Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Peace Like a River

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.*

A river runs through my town.  I didn't think much of it growing up in a small town just a stone's throw away from the water.  Not next to it but if a crow were to fly from a tree in my backyard it would take only a couple minutes to land on a branch near the river.

The river was once home to native Americans.  A lot of them.  They built their dwellings close to the water's edge where the river provided water, food, and transportation.  Later the French built a fort near the river where they traded with the natives as well as Voyagers who came down that river from as far away as Canada.

It has always been here.  Well, since the ice age retreated.  The river makes my part of the world quite green and the trees grow tall in the valley.  Most of the time the flow of the water is quiet and deep as it makes its' way south to the Ohio and the Mississippi and eventually to the Gulf.  In drought it retreats and in the years there is too much rain it overflows its' banks.  But it is always there.

Which is why, I suppose, the above hymn is one of my favorites.  I can relate.  The man who wrote it lived not too far away in the city of Chicago and... a river runs through my town.  The story behind the hymn is one of great tragedy and sorrow.*  If he could write such words... I can live them.

It has been a difficult week in a summer of weeks I would just as soon have avoided.  Nothing absolutely terrible.  No tragedies, thank God.  Just enough to make one very uncomfortable.  At times it is simply the need to stay on the sofa and watch the world through my window.  Perhaps it is tweaking the budget and stretching the pantry.  It can often be when items on my To Do list must remain undone.  Just the little irritants of a limited life.

However, just when I think I can't take any more... when the frustration level has reached high... when I want to stomp my feet and pout something about life not being fair whatsoever... He is there.

Sometimes He shows up with provision in a letter from a friend.  At other times it is an invitation to lunch when I am feeling well.  Just recently Mr. and Mrs. Christopher ordered a very nice dinner for us on the day the pipe coming in from the well broke.  I often am surprised by an iMessage popping up from my daughter just as I'm thinking of her.

Is it God?  Of course.  I am convinced the reason many people say God does not hear their prayers is that they do not see His answers.  Because they come in packages not expected.  We pray and we tell God what His answer is to look like you know. 

He tells us we have peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7)... in the midst of the trial.  Before we see an answer.  And when the answer is not now or later or perhaps no.  We may even feel the peace but we do not see that as part of the answer.

True peace from God comes like the river in the photo above, it is deep and it is wide and it flows through our very existence.  It actually never leaves us, He answers our prayer by bringing it to the surface.  We can feel that deep peace as surely as we can sit at the banks of the river and find peace just gazing at it on its' long journey to the Southern States.

For peace is not a set of circumstances.  They can change in an instant with a medical test or a pink slip or a phone call or a knock at the door in the middle of the night... or when one is sitting in their Study and hears water gushing below the floor. 

No, for that kind of peace is fleeting.  True peace has nothing to do with our circumstances.  True peace is a Person.  Real peace comes only when we accept Jesus as the One who came to this fallen of planets from Heaven to become the sacrificial Lamb. 

Who took the sins of all Mankind from the moment Adam and Eve turned over the keys to the Planet to the Evil One who deceived Eve into thinking God was holding out on her.  In Eden.  In Perfection.  If he can deceive her there... he can deceive us anywhere.

But when we accept the free gift of salvation from Christ, the third Person of the Trinity comes to live within.  We simply tell Jesus that we truly believe He came to redeem us and that we indeed have sinned against God (no matter how good we think we are).  We ask Him to be Savior.  We are then on our way to Heaven to someday meet the Father in person.  What a day that will be!

But what about Peace?  Peace as a Person?  That, my friends, only comes as He becomes Lord of our life.  Walking up to an altar to say an honest prayer of salvation does not bring that peace we so desire.  Jesus has to be the Lord of our days to feel that peace. 

He is like that river that flows through my town.  I can forget it is even there if I'm not paying attention.  I have crossed bridges over that river a thousand times and not thought of the deep, flowing water underneath the bridge.

How does He become Lord of our life?  How is He Peace like a river?  When he becomes the most important person in our life.  When we read His Word and believe it is True.  I admit, I'm not the best about Bible reading each day but I've been through the Word many times and tend to park myself in the Psalms in the difficult days. 

I adore the real people (often so dysfunctional) of the Old Testament and the Gospels that tell me about Jesus and the Letters to the Church and the Revelation of Jesus to John the Beloved.  It is all one Story.

Sometimes I find the Peace in just reading the Word.  This past weekend I put a couple favorite peace giving songs of Faith on repeat and listened over and over through earphones.  There are days when I find peace in a good book as well as the Good Book.  There are even days when I find peace when popping a favorite British movie or comedy or mystery in the DVD player as I forget what is troubling me at the time.

