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Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category


In my internet browsing recently I have been drawn to several blogs about families’ adventures in homesteading.  I just love the way they are returning to the land and learning about organic gardening, animal husbandry, and traditional foods.  One of my favorites is Katie Riddle’s blog, Riddlelove.  I am living vicariously through them all for sure.  Every time I read one, my heart aches to have my very own piece of land where anything is possible and everything is allowed.

As I was reading the other day, a very disturbing thing happened.  From the deep, dark, recesses of my mind came this ugly, mean, nasty voice.  It said things like, “Don’t you think you’re a little too old for that kind of thing?”.  And, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, ya know”.  After listening to that voice for a few minutes I got really sad.  Maybe that voice was right, maybe I was too old.  Maybe a single woman doesn’t have any business living out in the country.  Blah blah blah blah blah.  I almost started crying over all the reasons this deep, heart-felt desire of mine was a bad idea.

Then I started getting mad.  How dare that ugly voice try to steal my dream!  Just who did that voice belong to anyway?  I don’t believe I’m too old!  I’m not even 50 yet!  And this old mature dog can learn just as many new tricks as she wants to, thank you very much.

Here’s what I learned through this:

1.  The Bible warns us that the devil is here to steal, kill, and destroy.  That includes our dreams and passions,

2.  It’s important that you feed your dream and keep it in front of you, and

3.  It’s really important that you guard your dream and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.

So, next time you begin to hear that nasty voice trying to talk you out of your dream go get your pointy toed shoes on and kick some devil hinny!  And dream on, Baby, dream on!

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Resting in Him


Today is Shabbat or Sabbath.  It began at sundown yesterday and ends at sundown today.  A day of resting.  A day of restoring.  A day of reflecting on the goodness and faithfulness of Father.  It is a day that Papa, in His grace, built into the Hebrew calendar.  One day a week to rest the body and reconnect with the important things in life: family, friends, and Him.

The concept of rest has been all but forgotten in our culture.  Americans typically spend their days rushing from one event or activity to another, chronically sleep deprived and stressed out.  So much to do in the short amount of time allotted.

But what if you had permission to take one day a week and rest?  No chores; no “musts”; no “shoulds”.  Just rest.  Read a book.  Take a bath.  Go for a leisurely walk.  Relax.  De-stress.  Reflect on all that’s good in your life.  Rehearse your blessings.  Rekindle your joy.  It’s incredibly freeing you know.  To just say “no” to the world’s expectations of you, to re-claim your time.  To deliberately choose what to do with your day.

Not only do you have permission to do that, but Father earnestly desires it for you.  That’s why He put it on the calendar.  So take some time to rest today.  Don’t make it hard or attach a bunch of rules to it.  Just have some fun.  And as a friend from Texas likes to say, “Shabbat Shalom, y’all”!

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I’ve spent the last few weeks periodically drooling over the seed selections in my Baker Creek seed catalogue.  I always dream of having a huge garden when in reality I only have a very small garden spot.  It’s always a little painful to have to eliminate choices I don’t have room for.  Especially from Baker Creek.  They sell heirloom seeds from all over the world.  If you enjoy gardening, I would encourage you to visit their website.  So many seeds, so little room!

I think I have narrowed down my picks for this year.  Pretty sure.  Maybe.  I’m going to give broccoli a try since it’s something we all really like,  And of course salad fixin’s are a must.  There’s nothing quite like picking your lunch 5 minutes before you eat it!  I’ve chosen a salad mix and green onions, and I’m going to try celery this year too.  Carrots don’t seem to like my dirt so I’m giving those a pass.  Green beans will grow up the chain link fence along with sugar snap peas.  I’ll have some tomatoes in pots as well as potted herbs:  basil, oregano, rosemary, chives, cilantro, and parsley.  And although I would love to have potatoes, onions, garlic, and sweet corn there just isn’t enough room.  Same goes for watermelons, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, and so many others.  Sigh.

So for now I will plant what I can in this season and continue to plan for my big garden in a future season when I have more space.  It’s actually kinda fun to plan out the perfect garden.  On paper there are no limitations and I really like that idea.  It’s still a little too early to start planting here but it’s supposed to be around 65 degrees today, so I think I’m going to go outside and play in the dirt!

