Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thankful Thursday

It's been another quiet blogging week for me. Life has been busy with routine things that needed to be done. Throw in a bad tooth and a misbehaving back and you get a quiet blogging week.

Things are settling down, back is better and tooth is *in process* Almost everything on my to do list for this week has been done, with the exception of Sweet Lady's laundry so thought it would be a great time to stop and reflect on the many things I have to be thankful for this week.

I had jury duty this month. In our region you are on call one day a week for a month. I found out I had to go in one day this week.  I really didn't want to do it, my tooth was bothering me as was my back. I called and found out I could have gotten excused but was informed, I would have to serve again another month this summer. I decided to go in. I was there long enough to go through orientation and see the video, we were then told we were free to go home there was no longer going to be a trial. Because I went in, it counted as service. This was a huge blessing

I was able to get a physical therapy appointment on short notice. He was able to figure out why I was in such pain with my back and correct the problem.

We had youngsters in the house for a couple of days. It has been so much fun interacting with these little boys.  Their family has been part of our Care Group. They are moving out of the area and have blessed us with staying in our home during their "pack out"

New recipes for our winter CSA

I was able to get an earlier appointment for the tooth that has been driving me to distraction. The last week or so has been bad. Again I am thankful for the kind staff and compassionate dentists that were willing to *work me in* I was originally scheduled for the 3rd of February. This has been a long process and it's going to take several more months before we can call it done.*Expect to see more soup and smoothie recipes in the future* Just sayin!

A harder week than most, and I could easily focus on how bad this week has been. But in the midst of all of it I can see God's mercies, and grace. I can see how he worked out many of the details in the difficulties and how gave us little gifts along the way in the form of laughter and phone calls from loved ones far away.

Life is hard sometimes and it's easy to get swept away in it all, it's easy to get discouraged, believe me I've been there a few times this week, but I belong to him and I know he is working good in my life through my circumstances.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those, who love him, who have been called according to his purposes Romans 8:28

I believe this to be true

Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter Days

Can you believe we are at the end of January? Two more months till spring, not that I'm counting!

I don't know what you all do in January but for us it's a month of cleaning up and clearing out. After we had taken down all of our Christmas items and corralled them into our back room, we then sorted through everything, including things that never made it out of storage. Two hours and several empty boxes later the task was done. We had a car load of stuff for donation and just as much that went into the trash...how did we get all that stuff?

You know it's time to sort through stuff when you have boxes that haven't been opened in over four years...I know this because we found boxes that were taped shut and dated.

I have lots of cupboards, drawers an closets to still go through but this was a great start for the new year. Getting rid of what we don't need or use has kind of been a theme in our lives in the last several months....simplify, simplify, simplify! 

Cooler indoor days means I am able to do a little more reading than during the warmer months. The Alice Water's book was a gift, as was the How Fargo of You, the others are books I've had and decided to read again. Morning and Evening is a daily devotional written by C.H. Spurgeon, and is one I use on a regular basis.

Colder weather also means lots of warm soups and stews and bread are being made in our kitchen. We haven't bought bread from the store in months because we've been making sour dough bread on a weekly basis. My husband has been a big help with this....he's got the technique down pat!
Our young son gave us a starter last fall and not only we have managed to keep it alive but we've also made some yummy bread in the process. 

We have also had the opportunity to do some *face time* with the grandchildren. I know there are down sides to technology but I am thankful to be able to *see* and talk to my grandchildren at the same time.

Thrifting and sending them the treasures I find helps me feel connected, and little treats are always fun to get in the mail.

So that's been what our winter days have been looking like.  The days have been a little slower pace than before Christmas but productive. Perhaps I shouldn't be counting down the days till spring but instead enjoy the different pace that this time of year gives us. How about you do you enjoy the winter months?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Parsnip and Apple Muffins

If I had seen a recipe for ANYTHING with parsnips in it five years ago I wouldn't have given it a second look, but things have changed, we are eating healthier and that includes trying to figure out what to do with all these vegetables that we get every week in our CSA basket. Please don't think I'm complaining....I love our CSA, but it is challenging to keep up with it at times.

Our Winter CSA, consists of mostly greens, root vegetables, broccoli, cabbages and squash. They also offer a small selection of baked goods for an extra cost. Their muffins and scones are delicious and I have to admit, there haven't been too many weeks when we haven't purchased some of their delectable goodies. (mostly the muffins, which are always made with some type of fruit or vegetable that happens to be in season) 

I knew I could do the same thing (and save myself a little money in the process) if I tried to whip some up in my kitchen. Plus, by making my own muffins, I knew exactly what the ingredients were. (I try to avoid dairy)

Parsnips have been a weekly offering in our basket. I have cooked it in pot roast, added them to a root vegetable mash and added it to soups, so why not muffins?

