Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflections On 2014

This past year was one of changes for us, lots of them. A friend who was also going through some changes this year shared this quote with me from Corrie ten Boom

"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open"

I have felt like the Lord has been prying my fingers one by one off of many of the things I've held onto tightly the last several months. Things like people, traditions, relationships, goals, different "things" and even a season of life.

There have been some painful moments, as those fingers have been pried open, but I'm not holding on as tightly to some of those things anymore, as I used to, and perhaps one day I will be able to hold all things with open hands. (and keep them open) It's a process for me, I tend to try to grab back things I have previously let go, but the sweet spirit of the Lord always gently reminds me to once again, open my hands and trust in him. He wants us to cling to him instead of the other things we hold so tightly.

It has been a year of challenges and disappointments but also one with opportunities, lots of opportunities. And lest I end this on a negative note, despite our difficult days, God has richly blessed us this year, we have much to be thankful for and are focusing on that today.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in truth and teach me, for you God are my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.. Psalm 25:4

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Thoughts

I didn't mean to be away from this space for so long but Christmas preparations and activities kept us occupied and when we weren't busy it was hard for me to put into words what was going on in my heart.

Our "white space" in December tends to fill up pretty quickly and this year it seemed like it was busier than usual. I didn't realize till Christmas was almost upon us that our busyness was our way of filling up the void left by the absence of the grandchildren.

The busyness wasn't all bad. Getting together with friends for meals, Cookie Exchange and Care Group Party were all enjoyable activities. We sang Christmas carols at a retirement facility, participated in the Messiah sing along, and got together with extended family, we never seemed to say no to an opportunity.

I didn't realize what we were doing until a few days before Christmas. Some friends had declined a dinner invitation and I actually felt a little relieved. It was at that point that I realized what we had been doing for the last several weeks. By staying busy we didn't have to think about how much we missed the grands. I knew it was time to stop and enjoy the quietness of this new season we are in and reflect on what we, as Christians were celebrating. Actually one activity that we participated in helped my focus...it was the Messiah sing along. All those voices singing scripture based songs always bring a little chill when I hear it. I always feel like it's a little glimpse of what it may sound like in heaven as we sing before his throne (this will pale in comparison I am sure)

So it's been quiet the last couple of days and it's been okay. We celebrated with our young son and Sweet Lady and it was all good.

Is Jesus enough, if i everything was  gone tomorrow would Jesus be enough. He is the most precious gift we have been given

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9: 6-7

Hope you all had a blessed Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Celebrating A Little Differently

It's a season of doing things a bit differently for us, and celebrating a bit differently. My grandson recently had a birthday. There has always been a party with the family the weekend before or the weekend after the birthday. Because they are so far away, this wasn't going to happen. This was the first time that we have not been part of a birthday celebration for a grandchild and I was a little sad.

We mailed our gifts and scheduled some *face time* and missed him a whole lot as the day came and went and wished him a Happy Birthday. From what we were told he had a nice day.

Our grandson has three sisters. He has a gentle spirit but is all boy. His favorite part of school is that he gets three recesses with some type of zip line they they get to play on. He loves to play with Lego's, and learned this year with the help from from an older Lego enthusiast not to get upset when your creation breaks because "you can always rebuild" He is a blessing to us and we are very thankful the Lord has put him into our lives. 

So because there was no birthday party to attend this year we decided to join some friends and "experience" Grand Illumination in Williamsburg. It was one of those things we always wanted to do someday. Colonial Williamsburg is decorated as it would have been back in the day, using the items that would have been available back them. Lots of garlands and wreaths made out of natural materials and dried flowers. Unfortunately not many  photos because we got there kind of late and the streets were only lit by torches

We laughed a little about the torches. It was a cold night and people were huddled around those torches trying to get warm. it reminded us of bugs flying around a bug zapper in the summer. With sparks flying out from the torches it could have had the same effect.

The night ended with fireworks, which we enjoyed despite the cold weather and we got know these friends a little better. I keep trying to see these changes as new opportunities that the Lord has given us. His purposes are always good.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

God's Faithfulness

There are times I need to remember what God has done, to help me when my memory falters and my faith fades. This is what this post is all about. It's a testimony of God's faithfulness, his kindness and an answer to prayer. I 'm writing this today because I know down the road I will need to be reminded because I tend to forget when life gets hard. We need to constantly be reminded of God's truth.

