Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Courting


It's been a while since my last post. I have been very busy with some very important people. My dear seventeen year old daughter, the one who was sure this past summer that she would never marry,  has evoked the attention of a young man who has seemed to change his plans for his future to become their future. Right now, they are "Courting." Let me be specific in my definition:

"Courtship is the period in a couple's relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind. During courtship, a couple get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement or other such agreement." (from Wikipedia)

To state this more within our definition: chaperoned dating with the purpose of getting to know one another in a controlled environment. Today, it's not a popular idea that a young couple be supervised. In fact, it's considered archaic and borders on arranged marriages to some folks. It's none of that actually. It's a protection for the young couple. It helps protect purity, especially in the case that things don't go towards engagement and later marriage. Why in the world would anyone expect young folks to keep themselves from sexual immorality (which incidentally, doesn't start with the body at all but in the heart and mind) by leaving them alone with one another? Voddie Bauchum sums it up here:




We love our girls, and honestly we love the young man who has come to ask permission to get to know her better. We love them enough to help them get to know one another while guarding their hearts from folly.

Life has become very different for us in practice. These are the things we have taught our girls, and now, this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we have to believe what we've taught about relationships and God's best rather than just giving these young folks over to hormones, emotions, and worldly expectations. We absolutely believe that this is the kind of protection God intends for unmarried people... the protection of their fathers and mothers to navigate correctly while  getting to know someone of the opposite sex. Yeshua said it best in Matthew 5: 27-28: Adultery begins in the heart and that God considers it so even if it's in the mind only!

So, if you have a concern about us....have read on Facebook that Jasmine and Nathaniel are dating and worry that it is unknown to us, or that somehow we've just suddenly taken away our parental protection, just know we haven't. If you see them out in town somewhere, just look for Scott or me, because we're not very far away. Thank you friends for loving us enough to be concerned. :)

Blessings!


Monday, October 8, 2012

My 17 year long blessing

I have been very blessed for the past seventeen years. When I was pregnant with Jasmine, I didn't expect a daughter. I had been a tom-boy and just thought I would have a son. I was surprised by having a daughter. I had no idea what do to with a daughter!! I was expecting to throw baseballs and go fishing! It was what I had practiced for. God had other plans.

It seemed that she was born with lace on. She was so lovely and as she grew, she loved more feminine things. It was a challenge to dress her in anything that wasn't velvet and lace. She loved cleaning. That was something I had always known some people had been born with. She was organized. Again, something I lacked. She grew and loved following rules. I thought they must have given me the wrong child at the hospital. She craved order to things and to be told right from wrong, and most of all, she longed to please me and her father.

Jasmine and Carousel

Over the years, she has grown into a God loving young lady. Her zeal to please me and her father has translated into wanting to live in a way that pleases our Heavenly Father. I love that. Today, I honor my dear sweet Jasmine for blessing us with her presence for seventeen years but more importantly, I thank YHWH for the time I have had with her, learning to be the Mother of Daughters and living out the plan He has in spite of my own expectations!















Happy 17th birthday to my sweet and gentle eldest daughter. May God continue to bless you and you continue to be a blessing to all who's lives you touch!

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Preparing Our Children for Marriage

I read this great post this morning. This is what we have been trying to teach our girls these things all their lives. :) I hope it's a blessing to you too.

Preparing Our Children for Marriage

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blog of a Darkmoon Carnie: Coyotes and 9/11

Here is a great blog from my sweet oldest daughter. We have had some traumatic experiences lately.

Blog of a Darkmoon Carnie: Coyotes and 9/11: So last night our chickens got attacked by coyotes. My sister heard the chickens freaking out so she told our parents and we went outside ...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In every thing give thanks

( Disclaimer: Some of my closest family friends are Doctors. I do not dislike folks who practice medicine. This post is about me as the patient. Also, I love Doctor Who.)

So, I went to the doctor yesterday. As you know, I hardly ever go. I'm not sure what it is I don't like about going to someone when I already don't feel well then they poke and prod me. Wait, maybe it's that, or the fact that I know they will have me as repeat business if there's something wrong with me and it's easy to find something wrong. It could be the guilt some like to pour onto their victims patients about their health ("if you didn't eat that way as a child" and "just exercise and this will go away") when it's not always the fault of the patient (genetics and environmental factors perhaps?). Well, whatever it is that makes me loathe asking for help (possibly pride) I went yesterday.

I didn't actually see a doctor, but went to a practice of two Nurse Practitioners. I trust nurses. They seem more human. Anyway,  I was incredibly nervous about going and had to call upon my sweet 16 year old to have her tell me I had to go inside. I compared my dislike of doctors to her dislike of clowns, which she summed up as an irrational fear and told me to go inside anyway. So in I went.

I filled out the necessary paperwork and in a few moments I was called back. My weight was taken. The nurse did not sigh, or say "humph" or look at me with any kind of "well you would not feel bad if you lost weight" look. She measured my height. It's the same as it has been since I was 14. She took me to a room and measured my blood pressure. I know they don't know where to start with those things so they pump them up until your are sure you will lose the arm, but it was over quickly and I have fantastic BP. I always have. She checked my pulse rate. Now, this sometimes alarms me- as if they are checking to see if I have a pulse AFTER checking my BP. She was satisfied I was alive and told me the NP would be in shortly.

