Saturday, August 19, 2017

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Trusting your "gut"

Fans of the television show NCIS are well aware of the famous Gibb's "gut" feeling for it is rarely wrong.  If it ever has been wrong.  He believes in it so much that he trains the younger agents to develop their own "gut" sense to solve their cases.

There is a spiritual word for it called... discernment.  Over the years, as we learn to trust the discernment God gives us, we also can go a long way to solving our own mysteries of life.  Not to mention figure out the good guys from the bad guys, separate Truth from what is made up, and learn to trust ourselves when we feel God is saying something.

The past few weeks, I've had that "gut feeling"... that discernment from God... that it is once again time to deepen the pantry as much as possible.  For if nothing else, the world is in a precarious position.  I'm not afraid and I don't suggest stocking up in fear, instead I see it as God's reminder that it just may be possible we will need to stay inside awhile or there may be a stop in the flow of goods from one area to another.

Should North Korea decide to show off a bit and bomb anywhere on earth, it will affect us here in the States and in parts of the world not even near where a bomb would fall.  People will then become fearful and there most probably would be a run on stores for food and supplies.  We came near such an event recently when it turns out one of the missiles launched came uncomfortably close to a passenger jet.

In this country, another riot is going on as I write.  If you read any in-depth news coverage of what happened in Virginia (I gave up on the main stream media in the 1990s), you will hear about the numbers of people being bussed in to the city for this event.  A lot of people I trust for a very long time have written that these things don't happen by chance.  Someone is planning the riots and someone is pouring fuel on the very real problem of racism and someone is lighting a match.

I pray that we in the Church can build relationships between the races based on a mutual love for Christ and not let outside sources stir up dissension.  All races will be in Heaven and God made every one of us just the way He thought beautiful.

We need to have discernment when listening to the news.  It is not the same as when I grew up and you could trust that Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley were giving us the facts.  While I don't agree all the time with our current president, there is no way everything he does is bad and everything the previous president did was perfect. I'm thinking Walter and David leaned toward the liberal side of the political fence but the fact I'm guessing tells you there is a difference today. 

You see, everywhere we look today there is someone with a match ready to light the fire of rage and then we are shocked when we see a riot turn deadly in the U. S. or innocents mowed down in Spain.  Our "gut" is telling us there is something really, really wrong going on here and if we are students of the Bible, we see what is predicted in the days before Jesus returns.

Now, for the good news... Jesus is coming back.  Yep.  He is and everything going on around us is a sure Sign of that.  Another bit of good news is this... He decided you were going to be born at this time in history so that means He prepared you for such a time as this my friends.  He gave you that discernment you are feeling.  Not to mention that perfect love casts out fear.

I'm saying all this to encourage you to trust your "gut".  Listen to your instincts.  Spend time in prayer and ask God for wisdom if you are not sure what He wants you to do... and while you are at it, pick up some more water and some cans of food and perhaps a couple packages of dried fruit and don't forget the kibble for your furry loved ones.  Even a little extra will make a huge difference should you need them.

I wrote a few blog posts about How I Stock Up back in 2009.  Although it is not information on going to the store and stocking everything at once, it does show how I keep a pantry on a limited budget.  I admit, my pantry is not deep at all but it is good enough.  That series begins... here.

Trust your instincts and if God is telling you to stock some extra essentials, do so now.  He may or He may not, only God knows your needs and what they will be.  I have written before that I felt led to have a very deep pantry before Y2K and a good friend just added a little extra to her pantry but bought a generator (which I didn't do).  As it turned out, we had a job loss during that time and the extra food and supplies were such a blessing and she moved to an area where they used that generator a lot.  God knows and He cares.

ImageBrambley Hedge and my idea of a well stocked pantry!  (I love those books.)

NOTE:  Please forgive typos.  I go in for another shot of medicine in my eyes this week so I'm hoping they clear up like they did last time.  The computer is a little fuzzy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

King James Study Bible, Full Color, Large Print; a review

From the moment I opened this Bible, I loved it.  The full color photos make it beautiful, the font is larger than normal without being too big, and there are just the right amount of extras to make it a good study Bible.

The photos and descriptions of each book of the Bible provides a look into what each book is about, who wrote it, the time in history it is written, etc.  I love the images from the Holy Land that make one feel they are actually there.  Not to mention the maps, article inserts, and even a section at the very beginning telling how to use this study Bible.

Some Features Include:
  • Center-column references with translation notes
  • Beautiful full-color pages and features
  • Hundreds of full-color maps, images, and charts
  • 5,700 authoritative and time-tested study notes
  • Over 100 archaeological notes
  • Over 100 personality profiles highlighting important figures in Scripture
  • More than 200 notes of important Christian doctrines
  • Book Introductions and outlines
  • Easy-to-navigate topical indexes
  • Hebrew and Greek word-study concordances

While the KJV of the Bible is not my primary version these days, I believe every home should have a copy.  For there is nothing like the beauty of the original King James, the poetry, and the Shakespearean quality of the wording.  Like many people my age, all of my early Bible memorization was from the King James.

