Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welcome Victoria !

Victoria was born this evening weighing in at 7lbs 6 oz and is 21 1/4 inches long. She is beautiful from head to toe and both mother and baby are doing so well. I showed restraint and only took about 60 pictures tonight. We got to see her right after she was born and what a proud Daddy greeted us with that perfect grand-daughter in his arms. How blessed we are. Praising God for another perfect grand baby. We are now blessed with 4 grandchilden. Yen is slightly outnumbered by girls on this side of the family....3 to 1

Cost of Living, our budget

Every once in a while I share with my readers what our budget is since I get a few emails each week asking about it. I have no problem with sharing what we spend a month.
In summer we run two window unit air conditioners so our electric bill is high in summer but other than that, things stay pretty consistent for us.

Monthly budget

property taxes
all properties $200
gas $15
electric $175 in summer $60 in winter
phones, tv and
computer $220
car insurance $120
gas for autos $120
clothing $25
medical $100
food $500
entertainment $100
water $90
wood for heat $60 this has doubled since last year when our old supplier retired.
upkeep for cars $50
total of $1775.00

as you can see we could cut out the cell phone and cable tv and save a lot but we have no need to cut our budget any at this time.
So we could easily live on Emery social security when the time comes and do just fine.

Life Goals

Living on less is easier when you keep focused on a goal. We did that and still do. We have spent many of our married life being what is considered "poor" by the typical American standard of living. Yet, we never felt deprived.
We have always felt blessed. Simple as that. Now we look at our lives and see that what we have worked so hard at achieving, is a reality. We have wonderful children that cause us no problems and better than that, we really like them ! We have amazing grandchildren that we love dearly and live close by. Emery has a wonderful job. Emery and I fall more in love with one another every single day and we are each others best friend. Our home has been paid for for a long time. We have no debt. We have excellent health. These are all things we worked hard to achieve. To start off with, we both prayed for the right person to come into our lives and had high standards that had to be met. We both felt strongly that who we married had to be the same faith as we were, so we could pray together at night with one accord and the same understanding. We raised our children with lots of prayer and care. For us, and I am not saying its the only way, but for us, it was important for me to always be home with the children, which meant living on one income and a very small one at that for the many years, yet we still had dreams. Living in the country, having some animals and a garden. At times that goal seemed a million miles away but we kept praying and believing and heading towards that goal even if it meant in tiny steps. We reached that goal. Sure it meant living in an old house that needed lots of work and that we are still working on, but its home and it has allowed us to have the animals we wanted and the garden we needed !
Now that the children are all married and have their own homes, we have more money. And Emery's salary has continued to grow with the years, but we still live on much less than we make. Some folks just think we are tight wads, cheap. But we still have goals, still see the value in living debt free. Still think that the needs of others are more important than fancy restaurants and fine clothes. Still would rather invest in helping our family out than to spend money on things that become "stuff" in a closet six months from now. We still budget, still don't go running to the store for the latest gadget, be it for the kitchen, electronics or a new car that has all the bells and whistles. We can see retirement right around the corner and we want to be prepared. So many of our friends at our age, sell their homes and buy another one that will give them a bigger mortgage payment, higher taxes, bigger utility bills and then panic when they realize they won't be able to make their payments on Social Security ! But they want to look like they made it in life. But what is it to really "make it" in life ? The truth be told, it has nothing to do with what you own. It has to do with relationships and contentment. We see so many people running to and fro day after day, trying to grab something to fulfill that empty spot in their lives and all the while they are never home long enough to build a strong family that comes from time together, doing things together, not side by side in the car. Building memories and shopping isn't something that in the years to come will be held as dear memories talked about around the Thanksgiving table. Its things like playing games with your children, working together on a project that are the ties that bind hearts together. Emery and I know full well that its the moments when we stand side by side, after working in the garden together that have given us so much time to talk and to feel something deep and abiding in our hearts for our family and this life we have created for ourselves. Something more dear than words could ever express. The children don't sit around talking about memories of going to this or that restaurants as children, or the weekly trips to town to go shopping....they talk about a hiking trip or about the girls going to pick up the boys from school with the horse and buggy. They talk about how they played with this or that toy or reading so many books each summer. Trips to the mountains in winter or all the wonderful events connected with Irish Step Dancing. Family time.
We were not perfect, no one is. But we can sit back now, ready to look towards our retirement knowing we still can live on less than most folks, enjoy our family, still feel that same sort of amazing love for each other that we first felt 32 years ago. We pray together, laugh together and on occasion cry together. We still enjoy working towards our goals and living content. We have seen too many people bite off more than they can chew financially speaking and most often they nearly choke to death on it and find out somewhere along the way that they bit off something they didn't even need. Impressing no one that mattered.
Live simply, investing in the things in life that count, things that you have with you all of your life, in your heart.

