Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two Sweet Blessings

Last night Steven, Priscilla, Melanie and Casi went out to eat together and we had the joy of watching the two little girls. Yen went with Mommy and Daddy.
We had such fun watching those two sweet hearts playing together. They giggled and laughed, and jumped and ran together. Grandchildren are such a blessing !
Mei-Ling has a big test and Doctors visit coming up Monday and if you think of it, say a prayer that they will see good things and be able to reverse her vesicostomy. We are praying hard for this. The little one so badly wants to be a big girl and not have to wear a diaper. Your prayers are so appreciated.
Elizabeth and Mei-Ling looking out the window for a cat they heard
best buddies
time for a hug

8.8 Earthquake Hit Chile

The news of this mornings earthquake in Chile, brought to mind a bible verse I learned so long ago...

Matthew 24:7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

I read this morning, "Because the scale is exponential, today's seismic event was about 500 times more powerful than the one in Haiti." That is simply hard to wrap my mind around. I ask you all today to remember those in these devastated areas with prayer in your hearts.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Long Winter

It sure feels like a long winter here in North Texas.  I have never seen as much snow as we have had this season and its been colder than normal.  Our wood pile is getting way too small and yet there seems to be no end to the chill in the air.   Many days I just opt to put another layer on instead of building a big fire when its not horribly cold out, or just build a fire in the morning and let it heat the house and then let it die down until evening.   Rationing our remaining wood to have it last the rest of the season.
I am glad that our goats were bred late so that we don't have little kids out there in this cold and since I am not milking, if I want to I can hold off feeding the goats an hour or so until it has warmed up a bit.  They have plenty of hay in their barn at all times so grain can wait for a bit without them getting hungry at all.   We feed the goats a nice sweet feed that is all grain, no pellets in their dry season and when they are milking we mix Purina Goat Chow with the sweet feed giving them a higher protein diet than just sweet feed.  We also supply them with a quality goat minerals.  I am looking forward to the first of April when the kids are due to arrive.  My life will be busy for sure, feeding bottles and milking goats again.  But I like that sort of busy-ness.
Speaking of busy, I have a busy day ahead of me, cleaning, cooking and everything in between, so time to get off the computer and get to work.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A New Blog, An Addition To Morning Ramble

This coming Sunday I am embarking on a life change, a major one. Some history to put things in perspective on the why of this new journey. My mother died of a heart attack at age 65, which is young, its only 10 years older than I am right now. My father had a heart attack in 1979 before is 58th birthday. That's a serious heart history. And Emery is not a lot better off history wise, his father was in his early 60's when he died of a heart attack and his mother had type 2 diabetes and the entire time I knew her, she had one health issue after another. Along with that Emery's brother died of a coronary aneurysm this past year at the age of 58. We all have choices in life. We can just keep on keeping on, no matter the end results or we can take charge of the things that can improve our health and live longer and stronger.
Steven is only 25 and has high blood pressure and his triglycerides are not good at all. His biological father is Emery's brother that passed away just a couple months ago at age 58. Steven realized he had to make changes or his life span may not be a long one.
I shared with Steven about a book I had which has been in my library for several months. The book appealed to me but making the changes it speaks of, just didn't happen in. I kept making excuses. I was busy, I was sick with a cold, I was always too "something" to start. Talking to Steven about it hit home for the first time, that my own family health history is not all that great. I want to live long and healthy.
The program is called CHIP, Coronary Health Improvement Project. Its a tried and true program and its not wacky and it has a food plan I am well acquainted with. Its not new or strange to me.
I know myself pretty well and know my faults, my shortcomings and how my zeal often fizzles out after a short time so to make this project work, I am going to be keeping a blog of my progress and I am going to be honest, share my struggles as well as my victories. Keeping the blog will keep me motivated too. I would like nothing more than to have anyone else who wishes to make life changes like this to reverse high blood pressure, get type 2 diabetes under control and to improve their coronary health.
My blood pressure is not high, but it is creeping up a bit. I certainly need to loose weight and I sure want to improve my eating so I have the best coronary health I can.
At this point I am doing this on my own, with the book The Optimal Diet CHIP cookbook and the information available on the CHIP website.
Tomorrow, Feb 26th will be the day our new journey begins and so it will also be the first day I write for this new blog.....30 Days To A New Life I am sure it is going to take longer than 30 days to change years of bad food habits but I suspect the first 30 days will be the most wonderful and the most difficult. Join me if you like, on this new adventure !