In came Chrisanthi, who will be leaving to do other work in a week. I would only be her patient this week then I would see the other NP if I need to come back. She asked a series of questions about my family history, health in general, and of course my habits. She proceeded to ask me why I came in today. Now, the fear of sounding weird could make me not tell this part, but I'm going to anyway. I wrote a list on post-it's of the things that have been happening to me for the past 4 or so years, and mainly the past 3 weeks continuously. So, I warned her of how strange it all is going to sound, especially because it's on random pieces of paper, then read it aloud. She performed a few other tests and told me what she thought. My Dad has an illness that causes him to create too many red blood cells, so they were going to test for that as well a bunch of other things bloodwork could alert us to. She also told me my options depending on the findings. They didn't sound like anything really helpful because PCV and Fibromyalgia neither one have an easy fix. The nurse came back and took two large vials of blood. That took a little while because my vein walls are super strong and resist being punctured as well as move out of the way. It would take 3-5 days they said. That was yesterday.

Today around lunch time I got a phone call. My blood work was normal. I was expecting something terrible: blood cholesterol or sugar being messed up, maybe my kidneys or liver was barely functioning, or maybe I had too many RBCs. Nope. I fall well within the healthy ranges for everything. I am not malnourished and vitamin deficient. I don't have too much or too little of anything in my blood. I just have pain that seems to have no real cause. Further testing to rule out other things include: blood work for inflammatory markers to see if I have arthritis, hormones out of whack, etc.... She suggested I seek alternative therapy for fibromyalgia pain rather than spend a bunch of money finding out what it all isn't.

But something wonderful has taken place as a result:

Pain. Suffering. Fear of future pain. Being uncomfortable in one's own skin. I think of all these things that Christ had and I wonder how I got so lucky to be able to share in His sufferings. I know I'm not being dragged to death in the Colosseum or dipped in wax and lit like a torch for the Emperor's garden dinner parties, but I do think Christ suffered pain and being uncomfortable in His skin at the end. I imagine that with the flesh hanging from his ragged back the slightest breeze probably felt like agony. I believe that each breath He attempted to take felt heavy and the strain of taking said breath made his joints ache. The metal piercing His hands and feet would have made it impossible to walk or grip anything if he had come down from there. Each second He hung there between Heaven and Earth He was aware of the slowness of time passing. Each drip of salty sweat that ran into His open flesh burned and served as a reminder of what He was doing. His pain was for me. It was for you. His suffering was for my soul. Can I endure some pain for my own good? Can I quietly and without complaining suffer burning and aching without a cause? Can I see my suffering as blessed? In every thing give thanks.....  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

In. Every. Thing. Give. Thanks.

I'm not sure I have had this kind of peace in a storm like this before. I've had some hard things happen and lived through alot, but seeing my Savior suffering for my soul.... having pain that is mysterious to me, but very real..... in human intellect it doesn't make sense at all. I started this week in a panic just thinking of going to be seen by a doctor and now, I have peace about it. I feel trust towards the Lord and the path He has placed my feet on. I cannot see around the corner....I never could but now I know  that I cannot see the future in any way, but I trust Him more. I pray that I will cling to this very verse:

  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1Th 5:18

Here's the reality for all of us: This is God's will! It's His will in Christ concerning you....you giving thanks IN EVERY THING. Not in some things. Not even most things but in EVERY thing. That would be ALL things. 




Thursday, July 12, 2012

Being freed from old things

This morning as I was getting dressed for the day, Miriam went to my jewelry box and pulled out a little gold cross I've had for 13 or so years. She wanted me to wear it. She doesn't remember, but she cut her teeth on it. Jasmine, who was three at the time, picked it out for me for Mother's Day that year and as Miriam was cutting her teeth (and was a year old) she would just put it in her mouth while I was holding her. For many years the cross was fixed to the chain- welded by the heat from her mouth and the force of her teeth. The little star/ sparkles cut into the soft metal have almost disappeared. Eventually I got it to where it would move again but it can now never come off this chain. She must associate it with me since there's never been a time she can remember when I did not have it. I haven't worn it much in recent years, but as with anything worth having, it has to be worth using.

I wonder if I have been this way with the Cross. Have I been this rigid? Have I tried to fix the Work of Christ on the Cross to a certain thing? It's funny how a small thing like this can make me look at things differently. Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I remembered a part of a conversation I had with Scott earlier. I had something terrible that stuck in my mind that was associated with a certain song. Every time I have heard that song, the image of that thing would flash before my mind's eye and it was new all over again. It's only a few seconds of the chorus line of this song, but it's used often in commercials. Sometimes he sings it, not knowing the effect it has had on me for years. As I was telling him all this yesterday, without mentioning the song, I told him that I was trying to associate the song with something else- him singing it rather than what my mind had latched onto. So as I drifted off the sleep, it occurred to me that I can give my memory to the Lord to take care of. I realize that is such a simple though really, but I really never had that thought about it before. I had thought of Christ's work on the Cross as not for that sort of thing. I am a very music oriented person- it just stays with me. I am just so glad that the Lord puts a song in my heart all the time AND that music that should not be there, or things that bring destructive sinful thoughts also He can take away.