Do you have a garden?  What are your favorite things to grow?

I linked up with Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

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Interior Design is one of my passions.  I get such joy from being invited into a room, often haphazard and accidental, and being allowed to turn it into something beautiful.  I also enjoy watching design shows on TV.  Among my favorites are the ones where the designers go into people’s attics and basements and storage areas and find things that have been tucked away because they didn’t quite “fit”.  They are dusted off and maybe given a new coat of paint.  The designer then takes all these seemingly unrelated objects and by carefully placing them in the perfect spot, creates a cohesive, intentional, and uniquely beautiful room.  If you watch the shows often enough, you will begin to see that most designers have a signature style; something that is common to all their designs, that puts their “stamp” on it.

In many ways, Father is the Master Designer.  After all, He designed heaven and earth and all the galaxies.  He designed all of nature in its vast, diverse array of shapes and colors and textures.  And He designed each one of us.  What joy it must bring Him when we invite Him into our lives and allow Him to create something beautiful!  We are not called to be a copy of someone else’s life.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made; knit together in our mothers’ wombs to be unique and beautiful!

My prayer for you today is that you will invite Father into your life as Master Designer, however haphazard and accidental it may appear to be.  That you will bring out all the gifts and talents and dreams that He gave you, but that you’ve kept tucked away because they didn’t quite “fit” who or what you thought you should be.  Dust them off.  Maybe give them a fresh coat of paint.  And surrender them to God.  Then watch as He takes all of those seemingly unrelated things and puts them exactly where He created them to be, and turns your life into a cohesive, intentional and uniquely beautiful thing.

And when people meet you, they’ll know God was your designer.  Because He left his stamp on you.

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So, here is installment number two of my “New Year, New You” journey.  If you missed number one you can find it here.

The very first change I made had to do with food.  I decided that it would be easier to eat better if I didn’t have stuff around I was trying not to eat.  Thus began the Great Pantry Toss.  If pantry cleaning was an Olympic sport, I would be wearing the gold medal!

I started with simply getting rid of everything that was out of date (in the pantry) or unrecognizable (in the freezer).  I found more than a few mystery packages in the freezer.  You know, all those things you didn’t want to waste 5 seconds labeling because you know exactly what it is?  Because you know, that’s 5 whole seconds of your life you’ll never get back!  Then you spend an hour letting it defrost enough to be able to tell what it is, and it’s not what you thought it was so you toss it back in the freezer, again without labeling, because you’re not gonna forget what it is now after all of that!  So now you have all those sad, lonely, unlabeled surprise packages being tossed around the deep freeze as you search for something that is labeled to feed the hungry hoards.  I am happy to report that the sad, lonely, unlabeled surprise package population of my freezer is now a big fat zero.  Yeah me!  And, in an effort to maintain population control I even bought some cute little freezer labels and put them in a convenient place in my kitchen so I’ll actually use them.  I am also happy to report that all of the stray Y2K supplies that I found while spelunking in my panty met a similar fate.  Seriously, I don’t know what I was thinking; Spam?  Does anyone really eat that?

As I said earlier, one of my goals this year is to eat healthier.  I’m not talking about going on a diet and I’m not talking about some hard to find, esoteric “health food”.  I’m simply talking about eating more in line with what my body was created to eat.  So I’m going to be focusing on unprocessed (or at least less processed), organic (where possible), whole foods.  I am giving myself much grace in this process, because it is a process.  Will I ever eat 100% unprocessed, organic, whole foods?  I really don’t know.  But if I don’t, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  What ever changes I do make will be positive and I will celebrate those changes no matter how small.

Ok, back to the pantry.  At the top of the 10 Most Not Wanted list was high fructose corn syrup.  As I began reading labels I was both shocked and amazed at everything that had HFCS in it.  I gotta tell you, reading labels ain’t for wimps!  Some things were pretty obvious like pancake syrup and cold cereal.  Some things surprised me, like “pure” vanilla extract and Lipton onion soup mix.  Seriously?  Onion soup mix?  So I made a decree that henceforth HFCS would no longer find respite in my dwelling place.  I made similar decrees about artificial sweeteners and MSG.  And loudly proclaiming things like, “Off with their heads”, they were unceremoniously tossed across the kitchen into the trash.

