It’s Amazing What You Can Find

Each time I do a bit of straightening I am amazed anew at what’s right under my nose, what treasures are in my house. In a recent re-rereading of Alexandra Stoddard’s Living a Beautiful Life I was inspired to deal with some of those little things, those seemingly unimportant details, which get let go when life, elections, holidays and worldwide pre-planned panic attacks occur simultaneously.

Renewing a friendship with old fave authors is the very thing when taking to heart God’s admonition, “Let not your heart be troubled.” And if that trusted friend reminds me of an old truth–that the beauty of small things are worth notice and even close attention–it’s off to the races.

Yesterday I cleared my mind as I cleared drawers and closets. I gladdened my heart as I cleaned and organized my pantry. Heeding Alexandra, I made my fridge a joy to behold–everything straight, neat, and beautiful. I even took the eggs out of the big egg flats and put them into a lovely burlap-sided fridge basket. I may have to pause here and go stare into my fridge.

Homemaking is art.

And art, no matter who says otherwise, pays. It pays to discover there are peppercorns in the pantry, when I had decided I must have been mistaken about buying them. It pays to find my tape measure when I’m going through drawers in the utility room (I had decided to buy a new one). There was great joy in my heart when I found missing lingerie (I had decided I must have given this item away, and wondered why) when I cleared and organized my lingerie chest.

And the great joy to be had simply by straightening shoes in the closet and finding the missing mitten (one I personally knitted which therefore has a bit more “personality” than your ordinary mitten) I’ve been searching for and mourning for almost a year–this is good news, Reader. Why isn’t it on national TV? Bev found her mitten!

And in her Lazy Susan what did she find? As always, lids without bottoms and bottoms without lids (I store containers and a few other items in the Lazy Susan cabinet to the right of my kitchen sink). But I also created order out of chaos as I made my kitchen a bit more user-friendly, and a lot more attractive.

And what wondrous joys await me today? Today, or so I say, I am going to clean the “junk drawer.” I can see myself now: throwing this away and that away and this away and that away; putting the stick pins in thier own little slot, the rubber bands all together; and rejoicing in the “finds”, those things that got stuck in the drawer because I didn’t know what else to do with them. But now I will know.

You can say I am easily entertained, and I will agree with you. It’s quite the life skill, and as I said, it’s amazing what you can find. At home. Right under your nose.

Twice Buttered Toast

Tis the season to do more, not less; to expand your tent stakes, not retract them. This socially prevalent minimalism is ruinous to much that should be joy, and as a man thinketh . . .

Let’s do an in-your-face to the enemy of all abundance with such antics as having twice buttered toast. Here goes: beginning with a delicious bread (maybe even homemade!) let us add butter. If you’re really in the spirit make it a fine European butter and do a bit of slathering. Toast it up a bit, take it out and add more butter.

Better still . . . butter your toast on both sides, or even six sides. True story, this can be done. I once cut the crusts off a yeasty breadmaker loaf, and then divided it into six long sticks of bread, each with four sides, a top and a bottom. I then proceeded to butter all six sides before putting them in the oven to toast.

We-John, me, and the kids, were enraptured. No one made a sound as they carefully and almost worshipfully ate their toast.

Let us proceed to the likes of cinnamon rolls. “What is the deal,” my son Seth asked, “with these people who call these giant dough balls cinnamon rolls.” I knew just exactly of what he spoke. Not enough cinnamon, not enough brown sugar and butter, too much dough and not enough glaze.

“It’s like they’re still using their great great granny’s recipe from when the cinnamon had to be hauled across the plains in a covered wagon,” Seth continued. We talked of thick maple flavored glazes, loaded with pecans and/or walnuts, to be enjoyed with excellent coffee graced with heavy cream, or simply fresh, hot and black. (But I vote for heavy cream whenever and wherever possible.)

Heavy cream. A sure sign of God’s favor. If you’re worried about the calories, remember worry is a sin. If you’re concerned about the expense simply put back the cheapo junky stuff in the cart and add in cream. And butter. And excellent bread.

Better still, learn how to make buttery butter-filled croissants and when they’re hot out of the oven, or even cold, add butter. Oh, and while you’re at it, beware of FOSS when you’re cooking and following recipes created by FOSS sufferers (Fear of Salt Syndrome).