Some have mentioned finding peace in their garden.  I find peace in the kitchen, working on a recipe I could almost make in my sleep.  I once found peace while walking on favorite trails through woods or sitting on a quilt beside the Lake.  

We need to have havens of peace we have created within our homes, our yards, or even places we can easily go to such as the woods or the ocean or the corner booth at our favorite coffee shop.

But mostly we need the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  I love the old Puritan prayers from Valley of Vision because they had a true understanding of the Trinity.  I need all three.  I need the Peace of the Holy Spirit, the Salvation and Lordship of Jesus, and my Heavenly Father told me long ago that He is the Father to the Fatherless (my dad died when I was a child). 

Peace is like a river but Peace is a Person.  A real Person.  Not made up.  

I heard the writer of Mary Did You Know say something recently in an interview that stunned me as I thought of that Truth.  He said that Mary was the only person on the planet that knew for certain if Jesus was born of a virgin... and don't you think she would have told everyone at the Cross that He was not really the Son of God if He wasn't?  She would never have let her son die if it was all a lie.

Maranatha, Lord.

*The lyrics and story behind It is Well With My Soul can be found... here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Water Emergency

The famous Big Berkey

A blog reader had written me to ask about water storage so I planned to write about it soon.  Seeing the news coverage of the South Carolina flooding and hearing that a major university and numerous hospitals were without water was a reminder.

So... and I hope you get the in-your-face irony here... as I sat down in the Study to make notes for this post, I heard running water.  Rushing, running water!  Under the floor.  So I ran to tell my husband something was definitely wrong in the crawl space and he ran out to take a look and sure enough a pipe had broken and there was water and more of it spewing out of the pipe!

So he turned the power to the well pump off and we have had no running water in the house since then.  (Including in the crawl space, fortunately)

Now, we are on a fixed income so calling any repairman is not the first item on our response list.  He removed the cover to the opening of the crawl space and put chicken wire over it to keep critters out.  This is to (hopefully) let some of the water evaporate.  Then he is going back down today to take a closer look and see if it is a simple fix he can do.

Have I mentioned there is probably not enough money in the world to get me in the crawl space?  I am so claustrophobic I'd just faint and die right there.  But I digress...

I must admit, being without water now for a few days certainly changed the way I'm sharing with you today.  This is just what I've learned from our latest emergency experience.  I have added a few links (you can do a more in depth research using "emergency water storage" in your favorite browser).  I've also added a couple podcasts from people I respect. 

What I have learned...

First, you use a lot more water than you think you do.  I had a couple large cases of individual water bottles and some gallon size water bottles.  We went through the gallon size water bottles within a day.

The individual water bottles have been more useful than I anticipated.  Each of us have a couple we use at a time, one for sipping water throughout the day and one we use to make coffee in the Keurig.  That was a lesson learned... when water is in short supply making one cup each in the Keurig was water smart!  One could do the same thing in a French Press.  If we didn't have some K-cups, we would use the VIA instant coffee.

The obvious problem with individual water bottles is that they would not work for most other water needs. 

I have learned through this the huge importance of greywater!  We are fortunate in this water emergency to have neighbors who still have water.  So my husband has been going to their houses (with permission!) and filling up a few large Rubbermaid style containers with water from their outside spout.  Taking the containers to their house and back in our wheelbarrow.  (Water is very heavy!)

Note:  I consider this greywater because our neighbors are on a different well than we are and must have no well filters because the water is rusty.

These three containers now reside in the middle of my living room.  I fill the red plastic dish pan with water from there to soak dishes in throughout the day.  (Another lesson... we need a lot more disposable plates, bowls, cups, wet wipes for quick cleanup, etc.)   I haven't done dishes, yet, letting them pile up until there is a sink full.  But the water they have been soaking in will be used to water some deck flowers, the others I've let die a natural death since we are near the first frost, anyway.

Later today I will take some water from the large Rubbermaid container and boil it in the stockpot.  Then pour that into the sink with a stopper and dish washing liquid to let the dishes soak until it is no longer too hot to work with.  They will be rinsed with a quick dip in the dishpan.  That dishpan will then become my soaking water and the sudsy water will be poured to flush the toilet.

Any cooking that requires a lot of water has been set aside.  As has been any cooking that uses a lot of dishes.  Tonight I'm using one of the shelf stable pizza crusts for dinner.  I had some precooked ground beef in the freezer and will use one skillet to saute green peppers and onions.