Whether you need a King James Version in your own home or you know someone who would love such a beautiful Bible that uses this version already, I highly recommend this new study Bible.  It would make a lovely gift for anyone but especially that person in your life that would appreciate larger-than-normal fonts.

The one negative some may find with this Bible is the large size.  However, it would have to be this big to provide larger print as well as the study Bible features.

The King James Study Bible was provided by the publisher for the sake of review but the opinions are my own.

Further information can be found... here.  Although the Bible sent to me was a Bonded Leather edition, this link takes you to the hardcover edition.  If you scroll down, you will be able to view all options this Bible is available in as well as images from the inside.

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - There are no inconsequential people

The results of the 2016 presidential election by county.

Recently I was listening to a speaker when he mentioned something about the presidential election.  Now usually the subject sends me to the remote in search of something like the BabyTV Channel but this was a question that I, too, had wondered about.

He asked the question how the polls could have gotten it so wrong prior to the election, predicting that the Democratic candidate would win in a landslide.  They were so certain of winning that one of the major news magazines had already printed their front cover to run the next day, titled "Madam President".  They lost.

It turns out the biggest reason is that the large polling companies did not poll those in America who lived in smaller towns and rural areas.  They thought their votes were... inconsequential.  The map above explains why that was a very bad decision.  For the map shows the results of the election by County.  That is a whole lot of Real Estate with smaller towns and rural areas and considering the Electoral College and all... a flawed arrogance.

It doesn't matter who we voted for, what this map shows is that the people whose opinions were disregarded are the very people who turned the results of the election to the other candidate.  There are no little people, no unimportant voters.

I was reminded after hearing this interview of the program an Ohio political leader had on one of the 20/7 news channels quite some years ago.  He was answering questions people had written in and one of them was from a viewer asking, "Since he supposedly broadcast the show from Ohio, what was the skyline of New York City doing in the background?".

He turned around and looked at the view through the window on the set and laughed.  Then he said something like, "Uh, that is not New York City.  That is Columbus, Ohio.  We do have skyscrapers in Ohio."  I found that such a description of the way people think of "fly over country" that all these years later I still think of it and get a chuckle.

The truth is, not only are there no inconsequential people living in the middle of this country... there are no inconsequential people anywhere in the world.  Not one.  For every man, woman, and child was created in the image of God.

I started writing this before the tragedy in Virginia yesterday but it struck me how honestly, the pollsters judging what rural and small town people are like have a lot in common with those who hate certain races because they think their own race superior to another.  It is all arrogance and God says over and over in the Bible that he hates pride.

Living in a big city does not make one any smarter or better than one who has corn and soybeans growing down the road.  Like, ummm... moi'.  Having white skin does not make one smarter or better than their neighbor who has black skin or red skin or yellow skin and let's not forget Kermit who reminded us that it is not easy being green.  Nope.  All God's children have a place in the choir.

The Bible tells us that when we get to Heaven, every tribe and nation that has ever existed will be represented.  How in the world people can remotely call themselves Christians and say God is behind the way they think their race is superior is beyond me because that is not what God said in His Word.  He says entirely the opposite.

Where I had originally planned to go with today's blog post was to remind people that they cannot let other people decide who they are and what they are.  Just because we have accepted Christ as our Savior and we really do believe in that "Old, Old, Story of Jesus and His Love", and we do believe we need a Savior for redemption of sins, and we believe the Bible is true from Genesis to Maps... does not mean we are stupid and we must never fall for that line which runs throughout society today.  Especially in TV, movies, and other media.

Instead I will be praying this week for those who were injured and the families of those killed, including the two police officers who died in the helicopter crash.  So senseless.  The other thing we can do is to show love in our own little corner of the world, to always do the opposite of what the enemy of our souls is nagging us to do. To share the love of Jesus and the salvation of Jesus with those who need Him, those who have lost hope, those who have grown weary in this fallen world.

We need to give a cup of cold water to a thirsty world.... or chocolate chip cookies... or some healthy fruit... or all of the above.


Further information about the map can be found... here.  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Checking those expiration dates!

I don't use the medicine cabinet in our bathroom very much.  Which is probably evident when my husband brought me a box of cough syrup last week to check for the expiration date.  We both agreed it had been in the cabinet "awhile".

Well, imagine my surprise when I finally found the date (it was embossed into the box and hard to find) to read the expiration was... 11/2010.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Seven years ago!  As surprised as I was, I do think I remember buying that when Christopher had a cold when he was in college.  Sheesh. 

