Monday, December 06, 2010

'Tis the Season

I've been feeling a little under the weather the past couple of days.  That means lots of oranges, hand washing, and healing teas.  (and the kids are crazy about these little mandarin oranges!)

We set up and decorated our Christmas tree Sunday.  Our little reindeer enjoyed themselves!  Their enthusiasm was fantastic.  Bruce and I strung up the lights, then sat back to watch their joy in finding ornaments treasures in the box and choosing the perfect place on the tree.  Perfect.

Wishing you happiness and joy this Christmas season.  May we all be like the children digging in and finding joyful treasures in the common and miracles in the everyday.  And a hope, a relationship with the brave little boy, the redeemer sent from heaven by the God who loves us.   

Monday, November 29, 2010

Little Joys

Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful and joy-filled for our family.  It's been a long year and we have much for which to be thankful.  The Lord has certainly has given us strength and blessed us each step of the way.  Multiple surgeries, job concerns, anxiety and school trouble, my migraines and trouble with prescriptions, and so much more!  But this weekend was all about joy, praise, family, and giving thanks.  (not to mention pie!)  Here are a few highlights...
Homemade cream cheese frosting on Thanksgiving (to go the pumpkin cake with chocolate chips.)

Oh, yes.  It's that good!

My niece. She's only been walking for a few weeks and I got to see her do it on Thanksgiving.

Such a beautiful November and unseasonably warm. (okay, it's still chilly. But this is Michigan!)

Everyone (including the Truman, our labradoodle) had a chance to play outside. In late November, in Michigan, without snowpants. It was amazing!

Well, kids played outside.  Bruce worked on the cars and I cleaned the chicken coop.  At least the sun was shining!

Soaking up some vitamin D and playing with their best friend.

Hubby and I managed a full 24 hours away from the kids (which never happens!).  They had a chance to spend quality time with my fabulous and generous folks.  Bruce and I were able to spend some much needed grown-up together time, dinner out, and shopping for the kids.   As much as I love my children, it was very very nice to focus on my husband for a time.  I love that man!  I know I am blessed and am truly thankful...

Monday, November 22, 2010

First Grade Feast

Okay, so here is the thing.  I volunteer for everything.  Really, I do.  (it's a problem, I know!)  I always want to help out and be involved.  Especially when in comes to helping out at Carlie's school.  I don't get to work in the classroom because, honestly, busy 3 year old boys don't do well in structured first grade rooms.  :)  I love my boy dearly, but he makes that brand of volunteering pretty well impossible. 

Each fall the kindergartners and first graders have a Thanksgiving feast together.  The littlest tykes make apple pie, the teachers make some turkey, and the older students make stuffing and cornbread.  I was unable to come in and help the kids crack eggs and mix up cornbread, so I inquired about baking.  I like to be in the kitchen and sticking in a few pans of muffins during the evening didn't exactly seem like a hardship. 

I ran up to the school at the end of the day and - lo-and-behold - my little first grades did not mix up cornbread.  Apparently they ran out of time.  (the classroom is always disorganized and seems to run out of time to do important things on a daily basis.  Like send home important notes.  On one occasion - we had to sent Carlie in paint clothes for 2 weeks straight because they never seemed to get around to it!)  Anywho... 

I now find myself with boxes of Jiffy mix and dozens of cornbread muffins to be made.

all the goodness for cornbread muffins - yum!

I truly don't mind helping.  I just don't always (or usually!) think before I volunteer.  Oops.  I guess that's something I need to work on.  The third batch is in the oven now. Wish me luck on finishing them tonight and on safely transporting them to school tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This is What 31 Looks Like

Me... taken by my multi-talented 6 yr old daughter.
My birthday was yesterday.  It was an amazing, blessing filled day.  Making me smile and bringing me to tears, all at the same time.  The thoughtfulness of my children, the kind words from my parents and in-laws, the happy wishes from old and new friends alike.  Dinner with me husband (no cooking!)  Wonderful thru and thru.  I am blessed. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Today was a rare Michigan October day.  Sunny, warm, beautiful.
Encourages you, makes you slow down - observe - enjoy.
October in the Great Lakes State is changeable.  Volatile. 
Chill and windy one day.  Bright and still the next. 
Should you open windows or light a fire in the wood stove?

