Friday, July 25, 2014

Computer Break

Cozy Night - Toadbriar by Kim Parkhurst
I'm taking a much needed semi-annual break from all things online.  I plan to read some books and smell some flowers and spend time in nature and chat with those I love and perhaps write in a journal all the jumbled thoughts which need to be formed into sentences.

I'll be back in ten days to two weeks, God willing and the proverbial creek don't rise.

Comments closed as I will not be online to moderate them.  ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My World this Week


Once again computer time is hard to come by.  I have tried to catch up on e-mails and if I missed anyone, do write again.  Sometimes they get buried!

After a few days of heat and humidity, we are once again unseasonably cool.  It was actually jacket weather last night, unheard of in late July!  While I love this weather, some garden items do not.  It seems the basil has hardly grown at all since it has been cooler than normal.

The garden is getting that late season look already, quite unlike its' peak in late June and early July.  But we have a lot of green beans since the bush beans are all coming in at once and the vine beans have begun to come in, too.  Next year I may want to plant two raised beds of nothing but green beans for canning.

So... here is what has been going on in my world this week from the lens of a camera.

Reading
My friend and "blog daughter", Heather, recommended Maisie Dobbs and we tend to like the same books.  I'm just starting it.  Further info... here.*  Also rereading A Fine Romance and as mentioned last week... Marriage To a Difficult Man.  Three very different kinds of books.

Watching
Each season of Endeavor on PBS has been excellent!  The season ender last Sunday was quite a surprise, can't wait until the new one comes along (next year?).  Sigh...  Oh, I was asked about Father Brown.  I watch the new Father Brown series on PBS, too.

Pretty Thrifting
She jumped in my cart at Goodwill.  Honest!  It was destined for her to come home with me.

In the Garden
I am loving this golden pineapple sage.  My favorite nursery in a nearby town has all kinds of unusual herbs and flowers.  I bought this one just for the unusual color but the taste is delicious, it really does have an aroma of pineapple and a tropical flavor.  Planning on adding it to pound cake soon!

Produce from the Garden
Kale, green beans, two tiny tomatoes which are under the greens, and flat leaf parsley. 

Sipping and Sharing
I had a cup of regular copy, my all time BFF enjoyed a speciality of the coffee shop, and we shared a delicious piece of our favorite cake.  Yum...

Her Fluffiness
Someone loves having "her" Study back now that Mr. Sebastian has gone home.  I changed some things around on the desk, she thinks it was just to give her more space to stretch out.  ;)

* Amazon Associate's Link

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NIV God's Word for Gardeners Bible, a review


Shelley Cramm is the editor of the devotions in this Bible and she has caught the love of gardens and gardening so many of us enjoy.   But it goes deeper than this, in the Introduction there are 52 weekly devotionals (called Garden Tours) which guide the reader through a section of the Word each day looking at it from a gardening and nature perspective.

Within the Books of the Bible, there are longer essays that coincide with the Garden Tours throughout.  For instance, in the beginning of the book of Esther there is a three page devotional essay describing the palace gardens in Persia (modern Iran).  These are not just flowery devotions, the information is quite interesting and informative.

This hardback Bible has a beautiful cover, as you can see above.   It is in the popular NIV translation, which is the version I use most often.  This would be an excellent gift Bible for the person who loves gardens, whether they enjoy gardening themselves or they would be interested in what the Bible has to say about gardens.

I have only one complaint about this edition, the font is very small making it somewhat difficult for some of us to read, especially those of us who now depend on reading glasses.  Otherwise, it is an excellent Bible.

While one would probably not use this version as their primary Bible for study, it would be very good to have on a side table for use as a Quiet Time Bible by reading the devotionals and looking up the Scripture within. 

Highly recommended if the small font is not an issue.

This Bible was sent to me by the publisher for purposes of review but the opinion is my own.

* More information... here.  Amazon Associate's link.  This link is to the hardback version but if you follow it, you will note that the Kindle version is very inexpensive should you want it mainly to read the devotionals.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Is your mess still your message?

