Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year, New Day

Well, 2011 is coming to an end today. We celebrate the flipping over of a calender with anticipation of new and exciting promises to be better, make ourselves better, and the world better.

I find it a strange custom for us to do as Believers in the One True God, Creator of the universe and of time itself. Our systematic counting of time has no real meaning if we forget that He is always faithful and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3: 22-23). It is no accident or gift of time that we wake up in the morning. God's time is always perfect. Remember how He gave us an example by doing Himself of how to treat time in the very beginning before there was no sin? Back when He told us the way to count days? There was no written calender. Let me remind you with His own Word:

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)

and later in the law:


 “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of YHWH your God. In it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter; your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your livestock, nor the stranger within your gates; for in six days YHWH made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore YHWH blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it” (Ex. 20:8-11).

Now, I know that we are no longer under the curse of the law (read this about the law), but I am talking about keeping time.

 Are we to make promises of being better only when a year has passed? Are we to only recognize YHWH's goodness when we awake tomorrow because we've lived to see "another year?" Or is it that we ought to be grateful because we awoke this morning and all the other mornings before this? He tells us in His Word to be thankful for all things and pray always (1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18), so should we not do this every day? I am struck by the fact that our Lord wants my genuine thanks- my first thing in the morning- haven't opened my eyes yet- morning breath- stumbling down the hall towards the bathroom- praise and prayer. It's not just the anticipation of changing out my old calender with a new one- it's the all the time anticipation that this world is not my home- that He will come back to get me- that I will be able to spend eternity in Glory- and that I will answer face to face for even the foolish words I have spoken while not thinking (Matt. 12:36). Imagine then the idle way I have spent my unredeemed time (Ephesians 5: 16)! Do not wait another moment to live as imitators of God (Eph. 5:1) just because it's not a "new year." We are not promised another day at all (James 4: 13-17)!



Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Trading in "Good" for "Best"

We have decided after prayer and discussion that our girls will not be continuing with their Thoughtful Thursday classes. Yesterday, I sent the emails to their teachers about it. I felt a little heartbroken to do so. It is not something that is in our best interest to continue to do, though not a bad thing of course. Isnt' life funny like that? Sometimes you have this thing you think is great only to find that it's merely good and you're missing out on the great because of it. Does that make it bad? I don't know that it is bad- just bad for us. 

Part of our inability to go has to do with the fact that we have wood heat. It’s bitterly cold in our house when there is no one here to keep the fire. This is an od drafty house that needs constant care.

We are also continually working on the house. We have yet to replace the roof (which we’d hoped to have done by now) due to finances. What seemed like only $30 per week really became more like $100 after gas and being so far away from home that we were only able to have one meal before leaving home and getting back so very late. Really we probably could have put the roof on the house by now had we chosen not to do TT  and saved that money instead. 

We spent many years just not leaving the house except for basics like grocery shopping  and doctor visits for Scott’s Mom that I just wanted the girls to do something different and fun (hence going to TT). Of course retrospect is 20/20 and many of the valuable lessons we learned during that time of trial were the best things and nothing a book nor a class could teach us can compare. 

In keeping with the “plan” we feel the Lord has given to us for our daughters, the art and music lessons, which entertaining and fun, are not “best” but only “good.” None of us should be willing to give up the “great” for merely “good” although sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which. The girls have both expressed a desire to continue classes, but also to fulfill their life plans, and so are ambivalent. Last night they spent at a friend of the family's home in order to help the Mother today with chores and childcare. After feeling tired from not sleeping well, they worked hard today. They came home tired but feeling fulfilled having helped this family. I think they have realized their calling in life if greater than the fun they have been having in classes. I am grateful.  Another lesson the Lord has provided!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thoughts on the house and my Honey

This morning, my Honey said something to me that really spoke to me: "It will take time but it will all come together." He was referring to our halfway demolished house.



The one in which we need a non leaking roof. The one in which we have to change our sediment filter every few days because our well might be drying up, pump going out, pressure tank may be too full of mud, etc....




The one that is hazardous in certain parts of the "deck" outside because if you walk on it the rotten boards might give way. The one which has no electricity in the laundry room-soon-to-be- bathroom and I'm using an extension cord to do laundry and have a light in there. You know, the one we live in.