I had an appointment with my oncologist this week, one I always dread, but this time in particular because last June when I saw him he told me in December I was going to have to decide whether I wanted to go back on some type of anti-estrogen drug. These drugs are used to help prevent breast cancer recurrence in estrogen positive tumors. They like you to be on these drugs at least five years after diagnosis with some doctors now suggesting up to ten years (my doctor is in that camp) I have been on a "drug holiday" for about eighteen months because I didn't tolerate the drug they had me on very well. Lots of side effects.

The oncologist mentioned a different drug he wanted me to try when I came back to see him in December, but first he wanted me to get a little healthier. If I decided I didn't want to take the drug, there wouldn't be much else he could do for me so I would be discharged.

Did I mention I have been cancer free for four years, with no evidence of disease recurrence.

December got here really quickly. I hadn't much time to think about it.

There wasn't a right or wrong answer, which for me made it all the harder. I weighed opinions, researched, talked to my husband and prayed. As I was driving up to his office I still didn't know what I was going to do. My prayer all the way there was a simple, Lord help me

You want to do what you can to prevent recurrence, but I was finally feeling well again. (and it has taken months to get to this place)

As it turned out I didn't have to be make a decision at all, I wasn't even asked. After evaluating how things had gone in the last six months, he told me that he felt going back on the drugs would not be a good choice for me. I would most certainly have side effects that would cause some of the same problems I was experiencing in the past. ( a silent thank you Lord). He had a natural alternative he wanted me to try, a supplement that has shown to have a mild aromatase inhibitor effect (anti-estrogen) He wanted me to continue with my anti-inflammatory diet (another silent thank you Lord) and to follow up in six months.

So lets see, I didn't have to make the decision, I was given an alternative treatment, and he wanted me to followup in six months, an answer to prayer on many levels.

I don't always see obvious answer to prayer like this, there are lots of things I am praying for that I haven't seen answers to yet. But this was a faith builder for current prayer requests and future needs, a reminder that the Lord continues to work in my life. He is faithful

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Gathering The Moments

Can it be November is over, and Thanksgiving is now behind us?

These photos give you a little window of what our month looked like. We spent a bit of time outside cleaning up flower beds, planting pansies and storing summer items.  I was sad to see the hammock put away for the winter, but thrilled that we found on small greenhouse on sale.  Husband had the challenge of assembling it.

The leaves have been beautiful and we made some excursions to get some photographs,. I am really thankful for these opportunities.

I had dreaded Thanksgiving because neither son was going to be home (remember I love a full house) but in the end it turned out to be very enjoyable (and relaxing) And it gave us an opportunity to better know some friends of ours. (and yes, I was well for Thanksgiving)

Even though it was just the two of us we took our family photo for the year this past weekend.

What my husband and I are beginning to see is, there are things we would not have been doing and opportunities we would have missed had all of our family been here. Still miss them but learning to find the blessings and the grace moments in this new season.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday's Musings

Some random Monday thoughts, Thanksgiving is just a few short days away. It is by far my favorite holiday. I love all the food and all the gathering of family and friends,  I love a full house. We have that when our Care Group gathers and it has made not having a full house for Thanksgiving easier. What has also made it easier is that I have been sick for the last couple of days. I'm actually relieved I don't have to get ready for a house full of people.

I have been battling some type of upper respiratory bug. My voice started to go Friday night and by Saturday it had progressed to a whispery squeak. Try having a conversation when you are like that, it's better not to even go there. (I couldn't say it the first time, how can I repeat what I just said....my poor sweet husband) Spent most of the weekend on the couch.

I am better today, voice is more of a deep gravel and I am feeling more like myself. I actually headed out today, to look for  something that would help a cough, clear a stuffy head, and not be contraindicated for someone that has problems with blood pressure. I wasn't alone, the cold remedy aisle had several sniffly, coughing people milling about. I'm not really a germaphobe but my thoughts did go to how contaminated the boxes and bottles of these medications must be. (I can't be the only one who picks up boxes and bottles and reads the labels) Must remember this for future shopping trips. (Another mental note, wash hands more frequently)

Nothing better when you are sick than some homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, I've eaten a lot of it the last couple of days.