Cotswolds Evening by Robert Duncan
Driving home on country roads requires attention.  However, when passing through areas of forest, long stretches of early corn ready for harvest, the occasional soybean field, and familiar county road intersections with signs warning that cross traffic does not stop... your mind can wander a bit.

Such was the case this past week when I was driving the short distance between our house and the subdivision Mr. & Mrs. Christopher were moving in to a cute little starter home.  Something playing on the radio reminded me of the saying, "Your mess is your message", a phrase popular among writers in the past years.

There is a lot of Truth in that statement.  We are taught in 2 Corinthians chapter one and verse four that God gives us comfort as we go through a trial so then we can go on to comfort others when they walk through a similar trial (my own translation). There is a lot to be said for having walked that same journey or one similar to what another is experiencing.

I suppose that is why a significant number of Bible teachers and writers have gone through great affliction.  They have fallen deep into the depths of despair and met One who had answers they needed.  Most likely not answers to the "Why" question.  No, His answer is usually the same for each person.  I am all you need to go on... He is our sufficiency.

As I watched the road for deer and fast moving pickup trucks, a question arose from the familiar still small Voice.  One demanding deeper thought than possible while driving a short distance... a question to ponder for weeks to come.

That question?  Is your mess still your message?

I knew what He was asking, of course.  Are there parts of past hurts, disappointments, trials, etc. that should have been dealt with and discarded already?  Oh, I know... some will always remain embedded so deeply that those scars cannot be surgically removed until I stand face to face with the Creator.  The reality of some experiences are just too deep to forget.

But there are emotions, memories, and even frustrations that have stayed around long after their usefulness.  He was telling me "enough already... go on...get over it...move forward".

It probably was no coincidence I had spent the previous hour pruning overgrown bushes.  That's my job at the new place, helping my son take dominion over a long neglected lawn and garden.   So I had been pruning the large bushes growing close to their driveway, making it possible for anyone opening the passenger door to actually get out of the car.

The original flower gardens and landscaping was planted by a Master Gardener, one who loved spending time planting and weeding and pruning and taking care of Beauty.  The most recent occupant of the house was a graduate student at the University, working long hours towards a PhD.  He hardly spent time at home.

Where there was once great Beauty, what remained was an overgrown jungle appearance.  Lots of what was there should not have been.  There were intrusive vines and weeds choking out perennials to the extent all that was seen was pretty much the ugliness.   My mission... should I choose to accept it... is to cut through the weeds to find what remains of the original flowerbeds and landscape.

Which if you stop to think about it, was what He was telling me on the drive home.  Making my mess my message was rather clever at first.  Of course, I could write for years about the messy part of my journey.  Actually, I have... for Coffee Tea Books and Me will enter into its' ninth year within a few weeks.

I'm not leaving behind the core messages... living a life of Beauty in and through and after Difficult Times... living in Beauty on an extremely tight budget... sharing a love of books and tea time and really good coffee.  Writing about my cats... past and present.

But I think there may be some pondering ahead about the question He asked on the narrow country road heading towards home.  Like those vines and weeds choking out the Beauty in the neglected flower beds... are there any emotional or spiritual vines choking my life?

Much to think about my friends for I am certain the answer for all of us would be... yes.  I have walked with Him long enough to know if He is asking such a question, good things will follow if I spend needed time in pondering.

Christopher's next door neighbor is also a Master Gardener.  She walked with me the best she could after just having knee surgery, showing me what were weeds and what was not.  I will have a person available for questions, checking again what is of value and what needs to be sent to the curb to be taken away when it is not obvious to the untrained eye.

I have another Master Gardner... the original who walked in Eden.  He will be there aside me as I ponder what is Truth and what is... not.  What to let go of now and what will be covered by His Grace.  The original Creator.  The Alpha and the Omega.  The Lily of the Valley.  He knows a lot about gardens and the human heart.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Trust your inner squirrel


Recently my son asked me to meet him at Menards to help pick out some garden tools needed for their new house.  He was a little late and when he finally arrived, he apologized and told me he had stopped to fill up his car with gas and had called his wife to do the same with her car.

