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Category Archives: Ramblings

Here’s the thing…

So here’s the thing.  My daughter and I have been on a no sugar, no white flour diet for almost 3wks now.  I had every intention of doing a big ‘ole blog post on how wonderful it is, why we’re doing it, changes we’ve seen, favorite recipes, etc.  But.  Life has a funny way of changing intentions, and while I still want to share all of that with you,  that is a post that will have to wait for another day and time.

Because here’s the thing.  Trials and tribulations come our way.  No rhyme or reason, just a product of living in this fallen world we live in.  We each have our own struggles and battles.  None is more or less important than another.  Difficulties approach each and every one of us at different times, in different ways.  And it’s all hard.  Why?  Because “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)  Call me charismatic, bible thumping, call me whatever-the-heck you want, but I firmly believe that satan is alive and well on this earth, and he does everything he can to undermine the work of the Lord in our lives.  And as the Lord works in each of our lives differently, satan attacks us in different areas.  This is why, within those same verses, we are instructed to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” (Ephesians 6:13-18, emphasis mine)
Take a look at those highlighted words: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Spirit, and the word of God.  This is what we hold on to, what we firmly grasp when trials and tribulations come our way.  It’s hard, when we’re in the midst of the storm.  When satan does everything to make us miserable and shake our foundation of faith.  When you feel like you matter what you do, no matter how much you pray, you just can’t find peace.  See up there where it says “praying always?”  This is where the peace comes in.  Psalm 34:14-15 tells us “….seek peace and pursue it.  The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.”  His ears are open to your cry!  He hears you, my friend.  Cry out to Him.  Continually.  When you feel like you need more peace, pray some more.  “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)  Want another one?  “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord shall keep you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.  The Lord shall keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and even forevermore.” (Psalm 121:1-8)  And here’s one of my favorites – “And the God of peace will crush satan under your feet shortly.” (Romans 16:20)
I know I may be a bit heavy on the bible verses, but in my opinion, you can never be too heavy on God’s Word.  And here’s the thing – I’ve had a rough couple of days.  Really.  Rough.  I spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon looking up and writing out every single verse I could find on the peace of God.  Which is why, my friends, this blog post is full of them.  It is what I am clinging to, myself.  My prayers are continually for peace and comfort.  James 4:7-8 tells me “Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (emphasis mine)  That is truth, my friends.  That is a promise.  And God’s promises are true and everlasting.  Great is His faithfulness.  His compassion, fails not.
I’ve spent the last 4-5 days wondering if I’m losing my mind.  Feeling absolutely physically miserable.  You know, those days when you just pray for it to be bedtime so you don’t have to think about anything, but just sleep and pray that it will all be better in the morning?  Yup, that’s where I’ve been.  Just keeping it real.  Being honest.  I have long struggled with my health.  For most of my life, really.  It’s had its ups and downs.  Right now, it’s in a “down.”  Why is it a battle for me?  Why does it reoccur?  Why can’t I have “normal” health, like “everyone” else?  Well, as I said in the beginning, as the Lord works in each of our lives differently, satan attacks us in different areas.  I don’t have to understand.  I have to trust, and give glory to God.  I’m learning to be thankful in these circumstances, because it draws me nearer to God.  And what happens when I draw nearer to God?  I resist the devil in Jesus’ name.  I draw near to God, and He draws near to me.  He doesn’t move.  He doesn’t slumber.  He shall not be shaken.  I heard a quote the other day that said something along the lines of “when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, just remember that you’re standing on the Rock of Ages.” On the Rock of Ages, I shall stand.  “The JOY of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)  <– the word “strength” there means “place of safety, a refuge, or protection.” So in His strength I will rest, and find joy.
And here’s another thing: I have long suffered with a strong sense of guilt.  Guilt that I’m not doing enough.  Guilt that I’m being lazy.  Guilt that my kids sometimes have to pick up my slack.  Guilt that they’re growing up with a mom that’s sick fairly often.  Guilt that my husband has too much weighing on his shoulders.  I could go on and on.  But guess what?   “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)  I am His, He calls me His own.  He doesn’t condemn me, He loves me.  This is not to say that I never have to take responsibility for my own actions, but to say that God loves me where I am.  He is patient with me, and He is perfecting me, in His time.  When I come before Him with a broken and contrite heart, He delights in me. (Ps.51:17)  I can ask Him to convict me and show me where I need to change, but He never shames or condemns me.  Nor does He you.

