Tuesday, October 06, 2015

"We Took To The Woods"

To quote the title of one of my favorite books, "We Took To The Woods", that is exactly what Emery and I did.  We headed off, tent, and camping supplies in the trunk of the car and we headed for Colorado.   No set time for the return trip and lets just day a very flexible set of plans.  One thing we did know for sure, we needed to get away to refresh our souls.  Emery retired a year ago and was long overdue for a vacation.  He had not taken one in decades, and we never had a honeymoon, so after 37 years, we thought, no time like the present.  Off we went...with our children a bit concerned about their parents going on a road trip with tent and sleeping bags !   What fun we had and memories that will last us well into next year, (we had so much fun, we plan on making a habit of this)   We stayed where we liked, for as long as we liked and forgot to look at watches, and calendars.   Most places we stayed had no cell service but we did manage to check in with the children enough so they would not worry to much.  We stayed at Palo Duro in TX, Great Sand Dunes, Durango, Mesa Verde in Colorado and the mountains outside of Santa Fe.  In all we were gone just over 3 weeks.  By the time we got home, we both were chilled out and any stress that sat on Emery's shoulders from working stressful jobs all his life, melted away more each day.   We hiked, we ate simple foods. Went to bed with the sun and woke with the sun.  Slept in our clothes and only one time did we stay at a campground with showers.  Most times, flush toilets were a luxury.   Never in my life, have I felt so at peace.  Living in the moment was natural, worry and monkey brain, just dissolved away.   
The day we left, our computer died and after coming home, that seemed like a blessing.  I guess we will fix it at some point, but for now, the laptop is more than adequate.   Priorities have changed.   I took about 2,000 pictures on the trip.   We saw so much beauty.   We kept being warned about bears but never saw one, only fresh tracks on the trail.   Our lives have been changed. Simple living, has a new definition for us and one we like a lot.  Life is good and as a long time favorite author once wrote.... "Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail."
John Muir
"Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains." John Muir

Friday, August 07, 2015

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God"

We are gearing up for political mud slinging in the U.S.   More than stating platforms, we will hear tearing down of the opponent and lots of contention in every direction.   I dislike this sort of thing.  It helps no one, and it creates discord, even among family members and friends.  My political philosophy is a simple one, based on just a few paragraphs by someone I put all my trust in.   Matthew 26:52 sums up my thoughts on gun control....Then Jesus said to him, Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword".  Matthew 5:38;39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."
These are not my words, but the words of Jesus, whom I trust. 
This same Jesus, the one that I follow his teachings said in Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."   He didn't tell me which poor, or ask me to check them out first to see if they are "worthy" poor.  So the candidate I will look at has to be compassionate.  In Matthew 14:13-21 this very same Jesus fed 5000 people and never once asked if they used drugs, if they had money, if they were "just".  He simply fed them.
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketful's of broken pieces that were left over.21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children." 
So there is my political philosophy in a nutshell.  I am fine, with what Jesus said in Mark 12:17 Then Jesus said to them, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him."
And I fully support and believe in these words after the election is done...Romans 13:1 sums the whole thing up nicely....plainly the fact is that God is in control and I trust God so I sure am not going to talk bad about HIS choice.   "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."
I think there is a bit of wisdom for us in the words of the Old Testament too, when it comes to our thoughts on the "aliens" among us....
  • "Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns." Deuteronomy 24:1                                
It seems to me that God has all the details figured out and He is in control and we simply just need to follow His lead.  He had Jesus come to straighten us out and fill us with love and compassion and I like that.   God puts in control who He wants and we just need to do two simple things, or maybe its not so simple...

Matthew 22:36-4036 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied:“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Thursday, July 09, 2015


How time flies when you are having fun and fun it has been !   Emery retired last September and we have been on a sort of honeymoon ever since.  Enjoying each and every second of spending our time together.  Hiking to see all the swollen rivers, working in the garden that can become overgrown in a matter of 24 hours.  I took a trip to Florida to see my dad, who is a young 94 in a few months.  Both my girls went with me.  We stayed with my sister and her husband as they live just a few doors down from my dad.  What fun we had. 
Last month I took some private swimming lessons to improve my freestyle swimming and since then, I have spent an hour every day in the pool swimming laps for an hour.  The pool is 25 yards long so I am getting a good work out.  At first I felt muscles I had long forgotten I had.   My blood pressure has gone back to the numbers of my youth, which was always on the low side.  I feel so energized.  Every once in a while I take a day off, just to catch up with things at home.  Life is better than good, its down right brilliant !