Now, whenever I think of that little cross, and how it's no longer stuck in place on the chain, I can remember that Yeshua is not limited to saving me for the day of His coming, nor just for directing my path from day to day, but also He can free me from things that have had me bound. I can't believe I have forgotten that- or rather not realized it applies to this too! I hope you are blessed by this and realize that you can be free from the very thing that has enthralled you so long too.

Blessings!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What saith the heavenly Judge?



"And if men say, “What is this? A woman playeth the housewife, she spinneth on her distaff, and this is all that women can do.” As indeed there are a number of fools that when they speak of women’s distaffs, of seeing to their children, will make a scorn of it, and despise it. But what then? What saith the heavenly Judge? That he is well pleased with it, and accepteth of it, and putteth it in his reckoning. So then let women learn to rejoice when they do their duty, and though the world despise it, let this comfort sweeten all respect they might have that way, and say, “God seeth me here, and his Angels, who are sufficient witnesses of my doings, although the world do not allow of them.”" -- John Calvin, on women rejoicing in their roles as homemakers

Friday, June 22, 2012

Some experiments with kefir

So far, this week we have made honey cinnamon kefir ice cream, kefir smoothies, kefir salad dressing, and kefir bread. Here is my take on all of these. First, the ice cream:

I used 1 1/2 cups of milk, 2 egg yolks, a little cinnamon and vanilla, about 1/4 (if that) cup of wildflower honey, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup of kefir.

I warmed the milk in a pot on the stove, then added the egg yolks to make a custard. Equalize the temperature by whisking the eggs in a bowl and adding hot milk a little at a time until the temperature of the eggs has been brought up. It keeps the eggs from cooking on contact. I cooked that a few minutes, removed it and added the honey, vanilla, and cinnamon. I put it in a stainless steel bowl and let it cool. I ended up putting it in the refrigerator so I could get down to business. I added the kefir after it cooled off.

I used the KA attachment to make it into ice cream. No, there isn't any cream in it, so it should just be called ice milk, but because of the thickness the egg and kefir added it seemed more like ice cream. Despite everyone thinking it would be terrible, it was delicious and they all loved it. It will be made again. :)


Kefir Smoothies are as you would expect- a tartness of the kefir with the wonderful flavor of sweet fruit. I love adding bananas to them for additional sweetness. The lavender added a smell but not really a flavor.

Kefir salad dressing was delicious. I do like salads sometimes plain (I put everything in it from sugar snap peas to garlic scapes) with just a little salt and pepper, but this dressing was incredible! I used about a Tablespoon of kefir, a little salt and pepper, and garlic of course, and whisked in some olive oil. It was the perfect amount for a large lunch salad. I had a Bubbie's Pickle on the side, but really I didn't need it. I think the bite found in the dressing was enough (I still ate the pickle anyway). I will make that again.

Kefir bread: an ever changing combination of tartness, nuttiness and sweetness all at once. Today's bread wasn't as fermented as some we've made (alright, we've forgotten we had it started and just left it for about 2 or 3 days). It rose perfectly as most sourdough, but as I was eating it with supper, I noticed the sweet and nutty flavor of the wheat too. That has been missing in my kefir breads in the past. It rained today and was incredibly hot, so maybe that made the difference. I don't know. I hope to replicate that again, but I also like the surprise of wonderful farmhouse sourdough.

Well, I'll have to be creative tomorrow. I am going out and have planned pinto beans. Maybe I'll do kefir cornbread? I do have some kefir cheese in the refrigerator that I can have with the beans. We'll see what the Lord brings tomorrow!

Blessings!

Friday, June 15, 2012

This week

This week has been trying for me. I started working as a knitting lady at the bookstore. I was clocked in about 10 minutes when something urgent needed my attention at home. I rushed home to take care of it, and took my littlest one to the ER for an X-ray. Yes, it was that urgent. Nothing was broken, so I went to work Monday. Sales were pretty god for a Monday from what I understand.

Tuesday morning, the little one was still hurting pretty bad, but she has always seemed to have problems with her joints. I made an appointment for the next morning to see the doctor about the problems with her joints. Tuesday afternoon we got a call from the allergy doctor about a check up for our eldest girl. I am so thankful that they make those reminder calls. I didn't have that written down anywhere, but I'm pretty sure it was on a card somewhere in the office before all of that got moved into boxes. So, this pretty much schedules my entire Wednesday. My Honey is off Wednesday and Thursday (or Tuesday and Wednesday), so he takes a Sabbath rest on Wednesday. In between doctor visits, I make sure we cook for him. The first doctor was only about 20 minutes away. The afternoon appointment was about 45 minutes away.