I found this recipe on the WholeFoods Market Site and adapted it to my preferences

Parsnip and Apple Muffins

2 cups grated parsnips (about three parsnips) (I used a bit more)
1 large grated apple
2 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt 
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup toasted pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grate parsnips and apple together and set aside
3. Mix wet ingredients together (Eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla)
4. Mix dry ingredients together
5. Mix wet ingredients, and grated apple and parsnips into dry ingredients (you can add nuts and raisins in during this time)
6. Pour into muffin cups
7. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Will make 12 large muffins or 18 medium muffins (I made the large ones and added 5 minutes to my cooking time)

These turned out better than I expected. They are sweet and moist and would go wonderfully with a cup of hot tea. No need to purchase muffins tomorrow at the Farmer's Market when I have these yummy treats waiting for me at home. You've got to at least give these a try...it's a pretty painless way of getting another serving of vegetables for the day.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Don't Journey Alone

I cherish the fellow believers that the Lord has put in my life. Those people that journey with us as we go through this life.

I am so thankful for people that will pray for me specifically and direct me to truth when I want to believe the lies the enemy tells me.  People that remind me of God's faithfulness, the good works he has done in the past and what our true hope for the future is. I count some of you as those that help remind me of truth.

We had our small group meeting this week and I shared some of what was going on in my heart, the anxiety I was feeling. The next day I received this text from a dear friend.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see  Hebrews 11:1

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6

I sought the Lord and he answered me, he delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4

"My friend, laugh at the future, because it is out of our control, but it is safely in His loving hands."
She then reminded me about this notebook she came across (and bought) a couple of days ago. The cover was red with big bold letters that simply stated " I GOT THIS...GOD"

God is sovereign, He is good, always in control, and He always has a plan and a purpose for good no matter what comes into our lives.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Looking Ahead

In the past, I have always seen the New Year as a new beginnings of sort. Like a brand new notebook with pages waiting to be written on, it always seemed like a chance at a fresh start.

This year has been different for me. 

We are going to be discussing how the Lord is leading each of us spiritually in Care Group tomorrow. Discussing if there is a particular area in our life that the Lord has highlighted as one of needed change, or a spiritual disciple that perhaps could be an area of emphasis or focus in our life...and how are we planning on meeting these goals. 

I've thought about it, prayed about where the Lord may be leading me this year, but haven't had any clear direction. I feel like a rudderless boat, adrift in the water wondering where the Lord will take me next. My goal is to stay afloat...not very lofty goal. 

I have found myself getting anxious when I think of the coming year. Some how anxiety did not seem like an acceptable word for the year but, faith, is. I need not be anxious that my boat may be headed right for the rocks. What I need is faith....Faith that HE is the rudder on my boat, seriously, I'm not just drifting aimlessly. I'm not going into any waters He hasn't already navigated ahead of me, always with his purposes in mind. 

So my word for the year is faith..Instead of fearing WHAT might be ahead of me, I will instead trust, WHO has gone ahead of me

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Friday, January 2, 2015

December Gathering the Moments

One last Gathering the Moments for the year 2014. It was a memorable year to be sure and December was a month that had all kinds of gathering events.

It was a busy month and in a way that was a good thing. We visited family for an early Christmas gathering at my sister's place. Four of the five siblings were able to come, and as a bonus I was able to love on my sister's grandchildren.

We were able to do face time with our grandchildren a couple of times, it's always hard to say goodbye when we are on and their absence was felt this month in particular.

We kept busy with Care Group and Church activities, and got to sing the Messiah again this year.

Our young son was able to come home for a short visit but had to leave earlier than planned because of a job....so we decided instead of staying home we would make an impromptu visit to DC. Why DC you ask, well, we've got this deal with a certain musician. He's offered us a place to stay whenever we're in town. So since my son couldn't come home for very long we decided to stay with him a few days.

We are thankful to our son and his housemates for their hospitality, these guys were quite gracious to us more seasoned individuals and made us feel at home while we were there.

While our son was working during the day we were touring around the city, we didn't get to see him much but it was still the perfect way to spend the holiday for us this year.

Bonus...we were able to connect with an old friend for lunch while we were up there.

It was a different holiday this year, and we have some nice memories from it.

I've enjoyed doing these monthly "Gathering the Moments" with Cheryl, it's a way of counting our blessings and remembering all that God has done.