Feeling blessed that we will be celebrating  Thanksgiving, with some friends. We were asked to bring a traditional dish, so we will be bringing  Cranberry Salad  and since I still have a ton of apples from our picking excursion I will probably bring something that requires apples as well. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, enjoy the gathering of family and friends and be mindful of all we have to be thankful for (even in the midst of difficulties there is always much to be thankful for)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Finding Rest

I seem to always fight the desire to  understand why things happen a certain way. I want to know why people make the choices that they do, I want to know what God is up to in the hard places. If I only knew, perhaps it would be easier to walk through some of the more difficult days in life.

Then I  came across this passage the other day which spoke keenly to my heart, God's timing always perfect

"We think we would find it much easier to obey if we grasped all the details about why we are asked to do one thing or another. But this desire to understand is simply another form of the desire to control.. We want to have the option of signing off on God's plan, just in case there's something he overlooked. Yet at the same time we know we don't have the capacity to understand God's creation fully.We simply need to accept that the reasons God does what he does in our lives, or how our life fits into the whole of his grand redemptive plan, will never be completely clear in this life. That is why real rest and peace is not found in knowing and understanding. It is only found in trust, Only when you have a quiet confidence in the Lord behind the plan and have come to know his love, wisdom, power and grace, will you be able to rest in hope--even when you do not understand what God is doing in a particular moment in your life. This is exactly the experience expressed in Psalm 33:20-21
We wait in hope for the Lord, he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust his holy name"
Excerpt from Broken Down House, Living Productively in a World Gone Bad, page 58
by Paul David Tripp

Missing my grands

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Braised Kale

Kale is a relatively new vegetable for me. I avoided greens in the grocery store because I wasn't familiar with cooking them. I liked spinach but kale, collards or swiss chard (or any kind of greens)...no thank you.

When we began getting our produce from our CSA, kale of all kinds was included in the baskets in the spring and fall, so I had to figure out what to do with it. Imagine my surprise when I found out how good it was, I love this stuff and from what I read it's full of all kind of good for you nutrients, a real super food.

Now I know a lot of folks that add kale to smoothies, it's one way of getting all the goodness from the kale without losing any of the nutrients but I'm not a big fan. I don't think I can get over the thought of drinking something green...just saying. I  love it braised though and this recipe is the best ever...it's got bacon in it how can you go wrong! I can literally eat this every day (and have been for the last week)

I have adapted this recipe so the measurements of the kale, apple, onion and bacon are flexible. I tend to be a "grandma cook" I measure by what looks good, not so good for those trying to replicate my recipes. This recipe would be a perfect Thanksgiving side dish. Try it, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Braised Kale
4-8 cups Curly Kale, chopped with stems removed
1/2-1 sliced onion
1/4-1/2 chopped bacon (about 4 slices) more if you like
1-3 skinned diced apples (I use a tart apple like granny smith)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I like the cloudy kind)
2/3 cup apple cider (I used the spiced apple cider from Trader Joe's)
Salt to taste

I wash and trim the kale first, cutting out all the woody stems and ribs (if your kale is more tender you may not need to trim as much) I then chopped my bacon and brown in a large pan (I use a dutch oven because initially the kale is going to fill the pan before it cooks down). After I cook the bacon I add the sliced onion till it begins to soften. I then begin adding the kale, mix all together as it cooks down, a bit. I then add the vinegar and the cider, chopped apples and cook until kale is tender.

Did I mention this stuff is crazy good. This recipe is just a guideline, the only thing I keep consistent is the liquid measurements (because you can always cook it out) Bonus...this recipe makes your house smell delicious

Recipe adapted from Sauteed Kale and Apples from Allrecipes

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thankful Thursday On Friday

I'm a day late for Thankful Thursday but I didn't want that to stop me from taking time to stop and list some of the things I am thankful for today

I am thankful for friends willing to help friends. Tomorrow is going to be a work day for some of the men in our Care Group, they are going to go over one of the members home and help clear out the back yard and make a dump run.

I am thankful for time away with my guy. My husband and I had a few days off together and were able to get away.