The reason?  A passenger plane had been shot down over the Ukraine and it was probably done by separatists backed by Russia.  This brought a big smile to his mom!  Why?  He was well trained to put news into everyday possibilities.  It also turned out he was right.  Between the short amount of time he filled the first car and could buy gas for her car... the price raised almost fifty cents a gallon.

My "life verse" is Proverbs 3 :5, 6.  But I'd half to say my close second verse is Proverbs 22:3, which is "The prudent person sees trouble ahead and hides, but the naive continue on and suffer the consequences." (New International Version).

I also like the International Standard Version translation into modern English, "The prudent person sees trouble ahead and hides, but the naive continue on and suffer the consequences."

Every friend I have who is a Pantry Person falls under the category of the wise when measured by Proverbs 22:3.  Over the years they have learned to keep an ear to the ground of preparedness chatter, an eye on the news, and at the same time... not worry.  They know God is in control but they have a definite leading towards being prepared for life in this chaotic and upside down world.

I know this idea of being aware of what is going on and preparing as God leads is not new to the 21st century.  I have read numerous reports of women prior to WWII who felt God was leading them to store a little extra here and a little extra there as they could... and when WWII suddenly broke out their families may have not feasted but they were fed.

There is a well known story of a woman who, in much the style of the Biblical Joseph, stored enough extra grain ahead of time that she fed the entire village in which she lived.   These were homemakers and not prophets to whom God could speak with that inner nudging, that still small voice.

I know a lot of women today who are feeling that nudge.  I'm not talking about the need for radical preparedness.  They would not be contacted by a TV Network to appear as part of a Reality TV show.  They simply purchase a few extra cans here, an extra package of TP there, perhaps a bulk purchase of oatmeal now and then, an extra jar of honey for the shelf, and they are aware of what they have on hand.

Some started gardening for the first time or learned to do water bath canning.  Others used a pressure canner for their own soups and stews.  A few have become experts in dehydrating.  Many only watch for very good sales and stock a little extra.  Most have gathered good inexpensive recipe and become proficient in at least a few.

They have a God-given wisdom... an understanding of the times... to know when to make a quick trip to the grocery store to stock up on last minute essentials.  They understand if there is a Winter Storm Watch issued that chances are the grocery store will quickly be out of milk and eggs and bread and butter.  So they take the available grocery money and head to the store for these essentials.

Being a Pantry Person takes a lot of courage.  The general population tends to laugh and scoff at such people, which is why when it is taken to an extreme it makes for popular Reality TV.  But a true Pantry Person does not bring attention to themselves.  They don't want to at any cost.

They quietly act as squirrels in September and October and gather their food for the Winter.  I can usually tell when true Winter is near.  For then the squirrels go into a frenzy (they act squirrely so to speak).  That is when I can sit on the deck and watch them grab any and all black walnuts off the lawn and off to their larder.

Trust your God-given instincts.  Not out of fear but out of faith that you hear from Him.  Even if you cannot do much to gather the black walnuts from the lawn (ummm... so to speak), gather a little hear and there as you can.

And be aware that a downed airliner may make the price of gasoline raise later in the day, or that severe drought in the nation's largest producer of fresh veggies will mean rising food prices, or that blight in Columbia is a sign perhaps you should stock up on coffee before the cost rises, and so on...

Quietly trust your squirrels-before-Winter instincts and should a storm arise... you will be as ready as you can.  The world around us is in a Hurricane Watch (Added: Hurricane Watch of wars and rumors of wars), the clouds have formed and the waves are choppy.

As I write, the storm is out at sea, not drastically affecting us at the moment.  But it would not take much for the Warning to be issued, the destructive winds to come ashore, and it be too late to prepare in any fashion.