He is such a patient man. Perhaps it has been the years living with me that has helped him to develop that quality. He is known for saying "It's how you eat an elephant: one bite at a time." I am not so patient. I get easily overwhelmed. I often say "yes" to things that stretch my time beyond what is humanly possible. My Honey sets me free from obligations I need to be freed from ( Numbers 30) I see the large projects we take on and panic a little bit. He calms my fears that it will overtake me. I just realize on a pretty regular basis how very blessed I am. YHWH has shown me grace in marriage as well as my salvation. I have not deserved a good husband who really loves me, but I got one anyway! I have not been such a wonderful wife, but he has continually been a wonderful leader in our household. Thank you Honey!



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How do you stay at home or......

This evening on Facebook a lady asked this question: "What are some things that you do to make sure you don't spend more time reading or writing about your home ministry than you spend actually ministering? Let's share ideas!!!"




Here is my response:




I used to go to this great ladies Titus 2 Bible study. Sometimes I would come home with these great ideas from the group that my husband just thought weren't for us. One day I realized I spent so much time there and studying to be a good wife without implementing anything I'd learned (like obeying and reverencing my husband) that I just felt foolish and stopped going. When asked why I didn't come I told the ladies that I needed to start practicing some of the theories I had learned. LOL

I also have come to realize that the Lord places us where He wants us to minister. Here I am in the home with my daughters, homeschooling them (now teenagers) and teaching them what kind of future wives to be! I'm all for spreading the Gospel to the world, but I have a family that the Lord has given me to care for here. If He brings others into my home then this is the place for me to share in. Also, it's not a "do as I say not as I do" thing. The Gospel, hence the Christian life, is one of love (not defined as mere affection but the kind of love that as CS Lewis wrote: But Love is not mere Kindness. "Kindness cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering", while Love "would rather see [the loved ones] suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes". How can I love my family if I only want them to always "be happy" by placating them with toys and entertainments? I cannot. Thus it is my job to serve them and teach the children in this precious time that I have them here with me to love the Lord. That is my ministry.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Again the Lord Provides!

I am not a winner. I enter contests all the time but I rarely win. Whenever I competed in events at school I hardly ever won. I was always surprised when I did when I ran track. I never won running events- only jumping. Of course there weren't many jumpers- sometimes none but me so I won by default. I once won a door prize- the coffee table that's in my living room right now. I also won some fabric as a part of a shop hop online at quilt websites. I think in 38 years of entering many contests and competitions, winning only a few times is pretty good. Today I won something too!

Example pot- not the pot I won

I entered the Baraka Neti Pot drawing for $100 worth of free products and I won! I entered at the last minute really, and although there were several chances to enter over the summer so I'm sure others entered several times, my one lone entry got picked! It's really just in time for us too because it's been a bad allergy season for us. We've been doing demolition here and kicking up dust and mold spored and animal droppings and who knows what else! I have caulked around doors and such, but it still gets in. My poor Dear Honey has suffered the greatest out of all of us- working tirelessly on his days off to remove dilapidated parts full of nasty allergens in the heat and up on the roof even! I have really appreciated all that he does for us- and it has been so very evident as of late. He's so good to us! The least I can do is get him a nice manly black matte neti pot made in the USA!

We have had great success with sinus rinsing to combat inhaled allergies. Today I took my Eldest Dear Daughter to have allergy testing and found that she is, like me, allergic to something from every category except foods. Of course they test for common allergens- not the bananas that have hurt her stomach since she was five. We just avoid them now. Really she has had such a time with allergies all her life- and asthma. I have only recently discovered my own allergies and asthma which have gotten worse, but my poor Baby Girl- she's woken up with gunk in her eyes, coughed through many nights, had a constant itchy throat, years of eczema, and hospitalization with asthma. After all of that and many prayers said on her behalf, we finally can say we know the causes of her miseries and combat them. I'm not much on pharmaceuticals. Anyone who knows me will know that I hate taking medicine myself, let alone giving things to my family that will be full of weird side- effect symptoms. Years ago, my Honey went into anaphylactic shock taking NSAIDs (you know- Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, etc...) and had to be rushed to the hospital twice in a week for it! The first time he was given adrenaline and an antihistamine and sent home once the symptoms subsided (because of the meds). Once that was out of his system, his symptoms came back again and he was brought by ambulance to the hospital. He spent months on steroids and have since had to be very careful what he takes. NSAIDs are in everything from indigestion relief to sports cream! After all of these years avoiding conventional medicine, it seemed that the best thing to do was to just embrace them and put myself back on allergy medication. Currently I take Quercetin every morning for the more mild allergies, but really I needed something more for fall. I have considered Zyrtec again but I'm going to see if the Neti Pot won't help me out more without side effects. I really believe that the lot may be case in the lap but the Lord is the one who determines the outcome! No, I am not advocating gambling, but I do know we have a Father who sees and who is active always in our lives. He is not absent and I know He answers prayers! Who knows? Maybe winning this contest is an answer to prayer!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Seeing God's Truth in the Dentist Office