To be totally honest with you, though, I didn’t toss everything that should have been tossed.  And I’m ok with that for now.  There is grace in the process.  Some things were purchased by or for my teenagers and I’m not going to toss their stuff.  We have had some discussions about things I don’t want them to bring home anymore though. J  There are some other things that I will not purchase again once they are gone and others that will be phased out as I find healthier alternatives.  I’ve been making my own vanilla extract for about a year now, so the “pure” vanilla extract with high fructose corn syrup did get tossed! 🙂

Next time I’ll talk about #2 on the 10 Most Not Wanted list.  Until then, why don’t you share the weirdest thing you’ve ever found that had HFCS in it?

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Well it’s mid January already, yikes!  Where does the time go?  I don’t know about you, but this is usually the time of year that all my well intentioned New Year’s resolutions go belly up.  I try to change too much too fast and end up overwhelmed, frustrated, and feeling defeated.  But not this year!  You wanna know why?  I’m glad you asked.  It’s cause I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year!  Hah!  How about them apples?

Actually, that’s not exactly true.  I made one.  To not make any more!  This year I decided to do something different.  I am going to make changes gradually, every week or so, over the course of the year, one or two things at a time.  And I am going to give myself grace to not do it perfectly all the time.  If I start to feel a little overwhelmed, I will not add anything else until I get a handle on things.  Some changes will be easier than others of course, and some will take a little longer to assimilate.  Good habits seem harder to establish than bad ones some times, but that’s really just my inner whiner talking.

There are several things I am going to work on this year.  I imagine my list is probably similar to yours:  eat better, shed some pounds, exercise more, simplify, get free from debt, more consistent blogging (ok, that one may not be on your list 🙂 ), more consistent time in the Word, focusing more on relationships, better earth stewardship, etc.  The plan is that by next New Year’s, there will be 52ish things that I am doing (or not doing) that will cumulatively make a big impact in my life, my relationships, my walk, and my environment.

I will be sharing changes I’m making and how that’s going as I go along.  Both for your amusement and my accountability :).  What changes are you making this year?  Why don’t you share your journey with us?  In the immortal words of Pooh Bear, “It’s much more friendlier with two.”

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Transitions


            My baby girl started working full-time last week.  Or nearly full-time – 35 hours.  At the age of 16 she has finished high school and is seeking direction for her life. She knows what she wants to do, just not exactly how and when.  So in the meantime she is kind of in limbo.  It is unfortunate that our society has no rite of passage for our young people.  At 16 she is a very mature young lady, but because of her age is unable to pursue several options that are available to 18-year olds.  This has caused much frustration and has contributed to the limbo state.

            I also have been seeking direction and wisdom for this time.  This is almost as difficult for me as it is for her.  As a mom, how do I transition from having a highschooler to having a graduated, full-time working, young woman in my household?  I told her the other day that this is a process that we are going through together.  And because it’s new territory for both of us, we need to work through it together.

            How much freedom is appropriate for a 16-year old high school graduate?  How much is too much?  Too little?  Where do I let go?  Where do I hold on?  Do I allow her to make her own decisions about everything, or do I still retain veto power in some areas?  What about household chores?  What about curfews?  The questions are endless.  I guess I missed that class in Mommy School.

            Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t trust her or her judgment.  As I said before she’s very mature.  She’s hard-working, extremely capable, and smart.  She has a strong foundation of right and wrong and doesn’t follow the crowd.  So what is it then?  Why is this so hard?  I think it’s this:  I’m afraid I haven’t prepared her for something the world may throw at her, and I won’t be there to protect her.  As a single mom for most of my children’s lives, I have assumed the responsibility of protector for them.  That is an area that Father has been teaching me in recently.  It is actually not my responsibility to “protect” them from the world at this age.  It is my responsibility to point them to Father as protector.

            My daughter is not ignorant of the world.  She has a strong sense of who she is.  She has a vision for her life that burns fiercely.  And she has a relationship with Father that is growing as she learns to listen for His voice.  So, as I daily, sometimes hourly, give this care into Father’s very capable hands, He is gently helping us make this transition.  And as we move from mother and daughter toward two women following after God living in the same house, I am confident that special joys await us along this road.

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