Monday, March 31, 2008

Keeper of the Chocolates

Wonderful blog, with a cookies recipe that looks good enough to eat. What a beautiful poetic way to look at life and not a bit of pretense. No saccarine here just genuine. I left her a comment asking how she keeps chocolate, I eat mine up.

A Garden Tea Party

If you like pretty gardens and little tea parties occasionally, before it gets hot anyway, look at this blog.

A bit of relaxation for us. I love outdoor dining, ice tea in this part of the country, or how about a mint julip? Actually never had one, they sound too sweet but oh so southern. My last batch of ice tea I brewed Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Breeze Green Tea and sweetened it. Delicious.

Some Good Reads

Do I dare? I wouldn't claim to be a book critic but I know what I like. The Ragamuffin Diva has written an intriguing novel "Murder Mayhem and a Fine Man". How does one deal with the issues of passion and purity, divorce and remarriage, celibacy outside of marriage, and a murder? It doesn't sound much like a novel does it? Usually those heavy topics are dealt with by theologians and professional counsellors, but the diva jumped right in; and the water is fine. With an adorable personality that speaks like a girlfriend, with humour, love, and suspense she weaves her love story. Her story reads like it is real, I wondered at times if it really was fiction. Some scenes would be hard to make up. You will "watch" this story as she paints pictures, involves emotions and makes one laugh out loud. Consider yourself warned, I read the book in two sittings, and it was late at night when the light went out. The good news is the second book will be released in April, count me in.

On a more serious note two books that I picked up at a conference are "Choices" by Mary Farrar. An excellent thought provoking book. She gives a historical recounting of the woman's role from the "Little House on the Prairie" to today with some unique suggestions and serious life evaluating questions. You will not be the same.

Also at same conference a book titled "Margins" by Dr.Richard Swenson, discusses how weakly we protect our roles, our time and lives. "Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits". If our lives were represented by a printed page their wouldn't be any margins around the print, every inch would be full. Now think for a minute of how unpleasant that would be to look at and read. How much more so to live that way? Another zinger to help bring back balance into our lives.

Enjoy with some home cooking and put your feet up for awhile.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fixin to Ramp it Up!

We are almost to the end of our first 10 weeks with Marathon Makeover. Personally I feel so much better. I can't believe that I can go out and walk three miles like it's walking around the block. The other really big deal is the flexibility from the yoga class. At 52 I have barely been able to touch my toes and would you believe I can bend over and lay my hands on the floor? Piglet deleted picchas from the camera and my spandex "before" shots were on there. There is already an improvement so by October I may be totally rejuvenated! The secret is little goals. Little doable goals that don't hurt. Like loosing 5 pounds 12 times, doesn't that sound easier?

Piglet is out driving the car alone for the first time! Be still my heart. Talk about resting on the everlasting arms, this is a big deal.Valium would be good. I tried to take her piccha and she said,"Your such a grandma! NO". Waaahh I wanted one. I didn't think quick enough to dangle the keys and the camera together, she already had the keys and was beat feetin it to the symbol of teenage freedom!
Help Lord.

This is the worst case of spring fever ever maybe. Everything inside has been cleaned up and foofooed afresh. The front porch is started, The flower beds weeded, forked up and new bark applied. Each day there is a new bloom to see. Today the first columbine opened, so pretty. I bought a cute little rack for $3 at Lil's junk shop today. I hung it outside the front door that nobody comes too. This is the south everybody comes around to the back door. I'm going to get some little pots and cups and put impatience in them and let them cascade down. I also set up a little rack and will get to potting that soon. The rockers need an overhaul. Have been thinking about maybe stripes and checks or some kind of eclectic paint job. I really want my husband to switch the front and back door. He thinks I'm crazy. the front door is a full length French door, the back door is a half french. To me the full length should be off the kitchen. Opinions please?

I was thinking of coloring my hair, more spring fixin stuff. My husband didn't know and he told me today that one of our friends gave me a compliment and said we both get better looking as we get older. Nice kiss. Also fed said friend (say that 10 times fast)a delicious roast beef dinner with an incredible mushroom sauce. It takes courage to age naturally, or maybe stupidity. I'm going to let my hair grow so I can wad it up in a clip and get it off my neck, forget color.

Thank ya'll for helping to spread the word about my little freebie. Don't forget there will be one more little special surprise item in the package! Welcome back to my sweet friend at Coffee Bean-Righteous Buzz. She is a delightful writer and ya'll will love to visit her.

