Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Being Content

We live in a time when many folk feel extreme pressure in being measured by what they own.  The latest smart phone, the most gadgets to help organize their lives.  Where homes tend to look more like displays from catalogs or glossy magazines than places to find comfort, joy and family closeness.  We seem to be loosing our need to build stronger families but spend hours building networks of people we will never meet face to face and that's not all bad, but in perspective, if we are not close to our immediate family members, perhaps we should cultivate those relationships first.   I watched some video clips of the History of Boston yesterday and over and over, people talked about how "content" they were in the olden days  (30's-50's) with so little.
A 5 cent apple was a great treat.  If families were poor, the children didn't seem to realize it because the fun they had in play was free.  A day at the beach..no need for fancy beach equipment, an old blanket and a peanut butter sandwich sufficed. Playing ball in the vacant lot.  Cleaning up Mrs O'Connor's yard for her.
On a hot summer day, just reading under the tree in the back yard.  Winter was spent skating on Spot Pond or sledding in the cemetery.  All free, all fun and some of life's fondest memories.  Contentment was a feeling felt each and every day.    Mothers were content to just visit the neighbor for a cup of coffee, no need to go some expensive coffee shop to chat.  Home was perfect, you could be right next door watching for the children to come home and build a relationship that involved home life.   My mother and grandmother spent many an hour chatting over the fence with our neighbor as they both hung up laundry on Monday mornings.  Clothes lines were near fence lines just for that reason.   My mother learned new recipes from visiting her friends while they cooked and vice versa.  Contentment was normal.  No one I knew growing up, had their houses redecorated every 7 years because of styles changing.  You got a new couch when the old one was falling apart.  Even our wealthy friends and family lived that way.   Of course Old Yankee families tend to be practical and not into showing off, even if they owned half of Boston.  
These days, we seem to have lost our ability to be content.  We are always shopping for more, more of anything and everything.  People have storage buildings, rent storage space, have garages so full there is no room for the car, yet they still shop for more, trying to fill some void that cannot be filled with stuff.   Our stuff   is not meeting our needs but we don't stop to figure that out, that Golden Ring is always dangling in front of us, trying to seduce us into thinking it will answer something for us, fulfill us.  But, it doesn't.  Its hollow and not and the thrill of getting it, lasts only a short time.   What is that void we are trying to fill ?  Could it be we have simply forgotten what things really matter in life ?  Family, friends, having faith, having hope, having more to our lives than name brands, "high end" whatever's.  Contentment comes when we figure out, that what counts are the very things that are held in our hearts and not in our hands.

my grandmother holding the neighbors cat @ 1916

Monday, February 27, 2012

Homestead Life

Growing a big garden or two gardens as in our situation, is a lot of work.  Yesterday, Emery and I spent a total of 8 hours planting our big garden.  Rows upon rows of seeds were sown.   We worked under a clean bright blue sky, with a cold north wind blowing in the early hours of the morning.  By afternoon the wind had died down some and we began to peel off the jackets and hats.  We would stop what we were doing for a minute or so to watch a hawk soaring over head, or listen to the birds sing and try to identify each one.  Lunch was taken in haste, so we could get back outside to finish our work.   It was a long, hard day but one filled with satisfaction .  We know that in a couple of months time we will be reaping the harvest of our labor. 
Carrots, Onions, both red and yellow, several kinds of Kale, Spinach, Potatoes, blue and red, Corn, Snow Peas, Green beans, Butternut squash, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Beets, Garlic, and of course a nice row of Sunflowers for bird seed.    The second garden will be planted this week and the list is long for what we will sow into the rich brown soil.    I checked to see how many calories we each burned yesterday after just 4 hours of work and it was about 1,300 calories.  It was a good workout !
I love this life of living simply, stepping softly on this earth of ours.  Living a life where we are not so dependent on stores for our every need.  Where if the electricity went off for a month, we could cook, stay warm and not be in a state of panic waiting for help.  Hard work gives great reward and keeps us fit at the same time.  I read an article not long ago, Garden to Improve Mental Health  which shows the research in this matter and its hard to dispute.   Simplicity is good, gardening is good and living life a bit old fashioned seems to be medicine for our souls.

our duck started sitting on a nest three days ago.  Will be fun to see little ducks following their parents around.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

What If ?

