Sunday, March 30, 2014

What Do You Do?

I'm slowly sorting through the stuff that was packed away in the closet of our spare room. Most of the boxes have been opened and the contents have spilled over to a second room for the sort. I started doing a quick look through the photos, (still lots to go) tossing all out of focus or bad photos, next I will be categorizing them and scanning.  I have another box full of old letters from various deployments when husband was in military, those will also be sorted and some tossed. I also have one box that has nothing but cards that that we received over the years that I never threw away.

Some of the cards had sweet notes included, or funny comments. One Father's Day card included an apology from one son for breaking his tooth, said son had been doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing when he broke it, that's why he apologized...funny I don't even remember the details anymore...let that be a lesson to younger moms...don't sweat the small stuff, even if it seems big now.

Getting back on track, I would be interested in knowing what you do with cards that you receive.  Do you throw them away after you have enjoyed them or do you have a clever way of storing them, or a crafty way of using them. Most of the cards I'm sorting through are from Birthdays, Mother's Day, Anniversary's, Fathers Day and it's from decades...it's crazy, I know.

I should mention I have another decorative box with cards people have sent through the years that would go under the category of encouragement...kind of like an Ebenezer box...those cards are full of scripture and and God's truths.  I'm not sure most of these cards I 'm sorting through would be ones I would consider special enough to put in that box.

So what do you do with your cards after you are done with them? I would love some ideas.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Psalm 18:19

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

We Are To Encourage One Another

Tonight we are having the Secret Sister reveal for our ladies group. The ladies in our small group have
done this annually for about four years now. I know there are different takes on this but, this is how our group does it. First of all it's for a two month period, we picked the name of our Secret Sister out of a bowl the beginning of February. The main goal of this activity is to pray specifically for that lady and to encourage with notes and cards. Gifts are optional but if you do want to include we encourage them to be small, like chocolates, flowers from the garden, note cards, tea etc. The main purpose of this event is to pray and encourage. The fun part is trying to be stealthy about your identity when sending those notes and gifts. Tonight after we try to guess who our Secret Sister was we will have the reveal. We were also asked to keep a list of the things we were praying about to give our Secret Sister.

This is a fun activity, but you don't need an organized event to encourage one another. Look around your circle of people you come in contact with, who could you encourage. Is there someone in your life who could benefit from a hug and and an offer to pray. How about sending a note to someone who is struggling with a scripture that might encourage, or a note saying that you are praying for them, thinking of them. Phone calls and texts work too, it only takes a moment to encourage

Some examples of those that might need some encouragement would be young moms of little children, elderly people that are not able to get out to church, those going through illness, those that are caregivers for other family members, those with family problems or are going through a difficult season in their life. The list is endless, sometimes I need encouragement just because it's just been a bad day.

Encouraging one another is not hard, and it has it's benefits, when you encourage others with the truth of scripture you are also reminding yourself of those truths...it's a win win

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today" lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin Hebrews 3:13

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday's Memories

Cleaning out closets, and going through photos is what I have been doing the last couple of weeks.
I have boxes and boxes of old photos that never made it to a photo album or albums that were haphazardly put together, with photos that are yellowing and beginning to deteriorate. The sheer volume is overwhelming!

 What I am finding is that there are lots, of great photos but the ones worth keeping have gotten lost among the ones that are just so so. I have started sorting the photos and plan on getting rid of the photos that aren't all that good or have no particular memory associated with it. Sounds harsh, I know, but if I don't do it now, my kids will have to do it someday. (been there, done that) Today I am posting some favorites I have found

These photos are of my parents and my sons. My parents both celebrated their 84th birthday recently, so I thought it only fitting to include some photos of them. My parents have a total of seven grandchildren, five lived close by, two out of state (us) We did the best we could with visits, holiday trips and vacations together but I know it was hard having us out of state. I understand this more now that I am a grandparent. They also have five great grandchildren with another on the way (four of the great grandchildren out of state, our grandchildren)

My dad and my sons,  taken about twenty years ago

Mom and three of her grandsons on a Disney trip. My sons are on the right

This last photo was taken at my youngest son's graduation from high school, it was the last time my parents were able to visit us. Distance, jobs, responsibilities and limitations make it hard for us all to be together at the same time anymore.