When I had children living at home, the medicine cabinet and First Aid kit were always checked a couple times a year to make certain we had everything needed to keep a middle of the night run to the drug store unnecessary.  Why it would be so important then and not now would probably require counseling.  I'd prefer just to spend the money on First Aid items.

I'd usually check the First Aid kits and medicine cabinet when school began each year.  Whether it was public school, college, or when we homeschooled our son.  With winter cold and flu season just around the corner and shopping for school supplies, anyway, it was a good time to check for needed purchases.

I used to have a Cold and Flu kit which I should do again.  Especially after getting hit with that infection last winter.  I talked a little bit about it here.

Time does seem to go faster than we realize.  You may remember that a few months ago, I took all the canned goods and such out of the kitchen cabinets where they are kept and every item was checked for their expiration date.  There were cans that had to be tossed and I am always getting things out of those cabinets. It will happen but not as often if we check a couple times a year.

So this brief Saturday post is just a reminder to check your expiration dates. When there truly is a need for First Aid and medications, we certainly don't want what is on our shelves to be out of date!  I'd be interested in knowing if any of you found medicine that old.

If you were a fan of Laine's Letters like me, Annabel has recent suggestions from her!  They can be found... here and here.  It was good to hear from Laine again.

Image:  All Country Armoire 

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Mission Walker, a review

It is rare that I find it hard to put down a nonfiction book but I found myself carrying The Mission Walker with me from room to room as I had a chance to read further.  It is exceptionally good reading that happens to be true.  I loved this book.

It begins when Edie Littlefield Sundby is diagnosed with cancer and given three months to live.  Which does not seem the stuff interesting adventure books are made.  It is the story of Edie overcoming cancer not once... but twice.  We are there with her in the beginning during her treatments but the part of the story that is impossible to stop reading is when she is walking the trails.

If there is a mantra she tells herself, it is "If I am moving then I am alive".  So after her first cancer treatments are surprisingly successful, Edie decides to walk the 800 Mile northern part of the Historic California Mission Trail.  When the cancer returns two  years later, she decides it is time to walk the El Camino Real from its' origin in Loreto, Mexico to the U. S. border.  This time with only one lung.

When Edie is walking the trail, she makes us feel as if we are there.  I just had to keep reading to see what would happen next.  Did she complete the trail?  I will leave that for readers to discover.  I can't recommend this book enough.  Not only is it an interesting read but it is also inspirational for anyone who feels like giving up on life as the author shares her faith as well as her determination.

The Mission Walker was provided by the publisher for the sake of review but the opinions are my own.

Further information can be found... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Letting go of more than just stuff

I should have made the changes in my family room months ago.  I've had an unsettled feeling about a certain corner at least that long so when I switched out a shelf that held cute little things on it for one large framed needlework, it looked so much better.  Then I made some changes to the Butler's rack by that corner and I quite like the results.  (This photo was taken before the changes to the Butler's rack.)

The unexpected peace that came from removing clutter... albeit pretty clutter... got me to thinking about the advice I've given myself and my kids over the years... let it go!  The concept of letting go of thoughts that clutter our mind with bad stuff is a lesson learned long ago and usually the hard way.

What is emotional and spiritual clutter?  Those things that cause a discontent when we dwell on them?  What must we let go of to have peace?  I'll talk about a few below.

Letting go of what we thought our lives would look like.
This was probably my hardest struggle.  It took years to completely let it go and even then there are days I have to give that one back to God all over again.  I think this one is particular difficult for those of us brought up in a culture that taught us that we could do anything and be anything we wanted to be.  I know now that is a lie that comes back to bite most of us.

For one thing, it is not Biblical.  Like so many of these lies, we accept what culture is teaching instead of God's Word.  God made us a certain way with specific gifts that He created in us for the journey He created us for... not just anything we decide out of the blue we want to become.

Now, He does place within us desires to use those gifts that He provides. When we ask for wisdom, He opens and closes doors and brings the people along our path we need... all throughout our lives to keep us on that journey.  It is often during those times of closing doors that we stomp our feet and cry out to Him that life is So. Not. Fair.!!!

However, when we let go of what we thought our life would look like at the age we are right now... if we accept that God has us on a journey that ends in good things... then we can have some peace and be able to look for the good that is on this God given journey.  For there is a whole lot of good that comes out of following His path instead of our intended goal.

Letting go of bitterness and unforgiveness.
This is a hard one for a lot of us.  It tends to be the fruit of when we do not let go of the life we expected.  Sometimes our hopes and dreams do come true, usually after we work hard to reach them.  However, for some of us we need to refocus on something other than our original dream and find what it is that He wants us to do. 