I am so glad we had crackers in the pantry, cheese in the frig, and a nice basket of good apples we had bought from the Farmer's Market last week.  There has been canned soup we could warm up in the microwave (to make for less dishes), granola bars, etc.  I had made a priority of no cook options in the pantry.  Thankfully!

I had just made a new batch of granola, caught up on laundry, and washed a big load of dishes when I heard the water.  Thanking God profusely for the timing (and that I was in the Study so soon after the pipe broke to hear the water).  It could only be heard in the Study since it sits over the crawl space.

Before this becomes a book, I will finish with what I have learned.  Our household is in chaos because of this but in a real water emergency, we couldn't run over to our next door neighbor!  In a real water emergency, we could not go to the kid's house or to a friend's house for a shower and drinking water.  This has been a quasi-emergency.  It is uncomfortable but not the end of the world.

Also, we had electricity and that has made it much easier.  Ummm... do you remember when our house was hit by lightening and parts of the house was without electricity for quite awhile?

I realize that water filters like the Big Berky are expensive but I would have loved one this past week.  Actually, I do have one but when we moved from Detroit, the filters were broken in the move.  Without the filters, it does not work... obviously.  We have never been able to replace it but if you do have the means to buy one, they are great because they can purify a lot of water.  We used ours daily when we lived in Detroit.  There are numerous other brands for smaller water purification needs.

I'm giving a few links but there is so much more to learn about water storage.  It can be simple in the short term and very complicated when storing water long term.  One thing I am going to do that I learned in my research is to store Ball jars of water in the deep freeze.  I remember reading on Mormon food storage websites that many women, after using their home canned food, would process water in the now clean Ball jars and store them in a box for safety.  Lots of good ideas for further research.

Holly Deyo's free preparedness links... here.  Scroll down on the left sidebar until you come to water.
Storing water PDF... here.
Survival Basics - Water... here.

The Survival Mom Radio Network... here.  (New to me but I look forward to perusing it!)  However, I've been reading her blog (and have recommended her book) for a long time.
Her website Home Page is... here.

Pioneering Today Podcast... here.  I have been reading Melissa Norris's blog for quite awhile.  Her podcasts are full of good information.  Her website Home Page is... here.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

My World this Week

The county road as of yesterday.  It will look very different soon!

I haven't been on the computer much with the pesky back and all.  However, I'm going to write a My World post to keep in touch.  Not to mention, letting Victoria have her weekly moment in the sun.

Everything is running behind.  All of the To Do list was thrown out the window while I needed to stay still.  I have read, listened to radio programs, podcasts, and watched TV.  While watching the season turning outside my window.  But this will pass.  I'm already feeling better than I was over the weekend as it no longer hurts just to move.

As I write this, the aroma of warm vanilla pecan granola has made its' way from the kitchen to the tiny home office.  Once it has cooled, the very sad looking empty glass jar will once again be full.  :)

So... other than just sitting... this is what has been going on in my world this week.


My very precious friend, Deanna Rabe (Creekside Cottage on the sidebar), sent me what she called a "belated birthday gift" of wonderful old books and new papercrafting items.  LOVED IT!  Stephanie thinks Deanna is really me pretending to be someone else.  We are quite alike.  ;)

She knew I loved The Heart of the Family by Elizabeth Goudge (so far I am the only person I know who loves it so much).  She found this hard-to-locate book while thrifting.  I told her in all the years I have looked for it at books sales and while thrifting, I had never even seen it!  Now I can read it as a real book instead of on my Kindle (you know what I mean, of course... the look, feel, and aroma of real books).

I had already started The Dean's Watch by Goudge, re-reading a favorite story.

I ordered The Fairy Tale Girl* with Amazon credit and it was backordered even as a pre-order!  But it finally came in and I started perusing it immediately.  It is on the stack to give more attention to as I can.

It is a must read for Susan Branch fans but I liked A Fine Romance* better.  It is one of my all time favorite books!  Probably because it is about England and tea time and did I mention England and tea time?

But I do recommend The Fairy Tale Girl*.  It is Susan's autobiography (in gorgeous Susan-style writing and illustrations) up to her move to Martha's Vineyard.  She is my husband's age (he is seven years older than I am) so much of this book takes place in the 1960s and 1970s, with a little told here and there about her childhood.  She has led a most interesting life and while not a person of faith (at times I wanted to shake her younger self and tell her to THINK), it is still a good story.


I watched the first episode of Masterpiece's Home Fires on PBS last weekend.  I loved it so much that I messaged my daughter while viewing it to tell her she had to watch it when PBS's website made it available the next day!  (Her TV is only used for viewing DVDs, streaming, etc.)