Special Note....looks like there might be another August baby in the family !

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Winter Memory"

Winter Memory

The muffled echo of the roosters crow
just before the sun rose o'er the hill,
A snapping beam, a sudden thud of snow,
And morning crept across the needled chill
Of wintry night; from valley chimneys rose
White plumes of smoke, inside bright fires glowed
Through open draughts, while from the kettles nose
A billowing singing steam cloud flowed.
The iron griddle soon browned bubbling cakes
The red checkered cloth upon the table spread
Sill in my heart an old-time song awakes,
And pictures from a time long since fled.
The old black stove and its rosy embers,
Sweet woodsmoke, a plant upon the sill,
The cozy warmth and peace my heart remembers,
The old clock's steady tick, the lovely thrill
A rainbow lights through icicles reflected,
And warm new milk within an earthen mug. . .
No farther than these walls my thoughts deflected,
Contented as the curled cat on the rug.

~Ruth B. Field~

By the end of summer here in the heat of North Texas, I start dreaming about winter. Of the smell of wood stove smoke, and soup simmering all day long on the wood stove. I think about the cold air of morning when the stove is cold after a long nights sleep. Of the joyful moments spent sitting at my spinning wheel, wool all around me. I dream of needing a sweater and having my feet toasty warm in thick wool socks. This morning as I was reading through a book of poems I came across this little poem about winter memories and oh how it touched my heart. It spoke exactly of what my winter morning are so often like. I have no desire to rush time but I sure wouldn't mind if summer decided it was time to leave this part of the country and head south.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Thought for The Day

"We all profess that we are bound for heaven, immortality, and glory: but is it any evidence that we really design it if all our thoughts are consumed about the trifles of this world, which we must leave behind us, and have only occasional thoughts of things above? "
~John Owen~

I was thinking this morning after reading this quote from John Owen that we so often spend more of our day thinking about the "stuff" that doesn't really matter in life, and if people read our thoughts, what would they know about us ? Would they see peace in our thoughts, would they see kindness and love or would they see worries about things that don't really matter. Our thoughts turn into our actions in some form or another, that's just how life is. What do the majority of our thoughts say about us ? What are our true priorities in life ? Are they spiritual in nature ? Are we seeking peace and contentment ? In Weight Watchers they have you keep a food diary, for two reasons, one to stay on track and the other is to become aware of mindless eating....imagine if we started to write down our thoughts of the day....what would the theme be for us ? Are we centered on a godly life or are we weighing ourselves down with the trivial that will not matter in the end one bit ?
We do have to live our lives and care for the daily responsibilities given us, but what about when our minds play the squirrel cage act and our thoughts just run wild, would it not be better in those moments to seek the mind of Christ and focus on the things that will make us a better person, have better relationships, have a calmness about us that is so obvious that others wonder what it is we know that makes us happy, not the giddy kind of happy, but the deep form of happiness that cannot be stolen by an unkind word to us, or a long line in the store, or crazy drivers on the road. The kind of peace in our hearts that cannot be shaken by the media's attempt to make us feel discontented.
Perhaps being mindful of our thoughts and what direction they are drawn to, can help us discover a road that although narrow, leads us to a place of deep contented peace.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Had to Share

Two of the grandchildren came for a visit today. Yen was all smiles and Mei-Ling was busy playing tea party.