So here’s the thing…be encouraged, my friends.  If you’re in the midst of a battle, you are not alone.  Cry out to Jesus.  Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.  Surround yourself in prayer (which includes being brave enough to ask others to pray for you.)  Stop holding on and just let go.  Lay it at the foot of the cross and be held.  (Casting Crowns has a new song called “Just Be Held.”  I encourage you to listen to it.)  Praying you find strength and encouragement, and ask that you would do the same for me.

Until next time….

 
 

Trusting Through the Midst of the Storm

She’s right, you know.  Corrie Ten Boom.  Sometimes we need to just sit still and trust.  I’ll be the first to admit that this is a lesson that I have to learn repeatedly.  Why?  I don’t know.  Trust is hard for me.  I won’t go into all the reasons or logistics why.  But God is continually, gently whispering into my ear “Trust me.”  This is one such season in my life.  The Hebrew word for trust is “chasah (chah-sah.)  It means “to hope, or to make someone a refuge” (Strong’s #2620)  The manner in which a trusting baby bird hides itself under its parent’s feathers.  It also has the meaning of “to lean on someone or something.”  I am learning to lean on the Lord when I don’t have my own strength.   Psalm 37:5 says ” Commit your way to the Lord, TRUST also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”  That word “commit?”  It means to “roll it over on” the Lord. To roll my burdens over on to the Lord and rest in the shelter of His wings is where I want to be.  He will carry me.  He will sustain me.  And He will bring me through to the light on the other side of the tunnel.

It’s been almost four years since my sister-in-law died after a brave battle with breast cancer.  I wrote this note in the weeks after her passing.  Thought I would share it again now, as it speaks volumes to me about trusting in the Lord and reminds me that He is right there with us, even through the darkest of tunnels…

Trust. Such a simple little word, that conjures up so many different emotions for different people. On hearing the word, one may instantly feel love, peace, and comfort, while another may feel anxiety, doubt and fear. Life’s circumstances and experiences put a different spin on the word, causing some people to jump in with both feet, while others shrink back into the shadows, afraid to put out a toe.
As I was driving the other day, I crossed a bridge where some construction work is being done. They are expanding the bridge, adding a driving and walking lane. I watched the men putting up the railing for the walking lane, and I realized, I am putting my trust in those men’s hands. I trust that they are going to do their job correctly, putting the railing up properly, so that as I lean on it, I won’t fall through. I trust the men expanding the driving lane, that the structure underneath me as I drive will be solid and sound, holding me securely as I drive over the rushing water below. In a sense, I am putting my life in their hands. Have I ever met these men? Do I know anything about them? Do I know their character? Are they explicitly following directions? Are they diligent? Do they care one iota about me or my life? Are they worthy of my trust?
This, then, begs the question: why, oh why, am I so quick to place my complete trust in someone I’ve never met, don’t know anything about, and who doesn’t care about me or my life, yet I sometimes question the God who created me. The God who loves me and only wants what is best for my life. The God who protects me and carries me through the rough patches. The God who laughs with in my times of joy, and weeps with me in my times of sorrow. The God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His character is perfect. He is explicit in His instruction. Diligent in His love. Worthy above all else of holding my trust.
I don’t understand why Sheri is no longer with us. I don’t understand why cancer robs us of those we love. I don’t understand why precious children are left without their momma, and a loving husband is left without his wife. Why a little brother has to mourn his big sister. Why a mother and father have to bury a child. Why family and friends have to grieve over someone so precious and beautiful who is no longer here. The list of “whys” goes on and on…
BUT. I am not called to understand. I am called to TRUST. “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean NOT on your own understanding. In ALL your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) I acknowledge the Lord. I trust in His sovereignty. His ways are not my own, and who am I to question why, or why not? To trust is to feel safe. There is no safer place then at the feet of Jesus. I lay all my trust at His feet, and know that He will carry us through. His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:23) He hears our cry, attends to our prayer, and leads us to the rock that is higher. He is our refuge and strong tower. (Psalm 61:1-3) Trust in the Lord. There is no better place to be.