Aren’t you getting full and satisifed and satiated just thinking about it- enough salt, plenty of cream, too much butter?

No, it will not make you fat. Thinking about food all the time because you’re never satisfied because you never eat butter or heavy cream—that will make you fat. To my long ago assertion that all you have to do to lose weight is lose the bread, a wise man replied, “But bread makes the meal.”

“Ah aint innersted,” said a wise woman, “in a life without bread” (we were speaking of the “unsustainability of most diets). Amen to that, sister, and don’t forget the butter.

Rx: Open the Windows and Breeze Through January!

Rx #1:  It may be January in the Rockies, and a bit nippish outside, but what is that to stuffiness and last night’s garlic odors permeating the inside?  Why not build a fire, put on a sweater and big socks, and open the windows?

Then get moving and start Spring Cleaning.  Morning till about 2:00, when it’s time for just a few more details under the belt, and a bit of a walk out of doors, before a nice cuppa.  Have I lost my mind?  Why, you may be asking, would I want to do Spring Cleaning in January?  Is it because it will be way too nice outside to be cleaning when Spring gets here?  Or because the house is getting a bit crusty, what with doing only surface cleaning over the holidays?  Maybe it’s just that I can’t stand to open my closet, or the pantry, or look very closely at anything.

It could be a bit of all the above, but for me, it’s mostly that January can be a bit long.  But still, you may be wondering, how could cleaning make it better?  Cleaning is, everyone knows, menial.,  Wrong.  Menial, the dictionary tells us, means “not requiring much skill and lacking prestige.”  The dictionary can be misleading, I say.  Done well, homemaking requires a great deal of skill, as evidenced by how few people can do it.  As to lacking prestige, there’s very little that makes me feel better about myself and life in general, more prestigious, than a clean and orderly home.

To clean and orderly, add happily and beautifully decorated (not “fashionable and politically correct” decorating), comfortable and comforting, relaxing and restoring, aromatic with both home-concocted essential oil sprays (see below) and no-bake cookies (those are coming later this evening because we don’t want to get carried away with all this weight-loss and fitness stuff), and all five CD trays filled and playing Mozart, and I feel more than prestigious.  I feel blessed.

So, give it a try.  Rather than more of the same (leftover holiday habits) – eating and drinking mindlessly, watching stupid stuff on the Net, and feeling like a big lump, try my prescription.  First, open the windows . . .

As for that essential oil spray:  I had an almost-empty bottle of “Balance” from “The Good Home” and I just added water and more oils.  I didn’t have all the oils in the original and might I add marvelous formula, so I added several citrus oils, some Cedarwood, and Cassia, and went through the house spraying anything and everything.  I just  realized I forgot the Clove! Clove is on the way as soon as I finish this post.

Speaking of Clove, add it to your evening drink, or whatever else you can think of, along with other very warm and marvelous oils and spices, such as caraway, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cinnamon, and you will be both physically and emotionally fed.

Rx#2:  This is for getting through long January evenings when you’re sure it must be bedtime and it’s not yet 7:00 p.m.  This is when I do my evening ablutions (such a lovely word), put on my pajamas, and settle in with a very good book (ideas coming right up).  If I get sleepy again before I want to turn in, I take a break and make a lovely evening drink, and here’s the recipe:

Warm milk, honey, vanilla extract, with cinnamon and nutmeg on top.  This must, of course, be imbibed from your very favorite mug.  You could try this, or your variation thereof, and call it your January bedtime story drink (we did this with goat milk when the kids were little and read aloud together – very fun and a way to get rid of the free goat milk our neighbors gave us).  This is a perfect time to concoct your own version of an Internet Chai recipe – I just look for what looks really spicy, then double the spice amounts.  Yay! for warmth in January.

Maybe in February (Valentine’s Day and Chocolates) add cocoa and almond flavoring to your drink and plenty of ORGANIC* heavy whipping cream.  Don’t think of this as fattening.  Rather, have only one reasonably sized mug of it and think of yourself as blessed.

