Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Not sure why but it seems there is lots of talk about living green on the Television this week. I suspect some of it is political, and some of it is just plain honest worry about our world. Stories about the honey bee's disappearing are making the rounds again, which is alarming to say the least. Might just be a cycle in nature, might be mankind's rough handling of the fragile balance of nature.
The last of the summer garden, a few tomatoes, a straggling vegetable here and there. Wood is stacked nicely and a load in the house next to the wood stove for chilly mornings.
A bit of new Mullein, my winter cough medicine is drying, ready to be smoked, yes, I wrote smoked....an old native American cure for bad coughs and it really does work. Smoke it in a pipe. The tender flowers of the plant from summer are picked and put in a bottle of olive oil for ear aches. Echinacea roots dried and ready for tea. Medicines, natural and cheap right outside the back door.
I guess its all part of living green, although we just call it living simply. The fall winds helping dry our clothes on the solar/ wind generated clothes dryer ( the clothes line).
Shopping for winter clothes all done, that was "green" too, all recycled clothes from Goodwill Thrift store. My home made soap is "green", but again, making it is just part of our simple living to me.
Not a paper napkin to be found in this house, or aluminum foil and not even a plastic storage container for food. Simple stuff, maybe its simple to be green !
What are you doing to be green ? Love to hear your ideas
After rushing off to Weight Watchers, I lost 2 lbs this week, I headed off to have my hair cut. New beginnings need new hair styles for me....nothing drastic, just a couple inches off. Picked up Melanie and Mei-Ling for a leisurely lunch. Mei-Ling is such a good baby, she is a joy to take places. Smiles at everyone. She is now getting up on her knees when you lay her on her tummy so I suspect crawling is not too far off. The wee one is 6 months old now. She is sitting up well and says "mom" and says "Hi" every time her moms cell phone rings. At first we didn't believe she was really saying it, so I called Melanie's cell phone 7 time in a row and Mei-Ling never failed to say "hi" in her sweet, quiet voice. It amazes me how much joy there is in each and every day. Simple, rather ordinary days hold such wonder. Mei-Ling fell asleep while I was holing her, looking like she was thinking, "Oh dear, what a tough day."
Monday, October 29, 2007
The same might be true for the way you dress....you could be dressing like a biker or a plain person, not from the heart or some deep conviction, but to get the response it brings. I know one woman that absolutely hated cleaning house, but went at it as if it was the most important job in the world, not because she liked a spotless house but she loved the comments people made about being able to eat off her floor it was so clean etc. This need to clean for the response became an obsession with her and she is now in counselling. It got out of hand for her, became how she saw herself, became her identity. I feel that way about quilting. I don't really enjoy the hand quilting part of it, but love being able to say I quilt. Love hearing the ooooohhhhs and aaawwws over what I made. I seem to want to have that as part of my identity even though its not the real me.
Now all things are not this way in our lives. There are things we love, we feel strongly about, might even be a conviction and those things are part of the real us. I love healthy eating, its part of me. I like how I feel when I eat good, I like talking about health, about natural remedies etc. It is the real me. I also like wearing jeans and flannel shirts, that is the real me. But often times I feel invisible wearing what 99% of the population seems to wear these days. So I set about trying to be convicted about wearing dresses or skirts. I don't really feel that way, its not really a conviction. I know God looks on the inside and He is the only one I am trying to please. If some man has lust in his heart, it ain't my problem if seeing a woman in pants gets to him. There are weirdos out there that enjoy seeing children for the wrong reasons but no one stops having children for that reason.
There are women out there that go after the "wow factor" that soon they are just like a character on Desperate Housewives. Facades, and trying to live for appearances and seeking the "wow factor" at a cost of loosing who they really are.
I guess my point for me is, and this is for me, thoughts written out for me, thinking out loud sort of speaking, the point is, learn to like the real you and live according to your convictions, rather than trying to please the masses by picking out a look, a life, hobbies, dress, lifestyle that you really don't believe in but that gets a response that makes you feel important.
We have some friends that spend all their time living off grid, not because they believe its better for them, but because it gets the "wow factor" comments every time someone hears about it. The wife is burning out, the husband is angry at home and not a very nice person but oh they think everyone is just in awe of them....however, the old saying, "you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time" is so true. The reality of life is, we are far more transparent in time to others than we can even see ourselves. That is the foundation of most gossip. People seeing the real us, while we continue to play some part, hoping for the response we want.
Think about your life....what do you really believe ? What things do you honestly enjoy doing ? What is your motivation for your lifestyle ? Do you dress for the benefit of compliments or "oh look at me" or do you dress out of conviction without any need of recognition ? Do you collect things because you love them or to be able to say, "I have 15 of those" ?
I think....and this is all rather new to me, this honest looking at myself, I think in time, being real with myself is going to be very freeing. For all my life I have lived as an overachiever, and a people pleaser. Doing things for others to lessen their suffering is good, but you are smart enough readers to know that is not what I am talking about here. Does your talk match the real you ? If you took away all the need for recognition for what you do, what sort of things would you be pursuing ?