Until next time…

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Ramblings, Uncategorized

 

Monday Musings

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Sunshine, heavenly sunshine!  Here in the winter, we don’t see much of it. Even if it’s sunny all around us, we are in a shadow.  This picture was taken at around 10:30am.  You can see how low the sun is in the sky – this means we typically get about 15-20min of sunshine before it disappears back behind that mountain – that’s if we even get sunshine at all.  It can really make for a long, dreary winter.  Normally, if it’s sunny, we’ll throw open the curtains and stand at the window, trying to soak up every last minute of it.  On rare occasions, we’ll get a couple of days where it lasts for an hour or two, and it is incredible how an hour or two of sunshine can really lift one’s spirit.
Why am I telling you this? Well, here’s the thing…first of all, yesterday and today have been sunny days, and I just wanted to share the beauty of it with you.  Truly, I never tire of this view.  Admittedly, it took me awhile to get used to it, but I have learned to never take it for granted, especially after watching it go up in flames this last summer.  From our home, we can watch deer, beaver, great blue herons, bald eagles, salmon, ice flows changing daily, the occasional bear, and more.  Sunshine or not, it is beautiful, and I am grateful.
Secondly, whether it’s streaming in our windows or tucked behind the mountain, hidden above the clouds in the atmosphere or beaming across a clear blue sky, the sun always comes up.  My husband likes to remind me of this, especially when I am struggling with something or going through a difficult time.  And while it often drives me crazy, he’s right.  The sun will always come up tomorrow (cue the song from Annie), no matter what.  No matter what we’re going through, the sun still rises, life still goes on.  This too, shall pass, and there will be brighter days.  God’s mercies are new every morning, and the dawning of each new day is another chance to rise up and do better.  “Though the sorrow (darkness) may last for a night, His joy (sunshine) comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
Until next time….

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Ramblings

 

12 Days…of recipes

I couldn’t do a post all about the 12 days of Christmas, without including a clip from one of my favorite Christmas videos.  Actually, my brother and I first learned to love “A Sesame Street Christmas,” on record, if you can believe that.  We would play it over, and over, and over.  Now, we have it recorded on cassette.  We’re old school like that. 🙂  Anyway, it is one of my very favorite Christmas memories.

So, for the 12 days of Christmas, I thought I would give you 12 of my favorite Christmas recipes.  Some of them, I have altered – changing the ingredients to come up with a recipe that is a bit more healthy.  Some are recipes I have created on my own.  And, some of them are terrible for you, but hey, it’s Christmas.  We all have to indulge once in awhile, and they are just plain yummy.  🙂

Day One: Turkey-a-la-King

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~ This is our standard, day-after-Thanksgiving meal.  It has become tradition, and it is one of our favorites.
This is a recipe that I came up with on my own, so hopefully I’ve “guesstimated” the measurements right. 😉  It’s not the most beautiful looking dish you’ll ever make, but I promise, it tastes better than it looks. 😉

* 2T olive oil
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
3/4 medium-sized onion, diced (about 1 C)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 C chopped, cooked turkey
2/3 C Casserole Soup Mix (alternatively, use 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup)
2 C water
1 C sour cream or plain yogurt
Seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, cayenne, nutritional yeast

~ In a large saucepan, saute peppers, onion and garlic in olive oil until tender and translucent.  Stir in turkey and heat.  Sprinkle with casserole soup mix and stir to combine.  Gradually add water; stir and simmer until thickened.*  Add sour cream or yogurt; stir to combine and heat until warm.  Serve over rice, quinoa or noodles.  Drizzle with sriracha sauce. 😉  YUM.
*If you are using the cream of mushroom soup, reconstitute it according to directions on the can, then add to pot and continue.  I prefer to use the homemade soup mix, as it is much better for you…

That’s it!  Pretty simple, and a great way to use up leftover turkey.  I realize it’s well after Thanksgiving, but just in case you still have extras lying around, or are planning on making a turkey for Christmas, there you go.  Hope you enjoy.  Let me know what you think.

This post was linked to: The Homestead Barn Hop

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Food, Ramblings

 

Homemade…Yay!!! or Nay???

