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Emotions and banana bread…

Good morning all, and what a lovely day it is. I have decided that my early morning coffee hours, before everybody gets up and the phone starts ringing for the day, is the best time of day for me to blog. My plan, when planning my routine for the school year, included a very early morning walk with my dogs before anyone got up….but that has not worked out. I am just having too much trouble getting everybody at my house on board with the nighttime routine….which leads to less than efficient mornings. My intention was to get up, walk the dogs while the coffee is brewing, and then come back and make breakfast and get everyone else up, get them out the door for the day, and do my Bible study/coffee/ quiet time. There are a few drawbacks to this plan, the most oobvious being that by the time they are both up and out the door, I am long since done with coffee time,and this is the time of day when the distractions begin…be it the phone, dogs, chores, whatever… It seems to me to be much more prudent to switch these times of day around.  Coffee time in these wee hours when it is still dark (and therefore a tiny bit scary to walk my dogs, especially across the river), makes more sense this time of day, and how logical would it be to walk my dogs when the boys are up…It makes sense, i am already out at the bus with my dogs, and all bundled up and ready to go. today I made a decision to rearrange my am schedule a bit and see if I can’t get those dogs on a consistent routine.

I am trying so hard to establish a routine, but it just seems like there is always something. Everyday seems to have a monkey wrench thrown in. Either school releases early, or dad goes in to work late…Maybe a friend needs a last minute babysitter, and I have to drop my plans for that…whatever the case, it feels like I am constantly throwing my routine out the window for one cause or another, and it is driving me nuts.

I have been emotionally drained in the last week. I have noticed, that the more I appreciate the blessings in my life, the more stable and content I become with my life, the more unhappy people around me seem. I don’t really think they are less happy but I am more content and able to see small blessings much more readily. I have heard so many people complaining about their lives this last couple of months. It makes me quite sad really. It makes me sad to see the state of people. There are very few people who seem really content. Even the people I notice at church, who always seem positive, I realized were doing a whole lot of complaining with smiles on their faces.

I have faced old demons this week, and new ones too… I have decided that I have a responsibility to tell the ladies at Bible Study how I felt when I left last week, and that is going to be hard because I admire every one of those ladies as my elders..wiser and more experienced Christians, but I really feel like this week, they lost something in translation… I often feel as though Christians who were raised as Christians, and have known no other way, have such a different perspective than Christians who had to find their way to The Lord the hard way. I think that Christians who have never known a life without Christ have a harder time finding compassion sometimes. I find that the world is a lot more black and white, and a lot less gray to a lot of them. I do not mean this to be any type of insult…In my Bible Study…there are six women. two of which grew up without Christ,and found Him later, and four of whom have known nothing else. I find that the four who have known nothing  else are a lot more likely to jump to a black and white answer, and the other one who had to find her own way, spends a lot of time nodding in agreement with me as I try to explain to these ladies a different perspective….this week no one was listening and there was a lot of justifying and enabling what appeared to me to be some very non-christian thinking. Remember that these are women I look up to and admire. Some of the things that were said were pretty judgmental, but the thing I noticed most was that the entire time we sat there talking about Philippians 1:9-11, and how to use discernment and sharpen our tools and overflow our love, we were seeing a whole lot of the opposite. I felt like there was a lot of taking away of tools rather than sharpening them…even a little name calling! Whats up with that ladies…are we having a rough week or what? Lets just say it will be hard to confront them, but I think they should hear how I felt when I walked out of that study. Bible study usually lifts me up. Tuesday i walked out feeling confused and judged. One of the ladies even went so far as to say a “slang” phrase without thinking twice or looking up at who was in the room with her. Had she thought about how that comment would have affected me, I doubt she would have ever said it. It was condescending and judgmental and it hit home in a way that she would have known was pretty personal. In fact, knowing what I know of her family, I wonder how her husband feels when she says that, considering that he was not raised in a Christian home and had to find his own way to Jesus as well, this Bible Study is different. We usually have a Beth Moore or some other woman’s small group Bible study to follow. This time we are just doing an individual study with Journals and  leader. I don’t feel like our leader is discerning enough to lead this study. feel as though she needs the perspective of a more mature Christian leading the way. I love and respect her, but it is clear by the amount of discomfort in her life that she is not in a position to lead other people to greater clarity. I noticed instead of growth, I saw a lot of building each other up and confirming it was ok to be stuck in those ruts…Ugh!