She loved it, too.  I was excited to hear a second season has already been ordered.  If you enjoy anything British but especially Great Britain in the WWII era... you will like this!

I love to make bookmarks with pretty washi tape.  Shown are the front and back of a bookmark I made with washi tape that came... if I remember correctly... from Hong Kong.  Isn't it gorgeous?  Unfortunately, Amazon no longer offers these designs!  :(

Bringing the Outside Inside

Morning in the Kitchen

The Forest in Early October

I tell you people, Bigfoot could be standing in that forest and not be able to see him!  It is still very thick and dense!  Not for long... more leaves fall each and every day.

Her Fluffiness

Victoria loves her sunbeams.  You can see the look of contentment here.

*A Fine Romance can be found... here*
*The Fairly Tale Girl can be found... here*

**Most links to are Associate Links.  I thank you.  :)

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Our Need for a Sanctuary

This past week was full of opportunities to lose peace and begin worrying about world events.  I mean, really... Russia is in Syria, people!  Students are killed because they admitted they were Christians.  Flooding rains are hitting our East Coast.  Fires and drought continue in California.  So much is out of our control.

Even in my home, there were reminders we live in a fallen world.  Hubby had a bad week.  My back hurt.  Few items on my To Do Before it Gets Cold list were accomplished. There was not enough money left over from necessities to attend my very favorite historical reenactment (albeit cold, rainy weather would not have been good for the muscle aches).  Nothing horrible.  No tragedies.  Just... little foxes nipping at the ankles of my peace.

I have an overwhelming need for Sanctuary.  I have Someone to run to but I also need a Place (or Places).  The darker the outside world is, the more I have a realization of the affect my surroundings have on my peace.  Throw in shorter days and cooler temperatures for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, when we begin to turn our attention away from nature and towards the home... and creating Sanctuary becomes high on my priority list.

Long ago I wrote a list of "Things I Love" when it comes to Sanctuary.  I believe it is in a former Scrapbook Journal.  Since I can remember, I have put thought and when possible... budget... into these items.  They are always on my mind when in a thrift store.

Here is my list of indoor Sanctuary items, not complete I am certain and not in order of importance:
  • Plants (real and silk)
  • Candles
  • Books
  • My Bible and favorite devotionals
  • Beautiful magazines
  • Supplies used for creating
  • Artwork of all mediums on the walls
  • Kitties
  • Photos of those I love
  • Music
  • Podcasts and good earphones
  • Blackboards & Bulletin boards
  • Hot beverages in cold weather
  • Cookbooks
  • A colorful kitchen
  • Vintage aprons
  • Teacups & Teapots & Red tea kettles
  • Favorite movies and TV shows on DVDs
  • Lamps on at night 
  • Kitties (yes... I am repeating this one) 
  • The windows open when it is raining

I'm sure if I pondered longer, I could come up with more items that speak "Sanctuary" but these are the most important.   This past week, I worked at the desk in my Study at times.  Looking around and soaking in the atmosphere of home.  Victoria, as usual, hopped on the desk as soon as the card stock and washi tape appeared.

When my back was aching, I felt at peace on the sofa with my pillow and an old throw.  Listening to a radio program or a podcast with the earphones on so not to disturb my husband.  My stack of Books Currently Reading was on the coffee table as was... coffee, or tea, or hot apple cider.  The kitty would jump on my legs to stretch out and then jump off immediately.  She can't stand the aroma of Ben Gay which has been rubbed on the muscles.  ;)

Each room in my home is a different kind of sanctuary.  Although my Study is filled with the things that bring me peace, the look of Sanctuary... it is another room of the house where I probably spend even more time in cold weather.

Ever since I can remember, if I was very upset I would either cook or bake or clean.  Cleaning came about more often if I was waiting for a member of my family to arrive home when they were late.  Especially if the weather was bad.

But nothing, I mean nothing at all, relaxes me more than the process of cooking from scratch.  I have a (now ancient it seems) large, thick cutting board which has seen many a chopped onion as the beginning of a soup or a stew or a casserole or the evening's Tex Mex menu.  The aroma of the onion in the cast iron skillet, of bread baking in the oven, of pumpkin bars or pumpkin cookies to share with the kids, of bacon sizzling in the morning as the coffee brews, all say "Home".

When the large (and heavy) Kitchen Aid mixer is scooted out where I can easily work with it on the kitchen counter, something quite magical is about to happen.  Narnia magic.  Kitchen magic.  The alchemy of ingredients which... when separate... are quite humble.  But mixed together in just the right proportion and baked at 350 degrees?  Magic.