This morning I was blessed by an early call from my dentist's office. I say "my" meaning I plan to go there for checkups. My Beloved does some work there sometimes and he recommended  that I go get a wisdom tooth that had a cavity taken care of. Well, I met Dr. Barkley of High Country Dentistry. He was young. He's a newlywed and his wife, who I haven't met, is an Endodontist in the building right next to his. I've heard all about them from my Beloved.

I already had an appointment for Thursday for a checkup and cleaning, which was to include X-rays. The call this morning was for X-rays: I got them for free for being the guinie pig while they trained someone on the new digital x-ray machine. It took a little longer than normal, but she did an excellent job. I was not nervous at all. She really put me at ease. Oh, have I mentioned how I feel about going to the dentist? I only go as an emergency- like the ER but more dreaded in my book. Over the past decade I've been to a dentist twice. The first one told me that I had to pay them exorbitant amounts of money for scaling or I would lose my teeth by the following year. The second one filled a cavity, said he would not clean my teeth and sent me to a Periodontist for evaluation. I was diagnosed with Periodontal disease and given a treatment plan that also involved lots of money. I have a hard time trusting someone who's business it is to ensure I have a problem that only they can fix. Over my life I have been to dentists who were pull happy, stingy with Novocaine, and sometimes just fussed at me over the condition of my teeth. I realize they are MY teeth and MY responsibility, but there are circumstances sometimes beyond a person's control or in the past that just can't be helped. And no, I don't just guzzle soda. You'd be hard pressed to find me with any kind of soda and it's been that way for at least 10 years. If that's what's served, I ask for water. OK, so maybe I feel a little like I've been ill-treated by some dentists in the past. I can't hold it against all of them forever!

To say I was nervous about having a tooth pulled was an understatement. I was on the verge of throwing up. I always feel nervous like that when doing anything I deem difficult, like meeting new people at places like Bible study in which case I am expected to give intimate details of my life that I don't want to share for fear of folks judging me harshly. My Oldest, Pumpkin told me that I should be fine since she has had dental surgery and survived. She was matter-of-fact-compassionate. She told me it would hurt but after a little while I would forget all this pain and it would have been worth it. My Youngest, Sweetpea held my hand and told me she felt like the Mommy instead of me. She just sat beside me holding my hand giving silent comfort. They offered to play a game with me so I could pass the time without thinking about it, but I decline. I wanted to think about it.

I wondered at the Mysterious way in which our Savior went, knowing what was about to happen, as a Sheep to the slaughter. I felt this sense of dread at the pain that I knew would happen and thought of His knowing about pain and sin and death and still going. My sweet Daughters prayed for me, that the Father would be the one who was operating on me using the Doctor's hands as per my good Friend Linda's suggestion. She said she would be praying or me too. I was called back and thought of all of this. Dr. Barkley talked to me a few minutes and I asked him to tell me the whole thing- everything that would happen as far as surgery goes. I always like to know in advance so I can set my mind to it. He said he wasn't sure until he got in there but he gave me a description of what he thought based on what he saw already on the X-rays. He numbed me and set to work. He worked on me for about an hour. It was a challenge I think. My tooth would not budge.