This photo sort is going to take awhile, in fact I'm not sure its a job I will ever be able to finish, I mean after all I continue to take photos everyday, so constant purging is going to be needed.

And just in case you didn't see a spiritual correlation, there is one. The Lord continues to show me, in my own life, that there is clutter that needs to be cleaned out so things with eternal value can be found. I know, same theme as last post, but thats where the Lord has me right now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cleaning Out The Clutter

I am on this ongoing mission to de-clutter my house, it's a continuous process and one I never seem to be able to win. Stuff seems to multiply before my eyes and since we haven't moved in decades there are things squirreled away in closets and drawers that I am sure I have forgotten about.

You would never know I had this problem by looking at my house, things look pretty tidy but those of us who live here know better, we know where all the junk is.

This was supposed to be a simple little post about me cleaning out some closets, but in the midst of writing I was reminded that this is what my life looks like as well. I am all gussied up and tidy on the outside but please don't open any drawers and stay away from those closets.

You know what happens when you neglect to clean out those closets don't you, stuff starts spilling out into the living quarters, then it's even a bigger mess to deal with. I know what kind of stuff I have hidden in my closets, things I need to clean out and attend to, what about you?

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.  1 Samuel 16:7

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Reassessing The Plan

At the end of each year I start looking around for Bible reading plans I would like to do for the upcoming year. This year I thought I would try the M'Cheyne One Year Plan, I could access it online, with the option of having it read to me and I had a Bible that followed the same reading plan. Two methods of getting the same thing done, sounded great.  My goal was to be able to read the bible in a year.

I have encountered some problems with having a Bible reading plan like this, maybe you can identify. Sometimes I wanted  to stop and go more in depth in certain sections I was reading, I like to get a better understanding of historical events and culture surrounding the scripture, sometimes I wanted to go over what was taught on Sunday instead of doing the reading plan, sometimes I would be drawn to another book of the Bible that wasn't in the daily reading, sometimes life events or just plain laziness got in the way of me doing the required reading for the day. I have been on catch up mode for weeks now, putting more emphasis on getting the reading done, so that I can say that I did it.

With all that to say, I have decided it's time to ditch the plan, well not totally, just some of it. For the most part I am going to continue with the ESV One Year Bible, at least as a guide, but at a pace that is probably going to take me two-three years to finish the Bible, instead of one. I have also decided I won't necessarily do the plan everyday, sermons at church or other studies may lead me to different parts of scripture.

Reading in the morning was beginning to feel like a box I had to check off as done, I knew I had to make a change. Hopefully this adjustment will help, I'll let you know. What is important is that you spend time with the Lord each day and in His Word no matter what it looks like for you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pruning In The Garden

The weather was gorgeous today, sunny and warm enough to do a little gardening, so I decided to prune three of our rose bushes. Our winter this year has been cold and harsh, and the garden has really taken a beating. My poor roses were nothing but long spindly canes with dried dead leaves in desperate need of pruning. (the photo below was taken last week)

When I  prune, I cut out all the unhealthy parts of the plant, I cut off all those little "sucker" canes that take away from the growth of the main canes and I cut off anything that is dead. Those spindly legs wouldn't support new growth very well, and without pruning, when the summer heat comes, these plants would be more susceptible to damage, and I'm not sure how many flowers I would get. As harsh as it seems I have to cut all that stuff out so this plant will be healthy and more productive. Does this make you think of your own life and what the Lord may be pruning.

The Lord will often bring to mind a spiritual application when I am out working in the garden. As I was pruning away at those roses I was thinking of the different ways the Lord has been pruning in my own life the last several years. Our life looks so different now then it did 10 years ago, we have had lots of pruning going on!  He tends to prune through trials in my life. We have had to deal with health issues, family issues, job and financial changes, each trial revealing another wrong heart attitude or behavior that needed addressing (pruning) and repenting for,  (and so many times the same issues keep turning up over and over again) I am sure as long as I have breath there will be pruning that will need to be done but, I have a faithful "vinedresser"

Pruning may seem harsh but I love the results in the garden(the yellow roses not mine)  I don't much like pruning in my life either, but I want to bear much fruit, so that he may be glorified, so let the pruning continue.