Whether one lives in a studio apartment or a mansion or a ranch or a hut or like me... a mid-century ranch house... we need a Place as well as a Person where we find peace.  For most of us, it is a need as important to our well being as food and water.

And you are created for this.  He understands completely.  Don't let anyone ever tell you that Beauty is not a necessary part of life.  It is part of your DNA.  For you are created in the image of the Greatest of All Creators. 

And part of the love you have for those you live with is to create Sanctuary.  With those little extras here and there that are specific to each person.  The surroundings they enjoy, the special menu just for each one even if it is on their birthday, doing just a little more than usual to decorate for the seasons, planning that Thanksgiving meal and the Christmas cookies and thinking ahead for what will make their heart sing... and your heart sing.

For you have made your little place on the planet a Sanctuary.  Never perfect.  Never completely peaceful, I am certain.  But good.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Checking the pantry for the new season

I can tell we are now transitioning to full fledged FALL.  Because that pesky back muscle kept me up part of the night.  Every time it gives me trouble, I have such profound respect for people who live daily with pain.  This will pass.  I just need to move slowly and stay still.  A chat with my daughter over iMessage this morning brought about the decision to watch Cranford this afternoon as I heal.  ;)

This past week I went through my vintage recipe box to pull out some cold weather favorites.  Perusing those cards are like going down memory lane.  The recipes themselves remind me of certain periods of time in our family, favorite foods, and the people who gave recipes to me.  Most of the typed recipe cards were those slipped into letters from my mother-in-law.  ;)

I made oatmeal cake for the first time since it was cool in the Spring.   Goulash was served for the first time since the weather turned warm, too.  I do my best cooking in the cooler weather months.

So, of course, I had to look through the pantry to see what was there for the new season of cooking.  A list has been made for those items I need to restock... slowly but most certainly surely.

Our once-a-month trip to Sam's Club was yesterday.  Thankfully when my back was just aching a bit and before muscle spasms began.  Although the cold, wet weather may have been what triggered them.  But I digress...

There are a few items purchased every month at Sam's but most are on an "every two or three months" cycle.  For instance, last month I had to buy a large bag of confectioners sugar, semi sweet chocolate chips, and rice.  This month I bought brown sugar, milk chocolate chips, and whole black pepper.

This month it was time again to buy a mega package of TP while two months ago we bought paper towels.  I always look to see if there are any specials we can use.  I have the same Sam's budget each month but by spreading out purchases over a few months, it works. 

There haven't been any specials I needed the last few months but I was thrilled to be at Menards (where we buy kitty products cheaper) when they had half gallon canning jars on clearance.  And the cost was easy on my budget.  I use those large size canning jars for bulk items.  I bought one case of them and tucked them in the Study at the time.  Last week they all were washed and dried and ready for filling for the pantry.  Talk about mouse proof!

At the grocery store this month, I bought one box of kosher sea salt and one can of baking powder for the pantry. Most of the time that is how I deepen the pantry, just one... two... or three items at the time. I stocked some items at Aldi's, including three cans of pumpkin, a few boxes of tissues (cold and flu season coming up), and some other paper products.  And my favorite chocolate.  It is cheap and it is delicious, quite the dangerous combination.

My favorite historical reenactment is this weekend but the decision was made to take the money we would spend to attend and use it on the pantry.   Otherwise we would not have been able to have a Sam's Club outing this month.  That's okay for there have been other years I chose to go to the reenactment instead.  Life balances out...

Okay, now I have a link for you!  One of my long time online friends is Holly Deyo.  She literally wrote the book on preparedness, my very favorite book on the subject is her Dare to Prepare... a huge volume that has pictures!  She revises it every few years but my copy has a personal note and is one of my treasures... so I have an older version but it is still excellent.

I met Stan & Holly when they still lived in Australia in the 1990s.  They are good people for whom the Lord has given much wisdom and a passion for preparedness.  Holly was recently interviewed about the subject on a radio broadcast. She provided an mp3 link to it... here.  She talks about the need to prepare and provides great advice.

Now, I need to do some gentle housework and then plump up the pillow and return to the sofa.  A little reading is first.  Next is Cranford. 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Story of God's Love for You, a review

"The Bible is most of all a Story.  It's an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure.  It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne - everything - to rescue the one he loves. It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is - it's true."

The above prose is found in the first chapter of this quite wonderful little book.  If you have read anything by Sally Lloyd-Jones, the beauty of the words would not be a surprise.  Which is why I wanted a chance to review this retelling of Bible stories by her.