I thought of how much like sin this tooth was. It had a cavity- a place of decay that was obvious. It hadn't always been there of course, but the way it just broke last month makes me think it was there just under the surface, eating away at what seemed whole. Another thing about this tooth is that the roots were very deep and bulbous at the end and rather than just going down into my jaw, it went back towards my ear. It was well lodged in there but the crown of the tooth seemed to come straight up. It was deceptive. It didnt' start where it seemed to. It started somewhere near that but it was far from obvious which way to pull without x-rays. How much like sin was that root that didn't seem to be connected to the visible part. How very like the Lord to show me this in the middle of a dental visit! He doesn't let us waste a moment when we go to Him with questions, asking for mercy. Sin eats away at us. Sometimes it is not obvious where we got an idea. Until today, I had never thought of tracing my sinfulness back to my own pride early in life. There are sins that don't seem connected to pride, but today I can see them with fresh eyes- from a new perspective- from laying in the dental chair. It hurts when sin is exposed for what it is. It's embarrassing when someone else sees it and is needed to help you remove it. The root must be exposed as well. All of the tissue that has surrounded it- protecting it- hiding it- has to be cut away, or torn depending on how tightly it hangs on. With roots like mine- deep and fat- there is much tissue loss. It is disfiguring to rip out that win root- and part of dealing with pride is humiliation. The Bible calls it becoming humble, but it still feels painful like humiliation. As I deal with the many sins my pride has been the root of- nourishing and feeding and branching off of it, I might look ugly. I may have times of sounding stupid. You might look at me and see someone you thought you knew, but not so much anymore. You might see that pride and decide you don't like me anymore. I think that is also a part of pride. Despite the pain I am in right now after the tooth was extracted, and the humiliation I know that comes when the Lord humbles you, I know I can love Him better without the festering pride. The Lord's faithfulness and love will heal my heart and my mouth.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cycles and God's Providence!

It's funny how life seems to go in cycles. I never really noticed it until it had past and then it was painfully obvious. This fall feels like the autumn I experienced a few years ago but of course it's different in many ways. Doctor visits do this for me in the fall. A few years ago it was my Mother-in law who I was driving around back and forth from the cancer treatment center in Boone to our home there. She passed away. I think that experience has somehow colored every doctor visit since.

Last Wednesday I went with my Dear Mother to the doctor. She has had some problems with remembering things really for years but it has become alarming for her this year. Sadly, she is often confused and she is aware of her confusion and forgetfulness. My loving Brother commented that he thought she was losing her memory a decade ago! We chalked it up to stress or just plain being forgetful of unimportant things, but little did we know that it was going to continue. Despite both of us seeing it for many years, and I'm sure Dad seeing it too, none of us really thought it might be something that would get worse. She's so young! I sat in the room waiting to talk to her attendant wondering what in the world I would say. There's something so sweet and tender about my Mother- I'm not sure that anyone could be mean to her on purpose if they spent any time with her. She seemed so fragile to me. I wanted to protect her. I wanted to be angry and her Nurse for not seeing this sooner, but they couldn't have ever known. We actually saw a Nurse Practitioner rather than a doctor. She's been going to this place for years and they seem to be good at practicing medicine. This very nice lady came in and talked with us, asking Mom a series of questions, some of which she could answer and some she couldn't. She concluded that more tests needed to be performed so they had us go to a place that draws blood and reports back to them. We hoped for two days that the bloodwork would come back abnormal- that Mom would be vitamin b12 deficient which can cause a host of very preventable and treatable problems. But it wasn't to be. Next week we go to a Neurologist. I have been holding my breath waiting to see what it is that they see.

 Last Thursday I took my sweet oldest daughter to the doctor because she had been having asthma for a while. It was a short visit, followed by a drive to the pharmacy across from the hospital. The last time I went there I was returning Nana's wheelchair that we had rented. I am all to familiar with those isles - wandering up and down waiting for the name to be called from the back counter of the store. It was a little bit hard to be there. Jasmine got her medication and started on her asthma treatment. Allergy testing is next week and a follow up visit to her doctor two weeks after. She has had very much relief in the past week.

Today I was at the same office with Miriam who had a fever and vomiting. I got up early and called the doctor who made an appointment for us this morning. My fear was she had strep throat and I knew she had played with many of the cousins who live nearby just a day or so before. As I drove back into Boone (I was there yesterday for a homeschool meeting) we were listening to a radio sermon about studying scripture. The teacher said we should spend a week adjust ourselves to daily reading of scripture by getting a hold of one verse or passage, writing it on a note card and just placings where we will be often, such as at the computer or at the kitchen table. This way we would be reading and thinking on God's Word all day long until it just feels more natural. The verse "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13) popped into my head as if it had just been spoken.  I also thought why in the world am I taking her to the doctor when really the scripture teaches that if there are sick among us we ought to call for the elders of the church who shall pray and anoint the sick with oil. I didn't have any oil on hand but I did pray for her. When we left the house her temperature was 102.2. By the time we got to the doctor's office her fever had broke and was only 99. I am amazed daily by God's Providence!

