Monday, May 20, 2013

Tonights Sky

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Oklahoma tonight.   Our sky is looking a bit turbulent, but nothing on the radar.


Mammatus Clouds to the west and over head, just a bunch of wild gray clouds !

The Weekend in Food




This past weekend I had lots of fun in the kitchen, trying my hand at a few new recipes.  A green papaya salad,Som Dum ส้มตำ and Xôi Xoài kiểu Thái-Classic Thai Mango Sticky Rice/Khao Nieo Mamuang.
Both were big hits with Emery and the sticky rice with mango was one that had him asking when we were having that again.  It was a delight to make and certainly a delight to eat.  In our constant attempt to include more vegetables and fruits in our diet, and maintain a fun nearly vegetarian diet, it has me exploring more Asian foods. Emery prefers many Asian foods in place of the typical American foods and really I do too. We both feel better eating this way.  
The wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables at the Asian markets have had us experimenting with exotic fruits and some strange to us, vegetables.  My son in laws cousin has been sharing some recipes with me from Thailand, which has been wonderful.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happiness

Happiness comes in many shapes and in many different experiences.  Today, a little boy was very happy to see what Grammie had purchased at the market today.  Mei-Ling and Yen both love fruit more than candy and I don't think there are many vegetables they don't enjoy.  Good training from their parents ! 
Mei-Ling has some sort of stomach bug, all her fellow class mates have it too it seems.  For her, things are just a bit more serious. Today she ended up in the ER just to make sure all was well.  Pleased to say, they did not need to admit her.  Hoping her recovery is a quick one.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Natures Fury

Natures fury was unleashed last night, 13 tornadoes in North Texas.  2 of them within 5 or 6 miles of us.  A friend lost his roof, his bedroom wall and just about every window was broken, but he and his family are safe.  We went to do a few errands this afternoon, and drove past the outskirts of where the most hard hit area is.  The hard hit areas were not on our path and there were people working hard to make things safe there and I had no desire to be in their way. All along the road, trees were down by the thousands.  Roofs gone, so many without electricity.  I had mixed emotions about taking pictures.  Its like you are capturing someones misfortune, but at the same time, photos serve as a reminder that we are not in control of all things and that we have to have respect for the forces of nature, be wise and take shelter when danger is approaching.  We were blessed, we had about 40 minutes warning that tornadoes were heading our way, plenty of time to seek shelter.  Earlier in the day we had heard that the weather could turn bad, so we packed a bag of the things we had to have.   The community will rebuild, we all know that things, even homes and what we call treasured items, are just things and that the only real value we have is our loved ones.  These photos are reminders of that.




Long Night


Just a quick little update regarding the tornadoes that blew through our area last night.  We spent much of the evening in the basement of the Girls Dorm of  Southwestern Adventist University, which is close to our home.  Its the towns designated shelter.  Melanie, Casi and the children were there with us.  Mei-Ling was shaking she was so frightened when they arrived, but, Yen, he is a typical 3 year old boy, he thought maybe it was a volcano and that dinosaurs might be running through town, so he was excited.  Sirens keep blaring and the bits and pieces of news we all were hearing was not good.  About 5 miles from us, lots of destruction.  We had heard that the tornado was travelling down the road by our house.  We kept wondering what we would see when we got to leave the shelter.  By the grace of God, all was well when we got home.  We never even lost electricity.  In the shelter, which also houses the Chapel for the dorm, there was much prayer, Bible reading, and hymn singing.  If you had to be in a shelter during a storm of this magnitude, this was the best shelter you could find.  We have friends with damage to their homes.  My sons driveway just about washed away, but the water stopped at his door and didn't get in the house.  We had over 6 inches of rain in about 2 hours time.   How blessed we have been.  We are, safe in His care, once again. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"New Dawn"