I am thankful for the baskets of produce we continue to get every week. Some of the things we have been feasting on have been kale, squash, cauliflower and beets. We are signed up for a Winter CSA and for next year as well. Getting a weekly produce basket has been challenging, I haven't always known what to do with some of the produce, but we are eating healthier and it has saved us money.

For the Lord's provision this holiday season. We have anticipated that the holidays would be difficult this year because our family is so far away but it turns out we will not be alone. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with two other couples (and Sweet Lady) The other two couples each have grown children who will not be able to be home for Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for the sourdough starter our youngest son gave us the last time we visited, making preps to make bread tomorrow. This will be the third time we have made the bread and it is delicious.

And as peculiar as it sounds, I am thankful for the more difficult times in our lives. Don't get me wrong, I hate going through trials, especially when I smack dab in the middle of of the storm, but I can usually say that it's during those times that the Lord has used to grow my faith, or to change my heart or to continue to transform me.

So what about you, are there things that you can be thankful for today?

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior  Habakkuk 3:17-18

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Celebrating Veteran's Day

Anyone who has followed my blog for very long knows that my husband and I love to visit Williamsburg. On Veteran's Day they offer free admission for Active Duty and Retired Military and their families, it's a sweet deal, and one we try to take advantage of when we can.

Williamsburg has lots to offer besides the Colonial area, there are several parks, shopping and is home to the College of William and Mary....so lots of College Students and eateries that cater to them...think coffee shops.

Our time in Williamsburg was pretty low key. We had packed a cooler for lunches, it was full of things like bread, apples and peanut butter. When you take a cooler, you can do some "tailgating" just about anywhere.

We did lots of strolling and lots of picture taking and ended our visit with paying honor to those who have served. On Veteran's Day, if you have served you are asked to parade down the Duke of Gloucester and following the Fife and Drum Corp to Courthouse. Lots of Vet's participate with many VFW's represented. The group of Veterans's was led by two gentleman in wheelchairs that were being pushed, they had to be in their eighties. Thankful to those who have been willing to serve this would include my dad, my FIL, many friends and my sweet husband.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Around Our Neck Of The Woods

I never used to like fall. When my children were young, fall meant school and an end to the carefree days of summer. Schedules were busy and the weather was soon to turn cold. Our camping trips were done for the season, and there was homework and sports and music and busyness, lots of busyness. We didn't spend many afternoons (or mornings) looking for the changing foliage in those days.

I now enjoy fall almost as much as I do spring. I enjoy walking in the crisp air with a sweatshirt or sweater pulled tightly around me, with my hands in my husbands pockets because I forgot my gloves. I love the smells and I love the colors and textures that are associated with fall, it's beauty that points to a Creator don't you think.

The weather was beautiful this weekend, so we left the chores undone at home and headed outside to catch the beauty of this season. The leaves are just beyond peak but still pretty. I take the time to look these days, more aware at how fast time flies. The chores will still be there when we get back, but the leaves will be done for the season by next weekend. Make the most of every opportunity, no matter what that opportunity may look like.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Pictures don't always tell the whole story, sometimes you need audio too, but since I don't have that, let me fill you in on some details of this photo.

I had arranged with DIL to set up a face time session, so we could talk to the grandchildren. What the children didn't know was that I had also asked their favorite Aunt and her boyfriend to come over for dinner during that very same time. We wanted to surprise them.

We started the session before their Aunt arrived, and chatted about what we were all doing that night, I told my granddaughter we were having friends over for dinner. (probably shouldn't have said that) I think my eldest granddaughter was suspicious because she kept asking me who was coming over for dinner.

The doorbell soon rang and husband escorted our guests in and we sat them in front of the screen. All I heard for the next five minutes were squeals and giggles of delight. It was a very good day.

The Lord continues to be oh so gracious in our lives. He gives us delights even in the difficult places.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday

It has been a little rainy today, the temperatures are mild and the leaves are beginning to turn color around our area. These are just some of the things I have to be thankful for today

Other things I am thankful for

I found chicken and beef broth on sale today for 49 cents a can. I make a lot of one pot meals and soup in the winter, so I stocked up. My parents always had a pantry when I was growing up. and I used to tease them about what they were going to do with all that food, especially when they became Empty Nester's. (we now resemble this, ha ha) Husbands grandparents lived on a farm, so their pantry was full with all they had grown and canned over the summer. That mentality has influenced us...you never know who you might want to feed.