And now for those books:  I started one the other night and had to tear some of the pages out lest anyone in my house see me reading such trash (OK, so you don’t do that, but do you hide the Jo Jo’s?).  Finally, this entire book went into the trash.  I went to the library the next day and came home with TREASURES:  Comstock Lode by Louis L’Amour and Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington.  I’m about 2/3 through Up From Slavery  and halfway through Comstock Lode.  Both are riveting.

It’s about time I had a cuppa (something) and did a bit of reading – Booker T. and me, and Louis as well, so swell (I know you’ll forgive my corny-ness).  Thanks for being with me, and I wish you a Happy, Blah-Free January.  Amen.

*I said ORGANIC because otherwise you may be drinking carageenan, which for me causes joint pain.  Not good, not what I want to be worrying with in my fun January.

 

Hot as a Firecracker Over Crackers

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So I just opened this box of crackers only to find they’re so cleverly packaged that there are only half what would fit in the box.  Wrong!  My husband John just measured the little plastic cracker organizer and the box to find that there is 3.28 times more box area than cracker storage area.

Can you say shortsighted?  I will NEVER buy ANYTHING from these people again.

Same for the canned tuna and canned chicken folks who think their customers are dumb as posts and won’t notice the cans are only half full.

People do not appreciate having their intelligence insulted by dishonest companies, who would, I believe, be much better served to simply raise the price and advertise that their cans are full!

This is like a book I saw today, advertised as $2.99 but the shipping was $28.00.  To quote Tim Hawkins, it “makes you wanna slap your (their) mama!”

I say we patronize honest merchants, even if they do charge a bit more.

P.S.  Join me on The Homefront Show Wednesday morning at 8:00 Mountain.  SO MUCH good stuff and a very INTERESTING guest!  

https://1360khnc.com/

 

 

 

What is it About Steak?, What are Dippies?,and Other Good Questions

Hallelujah!  That was what I wanted to burst into song with after last week’s Homefront Show.  Not because the show was over, but because we had steak for breakfast.  I’m going to talk about that during the show tomorrow (Wednesday the 27th) – about basic, timeless good things, such as breakfast, and steak, and conversation during breakfast while eating steak.  You think steak is for rich people.  Think again.  I’m going to talk about how expensive that kind of thinking really is.

We’ll consider the expense of a poverty mentality.  And we’ll look at Gary Keesee’s 10 Steps to Posture Yourself for Opportunity, and share insights from Tommy Newberry’s 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, and excellent thoughts from two excellent men – John Parker and John Dunlap.

So, if you know anyone who could use a bit of excellence, good ideas, joy, and other good stuff, call them now and tell them to join us on the Home Front Show (Wednesday, March 27 at 8:00 AM Mountain), on http://1360khnc.com where we’ll also talk about the organization Transform Our World, and the joy  of transforming our world.

Joy.  Did you know joy doesn’t mix with fear.  Fear is the devil’s currency, and you can’t buy a single good thing with it.  In her book Time Alive, Alexandra Stoddard has a chapter entitled  JOY ACCOMPANIES A COURAGEOUS LIFE, and the title is followed by this Winston Churchill quote:  “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities . . . It is the quality which guarantees all others.”

Fear, as I said, is the devil’s currency.  Fear is what causes people to succumb to evil without even knowing it.  It makes people irrational so that they behave in ways at odds with their actual beliefs.  Fear makes us unsound of mind, and knocks the hero right out of us.

I like to talk about hero moms on the Homefront Show, and one of those was my grandmother, “Grannimother”, who did her laundry in Mountain Fork River near Hochatown, Oklahoma.  I remember not only what God has done for me in days past, but what my ancestors have done for me, what all our ancestors have done for us in building this country, in things large such as coast to coast railroads and highways, and in things a bit smaller such as running water and washing machines.

It may have been recalling bathing in the river as Grannimother did the wash that prompted my dad’s response to a group of women complaining about keeping up with the laundry.  He grinned and said, “Yeah, it sure is hard pouring in that soup and pushing those buttons.”

I remember one of my favorite things ever was Grannimother peeling her garden-scorched, best-in-the-entire-world tomatoes, and slicing big thick slices to share with me.  Just tomatoes and salt.  Who could ask for more?

That’s wealth, and it’s not expensive.  Here’s what’s expensive:  Putting a sugar/processed grain death concoction in front of your family every single day, as a way to start their day.