Pie Crust Recipe

For those of you that emailed me asking for my pie crust recipe....here it is.
Perfect Pie Crust Recipe
I can honestly say, that this recipe has never failed me, its always flakey, just like its supposed to be.

"Good Neighbors"

Good Neighbors
~Georgia B Adams~

Just yesterday my neighbor baked
Some juicy cherry pies;
On the window ledge they set to cool. . .
A little later on I heard
A knock on my screen door.
She stood there with a pie in hand !
I guessed whom it was for.
She is a friendly neighbor and
We chat across the fence;
The price of corn, a brewing storm,
We share a homey friendship and
She knows she's welcome here.
Good neighbors are a boon to man,
They bring wealth and cheer.
I read this poem yesterday and it made me a little sad...I remember so well my mother chatting with our neighbors at the fence. Both had clotheslines near the fence so they could chat and be busy at the same time. Monday was always laundry day for both. They would share new recipes, visit for a cup of coffee from time to time. What made me sad was thinking that I don't have neighbors that would chat across the fence or stop in for coffee. They are too busy, too stressed out.
I miss the days gone by when neighbors shared what they baked or hung laundry on the same day.
Guess I am just an old fashioned gal living in a modern world, wishing for some of that old fashioned friendliness of old.
baked fresh blueberry pies
chocolate chip cookies and
then watched the hens scratch for their feed by the barn

The Prayers of Many

Such good news, Mei-Lings vesicostomy was back to normal the day after asking for prayer for her, which meant she didn't have to see the doctor. Swelling was down and all was well. Must have been irritated when they were doing a procedure when she was in the Emergency Room a couple days before. Any Doctor visit that can be avoided for her is a HUGE blessing. Thank you all who prayed, as our prayers were answered.
This little one has such compassion for others, I suspect in part to all that she has had to endure. The other night she was over for a bit and since Emery was very tired he went to bed while she was still here. After he was in bed for a bit, he coughed and Mei-Ling went to the bedroom doorway and said, "bless you Papa", he was asleep and didn't answer and in a concerned little voice she asked, "Papa, papa, are you alright ? " Such empathy from a 3 year old !
This morning my cold is much better, thank you all for your well wishes. It seems to be just a little cough now and nothing more. My energy is back to full swing so there are cookies in the oven...Melanie and the grandchildren are coming over in a bit, Melanie has some sewing to do, and pie crust to be rolled out for a fresh blueberry pie. The strips are cut for my quilt but now I feel there needs to be a few more colors, which means a trip to the fabric store....better wait till Sunday and take Emery with me, he can help me be strong and not buy more than I need ! I am a bit of a fabric-aholic.
A load of gravel was delivered this morning, enlarging our driveway a bit so more parking for when the children are all here. Emery will be hard at work, leveling it after work tonight. Such a hard working man. I am blessed.
All these little bits of news today but soon we hope to share big news, as Steven and Priscilla are getting close to having their second daughter born. Less than two weeks now I believe. It will be so much fun to have another baby in the family. Little Yen is growing so fast, and crawling now. Amazing how fast the little ones grow. He is all smiles all the time. He is such a happy little one and so enjoys his toys.
My life is full, full of the things that gladden the heart and cause me to whisper prayers of gratitude throughout the day. Its not the things I own that fill me, but the love that surrounds me. It is the simplicity of each moment, the contentment that fills my heart with each and every breath.
Life is good, it really is.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer Cold

I can't remember the last time I have had a cold in summer, but I sure have one now. It seems as though I have been fighting this for several days and finally "it" won. Stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and that feeling that makes you want to just curl up on the couch and watch mindless television. Reading seems too complicated and hand work, the same.
I did manage to go out on the back porch this morning while the water was heating up for some Throat Coat Tea and snap a photo of the sun coming up, it was so pretty.
Mei-Ling has to see the Dr today, a problem with her vesicostomy. She has had a rough time of it lately. Taken by ambulance last weekend to the hospital with a high fever, but they think it was just a virus since all her lab work came back o.k. and her scans were all fine. If you think of it, please say a prayer for her.
And for my long time readers....Melanie and Casi are celebrating their 4th wedding anniversary today. How time flies
Back to spot on the couch with my box of tissue, Vicks vapor rub and my warm wool shawl.
sunrise this morning
Mei-Ling trying out some antique reading glasses
Melanie and Casi, 4 years ago