Much like our moods.  Every changing and affected by our surroundings.
But unlike our faith.  Where we are firm, steadfast, and confident.
Finding joy in Christ, regardless of our circumstances.
Depending wholly on the Creator and trusting in Him.

Trusting Him to grow us, change us, refine and reveal us. 
Reminding us of our identity in Christ.

"Forgiven beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy
Reborn and remade
Accepted and holy, this is our new name"
~from "I Am New" by Jason Gray

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I do not know how it happened, but I am running.  It began innocently enough, taking out the stroller in the afternoons to run errands.  I thought, "This is nice, we should just go for a walk".  And then we walked further.  And further.  I bought a jogging stroller off Craigslist for $30 to replace our worn out Graco that is 6+ years old, has bald tires and far too many miles.  And then walking seemed too slow.  I began to jog.  (Perhaps it was a trot?  It was certainly no run.) 

Today we did almost 3 miles.  Almost the entire distance at a run.  Jack rides in his trendy new (used) stroller as I pound the pavement.  We share possession of the ipod.  (my ipod doesn't work anymore and we are down to one pair of earbuds in the house.  What a travesty.) 

It has been 12-13 years since I've run.  Walk?  Sure.  Yoga?  All the time.  But never ever run.  I was a distance runner in high school.  After I got married and had 2 children, my back was so bad I could hardly walk.  Between my scoliosis and loss of core strength my back was taking on more than it could handle, grinding with each and every painful step.  Some days I was unable to move off the couch, debilitated by the pain.  But no more.  Two determined years of yoga, prayer, and hard work and I am well.  Having lost 20 pounds, I feel whole again.  Thankful the Lord made our bodies capable to bend, break and heal - remaking us stronger than when we began.

And I'm off...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Garden Love

Last Wednesday, we finally had rain. It's been a long hot, dry summer with highs in the upper 80's everyday with matching humidity but never any rain. (=miserable) Wednesday was a blessing. It poured for hours drenching the parched grass and garden. The kids and I were able to head out, weed some of the garden (really, how can weeds thrive without rain!) and harvest what was ready.
We are inundated with tomatoes and it's time to start canning! We grew 17 plants of heirloom tomatoes (but lost a few early in the season). And 17 cherry tomato plants. I've eating cherry tomatoes for lunch, dinner and snack and giving them about by the bucketful. Happily, they've been a blessing to many people this summer! We get a break from the heat this week (low 80s) and I have a two bushels of tomatoes to can. If the lack of counter space wasn't telling me it was time, the abundance of fruit flies would be...

Calendula! A pretty and hardy flower and one of my favorite herbs. I use it in the healing salve I make. We've had a really good harvest so far and, surprisingly enough, it is drying well inspite of all our humidity. We (my daughter is a great helper) will soon be collecting seeds for next year. Hopefully, we'll be able to sell seeds or seedlings in the spring above what we need to plant for our own use.
Another bit of green from my thriving herb garden (it gives me such joy). Lemon Balm.... mmmmm. Sweet and lemony mint-relative. My little plant has really grown after I transplanted it this year. I'm looking forward to tea....
Me. And my Teva tan-lines. :) Enjoying time outside barefoot in the wet grass after the rain. Looking forward to cooler days ahead as summer and farmer's markets wind down and school starts up...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jedi Jack and the Invasion of the Garbage Men

Just to show you what life is like with an imaginative 3 yr old boy, here is a snippet from today:

I came out the bathroom this morning to find Jack holding a pumpkin carving
"Uh... whatcha doing Jack?"
"I sorry Mom. I gotta kid knife." (that's what he calls the pumpkin knives because they aren't sharp and the kids are allowed to use them under adult supervision)
"Um. Why?" I ask as I gently grab the knife away from his chubby
"I heard a man voice," he replied.

