Thursday, October 30, 2014

Apples and More Apples

Things have been pretty busy around the homestead.   Now that my knee is starting to feel better, we are getting things done that need to be done before cold weather sets in.   In the last couple days, I have peeled, cored and sliced 100 lbs of apples for canned apple pie filling and for applesauce.   At the end of the day, my hands were red from holding the peeler and then the knife, but there is a remarkable sense of accomplishment in getting such things done.   Next on the agenda, pumpkin butter and Amish Peanut butter Marshmallow spread.  
Today, we are cleaning out the wood stove and I will be "blackening" it this afternoon so we can have a fire tomorrow while we can still have the windows open.  Sometimes the first fire after getting the stove looking like new, can smell a bit.  Having the windows open is a real plus.   The cover for the sofa and chairs are on the line, all nice and clean.  (Ikea furniture sure makes life easy for you by having so many things washable). 
We are having fun getting things ready for cooler temps.  New cover on the down comforter. Curtains taken down so they will stay clean during wood stove season.  A nice supply of wood stacked on the south porch.  Houseplants coming in the house once again and afghan and quilts finding their way to the back of the chairs, for those chilly mornings.  
This is a fun time of the year for us.  We love the cool mornings after the long hot summer.
Life is abundantly good.  We feel so blessed.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Its been just a bit over 3 weeks since my knee surgery and I am recovering great according to my Doctor, but in my eyes, it seems like its been a very slow and painful process.   He had a lot of work to do in there so, its taking a while for it to all heal.  Today I managed a nice walk around our little homestead to enjoy the sights and sounds and the cool morning !
The Elderberries are growing well, the ducks are happy, and some very ambitious woodpeckers have made some rather large holes in the cotton wood tree.  The woodshed is full for the winter, the pecans are falling from the trees and still the flowers bloom.   What joy it is to be outside and off the couch.   I am not much for just sitting around so of course the knitting needles and crochet hooks have been busy.  Hats for winter, an afghan, a cowl, and a sweater are completed thanks to all this time off my knee.   Life is good and there is much to be grateful for around each corner.  The simple life has grown richer with the retirement of my husband.  We get to enjoy all of this together.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Catching Up

It shocks me how fast time is going by.  Guess that means I am having tons of fun !   Axel is now 6 months old and enjoying his swimming lessons and learning to enjoy the taste of foods.   Mel-Ling and Yen are growing like weeds and always having fun coming to Grammie and Grandpas house to play in the dirt. And, the very big news is, Emery is now happily retired, and we are enjoying every single minute of it.   Life is abundantly good !
However, with the joys and blessings of aging, there comes along some issues that you need to deal with, so this coming Monday I will be having surgery on my knee.  Cleaning out the osteoarthritis and repairing a very nasty tear in my meniscus that I have been dealing with for far too long.  There is a small tear on the opposite side that will get fixed too.  I just worked out too hard one day and got the tear.  It will be great to have it all fixed so we can do more back packing and hiking.  So, if you think of it, keep me in your prayers on Monday that my surgery and recovery will go well.  The Doctor told me he has a lot of work to do so my first week of recovery will be tough.   I am up to it  and now have a faithful and loving "nurse" to take care of me full time.   All the details have been worked out perfectly so far.  

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Simplicity In A Complicated World

I thought a bit about this Bible text this morning, from the 4th chapter of Corinthians 'We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."       It is a complicated world we live in and there are times we all feel "hard pressed on every side".  So many distractions, being pulled in 5 directions at one time.  One week we are told we should not eat or drink this or that, then the next week, the news is the complete opposite. A new study showed that many people have their phones with them for 22 out of every 24 hours.  We are challenged daily with balancing what is politically correct with what our beliefs are.  We are pressed on every side regarding what we need to look like, what we need to "have" in order to keep up with technology.   Its not always easy to find that place where simple living can mesh with all that goes on around us.   Yes, I know some folks are just fine with always saying "no" to the things that steal our peace of mind and the commitment to living simply, but honestly, I think they still must feel some pressure to comply to the standards of modern living.  If you have any contact with people outside of your home, you are bound to sense some level of being pressed on every side to blend in.  I have been living a simple life for decades but I still fight the urge to carry my phone with me to the bathroom or put it on the table next to my bed, grabbing for it at dawns light to see whats new on Facebook.    There are days when I look around thinking, "do I need to think.about getting a "this" or "that".    Then, I walk around the land, soaking in the sounds and sights around me, breathing in the silence, walking slowly, eyes wide open.  A few minutes of that kind of living and I am once again, strong in my commitment to keep things as simple as I can.  Simple living requires us to be well grounded to the earth, to creation, to seeking quiet moments when we can hear, listen, and understand what really counts in life. To comprehend fully, that life is about the very things that money cannot buy.  