Trust your inner squirrel.  It is a gift from God.   And as the angels often say when they appear in the Word, "Fear Not".

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Meadow on the Walking Trail

It is such nice weather, I decided to walk the walking/biking trail yesterday morning.  I haven't been there in weeks.  Well, what I found caused me to go back home and get my camera!

Someone has put a lot of work into making this trail beautiful by planting native flowers, grasses, etc.   I was reminded of an interview with Randy Alcorn I saw recently.  He said just to think that the beauty we find in nature now is in a fallen world.  Imagine what the New Earth will look like in all its' perfection!  In the meantime, it is very pretty.

The waves of green in the background of the top two photos is a cornfield!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My World this Week

The forest mid-summer...
This summer is racing by at warp speed.  I can't believe July is half over, neither can I believe the weather this week with highs in the 70s.  We are often in the upper 90s this time of year.

The garden is in full mid-summer mode with everything growing nicely except the tomato plants.  The two that were hit hardest by the unusually late frost are showing the affects of damage.  One learns something new every year they garden and I learned if a tomato plant has severe frost damage... replace it even if it begins to grow.

Finding computer time has been more difficult than usual and the song siren of the outside world has meant minimal time for reading.  But some is accomplished a little here and a little there.  ;)

This is what is happening in my world through the lens of a camera.

Reading
Mollie Makes Crochet is still on the reading list, the NIV Gardener's Bible that I am perusing for a review later this week, and I am re-reading one of my very favorite bios called Marriage to a Difficult Man.*

Watching
This BYU channel program called American Ride has become my favorite American history show.  The host is quite a character (on and off screen I hear) but the way history is taught makes you feel you can see what is happening.

Highly recommended and enjoyed.  Great for homeschoolers!

Thrifting
I found this enamelware bowl for $1.99 at Goodwill and fell in love with its' vintagy look.  Not to mention it is just the right size to sit on the counter when cooking.

Those are baby potatoes in the bowl, I bought them at the grocery store.  They were not thrifted.

Gift
A very precious friend gave me two rocking chairs for my birthday.  She knew I needed to replace the one on the porch that had fallen apart due to being out in the elements.  So this style was genius!

We have two, one for Hubby and one for me... but I separated them at least temporarily to use one on the deck and one on the porch.  They are SO comfortable.  What a blessing!

Cooking
Kale, one tomato, parsley, basil, and lots of green beans from the garden.
The kale is still growing nicely so I'm using it a lot.

Garden
I'd grow herbs just for their beauty but they do get used.
The basil is looking good.
The apple mint will be allowed to go to flower eventually.

Her Fluffiness
I have the Pet Taxi out to take it outside and give it a good cleaning.  Our house guest will use it to return home, probably this weekend.

But I'd forgotten how much Victoria enjoys curling up in this carrier.  Go figure...

Our House Guest
My daughter-in-law took this photo.  Sebastian is living in a puppy cage in Grammie's Study.  I think he is being conditioned to think kibble when he sees me now.  I wonder if he will expect the same when he is living in his new home?

Oh... Victoria is not amused.  She hears me coo "pretty kitty" to him.  Even if he is a boy.  He has been exceptionally good considering he is in a cage.  But he is a lively guy and tends to knock things over so his imprisonment is his own fault.  ;)

*All book links are Amazon Associate, which means I get a tiny percentage when you purchase through a link or enter your Amazon shopping through clicking on anything in the Widget on the sidebar.  You don't pay any extra.  :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Tea - What Dorcas teaches us

Dappled morning sunlight...
July is my birthday month and this year it is special.  This is a zero year.  While every birthday can cause us to reflect on past years, zero birthdays have a way of rocking our world. 

I was planning a wedding less than two weeks away when I turned twenty.  I turned thirty in the midst of a corporate career with one young child.   When I turned forty, I had a teenager and a surprise (albeit very welcome) young child.