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Wonder of Open Windows And Quilt Plans

Having the windows open may not seem like a big deal, but they are to me right now. The cold front came through yesterday, leaving us with a high of only 90 today and a morning that is a very nice 70 degrees. The first thing I did this morning was open every window in our house, just to let in fresh air after having the house closed up all summer long. The first thing I noticed having the windows open was the deeper silence of the day, no air conditioners running ! And then the birds began to sing, and the breeze blowing through the juniper and pine trees creating this marvelous brushing sound, which reminded me of when jazz players play the cymbal with drum brushes. That easy sort of sound that just makes you want to sigh a good kind of sigh.
I suspect this wanting to just take a deep breathe and sigh comes from being assured by the change in weather patterns, that Autumn will really arrive and that summer is not endless after all.
Yesterday as the clouds and cooler air rolled in I headed off to the store to purchase some fabric for a postage stamp quilt for my bed. I just love the look of all those tiny squares and I have so many pieces of fabric in my stash that will work perfect for this, but I needed a few more pieces. Well, in truth, I WANTED a few more pieces of fabric !
I am going for that old fashioned sort of look but with a little surprise here and there. While at the store there was a sale on holiday fabric so I picked up a couple pieces to make aprons for my daughters. Holiday baking is just more fun with a pretty apron on. I suspect there will be enough fabric left over for a couple little girl aprons too.
There were pumpkins on sale too and yes, I was weak and got one, a sign of hope for me that there will be days when sweaters are needed and when I will be carrying arm loads of wood from the wood shed to the house. This old Yankee gal has a hard time with the heat of the summer. My blood has never adjusted to triple digit temperatures.
Its time for me to head out and feed the chickens and lean on the fence a bit to see how my garden grows and gaze up at the sky and watch the clouds drift by. Life is goo, so good in fact that I am planning a give-away the first week of September. Stay tuned for more info.

Monday, August 23, 2010

At Emery's Office Today

Monday Morning Ramble

Before noon, the sun was scorching. Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year for us. They are forecasting 106 F (41C) today with a heat index nearing 115. The heat is wearing on folks around here. Shorter tempers, a constant feeling of being too tired to do much and conversations that all start the same way...."I am so sick of summer !" I noticed lately that even the little birds look worn and tired. The cardinals at my feeder have poor plumage and remind me of the drawings of beggars in story books from long ago. Most of them have their beaks open a bit and their wings held out from their sides, trying to stay cooler. I don't normally feed the birds in summer, but this year, food seems to be slim pickings for them so I want to help out a bit. However, yesterday there arrived a huge flock of grackles, not a favorite bird to have around. They are noisy, messy and just a nuisance all around. My solution for shoo-ing them away.....get out my handy crow caller and squawk at them. Did the job so well, and at the same time, called to my buddies the local crows and they arrived to help. The crows, which I dearly grew to love due to a personal relationship with one baby crow named "Nevermore" that I raised from the time he looked like a round soft black rotten tomato with a big beak stuck on it.
I just simply admire the intelligence of Crows and how cleaver they are. I feed them and they in return amuse me by the hour. Occasionally they have a go at teasing me or try to tell me something I just frankly don't understand. One fall morning one young crow called to me as if in distress so I went to the edge of the woods to get a closer look, there he sat on a low limb, cawing at me, I kept getting closer and closer to him, and finally right level with him he caw-ed some more at me and looked me in the eye and flew off, as if he just wanted to have a little chat with me, up close and personal.
Nature is so full of wonder !
It's laundry day and I have no doubt at all that my solar clothes dryer will be working at top efficiency today. No doubt faster than any mechanical clothes dryer. When I was out hanging up the clothes I noticed so many leaves blowing in the breeze, yellow and dry. This heat has caused them to fall off early, leaving bare branches much too early. I wonder what the winter will bring this year. The grass under my feet crunches with much the same sound as when you stick your hand into a bag of potato chips. Its not a good sound for grass to make and it certainly feels uncomfortable to walk barefooted on. It pokes you, each blade like a tiny hot iron. I am ready for fall. Anxious for the need of a sweater and thoughts of a fire burning brightly in the stove. Full of readiness for pumpkins and the colors of autumn.
This feels like its been a very long summer and I am so ready for it to be over !
With that said, I still love this simple life of mine that requires me to be outside each and every day in the heat of the summer, in the glory of the spring and fall and in the dead of the winter. For each and every season has reminders that we are the children of a wonderful Creator that gives us beauty all the year through and I am ever thankful for our window air conditioners that keep our house cool enough for us, and that allows me to sit and drink hot tea and eat toast for breakfast without even thinking about how hot it is at that very moment right outside my window.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Making Our Own Stress