Jack goes on to explain to me that he heard someone outside (probably
the garbage men since it's pick up day) and wanted to protect himself. Really? Couldn't he just knock on the door and tell me he heard something or go to his sister Carlie who was watching tv in the other room? He thought he was going to defend the household against the invasion of garbage men with a pumpkin knife? Jedi Jack, indeed. The boy has a lot of confindence, I'll give you that...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Counting Stars

We watched Andrew Peterson's streaming concert of 'Counting Stars' last night. Now, I've been a fan of his since the beginning so it's no surprise that I love this album and was more than happy to snuggle up in my pjs to watch a concert over the computer. It's been a few years since we have been able to see him live and I was not about to miss the chance!

I'm not an eloquent or gifted writer. I don't give moving album or movie reviews. I don't find it easy to come up with the right words, invoke the right emotion. And this new AP album simply leaves me tongue-tied. The songs beautiful and well-writed, as always. But it's more than that. There is something deeper and more soul-stirring here. (I knew I was in for it when the song snippets on itunes brought me to tears...)

Peterson isn't afraid (or, if he is it doesn't show) to delve into difficult aspects of relationship. Whether it's the relationship between husband and wife, with our children, between generations, or with our God - Peterson covers it. And it isn't all puppies and rainbows. The beauty is in the struggles and in the everyday moments. It's in the redemption from the brink. If things were easy, they wouldn't be worthwhile. (I wanted to choose a verse from 'Dancing in the Minefields', but it was too hard to choose just one. So I included the video.)
God's peace, grace and love surpasses all. The Lord and those aspects of his very being are greater than anything we could ever do or not do. God extended His love and grace to us in the form of His son, Jesus Christ, before we ever decided to accept Him and love him back. And He'll go on to love us forever because it's who He is, not something He does. God's love is not dependent on what we do. Or the strength of our faith in Him. (thankfully!) Enjoy the video and then the purchase the album at the (and you can read a real review there, as well as other great writings.) :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Market Day

This poor blog, so sad and neglected. I think of things to write almost every day, but real life gets in the way of the actual sitting and typing. Oh well, my avid reader(s) must be so disappointed (sorry, Mom!). So here is an honest to goodness blog update/entry for you.

Yesterday was our first day this summer working at one of the local farmers markets. The Davison Market has wonderful small town, homey atmosphere. Live music (with a bit of comedy, although I'm never certain if it's on purpose), hotdogs/brats for sale, a massage station(!) - I have gotto get over to that sometime this season, pie by the slice, your regular produce stands, organic farmers, me - your natural homemade soap girl, soy candles, wood working, meat sellers, the salsa and apple sauce lady and much more!!! They have other live entertain throughout the summer and crafts for the children. It's a well attended market and the patrons are enthusiastic and supportive. I'm so so proud to be a part of their market this year. It's been a few years since they've had any soapmakers out there so, people have been really kind. I had a wonderful and encouraging first day out.

A number of friends came out to visit, chat, shop and show their love and support to me and my mom, Lynda. She's an endless source of help and hardwork. She works every market and show, helping me set up and tear down, sell, wrangle kids. She's my co-worker and partner in crime. I couldn't do it without her. (Maybe someday I can afford to pay her!) I'm so blessed.

My friend Lyn coach a girls softball team this spring. As the coach, she was responsible for finding her own team sponsor - well, I jumped a the chance! I've known Lyn and her girls for years and grew up in the community where they play. The chance to participate and give back was just to great. I couldn't pass it up! The 10, 11, and 12 yr old girls were pretty excited to be a girly handmade soap team with a flowery logo instead of being sponsored by a barber shop or insurance company. :) Lyn and the girls had a great season and lot of fun. I'm really proud of them. She surprised me by coming out to the market yesterday and bringing a 'Thank you!' plaque with the team picture!!! I was stunned. You see them in offices, but I never thought about getting one. I sat in on my table all day and had a got a few questions and comments throughout the day. It was nice. :)