When you are working in the garden, there is lots of time to think and in our case, discuss, since Emery and I were both out there working the soil together this morning.   I started thinking about how many times I act or think in a certain way, simply because of how I perceive another person will think of me.  I am one of those people that seems to care deeply what others think of me.  Then I started thinking about all the folks that buy things just so they look successful or look like they live a certain way.  Or about all the folks that must redecorate their kitchens with all "high end" appliances and such, and then they admit they don't cook ! So that amazing stove remains brand new looking and serves one purpose, to impress.  So what if, as a God fearing person, we took all that same energy taken about impressing others with what we wear, what kind of home we live in, what kind of car we drive, what we talk about to others, etc, what if we lived only to...hate to use the word, impress, because that is not really what I mean in the purest sense, but what if we lived to show God we use Him as our standard, live as if we were trying to impress Him by living a sincere, God fearing 
life ?  O.K., I am 100 % certain you are all aware, that I am not really meaning we have to impress God with anything, but what I am saying is, what if we lived as if the only thing that mattered was how God saw us !
No need to think out the words we are using to pray in front of another so they think we are this or that, but just prayed our heart.  No need to worry about how so and so has the best clothes for their children each church day and try to keep up with them.   No need to pretend we are this or that, for the sake of what another person thinks of us.  Only worry about one thing, how do we look in the eyes of God !  Are we living for Him.   Do we think He cares about our kitchens being outdated or our car being the oldest model on the street ?   Do we care that Mrs So and So has no money for her medications this month or are we drooling over more stuff on Pinterest ?   I am asking myself these questions more than anything else.  Asking myself, "what am I thinking ?"   

Ephesians 5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How Time Flies

Nearly a week has passed since I wrote here on my blog.  Springtime, or rather our Texas spring weather, has us very busy, preparing for the garden and doing all the outside chores that cannot be put off for another time.   I love this time of year, there are days now when the front door and some windows can be opened during the warmest part of the day.  Almost every morning the back hall has clumps of dirt on the floor...I never mind cleaning it up, since it signifies garden time. Before the sun is up each morning, Emery is out in the garden, working the soil, removing grass and weeds, cultivating the rich brown soil.  Two large garden spots keep us busy and at the same time, feed our souls.  The birds sing the most glorious hymns of praise each and every morning and we are there to hear it.  The sky is so blue this morning and the green of the grass is so vivid and bright.  Not a single cloud to be seen.   I read this quote this morning and thought about it while we worked, "Let all who are in error be treated with the gentleness of Christ. If those for whom you 
labor do not immediately grasp the truth, do not censure, do not criticize or condemn. Remember that you are to represent Christ in His meekness and gentleness and love" (6T, 120).  EGW.
What a wonderful approach on how to be treated and how to treat others when we fall short.
Its good to think on such things as we work the garden.  A time when our thinking is made clear by the very atmosphere around us.   Life is good.  It is simple.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek of my latest sewing project.  This is one of the pockets for the over dress.  Having lots of fun.  No pattern, just ideas.  Dress is all cut out and ready to be sewn together after all the fine details are done.  Just finished making 4 yards of bias tape.  That's a lot of ironing !

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spring and Summer Sewing Underway

My new look for warmer weather this year is something along the lines of  Boho....and in amazing circumstances, I found the perfect fabric for all that I had planned for $3 for 5 yards at Wally World..  One fabric was $1.50 a yard but its linen.  Found white cotton gauze too.   Boho Style  has provided me with a lot of inspiration.  Now to get busy !  Since I am supposed to kind of take it easy for the rest of the week, sewing is a perfect way to spend my time. 
I spent $27 for a total of 30 yards of fabric and its all good quality.  They had lots of "strange" fabrics today, but they also had some of just what I was looking for.
The turquoise fabric is a nice cotton, thin but nice, did the burn test on it when I got home to ensure it was cotton and the fine, very soft. mesh of the same color is a poly blend but it will bead well or maybe even be treated a bit like English Netting and embroidered.