There are jokes about putting the cart before the horse and "living simply" is one of those situations where many folk rush to put the cart before the horse and find themselves not so happy. Living simply, with real honest simplicity comes from the heart long before it comes from owning chickens, some goats and making your own soap, and honestly, those things are just extras that are not all that simple. But, we so often equate simple living with a homestead sort of life, an old fashioned approach to daily living, which is not always true.
Simple living is a condition of the heart. It is born from a deep desire to have more peace in our lives, less stress, less stuff, less rushing around and more meaning to life. It has a lot to do with being able to go to bed at night without having to lay awake with some major emotional drama being played over and over in our heads. I think for me, it has something to do with faith too. Having a deep abiding faith that you I am not walking this life alone.
Living simply is about not fretting all the small stuff and like its often said, its almost all small stuff. I see so many women spending so much of their time concerned about food, and yes, we do need to eat healthy. I firmly believe that but not to the point that it is my main focus in life and not to the point that you are defined by that. We should be defined by what is in our hearts and by the strength of our relationships with our loved ones. For me, there is a rather straight forward guideline I try to follow and it faithfully keeps me on track to a simple life. Not getting caught up in the sweating the small stuff.
Matthew 6:25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Following the advice set in these verses is all you need to live a simple, uncomplicated life, where peace flows through your heart deeply. It might take you to a life with chickens and goats and homemade soap but maybe not. It will take you to a life that reaches more outside yourself than for self centered pleasures. It will take you to a place where you go to bed at night without that hamster cage thought process of reliving the day over and over.
It will take you to a place of contentment that sees no need of keeping up with your neighbor or having to run out to the store to buy that new gadget you saw on television or on so and so's blog. It will keep you from the confusion of what is the right way to eat and what is the right way to live life. The new age gurus are preaching the same message, only they are leaving out verse 33 and that my friend, makes all the difference in the end.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Peace of Simplicity

For some time now I have been wondering how it is that as a believer, I sought out so many other avenues of how to find peace and freedom from want, than in Christianity. The reason is quite simple actually....there are hardly any, if any at all, men of God out there preaching simplicity. I didn't find a shepherd to lead me. Yes, I know the Bible well, but I needed a fresh approach to the subject of simplicity, and some guidance. Recently, I purposely listened to 10 major modern preachers on television and radio to hear just what is being preached to the masses, especially now in a time of such economic upheaval. Sad to say a good percentage of the "sermons" were on how God will make us prosperous according to the worlds standards. I did a search on the preachers I listened to and found that most of them lived in mansions, some had private jets and all had on amazingly expensive suits. Not a one led a simple, humble life. Messed up children, divorces, questionable financial dealings and the like. Most of them had lives that could mirror some of the full of drama reality shows. It was obvious that they didn't want to be preaching about humility for so many reasons. Not much food for the ego in that. There wasn't anyone that was preaching on the peace that comes from being filled with a contentment that comes from walking in the simple shoes of the Master. By comparison, there are people flocking to new age gurus that are teaching the peace found in not being attached to all the material things in life, but to have hearts filled with something so much stronger than "stuff". These modern gurus speak of contentment in a way that makes you want that too. Why is it that preachers of today are not sharing that same truth, since it is the truth of Jesus.
How is it that simplicity of life, the contentment and inner peace, and the sacrifice of true Christian brotherhood are left out of so many sermons in church ? Is it the preachers are too afraid they will offend those that put money in the offering plate ? Or is it that they may just convict themselves that change is needed in order to live a humble simple life like Christ did ?
One has only to look at these words of Jesus to know that simplicity was his message to us.