I am thankful for my DIL's sister who came over yesterday morning and helped me clean up around the house before Care Group. My first response was to refuse (it's that self sufficiency thing going on) but the truth was, I did need the help.

I am thankful for flowers that are still blooming in the garden

I am thankful that all is well with Sweet Lady, her most recent MRI should no changes from last year.

I am thankful for people that the Lord has put into my life that take the time to encourage.

Encouragement should be sincere and is different from flattery. I love when someone shares a scripture or comes up to me and mentions how they see a change of attitude or behavior that I may have been struggling with and praying about, or the encouragement to continue to press on.

I am thankful for praying friends, for those that tell me how they are praying and are willing to encourage with scripture. (It spurs me to do the same for others)

How about you, are there things in your life today you can be thankful for.

"So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthen in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness"
Colossians 2:6-7

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

An Ordinary Day

I am sitting at a coffee shop, across the street from where Sweet Lady is getting her teeth cleaned. I was told it would take about an hour, so I decided a cup of tea and the sweet smell of freshly baked goods might be just the thing to give me a little boost. Notice I said "smell" I didn't actually eat any of the pastries, even though Bear Claws are a particular favorite.

It's been a busy day, I have baked some bread for later in the week, finished cleaning up the terrible mess I made yesterday after I spilled half a container of Oxy-Clean onto some freshly laundered clothes and into every crevice of my dryer. It was a horrible mess, every time I thought it was all clean I would find more grit

I have stopped at the post office and mailed a small package to my "Frontier Family" dropped off some donations at the thrift store, tried to return a router,  and have voted.

I tire of the election season, the never ending ads, phone calls and candidate promotions that fill my mailbox for the weeks prior to the election. I believe we have a responsibility to be informed and to vote, but realize our hope is not in a political party or a particular candidate, our hope is in Christ alone, remember that tomorrow morning, whatever the results of your election happens to be.

Finally, remember we are instructed in Timothy to pray for our leaders and those in authority. for hearts, and for righteousness.

"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth"  1Timothy2:1-4

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Moments

I would suppose you could say October was a month when things started to fall into a routine again for us. Our trips to take care of family were done for awhile and we were beginning to figure out what life without the grands was going to look like.

After losing interest for a time, I've picked up my camera this month and started taking photos again.

October is apple picking season in Virginia and we were able to pick enough apples to last us the winter with some to share. We learned last year that if stored properly apples will last for months.

Our "Frontier Family" is adjusting as well and we hear from them regularly. The best news is they now have a mailbox AND internet, so we have been able to Sykpe. 

 I love being able to see them when I talk to them. The above photo is them going on a hike. I love how Little Miss had to take a purse on a hike...kind of reminds me of me.  Photo below was taken after son and I had hiked up a hill in California (years ago) . He ended up carrying the purse I carried about half way up the hill, because I was having a hard time getting up the hill, let alone carrying a bag too.  His response to me.."Why did you bring your purse with you?" I really had no answer.

We are continuing  to get our produce basket each week and the veggies consist of more greens and root vegetables, so I have had to learn how to cook things that I'm not familiar with. We have gotten kale in several forms and I have discovered all go good with bacon.. who would have thought! Does adding the bacon cancel out all the health benefits of eating kale?

We've put summer clothes away, then had to drag some back out when the temperatures climbed back into the 80's. finished some outdoor projects and planted pansies for fall and winter color.

Our Care Group has been a tremendous blessing to us during this time. Focusing on the needs of others, has been healing to some extent, it has truly been a means of God's grace in our lives and we are so thankful to have this opportunity.

                                           Linking up with  Cheryl in Gathering the Moments

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fall Garden

The weather has been, oh so delightful, and my garden has taken on new life. Our roses are putting on one last show before the temperatures plummet and the marigolds are dominating the flower bed with their orange and yellow blooms.

The garden centers around town are full of pansies. I stopped by one garden center today that had pansies and viola's on the clearance racks, trying to make room for Christmas trees and decorations. I was only too happy to take advantage of the reduced prices. I spent the afternoon filling up pots with pansies for some fall and winter color.