Then maybe it’s hot dogs for lunch.  “That just blows my mind” was John’s response the other day when he asked me if I wanted steak or chili dogs I said, “Steak is better and steak is cheaper.”

We bought round steak at Ridley’s in Wellington for $2.99 a pound (hot dogs were considerably more), marinated it  for three days, then grilled it after the show last Wednesday morning.  Oh, my goodness, was it wonderful!  I gently fried eggs (dippies) and made Dave’s Killer Bread toast and  pot of tea to go along with it.

Of course you can add all sorts of things to this:  I really like to saute spinach with garlic and mushrooms for breakfast, and I’m a big believer in homemade applesauce, or just a can of peaches (always get them in juice, not syrup) with cinnamon.

Now back to dippies:  The point of dippies is the runny yolk so you can dip your bread into it and say “Yum” right after you sing Hallelujah over the steak.

So, let’s talk about that.  What is it, in fact, about steak?  We actually asked each other that question last Wednesday.  “What is it about steak?”  I suggested the B vitamin found only in red meat.  Seth suggested we should eat it in honor of our ancestors, who might not have had as much of it as they wanted.  Wealth being measured not by goats or pigs or tofu, but by the cattle on a thousand hills was mentioned.  And then there was the crux of the matter in Seth’s question:  What is better than steak?  We couldn’t think of anything.  There is a delicious sense of well-being experienced in the first bite of a juicy steak, and in every subsequent bite as well, especially if it’s been a bit since you’ve had beef.

I say the whole anti-meat thing is from Hell.  Ever since the campaign against red meat and the assertion that it causes heart disease, heart disease has been on the rise.  Hmm.  It’s just another example of the dangers of being one of the crowd, of fitting in, going along, keeping your head down and your mind docile – doing the socially acceptable thing.  But here’s the big problem Satan and all his deceived have, in particular about meat.  It’s really hard to convince people something so good is so bad.

We once worked with several young women who were vegetarians, vegans, and other variations of labels which in many cases were simply sad attempts at that “defining sense of self”.  And then one day we invited some of them over for steaks – “that’s what we’re having, you’re welcome if you want to come” was the casual group invite.  Three of them came over and they practically inhaled those steaks.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Well, you may think this is much ado about nothing, or very close to nothing, but I’m after a larger picture.  I’m after our taking a look at the gifts of God and participating.

And lest you’ve been victimized by that “can’t eat it if it has a face” let me help you with that.  I was raised on a farm and I can tell you there are no retirement facilities for cows, there are no nursing homes for deer.  If man does not obey God’s directive to steward the earth, animals such as cows and game will overpopulate and die of starvation and disease.  Failing that, they will die miserably of old age.  You are being singularly unkind when you suggest no one should eat meat.  Most of all to your own self.

Meat makes people strong.  In days of old meat was only for royalty, and starving peasants were shot or publicly strung up for poaching so much as a rabbit to feed their children.  It was no secret that when people are well fed, particularly on meat, they become very difficult to control.

Well, things are better in that regard, and yet we return to a peasant’s mentality when we say we don’t want meat.  It is a weakling mentality.  We are royalty and we need to act like it, and eat like it.

Royalty – we’re going to have royalty on the show tomorrow, so if you haven’t already done so, give that someone you’re thinking of a call.  Reach out, be brave.  You can do it – just act like you had steak for breakfast.

Thanks for joining me, and if you’re out of the 1360 listening area, you can go to the website – http://1360khnc.com

Thanks again.

Bodacious Faith, Roma Downey, Emilie Barnes, Laura Calder, Abigail Adams and More! Friday at 2:00 on The Homefront Show

If you’re like me, sometimes you need a little extra strength.   And a little, no, make that a lot more love.  A little faith, no a lot more faith.  There’s a song about having “a little faith” and it sounds all pious but it’s not.  God is not the god of just a little bit.  No more than we want our kids to sniff the spinach bowl and disdain the roast beef rather than enjoy the entire meal – no more than that does God want us to take just a little bit.

In the secular college where I studied economics, we were taught scarcity of resources, just as Satan intends we all be taught. Rather than being taught to simply create more pie, we are taught about that one measly pie.  By people of greed and lack we are taught greed and lack.  We have limited, scarcity, I’d-better-not-expect-too-much, if-I-prosper-that means-someone-else-can’t (but too bad for them), mentalities.