Matt 6:19 “Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal;
6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal;
6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matt 6:25 Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
6:26 See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they?
6:27 “Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?
6:28 Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin,
6:29 yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.
6:30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith?
Matt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.
11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls.
11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thankful Hearts

Last night Emery and I sat out on the porch watching a storm in the east. Although the storm never arrived at our place we did get a good light show from the lightening and we were blessed by a cool breeze which gave way to thoughts about the first family to live in this house, imagining them on such a night. We imagined that they would have gone to bed with a prayer of thankfulness on their lips for a breeze. We have lost something in this modern time, true dependence on God for all our needs. Oh yes, we still need Him, but mostly to give us strength to endure the stress of modern life or perhaps to fix the fragmented relationships that we have become part of. Most of us have no reason to ask God to provide us with food, or rain for our crops, or for a cool breeze so we can get some sleep. When Emery and I were first married, we were poor as church mice and there were times we did have to pray for the basics, and our faith was strong and there was never any doubt that God existed, we KNEW He did. In the land of plenty, for many it seems you go through the motions when saying Grace at meal time. You thank God for your food, but you never gave it a thought when you went to the store, took out the money and paid for all those bags of groceries. You may pray at night and thank God for a good day, but two minutes later, your mind is racing with thoughts of that show you watched on TV or that new gadget you just purchased. So many have found themselves in a situation where it seems like all the good stuff in their life comes from the stores, and problems solved in relationships has come from self help books or what you heard on an afternoon television show, not from dependence on God. Perhaps that's why there is such a huge following to the idea that we are not only formed in God's image, but we are all God-Like and we create by our thoughts and our actions. God gets less and less attention unless of course we are in some sort of serious mess and then, like my father was fond of saying...."there are no atheists in a foxhole."
I can't help but wonder if the times we are living in, isn't full of the tree we should not be eating from, just like Adam and Eve. Too much ease of living, too much of the "doing it myself" mindset that leaves us less thankful to God and less in need of Him for the most basic of things. I know I am guilty of this. I was pretty taken with the concept of the "Law of Attraction" and now to be honest, I am pretty sure this is just one more ploy to take us away from the need of God in our lives. I want to be more thankful to God for everything, not just for what hits the top ten scale in miraculous. I want to be thankful for cool breezes on a hot summer night, not just say, "ah, isn't that nice", and then just walk through the door into my air conditioned house without one bit of sincere, mindful gratitude.
I see now that we have a hardship in this life, to realize that God is still at the helm, and to have thankful hearts to Him for all we have and for all that we no longer even have to think about.
There are still many who do understand and are thankful for all things from God, but for many today, we just accept so many good things as just part of modern living and go day to day without feeling deeply in our hearts, the watchcare of God in our lives.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Directions On How To Live A Simple Life

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
1 Peter 3:8-11
To this I can only add that it means not only to behave this way with the general public, but with your husbands and your children for all their lives.
and if your husband and/or children are not believers, then let these verses guide you....
"if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
1 Peter 3:1-4