Unlike some of her other books, this one is not full of illustrations.  It is simply stories we all know retold for young people.  In my opinion, they should be read aloud by one who loves the children and can answer their further questions.

I can see this book in many a basket sitting by a bed or perhaps by a comfy reading chair, ready for when the reader and the child have a special time together for a Story that is Real.  For such stories when told when young will return later in a desire to know more about the God and the Scripture from which they were taken.

Get it for a child for Christmas.  Give it to a grandmother or grandfather or aunt or uncle or parent or older sibling for a child to add to their library of "books to read when the children visit".

It is the Bible story book I wish I had when my kids were children.

This book was provided by the publisher for a review but the opinions are my own.

For further information at Amazon, go... here.*  This book is to be published October 6th but can be preordered now.

*Most links to are Associate links.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My World this Week

Farmer's Market Flowers

This is the time of the season when each day looks different here at the edge of the forest.  I can see more of my neighbor's red barn and a brilliant sunset can now peek through the trees.  Just a little.  More to come.

Did you see the Blood Moon?  It was very cloudy here so I couldn't see it at all but Christopher texted me close to 11:00 to tell me the clouds were breaking up and he could see it.  So Hubby and I headed to the deck and Eureka!... there it was!  Perhaps not as stunning as it would have been to view closer to the horizon but still pretty amazing.

So beautiful and so odd to view the moon that color.  I went out again but this time I didn't stay long.  Forest.  At night.  More than a little creepy for one with a vivid imagination.

Otherwise, this is what has been happening in my world through the lens of a point and shoot camera.


Farmer's Market

We finally made it to the Farmer's Market to use our Senior Citizen vouchers.  I hope to buy more honey before it ends in October.

Morning Light


My husband has been asking me to make oatmeal cake for weeks.  It is his favorite cake that his mom made and the recipe came from their old church cookbook, where I still go for many of her recipes.  You can find a link for the recipe below.*


Apple Cider Time

Thanks to modern technology, I can enjoy the most delicious hot apple cider one K-cup at a time.  My favorite is the Green Mountain Natural Apple Cider K-cup.  A dear friend sent me some for my birthday in July!  I saved most of it for cool Fall nights.

Her Fluffiness

She was hoping I was in the Study to sit at the desk and "we" would do some work.  She would soon be quite disappointed but I had to snap this photo before leaving.

*Oatmeal Cake recipe... here.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - The Return of the Real King

But know this, that in the last days
perilous times will come...
2 Timothy 3:1 NKJV 

One evening this past week, I was listening to a favorite radio program (their App is on the iPad) when the economist being interviewed said something that startled me.  He said that just in the last week to ten days, there were six areas of the world where circumstances could have led to war breaking out at any moment.

That doesn't even include places like Syria where war continues to send refugees throughout the world.  The first thought that came to me was different than what one might expect.  For instead of that fact being worrisome, I marveled at how God has kept this most fallen of planets together for all of these years.

I am more amazed each and every day as I see the world looking more and more what Jesus said it would look like before He returned and walked again on the very sod of the planet.  Not as a lamb this time but as the roaring Lion of Judah.

Now, as one who became a Christian long ago... I have been expecting His return for decades.  Ever since reading Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth.  It saddens me to hear young people talking against him, going so far as to call him a "false prophet" because he believed the return of Christ was imminent in the 60's and 70's. 

Not only because thousands upon thousands became a Christian from reading his book (I have heard the actual number worldwide is in the millions).  But young people must remember that one does not "know what they do not know" at their time in history.  Everything looked like it was lining up in the 1970s.  Christians took the facts at hand and formed a picture of what they thought the world would look like... for that is the world they knew.

I have come to realize it is scriptural that our eyes will be opened over time as to His coming.  Daniel was told to write down what he saw and it would not be opened until the end of the age (so to speak).  I can look around the world now and see everything lining up as the Bible has said for thousands of years.

Here.  At this time.  In this Century.  Amazing.  Absolutely amazing.

How anyone can study Bible prophecy and not know Jesus is real and the Bible is Truth is beyond me.  But what does all of this mean to you and to me?  Well, it is fulfilled in our life in at least a couple of ways.

First, we must keep an eternal perspective on our life.  I do believe this is one area in which the modern Church fails desperately.  If one reads a lot of the works by pastors and theologians of past generations, an alarming difference is in how they viewed a "successful" Christian life.

For in the old books, much was written about being faithful to Christ each day but even more was written about our hope in Eternity.  Contrary to what is taught in modern pulpits, it is not about what He can give us here.  It is about what we do for Him here and the rewards in Eternity.