I had the opportunity to further my acquaintance with a local organic grower and his wife. I was fortunate enough to meet them at another event earlier in the spring at their church. As the farmer's wife, Deborah, and I were discussing what we had read about growing lavender from seed...interesting, I know!... another woman approached my table and seemed amused. My mom spoke with her and she bought some Man Soap. Then we found out that she owns a local (very very local and nearby!) herb business! The name of the business - Hilltop Barn. hahahaha! Too, funny. I'm Hilltop Soaps. :) That's why she was so amused. Well... she grows herbs, gives lectures and herb walks, teaches about wild edibles and how to make herbal oils and tinctures, etc. Needless to say I'll be giving her a call and taking a few classes. I've meet a few amazing women over the past few days and look forward to leraning from them.

Maybe next week I'll remember to take the camera so I can get so pictures. (after I've charged the batteries)...


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Walk-About-Town Adventure #1

It was a nice cool June morning and the children were eager to begin our first adventure into town! To clarify, it's our first walk around town. We have lived here for two years and we walk around town frequently. They are excited it's a going to be a regular occurrence. And they excited about the wagon. I usually make them walk because we don't usually go that far. :) We had 15 minutes to make it to the post office before they closed for lunch. We made it in ten minutes and then had to wait to FOREVER for traffic. Once we made it to the tile floors the wheels on the wagon revolted and a kind woman helped me drag it inside. *sigh* I knew I had a delivery to pick up and I thought I wouldn't make it in time. One of the many blessings about small town is that the post master knows everyone. He saw me coming (and probably heard the commotion in his lobby) and had my mail at the counter. What a sweet man. He even came out to hold the doors and help us back out. Did I mention that I love our town?? (The kids took this picture of me in front of the post office.)

Jack in front of the post office...

and Carlie, too....
Since we were no longer in a hurry (and I was sweating like crazy) we proceeded at a more moderate pace after leaving the post office. We stopped by the local diner - Ms Smitty's - to grab a menu to peruse later. They have a great little ice cream parlor attached to the diner and I promised Carlie and Jack ice cream on one of our future walks. Finally we made it to the library. The kiddos feel at home there and can border on being rude/rambunctious. :) I'm good friends with the head librarian and the assistant there, probably because I end up walking over a few days a week. I have had a library card since I was a preschooler and have an insatiable appetite for fiction. The free dvd rental is a strong draw since we only have limited basic cable.
We parked our wagon in the bike rack. :)We had a few other stops after the library and finally made our way home. Carlie and Jack took pity on me and hopped to pull the wagon up our big hill and to the house. On a normal day, it would take about 20 minutes to run these errand (depending on how long we spend at the library). It took us an hour and 25 minutes. Carlie made up fun songs about our 'adventure'. Jack stopped to listen to a cricket near the library stairs. We talked to a few more folks in town than normal. I never would have stopped at the diner for a menu, although we kept saying we should check them out. Nobody argued or complained, I did not have to take the kids in and out of the car 15 times. Honestly, this was so much more fun.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Walk-About-Town .... Car-Free Adventure INTRO

Our goal/challenge for the summer is to walk nearly everywhere in town for our weekly errands instead of driving. Giving us the benefit saving gas and money, reducing carbon emissions, spending more time out of the house and in town, and maybe even losing a few pounds while I'm at it! :) We don't have any hard and fast rules for this, I hope my resolve holds firm because just the thought of dragging a wagon loaded with 70 pounds of wiggling kid-ness when it's 90 degrees with 95% humidity makes my asthma start acting up. (or is that a panic attack???)