By Wednesday afternoon, my dear eldest girl and I were both tired from the trip, the long, hot wait in the doctor's waiting room, and the only ten minute visit with the doctor. We decided smoothies from Panera was necessary to help us cool off. On and off this whole day, I had this weird feeling in my hip- like it needed to pop, causing the lower part of my leg to sometimes feel a little tingly and heavier than it really is. I'm pretty sure I had not done anything unusual, so I just ignored it all day. Once we finally made it home (to a lovely dinner cooked by my little one) I noticed my hip actually was hurting. Driving isn't really that hard of an activity, but spending the day sitting in a car is. Sitting always wears me out. I realize how stupid that sounds, but I just feel so stiff and sometimes sore after sitting- even through a movie! My Honey has complained because I always get up and find things to do but really other than tired feet, moving makes me feel better. Anyway, the evening progressed and so did my pain. I'm not sure I slept more than a few hours. Every time I moved it hurt.

Thursday morning I woke up and could not roll over due to pain! What an unusual thing to have happen- but not for me. I hurt myself in the most random and stupid ways. I'm not sure it's actually an injury because I didn't do anything out of the ordinary to cause it. I feel more like I've been tackled or something similar. Thank the Lord that my Honey was home on Thursday to help me get around a little. Mostly he was here to make me stop trying to do stuff around the house. Well, it hurt so bad I didn't really want to move off the couch! I slept some last night, but not much. Sadly I missed having dinner with my little Brother's Girlfriend, who was up for business. She stopped by to see my folks and tell them I was hurt. My Dad called me to find out if I was alright. I told him the reason I didn't tell them is because I felt stupid hurting myself while sleeping (which really isn't all that uncommon for me) and that I should be alright in a few days. If it had been anything important, I would have called them.

My Honey is at work today, and running my errands that I should have done yesterday. I talked to my Dad more today about my hip feeling out of joint. He said he does that too, but he always thought it was some sort of overuse injury. We'll see what happens. I need to be at work Sunday and Monday, but who knows if I am still going to be on crutches then? Whenever I am hurting I think to myself, "maybe it's time I see a doctor." Then I wait and start thinking of the costs involved: money, time, sometimes misdiagnosis leading to damage to health, etc.... I do not trust doctors for the most part. I know, big surprise, huh? I'm pretty sure whatever is wrong with me will resolve itself in time (well, I hope it will) and that if I were to go to the doctor, "nothing" would be wrong with me. Or that they would tell me what I told them, only in Latin and tell me to do what I'm already doing- sitting around, staying off it, but they would add to take a pain killer, then see an orthopedist if it still hurts next week. That's already part of my plan- sit around, rub some clove oil ladened coconut oil on the site of the pain (think bengay without nsaids or the side effects, plus I get to smell nice), possibly take some arnica (pain reliever) this evening so I can sleep, sleep on the couch so my Honey can get some sleep too (because I toss and turn keeping him awake), and wait and see if I can walk by some later date- maybe Tuesday.

I can say this has been good for my girls. They always step up and take responsibility whenever I cannot do something due to pain or being at work. They have been wonderful to me!  There are some things I am not asking them to do- they don't have to paint the office. They also do not have to organize my kitchen now that the washer and dryer are in there. I will do it eventually. Or I will sit and tell them where I think each thing will go and they will put it there and I will never remember where it is. :) I also haven't asked them to plant anymore of the garden without me. It's not backbreaking, but it's not the easiest job. It involves pushing a wheelbarrow full of dirt and chicken manure up a hill and across a dirt road. Even though I'm sure they are capable, I still think I like that job (along with weed eating around the place). Fortunately we have a great neighbor who cuts our grass currently.

Well, that has been my week. I love how the Lord sees our plans and says "I have something better for you." I'm trying to see what that "better" is. I'm sure there is a lesson I can learn- there always is.

I'll leave you with a picture that has nothing to do with anything:

My baby girl discovered candy corn is knead-able and really looks gross. We didn't eat it.


Blessings!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Most Special Day


Fourteen years ago today, I had emergency surgery. I had gone into labor a few weeks before, but as I laid in bed, waiting for Scott to get everything ready, I just felt like something was wrong. I prayed that this baby would be alright. Labor stopped and never started again. My doctor was concerned a little, but not that bad. So far everything had seemed just fine. He wasn't concerned that my labor had stopped, and was willing to wait. Eventually, we stimulated labor, and discovered that there actually was a problem. She was tightly tangled up in the umbilical cord. Every contraction made it a little tighter, eventually not letting lose. Her heart rate dropped and didn't come back up. We had never met and she was on the brink of death! The nurses prepped me in just a few minutes, wheeled me into surgery, and in about 15 minutes, I was saying hello to my baby girl. We had picked names for a boy and a girl- we didn't know which we would have. Upon first glance, she was very blue. She had the most serious look on her face. They whisked her away while the doctor finished up on me. Scott went with her. I was rolled into recovery and left to, well, recover. I had never had surgery before. The nurse came in and talked to me. As soon as I was able to wiggle any of my toes, they would take me to my room. I asked after Miriam. She said:

"You'll have to talk to the doctor about that."


That was it. No, "she's beautiful" or "I'll find out for you." My heart sank. I had never considered that my baby might not live. I had seen her beautiful face. I knew she was not doing well- she was blue!! She didn't cry out at all. She just stared into my eyes for a few brief seconds with such intensity that I'm sure she was serious- whatever her thoughts were. I had spoken her name to her and then they took her away, out of my sight.

