Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Purple Angels

Although this little wool angel has yet to receive her wings she sat among the flowers this morning to rock her baby.
Right on the other side of the garden, was this perfect Angel Rose. A day of purples for me I guess.

Climb the mountains . . .

"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. "
~ John Muir ~

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Plant Life Along the Trail

Sunday Hike

There are a few quiet moments in my day right now, which allows me to share some photos from the hike Emery and I took this past Sunday. It was just a five mile hike, so nothing momentous but so full of peace and that wonderful silence that falls upon an area that is far removed from the hustle and bustle of busy towns and busy roads. We had our lunch at our favorite spot on this trail, by a tiny meandering brook that branches off the river. Its deep in a canyon where wind always seems to travel in such a delightful way that you can watch it arrive and see it pass you by. The river was fine for crossing by way of rocks, only a few times did I need to get my hiking boot a bit wet, but my feet stayed dry. The weather was perfect, cool and cloudy at the start, but by hikes end, the sun was shining in a glorious blue sky. It was a day of wonderment, just the way we like it.
I took about 125 pictures on the trail but decided to just give you a small sampling : )
the trail is pretty easy for much of the hike
a very determined tree growing out of the canyon wall
lunch time
our favorite little creek
there is a faint blue line on the rocks showing that up those rocks is the trail !
lots of wonderful rock formations on this trail
the little bridge over a very deep gully
The Pulaxy River

Autumn Angels

The beautiful fall weather has inspired me to create some Autumn Angels made of wool roving. I picked through my wool baskets to find bits of pieces of fall colored roving to make this light as a feather angel to hang from the beam in my living room, but first she had to have her picture taken hanging from the tree out front !

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Long Journey Home

We have all heard it said that life is a journey, and so it is We often travel through our days blindly when life is busy or decide to loose who we really are in listening to what is being said in our times regarding what we need to be or should be. My husband is a wise wise man. He has been telling me for years to just dig deep down inside myself and remember who I was before I started listening to all the rhetoric out there. Looking back for me, meant looking way back, back to when I was just forming my own personal philosophy about life, people and what really matters. That was about 40 years ago, when I so prized individuality and walking my own path. I recently read through some of my journals that I kept as a teenager, and they were not filled with the day to day trivial stuff or who had crushes on who, but the pages were filled with musings on life and discoveries. I wrote about the need to be still, to step off the beaten path and find the less travelled one, where my thoughts could be my own, my "truth" be my truth.
When Emery met me, I was still holding on to that cherished dream of living in the woods in solitude. I was still wearing flannel shirts and jeans, feet clad in wool socks and earth shoes. Hair long and any tee shirt I wore was meaningful. He fell in love with me just as I was. No pretending on either side for us. We were comfortable and real with who we were and knew within a few dates that we were soul mates. Each day of our 32 years together has gotten better and our love grown to a point that we feel a sense of loss any second we are not together. Yet, there is no suffocated feeling, no yearning for our own time. Hard to explain actually.
But somewhere along that way in my search for some spiritual peace, I just kept finding myself in a loop of rules and regulations that I never could live with. Eventually loosing who I was in the process. Its only been in the past few months that I have found my way home to peace within on a level that I have not known for years. I have in a sense come all the way back home to where I started the journey. Seeking once again the depth of serenity found in a life uncomplicated with rules and agendas thrown at me from people not on my walk, not on my journey. Funny thing, the catalyst for finding my way back to who I really am came from making dolls for my grand-daughters...these dolls, so natural and wonderful awakened in me a time and place so long ago when I was making them for my daughters. The journey has been a walk around a labyrinth of life, where steps retraced take me to the very place I have always meant to be. A life of simplicity and full of peace and serenity....happiness found in a depth I never knew possible.
Melissa's doll, well loved, well played with, mouth gone, clothes faded, sock missing, hair thin. This wool stuffed doll, made so long ago, has taken me back to a time and place I was meant to cherish and nurture always, but I lost my way until now.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Veggie Burgers

One of our families favorite foods is veggie burgers. I make several kinds but this is an old standby for us. Melissa wrote down this recipe about 12 years ago for me and every time I use it, I remember the very day she copied it out for me. Tonight we piled them high with alfalfa sprouts...ummm ummmm good.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Wonders of Nature

A Banana Spider munching on a grasshopper, wrapped in webbing
Asparagus ferns
Eggs right off the nest

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Kneading Bread"


Kneading Bread
~Belle Bainster Broadbent~

While the dough I gently grasp,
I think of those who must clasp
Seed, to sow the golden grain
And reap the harvest it contains;
And those who then work hour by hour
Turning this grain into flour
While these joining, clasping hands
Feed the hungry of the lands.
So, I find a kinship spread
While I'm gently kneading bread.