I made a big batch of banana bread yesterday, and some dog treats. I am slowly getting back on track, but it has taken over a week since the news of my little friends cancer for me to start to focus on anything productive. It is nice to be back at it and trying to get on track. I am having trouble staying focused but it is getting better, and now the family is waking and it is time for me to wind this down. Until next time…

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What a week

My goodness, what a long road my friend has ahead of her! After finding what appeared to be a kidney tumor on Tuesday of last week, she was rushed to Seattle to have a cantaloupe sized tumor and what was left of her left kidney removed. She has cancer in her lungs and blood….

Thank The Good Lord today was the first day back in Bible Study! I am so glad t is fall. I am physically and emotionally exhausted, and I am trying desperately to stay focused on any task that doesn’t revolve around that poor sick child. Every quiet moment in my day, and even some very daydreamy moments where I just tune out my surroundings, have been filled with prayer and thoughts of love for this family. I find myself halfway through changing the laundry, and look up to see I only halfway unloaded the dishwasher or put away only part of dinner. It’s pretty ridiculous, really, how distracted I am by this little light of love in my life that is burning so dimly today. I got to talk to her today. It was the first time in a week and it felt marvelous! I thought I had a lot to say…but thinking about Miss Stella Blue has left my brain empty again. Until I summon up some more words from the depths of this sadness…

I feel so blessed in my life. I see so many with so much more than me, so unhappy. I see so many with so much less, who could have so much more. I want to pray that God would work on the world as a whole. I wish he would soften everyone’s hearts a little bit, and build compassion to come naturally in all people. I wish it seemed logical to pray for everyone to be saved.

Think how much less disease, famine, and overall sadness there would be in the world if Jesus was the light that led us all…think how powerless Satan would be!

Bible Study was fantastic, but I ran into some hard moments. I feel as though Christians who grew up in and have only known a Christian household have such a different view than a Christian who was raised without knowing the joy of Jesus, and saved later in life. The two perspectives are so different. I am one of two women in my Bible study who were not raised in Christian households. Regardless of different perspectives…I love and cherish every one of the women in my Bible study group! I am so thankful to be blessed by them in my life today!

Tha’ts all for tonight…very scattered and random thoughts today. I hope acupuncture today helped put me back in order. I will know tomorrow. Night all!

 

 

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It is possible to move mountains…

It is possible to move mountains

by moving small stones one day at a time.

We got a probable diagnosis, and this family has a hard road ahead of them. It looks like our girl has a pretty rare cancer, on her kidney. Poor darling. We have a benefit concert in the works and I am going to ask a professional to set up a web page for her. They are on their way to the big hospital where they can get the appropriate care… for a woman who has home birthed both of her daughters, that alone is going to be tough. She was quite excited about her allergy free muffins, and left me with a smile on her face, even if only momentarily. I am sitting here enjoying my delicious mixed fruit leather, and I have a smile on my face. She is going to be ok…we might have to pull her through it every step of the way but she is such a bright, positive little girl…the survival rate if it has not spread is 95 percent. Lovin those odds!

It’s late. I want to get in the habit of doing my Bible study early in the morning, but thus far my morning routine is just not getting established. I am in desperate need of a sit down list making session after the last two days of fog in my brain. Tomorrow I need to focus and get back on task. Looki forward to it so I better head to bed before I can’t get up in the morning.

