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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Moments

When I looked through my photos to put together some September Moments I realized there was very few photos to chose from. I only had my camera out a handful of times the month of September, something I hope to change this month.

The month started with an impromptu Labor Day party at my son's MIL house. It was the last get together for all of the family before son and grandchildren left for the great frontier.

We made another trip to the mountains in September to check on MIL, and stopped midway coming and going, so we could visit with my youngest son.

We started settling back into somewhat of a routine. I started working in my much neglected garden again and continued to clean and sort things in the house. Helping people move motivates me to clean out my own house. Lots of stuff to donate or sell at an upcoming community yard sale. (I enjoy going to yard sales but seldom want to do the work involved in putting one together...we shall see if I follow through on this one)

Although these photos don't tell the whole story it has been a really busy month for us. I am still trying to absorb all the changes in our lives, but God is giving much grace through this transition.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever
Psalm 76:26

                                   Linking with Cheryl in Gathering the Moments