Fall Gnomes

I have been having so much fun working with wool felt. This week I made some wee fall gnomes for the children to play with. The gnomes outfits were simple to make out of felted wool and they seen here playing with needle felted pumpkins and acorns.
It is officially the first FULL day of fall and although it doesn't feel very fall like here in North Texas, I am transforming the house with Autumn colors and the realization that soon, there will be no need for the air conditioners and in no time at all a fire will once again blaze in the wood stove.

Autumn Whole Grain Bread

Kneading the Autumn Whole Grain bread this morning

Autumn Whole Grain Bread

Autumn Whole Grain Bread

in a large mixing bowl, combine:
2 cups warm milk
2 Tablespoons baking yeast, (2 packages)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar

let set until bubbly and doubled in size, about 30 minutes
add to this mixture:
3 Tablespoons soft butter or olive oil works
2 cups unbleached white flour
stir until well blended
now mix in remaining flours:
1 cup of rye flour
2 cups of whole wheat flour. This is a soft dough so I add and additional cup of white flour as I am kneading it so I can check the texture. It should not stick to your hands but is slightly sticky to the touch.

Place in a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise until double in size, about an hour.
Punch down, let it rest for a few minutes, then divide the dough in half, shape into two round, slightly flattened balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let raise until doubled in size.
Brush with an egg wash.
Bake in a 300 degree oven for about an hour, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped.

I honestly don't remember where this recipe came from but it is one I have made for many years and we all love it. Its wonderful toasted.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our Sensitivities

We become conditioned to things quite easily it seems. Our sensitivities, can become hardened over time by just the simple act of viewing situations. We can watch immorality and violence on television and find ourselves dulled to the reality of such situations. We can even tune ourselves out to the complaints of a chronic complainer, which might be a good thing, that is until something really is wrong. Yes, the boy who cried wolf sort of thing.
The music we listen to might contain lyrics that are full of violence and hatred, or the television shows we see, contain view after view of blood and gore. It does dull us to the reality of the pain and suffering that is behind such things. We see folks on the screen who are having affairs after affair, yet what we don't see is the full gamete of the pain that follows. Such things always touch more than just two people, there is with certainty, a trickle down effect in real life, where parents, friends, children etc all suffer in some way.
What was considered immoral behavior in my parents generation, is standard stuff now. Cut throat mentality at work places. Non ethical behavior is quickly forgotten or laughed at, maybe even patted on the back for. Loyalty has been replaced by, "that's life" .
Friendliness has been replaced by an overwhelming fear that we are intruding.
I don't have a solution for this, except to avoid so much of the negative situations we are bombarded with by the media and to be aware of how influenced we are by attitudes and opinions of others that are often the very same people we would never consider like minded.
Perhaps we should all strive for a heart that is tender but wise. Pray for eyes that see kindness and virtue as far more entertaining than pain and suffering. Seek out the pure and good, without loosing sight that there is ugliness in the world, but with keeping it in the background, not the focus.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Diamond in The Sky

Late yesterday afternoon, this was the view from my front porch. Gods amazing artwork

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spending Time Wisely

For the past few weeks I have been thinking about how I spend my time. I want to get back to accomplishing the things I hold dear. More cooking, more sewing, more taking care of myself, and going to bed each night, knowing that things got done.
I know where much of my time is spent, that results with little to show for my time. Facebook is the biggest offender for me. I love it, love keeping in touch with family and friends on a daily basis. But soon that couple of minutes we said we were going to spend on the computer, turns into an hour or so.
This morning I was up early, had breakfast with Emery, kissed him as he went out the door to work and then I headed out to the garden to water all the new plants popping up out of the soil.
The rich brown soil is dotted with shades of green from the collard greens, the cabbages, and lettuce plants. There are tiny little mounds just waiting to spring forth with carrots, celery and more greens. How I love the fall garden ! Not much weeding and not many bugs.
After that, I sat at the sewing machine, working on the quilt. Its coming together nicely. Making its own sort of patterns from the fabric placement of the tiny postage stamp size blocks. I cannot wait to see it done and hanging over the back of the deacons bench in the living room, ready to snuggle under on cold winter mornings after chores are done.
This weekend I found ripe bananas on sale, 99 cents for a good size bag...I grabbed it up and the produce man asked if I would like more. He filled a total of 5 bags for me. Must have been 40 lbs of bananas for just under $5. Came right home and peeled them, and stuck them in bags for the freezer. We use them in smoothies and make "ice cream" with them using the Champion Juicer. I did dry about a dozen of the smaller bananas whole. They are wonderful that way, a bit like the texture of licorice and so very sweet. A perfect treat for when that sweet tooth arises.
Spending less time on the computer and more time working, creating and caring for my family has given me a renewed joy in life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Gift of Beauty