Next Monday I take her to Spruce Pine to her Podiatrist to get her custom made orthotics. We suspect it will be a relief for her feet and ankles. Also next week is the regular visit to the orthodontist for Jasmine.

I said all that to say this: life is in a constant state of fluctuation and upheaval. As soon as I think I'm rooted, I'm transplanted. The very things I think are going to be one way turn up another. If I had no faith in a Loving Father in Heaven, I would be in quite a mess. He carries me when I have no strength to stand. He provides what I don't even know I need! He heals me when I didn't even know I was sick! I'm just in awe of His presence. Sure, things seem familiar. I could point to so many cycles that I have seen myself go through, but I can also see where He has brought me to and where He has carried me from. Busy-ness is part of life. Sickness sadly is too (thanks to our first parents Adam and Eve). Can anyone know tomorrow? Sure- we can plan, but can we ever know what tomorrow will bring before it has come? No. But I have a Father who knows already and in Him I put my trust!


 In our sickness we shall praise You! In our Health we shall glorify You YHWH! Who else can I turn to as my Shield and my Redeemer? There is no name in the universe by which I am saved but Yours! Blessed be the Name of  Yehoshua the Redeemer!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Learning

Jasmine (15) has expressed an interest in learning about the workings of the human body. I'm so excited to teach her! I love science (though not so much chemistry) and I love sharing what I know! Miriam (13) on the other hand thinks the inside of any living thing is "gross." So, last night I researched different biology programs. There are alot of great ones out there, but I think we chose the best in Biology 101. I emailed the owner/ maker of Biology 101 and he promptly got back to me answering my questions about his program. My biggest concern was how does his program handle human reproduction. This is honestly why we haven't been in any kind of hurry to teach biology up until now. So he told he told me. I was very satisfied with his answer. We purchased the program. I'll blog about it again once we're into the program for a while.





On thinking of homeschooling and it being summer, I'm not really enforcing any kind of scheduled book work. I never really have, except that the girls read scripture, do a math lesson and write from Spelling Wisdom.  As we get closer to being "done (whatever that means)"  with the formal part of their education, we are considering graduation requirements for our school. Now, this is why I love living in NC- we can decide what it means to graduate. Really all schools can but most do the requirements to get into the UNC system. Neither of my girls plan to go to college so we don't have to worry about that. If they want to attend later on, they can start at a community college and transfer (which I really recommend for any child who graduates- not moving away from Mom and Dad but easing into college life and waiting on the university until they are older and wiser). Both of the girls have things they love: Jasmine loves music and Miriam loves art. With our year around- always learning approach to life they have time to pursue their passions. We don't "stop learning" like many families do- we realize we learn from all sorts of situations, people, books, games, observations, etc.... There is no "right way" to learn. Now, we do the math and spelling the way we do just because it's easy to quantify what they have learned. It is not possible to tell what the soul is learning of our Father Creator, but we like to learn a little bite at a time. Where can learning about the Lord happen? Everywhere!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reunion, Pound Cake, and Sourdough

This weekend is my 20 year class reunion. It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since I was a teenager in high school! Time flies, as they say. The festivities seem to be very family friendly. I probably won't go though. We are in the middle of remodeling the house so every moment we have we do something toward that end. If I do end up going it will be to the Saturday picnic at the Tot Lot in Boone. My girls are a little old for that place but they still do have some fun. :)

Today I made my first ever pound cake. The recipe was for whole wheat pound cake, which is good because that's what I make everything out of. It's actually 1/2 pond cake.

1/2 pound of butter
2 cups raw sugar
6 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Yeah, the recipe says all that. You can use regular sugar, white flour and regular salt, but I suspect it won't taste as good. :)

So, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla. Add the flour and salt together. Bake in a well greased loaf pan or bunt pan for one hour at 325 degrees. It's delicious. I think next time I will also add a little lemon flavoring too. I've always had them with lemon, but never with whole wheat until now. I'm not sure why I have just felt so intimidated with making pound cake! In fact, I am aware I make horribly ugly cakes, but this came out perfect! I was so surprised. It's probably because I try to use whole wheat in every cake recipe. They always taste great but they're hardly ever pretty. Maybe I should stick to making bread!