But God wants to give us all the good and then embellish it! He wants to give us the truck farm of spinach and serve up helpings of it along with the steak from our cattle on a thousand hills and finish it off with key lime pie shared with the neighbors under twinkle lights on our big decks built out over the water.

Livnig water. My nephew’s son has had an intestinal issue lately and they think it may be too much swimming in the river, which is low right now, stagnant.  Folks, we are all putting up with low water, swimming in stagnant water, and completely doing without the readily available living water of Jesus.

We think in lack. Even those of us with money in the bank think in lack.  Always in a defensive, “yeah but, what if” mentality.  And almost guaranteeing that the lack will come (we say what we believe and we have what we say, we get what we expect), and  even if it doesn’t come, we never enjoy what we have and where we are.

So, we need faith. I’m going to talk a little, but say a lot, about faith today, bodacious faith.  And we’ll see how so many things flow out of faith, and flow into faith.  We’ll see a cycle of faith.

So call anyone you know who struggles with doubt, who frets and worries, who has anxiety lines right between her eyes (anyone who is a human, especially a human female) and tell them:

http://www.1360am.co is the place to go, for The Homefront Show.

Also today we’ll talk about the power of posture and poise, about the Inviting Life,`Housekeeping Howevers, baking pineapple for brunch, about being a COI per Krista Dunlap, and from The Founder’s Bible we’ll see how two of our founding parents had great expectations for their children.  I’ll feature Roma Downey’s book, Box of Butterflies, and Emilie Barnes’ Tea Lover’s Devotional.  And we’ll begin today’s show with beauty AND PERHAPS A CORRECTION, from Psalm 19:12.

All this and more today at 2:00 Mountain Time at www.1360am.co

Jacques Lusseyran, Excuses to Action, Skilled Listening and More Today on the Homefront Show

In less than an hour (2:00 Mountain Time Friday the 23rd) you can turn your excuses to action with inspiration and practical information from Jacques Lusseyran, a 16-year-old, blind French boy who lived and moved and changed the world during Nazi occupation of France.  Go to http://www.1360am.co

Also today on the Homefront Show I’ll be sharing the healthiest food in the world, and the healthiest thing you can do, as well as putting us all on track with making a man feel loved via wisdom from Bob Barnes (Mr. Emilie Barnes).

We’ll talk about skilled listening and what NOT to talk about, as well as hallowing the moments of our lives via quality thinking and doing, rather than cramming every single moment with every single activity we can possibly manage.

And as always on The Homefront Show, more.  Much more!

Thanks for joining me.  That’s 2:00 Mountain Time today, Friday the 23rd.  Simply go to:  http://www.1360am.co and enjoy!

 

Fruit or Fruity, and, The Gift of “No”

My children are astounded.  Now that they’re adults I’ve tasted the forbidden fruit, and asked them to join me.  Horrors.  They’re called “toaster pastries” by Nature’s Path, but my kids know the truth:  Mom bought poptarts!

I have taught them my disdain for passing off sugar as breakfast, and why wouldn’t they be converts?  While their peers are eating Lucky Charms and Count Chocula, and even Poptarts, they partake of steel cut oats (with blueberries, pecans, honey and cream) eggs, meat (organic and often from the woods) homemade biscuits and scones, hot tea, and usually more, such as potatoes, sliced tomatoes, pinto beans, applesauce, peach crisp, pumpkin waffles with nuts and REAL maple syrup, popovers running over with butter and apple butter, pineapple breakfast bread, and some days even brownies for “appetizers”.

Yesterday we had “toaster pastries” as an early morning appetizer with our coffee.  They were cherry pomegranate (who could resist?), USDA organic, non-GMO, fair trade, and in a lovely package.  And disappointing.  I wanted them to (ahem) taste just like Poptarts.

But this morning I was not disappointed.  Rather than an adulterated fruity thingy, I simply am having the real deal.  After a few bites, my enlightened self had to share this:  REAL IS REAL AND FAKE IS FAKE.  CHOOSE REAL!