"New Dawn" is the name of this rose and its one of my favorites.  Such a soft pink, with a very delicate texture.  We transplanted this bush a few months ago, we did the unheard of, we transplanted it without cutting it back.  We did the entire bush, long trailing vines and all.   It looked a bit under the weather for a while but with careful feeding and lots of tender love, it has come to life in an extraordinary way.  Blooming better than it ever did before.  The reason we transplanted it was because I was certain it did not like the spot we had originally planted it in. 
I am sure there is a lesson for mankind in this replanting experience.  I can think of several, and most are of the spiritual nature.   And, then, the name seems to suit this whole experience, "New Dawn", perfect name. 
Its turned into a gray sort of day, with moments when the sky opens and rain falls by the bucketful.  Then as fast as it arrived, it leaves.  During the no rain times, the birds rush to the feeders, eat quickly, so they can feed their nestlings and the whole cycle repeats itself.
I felt a bit like the birds today, during the non rain moments, I was out picking my lavender.  There is a chance of hail tonight, and I did not want to see the sweet smelling lavender lost.  Bunch by bunch I tied it up, hanging it in the living room off the big cedar beam that spans the room, scenting the room.  Finally I realized I was stealing from the bees as they too were rushing in to gather from the lavender.  With a touch of compassion, I left some for them.  They too have needs, perhaps far greater than mine in regard to the lavender.   Always, when I am outside gathering herbs, or picking vegetables or roses, I am reminded of how great God's love is for us.   My bare feet are wet, with bits of grass and lavender stuck to them. My fingernails, not polished or manicured, but instead, my nails are at this moment, caked with soil, dark brown.   I don't mind that.  Washing dishes will take care of that.  The day is one of cycles.  Renewals.  I stop what I am doing outside, gaze up at the sky, gray clouds, full of water, about to burst.  The bark of the trees so dark from the rain.  The leaves, full, little cups for tiny water drinkers. The air, so clean smelling.  We all have so much to be thankful for, even in the midst of trials.  We can be thankful for all that has been created for us, for our loved ones and for all that lives. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Feeling Full





The title of this blog post has nothing to do with eating, but everything to do with life.  Over Mothers Day weekend, I felt so blessed by my children.  A call Saturday morning from a dear young man telling me, "Mom, be all dressed and ready by 5:30, we are picking you and Dad up and taking you out to eat."   On Friday, when the mail arrived, there was a beautiful card from a city three hours away, such loving words and a note, perfect words, carefully chosen to match what the heart felt and described not only a love for a mother, but a friendship and a note about how I had always been there.  A gift card was inside, that would unfold a plan.  A sweet sweet plan.  Sunday morning, while the birds were singing their morning song, a voice called out to me from the house, I was on the porch as is my habit now.  "Mom, Happy Mothers Day !"  How I smiled thinking back to a time when that now strong masculine voice was childlike and later when it squeaked and cracked with the coming of manhood.  How many times I have heard that sweet voice, call, "Mom...."  What a blessing this young man has been to us, how thankful I am that he joined our family.  Roses, chocolate and card, carefully picked.  A hug, now so strong.  A second card, colored with crayons. Signed by a sweet grand-daughter, her complete name, written with pride.  Such love.
The next day, two little boy hands present me with a pink box, wrapped with care, one end taped up well by a loving little girl. A card, again, chosen with care, the second one by one of my favorite artists.  The words, perfect. The note attached, so loving.  So true.
The gift, the very thing I had just the night before, told Emery how much I want one for a certain spot.  A gorgeous hummingbird feeder.  A packet to make the food included.  The children know me, their gifts show it.  Now, to that gift card...it seems my eldest had plans, perfect plans.  She gave her sister the same gift card, knowing how much Melanie and I would enjoy lunch together, thinking of Melissa, wishing she could have been with us.  My heart, full, I felt completely filled up with love.  I wrote this on Mothers Day...I love Mothers Day, but what I love more, is that my three children tell me throughout the year, that they appreciate me, and love me. Each day, at least one of them reminds me of how loved I am. This to me, is a gift way beyond the one day celebration. Thank you children, for always making me feel appreciated, valued and loved. I feel like every day is Mothers Day !
The children made jokes about how they wished they could have been here in the morning, to make me soggy toast and eggs well fried, just as they did as small children.  We all had a chuckle thinking about those times.  How full my life has been and it continues to grow in fullness.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

And the Voice said, "Not So Fast"