Returning To A Spiritual SImplicity

Religion is confusing at times. Everyone believes that what they believe must be the truth, which is understandable, because why would you follow something you didn't believe in ? But it seems to be so many differences of opinions on how to worship that we just keep trying to turn it into entertainment.
Within Christianity there are approximately 38,000 Christian denominations...that's a lot. The number kind of floored me to be honest. The modern Christian church seems to be changing in ways that I can't seem to relate too. I met a friend in the store yesterday and she was telling me that the bishop was at their church recently, a woman, and prayed to mother God. I am old fashioned, plain and simple and prefer to keep it as Our Father in Heaven. Another friend recently told me about how their church has to have 3 services each Sunday so they can have sermons and music that appeals to each group within the church membership. Seems too complicated to me. Why not just worship God in a simple fashion, maybe more like when Jesus walked the earth. Seems like it worked then and there were not 38,000 different groups arguing over who has the "real" truth or pointing fingers at one another claiming the others have all missed the mark. I understand that within the Bible, you can just pretty much pick and choose which verse defines what you believe, but in all honesty folks, the words of Jesus are pretty simple and will give you all you need to live a good life, and find inner peace in this chaotic world.

So what if we all returned to a simple form of worship, where egos didn't need to perform and giving was done by putting a box by the door, free will, no demands. Where the ministers were content to live humbly and mirror what Christ said about building treasures on earth and riches rotting and rusting.

What if you didn't need instruments to lift your voice in praise and you could pray silently. What if you didn't have to read the fashion magazines to get an idea of what you should wear to church ? Wouldn't that make life more simple. What if our worship was like that great day on the hillside where the sermon on the mount was preached ? So simple. What if you didn't need 500 hundred books in your library to tell you that all God really wants is for you to worship Him and love one another ? That would be so stress free. What if we felt the joy in helping one another daily and found it more pleasurable then shopping for things we have no need of.

Why on earth have we made it all so complicated that we actually are in danger of missing the point entirely ? Why do we have to make man made rules to explain the simple rules God has laid down for us ? Why not keep it all so simple that we can have childlike faith and can have that love that is so tangible and real that we feel like God is our father ?

Do we really need all the extra stuff that keeps us from seeing the simple beauty of Gods love all around us ? I say, lets return to a simple walk with God that doesn't need anything beyond His word and a simple building to meet in and voices lift up in one accord to praise Him.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Colors of the Day

5 More Weeks Until Kidding Time

April is fast approaching and by the looks of Licorice, I am guessing twins at least. Faith is not very big which is pretty normal for a first time. One kid for her is my guess.

More Snow and Thoughts on Gelassenheit

This has by far been the snowiest winter I have known in Texas and if it keeps up today, we actually may be the snowiest winter in North Texas history.
When I was out doing chores this morning it looked as if the world around me was being sprinkled with powdered sugar. Birds were fighting for a place at the feeders and it seems the more feeders I add to my collection, there is never enough for all the hungry little birds.
Last night I did some more study on the concept of "Gelassenheit" which is a foundational sort of term used in the Amish world, that doesn't really have a simple one word translation. Its a concept that has be born of the very teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. Words like yielding, humility, meekness, and peace all fit in this one word, along with the idea that you can let go, you can walk through life without being offended and holding on to that tranquility and serenity that comes with a heart full of being calm and honestly filled with compassion and love. Its really much like what seems to sell so many self help books today, the ones that spout off all the ways to find inner peace. I have myself so often read books by Buddhist monks who seem to have the directions on how to discover this place in our hearts where peace can be so firmly planted that nothing, no one, no circumstance, however painful, can take it from us. I sit here wondering why I have travelled so far in my readings only to find I had the "recipe" all this time. I know why really, things can grow to be "old hat" and meaningless when we forget to refresh our souls or walk so far off the path that we actually forget where we have been or forget what the journey is really about. And then there is rebellion, ahh, how well I know rebellion...and that feeling that arises from it that whispers in our ear that we are independent and no one can tell us what to do. From there we forget or push out of our lives words like obedience and yielding. Our society seems to think rules are to be bend, pushed our way, made to conform to our wishes and desires. We indulge our wants and turn them into needs in our minds and justify our actions. Gelasseneheit doesn't allow for that, neither does the life of a Buddhist monk for that matter. Yielding, humility, having a gentle spirit, and putting aside this notion that strength is all tied up in self assertiveness, gives us that inner peace that can't be stolen from us, but the very concept of humility seems nice to most of us, but for someone else maybe. We so often view it alongside weakness, being walked on. I want to be defined by this word "gelassenheit" even though it goes against all the ideas I have been fostering for the last few years. Gelassenheit, this one word for so many things can be found all in one place, The Sermon on The Mount.
Let your days be filled with the simple things !

Instead of Where is Waldo, Where is Harry !

He is in the photo, you just have to look !

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Blessings of A Fall Garden

What we planted in the fall, we are enjoying even now. I just came in from doing chores and stopped by the garden to pick some big heads of cabbage, lots of collard greens and some fresh lettuce. All organic and you can't get much more "local" than your own back yard. The fruits of our labor ! In a couple more weeks we should be able to get out there and till the soil for spring planting. We are expecting 4-6 inches of snow tomorrow, which gives me an idea, this is the longest winter we have experienced in our nearly two decades of living in Texas.