The post office is farthest away (1/2 a mile) and our most frequent trip. We'll probably head there every other day, unless we're expecting something good. We spend a lot of time at our local library and that almost directly across the street from our house. We walk there year-round anyway. Our town is itty-bitty, most people in the county do not realize we are a town at all. Some think we are a village or just a busy stretch of road. :) But we have our own post office, school, library, grocery store, local diner and ice cream shop, pizza place, McDonald's, hardware, pharmacy, and more! All within a 1/2 mile stretch. The downside is that is not at walkable. We only have sidewalks through the 'downtown' part of town which is about half of our walk. There are no sidewalks in front of our house, the grocery store, or library. There are foot/bike trails beginning to wear in over time. We have a good number of people (kids, teens, and adults) who walk and bike in town instead of drive. It can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to walk in the winter months due to the lack of sidewalks. (And in Michigan, winter can last a good 6 months.)

Okay, I know I started rambling a bit there, so bear with me please! I'm almost done. :) We do not have any mass transit systems nearby, so it's walk, drive, or stay home. My husband will continue to drive the 30+ miles to work each day. It's not fun. And he works from home, it's just it addition to his regular hours. If telecommuting was an option, that would be great. We'll drive to church on Sundays, because the 20 mile drive it just too far to walk. There are closer churches, but we've been there for nearly 10 years and they are our family. Our family is worth it. We try to combine other trips into that one, it just make sense. Once every few weeks we'll drive the 12 miles to the Flint Market to the bulk of our shopping. Beginning July 29th (and on Thursdays thereafter for the remainder of the summer) I'll be working at a farmers market selling my soaps and things and then we'll do our shopping there.

Like I said earlier, no hard and fast rules. We're just being conscious of our driving habits. We'll try to stick to it and not make excuses.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sleds in Summer

Summer weather hit Michigan this week and we're having high temps in the upper 80s with intense humidity. Time to get out the kiddie pool! The kids had one of those molded plastic pools for the past few summers and it was stored out behind the garage. I dragged it out and filled it up, you know, after I used Gorilla tape to repair all the cracks... (it still didn't hold water very well). Oh well. We decided to fill up the purple snow sled instead. (It holds water just fine) Who knew you could use a sled year-round??? Only in Michigan... :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chocolate (zucchini) Cake

Hiding veggies. Yep. You can even hide them in cake. Just don't let the kids help you bake it. :) If you're like me, you grew zucchini last year, shredded tons of it expecting to make bread over the winter, stuck it in the freezer and forgot. Oops. This recipe will use it up fast. Don't let the idea of making a cake from scratch scare you. It's easier than you think. (just like the bread) Remember, I'm a simple girl. If it was too hard or time consuming I probably wouldn't do make it. But let me tell you, it tastes far better than anything from a box. And you gain some self confidence when you say you made all by yourself and really mean it (not like that refrigerated cookie dough that we all feel just a little guilty about).

When you cook or bake from scratch there is the added benefit of knowing precisely what is in the mix. If you are the individual responsible for shopping and putting food on the table and in the bellies of your loved ones, you are the gatekeeper. The security guard who determines what gets in and what does not. Is it safe? Is it healthy? What do they need to avoid? Who do we keep out? Hydrogenated oils? High fructose corn syrup? High cholesterol foods? Who gets invited in? Spinach? Fruits? Farm-raised chicken? Garden tomatoes? Local cheese?

Here is simply grand way to sneak in that healthy zucchini we want to let in (that nobody seems to know what to do with) and leave everyone asking for more.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe
(i didn't come up with this recipe, you can click on the link for the original source. i do change it a bit. it's supposed to be in a bundt pan with a glaze. i don't own a bundt pan. i use a regular cake pan and chocolate frosting. it's nice with whipped cream and fruit, too.)

2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (use all the liquid from your zucchini. if you drain it, your cake will be dry. trust me. i tried it once. you need every bit of that juice to make the cake nice and moist.)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional. my kids are picky and won't eat the nuts)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1 Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

2 With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, and zucchini.

3 Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.

4 Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted (or sprayed)regular cake pan - use what you have. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes!) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5 Frost

Cut in thin slices to serve. Makes 10-12 servings.

Hope you guys enjoy! I'll be making this for Easter.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Let it Rise... or not.

