlic and place in a large saucepan. Cover with chicken broth or water and bring to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender. When the mixture is done mash with a potato masher. Add in olive oil and Flax meal and stir to combine thoroughly. In a large bowl (or the pot if it's large enough) add the brown rice to the potato carrot mixture and stir to combine. I placed a week's worth of the mixture** in a container to keep in the fridge. Then I placed the rest in freezer containers to store for later use. The mixture should last a week in the fridge so store accordingly.

*Dogs and garlic...from my research garlic is not good for dogs in large quantities. But if used in moderation garlic can provide the same healthful qualities for dogs that it does for humans. Of course, if I see any adverse reactions I will not continue to feed Reggie this supplement.
**I will be feeding Reggie 1/2-1 cup of the supplement along with his kibble. You can decide what works best for you and your dog.
*edit* Estimated cost: $3 for approx. 14-1 cup servings. Serving it once a day with the dinner kibble it should last two weeks. Not bad, eh?

Along with this supplement I am giving him a glucosamine tablet for his achy, old man joints and fish oil capsules that are also good for his skin. I did read that fish oil could be added directly to supplements but I chose to keep doing the capsules for now.

Experiment #3: Kombucha
So I mentioned the herbal class, right? I think I also mentioned that I was able to squeak into the fermentation class that was being held later that same afternoon, didn't I? Well...if not, I'll tell you now...I took the fermentation class, as well. And it was cool. We made sauerkraut that was delicious and kim chi. Sadly, my kim chi didn't turn out. Some of the cabbage browned slightly so I tossed it. But I will definitely try it again...I do love me some kim chi.

Along with the kraut and kim chi we were also taught how to care for a know, the blobby thing used to make kombucha tea. I have to admit...I was not real sure how I felt about scoby's and kombucha and fermented drinks. But I kept an open mind...which wasn't hard to do sitting in the middle of a beautiful herb farm under a giant oak tree learning about nature's goodness...and I brought home a scoby. Then I made it some strong black tea as I was told to do. I put it all in a big jar, covered with cheesecloth and a rubber band and set it in a dark cabinet for 7 days. Actually...that was weeks ago and it's still sitting in my cabinet...scoby is growing away and happy as a clam (and just about as slimy). I haven't made any kombucha because I am so intimidated by it all!

Do any of you make kombucha? Do you have any tips? Any flavor additives to suggest? I need all the help I can get!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Clara's Kitchen:

I was browsing through blogs this morning and came across a link to an amazing woman named Clara. I cried from the moment the video started all the way through the 3 or 4 other videos I watched. I love her. And wish that she lived nearby. Because if she did I would visit her.

She shares recipes as well as stories of being a child growing up during the depression. She remembers it as being a tough time, but also a good time of working hard, sticking together and making something good out of what little they had.

Clara also has a cookbook out that I definitely need to get my hands on.

She reminds me of Noni in a lot of ways. I had the idea a few years back to make videos of my grandparents. I wish I had followed through with it...

Take some time to watch a video or three...I think you'll love her, too.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday in the Word

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,  
    he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

I often overlook Psalm 23. Isn't that terrible? I know. But I do. I'm not proud to say, I do that to a lot of the commonly used scriptures. If I see them on coffee mugs or bumper stickers I dismiss if they don't hold enough meaning and power just because man has commercialized God's Word.

But I will admit that my thinking in this regard is wrong. All wrong. Just because people have chosen to make a profit on God's Word doesn't mean that His Word is any less powerful or divine.

As I always do, I chose today's photo before I chose the scripture. I chose the photo then I searched a scripture containing the word "waters". There were many to choose from. Many upon many. I skimmed as I am wont to do. I skimmed over Psalm 23...and passed it right on by. But as I continued down the page I felt the tug to go back to read it with an open read it for what it is...part of God's love letter and handbook of life written to me

Yes. To me. And to you.

Did you know that if you were the only person in the whole world Jesus would have died for you? It's true. He would have died just for you...just for me...just for one single person. He loves us that much.

Take a moment...if you didn't already, and read Psalm 23. And if you already read it...maybe read it again. Let Him restore your soul.