 

 

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Tis the season to horde fru-uit fa la la la la la la la la

Good morning and welcome! I encourage you to grab a cup of coffee or tea and get comfortable, as I have much to ramble on about today. My last post deleted as I was trying to submit it and I did not have the patience to start over with it. So, I will include that info today as well. It was Apple dumplings. I found the most delicious recipe on Allrecipes.com. I love that web page. I use it a lot. I happen to have two big barrels of crab apples just waiting to be processed. Patiently waiting their turn. And let me tell you they are more patient than a lot of other fruits and vegetables. As I was wandering through allrecipes last week, I noticed an apple dumpling recipe that I happened to have everything I needed to make. I gave it a try. My husband looked skeptical when I told him about them, but he is a changed man. I read the review….it looked great. I am so glad I tried it. Holy cow this is yummy!  here it is  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/country-apple-dumplings/detail.aspx

It is worth your time! I think that is would be good for after school on a cold snowy day or on a holiday morning when you don’t have to be anywhere, but it is a little time consuming to do first thing in the morning….unless you, unlike me, jump out of bed bright eyed and bushy tailed and rearin to go….it might take a little longer than you like. I will still do it in the mornings, because I have plenty of time before my boys get up. Enjoy….

So now that I got last weeks post out of the way…wow what a whirlwind the last few days have been. It seems like tragedy is everywhere. I try to stay positive, look at the bright side, and thank The Lord for my blessings rather than ask for too much, but this week I feel like a beggar. I want to fall down on my knees and plead with Him, and it is purely selfish. I don’t want to lose a loved one. She is darling, sweet, so much like an angel that I am afraid He is calling her home. My best friend, who had a baby ten days ago, was told yesterday, that her five year old daughter has an enlarged spleen. I got some information out of her but she was a wreck. It was not enough for me so I looked it up. There really is no best case scenario. When your spleen is sick, it is because something else is causing it to work to hard…either filtering dead red blood cells or making white ones, or maybe both. What that means is that some unidentified disease is causing her spleen to work to hard. The fact that the spleen could rupture is a secondary emergency, to finding the cause of the defense system being activated so hard. This poor little girl is so much like an angel, and her mother…can you imagine? I ache for them. I want to just hold them as tight as I can and pray it all away. I know The Lord has his reasons….and I know I am being selfish, to an extent. I really don’t want to see this little family hurt so badly. The things they are looking at are things like autoimmune disorders, heart disease, bone marrow or other cancers… it really is quite traumatic. I just got a phone call from the woman I nanny for. She is starting a business that produces homemade, dairy, egg and gluten free baked goods. She is going to bring me a batch of carrot muffins to take to my dear friend. About a year ago my friend developed severe allergies to all three of these things overnight…woke up one morning itchy and purple splotched. Without divulging her entire personal life…she has more on her plate than one could handle without a good support system. All I can do is pray.

On that note, praying… the next topic in my thoughts. I have been in a very good place for a little while now. I have been in very bad places in my life, and while many people would not consider my current place a good one….I feel like I am surrounded by blessings every day. The amount or lack of money in our lives holds no bearing on my ability to feel blessed. I have a roof over my head, plenty of clothes to keep my warm, food when I want it, even if it isn’t what I want at the moment, it is nourishment. I have a fantastic husband and a wonderful son, both of whom love me very much. I have awesome, healthy pets and a few good close friends. I mean really, what more could a girl ask for? I am overflowing with blessings, but being so happy about all the glorious blessings in my life has its downfalls. I often find it hard to talk to people, both Christians and non-Christians seem to be so full of negativity. I used to be the same, but as I have found my joy, I really see it in others. Even when disguised by a smile, most people are complaining, alot of the time. Most of these people have more than I do in terms of wealth possessions. Most of them don’t wonder how they are going to buy groceries next. We always eat well, sometimes I just have to be creative, and some times those meals taste better than anything I have every made. I am blessed. I always have been and as a child I knew it too. Somehow, young adulthood warped me into having a poor me attitude, but through lots of hard work and determination, the happy, blessed me is back! The sermon on Sunday addressed this issue, along with the issue of our prayer life. I feel like most of the time, my needs are met, and when I pray, I find myself spending alot of time saying thank you! I have noticed that other people spend a lot of time asking…that almost an entire prayer is please Lord help with this and bless this and fix this and give me strength…you get the point. I ask for strength and direction to do His will alot, but other than that, aside from personal communications, I mostly just want to tell Him I love Him over and over again. I want to thank Him for making my life turn out so wonderful and for the awesome future I look forward to with Him. This came up in church on Sunday and I felt like I knew exactly what the Pastor was saying. I feel uncomfortable listing the favors that I want from God. He has a plan, I just want Him to help me understand why? It is not natural to me to list the things I would like Him to “fix”. I assume they are just the way He wants them for the moment. Today, I feel like a beggar. My best friends child is sick and I want to plead for her life, even though I know she would be better off with Him anyway. Don’t get me wrong, she has a great life, but c’mon now, who can compete with Heaven?