They taught that God provides our needs as we pray and that our life is truly in His hands.  But they did not preach earthly success.  For in those years, life was hard for pretty much everyone except the extremely rich.  Even then, the poor in America live far better than the Kings did in previous centuries.

I have learned to thank God for the suffering endured (and there were many days when life seemed... just. too. hard.).  He has taught me to see His love in the arrival of a financial gift or a gift card.  I see Jesus when my son asks me to lunch or my daughter and her family pays our way to visit them.

For if one has never been in need... they don't know the amazing feeling that happens when a need is met!

I know it was Jesus who brought Victoria to us when I said I didn't want another pet after our two elderly kitties died.  He knew what laughter she would bring.  And beauty.  And kitty snuggles on cold mornings.

No... He doesn't promise riches or power to everyone here on this earth but He promises us His presence.  Sometimes it comes in the form of a Maine Coon or a lovely morning at Brimfield or (don't tell Victoria) sharing string cheese with Sir Charles the Stout.  I'm not a "dog person" but I bonded with that hound.

Having turned sixty-one on my last birthday, I can assure you that Eternal Rewards are on my mind a whole lot more than those that can "become rusted or eaten by moths".  Life is fleeting.  Our days are but a breath... a mist... a wisp of fog and we are no more.  Not here, anyway.

But There... Forever and Ever, Amen.  Do you really believe in Heaven?  Does the thought of the New Earth make you tingle with anticipation?  It should.

Second, Jesus told us that we are to "occupy until I come".  We don't discourage our children from building houses or seeking an education.  Let us do each day that for which He has called us with the attitude that He won't return for a thousand years as we make plans for tomorrow... balanced with knowing He might return tonight.

I would also add a Third truth I've come to realize through the years.  Don't get hung up on eschatology.  I find great sadness when I listen to Christian TV (if one can call it that) where there is the calling of names between people because they do not "do church" the same as the speaker.

There is a reason God does not set dates about The Return of the Real King.  He wants us to be doing that for which He created us to do.  He doesn't want us to keep looking up so much that we can't look ahead.  Now, He does tell us we can know the season of His return and I believe many of us are getting that sense in our spirits.  Maranatha!

Personally, I believe we are in the Birth Pains but the jury is still out about pre-Trib, mid-Trib, and Post-Trib.  Having once been adamant about the timing at one time, I see now that it doesn't matter.

We are, my precious friends, simply to be faithful.  To do what He tells us that we are to do.  Individually.  As a family.  As a church.  As a community.  Each of us can hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit as we are to do our part in this time and place.  For His Kingdom.

For me that is to write.  To encourage the deepening of the pantry as one can afford.  To remind you (and me) of the necessity to read His Word and pray throughout the day... realizing what a privilege it is to follow a God who wants to have tea with me.  With you.

To wake up each day, not with fear but with anticipation.  We are one day closer to that day... whenever it may be... to the coming of the King... when all will be made perfect.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Quick meals from the pantry

Today must be a quick as a bunny pantry post.  Computer time is very limited.  But I did have something come up last week I wanted to chat about.

While the food stuff I stock in the pantry to last two months or more tend to be the bulk makings of a meal, I must have some quick & easy items in the pantry.  Since I knew I would be defrosting the deep freeze, I didn't make any freeze ahead meals these last few months.  I really need to do so soon.  For those days I feel too fatigued to make dinner.

So right now I am depending on the shelf stable making of fast food.

This week I made a favorite "go to" meal that is so quick to put together.  It is almost as good as having something to just pop in the oven.  I keep flour tortillas in the bread box and they have a very long shelf life even after I defrost them.  (When they go on sale, I buy a few packages and freeze them.)

The Chi Chi's salsa shown above is purchased once a month at Sam's Club and lasts me for a few weeks.  It gets added as a flavor base to many foods.  For the pantry, I'd buy individual jars.

This week I simply heated a can of refried beans with about a cup and a half of the salsa and made a burrito with the tortillas, adding chopped onion and some shredded cheese before forming the burrito.

Although I had fresh onions, I thought I'd show you my favorite dried onions (they can be added "as is" to recipes such as meatloaf or reconstituted to use as chopped onion).  I found the very best price... here*  Frontier also has an organic alternative which shows up in the "Customers Also Bought These" on the same page.

These bean burritos are very low carb and nutritious.  I also use the tortillas for making other burritos (including breakfast burritos) and chimichangas... which are basically fried burritos. 

This is another excellent shelf life product.  I know it is easy to make one's own pizza crust but sometimes I just need a last minute "throw together".  A package of these, a can of pizza sauce, some mozzarella cheese in the freezer, and perhaps some toppings (although not exactly necessary)... and dinner is in the oven!