Dreaming of Winter and Simplicity of the Heart

When I lived in New England, come February, all we could think about was the coming of springtime and warmer weather and for the then dirty crusted snow lining the roads to be gone. To see flowers and buds on the trees once again, but here in this relentless heat of August in North Texas, I find myself dreaming of snowy days, where I find delight in wrapping my shawl tight around my shoulders as I dart outside to get another arm load of wood for the stove. I have been dreaming of wool socks and the need for long underwear under my skirts. Anxious once again to feel joy in heating up the kitchen with baking, rather than standing by the stove with sweat dripping from my brow.
Today will no doubt be our 18th day in a row of temps at or above 100 degrees. The grass is so dry its crispy sounding under my feet as I go about doing my chores outside and the birds are at the feeders seeking food every morning and afternoon. One poor Cardinal was so confused in the heat that he flew at the window three mornings in a row. I usually don't feed the birds in the summer months but this year I will make an exception and also put out an additional tray of water for them.
This morning as I sit looking out the window, noticing the stillness of the trees, it makes me think about taking time to be still, to listen, to know that small still voice that is there with us to guide and direct us if we are still long enough to hear it. The beauty of the simple life is not that your bills are less or that you don't feel so obligated to keep up with the latest fad, its that you stop to take time to notice the beauty of Gods creation and that you spend more time firming up your relationships with your children, your spouse than you do on designing a new living space in your home or spending countless hours fretting over what to eat. Simplicity of the best kind is of the spiritual nature and then all other things fall into place. There is no real simplicity to your life until your relationships are what they should be, and preaching to the crowd has little bearing when your own family is not in order. Simplicity of heart is what its all about !

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Quiet Monday

It's the day for washing clothes and washing floors...waxing them too. An easy sort of day, no rush. Its still very hot here in North Texas, I believe its something like 17 days in a row of 100 degrees or above and that wears on a body. By the time I finished hanging up the last piece of laundry, the first ones hung up in that very same load, was dry. Its a bit like a furnace out there in the sun. I was thinking about the first family that lived in this house and how they just dealt with the heat. No air conditioning and no fans. Cooking still had to be done..hopefully they had a summer kitchen. I suspect they had to work in the garden, hauling water to the plants. Doing laundry in a big old tub, probably boiled the water over a fire for that. Hot work in those long full skirts. Sleeping at night must have been difficult too, no breeze to speak of. When we first moved into this house we naively thought we would not need air conditioning. How hot could it be ? We found out. I was canning peaches our first year here and the kitchen got up to 106 degrees. The next year we purchased an air conditioner !
Are we just weaker now then people were 100 years ago ? Are we so spoiled that we complain just about having to walk to the car from one air conditioned area to the next ? I suspect so.
We have it pretty good these days if you ask me, but only in terms of comfort. I think we are quickly loosing grip on some of the good things in life, like contentment, simplicity and so many of us haven't a clue who our neighbor is which makes finding a sense of community pretty difficult.
It's too hot to do much else today except do some reading in front of the air-conditioner !

Marvelous Birthday

All I can say is that I had a marvelous, fantastic birthday party, thanks to my wonderful son, daughter in law, daughter and husband.
For the past few weeks, as mothers some times do, I was feeling a little under-appreciated, well the kiddos sure changed that for me yesterday. They pulled out all the stops and showered me with all the things I love best and best of all, they showed me how much they do appreciate me.

Late yesterday afternoon Emery took me shopping and when we got home, the house had been transformed into a Parisian theme. On my dinning room table stood a huge Eiffel tower. The colors of the party were pink, white and black and it looked as though they had hired a famous decorator to do the decorating, it was gorgeous. The food was incredible. The cake was a multilayer chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and frosted with a heavenly ganache There were chocolate tulip cups filled with mousse, and hand made gelato that was to die for.
Champagne on the table along with Dublin Dr Pepper (a family favorite) and sparkling fruit juice. We had amazing pizza, (my favorite food of all time ) for our meal.
Presents, flowers, beautiful cards, and the best of all, being surrounded by people I love. The little girls gave me lots and lots of kisses and plenty to smile about.
I didn't have to lift a finger to clean up either, Priscilla, Steven and Emery did it all !
I feel so blessed. Just wish Melissa could have been here, but at least I saw her just a couple weeks ago.
Life is good and I am expecting another marvelous year !

Every single night before I go to sleep and every morning before I hop out of bed, the same prayer in on my lips.  Of course I pray for m...