But I don't remember my fiftieth birthday at all.  Those years are enveloped in a haze of trials and tribulation.  I thought I had experienced difficult trials before.  I had no idea there would be days I had to remind myself to breath.  Long days when the future was encased in a fog of uncertainty.

The years surrounding my fiftieth birthday... before and after... were when I had my Jacob experience.  I wrestled with God and He won.  Except instead of one night's struggle... I spent a few years in a wrestling match between my will and His.  I didn't realize that was what it was about until later.

Like Jacob, I came away from those years with a limp.  Physically I was never the same.  We never recovered financially.  Many hopes and dreams and desires of the heart were laid at the feet of Jesus when I finally gave Him what He desired most.  My will, my goals, my very idea of what success in life looks like.

He didn't leave me damaged in the dust.  Eventually He replaced the large house with this brick ranch at the corner of the forest.  He replaced money in the bank with provision just when it is needed... and the gift of Godly desires here and there.  Dreams of doing something big for God were replaced with obedience in the doing of small things.

I have been reading through the Book of Acts and recently came upon a favorite story of the early Church.  It is found in the 9th Chapter where we learn of the passing of Dorcas (also translated Tabitha).

Peter was ministering nearby and was asked to come to Joppa, where Dorcas lived. I am not certain if it was to hold a funeral or if the disciples had hoped he could heal her in time but she had passed on when he arrived.

He was met there by widows who showed him the fine garments Dorcas had made them.  They must have been beautifully stitched and sewn, each an act of love from the hands that made them.

Stories of Dorcas' compassion and good works were shared.  She had to be a woman willing to listen to those in the depth of trials.  For especially widows in those days were often dependent on the help of others.  She showed her love in what she did best... sewing... and not just a quick pattern with cheap material.  Her gifts were of such quality that the recipients showed them off to the visiting Apostle.

So God had Peter raise her from the dead.
Amazing. 

I don't recall Lydia, the seller of purple, being raised from the dead.  Neither do we hear that Priscilla, who worked with Paul alongside her husband Aquila, was raised from the dead.  While both of these women had significant impact on the early Church... it was a woman who stayed at home and used her gifts to help others that we read about centuries later as being raised from the dead to continue her humble ministry.

What God taught me in the Jacob years can be found in the story of Dorcas.  We are to use His gifts as He desires to serve our family and those around us.  We are not told if Dorcas at one time had young children at home but if she did, I am certain they also wore clothing made by Mother.  Now in the empty nest period of life, she didn't consider her work done but used her gifts to be a blessing to others.

You see, those of us raised in the Baby Boomer years were told we could accomplish great things and great things were expected of us.  Only great accomplishments would be accepted.  But that is not Biblical... it is cultural.

And sometimes God has to wrestle with us to teach us that Truth.  He gave us our gifts.  They are to be used as He has ordained.  

Some will do great things for Christ when measured by the number of people reached.  But if that is not our calling, then we are to work within our realm of influence.  When we realize He has placed our boundary lines, true peace comes when we accept them.

So what does the story of Dorcas teach us?

The story of Dorcas teaches us that no circumstances are too small to be used by God.  As she sat in her home and stitched, she was doing God's work just as much as the women whose work we also read about in Scripture.

The story of Dorcas teaches us that no God given talent is to be taken for granted.  He can use talented seamstresses and cooks and bakers and basket makers and knitters and quilters and flower gardeners and growers of veggies.  He uses those who listen to the lonely while serving cookies and tea sipped from pretty cups.  He depends on His people who offer a mug of hot coffee in winter or a cold drink in summer.

The story of Dorcas teaches us the importance of those who give to others in need.  God loves a cheerful giver (and those of us who have been needy know often it is the gifts of others that have shown us God is still at work in our life).

The story of Dorcas teaches us the great value of doing small things for a Big God... and how that opens the way to share His love to those in need of Living Water.

I also think the story of Dorcas proves the value of the work of women.  Not as we are told in today's culture but in the eyes of the Lord.  Just as He gave value to women by talking to them at the well and appearing to them after being raised from the dead... He gives value to the humble work women do each day of their life as givers and nurturers and keepers of the simple things in life.