                                               The mums are still going strong as well

I know I am going to have to put these flip flops away for the season soon but until that day I am going to continue to enjoy this beautiful weather. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Time Away

My husband and I  needed to get away, the last several months have been taxing both physically and emotionally for both of us.

I was afraid when our son and family moved away that there would be this huge void left in our lives, that days would be empty and without purpose. That hasn't been the case, in fact there are times I think that the Lord allowed this change in our family, so that our time could be freed up for other purposes. Make no mistake, I miss them terribly but, I see the good in the difficult. God has given us much grace during this time. The ways we have been shown love through the kindness of others is a post in itself. We are truly blessed, but still, physically and emotionally exhausted, so we decided to take a little trip.

We went to the mountains hoping to find some fall color and pick some apples. It was a short excursion but long enough to recharge our batteries. The weather was foggy and rainy but it didn't matter, we had time alone. We had a chance to window shop, play a board game, and share our hearts. We needed to talk to each other without the distractions of everyday life. We grieved a little, shared our hopes and dreams for the future, and debated on what God's purposes were in everything that is going on in our lives right now.

A truth we need to take hold of,  we may not understand God's purposes in the difficult, but we can trust that He is good and His purposes are always good...always, and he will give grace in the difficult

We also picked apples, a lot of them.  We've done this before, so we came prepared with rain gear and boots. It was a good thing, because the orchards we muddier than they were last year (it had been raining for the last several days) and even though it really didn't rain the day we picked, we stayed wet because the fog never lifted.

Now, you had the option, of buying the apples at the Apple Barn, or hiking up the slippery hill and picking them yourself. I wanted the experience of picking the apples (you knew that right?) and my sweet husband was happy to oblige. Going up the hills wasn't too bad, it was the coming down that made me a little nervous. I brought a change of clothes  in case someone got too muddy, but thankfully the only thing we had to change was our shoes.

After our apple picking was done we headed to the Apple Barn for some Hot Apple Cider and warm Apple Cider Donuts, something my husband looked forward to after a challenging trek through the orchard.

We were hoping we would come home refreshed, and we did. Our little night away didn't change our circumstances, but it was a means of grace that the Lord gave us is walking through our "difficult".

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I'll bet you are wondering how our yard sale went...I know you are!

Well, you already know we were less than enthusiastic about having a yard sale, but I can happily say we were successful. None of the stuff we drug outside and set up on tables and bins came back into the house.

Now before you get too excited about how well we did, you must understand husband and I had made a pact, if it didn't sell, it wasn't going back in the house. When the appointed time for the yard sale to end arrived, we loaded up the wagon and carted what was left to the nearest thrift store. The car was full...no room for passengers and it felt wonderful...my definition of success.

I still don't like holding yard sales, and not sure if I will be doing another one anytime soon but this one provided me with a unexpected opportunity.

I met a neighbor who lived around the corner. She was looking through some of my cookbooks and asked me if I cooked,  I told her I did, but seldom used those cookbooks anymore. She suggested we get together and cook, she could teach me some of her dishes and I could show her some of mine. We talked grandchildren, and possibly getting together and walking in the mornings. Before she left we ended up exchanging phone numbers with a promise to meet up soon.  Just in case your wondering, something like this would be totally out of my comfort zone (making plans on getting together with a perfect stranger) but I am trying to be more aware of opportunities to share the good news of the gospel...maybe this will turn out to be one of those opportunities.

Our lives have been anything but predictable these last several weeks...God at work

Friday, October 17, 2014

Yard Sale

It's Friday night and the plan is for us to have a yard sale tomorrow morning. We were going to have it last weekend but the rain spared us from having to follow through with that plan. You don't know how happy I was to see that weather prediction last Friday night

I have spent weeks cleaning out closets and gathering items together. My sweet husband has carted said items downstairs in boxes and baskets and has made the some signs to put at the end of the street. The timing is perfect, our neighborhood is having a Community Yard Sale and the weather is predicted to be beautiful....warm and sunny, no excuses this weekend, but....

The last thing I want to do is have a yard sale, and apparently my husband was having the same thoughts. After he brought the last of the boxes down, he asked,  "Can't we just give this stuff away?"