Too much time passed. I tried over and over again to make my toes respond to my will to move them. I failed for a long time. I'm sure it was only about 30 minutes, but it felt like the nurse would never come back. I knew I couldn't go anywhere, though if I had thought for a second I could have walked down the hall to see my baby, I would have. When she finally came back, I was able to move my toes and get into my room. Still, I had not heard a thing about Miriam. The rest of the family was nowhere to be seen. We wheeled down a back hallway. I asked about the baby. She still didn't know anything. A short while passed and I finally got to see her. She was swaddled tightly so all I saw was her face. She was such a quiet baby. With help, I turned over on my side and nursed her. We had had now fourteen years to get to know each other. :)

Afterwards I was told that her cord was wrapped around her so tightly that it was not possible that she would have lived even through the labor, let alone a delivery. Her APGAR was 3 at first. What I was told was that she was on oxygen and even whisked away from her Dad so they could get her vitals normal. Once she was alright we got her back.

I have wanted to hold onto that baby as tightly as possible. Homeschooling has been a wonderful way to help our relationship be stable and grow in love as she grows older. I have always heard teenagers were just so hard, but she's such a blessing! Even though she's now 14, she still needs me sometimes. Mostly at midnight when she's trying to find something to wear, or to talk about her favorite music, or a book she's reading, etc.... I figure I can sleep when she's an adult. Of all the things I could hope to do better for her it is this: to love more, to be gentler and kinder, and to show mercy more often.

I love you so much my dear Miriam. You are one of a kind!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Numbers 30 and Liberty

My girls and I have been slowly reading So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin. It has been a blessing to us to have time to read books on womanly things together. We try and read once per week at least. In the third chapter of the book, entitled "Fathers, Daughters and Protection," they quote from Numbers chapter 30 which says:




"30 And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded.
If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house in her youth;
And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.
But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.
And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul;
And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her.
But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.
10 And if she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath;
11 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.
12 But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive her.
13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.
14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.
15 But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.
16 These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father's house."


I love that. A decade ago, I would have felt trapped by the very protection God offers me in this. My thinking then was "that's not fair that anyone else should be able to tell me what to do, etc..." God shows us mercy by allowing us a way out if we make a rash vow. Well, I for one am queen of getting caught up and making rash vows! I an so thankful that my Honey has the final say!

Notice in the passage that no one can hold her accountable if her Husband or her Dad says no. Not even God holds her accountable for promises made! I see in my life how hard things become for me when I disregard my protection. I recently had a situation where I did not consider my husband's "advice" on stopping me from saying something. I felt the need to comment on something that he had told me to let go. I told him how I thought I needed to say something because this was within the family of Christ, and of course he would want me to say something and maybe he didn't know the whole situation. Possibly, I reasoned, if he knew the whole story he would come up with some wise (read: think the way I did about it) thing to say to this person. I wrote an email, read it to him and even though I was met with a disappointed look, I decided to send it anyway. I got a scathing email back, which prompted me to want to say something else. I got myself caught up in this: this person needed council, but I was in no position to be the one to give it. I was heartbroken, not for myself, but for this person who was so bitter and angry. A day passed and I thought of it all day long, neglecting my responsibilities at home while worrying about things I could not change. The night came, and I had barely eaten because I spent my day worrying (the very thing Christ tells us not to do). That night as I lay in bed, it dawned on me that I had just made a decision against my husband's advice and this is why my heart was in such turmoil. I had opened that can of worms alone and now I was feeling the results of it. I apologized to my Honey and told him how it had affected me all day long. I didn't stop thinking of the person I so desperately felt the need to counsel, but I prayed about the whole thing. I prayed for that person. I prayed that I would remember that my Honey has the authority in my vows- whether to give me permission or make them void. I prayed that I would not disobey him again in this way- thinking I knew best when really the Lord has put me under the authority, care, and protection of my husband. I had read the passages in the New Testament about wives obeying husbands, but seeing the mercy God has given me through my husband having the final say really backs up the "why" I need to obey him. :) The real amazing thing is that not only do I not have to be accountable for the vows I make before man if they are rash (which I pray they are not), but even God Himself will not hold me accountable. What a merciful God we serve!

Here is a link to some commentary on this passage. I hope you are as blessed in reading this as I was.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kefir Mayonnaise

This was originally written in March, but not published until today (in May). 


Yesterday, my oldest daughter made us some lovely salmon salad on Kamut tortillas. I love her creativity in the kitchen. I love how she always wants to balance our protein and carbohydrates (and also feeds us dessert). Well, she used the last of the mayonnaise.


We have been buying Spectrum brand mayonnaise for a long time. I'm not much of a fan of mayonnaise, but I use it in recipes (never on sandwiches). I got a wonderful recipe for homemade Ranch Dressing, which includes mayo. I've been using kefir as much as possible in our recipes and thought I'd try my hand at this too! I must tell you that the recipe calls for much less oil than is necessary to make an emulsion. It's very easy to just give up, or to think it has been a long time already, but this wonderful moment happens when you have added- very slowly- enough oil to your liquid, and it has the consistency of mayonnaise.