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I am beginning to feel the urge to get prepping.  I always try to plan ahead and buy things all year long that catch my eye when they are on sale, or things that I think would make a great gift and I won’t be able to buy later.  This way, I’m not blowing my budget all at once.  Thank you, Dave Ramsey.
However, I’m feeling a desire to be more purposeful in my gift giving.  To give something that’s truly from the heart or that would really mean a lot to the receiver.  Don’t get me wrong, I always have this purpose in mind, but I’m thinking along the lines of homemade.  For one thing, it’s generally much more frugal, and for another, it can truly show how much you care – or don’t, depending on how the gift turns out. 😉  Which leads me to my next point: we’ve all received homemade/handmade gifts that were less than desirable, no?  You know what I’m talking about – the hunk of fruitcake that was made in a coffee can and has a taste that’s reminiscent of Folgers; the hand-knit sweater from a great aunt that makes you a front-runner for next year’s ugly sweater contest; the jar of hot fudge that is so thick and hard, you couldn’t chip it out with a jackhammer.  You get the idea.  While I’m sure that gifts such as these were truly good intentions and heartfelt, I would rather give a gift that can be cherished and enjoyed, not thrown in the compost pile or passed along to Goodwill.

So.  Tell me.  What homemade gifts do you enjoy giving/receiving?  What is the best you have received?  Worst?  What do you hate to receive that’s homemade? What are you looking forward to making this year?  Please leave me a comment and share your thoughts.  Looking forward to it…

Closing with a picture I love:

This one was taken out my dining room window.  It is the view that I am blessed with in the morning while I enjoy my coffee.  Absolutely beautiful.

This post was linked to: Freaky Friday , Small Footprint FridaysHomestead Barn HopSimple Lives Thursday

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Ramblings

 

Banana…Ba-nah-na

It’s been HOT lately, no?  So hot, that 92 degrees feels cool.  No, really ~ after a few days of 100+ degree heat, I was walking around outside and thought “wow, it feels pretty good out here; wonder what the temp is?”  I went and looked at the thermometer.  Yup.  92.  Nice.  So, we’ve been trying to find ways to stay cool, and to keep the house cool, without running the air conditioner 24/7.  Here are a few quick tips:
1. Keep the curtains/shades closed ~ this one is hard for me, b/c I can’t stand a dark house.  I love to be able to see out, and when the shades are closed, I feel somewhat trapped.  But, it really does make a difference in the temperature of the house.  Especially for us, with most of our windows on a southern exposure.  This time of year, the heat beats in.  Keeping them closed keeps a lot of the heat out.

2.  Cook outside as much as possible ~ barbecue, slow cooker, toaster oven, dutch oven, whatever meets your fancy.  I have my crock pot and toaster oven out on the deck.  Call me a redneck, but it keeps a ton of heat out of the house when I don’t have to turn the stove on.  The other day I did bread in the crock pot – turned out great.  I’ve also done it in the dutch oven over coals.  I did lasagna and calzones in the toaster oven.  There’s a lot you can do, you just have to be a bit creative.

3.  Open the windows when it’s cool, close ’em when it’s hot ~ duh. 😉  The last week or so, it hasn’t really cooled off enough to have the house open.  And if it has, it’s not been until close to midnight.  So, we go to bed, wake up around midnight (or sometime overnight) and open windows up to let the cool(er) night air in.  Come morning, around 6:30-7am, it gets closed back up. 

4.  Line dry your clothes ~ I started doing this a month or two ago, and I love, love, love it.  Really.  I’ve had people give me funny looks and say “is your dryer broken?”  or, “are you trying to see what it’s like to live ‘off the grid?'”  Nope.  Saving money, saving heat in the house.  Make fun of me all you want, my house is cool, and my power bill is less. 😉  And actually, when it’s nice out, my laundry dries faster on the line then it does in the dryer.  And bonus: no wrinkles!

So there are just a couple of simple ideas.  And I know, you’re wondering why in the world this post is called “Banana…Ba-nah-na?”  What does that have to do with staying cool?  Well, here’s the deal – most of the time, in the heat, no one really wants to eat.  But, you need to have nourishment.  Enter the beloved smoothie.  (and, enter the banana reference…wait for it….).  We love smoothies at our house.  We make them differently every time.  The one thing that stays the same is that they typically have either kefir or greek yogurt and a banana.  So.  The other day I was at Fred Meyer, and they had overly ripe bananas on clearance.  So I bought a bunch (HA!  I’m so clever), and came home and did this:


I peeled the bananas and put them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  I did this for two reasons: 1) I’ve frozen them in their peels before, and they are a pain in the patooty to peel, unless you let them thaw completely first, which makes them quite watery/mushy.  2) I put the parchment paper down first, so they wouldn’t freeze to the cookie sheet.  This made them much easier to remove when frozen.  Note that this picture is after they have been in the freezer for a couple of days – no nasty brown bananas!
Once they were completely frozen, I popped them off of the sheet and put them into a gallon size freezer bag:
When I want to make a smoothie (which I did for dinner tonight – hubby was gone, smoothie and popcorn for dinner, woohoo! 🙂 ), I just pull out a couple chunks and blend it up.  The beauty of this is that you don’t have to add ice – the frozen banana makes it nice and cold/thick without adding ice, which waters it down.
And here’s one more tip – I also add spinach to our smoothies, for added nutrients.  The problem is, I typically by the large Costco-size pack of spinach, and it generally goes bad before we can use it all.  Then I got this idea from a fellow blogger ~ wash the spinach, and pack it by handfuls into sandwich size freezer bags.  Freeze until use.  To add to a smoothie, just drop the baggie on the counter a couple of times – the spinach will break up and you can add it right in.  It works great!  No more wasted spinach!  And again, it makes the smoothie ice-cold w/out the ice.

So that’s that.  Hope you all are staying cool in this beautiful July weather.  All too soon it will be getting chilly again.  If you have any ideas on how to be the heat, or anything you’d like to add, leave me a comment – I love hearing from you!

Closing with a picture I love: This one was from one of our beloved trips up lake on Lake Chelan.  Can’t beat the beauty, serenity, or the wonder of God’s creation.

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Patience…and perseverance


No matter how much patience I think I have, I always find myself needing to learn more.  My husband always sings this song that he learned when he was young: “have patience, have patience; don’t be in such a hurry.  When you get impatient, you only start to worry.  Remember, remember, that God is patient, too.  And just think of all the times when others have to wait on you.” Rather cheesy, yes, but a good reminder, nonetheless.
Eating a “real food” diet, and making changes to our lifestyle requires more patience than I would like to admit.  Our bodies have been trained and bombarded with a certain way of eating, and when you try to change that up, there are certain bodies that will balk at such changes.  These “certain bodies” shall remain un-named, in order to protect their identities, but let’s just say that as a momma, it can be very difficult, if you’re smelling what I’m stepping on.  Change needs to be gradual and small.  When you are excited about something and can see the benefits, it is very hard to take baby steps when you want to press on full force.  This takes not only patience, but perseverance.  Perseverance is defined as: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.  Hello.  Can I get an “amen?”  Difficulties, obstacles, discouragement.  I’ve had so much of that in the last month that I was ready to throw in the towel.  Give up.  Quit.  Forget about it all.  I was even ready to shut down this blog.  Pure frustration.

Really, my family has been quite patient with me through this process.  Some changes have been made with open arms and some have been a gradual, slow acceptance.  In some areas, I might be viewed as a “freak” or a “hippie” (although my sweet niece recently pointed out that I’m not “hippie,” I’m “granola.” :)), but that’s ok.  I embrace that.  I grew up with brothers – I can take what you throw at me. 🙂  I’d rather be viewed as a freak for implementing change, than as someone who just goes with the flow.
There are studies out there that say if you want a picky eater to embrace a new food, you have to introduce that food multiple times, before they’ll accept and like it (if at all).  Same goes with new habits and implementing change. (i.e. cutting out the bad, putting in the good)  Although, I’ve tried to introduce my beloved Kombucha to my family more times than I can count, and they’re not going for it.  But that’s ok – more for me. 🙂
We all agreed that getting rid of the microwave and using a toaster oven instead was a wise decision, but it has taken time and effort to get used to it.  That’s just one area of many.  So, I decided to start a series, where I highlight one food/change that has been introduced and how that’s been accepted.  Positives/negatives, likes/dislikes, what worked, what didn’t.  You get the idea.  I’m going to start with Chia seeds, since that was the catalyst that started this whole “throw in the towel” thing.  You’ll have to read my next post to find out why….

Closing with a picture I love: This one is on Lake Chelan, where I am proud to call home.  My hubby and I had taken a much-needed trip out in our boat, just the two of us.  We were blessed with a beautiful day, and I could have sat here for hours.  The beauty and serenity is breathtaking.

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