Here's how to make my blow your mind roast. Pick a nice eye of round roast, check for grissel and try to avoid that. Heat a skillet very hot and add olive oil and minced garlic. Wash and pat dry your meat, very dry. salt and pepper it and sear it on all sides in the hot skillet. Place on a roasting rack and time for 15 minutes a pound for medium rare, at 375. 20 for well done(booo) Keep the skillet as is, reduce the heat to low and add a whole large food processor bowl full of sliced mushrooms. You may choose portabella or the regular little button ones or a mix of whatever is fresh. No cans! Season again. As they cook and get tender add a very generous portion of good red wine. I used Mondavi Merlot, if it's not good to drink don't cook with it either. Reduce this. When the liquid has reduced add half and half, not as much, mostly for some creaminess, I think I used about a half cup. When your meat is done (you can put a bit of water in the bottom of the pan while roasting so the drippings don't burn) pour the drippings into the sauce. Let the meat rest before slicing. Make a small bowl of rue, flour and water. The secret to no lumps is to add a small amount of water first and beat the rue and add water when the lumps are gone. If you try and add all the water at once you can never get the lumps out. Think cookie dough to pancake batter. While the sauce is at a fast simmer almost a boil add rue to thicken, whisk and reduce heat. Taste for salt and pepper. You can add a pinch of fresh Italian Provence blend with lavender if you like a bit of the fresh earth in your food. Prepare your mouth to freak out. This is DELISH!! If I don't say so myself. I served it with rice pilaf, fresh asparagus and my salad. Always a loaf of warm sourdough bread and real butter. I have given up my Good Seasons Italian dressing mix for lent. The same ingredients with fresh herbs garlic and salt and pepper is even better. What's the point of putting MSG on organic food? If you haven't seen the salad it's in older posts. Bon appetite! Muy bonita chiccas!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Let the Game Begin!

It's easy. for the next two weeks anyone who posts to this blog and mentions Fresh Fixins on their blog or to a friend will be entered. I bought a lovely box of tea at our brand new Fresh Market, called Sweet Ginger Peach Tea. The other item is a paperback copy of "Mrs Whaley's Charleston Kitchen, Advice, Opinions, and 100 Recipes from a Southern Legend" by Emily Whaley. A very fun very southern book. You'll be able to brew a cup of peach tea and find a recipe for some decadent southern delish dish to go with it. Contest will close April 7th at 8:00pm. Please share with your friends, if anyone shares with 6 friends they will be entered an extra time. I may add an extra little surprise from Fresh Market but you won't know what it is until it's over.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Born Again Hippie

We sang a song today that has the refrain, "no turning back". When Jesus first called my name and brought me out of my own personal pit of hell; I thought this meant a list of behaviors on my part. After making a commitment for Christ I was supposed to change my behavior, language, dress, and lifestyle. The next step was to get myself cleaned up and straightened out right?

My best friend is funny like Lucille Ball. She laughs so hard, and she is also wise. in between giggles Lucy kept talking about the great love Jesus had for me. She pointed me to the path of redemption by grace, and restoration by grace.

Why on earth would anyone think they could be a wreck one minute and a mastermind the next? It just seemed like if I was going to be a believer in Christ that my lifestyle would have to change. No drugs, sex, or rock and roll. That was the mantra of the 80's. I had an incredible record collection, had been to some concerts and enjoyed some boyfriends. Do I dare incriminate myself with any other confessions?

The question is why does anyone think that the first thing after meeting Jesus is to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and remake your own mess. If you pick yourself up by your boots you'll fall on your face. What exactly are my qualifications for this? The mess was incredibly widespread,involved many other people, was shamefully ugly, and devastating for all. Sounds like good experience to me for superior life transformation skills, right? Not.

Would you believe that what became important to me was exactly that? I observed this "code of conduct" certain dress styles and manners of speech. Which group of women friends was the "best" group, who had "money" group, and the "needy" group of "not togethers" that the togethers "ministered too". Not having one suitable outfit to wear to church and wanting to be part of the most desirable "in" group, I charged up a bunch of expensive dresses that I couldn't afford. That didn't get me in their group, it got me in debt. I threw all my records away. Got rid of all my clothes and decorations that were "different". The goal was to become a good church going traditional woman, mild mannered, gracious and genteel.