So with those lessons I celebrate this zero birthday.  I may be a slow learner but eventually He gets through.  ;)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - The importance of knowing how to cook


You know I believe in stocking a pantry as much as you 1) can afford, and 2) are led to do.  In my case I have a much smaller pantry than I did at one time but I make certain there are basic foods I can use in a pinch.

Which is what happened at our Fourth of July party when two of the attendees had to work at the job of moving so I said I'd make two extra side dishes so they could concentrate on packing before our get together... just two hours before everyone was expected.

It took a very short time to "throw together" a couple more dishes from the pantry and frig. They were baked beans made from a couple large cans of Bush's Baked Beans with added chopped onion to bake until nice and bubbly and my new favorite cole slaw recipe.  Yes, that recipe is... here.  (You can shred your own cabbage and carrots for the recipe but I find cole slaw mix packages are very inexpensive in my area and when one deals with fatigue, one loves inexpensive but healthy shortcuts.)

Later I was thinking how one can have a very deep pantry and not use much of it if they do not know how to cook from scratch.  Not to mention the more you know how to cook, the easier it is to be creative in the kitchen.  For instance, I found the vinaigrette for the cole slaw recipe in a cookbook but the other ingredients were what I had on hand in the frig and pantry the first time I made it.

Now, part of that comes from being a Pantry Person and trying to think ahead of various possibilities.  In this case, I had purchased an extra bag of cole slaw mix (shredded carrots and cabbage) just in case I decided to add slaw to the menu and I always try to have a few cans of baked beans on the pantry shelves.

On a more overall plan, I like to think ahead of what we need seasonally and adjust the pantry list as needed.  For instance, during the summer months I purchase a bag of small red potatoes and a bag of small Yukon gold potatoes as they are more functional for my summer menus.  Come autumn, I begin to use more root veggies overall and tend to use Idaho potatoes to quarter, larger carrots to slice into chunks, etc. for roasting.

In hotter weather, I make certain there are at least a couple boxes of good quality chicken stock in the pantry.  Why the summer?  Because in the winter I make soup from whole chickens at least once a week so I often have homemade broth during those months. I use the boxed chicken stock as a flavor base for cooking grains, veggies, etc.

At one time, a young woman went into marriage knowing the basics of cooking from scratch.  Most would have grown up helping prepare food and most likely knew the secret ingredients in the pasta sauce or what made the cookies so chewy and soft.   She probably had at least one or two classes in Home Economics in school; taking with her the teacher's favorite recipes, tips, and techniques.

One cannot be creative in the kitchen without basic skills and they certainly have a more difficult time cooking frugally without them.  There is nothing like having to stretch that dollar until it squeaks to make a creative cook!

I was reading an interesting article* recently by an organic farmer called Joel Salatin.  He was asked a question about how low income urban people could eat like those on a farm and I thought his answer interesting:

"Get in your kitchen. We eat almost no processed food. Preparation, processing, packaging and preserving of whole foods occurs in the home. The junkiest potato chips are still twice as expensive per pound as the most expensive organic whole potatoes.  Abdicating our visceral participation with food is both expensive and risky."

How can those of us in urban areas, and especially those who are low-income, eat as close as possible to how you would on your farm?
1.  Get in your kitchen. We eat almost no processed food. Preparation, processing, packaging and preserving of whole foods occurs in the home. The junkiest potato chips are still twice as expensive per pound as the most expensive organic whole potatoes.  Abdicating our visceral participation with food is both expensive and risky. Use modern culinary techno-gadgetry to re-acquaint yourself with food.
2.  Grow something yourself. Whether it’s a rooftop, lawn, or patio container garden, you can re-connect with your ecological umbilical. Each household should have two chickens to eat kitchen scraps and lay eggs; these are far more valuable than a cat or dog.
3.  Purchase directly from farmers. View the supermarket as a bad addiction. You simply cannot abdicate an understanding about food as profoundly as our culture has and expect to maintain food integrity. Complete ignorance on the consumers’ part creates vulnerabilities to shyster marketing, corner cutting, and dishonorable business practices.
- See more at: http://www.redletterchristians.org/following-christ-lunatic-grass-farmer-interview-joel-salatin/#sthash.Q7oi7abM.dpuf
I would agree entirely... get back in the kitchen!  As a society, many have lost the connection with food by having someone else process it between growing and eating.  Basic cooking is very easy and even more complicated dishes are usually not that hard when a recipe is followed step by step.