Early Spring Herb Gathering

The Shepherds purse is ready to be gathered right now in our area.  Some I will dry and with some I will make tinctures.  I love how quickly shepherds purse works to stop a cut from bleeding.  We have used it for years with the animals and for us.
I wrote a bit about Gathering Shepherds Purse in 2007 and am linking that article here, if you have an interest in wildcrafting herbs. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Flowers from my son

The Florist just delivered these pretty flowers for me from my wonderful son Steven.  I am blessed

Happy Valentines Day

Foggy day, beautiful in the way it softens all of the outdoors.  A thin veil cast over the land.  
I woke to my gentle man wishing me happy Valentines day.  He had purchased roses the other day when I was so sick an early Valentines.  Today, perfume, chocolate and a second card and the warmest smile a gal could ever see.  His love for me always evident in every word spoken and every deed done.   Life is good.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Moment of Winter

This has been an unusual winter here in North Texas, no snow and honestly not much in the way of cold temperatures.  I love snow, so every winter I ask God in a very childlike manner, could He please send some snow.  I suppose it has something to do with the joy snow brought to me as a child, growing up in New England.  And that love kept growing and even when I had to shovel it, drive in it, etc, I still loved it. Last winter we had a bit of snow for this area and I was so happy. 2010 brought record amounts of snow which was wonderful .  But, of course every thing closes down here when there are 10 flakes of  snow or any  ice since no one knows how to drive in it and there are no plows in our town at all. 
I grew up knowing how to prepare for blizzards and hurricanes.   And now we live such a simple life that storms have little affect on us.  I often think of the verse in Proverbs 31...
21" When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet."
I am guessing my mother and grandmother knew that verse also, for we always had warm mittens, hats, scarves, sweaters and blankets for the cold winters, even when the wind chill would reach -50, we slept warm. Now, admittedly, the kitchen, which was at the back of the house, north side of the house, was hard to keep toasty warm.  
Today, the wood stove is doing a wonderful job at keeping the house warm.  The lamps are lit to chase away the dull gray of the morning.   Tea kettle whistling quietly atop the stove, signaling its time for tea.  I have no fear for my household, they are all warm, perhaps not dressed in scarlet, but each one has what they need.  A large ball of wool, newly spun, is now taking shape in the form of a sweater for me. It will be perfect for those chilly spring mornings when I have work to do outside.  
This moment of winter, with the tiny bit of snow, is a gift for me.  I thank my Wonderful Heavenly Father for indulging my childlike request to see some snow fall at least once this winter.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Very Slow Day

Most of my day was spent laying on the sofa, sleeping.  Guess my body needed it.  But I did manage to snap a few photos of the birds at the feeder and later a photo of the new bird feeder station Emery made for me as a Valentines Day Gift.  I love it.  Its right by the window, perfect for bird watching while I sit in the rocker reading or working on some knitting.   
By early evening our daughter Melanie called to let me know it was snowing out !  I grabbed my jacket and stood out in the snow, hoping it would stick in a few places so I could capture it with the camera.  Its the first snow we have had in our area this year.  Its a good day.
Thank you for all the emails and comments regarding my recent trip to the Emergency Room.  Today I am feeling better, sleepy from the medications but no heart issues today.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sun Is Setting

Collard greens picked this afternoon from the garden and now steaming on the stove.  Potatoes baking.  The sun is setting in the west, pinks and corals, against a pale blue sky.  Chores are done.  Laundry still on the line, not quite dry yet.  The chickens got into the garden today and ate every last bit of my lettuce.  It will grow back but I  was not very happy to see them munching on what was supposed to be my salad tomorrow.   The ducks appeared to be laughing at the whole situation, as only ducks can.  
I am thankful for this part of the day, when the busy-ness of the day melts into an almost holy sort of peace and quiet.  Lamp light flickers.  The smell of wood smoke drifting through the door as Emery comes home after a busy day at work.   The windows at the front of the house are letting the shades of sunset fill the room.  Its the only light there right now and its lovely.  A sepia sort of color, tinged with pink.  I cannot help but be filled with gratitude for life.  For all the love that fills each nook and cranny of my being.  I am thankful for peace of mind, for the serenity of this moment in my day, where my thoughts overflow and tumble out onto this page.  It gives me a place to say what my heart contains.  Life is good.

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...