Saturday, September 06, 2014


In the past couple of weeks, I have learned, no, re-learned, a valuable lesson about listening.   Like many people, I get caught up with the busy-ness of life, measuring my successes by how busy I stay and how much I can accomplish in 24 hours.  Oh, of course I talk about my "quiet time", those moments on the porch sipping my coffee and watching birds etc, but, if truth be told, during those quiet moments, my mind is running in circles, thinking and planning what to do next, or mentally making a list of things I want to do, "should" do or just think would be great to do. I am driven by some unseen force to succeed, to have accomplishments.  Its not all bad to be that way, but what has happened is, that God has gotten squeezed out.   Not much time for Him.  And, after all I haven't been totally convinced that what I think He wants me to do, fits in well with this busy life I have made for myself.  I am being honest here, relationships need time together and I have been too busy an awful lot lately.   So, my hastily whispered prayers, or my prayers that come with desperation, were heard, but I never seemed to hang around to hear that small still voice speak back to me.   God, in his infinite mercy took matters in his own hands.  First, the arthritis in my knee has been so painful, keeping me from doing a lot of the things I love to do, like hike and walk for miles etc, but instead of using all my resting time for God, I used it for hand work.  Never heard God whispering in my ear, calling me close to Him.  Then last week, I developed the most severe pain I have ever felt.  My entire mid section felt like someone piercing me with an ice pick.  Muscle spasms came next.  A trip to the Emergency Room showed that I had a pinched nerve in my back.  A shot of steroids, enough pain medication to put a horse down and muscle relaxants and I was ordered to do NOTHING for a week.  The pain was so great, that I willingly took the pain pills.  I was so sleepy that I think for 3 days I slept 20 out of each 24 hours.   I begged God to tell me what this is all about.  I felt as though I was being punished, but just the opposite was the case.  By day 4 I stopped pain medication but kept up with the muscle relaxers.  By day 6 I stopped all medication and had no pain, but then something very strange happened,  I felt a bit of a back ache, nothing bad, just a little uncomfortable, it made me sit with the heating pad on and settle in for a Dr Pol marathon on Netflix.   However, God had other plans.  Our Internet went out, not just for a minute, but for a long time, so I turned the plain TV station on,( we don't have cable or dish, just apple TV for Netflix etc)  A local religious channel came on and the lady speaking about praying for our children came on.   I watched and listened, and she spoke so much about Grace and about listening to God, it became my light bulb moment.  The Internet went out just so I would hear Dr Deborah Harris speak.  She was talking just to me, it seemed.   Although I don't believe God caused my back pain, I do believe He used it to reach me, to use this time of "not doing" to reach me and remind me to give Him some of my time and to keep HIM in all that I do and think and plan and say.   
I have been unreachable, too busy to listen.  A valuable lesson learned.  That in this day and age, we can become so busy, we forget the most important thing in life, to listen to the voice of the Master.  By the way, as soon as Deborah Harris was done speaking on the TV, the internet came back on, but I decided to spend some time listening.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Karajan Piirakka, Finnish Pies

Karajan Piirakka, ready for the oven, just out of the oven and delivered to a very handsome guy so he would not have to wait until after work to enjoy some.   These little pies are a favorite of ours.  Not hard to make and quite tasty.   
This YouTube Video shows you how to make them  Karajan Piirakka

Home, Sweet Home

Home sweet home on this Monday morning...balsam incense burning, Värttinä on the playlist. Coffee, warm and sweet, the hum of the fan, harmony for the whirl of the spinning wheel. Life is good 

Reach for the quiet moments...

It has become a goal of mine to wake each morning with the idea of reaching for the quiet moments in life, the ones that stir something deep within our soul.  The things that money does not buy, but the things that nurture love and compassion in us.   Taking that first morning stroll around our land, prayer on my lips for those I love, or those I know of with needs.   To look up, view the clouds and see the divine beauty in them.  Acknowledge that the beauty of nature is a gift to us, a sign of deep love for us.   The world we are living in, is one of endless sounds of inventions.  Our peace of mind is precious.   Seeking out the quiet moments, lets us take in a deep breath and hear our own heartbeat.  It gives us time to reflect, to soak in the good in our lives and to see clearly the things we need to change.    

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Fun Week

Turning 60 seems to be painful for some people, as I hear a lot of complaints about aging, but for me, turning 60 yesterday was nothing less than marvelous.  I had a full week of celebration.  The girls had done lots of planning in secret and surprised me with a camping trip with the entire family.   Melissa and her family arrived last Friday night, completely surprising me and then gave me a gift bag with the big surprise all spelled out in lovely art work by Melanie.  The girls had reserved cabins at the state park for the weekend and had the food all planned and all I had to do was enjoy being with my family, doing the thing I love most, camping.  Steven brought Pizza on Saturday for all of us.  We had so much fun making s'mores, laughing, playing with the children, holding Axel and enjoying the peace and serenity of nature.  Sunday, after we came home, they had cake and ice cream for me.  It was wonderful and then there were surprises the entire week after that.  When my official birthday arrived yesterday, I was so blessed to be able to do more of my favorite things and embrace turning 60 with great joy.  How blessed I feel, to have a life so full of love.