Sunday, October 28, 2007
A couple of the trails at Mineral Wells were closed so our hiking was limited there. The water was beautiful today in the lake so we hiked down to the waters edge to take some pictures and just sit for a bit. The Prickly Pear Cactus fruit is ripe now and so pretty. I have made some great jelly with the fruit but its not much fun to pick. It grows all over the place around here, many of our friends have pastures full of it, which they are more than happy to let me pick.
Prickly Pear Cactus
And finally the ride home, gas wells every mile, the horizon lit up with tower after tower
We headed off to Dinosaur Valley to check the water levels and the trails. Today you could see all the dinosaur prints quite easily since the water level has dropped significantly since our last trip there. After a nice little hike we felt the need for some more adventure so headed off to Mineral Wells, Texas. A bit of a drive but worth it.
This is called the Blue Hole, an old Native American Bathing and washing spot in Glen Rose, the water is deep in spots but tranquil, except for the snakes !
Along the bed rock just under the water line are many dinosaur foot prints
Next are some pictures of one of the trails and then of the dinosaur prints and finally, our lunch
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Today children all lined up near a big old scale, gunny sacks in hand waiting their turn to have the pecans weighed that they had gathered and brought to the feed store to sell. 22 lbs announced the man. News worthy of a big smile for one little girl, 11 lbs for a tiny bit of a child, her gunny sack as large as she was. Sacks piled up in the corner, mounting up higher and higher as the children had their pecans weighed. It felt like a moment from Little House on the Prairie. I paid for my feed, had it loaded into the back of our station wagon, asked the man if he has to crack all those pecans and he said, "yup, but I have the help of a shelling machine." He told me he hoped no more kids came in today with more pecans, "too many now to do", he said.
I had a smile on my face all the way home, feeling good about what I had seen. Children picking up pecans for a little bit of money. Hope in their eyes for a good total. I wished for my camera but then some moments are just lost in a photo and in stopping to take out the camera.
The kittens are growing. Had to snap some pictures in the sunshine of the afternoon.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Today I needed a bit of a kick in the seat of the pants as the expression goes. I spent a good part of yesterday feeling bad for myself, feeling a bit self absorbed. I wanted things my way, for me, about me. A silly matter really....nothing earth shattering, just to go to the gym more often instead of being home for everyone, whenever they need me. Then I thought about something... in one word, others ! Sure we all need time for regeneration, time alone perhaps to think, to meditate and pray, but I was wanting more than that. Hard to explain I think in the right tone of how I was feeling. Even when all the children were home, and the house was bustling with busy-ness. School at the kitchen table, farm chores, 4-H complete with Goat shows, cooking from scratch, the gardening, the putting food by, the sewing, the laundry and cleaning, I always found the time to pray, to reconnect with God. Those moments are found if you really want them. Many times I prayed in the bathroom ! It was the only place that could be guaranteed alone time : ) But what I was wanting yesterday resulted in NOT taking that time with God and recharging my batteries so that there was strength enough to carry on when it was my hands that needed to sooth and my my hands that needed to cook meals for those in need and it was my hands that needed to hug a weary friend. Because I neglected an area that one can always find time for, I then felt used up. Not easy to admit perhaps but truth. I was not growing....there was no new growth and soon the old growth gets used up and the well becomes dry. The fruit is gone, picked already. The need to drink at the living well is how we can ensure there is new growth.
The ground was wet, melting frost in the morning sun, still glistening, still cold as it soaked up the hem of my skirt, hitting the bare spot of skin just above my socks. The sun, spreading fractured rays across the land, gold. Richness beyond words. There is silence all around me, save the happy chirping of a house wren nearby. The wood shed is dark in this early morning, my breath escaping in little white puffs against the darkness. I fill the wooden bucket with kindling, stopping to soak in the view from the doorway. Neat rows of fall garden planting. Ripe figs hanging like natures ornaments on a nearly leafless tree. Kittens snuggling up together to stay warm on a log pile. Lillie's blooming one more time. Green tomatoes trying to ripen in the weakened sun. I am rich, rich indeed. I smiled thinking, I learned this early on...
I saw the lecture of a young professor at CMU that is dying of cancer. http://cmu.edu/uls/journeys/ "The last lecture"....what we would impart as wisdom as our last lecture. The last lecture is never about how to get rich, or what we own, what we drive, or even if we have fluffy towels : ) It's not about the size of our home, or how new our appliances are....its always about relationships, living dreams, and not passing by the important things in life. Its usually about living a true RICH LIFE and that word RICH, has nothing to do with money. If you have not read "Tuesdays with Morey" you should. Same thing, dying man, imparting wisdom and this wisdom has nothing to do with what we own for possessions or what our title is in the corporate world or what the name is on our dress. Both dying men seem to know, those are the things that waste our time and steal away from the truly important things. Why is it that it takes a death sentence for so many people to understand that ? Why are so many people running around using up energy on "sweating the small stuff". Looking for things to worry about, being compulsive about, looking for conflicts and loosing out on the richness of life in its simplest forms ?