The air is a bit cooler, maybe even a hint of fall crispiness was felt this morning, or perhaps I am just being hopeful. The sky, nothing less than a heavenly blue, with tiny tiny puffs of white thin clouds off in the west. The sunshine warm and friendly, natures warm morning hug to my shoulders. The sky above me busy with darting dragonflys and buzzing hummingbirds, darting from the trumpet vines to the morning glories, feasting on their nectars.
In the distance the noise of a lawn mower with the faint scent of freshly mown grass blowing towards me.
These last days of summer are filled with transition. Acorns growing in the oak trees, leaves loosing some of that bright summer green and becoming tinged with browns and yellows. The rose bushes coming back to life after the hot searing days of summer. The garden plowed and planted. Pecans and black walnuts darkening on the trees, ready just in time for Thanksgiving cooking. Velvet pods dangling like Christmas ornaments from the wisteria vines. This is a wonderful time of year, nature giving us its last hurrah before the time of slumber in winter.
I see the hand of God in all that I see during these little walks each morning. Strengthening my faith and my resolve to worship Him more fully. The delicate beauty of the morning glory, chasing away any doubts cast by modern teachings that bombard us daily. His masterful Hand creating for us, evidence that His love goes far beyond just care, but it shows His desire to show us beauty by the strength and fragile nature of His creation. We as mothers should mirror this aspect of His love and desire to have a home that is beautiful in more than just the decorations, but by the fibers of love that are woven into each word and deed towards our loved ones. That we show our children and spouse with beauty that cannot be purchased from a jar or a clothes rack, that our love is far reaching and deep.

Family Meal Time

I know its not Thanksgiving yet, but the poem below speaks to me about holding dear to something we are loosing sight of in this modern, rushed world of meals. A time when everyone gets together at the table sharing family stories from one generation to another. A time when bonds are made stronger and laughter just rings out. A time when the lines seemed blurred between who is an in-law and who is not. A time when little hearts grow fond of family ties and feel the loving hearts of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. A time where the day is discussed and problems and joys alike shared. Family meals provide so much more than food to eat.

The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

~Edgar Guest~
It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell
Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;
But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,
When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,
The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.
It may be I'm old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
We're too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;
Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.
It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;
There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,
Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.
I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,
And whether living far or near they all came trooping in
With shouts of "Hello, daddy!" as they fairly stormed the place
And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face
Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.
Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;
From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;
All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
The struggles we were making and the hardships we'd gone through;
We gathered round the fireside.
How fast the hours would fly--
It seemed before we'd settled down 'twas time to say good-bye.
Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew
When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.

Trying to get 4 little ones to smile or be still at the same time is quite a chore ! But a delightful chore to be certain. This was taken after supper last night

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ture Simplicity

True simplicity is born from a heart issue, it is a place of contentment and not one of constant change, but of growth perhaps. It is deciding that relationships are more important than the material and that no matter what you do without, if your heart is not in the right place, it is just one more phase in the long row of "whats cool" or "in".
True simplicity is the fruit of living in peace and knowing what things matter in life. You can live humbly and simply with ease as long as your personal relationships are in order and your heart is set on the things of this world that will not rot and rust.
In 1 Timothy 6:6 we are told , "But godliness with contentment is great gain." and in 1 Timothy 4:8 we read, "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." so there is the test, godliness holds promise for the present life and the life to come....think about the things you value and question if those things will have value and promise in the life to come. Certainly material items have no value in the life to come, we all know that "you can't take it with you" .
A clear conscience goes with us though and good deeds follow us to those pearly gates.
We have the directions on how to find true simplicity and all the joy that follows a life lived humbly, all we have to do is follow the directions.

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...