I think this is another one of “Need I say more?” instances.  Still, I must continue and tell you that fruity pastries and the like weaken the immune system, even as fruit strengthens the immune system.  Letting kids decide what they want to eat is a shirking of responsibility.  So, give them the gift of “No” to harmful “foods” and the gift of your example in eating fruit, just as nature made it.

Tell them one of the things you love about pomegranates is that each little seed, even the ones deeply buried and hard to extract, is like a jewel.  It’s like eating jewels and it makes the body sing!  Not so, manmade fruity fakes.  OK, I’m done.

WAIT!  AGAIN, I NEED TO SAY MORE!  AND THAT IS THIS:  http://www.1360am.co at 2:00 PM Mountain Time, Friday afternoon.  THE HOMEFRONT SHOW, Today, January 12!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Reproach, Mrs. Bennett, I Beg You! ESPECIALLY on the 4th of July!

There are potatoes to be chopped and bacon to be crisped to go along with everything else already ready for potato salad.  There is a feast to be shared and great and glorious words to be heard this evening at church before the fireworks.

(No, this is not my potato salad, but I thought it looked appetizing.  Mine has potatoes, celery, dill pickles, green and sweet white onions, mustard, mayo, sea salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and bacon)

As usual, there is much to be done!  But first things first, regardless.  Communing with my Maker in His beautiful Word, in prayer. in praise and thanksgiving.

“Thank you, God, for America.  For freedom.  For bringing me from glory to glory, from freedom to freedom.”  A nation is only as free as its people, and people are only as free as they allow Jesus to indwell them.  Free indeed.

I was free this morning to become upset because my breakfast and git-er-done plans weren’t quite panning out.  The raisin bread was generously spread with organic salted butter, the applesauce in the serving bowl, bacon browning nicely in the oven, coffee in the French press, Rooibos in the teapot, milk in the cow creamer and heavy cream in the pitcher.

And then it was time to whip up the eggs for scrambling.  But alas!  It appears that last night someone ate almost all the remaining eggs in the fridge.  Four eggs to feed five people.  I asked a daughter to go after more eggs (in another fridge in another building) so we could have breakfast before another daughter had to leave for work.

But the speed of molasses was quite fast compared to the movements of my tribe this morning, and early-morning logic told my daughter that she had to look ready for a photo shoot in order to go after eggs.

Temptation to sabotage breakfast with my stress and upset set in.  Temptation to reproach my beloved for scrambling not one, not two, not three, but six eggs last night set in.  Temptation was after me, plaguing me – to vent about “slow and lazy” people, to put labels onto my children they need like a hole in the head.

Who has the hole in the head, anyway?  Why didn’t I simply invite the daughter who’s leaving early to join me on the balcony with baked peanut butter on raisin bread and a lovely cup of French roast with heavy cream in the cool and birdsong-blessed morning?

I plugged the hole with praise and prayer and DETERMINATION not to gripe or complain or in anyway ruin the joy and beauty of the morning for my beloveds, and all of a sudden they appeared, smiling, hugging, thanking me for breakfast, eager to partake (perhaps the power of the wafting smell of bacon?)..

So I scrambled those four eggs, and the going-to-work daughter (who doesn’t care for eggs anyway) happily put peanut butter and honey on her raisin toast, and had thick and crispy bacon slices with applesauce and tea and was happy as could be.  Between the other four of us the eggs were plenty.  Where is it written, I asked myself, that we all have to have two or three eggs every morning?  No wonder I’m a bit sluggish after breakfast sometimes!

SO GLAD I DIDN’T REPROACH JOHN FOR EATING THOSE EGGS LAST NIGHT.  I was less tempted by the lack of eggs, than by my disapproval of late-night eating.  Reproach, I know full well, never changed a husband.  Conviction by the Holy Spirit of our Creator, perhaps put in motion by my faith-filled prayers, has often worked wonders in the lives of my beloveds.

Reproach, not so much.  Reproach is very often also disdain, disapproval, censure, judgment, condemnation, and shaming.  Guilt, in other words.  Guilt, as we all know from experience, doesn’t lead to repentance, to a true turning in a new direction.

“Do not reproach your husband,” has been ringing through my mind for weeks now.  I am coming to see, in my forfeiting my “right” to even the slightest of complaints, that I am setting myself free.  I am placing myself in a right position to be in God’s blessing, and out of God’s way!