So often people look back in time and say, "oh if it were only like that now ?" "I was born in the wrong century". No, you were born right when you were meant to be born, born where you were meant to be born and given the opportunity to discover the richness of life in the simple beauty that God has set for you to find. I believe God is able to break all chains of heredity, generations of dysfunction and cultivated tendencies to do wrong. If I didn't believe that, then I am putting a limit on His abilities. So it doesn't matter what sort of beginning you have in life, God has always provided a way to get beyond it, otherwise the whole plan of salvation seems a bit faulty. Salvation is for all, and all means ALL. If you can't change, then what is this new birth all about ? Is it only for some and not for all ? No where are we told in scriptures that, "your family was all nuts so you can't change, its in your genes, you are sunk." There is no excuses that allows us to miss out on getting it right and seeing that life is about LOVE, about so much more than chasing after things and working so hard, maybe even two or three jobs just to have what the world has labeled, "The Finer Things". Something is always lost in the chase of things and the two men I mentioned, Morey, sharing on Tuesdays his wisdom before his death and now Randy Pausch's Last Lecture, they got that part. Live your dreams, but don't live them at the expense of relationships with people in your life. Don't "loose it" if someone messes up your car, or spills something on your dress. Those things are just that, things....but the person is just that, a person with feelings.
Live simply, live with eyes open for the beauty all around you. Love those near to you, forgive even the weirdo's. You may not want them in your life, but forgive them so you can move on.
Look for what is important in life and don't wait until you are standing at the Pearly Gates to say, "oh no, I missed out on what counts in life!"
Believe in something bigger than yourself, and let compassion be real to you.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Birthday celebrating time at our house tonight, our son Steven turns 23 tomorrow.
I made his favorite cake, chocolate with peanut butter frosting, and with that we had peanut butter cup ice cream. Lots of fun with the babies and lots of laughter as usual as we all chat around the table. We celebrated with sparkling apple juice and a supper of Haystacks
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Cinnamon Dough Recipe
1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup white school glue (like Elmer's)
Plastic food wrap
Cookie cutters or a knife
Ribbon or yarn for hanging
Straw Mix cinnamon, applesauce, and glue together in a bowl.The dough should be as thick as cookie dough. Add a bit of water if the dough is too stiff.
Remove from bowl and knead. Put it back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for at least a half hour.
Remove the dough, knead again to make sure it's smooth. Flatten/roll the dough between waxed paper until it's between 1/4" thick and 1/8" thick.
Cut out desired shapes, use a straw to punch a hole for the ribbon to hang. The circle of dough will pull out with the straw.
Gently place the shapes on a piece of clean wax paper. They will take 3-5 days to dry, and you will need to turn them over a couple of times a day for them to dry evenly and flat.
Don't be surprised to see that the ornaments get smaller during the drying process. Keep this in mind when you pick out the cookie cutters for your designs. You will also notice that if you do not turn the ornaments over often enough while they are drying, the edges of the ornaments will curl.
When dry, thread a piece of ribbon or yarn through the hole to hang.
Fresh chicken, a few vegetables, white sauce and biscuits made for a typical farm supper. No recipe, just cooking with what I had. Just the perfect meal for a busy day. Mei-Ling has a cold, so a trip to the Doctors for her and later in the day, Melanie got quite sick, so again to the Doctor. They are both fine tonight, resting at home with Casi watching over them.
p.s. that is Emerys plate NOT mine ! My plate of food was much smaller : )
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Maybe it was something in the wind, maybe it was just the right time, maybe it was just the results of wanting some changes, whatever it was/is, there are changes being made in my life right now. First off I changed the Rose guest room around and now its more like a sewing room with a bed in it. I need a place for all my sewing things and I wanted to use the room with the most light and the best view out the windows for those dreamy moments in the midst of inspiration. I even hung my favorite Nancy Noel prints in there.
Then change #2 I went through my closet and weeded out the things I really don't wear that much. It seems most of us have favorite outfits that we wear and then a closet filled with the clothes we like to look at but don't wear much. I kept outfits for all my moods, so there are some chic outfits, some back to nature type clothes, meaning hippy, natural fibers, relaxed fit sort of things and then there are some long skirts for my homestead/almost feeling plain days, and my all time favorite outfits, jeans and tee shirts, the kind of tee shirts that say things of importance.
Change #3 Joined Weight Watchers again. I just need to get motivated and paying to get weighed is a big motivator for me. I need to do this for me, and for my family, to become healthier. I pride myself on being in good shape, flexible, strong, lots of energy etc, but the fact remains I weigh too much. I need to change that.
Beyond #3 is yet to be discovered for the changes that will be made. I feel like I am on the cusp of changes, good changes.
At some point in time we all have to get real with ourselves, stop pretending to be more or less than what we are, or say we feel a certain way just to please someone else. We need to be real enough to admit what changes we need to make, from small things like clothing and room designs all the way to our health and spiritual well being. We need to be open enough to say about ourselves what everyone else says about us behind our backs : ) Today is the day for watching Under the Tuscan Sun and understand the basic concept of taking a chance, not living in fear of what if or what will people think, living life with childlike enthusiasm and embracing the joys of life.
It is a silent sort of morning, sitting next to the wood stove in my rocker, watching the birds outside my windo...