We cannot refocus, much less find peace, if we are still holding on to the clutter of bittnerness that life is not what we expected.  Whether it is a goal not reached, a broken marriage, a wayward child, an illness, less than good experiences in the church or workplace, someone else getting the promotion, or all kinds of ways life can seem to come to a bend in the road we did not expect... if we allow that root of discontent to become full fledged bitterness then the enemy of our souls will win.

This is especially true when we do not let go of unforgiveness.  I've had people spread lies about me before, some of them I wonder where they came up with these imaginations.  Sometimes it was the way they interpreted a situation or something I said but I'm sure most of the time it was something whispered to them by the enemy of our souls until they believed lies instead of truth.

Sometimes I've needed to forgive because of what someone did rather than said or how someone took a grain of truth and turned it into something entirely different than what the truth actually was.  I ask God how He can let such a thing happen and when I hold on to the anger and refuse to "let it go", then that person has a continual affect on me far beyond the original dishonesty.

For instance, if it has been a long time since I've even seen or talked to that person and I'm still playing a video through my mind of what they said or did, whether just once or on a continual basis, then that person still has control of my emotions.  I've learned when they come to mind, to change my thoughts to something else such as listening to great music.  One has to decide to think about something else instead of the person who has wronged us.

Letting go of regrets.
What if there is no other person but it is us that has somewhere along the way made the wrong decision, taken the wrong path, or hurt someone we love?  What if we felt God wanted us to go in one direction and like Jonah we took off the opposite way and the results were not what we hoped for?

What if we find ourselves at a point in life when we have a lot of regrets?  Well, we must let them go, too.  Breath in.  Breath out.  Now say out loud (or under our breath should someone be close by and think us quite mad to be talking to ourselves)... I forgive myself.

For one thing, always remember we are looking at the past with 20/20 vision that we may not have had when we made the original decisions.  Also, we must give our younger selves grace for we did not have the wisdom we have today.  So often we made what we know now was the wrong decision when it seemed right at the time.

We have to let it go, just as if it was someone else who brought us to this point in life.  If we don't, then regrets will kill our spirit and do further damage to any future God has for us. 

God can only redeem our journey if we let go of the past!

How do we let go?
Well, all I can talk about with any kind of authority is what has worked for me.  I mentioned that when thoughts of the words someone has said or pictures in my mind of actions they have done come to haunt my thoughts... I have to purposely think on something that is good and beautiful and peaceful and God inspiring.

Usually I listen to praise music or hymns or even secular music that brings beauty to my mind.  If I have time, I sometimes read from a book or a devotional that I love.  If I am really feeling down, then I pop a favorite movie in the DVD player that I know will take my mind off what is eating at it.

Of course, reading the Word is essential and sometimes if things are really bad, all I can do is read the Psalms.  Although I have to say that I am positive that is why God has them there.  They were the songs that brought His people the Jews through very difficult times and continue to bless us today. 

Sometimes when I'm in a season of distress, I find having a Bible study book to go through helps immensely. Whether a book written by Elizabeth George that teaches how to be a woman of God or one of those "fill in the blanks" study books of a particular book of the Bible... each has a place to help me draw closer to God and replace emotional clutter with His Word.

What if you are still living it everyday?
I thoroughly get this since my husband is manic-depressive (so much better a description than bipolar).  He can be rather... explosive... unexpectedly.  There are a few things I've learned in this very long marriage. 

First, realize by allowing this in my life then God has a way of helping me put up with it.  Sometimes it helps to just leave the situation until he calms down by going out for coffee if possible or at least going to the Study and listening to music.  He does calm down eventually.

Second, and this works for anyone dealing with a difficult person... you ask God to let His love for that person flow through you.  It always amazes me that He answers that prayer over and over again.  Whether it is to replace my anger against my husband or against someone I hardly know who has done me wrong.  He really will fill your heart with His love for another but only if you have... what?  Let it go.

Let the emotions that are eating you up on the inside GO.  For as long as you hold on to them then healing cannot begin.  You must heal spiritually and emotionally so that God can redeem your journey and continue from where you are right now.  Can He do that?  Most definitely.  My life is nothing what I had planned and quite honestly, not what I had wanted.  However, He has redeemed it into something pretty good.

You have to make the decision what is more important.  To hold bad feelings towards other people or yourself because these feelings are so much a part of you that letting go is hard... or making that decision that you do not want to clutter your life with them, anymore.  It is amazing how one feels when they are free from bitterness or unforgiveness or regrets or any other negative emotions we choose to hold onto. 

Remember, peace is a Person and to really walk in that peace and that light and that calm then He has to be allowed to take the place of all the junk in your soul and in your mind.  Then He will redeem not only your journey but every part of you.  That is worth letting it go.