Speaking of bread, we made some whole wheat sourdough bread as well. I had thrown some flour and water in a jar last week and just kept doing it for several days. Once it bubbled and smelled like it wanted to be made into something else besides the little ecosystem it had become, I thought I might make some bread. BUT IT WAS TOO HOT!!!! So, I fed it more. I dont' discard any sourdough starter at all. I sometimes forget about it in the back of the fridge for months, but I never get rid of it unless it either molds (which has happened when the nights are too cold), or....well, I've used it all but I can't think of another time I just threw it out. Anyway, for three extra days I just put in a cup or flour and a cup of water. I know, sourdough purists would not do that, but hey- I'm not a baker- I'm a homemaker who also makes bread. :) So, it was a much larger mass when I finally decided it had to become bread. I separated out some starter to save and dumped the rest in the Bosch mixer. I ground some hard red wheat into flour and added a little water to the mixer, some flour and salt, kneaded, made loaves and waited for a while. Even though at times it just felt too hot today, I was blessed with all that heat because I didn't have to wait too long for it to be ready to bake! I baked it at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. I didn't mist the oven or add any moisture for a thicker crust- I just trusted that the little yeastie beasites knew what to do and the crust would be fine. The crust was fine. In fact, this is the best sourdough I have ever in my life made! I hope to repeat this success in the near future despite not measuring.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Be Completely Honest with God When You Pray

Be Completely Honest with God When You Pray

“But, O Lord of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause”. Jeremiah 20:12
There is a vital element of true prayer which is likely to be overlooked in our artificial age.
That vital element is just plain honesty!
The saintly David M'Intyre once wrote: "Honest dealing becomes us when we kneel in His pure presence."
Then M'Intyre continued: "On one occasion Jeremiah failed to interpret God aright. He cried as if in anger, 'O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived.' "These are terrible words to utter before Him who is changeless truth. But the prophet spoke as he felt, and the Lord not only pardoned him, but met him and blessed him there."
I recall another spiritual writer of unusual penetration has advised frankness in prayer even to a degree that might appear to be downright rudeness. When you come to prayer, he says, and find that you have no taste for it, tell God so without mincing words. If God and spiritual things bore you, admit it frankly.
This advice will shock some squeamish saints, but it is altogether sound nevertheless. God loves the guileless soul even when in his ignorance he is actually guilty of rashness in prayer. The Lord can soon cure his ignorance, but for insincerity no cure is known.
We can learn something at this point if we will!
— Renewed Day by Day - Volume One

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Birthday Reflections




Another trip around the sun has come to an end for me. It is a bittersweet time. Over most of my life, birthdays have not been a big deal to me. My parents threw me parties with cake and ice cream when I was little. Occasionally, friends bought me things as a teenager, but the day went largely unmarked. My birthdays haven't been the things my children's birthdays were early on (a mistake we soon stopped making). There haven't been grand parties, only little family gatherings if that. That was really until I met my Mother-in-law, who we all called Nana. She loved throwing parties and making the center of attention the person with the birthday. She had grand events for Easter, Independence day, Halloween, all birthdays, and Christmas. Memorial and Labor Days were both cause to celebrate. I had been to many a party in my young years- usually for no reason at all other than it was Friday night, but not her. She married at 17 and lived the life of a good girl. She loved to celebrate the life of people she loved, folks who worked hard for her, and soldiers who fought and died for her freedom. She especially loved religious holidays. They weren't particularly solemn, and sometimes I wasn't sure that they were actually in celebration of the Savior, but they were regular. You could count on the holiday celebration coming at the right time each year! Over the years in which I knew her, our family had it's doctrinal differences with her but overall we all knew we loved the same Yeshua, our Savior. It's been almost 3 years since she has gone home to be with Him. For 3 years no one has celebrated my existence quite the way she did. I know my family does love me and they do exactly as I have insisted for many years....but I honestly miss it. And I miss her. Even though her favorite holiday was Christmas, it's my own birthday that I notice her being gone the most. My husband and children like to cater to whatever I  want to do. She would have scheduled games and food. My little family wants whatever I want. She was a force to be reckoned with when it came to organizing a party. So, today, as I begin my next trip around the sun, I have to stop and think about the people in my life: the ones I have now, the folks from my past, and the ones who have passed away. I have to wonder how loving my family has changed having known her. I have to think about the ones who I still have here and how they impact me. I hate to admit it, but I really didn't see her impact fully (and likely still don't) until she was gone. I had to be removed from the daily care of a sick person to realize that in life as well as illness, she changed me.



