Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Moments

May was the month we started spending more time outside. Weekends were spent cleaning up the flower beds, bringing out the patio furniture and gardening....lots of gardening.

Our supper clubs continued...but since the weather was warmer we were able to barbecue

We went strawberry picking with the two youngest grandchildren, I tried freezing them this year, hoping to use them for smoothies and cooking this summer.

We started picking up our weekly produce baskets this month from the CSA that we are part of

Flowers are blooming everywhere, we went to the Garden's this month to see the Rose Garden, one of my favorite times to visit...honestly there isn't a time I don't like to visit.

We had our annual church picnic...everyone packs enough to share...all are welcome to attend

Lastly, a dear friend unexpectedly passed away this month, reminding us once again to live each of our days as if it were our last. Make the most of each opportunity...and take nothing for granted.

                          Linking up with Cheryl  in Gathering the Moments

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Black Bean Salad

This is one of my favorite summertime salads. It only takes a few minutes to put together, I usually have all the ingredients on hand, and because it has no mayo it's great to pack for a picnic.

This is what you are going to need to put this recipe together

Black Bean Salad
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (I only used one in the recipe I made today)
9-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained (I prefer to use frozen, but I didn't have any on hand)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (you can use green pepper instead or you can use 1/2 cup red and 1/2 cup green)
1/2 cup chopped sweet red onion (I used the white part of scallions, because that's what I had on hand)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 large garlic glove, minced
1/4 teaspoon cumin

1. Place the beans, corn, onion and bell pepper in a large bowl. Sprinkle with black pepper and toss to mix well.
2. To make the dressing, add the vinegar, oil, brown sugar, minced garlic and cumin into a bowl and mix until sugar is dissolved.
3. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture, and toss to mix well. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

This salad gets better the longer it marinates in the dressing.

This salad makes a great stand alone lunch for me, but I have used it with fish, chicken and anything mexican. I bring it to pot lucks all the time. Want to try something new for the summer, this dish is a winner.

Linking up with Living From Glory to Glory

Recipe adapted from "No-Time To Cook Cookbook"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You Never Know

We are friends with a couple that are going through some deep waters right now. We've known them for years, done a lot of life together, the good stuff and the messy stuff, shared laughter, tears and prayers. We recently reconnected after losing touch for awhile, then we heard he had a heart attack....we had just spoken to them days before...no warning...their lives were changed in a moment! Now they wait, but their trust is in the Lord.

This is not our story, but it has reminded me of our own dark valleys and how the Lord was always faithful. We are not asked to walk this walk alone, or endure things with our own strength...he said he would never leave us or forsake us
that in our weakness he would be made strong.

 "My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness" Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities, for when I am weak he is strong.  2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I don't usually post videos, but this song by Matt Redman has been ministering to me since we sung it in church the other day, I just had to share it.

                                                                   "Never Once"

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Repurposing Old Items For The Garden

We had dinner with friends the other night and while the men were barbecuing, the lady of the house showed me around her garden. I love garden tours, don't you? One of the things my friend did in her garden was use an old headboard for a trellis for her ivy, pretty clever don't you think? I think I might have to look for one of these. I'll bet you could also use something like this to help stake tall flowers.

These rain boots were filled with Impatiens at the Botanical Garden's last summer, you'd have to make sure you poked some holes in the bottom so they would drain. They look like old black boots that were sprayed painted red.

These were also done up at the Garden's. I am not sure how the suitcases would do in the rain, these were under cover, so they weren't directly exposed to the elements.

This window is from the farm that my husband's grandparents lived in. We hung it up from the pergola and it makes the deck feel more like a room.

So many things can be found at yard sales and thrift stores, or better yet buried in your closets or garage. (and you'd be surprised how many curb finds are garden worthy)
This wrought iron piece was a reject from a friend, I'm not exactly sure what it's original use was for but I thought it was perfect for holding a couple of potted plants.

Hope I have inspired you, keep your eye out for things you could use in your garden.

               Linking up with Roxy at Living From Glory to Glory             

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Week's Worth

It's been a week's worth of doings and bumps in the road

There were several things that required the musician to be in town, the visit falling on Mother's Day Weekend made the visit even more enjoyable

With the musicians help we painted a spare bedroom (it used to be his old bedroom) I will post photos when it's finished. We still have to do the ceiling. I know you're supposed to do the ceiling first, but we weren't planning on doing it at all.

Husband's glasses fell out of his pocket and have been missing for the last week. (he didn't lose them at home) Thankfully he had an old pair that he has been able to use until someone finds the ones he lost or he gets another pair, inconvenient but it could be worse.

My back has been behaving badly, and my physical limitations have been preventing me from doing as much gardening as I would normally do and caused me to have a slight "over it moment" at physician's office. (read...slightly emotional) My emotions tend to betray me, they reveal what's really going on inside my heart more than words ever do. My desire for self sufficiency has been showing.