Kefir Mayonnaise (via Kefir Magic)
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup kefir (I only use 1/4 cup because it's too much liquid for the amount of oil)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2  cup organic extra virgin olive oil (I have used up to 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • A pinch of salt and ground black pepper to taste

Method
Place the two egg yolks into a mixing bowl.  Add the mustard, salt and pepper and vigorously beat the ingredients into a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice and continue mixing until texture is smooth again.  Slowly add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until the mayonnaise becomes thick and smooth.  Add the kefir very slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon, alternating with the oil, ensuring that each addition is absorbed before adding more. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
Despite my lack of love for mayonnaise in general, this makes a pretty good mayo! It is excellent for making dressings and dips, salads and putting on sandwiches. Everyone seems to like it (as much as we like mayo). You could use another less flavorful oil if you aren't partial to the taste of olive oil. It keeps well in the refrigerator at least two weeks (it's usually gone by then). You could try it longer. Sally Falon in Nourishing Traditions (which is on sale for $20.25 at Black Bear Books Online) suggests using whey in homemade mayonnaise which would give it a longer shelf life (which we have also done, but it's usually eaten up quickly). Either way, as long as you refrigerate it, it should stay good for a long time.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Laundry


Have you ever hung out your laundry to dry? I did it when the weather permitted for many years until the past two years. I got so busy not being at home, I couldn't be here to remove it once it was dry, or if it rained to bring it inside.




 I have hung my laundry inside in the winter around the kitchen where the wood stove is. 



What is it about the texture of clothes dried on a line or a rack that is so comforting?


What is it about that smell when things have been line dried that makes us feel so happy and clean? 


...Or the smell and feel of sheets and pillowcases that have been in the sunshine all day long? I sleep so much better on line dried sheets!


I feel connected to time that has already passed....


....to the women who have worked so hard to provide for their families.

When I have brought in the laundry, I smell the wonderful sunshine and fresh air provided by the Lord for our good. It feels like I am hugged in His arms when I wear the clothes that smell so much like sunshine! I feel like I am wrapped up in His Providence when I lay down to sleep on crisp sheets at night. Maybe that's what it is. Don't get me wrong, I also love the convenience of a clothes dryer when I need to use it, but after the clothes come out of the dryer, it evokes no memories or emotions. It just dries my clothes. 


Laundry is one of my favorite pass times!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kefir and home made goodies

We have been making kefir lately. In case you are not familiar with what that is here is a website that explains. Actually it is where I got my kefir grains. Alright, so here's what's needed to make kefir:

 milk
kefir grains
a glass jar
a warm spot (Room temperature varies so much. At our house in the early spring, sometimes it's in the 50's or in the 80's if we have a fire in the wood stove. Anything in between seems to work- warmer = faster.)
a coffee filter or cloth

kefir grains up close

 That's pretty much it! I just stir in the grains (which look like small boiled cauliflower to me), cover it with a coffee filter or cloth, and walk away. Enjoy your day, or evening or whenever you made it. I secure the coffee filter with a rubber band or the band for a mason jar. After 12 or so hours, I give the jar a little swirl to see how it's going. I like to use my kefir for several things so sometimes I let it go on until it visibly has separated. Other times, I just let it become a little thicker than milk but a bit sour. Usually not. We strain our kefir through a strainer (non metal), save the grains for the next batch and refrigerate the kefir.

kefir cream cheese up close

Here's how we make cream cheese at our house: Take some kefir that has been strained and allow it to sit at room temperature for a little while until it separates. I use a flour sack tea towel to strain it. I pour all of it into the towel draped in a bowl or pitcher. Keep in mind that there's alot of liquid so it needs to be something big enough to hold all of it at once. I tie the towel into a bag and let the whey drip into the bowl below. Actually I have a wooden spoon that holds the bag that I attached to the bottom of my kitchen counter. I leave it to strain overnight- sometimes longer. Once it has stopped dripping, I bottle the whey for other things and scrape out a soft cream cheese into a dish. I salt it a little bit (my own preference) and stick it in the refrigerator until I need it. It usually doesn't last very long. We eat it on kefir bread most often.

Kefir bread (the best thing ever)

In my attempt to feel better, I have been trying not to eat yeast. Well, not that one strain that comes in the one pound blocks I've been buying in bulk for years. I do love bread. We have spent almost a decade making bread at home, most of that we have milled our own grain to do so. Whenever we are in Boone I have bought this awesome sourdough bread from a Owl Creek Breadworks and it is delicious! I am not really having much luck at making sourdough in this house- maybe it's the fluctuation in temperature, or the water from the well, or just me. Anyway, when I'm at home, I make this bread for myself and my family.

