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.