I traded some babysitting last week for some food…peaches in particular. A ton of them. I have been processing peaches for days! I decided not to can them. We have a bunch of canned peaches, so I dehydrated them, and made fruit leather. It is taking forever but the house smells deliciously peachy. I am hording fruit. We eat some much of it here. It is by far a favorite snack in our house fresh, frozen, or canned we eat a lot of fruit…and tis the season to horde and process it at a good price (free or nearly free). I then use the horded fruit to make fruit leather, add to hot cereal, or cold if you like. We eat fruit fresh and frozen with cream over it, we eat it in baked goods and as a side dish with our dinners.

I am working on putting up the garden just as fast as I can process food…

Last night we had our first hard frost…

I have done a lot more research on Rescue Ranch logistics and I have a much better idea where I stand financially, and what is reasonable for me to expect, as well as more info on what kinds of licenses and permits I will need. I have spent a little time researching venues to sell at and what their requirements are.

I had better get that care package ready to take to my friend…her muffins will be here soon. Until next time…have a blessed day!

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Welcome Routine…..

I was so excited for today. The official start of the school season, the day after Labor Day, and the day I get to start this routine I have been waiting so impatiently for. Wouldn’t you know, nothing ever works as planned. I learned that long ago, so I don’t get too disappointed when it does not go as planned, but we were up too late last night. My lovely son, who has three sleep disorders and usually the one I am waiting on to go to bed, was the only one asleep earlier than usual. I was ecstatic…what is this? He is asleep by ten…that is unheard of! I should have known it was too good to be true, since he woke up this morning in a cold sweat with a fever and sore throat!. Ugh! So, he lies on the couch eating chicken noodle soup and cucumbers, watching cartoons, while I toil through my day. It’s not bad. He is pretty low maintenance when he is sick, and he doesn’t get sick often any more (this was not always the case, as you will learn through time with me). The turkey fry was great. Nice, quiet, pretty low key. Just a couple of close friends. The potato salad was delicious, and got eaten up quickly, but I still cant get that one last thing right about the coleslaw. Its pretty good, but something is just not what I am looking for, we did, however, eat most of it. Hubby is going to smoke a turkey this weekend. It will be our first smoking experience and we are quite excited. We all went out and picked buckets of apples at the end of the night, it couldn’t have been nicer.

One of my girlfriends and I really enjoy a lot of the same types of gardening and craft stuff, and we trade magazines back and forth as we get new ones. I have four new mags to read now. Two Mother Earth News, and Two Grit. In exchange she got HobbyFarms and Urban Farming from me. We will trade for a couple weeks then return each others mags. In the winter it’s craft books and magazines we share. I love this aspect of our friendship! We always have new stuff to talk about that we are both interested in.

Did I already mention that tire farming is the way to go with gourds and melons? I had six stacks of tires lined up, each two tires tall. I cannot believe how well the warm season veggies and fruits did in those! It must be the heat generated by the dark rubber. All I know is I am sold! I have never successfully grown melons here, most people don’t even try unless they have a greenhouse. I grew mine in tires and I will do it again next year. I am already fantasizing about how I am going to make hoops for them when I have my own place. The landlord here is pretty picky about how stuff looks. He is already quite irritated that I would grow a “kitchen garden”, as gardens don’t belong near the house, and he even told me I was lucky he didn’t make me tear it all up. Ugh! Renting can be so hard sometimes. It’s his land, so I have to respect him, not to mention the fact that he is 50 years my elder, and I respect my elders! It just seems he is so close minded about what a garden is supposed to be. He is completely opposed to succession planting or container cropping. While I have already harvested enough veggies to make it worth my while, he insists I am never gonna reap any benefit from it. Can’t he see all the tomato and peppers bursting from every plant out there. What about the melons and sunflowers? What about the heads of lettuce and big fluffy carrot fronds? And oh yeah, “your watering all wrong”. The thing is, I am not. I spend hours and hours researching, learning, reading…..I am a nerd. When something captures me, I want to learn all I can about it. I even studied in Land management and Ecology at the local state university until my sons handicaps and single parenthood were more than I could do on top of work and school. I digress…