Hopefully I will have some photos in a couple months of some beautiful roses from those plants i just pruned, my prayer is that the pruning in my life will reflect the same beauty for his glory.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Better For You Corned Beef Hash

First of all I must tell you I am not a fan of corned beef, I don't do corned beef and cabbage, I've stopped eating corned beef out of a can years ago and will only occasionally eat a corned beef sandwich. I wasn't looking for a recipe for corned beef, but it was sample day at Trader Joe's and they were featuring quick cook meals with corned beef. I didn't even stop, but my husband did, and he brought a sample down the aisle for me to try, I was hooked. We decided to forgo our dinner plans and purchase the ingredients for this "hash" for dinner instead. I can't tell you how many times that happens with us (We plan on a dinner out and end up buying things we would rather cook at home instead)

The second thing about this recipe is that it's not a hash in the traditional sense, there is no starch to bind the ingredients together, it's more a "Corned Beef Pile Up" We had the onion and vegetable broth at home, had to purchase the corned beef, the two packages of Cruciferous Crunch and the whole grain Dijon mustard. We figured we spent about $22.00 for all the ingredients, I know that may sound expensive, but it was cheaper than going out to eat, and we will get several meals out of this.

If you are cooking corned beef and cabbage this week you can use this recipe for your leftover corned beef. The corned beef we bought was already cooked and it was just shy of two pounds. Adjust your recipe to your taste and what you have available. The Cruciferous Crunch was a mixture of shredded white and red cabbage, kale and brussels sprouts to equal 10 ounces (I've added a photo of what the vegetable mixture looks like below.)

Healthier Corned Beef "Hash"
2 pounds corned beef
2 bags Cruciferous Crunch (you can make your own mixture with veggies mentioned above)
1 box vegetable broth (I did not use the whole box)
1 small-medium diced onion
1/2 bottle or to taste Trader Joe Whole Grain Dijon mustard

I shredded the beef, sauteed the onion in a little vegetable oil (can also saute in vegetable broth), I then added the beef, enough vegetable broth to moisten then the two bags of Cruciferous Crunch and mustard to taste. ( I ended up using 1/2 bottle, you may use more or less depending on your taste. I started with a tablespoon and worked my way from there)  Cook until heated though

I served this with a fried mashed potato cake, the next day we ate the mixture cold on some rye bread (it was just as good cold) Judging from the container I have left we will be eating this several times this week or I may try to freeze.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

God's Handiwork

The Psalm continues:
Day after day they pour forth speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth; their words to the ends of the world Psalm 19:2-4

Monday, March 3, 2014

Random Monday Thoughts

This photo was taken yesterday, the temperatures were spring like and the daffodils were beginning to bloom. We went to the Gardens after church for a little walk....we knew what was on the way. You know the saying, if you don't like the weather wait a minute it will change...that's how it rolls around here. Today the temperatures have dropped 45 degrees and it's been sleeting/snowing most of the day (hopefully the snow/ice will provide a protective little blanket for those newly opened flowers)

I have celebrated another birthday, and am a year closer to ending yet another decade. I am trying to figure out how I feel about that...getting older that is. There IS a lot that I like about this age, I love being a grandparent and I enjoy having an empty nest again. (raising sons was fun too) I like being one of  the "older" woman in my group of friends, and the opportunity it gives me to mentor younger woman. Mentoring is a wonderful thing and I would encourage you to befriend a woman who is in a season or two younger than you and encourage them in their journey. I am liking this season of change I have been in, I am beginning to find a new rhythm, my days as a homemaker are full and it's been a good thing.

The things that are more challenging about this age are mostly physical. After a full day of grandchildren I am just as tired as they are. I nap when they do. 
I used to be able to dig out new flower beds, now I just spray the outline where I want them and let the men do the digging. I probably should have been doing that all along. Most lifting is out and I don't see any marathons in my future. (not that I ever did any before) I wonder how things will change as I continue to age. My parents are in their eighties and still living independently in their home, it would be my desire as well. I try not to spend to much time worrying about the future, but birthdays have a way of making you stop and think.

Another thing about this age, I've seen a lot of stuff, I've experienced good times as well as bad, I have had to trust the Lord in some difficult things (and continue to do so) and I have learned that the Lord is faithful. Situations that seemed hopeless, he worked for good, difficulties experienced that he used for his purposes. There are still things that I don't get, situations that seem hopeless, prayers still not answered but I know He doesn't change, I know he will continue to be faithful no matter what the future holds