We were reminded by a letter that came in the mail last week, that we are indeed getting older and that plans that we had made for for future needs, would probably need to be changed....you think you have it all figured out....till you don't.

I think I am trusting God with my days...then I realize I'm not.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Building Relationships

In an effort to help people develop relationships in our church, we have Care Groups that meet on a weekly basis. Our group consists of about ten couples and a couple of singles. We met four times a month, twice as an entire group, then one week the ladies meet and one week the men meet. These small groups are where you really get the opportunity to build relationships and do life together.

I treasure the people the Lord has put in my life through my small group. These are the people who know the things I am praying for and the sins that I struggle with. These are the people who will reach out when I want to isolate, will point to scripture when I need encouragement, will rejoice when I rejoice and will comfort when I am hurting and will always be willing to pray. Meeting as a small group gives us opportunity for going deeper in the Word, mentoring, and serving one another in a practical way.

These are the people who cooked, drove me to doctors appointments and did laundry for me after my mastectomy. We have helped each other move, cooked meals after births of babies and watched children so parents could have a night out. Most recently one of our members stayed with a hospitalized friend round the clock until her husband could fly home. 

Last month our group decided to do an activity called Supper Club. Besides being fun, we thought it would be a great way to continue to build relationships. We divided our small group into even smaller groups by drawing names out of a bowl. Each group would have five to six people in them (we have two singles in our Care Group) After the groups were drawn they would get together and decide when they wanted to meet, who would host and what each person would bring. The meal doesn't have to be elaborate, we did Stew, Salad and Bread, another group did Tacos. This month we will meet again but with a new group of couples. that's the fun part, the group you meet with changes each month.

No small groups at your church, don't let that stop you from inviting someone over for lunch after church or dinner or even dessert, it's the in smaller get togethers that relationships are built.

Linking up with Roxy at Living From Glory to Glory

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Whole Wheat Bread

My grandmother used to make breads, yeasty rolls and danish all the time. I used to love eating at her house, because there was always something freshly baked. She tried to teach me how to make a few of her recipes, but my success was less than spectacular. I tried to make her danish a few times but they always fell short of what I remembered hers being. Bread was the same way, I even tried different  recipes but my loaves always turned out like bricks with a texture that wasn't much different. It was a lot of years before I decided to try again, but I would, after finding an ancient food processor at the thrift store, it's about the same time I ran across this recipe.

Even though there is only two of us I still make this bread. It freezes well and is dairy free. This recipe is intended to make two loaves of bread but I have a pan that make four smaller loaves. You can also make rolls with this recipe. It's basic, it's foolproof and even I can do it, and did I mention, it's yummy!

Whole Wheat Bread

2 scant tablespoons or 2 (1/4-ounce) package of active yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water (about 105* to 115*) I use a thermometer for this
1/4 firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1. In large bowl soften the yeast in the water
2. Add the brown sugar, salt, oil, whole wheat flour, and 2 cups of the all-purpose flour. Beat vigorously with a dough whisk or a heavy-handled spoon for two minutes, (after yeast softens I dissolve the sugars, salt and oil before I add the flours, and I use a food processor with dough blade to mix)
3. Gradually add more remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time, until dough forms a mass and the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. (I use food processor to mix, when it pulls away from sides it's done)
4. Knead, adding more flour, a little at a time as necessary, for 8-10 minutes, or until you have a smooth elastic dough
5. Put entire dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven kitchen towel and let rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide in half. Form into loaves.
7. Put the loaves seam side down, into well greased loaf pans, cover with towel and let rise for 45 minutes
8. About 15 minutes before the end of rising, preheat the oven to 375*
9. Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes, or until the shrink slightly from the sides of the pan and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans and cool on rack.

Recipe from The Bread Book

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Moments

April is probably one of my favorite months of the year. I love watching plants come back to life after a long winter, it always reminds me of the Resurrection. We began to see signs of spring in April, starting with the Bradford Pears and Forsythia.  Then slowly but surely everything began to green up. I can't say our weather stayed warm but when it was mild we were outside.

April was the beginning of baseball season for grandson and son (son is a referee for the league) so we spent a part of each Saturday cheering them on. Last month, Little Miss celebrated a birthday, and we joined my son's family for dinner on Resurrection Sunday. Our Care Group started doing Supper Club and our ladies had our annual "Planting Party" (kind of like a cookie exchange except you bring flowers, the hostess provides the pots and dirt, you go home with a nice flower pot filled with a variety of flowers)

We were also able to get away in April to see the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC with some friends. Timing is always tricky with this, you kind of have to watch the weather and hope for the best They were late this year because of the colder weather, as it turned out the blossoms were at their peak and it was a gorgeous weekend.

I am linking up with Cheryl in Gathering The Moments, which I've found is a great way to recap the happenings of the month (and a terrific motivator to help me delete the junk out my photo files in a timely manner)