Then I think of my Savior: His life and death changed me as well....more than she did and for all eternity. I think of the apostle John, watching Him die then being charged with caring for Mary, His mother as if she was his own. I think of Mary, His mother, having to watch as her Son cared for her welfare even at the last of His life. No other death I have seen has been that way. No one thinks of other people when they are dying. Nana was really just asleep for the last days of her life on earth. He was fully awake and aware of everything going on. He knew that His death would mean life to everyone who would accept Him. Our deaths mean eternity stares us in the face- a place that there are only two path- both forward, depending on our choice here in life. If we believed the account of YHWH's Messiah, our eternity is in His presence. If we deny it, our eternity is always outside of His presence in torment. Eternity. It's forever. I can't even imagine it at all!

I pray my own life makes people who know me reflect on their lives and especially on their choice. I knew a woman once who died never having claimed to believe in anything. My heart grieves for her, but also wonders at what did she not see in my own life to never talk to anyone about eternity. Talking is great, but hearts are where the real changes take place. Do I reflect the beauty of Yeshua to the world? Can anyone see in my habits and celebrations that I love the Lord? What legacy am I building to point anyone in the right direction? My children? Friends? Strangers? Because really, we're all in the same boat- we are all going to be judged and we all have the same choice before us daily.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Providence

Today I gathered a few herbs growing wild around Providence House and Farm. We call our home this because God has provided and continues to do so. I'm not sure why I still find this amazing, but I do. I love going outside and gathering in herbs that will be good for use later in the year as well as fresh right now. It's all wild.


Yarrow hanging in the kitchen to dry.


Various herbs


Yarrow outside



For a list of things yarrow is good for, look here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Strays

Yesterday I found a stray dog. He's cute and loving and stinky and dirty and flea ridden and I don't need another dog. I have to keep reminding myself that he's not our dog and won't be our dog. A little over a year ago I discovered I have severe allergies- to cats, mold, dust, cedar, and dogs. I already had a dog at the time and ended up getting another one not long after that. My allergy doctor told me that most folks with allergies will do any and everything possible to stop being sick EXCEPT get rid of their dog. I am not the exception apparently. I know, despite the happiness my children now feel at the thought of having another dog, he will have to find a new home. I know, although my husband LOVES animals (especially dogs) he can't keep him. In fact, my Honey has made it perfectly clear that he doesn't clean up after the dogs so it's not really up to him. I have a hard time turning away living things that are lonely, sick, endangered, hungry, cold, sad looking, cute.....anything that would make anyone take pity and love them. This doesn't just go for dogs. I have had cats, birds, reptiles, etc... all in the name of helping out. Of course, the birds were solely for the purpose of rehabilitation. Injured wild birds don't make good pets. Over the years, we've had a few people we've taken in too. I'm a sucker for a stray. I think it comes from being a stray myself and being taken in by kind and loving people.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bread


I have had no mill for over a week now. I normally mill my own flour and make bread on a weekly basis, but now for going on two weeks we've been without bread. I started milling grains almost a decade ago. Why would I do this you wonder? Well, whole grains are much more nutritious than flour stripped of all it's goodness (and left only with the starch) then having only a few vitamins added back to avoid the diseases eating this way causes. Monday a dear friend sent us a loaf of her homemade whole grain soaked bread (I'll have to blog about soaking bread later) and it's almost gone. We've been rationing it. We purchased some bread from the grocery store and it's not going to be a healthy alternative for the long term. We live in the middle of nowhere and it's not easy to find whole foods locally. We have a small garden (in need of weeding) and we hope to have some good crops this year, but none of that is bread.