In my life, I have had two very obvious, unexplainable to the natural world, experiences.  Once when I was lost in the woods of Vermont, after encountering a bear and falling down the side of a mountain, I prayed...."God, send me a light that I can find my way" and within a very short time, there was a light, a flashlight shining down from the top of the hill.  I climbed through the thick underbrush to it and there stood three young men, I was 18 at the time.  They helped me to the road, and told me they would walk me to my campsite, 2 miles away at least.  They were kind, cordial yet not very talkative.  It was Oct, so not a lot of people in the woods in the middle of the night.  They took me all the way to my tent.  I turned around to thank them, and they were gone. Vanished.  I know without a doubt, they were angels.  
Then, a couple years ago, I was in the car, turning onto the main road from my house and at the corner, I stopped about 2 car lengths from the corner.  No idea why, but it was like my car would not go all the way to the corner.   I was sorta stuck there.  In a few seconds, a woman comes flying right at me from the cross street, at least 65 miles an hour, no slowing down, plows right through where the stop sign is, where I should have been and goes across the grass.  Big car, would have killed me on impact.  It wasn't like I saw her coming, since I was stopped back far enough to not see the traffic.  I know God had his hand in that.  And now today, in the garden, working at pulling weeds, just enjoying the beautiful blue sky, the birds singing, the gentle wind blowing through the leaves, as if they were some fragile instrument. My hand reaching into the moist brown soil to pull up the roots of some misplaced plants, I felt like someone was walking up behind me, I turned, no one was there, but I heard as plain as can be, a voice..it said, "Not so fast, your job is not finished yet"  "Continue to write".  Either I am nuts, or that voice was instructions from above.  I kinda wanted to ignore it, after all I had made up my mind to shut down my blog.  I had hurt someone that I care about deeply.  I have no desire to appear fickle, so I went on with my task until all those alerts kept announcing that I had email on my phone.  The phone is always with me, in my pocket or next to me. One after another, too many to count, emails from readers.  Private emails, but all the same theme.  "Please reconsider".  One was from a Pastor that said he found inspiration from my blog, when  as he wrote, "his well had gone dry" and doubted what he even believed.  Another touching email from a young mother that was contemplating killing herself when he children were at school but for some reason she went to the computer and read my blog and it touched her heart, about her own family, how she wanted to see them grow up and to see her grandchildren, and she decided to live.  So, here I sit, very humbled and at the same time bewildered.  What does God want of me ?  How do I continue ?  One word at a time...hopefully, not stepping on anyones toes too bad. So I guess the best laid plans, when they are our own, often change.  Thank you to the many of you that emailed and left comments in such a very short period of time. I am shocked to be honest, since I just write about what dances around in my brain, or happens on our little piece of this earth.   And, to the owner of that voice in the garden.  I fall to me knees. 

Its Time to Say Good-Bye

Today I learned that something I wrote on here hurt a loved one deeply.  It wasn't intended to, but the fact remains it did.  I didn't even know it had hurt them.  I am not even sure if what I wrote was written with them in mind, or if I referred to them in the post.  But, the fact remains, I never want my words to hurt anyone.  Yes, I am opinionated, and sometimes just say what I am thinking, no intended target other than a philosophy, that at that moment may seem contrary to how I see life.   I am removing the blog in a weeks time.  
I read something today that gave me full direction, a deeper understanding of why the understanding of compassion is so important to me.  There is a difference between love and compassion, yet they blend together so well when understood.  I want a life of being able to see life through someone elses skin, when they are suffering, remove judgement from the equation all together.  This is what I read this morning from Thich Nhat Hanh...."Love is a mind that brings peace, joy, and happiness to another person. Compassion is a mind that removes the suffering that is present in the other."

I appreciate all my readers and have found so many good cyber friends though the years from blogging, but the time has come to remove the possibility of hurting someone I care about or even hurt a stranger.  