These pizza crusts can be left "as is" on a pantry shelf before they are opened and the "Use By" date on this one was four months out after the date of purchase.  I know because I checked.  But we have also received these types of shelf stable pizza crusts from a food pantry when they were already past their date (which is why the store donated them) and I didn't get around to use them for a month or so.  They were still fine.

Sorry for the quick post!  I hope it is read-able.

20 Items to Start Your Food Storage Plan... here.
The Well Stocked Pantry... here.
How to Freeze Eggs... here.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My World this Week

One of the benefits of having blogged for awhile are the friendships developed with blog readers through the years.  What a wonderful group of people you all are.  Consider yourself hugged.  (((Hug)))

During my blog break, I finished the Study completely... except for the usual tweaking, of course.  It has been over four years since Christopher moved to an apartment with his good friends close to campus.  That is when I started the re-do.  Then when Mrs. Christopher (and thus... moving out) was official, the re-do was in full force.

When they decided the big bookshelf would not fit his current home office (and it is even bigger than it looks in photos), Hubby and I were given the approval to move his books and such to his closet. Which is still "his closet" but I can live with that.  That change was all I needed to finish the Study. It will change again once the big bookshelf goes out but that will be at least a couple years.

Otherwise, the garage organizing was put on the back shelf but will be dusted off soon (literally!).  It seems like the days go by so fast that I just had that lovely first cup of coffee in the morning and it is time for bed.  But eventually everything gets done... a little at a time... and never perfectly.

So here is what went on in my world this past week.


Stephanie is quite appalled that I am reading The Narnia Code: C. S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens*.  For, as I normally feel, she does not read anything shortened, abridged, etc.  And one of her very favorite books by Michael Ward is Planet Narnia*, from which this book is the shortened version.  I asked for her forgiveness.  She is still thinking about it.

Caring for Creation In Your Own Backyard* was recommended to me by a Mom Heart friend when I was chatting about the Christian view of environmentalism.  I am just starting it but so far it looks excellent.

I am still reading the Grace Livingston Hill book I mentioned in the last (?) My World this Week.  Lovely.  Absolutely lovely.   (Links below)


China Beach* was a favorite that my husband and I actually watched together.  As a Viet Nam veteran, he told me about the actual place this TV show is based on.  We loved Season 1, liked Season 2, didn't care for it after that when political correctness went amuk.  If you know what I mean.

It was expensive when it came out on VHS (we didn't think of buying them!) but the DVDs are very reasonable.  Not for kids.  (Link below)


I am thrilled that my friend now has a Podcast.  I enjoyed listening to her tapes so many years ago (ummm... does that date us?).  Sally is a precious soul. The real stuff.

Her family struggles with the good times, the bad times, and those horrible no good dreadful months of years.  But in them all, she finds Beauty and Grace and Kindness and Truth and the occasional cup of very strong tea.  (Link below)

Tea Time

In honor of the first day of Autumn, I took my adorable Mrs. Beaver tea cozy off the shelf.  My friend (and blog daughter), Heather, designed and made it when I told her my favorite tea cozy was the one that Mrs. Beaver used in the movie The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.  (Link to her blog below.)

There is actually hot apple cider in the little mug, which I found at Goodwill in early summer for 49 cents.  I know... ;)


I have a thing for Thermos brand thermoses and especially those with a plaid design.  All three of these came from thrifting.

The tall one on the right was purchased that Saturday when I went to garage sales with my daughter-in-law and her mom.  Three makes a collection.

Tweaking Finishing the Study

Just a few photos for the moment.  The shelves with the Bibles are the three I gave my husband for his use.  Hey, he gets three!  He has an office you know.  Even if it is the smallest room in the house.  ;)

Her Fluffiness

Speaking of husbands and all... he had been gone most of the day yesterday and when he sat on the floor to give attention to Victoria... this is what she did.  He isn't going anywhere else today if she has her way!

NOTE:  Sorry for the wonky spacing Blogger is doing today.  I spent time trying to correct it and nothing worked.

Caring For Creation... here.*
The Narnia Code... here.*
Planet Narnia... here*
China Beach, Season 1... here.*
Re-Creations by Grace Livingston Hill... here*

Heather's blog and Etsy Shop... here.
Sally Clarkson's iTunes Podcast download... here.
To listen to the second podcast (with the lovely Kristen Kill) on Sally's website... here. (Scroll to the bottom of the post for the actual podcast.)

*Most links to are Associate Links.  I thank you.  ;)