I have been getting a lot of requests from friends and family for recipes lately. Some are looking to eat better, fresh foods, less packaged foods. Trying to cook from scratch. When Bruce and I first got married (okay, for the first years of our marriage) I could only cook something if it came in a box with directions on the back. And even then, the results were a iffy. My husband is a keeper - I don't think he complained once. :) It's been a long road, but I'm a pretty decent cook now.

I think Jack was a baby when I started baking bread. It was a simple goal: to make edible homemade bread. Nothing huge. Nothing fantastic like 'lose 20 lbs' or 'only eat local' or 'turn off the fridge' or 'learn to ride a unicycle'. Nope. I'm a simple girl. It was easy, too. I liked the slow pace, the patience. A little work now, wait a while, come back later, knead the dough, wait, come back, etc. I found it enjoyable.

Bread is simple. Water, flour, yeast, salt. Then I read the label on store bread. It must have 20+ ingredients! High fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring, and more. I couldn't believe it. That was really what got me started making my own food and buying less pre-packaged things. In Michael Pollan's popular book 'In Defense of Food' he suggests to read food labels and never eat anything with more than 5 ingredients. (It's a great book. If you're confused about food, the way to eat, what the right choices are, hope to shop. Read this. Seriously. It's fantastic. I can't say enough good things about it.)

Well, here it goes. These bread recipes are not my own. I've scavenged these from the internet and wrote them in my recipe book years ago. The original sources are lost (sorry), but it's bread. It's pretty basic. I'm not sure anyone can really claim it. ;) *if you plan on making a lot of bread, don't buy the packets, buy the jars.

NO-KNEAD FREE FORM LOAF BREAD (good for us lazy folk)
Makes 4 1-lb loaves (I makes 2 2-lb)

3 C lukewarm water
1.5 T granulated yeast
1.5 T sea salt
6.5 C unsifted, unbleached flour

1. Heat water to 100 degrees (I've never actually measured this, I just make sure it's warm)
2. Add yeast and salt to water in large bowl
3. Mix in flour - don't knead! the dough stays wet and conforms to container
4. Cover loosely (set a lit on top - don't use a screw top, it could explode from the trapped gases)

Refrigerate for at least 3 hrs before shaping (it can sit overnight).
You don't need to monitor the rising.

5. Sprinkle pan with cornmeal or spray with nonstick spray.
6. Sprinkle surface of dough with flour
-cut off section, gently stretch dough.
7. 20 minutes before baking preheat oven to 450 degrees F. with broiler tray on lower shelf.
8. Dust top of loaf with flour and slash with knife
9. Put in oven. Pour 1 C of hot water in broiler pan. Bake 30 min.
*bread will 'crackle' or 'sing' when done. put on rack to cool.
-extra dough can keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

I always makes this as 'Italian Herb Bread'. I mix up herbs - sea salt, pepper, rosemary, basil, garlic, oregano - in a small bowl and sprinkle it on the bread. I like to roll the dough in it so it gets evenly covered. Yum! Enjoy with real butter hot out of the oven.

I'll get the recipes for pita bread, hummus, pesto, crackers, chocolate zucchini cake (fabulous!), pizza dough, and more up in the coming weeks.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


It's spring. FINALLY. I am feeling refreashed physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I'm eating lots more fruits and veggies (green smoothies are a great way to do this) I've been getting in more yoga and cardio and outside play time with the kids. The weather has been nice enough to start walking to pick Carlie up from school. Well, a few days a least. :)

I've been behind on my Bible reading this year and I'm really disappointed. I haven't given up, but I'm not happy with myself. I committed to reading the Old Testament this year (I read the New Testment last year) and fell behind by and entire book when when my husband had surgery last month. Not to make excuses, but it was supposed to be outpatient surgery and was not. And then he ended up in the ER twice that same week. Thing were pretty rough there for a while. The Lord and I were on close speaking terms, but I wasn't spending a lot of time in His Word. ;)

Since Bruce and I share youth leader duties at church I usually spend a lot of time reseaching and planning lessons, too. It's something I really enjoy. (Weird, I know. But I always I enjoy digging into my Bible and finding ways to tie the lessons together and link the Bible to the students lives and make it 'current' for them.) This year we used purchased lessons and they were a real blessing with all the time we've had to devote to doctor appointments and such. But I missed my study time. I didn't realize how important it is to me - it makes me feel grounded. I'm slowly catching up on my Bible reading. I'm still behind, but not quite so far.