Works for me....maybe we can put all of it out on the lawn with a big sign that says..."Free Stuff". 
No, we will be out there, peddling our wares and who knows, it might even be fun.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Granola Bars

These little gems are quick, easy and so delicious. I've lost count on how many times I have made these since my friend gave me the recipe last spring. My MIL has requested that we bring these when we visit and her 89 sister wasn't going back to Kentucky without the recipe.  (then called me when she tried to make them because it appeared I had neglected to include an ingredient) She was serious about making these bars. ( I DID forget to include the brown sugar when sharing the recipe, I was trying to give her the recipe by memory)

Granola Bars
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mixture honey/corn syrup/pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cup nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans) (these can be omitted, or amount changed)
4 cups Rolled Oats
3/4 cup melted butter
(optional add in's can include chocolate chips, cranberries, coconut, raisins, sunflower seeds etc)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the brown sugar, salt and oats. Add the vanilla and honey/syrup mixture (I do this different each time, I get a 1/2 cup measuring cup, add mostly honey, then corn syrup, then pure maple syrup to equal 1/2 cup total. Add your add in's and nuts ( I usually add pecans, sunflower seeds, cranberries, and chopped coconut to equal about 1 1/2 cups, you don't have to be exact) Then add your melted butter and combine all ingredients. Press firmly into a well greased 10x15 baking sheet (I use parchment paper, my friend uses a stone) Bake 10-12 minutes until bubbly and brown around the edges. Cool and cut into bars. Makes about 3 dozen

I've been adapting the recipe to suit our tastes and you can easily do the same. I bake a little longer because I like them crispy but they are good chewy, and since the humidity tends to be high where we live, the bars end up being chewy in a couple of days anyway, but don't let that stop you from trying these, you won't be sorry.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This New Season

Fall weather has officially arrived in our neck of the woods. The air conditioning is off and the windows are open. I am not a cold weather type of person but the cooler air has been refreshing and the house smells wonderful. Cooler weather means we are doing more baking and cooking, adding to the wonderful smells in the house.

Routine days are back and I am enjoying the ordinariness of it all. I have picked up where I left off last spring, in cleaning out the upstairs bedrooms and have been puttering out in the garden. The cooler weather has helped those little plants that don't like the heat find new life and though not as showy as in the spring, the roses are blooming again..

We hear regularly from our "Great Plains Family". They may be getting Internet soon, so we will be able to Sykpe, I can't wait to "see" and talk to them at the same time.

We continue to get our weekly CSA basket and have enjoyed cooking with some of the delicious fall vegetables that we have been getting. One of my favorites has been acorn squash baked with butter and brown sugar, I feel like I'm eating dessert for dinner....I've never liked acorn squash in the past, so have not bought them in years...do you think my change of heart might have something to do with the butter and brown sugar?

Change has always been a challenge for me, I just don't like it,  and the older I get the more I tend to resist it. The last several months have been full of change, keeping me out of my comfort zone....a good thing. I remember back in August when it looked like we might have to look for a new Care Group, I dreaded it, I wanted things to remain the same.

Then it occurred to me a couple of weeks ago, that our even though our Care Group stayed intact, it was going to look different, it wasn't going to stay the same.  First, my husband is leading it, it's now in our home, and I have certain responsibilities that I did not have before. ( change) Second, two couples will be moving out of the area within the next couple of months. (change) Third, other couples have shown interest in being part of the group. (change) So by the time it's all said and done this group will not look anything like the group we were in...and that's okay.

When the Lord wants to make a change in your life, he doesn't really need our cooperation. His purposes will not be thwarted

"I know you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted"  Job 42:2

I have a wheelbarrow full of cell packs of pansies just waiting to be planted.I have some flowers that have been in those cell packs so long that their roots have grown and gotten tangled with the other flowers in the cell pack. I could leave the flowers in those packs and water them and they would probably do okay for awhile but they wouldn't grow. No, this week I will be pulling those flowers out of those little packs, in some cases ripping their roots a little and replanting them in places that they will grow and flourish.

I've been feeling like one of those pansies, with the Lord as my gardener. I would have happily stayed in one of those cell packs, but it was time for me to be planted. I am still going through a bit of "transplantation shock" but I am beginning to develop roots in my new "home" and as always, I am keeping my eye on the prize

But one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus  Philippians  3:13b-14