I plan to have an entire row of tires for my homestead garden, and I plan to grow all of my warmest season crops in them, and I intend to make row covers for them (because last week we came two degrees from a frost and I was very worried). I imagine the row covers will have to be quite large to cover full grown, fruit producing squash, melons, and gourds, but I believe we can come up with something very manageable. They work so well, and one of the things that I really love, is that the fruit don’t sit in the dirt. That really drives me nuts, the fruit lying in the dirt, not ripening and just waiting for bugs to devour them. I absolutely LOVE that they are not in the dirt but hanging on the sides of the tires, and now that they are so large you cannot even see the tires under them.

I look forward to the early evening when it cools down enough to comfortably work in the garden. Before ten am, it’s almost to cold to work out there, and when it’s not to cold, it gets hot fast. so, it cools down to the nice seventies in the evenings, and the sun is low. Perfect for gardening. Usually right before or after dinner is when I spend my time in the garden. Today I have to learn how to process apples. I want to do so many things with them. I can’t decide if I should can them, freeze them, make applesauce with some….guess my next destination is some web page that details the best way to put up apples for multiple uses….and on that note, have a blessed day!

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Catching up…

Well, it’s been a month since I found my way over here, and I am finally finding time to catch up. A couple months ago I started acupuncture due to some health issues I am struggling with. Since the first visit, I have felt amazing changes in my body and mind every day. I have not had as much sustainable energy since I was a teen. However, since I have many years of exhaustion to make up for, I have not been able to sit still at the computer long enough to write a new blog post. So, today here I sit. I have spent the last several weeks getting the rest of this house unpacked, and getting the three of us wiggled in to this space….it has been too long coming. It has been a hugely productive month, and now school is in session and I am excited for the productivity to come. In the last month, I have managed to make two quilts, ten strands of beads, and two up-cycled candle-holders. I have made three types of Jelly and canned them, as well as some soup, which I am a little nervous about because as my first canning experience I am not positive that it was a successful. I got a lot of the stuff done that I have been meaning to for the last two years…and that is a great feeling. I have been doing lots of baking and cooking, which I really, really enjoy, as does my family.

The garden has been quite productive. I have beans and peas and carrots coming out my ears….and the raspberries. Oh man, we put up a lot of raspberries, which works out nicely because my son will eat frozen fruit with cream on it all day long. I have been making fudge and cookies. I found a recipe on another blog for some delicious cookies, made with a chocolate cake mix. Since no one in our home is a big fan of cake, this has been a huge blessing…..as we somehow have an abundance of cake mixes in our cupboards. As my dear hubby days “Best cake I have ever had”.

The tomato and pepper plants are ridiculously prolific, and I can’t imagine how we are gonna eat all those peppers in the course of a year. I make a lot of homemade chilli and spaghetti sauce, so the tomatoes will get eaten up no problem, but looks like all the neighbors are gonna be eating peppers this winter. I even managed to successfully grow cantaloupe here in my short season garden. Tires…that was the trick to success. I assume it is the warmth in the tires that made them grow so prolifically. The tires also raised them up off the ground. I grew them in stacks of tires two high, and not one melon is sitting in the dirt rotting on the underside! I am sold on growing melons and squash type plants in tires from now on! I can’t wait till I live on land that I own so that I can grow whatever I want, in whatever container I want, whenever I want.