Here is what I know about whole grain: There are three parts to the grain (which is a seed). Imagine this all like the parts of an egg. There's the bran which is the outer coating (like the egg shell). It contains fiber, B-complex vitamins, phytonutrients and trace minerals. Then there's the germ which contains essential fatty acids, vitamin E, more of the B-complex vitamins and trace minerals. In the egg illustration this would be the yolk. Finally, there's the endosperm. It contains complex carbohydrates, B-complex vitamins, and proteins. It would be like the white of the egg. So, what is the difference between plain white flour and freshly ground whole wheat flour? White flour is made only from the endosperm. Oxidation and superheated in the milling process which actually denatures the protein as well as the essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Not all mills heat to destruction of these things. Home mills usually don't get hot enough nor are they running long enough to get that hot. After milling, the three parts are separated with the germ and bran being sold as additives for bread rather than a part of real bread. The endosperm is the starch we all hear makes us fat. It's considered "fortified" by the USDA because iron, some B-vitamins and sometimes calcium is added back to it to keep the consumers from getting diseases such as beriberi. Endosperm alone, devoid of vitamin E and other things that oxidize are able to be shipped and stored for much longer than ground wheat with the rancid oils.


 I also know that God made grain for our good. I also know that He made it good (Genesis). When the famine came to the fertile crescent (Genesis 41-48) and everyone had to come to Egypt, to Joseph to buy grain stored up for this purpose. It had been stored for seven years! Then there was seven years of famine, so altogether there was fourteen years that some of this grain was stored and was still full of nutrients! Also, when Joseph's brothers were to come the second time for grain, along with Benjamin, 


 " And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spice, and myrrh, nuts and almonds.... (Genesis 43:11).”


 There seemed to be *some* food in the land, but no grain with which to make bread. Later when the Egyptians had no money with which to purchase grain they sold their livestock (Gen. 47: 16-18). Obviously, God has made bread very important to mankind. In the New Testament, the Messiah compares Himself to bread (John 6: 33,35,48, and 51). Clearly bread isn't devoid of nutrients. It's complete nutrition! The Lord isn't comparing himself to something that can cause sickness. Rather, he is the sustainer of life! All this of course has spiritual connotations, but I believe it to have physical ones as well. We are much better off in life to have the best that our Creator Father made for us, His creation. 


I miss my mill. I pray the Lord restores it soon. In the mean time, we shall purchase better bread from dear friends. We should all realize how blessed we are to have a Father who made wonderful things for us, for our own good.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stayed Home

It's funny how things work out. This morning I was all ready to go. The girls were even in the car (it takes Mina a little time to get in because of an injured ankle) as was my knitting bag, purse, cell phone and keys. Then Honey decided he was too unwell to go. He was sure he wouldn't get anything done feeling the way he felt. So we stayed home. It's a good thing we did because he really just slept all day, except meals. There wasn't any real fever- maybe a low grade one. Either way, it was a blessing to get some things done today while we were here. I have written a menu for the rest of the month. Anyone who knows me will know I struggle with daily meal preparation. I do love to cook and bake, but I'm not very organized. Hopefully a summer of just being home (mostly) will help get me on the right track with that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

This morning I had a decision to make. I went to bed knowing I still needed to make it. I didn't think about it as I drifted off to sleep, nor dream about it. At 7:30 a.m. when I woke up, I opened my eyes and it was staring me in the face. I hate indecisiveness. It's not a life or death thing. It has nothing to do with any of the hard things in life we find ourselves doing. It's a very simple question that I could not find an answer to....so I flipped a coin and left it to the Lord. It's how I make decisions that don't really carry weight but have as many pros as cons.

"The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD." ~Proverbs 16:33



I know it seems ridiculous but really, when I remember that the Lord is in charge of my day, it seems so simple. I don't want you to think I would just never make any kind of decision with knowledge and getting wisdom from council. Of course when faced with hard things, we pray, study, research, and then wait on the Lord, but I'm not talking about those life changing decisions (as far as I know). How do you make decisions that aren't really important?


By the way, us girls are riding into town with my Honey earlier rather than waiting to come later for our homeschool picnic. :) 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beginning blogging....

....but not necessarily beginning writing my thoughts. I love sharing what's going on in my life with friends and family! Since I have so many things going on in life (and really who doesn't) that there may not be a thread to tie it all together except that it is my life. :) Hope you enjoy reading!