“No lace, Mrs. Bennett! No lace, I beg you!”  Mr. Bennett (Pride and Prejudice)vehemently commanded Mrs. Bennett to spare him, but she blithely ignored him.  “Respect, Mrs. Bennett,” was his heart’s cry, and silly and foolish woman that she was, she sought her own amusement at his expense.

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her,” about the Proverbs 31 woman, is a verse of continuing revelation for me. “Lord,” I ask, “Can John safely trust me?” Usually, perhaps because of the following line, “He has no lack of gain,” my thoughts turn to money. “How can I do better in this area?”

But as we pass the years together, I see that more and more what John’s heart needs from mine is simply to love him as he is, even as he changes and grows right along with me, unhindered (I pray) by my interference in his relationship with God.

 

Oh, Father, I thank you for your patience with me, and for growing patience in me. And I thank you for this wonderful child of yours, John, whose heart you have entrusted to my care.  May I be ever more skillful in that sacred trust.  Amen.

 

Hooray!  Freedom!  Especially on the 4th of July.

 

The Home Artiste and Mother’s Day

LAST WEEK THE RAIN AND FOG AND THE CHILL CAME IN – AND THE BARELY GREEN ASPEN TREES WERE SHROUDED IN CLOUD.  MY DAUGHTER REBEKAH RIGHTLY DISCERNED IT WAS THE PERFECT TIME FOR A TEA PARTY AND SOME GOOD CONVERSATION, WITH SOME LOVELY MUSIC.  I HAD BEEN PLANNING TO DO SOME PAINT PREPPING, BUT IT WOULD KEEP.

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WEDNESDAY MORNING WAS MUCH THE SAME AND WHEN I ASKED JOHN IF HE WAS STILL SURE HE WANTED A SMOOTHIE FOR BREAKFAST IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, HE WASN’T SO SURE.

SO HERE’S WHAT WENT DOWN:

I PUT SPROUTED AND BUTTERED BREAD IN THE OVEN ON LOW, AND THE SERVING BOWLS AS WELL – PUT COLD BOWLS INTO THE OVEN BEFORE TURNING IT ON, NOT AFTER IT’S HOT. (IF I HAD BEEN GOING TO SERVE FRIED EGGS, I WOULD HAVE ALSO HEATED THE PLATES – FOR FOUR PEOPLE I HEAT SIX PLATES, THEN I HAVE ONE EXTRA ON TOP AND ON BOTTOM, AND WRAP IN DISH TOWELS WHEN I TAKE THEM OUT AND THERE’S NO STRESS ABOUT THE HORROR COLD EGGS!).

THEN THERE’S ALSO A PLATE TO PUT THE EGGS ON AS THEY’RE FINISHED FRYING, WITH A LID OR COVERING OF SOME SORT TO KEEP THEM WARM UNTIL SERVING.  WE CALL THESE EGGS “DIPPIES”, AS YOU HAVE DONE WHITES, BUT YOLKS NICELY RUNNY AND GOLDEN FOR DIPPING TOAST INTO!  (I LEARNED TO CALL THEM “DIPPIES” FROM JANE BROCKET IN “THE GENTLE ART OF DOMESTICITY – EXCELLENT, JANE IS!)

I DUMPED HALF A JAR OF CHUNKY CINNAMON APPLESAUCE INTO A PAN AND ADDED WALNUTS AND RAISINS AND BEGAN HEATING. THE TEA KETTLE WAS FILLED AND HEATING AS REBEKAH SET THE TABLE WITH MILK IN A CREAM PITCHER, HONEY, ETC.

I HEATED THE TEAPOT WITH HOT WATER THEN EMPTIED IT AND SET IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STOVE ON THE WARMING ZONE, ADDED FOUR BAGS OF ROOIBOS TEA AND COVERED IT WITH A TEA COZY ( I WOULD MUCH PREFER A NICE ENGLISH BLACK TEA, ACTUALLY) – ALL READY FOR BREWING. ANOTHER THING I WOULD HAVE DONE IF IT WERE REALLY A COLD DAY IS USE STURDY THICK MUGS AND RUN HOT WATER INTO THEM FOR A BIT BEFORE SERVING TIME.