A little visitor at the feeder

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Simple Life

It has been a quiet day, the kind that lingers in a good way. A little visit from Mei-Ling to help me make what she calls, "happy day cup cakes". Extra chores done in preparation for more snow on Tuesday. They are saying 4-6 inches for our area. It has been quite a winter, the results of a strong El Nino. Emery was chopping wood, cutting up kindling and clearing away some branches that were over the barns. It was warm out today, nearly 70. Mei-Ling played outside with no jacket on, it wasn't needed in the sunshine. But now, its getting cold. Too late to bother with a fire in the wood stove, instead we will just pile on the blankets tonight and then deal with the stove in the morning. Tomorrow I will be busy making a new ticking for the feather bed in the guest room, its time...the old one is about 10 years old. I chose red and off white ticking..I love red and that fact seems to dictate many of the choices I make. Maybe I can get started with the quilts I have planned for that room too. The plans are for red and white Sunbonnet Sue and Sam. The fabric has been purchased for curtains too and plans for embroidered pillow cases. The room needs to be more suited for both girl and boy as the grandchildren's beds are in there. As it is now, its all girl, pink and white everywhere and I suspect Yen may not like that when he is a bit older.
Lots to do tomorrow which means time to turn in and call it a day.
I count my blessings that my life is a simple one. Full of the ordinary sort of things like chopping wood, making soap, hanging laundry on the line, getting kisses from sweet grand-children and hugs from grown up children. Holding hands with the man that fills my heart and being able to live just the life I always wanted and never feeling alone.
Choices made long ago set things in motion to have this simple life and a strong belief that God does answer prayers and give us the desires of our heart.

God Loved the Birds.....

"God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages. "
~Jacques Deval,
I love sitting at my desk, just watching the birds at the feeders. It is one of my greatest joys of the morning.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Evening Chores

As the day light fades and night creeps in with shades of gray blue, the world around me seems softer, calmer, much like how it is when a small child is bathed and put in pajama's, ready for quiet time. Emery walks by the window, still working on last minute chores, like bringing in more firewood, putting away the tools he used to fix a spot in the goat barn where Faith caught her foot today. There are no lights on in the house yet, this gradual darkening of the day seems natural to me, yet if I had been out to town and came home to this degree of darkness in the house, I would be quick to turn on lights. Strange how things are different when they come on slowly, and we feel accustomed to the changes.

I spent the day with Mei-Ling. Melanie had a Drs appointment, hard to imagine but wee Yen is already 6 weeks old. I offered to take Mei-Ling on the town with me, for a fun Grammie and Mei day. She is such a sweet child. Kindness overflows from her heart in a way I have never seen from a small child. She asks you, "are you happy ? " and she really wants to know you are happy. Perhaps she has deeper compassion and understanding as a child from all that she has been through. She seems wise beyond her years. When I answer her question and say, "yes, Mei-Ling I am very happy, thank you." she smiles and says in her still baby like voice, "You are welcome" and it always seems like more than just an automatic response. There is sincerety in it.

Next month Mei-Ling will be having some tests and seeing her urologist. We are all hoping and praying that they can reverse her vesicostomy. The situation needs lots of prayer. Her life would seem so much more normal if this could be reversed.

Mei-Ling and I did some shopping and then I asked her if she would like to go out for lunch. A burger maybe, or a taco perhaps. No, she told me she would like Chinese food, so the two of us went to our favorite restaurant where the owners feel like family to us and the waitresses all dote and lavish Mei-Ling with attention. A wonderful meal was enjoyed by the two of us and it felt like such precious time together. This little child, such good company, chattering away and trying chop sticks with lots of laughter, deciding a folk is much easier. Loquats popped into her mouth, whole. Juice and giggles escaping both at the same time from the corners of her perfect little lips. What joy in my day ! What joy in my evening as soft music seems to match the flickering of the candles that are burning on the table. I hear the love of my life coming through the back door, oh that wonderful sound of a screen door slamming shut. So home like, so ordinary, yet such a sound that you always want to hear your whole life long.

Chickens locked up safe and sound, goats too. Harry sleeping on his rug by the door. Life is good.

Earth Hour is Coming Up

This will make our 3rd year of participating in Earth Hour, one hour of turning off the lights to bring awareness to the problem of climate change for which we contribute to in the negative by the way we live in this modern world.
"On Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people around the world will come together to call for action on climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour. The movement symbolizes that by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight, protecting our future and that of future generations."
We as a family have opted to have a get together on this night to share in the moment, to commit to doing better in the choices we make daily that play a part in caring for this planet.
Watch the video, and consider being a part of this night when we can make a statement.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Photos of Our Big Blizzard

We ended up with 10 inches of snow at our place last week and believe me, that is a huge amount for North Texas. There is still a pile or two in our yard. I was so thrilled by the snow, I was out playing in it early in the morning, while the world around me was still silent and pristine.

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...