Saturday Morning










Saturday in pictures

Friday, May 10, 2013

What To Do With Pulp from Making Carrot Juice

We make carrot juice on a regular basis, and usually we end up taking all that carrot pulp out to the compost pile.  I feel better knowing its going to some good use, rather than just throwing it away.  Earlier this week I watched a video that showed how to make crackers in the dehydrator using carrot pulp.  That sounded great to me so I gave it a try.  I am very pleased with the results.  They are delicious and healthy, along with using up the carrot pulp.  I made two batches, one following the recipe on the video and then I made an Asian flavored batch, using Asian seasoning in place of the Italian spices and using Braggs Amino Acids in place of the water used in the video recipe.  They came out really tasty.  The Asian flavored crackers are Emery's favorite of the two.  Next time I think I will try a curry flavor !
Here is the link for the video 
Ronnie & Minh's Raw Crackers

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Planning



I don't have much of a "Prepper" mentality.  I love to do things the old fashioned way, keep things uncomplicated, and enjoy the benefits of spending a great deal of time outdoors.  I once read, not that long ago, that back a century ago, women were in good physical shape just from all the housework they did, hanging laundry, a good 20 minute workout of bending, stretching and lugging that load of wet clothes out with you to the line, is a muscle workout.  Scrubbing floors, using a whisk in place of an electric mixer.   Beating ingredients together with a wooden spoon keeps the arms in shape.  Washing dishes, is a hand workout.  You catch the drift.  Gardening, well, everyone by now has heard of the benefits of  gardening.  Not only the physical aspects of keeping up a garden help you out, but they are now telling us that it helps us emotionally and I know that for a fact.  Its meditative to be out there pulling weeds or hoeing.  I  believe its spiritual work too.  There has never once been a time that I have not prayed when out there in the garden.  Not once.  And, there has never been a time that I didn't think about the wonders of creation when I am out there.  I hear birds singing, feel the gentle breeze, which to me always seems like some aspect of God.  Often I imagine it as His breath.  Today I thought about how I feel so connected to God in the garden and then I thought, of course I do, man was made from the dirt, its in our DNA.  God put His beloved creation Adam, where ?  In a garden of course.  Anyway, I was thinking today that the world is a very different place then it was even 25 years ago.  We are so interconnected, which is good in some ways, but in another way, we see now that we are so interconnected by computers, by electricity, by fossil fuel,  that if one domino in this link falls, a lot can go wrong.  Even natural disasters can throw out lives for a loop.  So here I come to the preparedness aspect.  I like, no I actually love, that if the electricity goes out, the only thing I worry about is the food in the fridge.  I have lamp light and always lots of beeswax candles that I make on hand.  We heat with wood, and can cook on the wood stove if need be.  We have gas for the stove, but even if something went amiss with the gas, we would be ok.  We keep plenty of wood on hand for the stove.  There is always firewood available around these parts, just from downed trees.  I like having a garden that gives us plenty of food and there are pecan trees all around us for nuts. Mulberries and blackberries too.
We have fruit trees and an herb garden.  Now to the planning part.  I was thinking last night, that I want a willow tree, so I can have its bark available, and have twigs on hand for rooting new plants.  I want a Witch Hazel tree here too, so many uses for it.  Then I started planning what other things I use daily that I have to buy, Elderberries.  I want to plant some bushes next year.  Its such a valuable plant.  I like the idea of just stepping off the back porch and finding what I need.  I like that kind of being prepared.  I am not a fearful person.   Fear is distracting, crippling to some.  It takes focus away from paying attention to God and to family members.  But I do like having what I like to eat or use often, close by, dependent on my hands to have it available.  I like to know the source of things from beginning to end.  So, more planning to achieve more of my goals.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Monday in Pictures




Fresh fruit salad with "coconut noodles" on top made after I drank all the coconut water from the young coconut, lots of goodies in the salad.  Melon, bananas, papaya, mango's,strawberries, and kiwi.  Then, a relaxing breakfast with some Jasmine tea in the new tea set Emery gave to me as an early mothers day gift.  

Weekend Fun







This weekend we all went to the Texas Scottish Festival and had a wonderful time.  Its great to be able to do things together as a family.  Wish our oldest daughter was not 3 hours away so the entire family could have been there to enjoy the music, the food, and the window shopping.
It was fun seeing a second generation wearing the little kilt I had made so long ago.  
I had a special treat, a fried Mars bar, which I love but only eat once a decade or so.  
After the children were worn out, some of us headed off to do some food shopping at Hong Kong Market and a late lunch at Pho Hung where I enjoyed some Pho and a nice glass of Che Ba Mau



Sunday Blessings

Soft music, the gentle kind of music that makes you feel content with life... the view from the window as I sit and spin at the wheel makes ...