A PACKAGE OF THIN PORK CHOPS CAME OUT OF THE FREEZER AND WENT INTO A SKILLET WITH WATER TO BEGIN STEAMING APART AND COOKING (I COOKED THEM UNTIL THEY CARMELIZED AND MADE LOVELY BROWN GRAVY, OR AU JUS).

WE HAD LEFTOVER MASHED POTATOES SO I MADE THEM INTO BALLS AND PUT THEM IN THAT SAME SKILLET AFTER REMOVING THE PORK CHOPS INTO A SMALL SKILLET AND PUTTING ON A BACK BURNER ON LOW. ONCE THE POTATO BALLS WERE BROWN ON BOTH SIDES, I PLACED THE PAN ATOP THE PORK CHOP PAN AND PUT A LID ON TOP.

WHEN THINGS LOOKED TO BE NEARLY READY, I DUMPED LEFTOVER HOMEMADE SOURCREAM DIP AND A CUP OF LEFTOVER CHOPPED ONIONS AND SAUTEED THEM GENTLY IN A MIXTURE OF BUTTER AND OLIVE AND COCONUT OILS.

I WHIPPED UP SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH PEPPER AND SEA SALT, POURED THE STEAMING WATER INTO THE TEA POT.

NOTE:  I HAVE A SAUCER READY TO DUMP THE TEA BAGS ONTO BEFORE SERVING, AND A SAUCER OR POT HOLDER TO PLACE THE TEA POT ONTO FOR TABLE PROTECTION (THIS IS ALSO A POSSIBLE ISSUE WITH HOT PLATES, IN WHICH CASE THE TABLE SETTER PUTS A NAPKIN OR A PLACEMAT AT EACH SETTING.

YOU MAY THINK THIS SOUNDS COMPLICATED, BUT IT’S SIMPLY A MATTER OF DOING THINGS IN ORDER, AND GETTING INTO GOOD HABITS.

HAVING A LITTLE HELP IS NICE, TOO. IF YOU DON’T HAVE HELP, THOUGH, YOU JUST PREP AHEAD OF TIME AND THINK THINGS THROUGH.  SET THE TABLE, FILL THE CREAM PITCHER, PUT THE HONEY AND STRAWBERRY JAM ON THE TABLE (NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IN THAT JAM!), WHIP YOUR EGGS AHEAD OF TIME, AND THAW THAT MEAT AHEAD OF TIME!

WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IS READY OR JUST ABOUT, POUR THE EGGS IN TO SCRAMBLE AND WHEN THEY’RE NEARLY DONE RING THE BREAKFAST BELL (YES, I DO HAVE ONE!)

OH, AND IF YOUR LOVELY DAUGHTER PUT ON MUSIC FOR YOU, AS DID REBEKAH WITH COLD PLAY’S “SOMETHING LIKE THIS” BE SURE TO DANCE ABOUT AND SING A BIT. WHAT A GIFT TO YOUR FAMILY:  A HOT, DELICOUS BREAKFAST WITH A DANCING, SINGING, SMILING MUM.

HMMM.  MIGHT THIS BEAR PONDERING WITH REGARD TO MOTHER’S DAY, AND ALL MY FAMILY’S SO HOPING I LIKE THIER GIFTS, AND THAT MY DAY IS TRULY SPECIAL?  COULD IT BE THAT I SHOULD SIMPLY FOCUS ON REJOICING IN GOD FOR MOTHER’S DAY AND ALL IT MEANS?

I AM INCAPABLE OF PUTTING WORDS TO WHAT’S IN MY HEART, BUT I ASK GOD DAILY TO CLEANSE IT FROM ALL SELFISHNESS, SO THAT IT MAY BE FULL OF PRAISE AND SONG.  YES, THAT’S IT, OR AT LEAST A GLIMMER – I WANT MY FAMILY TO HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST INKLING OF THEIR WORTH AND VALUE TO ME.  AND I WANT THEM TO SEE ME SMILE.  AND HEAR ME SING.  AND DANCE WITH ME.

THIS MOTHER’S DAY DON’T LAMENT A SINGLE THING. JUST ENJOY, AND GIVE, AND RECEIVE!