5 cups of freshly ground flour (I like mixing kamut and hard red wheat)
1 cup kefir whey + 2 cups of milk (or 3 cups of kefir, but I like using up the whey)
2 tsp. sea salt

I mix it all together in a removable crock from a slow cooker that was broken. I leave it on the counter for 24 hours, covered. Sometimes it's only 22 hours, but it has a nice bit of time before I need to do anything else.
After the elapsed time, I add a little more flour because it's quite wet. I suppose I could just make it with all of hte flour in it at the beginning but I haven't. It's been delicious as it is. Also, I don't grease my pans at all. I'm not sure if it's my stoneware pans or the flour I dust on the outside, but the bread doesn't stick. Bake it at 350°F for about 40 minutes. Let it sit and cool in the pans for just about 10 minutes let it cool and then enjoy! It's delicious!
kefir bread cooling along with my lunch- kefir bread with chickpea salad (like chicken salad but with chickpeas).


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blessing in Disguise

Sometimes I have pain. It's mysterious at best. Like when I'm trying to go to sleep at night and there's a wrinkle in the sheet and it feels like I'm laying on a huge tree root and feeling bruised though it's not. Or like then I lay on my side and my top foot rests on my bottom foot and it feels painful and the bottom foot starts cramping or feeling bruised. Or like when sometimes my neck and shoulders feel like maybe my head has been too heavy and the job of holding it up is just too much, so I seek out a massage from my Honey but it hurts too bad to let him touch me. Or when wearing a bra (or anything elastic) is just too painful- as if it's suddenly gotten too small and is cutting me to bits, though it's not and I haven't put on any weight. I even went to an ENT thinking it was becauwse I might be allergic to elastic (latex) but I wasn't. Yesterday I was folding laundry- nothing heavy- socks or something ridiculous- and suddenly my heels started hurting like I was holding something very heavy. I'm far too young to hurt like this! I feel like the Princess from Princess and the Pea. Recently I've developed pain in my left hand (which seems like it's not a big deal except I'm very left handed) that prevents me from picking up anything heavier than a small cup of coffee. Sometimes I can't even pick that up. It's ridiculous! That has been happening for months now. It is very frustrating because I can't make my bed or get the laundry out of the washer because tugging hurts too bad.

My poor husband- I burn him up all the time. I can't seem to get warm. I thought maybe I had a fever but I haven't had one at all. I'm always cold. I stay in the kitchen most often because the wood stove is in here. It's not like I'm sitting around not creating heat- I just can't seem to keep it! I pile on clothes and move as much as I can aerobically without hurting too much, but still- cold. There has been one really great thing- the sunshine. I have never enjoyed it as much as I do after a shower if the bathroom is warm and the sun is streaming in. :) I don't hurt or freeze then. We are remodeling the whole house (including the now demolished bathroom) so it will be a while before I can get that lovely sunshine in there again. For now we shower in the laundry room and use the bathroom upstairs. I do feel my poor Honey has got a bum deal! At night when I'm asleep, it seems that all the heat I didn't produce during the day is produced at night. He says I'm like a furnace sometimes.

There's a bit of disorientation sometimes. I noticed that some years ago. Often I feel like I have just woken up from a dream. When I turn around, sometimes I don't know where I am- only for a split second though. That has been very disconcerting and not anything I've told my Honey. I think it's from lack of good sleep though. I saw this Twilight Zone once where this man was afraid to sleep because he was sure he would dream a certain dream and would die. He fell asleep and died just like he thought he would. I'm sure if I would sleep well I would feel better the next day. Maybe that is all any of it is. I think a lack of sleep can probably make a person crazy! The worst thing about it is, I'm so tired that I do nap- for hours sometimes- but I don't feel like I've rested when I get up. I feel more like I didn't have a choice and I pass out. Maybe everyone has feelings of being disoriented sometimes. There's a certain spot in my drive from Boone to home that I really can never figure out where I am. That has always happened though. It's somewhere near Linville Ridge- it's all just tree lined trees in what seems like forever driving at that point.


You know another thing? When you have mysterious pain, everyone tells you what can cure it. I have been guilty of it myself. I eat well- better than most. I do not drink soft drinks, don't eat much sugar (I usually use honey if I can), make all our bread products at home from freshly ground flour, eat plenty of whole grains, fresh organic fruits and veggies, wild caught fish, eggs from my own free range chickens, venison from the deep woods, and I even avoid the nightshades (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes) because of joint pain. But you know what? It doesn't matter. I even drink water from my own well that is filtered twice and re-mineralized! I go so far as to drink real milk and make homemade yogurt and some cheeses from it! My family really appreciates it but I don't get complete relief. I have to say, I am truly sorry to anyone who I have advised before without having any idea what I am talking about. I think most people mean well, but to look at me like I'm crazy because something they are doing to me hurts me (like a clap on the back or a firm handshake) is really annoying. Well, I usually keep my distance (I don't let people touch me if I can help it), so it hasn't happened often. You know how at church you're supposed to hug and shake hands with folks? How I wish I could still do that!

I'm so glad I have the family I have. My Honey brought in the firewood and stoked the fire even though it ends up being the thing that separates us from hanging out. He comes into the kitchen where I am and just chats with me for a while. Sometimes he even comes in and offers to get me something to drink! It's a really big deal because you know- I am in the kitchen already. I love that! My girls just fill in my blanks for me. They find the words I can't. For example- I once was talking about "pants" and I just kept saying "leg things." While we all got a chuckle out of it, they knew what I meant and set to work putting their Dad's laundry away. If I'm giving them instructions I will call the wrong name of a thing 5 or 6 times before I hit on what I meant to say. They don't make fun of me or feel ashamed. They just listen. I love that! It does make for some interesting homeschool lessons! Fortunately, they are self educators and we have plenty of books full of words the authors mean to say!