My granddaughter, Elisabeth, is twelve and already a superb baker.  Her mom just told me she has now made "Grammie's famous chocolate chip cookies" all by herself.  But she has learned from helping her mom the past few years.  I buy her recipe books for her birthdays including all three of The Pioneer Woman's cookbooks, which are good for new cooks since there are step by step photos.

I have found I never stop learning good cooking techniques as well as great recipes.  Good cooks realize there is always something they don't know that can make their cooking even better.  Good cooks also know experience is a great teacher so if they fail, they try again.  My first loaf of bread left much to be desired!

Also, being a Pantry Person... I look for recipes using items I like to keep in the pantry.   Especially if they can save me money.  My husband now likes my basic vinaigrette for his salads better than Newman's Own Original and all I did was add a pinch of kosher salt and pepper to the vinegar and oil he used.  I mentioned recently learning to add just a teaspoon of Italian spice blend to vinegar and oil to make a great vinaigrette (much cheaper than buying one of those little packages!).

A good cook knows adding a pinch of salt may be all that is needed to enhance flavor and that some items (potatoes and pasta) absolutely require extra salt.  Watch what the professional cooks use on TV.  They use kosher salt or sea salt (I use both) and never table salt (the kind in the deep blue box we grew up with).  They grind their pepper with a pepper grinder and never shake it from a can.  Little things make a cook great.

The area we lived in Detroit was a suburb that had a lot of Greek restaurants.  I learned there that adding the juice of half a lemon to chicken soup just before serving takes it over the top (and my lemon orzo soup gets an entire squeezed lemon).  This Midwestern cook had never heard of such a thing!

All this to say... store in your pantry what you eat... learn to be a good cook... if you are already a good cook, try something new once in awhile, especially good pantry items.  Currently I'm working with dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) since I was given a box of them. 

Of course, this is also the time of year here in the USA to do some canning!  The original pantry item.  :)

*Article:  Following Christ as a Lunatic Grass Farmer.
Joel Salatin

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Red Sea Rules, a review


I was curious about The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times by Robert J. Morgan, so I agreed to review it.  I've read many books over the years about trials and such with some helpful and others... not so much.   This little volume proved to be very good.

The title would suggest a "ten easy steps" book as are popular today but these ten lessons learned from Exodus 14 abound with wisdom I found easy to understand and quite helpful.

While no author and no book (other than the Bible) has all the answers when one is going through a trial, I found this volume would be very good for those needing reassurance that God has not forgotten them in the midst of difficulties and that He is using them for their good and His glory.

The Red Sea Rules is divided into chapters, each an in depth look at one of the "rules" (or perhaps better said... "truths").  They are:
  1. Realize that God means for you to be where you are.
  2. Be more concerned for God's glory than for your relief.
  3. Acknowledge your enemy but keep your eye on the Lord.
  4. Pray!
  5. Stay calm and confident and give God time to work.
  6. When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.
  7. Envision God's enveloping presence.
  8. Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.
  9. View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.
  10. Don't forget to praise Him.

As you can tell, I highly recommend this book.  The small hardback size and inexpensive price makes it easy to carry with you when encouragement is needed.  It would be a good book to have on hand to give to a friend or family member during a time of trials, too.

Further information can be found... here.*

This book was sent to me by the publisher for review but the opinions are my own.

*All book links are Amazon Associate links.