We have a small rural home, right outside of town, rented from an elderly farmer who is very stuck in his ways. He gave me a big lecture about how vegetables are not meant to be grown close to the house, they are not meant to be grown in containers, and I am watering all wrong…plus, it’s way too late for any crops planted after may or June, so he is convinced that my second succession crops will fail….  My dirt is too rich and I haven’t fed my plants enough.  The old grouch just complained about every aspect of my non-traditional, non-square, too close to the house, garden. I was so irritated with him for days, but I figure I will show him…When my cool season succession crops come up, I will take him a big basket of goodies (he is, after all, a ninety year old widower), and it can’t hurt to share my abundance with him. I try to just let it roll off my shoulders when his negativity overflows into my bubble, but this time I stewed for a few days. When I finally own my own property, I will have an entire row of tires set up. They work great for anything that loves warm soil, and they hold water great. I highly recommend trying some “tire gardening”. Because the warm season crops love the tires so much, I want to figure out a way to make covers for the tires, but they are gonna have to be pretty big, because by now, the gourds are pretty large. The temps got into the thirties this week, and I was worried about them every night. They are not done yet, they need a few more weeks, if they can just get through this cold snap.

I am ready for Fall. I am ready to start tearing down some of the garden stuff that’s done, and rounding up and bringing in the stuff that doesn’t fit in my tiny greenhouse. I look forward to the cooler temps and the craftier season. I spend most of my summer keeping up with my very social husband, and tending the garden. I look forward to the slower paced cool seasons, when I can spend time focusing on projects in my home and my craft surplus for the spring farmers markets.

I especially look forward to the routine of “school season”. We are wound down and in bed by close to the same time every night. I enjoy getting up at five am to walk my mutts before getting the child and hubby up for the day. I start the coffee, walk the dogs, get the boys up, and make breakfast. I feed the boys and dogs, get the laundry started for the day and make sure the dishwasher is empty for the day. By then, the boys are heading out the door, and I now have an opportunity to spend an hour doing Bible Study while drinking my coffee and waiting for the laundry to be ready to change. Once Bible Study/quiet time is done, I head to the chore list and start working on projects or chores I want to accomplish for the day. I have found that my motivation for chores in the afternoon is lacking, so I spend that time working on writing, research, crafts, gardening, baking…things I really enjoy. As dinnertime approaches, I get that ready and then wait for my boys to come home. I love when I have had a ridiculously productive day and they both notice (I am pretty spoiled in this department, as they do seem to notice). After dinner, I clean up the kitchen, put away food, and water the garden. Get young one ready for bed, and get the dogs cared for for the evening. I love the part of night when everyone winds down and I can sit with my journal and spill my thoughts for the day. I love having bedtime routines and having my clothes set out for the next morning before I go to bed. Somehow, I can’t manage this routine in the harried days of summer….and it is welcome relief from the chaos that ensues when we go go go too much for too long, for my tastes anyway.

We moved the sewing table out of the too small office, and now everything fits better, and I have better access to my sewing machine all the time. This makes life much, much easier. I look forward to a very productive craft and sewing year. I have been keeping my eye out for inexpensive material….I even found two yard swatches at Wal-mart last week for a dollar a piece! Score one for the craft budget there!

I finally got the SD card cleared from my camera, so maybe now I can start taking some photos of all these great projects I am working on and sharing them with you. Meanwhile, I guess you are stuck with your imagination. I have been successfully saving money from my nanny job to buy craft supplies, and I have been thinking about looking for a part time job in a craft store around here, or a bead store…. just a few hours a week. Not sure if I could pull it off or not. Guess we shall see how school goes for my son this year. Really, I just want to make stuff and sell it more than anything. I don’t need much income, but a little would be helpful.

I also want to go through all my books…I have so many books. I would like to trade them at the bookstore for some used books that I would rather have. I own tons and tons of books I will never read again. Why not trade them for some I have been longing to have, like that beekeeping book, or that Hobby farm book I have been eying. There are tons of craft books at that particular store that I would love to bring home. I want to make several binders, from all types of articles and information I have collected on all types of subjects. Cooking, crafts, gardening, household management…..it’s pretty ridiculous, my obsession with organizing things in binders…Ugh. Well, I have chatted long enough for today. Have a blessed evening. Until next time…