I haven't been to the doctor for any of this. The last time I went to a doctor (who I absolutely trusted and loved) for weird things like this they offered me antidepressants. It was about a dozen years ago. I don't have a real love relationship with any doctors now. My whole family has been run through the mill by many different docs over the years. I think most of them don't know what they are doing- that's why it's called a "practice." But seriously- I don't have money to throw at not getting to the bottom of what all this is about. We have done a fair amount of research on our own and discovered some things. Both Scott and I think it's fibromyalgia. There are a few other things my symptoms could be, but taken all together, that was the only thing. After talking to people with it and telling them what I felt like, they thought so too. So, there we have saved tens of thousands of dollars by doing the research (though it has taken years- wait it still might have taken years with doctors) ourselves.

You know what though? In all this I still feel so blessed!! I remember sometimes being called the wrong name by my Granny when I was little. She had many of us children always around, so of course she was going to make mistakes. Some kids made fun and teased. She just made it a joke too. She is great like that. I am so blessed to have learned how to roll with the punches from so great a woman! I am blessed to have daughters who still look to me even though they know I am not perfect! I am blessed to have a husband who doesn't feel like he got a raw deal marrying a woman with chronic problems. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wisdom vs. Wit

Sometimes I wish I was clever. You know- when someone says something witty and you have an equally witty comeback? I'm not clever that way though. When I was a child, I used to think that I could have some witty retort to someone making fun of me or another equally unpopular child. When the offending party was stumped with nothing more to say, all the other kids who felt like the underdog would hoist me to their shoulders and carry me around cheering my intellect like it was some sort of super power. As an adult, I know how foolish it is to feel this way still, but really do we ever grow up completely? Do we ever stop feeling vulnerable like children? What does God's Word say about all of this?

 Isaiah 5: 21 says "Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!"

1 Corinthians 3:18 "Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise."

Proverbs 3:7 "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil."

Wow.

There are more verses about the pride of thinking ourselves clever and wise.  So where does this come from? Why is it so pervasive in people to want to know things we don't really know? I'm not talking about what you learn from a book rather than from actually doing something (like I "know" how to make soap in theory. I've read about it and even memorized recipes for years, but I've never done it myself), I'm talking about the desire to always have something to say in conversation- something that people will nod and think "I wish I had said that" and "she always says the most wise things." The basic question is: where does human pride come from?


When Earth was freshly made and everything was "good" according to God (who I bet never throws around words such as "good" like I do)- this was the height of perfection for human kind! There was one man and one woman. They had everything in creation to discover! And what did they do? The ONE thing they were told NOT to do. Eve was told by the adversary: "You know the only reason He doesn't want you to eat the fruit is because he wants to keep you in the dark about everything. Girlfriend, as soon as you eat it you'll know good and evil just like He does and you KNOW He just wants to keep a sista down! (my paraphrase of course)"

Not wanting to remain uncouth, she ate it and then gave some to Adam and he ate it too. That pride- that desire to "know" something was born in the human heart! Our Mother Eve, and Father Adam- they wanted to know better than God! So next time I'm hit with the urge to have had some clever thing to say, maybe I can remember verses about meekness and contentment.

Blessings!



Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gullet Adoption Fundraiser

I know I said my next post would be about the cost of eating out, but I had to let you know about this great fundraiser a family is doing to adopt a child. It's called the "Gullet Adoption Fundraiser." I have to just say that I think adoption is a wonderful thing. We are all adopted by God into His family. We are called to care for the widows and orphans (what better way than adoption?). Consider helping this wonderful family.


http://goodnessandgraceblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/special-fundraiser-for-our-adoption.html

The Gullet Family

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Cost of Eating

Sometimes it's really easy for me to say "we'll just get something out to eat." I come up with reasons why-

"It's so much faster" 

"It's not that much more expensive than buying it and making it at home." 

"I don't think it will hurt every once in a while."

and the infamous "Let's treat ourselves."

But really, are any of these points valid?

Lets deal with each one in turn:  

"It's so much faster" Do you know where I live? I'm in the middle of nowhere. It takes at least 10 minutes to drive to the nearest town and the choices there aren't all that great. No one in the family wants fast food, so we have to drive a few towns away. Lets say I drive 20 minutes one way (a very conservative estimate from here), order my food (even if I already know what I'm getting it still takes a few minutes to do this). Non fast food restaurants take about 20 minutes to prepare and package the food, then another 20 minutes home. I've spent an hour getting food that's not even hot once I get it home, another 5 or so minutes to un-package it, etc... You get the idea.

What about when I lived in town? Still, a few minutes to drive, 20 minutes to get the food and a few minutes to drive back home. So let's say half an hour? I have seen "Meals in 20 Minutes" cook books. But really, who says faster is better? I'm almost always at home to cook slowly if I want to.So I guess that excuse is out the door !



Next time I'll tackle "It's not that much more expensive than buying it and making it at home."