Bruce and I have been spending a lot of time listening to the late, great Rich Mullins. As a poet, singer, songwriter ~ he was a master. The man behind the music was nothing short of inspirational. Incredibly successful (in the commercial sense) and always humble, chosing to give away all he had to live a simple life. He had an amazing faith in the Lord and it just poured out in all he did. But why are people so struck by him? I imagine it's because Rich and people like him, are the closest we'll get in this world to seeing Jesus in action. He had the heart of a servant, didn't care what this world thought of him, rejected materialism, treated everyone with love, didn't stray from the gospel and didn't apologize for it. And people loved him for it. Huh, sound like anyone else you know?? There are a ton of Rich Mullins videos on youtube - songs, interviews, stories, you name it.

Here are a few Rich Mullins quotes:
"Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won't also cost you yours."

"We do not find happiness by being assertive. We don't find happiness by running over people because we see what we want and they are in the way of that happiness so we either abandon them or we smash them. The Scriptures don't teach us to be assertive. The Scriptures teach us—and this is remarkable—the Scriptures teach us to be submissive. This is not a popular idea."

"Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken."


Monday, March 15, 2010

Run Free

Carlie walked in the bedroom and said, "Mom, Jack's outside naked." Swell.

We are potty training so he spends a lot of his time running around naked or only partially clothed. In this case he was wearing a pair of socks. Jack and I had been hanging out in the house while Carlie was still playing outside. She came in to ask me a question (which I promptly forgot during the naked pandemonium which ensued thereafter). He had been talking to me until his sister came in the house. I guess he saw his opportunity and ran with it.

It was brisk and breezy today with the high temps only in the low 50s. A little chilly for streaking. :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, my girl!

My girl turns 6 today. It does not quite seem possible. Bruce and I have only been married for... oh shoot! It'll be 8 years in May! Where did all this time go?? When did my sweet little peanut go from being a tiny little preemie to nearly finished with kindergarden? An animal lover, a budding vegetarian, a growing reader, music lover, she has a deep love for dresses and mudboots alike. She loves fairies and princesses and feeding our chickens and collecting rocks, herbs and wildflowers. She hates spiders but will chase down a snake. She's loving, kind, smart as a whip, brave, and funny. She still does not sleep through the night, has vivid dreams, and rarely stays in her own bed. She is still tiny as can be but do not, under any circumstances, tell her that she is short! What she lacks in sizes she more than makes up for in spunk and personality.

Happy 6th Birthday to my beautiful Carlie.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Last night I had a speaking engagement with the ladies at the local Lioness Club, they were kind enough to invite me to their meeting to speak about my business and products. They are a truly generous group of women who were kind in their praise and support of my fledgling local business. And they served cake. :)

I talked a lot about herbs and traditional remedies last night. These things used to be common knowledge passed down from mother to daughter, used in the home, things grown and gathered, made with love and wisdom. So much has been lost over the past few generations. There I was, speaking to a group of women. My elders. Teaching them things their grandmothers would have known.

So I think I'll post about one of the herbs I use the most.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Used in teas, potpourri, skin skin care products. I use it in my soap and the Mom's Salve. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) properties. (this is why I use it in the salve - and why it's great for dry, chapped, irritated skin) Soaps and lotions containing chamomile are often recommended by pediatricians for children with eczema. If you aren't a soap maker or aren't keen on trying to make your own salve, you can always make a compress with chamomile to bring down inflammation in irritated skin. Chamomile tea is nice to combat anxiety, safe for children, and tasty too!
Hilltop Soaps Chamomile Soap
and the Mom's Salve (availabe in 3 sizes)