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Where Have I Been ?

 This has been a crazy Spring in Texas.  As of yesterday afternoon we have had close to 50 tornadoes, rain about 22 of the 27 days of May and so far, we have made three trips to the tornado shelter.  One of the worst springs I can remember.  Our land is a giant mud puddle, the garden is a mess and the poor chicken house will take a month to dry out.   
But, aside from the weather, its been a great month.  My girls and I along with Melissa's husband and baby, went to see my very healthy, very active 93 year old dad and my sister and her husband in Florida.  We just went for a long weekend but we had a great time.  Got to enjoy some sunshine, the beach and go to the pool a couple times and watch Axel swim like a little fish.  
Before leaving for Florida I had seen a really nice piece of accent furniture on Crown French Furniture's web page.   and decided it would be perfect for my bathroom.  Kept the image in my mind and decided to be on the lookout for a piece of second hand furniture that I could paint that way, since Crown French Furniture is kinda far from us, "across the pond" as they say.   After my little Florida trip I walked into Goodwill and found the perfect piece to paint.  $25 was a good price in my eyes.  Two cans of spray paint and I was done.   On the way home from Goodwill we drove past a second hand children's furniture store and in true Hyacinth Bucket fashion, I told Emery to stop and turn around.   The very chair I have been wanting from Restoration Hardware was being displayed.  The chair has not been used for anything other than display in a nursery.  The chair sells new for over $700 and I found it for $40 !  Its perfect for the dressing area of my bathroom, its small but not too small for an adult to sit in.  I felt like I had hit a gold mine that day.   The Law of Attraction works.  How, I do not fully understand.   
Everyone is doing well in the family.  Mei-Ling is on a brand new drug for her ammonia problem and its working perfectly.   Life is good.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Spring Flowers

Spring time is such a busy time for us.  There is planting to be done, trimming trees and bushes.  Every day another task to be done that requires lots of time and energy.   I love it though.  Being outside is one of my favorite things.  
I just wanted to let you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth and that my daughter is doing better.  I suspect there will be a surgery at some point to remove the cyst on her liver but for now, its just tests and more tests.  

Life is good and we all feel very blessed.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Tents of Blankets and Chairs

Our daughter Melanie is in the hospital with a bad stomach virus so Yen and Mei-Ling are here with us this morning.  What fun we have been having.  Making pancakes in the shapes of houses and trees, baking cupcakes and of course making tents with chairs and blankets.  Its the simple things in life that give us so much pleasure.   Our prayers throughout the day have been for our daughter, that this stomach bug pass quickly.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Bread Recipe

Way back in 1968, our little 4 room school house grew so big that we needed to move the 7th and 8th grade classes to the church basement.   We we privileged to have an amazing teacher that felt we needed to raise money for the school and at the same time, grow proficient in baking bread.  With those two goals in mind, she had us bake bread to sell.  Thus began my love of baking bread.  There have been few weeks in these 47 years of bread baking, when my hands have not kneaded bread dough !  No matter how many new recipes I try, I come back to two.  One is this Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin bread that I came up with many years ago.  Its a combination of two recipes we used way back in that church basement kitchen.  And the other, is a delightfully simple Amish White Bread recipe that is delicious and yet so very simple. 
I know lots of folks love their bread machines, but not me.  Don't own one and don't want one.   I like how it keeps my hands strong and I long ago adopted the habit of praying for my children the entire kneading process and that has proved to be of great value through the years.
Here is the recipe.  Makes two loaves.
Mrs Lockwood's Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Bread
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 Tablespoons dry yeast
4 T honey
put these ingredients together in a bowl and let set until bubbly

add to that 
4 T oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup raisins
1 cup white flour
1 cup oatmeal  ( I use quick oats but old fashioned oats work fine too)
5 cups give or take of whole wheat flour, added a cup at a time, to make sure you get the right amount.
I usually save 1 cup of flour to be added as I knead the bread, added as needed on the counter to keep the bread dough from sticking.   
Knead about 5 minutes or until you are done praying for your family.
Shape into a round ball and put in lightly greased bowl to raise, cover with clean damp cloth and let raise until double in size, about half an hour

preheat oven to 350 F punch down dough, let it rest for a few minutes, usually this is done while I grease the bread pans.   Shape into loaves and put in pans, let raise another half hour or so and then bake for 45-50 minutes until browned nicely.  Thump to test that its done.   Butter the tops when you take it out of the oven cool 5 minutes before removing from the pans and you are done !