There was a big problem. God wasn't interested in working so hard on my outer image. He was concerned about my heart and the inner working of my soul, things that take a lot of time and care. Being busy with an exterior remodel was very low on the Saviors agenda.

These are the thoughts that I found myself reflecting upon this Resurrection Sunday. September 24th 1985, on a Monday morning the Lord Jesus rolled away the stone from the dead tomb of my life. Really all I knew was the tremendous overwhelming freedom of forgiveness that was washing over me in waves of tears. I have never forgotten, never turned back.

There was this dilemma, what Jesus was interested in doing on the inside of me; and what I thought I was supposed to do. Everything was so messed up, I just wanted to get it right, and I didn't understand the first thing about the GRACE that I had just received. For years I worked on the image, the code of conduct. It never occurred to me that was exactly what the Pharisees were doing. The enemy of our souls knows how to lay such subtle traps; he's had 6000 years of practice. My husband says, "If it ain't broke don't fix it". Our enemies traps are very effective, they aren't really clever but they are so easy to fall into. Bahhhh it's a sheep! Sheep are dumber than dirt animals, and I GET IT, why we are compared to them! Baaaaahhhhhh again. I am qualified to assert my sheep characteristics because it has taken me this long to assimilate spirit and truth. My house can look like whatever. My clothes can be anything that doesn't have tata's and whoo hoo's hanging out, hair and make up is also a free for all; because it really doesn't matter. That part of "hippie" philosophy was and is right. Those things that are perishable are really not important. What's cool about all of this is that finally, I quit. I can't clean me up. I can't polish the poop. Which circle of people I hang out with at church is of no importance. I'll befriend anyone, that the Lord brings into my life.
Isn't it wonderful to be free? Why do we trip ourselves out? Jesus is so real, so liberating; He asks us to do one thing,"Follow me".

These days I allow myself to wear long skirts, fill up my home with funky stuff that makes me feel relaxed. Go to town without any makeup. Listen to all kinds of music. Life is short, it's no joke that it's a vapor. We struggle to acquire a bunch of stuff that we have to give away when we're old. We're sheep. The smartest easiest thing we can do is follow the shepherd and just relax. That my friends is the glorious message of hope. Cease striving and know that HE is God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding will renew....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Crab Apple Bouquets

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. The Crab Apple tree in the front yard is a prolific mass of blooms. A full armload of clippings made several pretty bouquets for our celebration tomorrow. All the spring cleaning has paid off because our home is fresh and welcoming. When Piglet has a minute to help, I have photos to upload.
I have just about decided on my give away. I'm going to select either a gardening book or a copy of "Mrs Whaley's Charleston Kitchen", book and a box of special tea. Being a new blogger all you lovely visitors can encourage me with some comments.What would you like to win? Please drop me a short note when you visit.
Happy Easter. The Lord Jesus fill your heart with rebirth, and joy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Fever

Oh I've got it bad. I'm cleaning,dusting,rearranging and organizing. If I was pregnant it would be the nesting before birth. Today we sorted books and took a few out for the homeschoolers book sale. My friend recommended another cute blog ,Warm Pie Happy Home. If she ever comes by mine she'll think that I copied hers, we have the same colors. How's that for a kindred? Not to even mention she is from California too, it's a small world.
We have a great junk shop near my house, "Lil's Odds and Ends". It's run by a little black lady and does she ever get the great deals. Her shop is a revolving door of stuff. I was looking for tea cups and she told me she always throws them away no room to display them. Her trash gets taken as soon as she puts it out so they don't really go to waste. I got 4 little clear glass ones for 25 cents a piece. It would have been great if I stopped there but I didn't. I found a really cute Laura Ashley shift dress out of green and cream toille and a little matching jacket in a contrasting ticking, very ooh lah lah. The question is if it fits haven't had the courage to try yet. It was only $8. We had a blast.
The carpet still needs a deep clean, but the house is in good order. The front beds are ready for some new bark. Everything is blooming. My little redbud tree is so precious. I love to plant small young trees and watch them grow up. The redbud in the front yard is my new baby. Harry the Weeping Willow was the last little baby and he's a big tree now. Everything at this house has been planted by us basically. There were three trees and some holly bushes that I had Daddy BB dig out.
The garden is eight years old now so it's getting mature. It's the only hard thing when I think about moving to a more country place. The little town we came too has developed into a city. There was a little two lane country road by the house that is a four lane highway now, actually 5 lanes counting the middle turn aisle. I've seen more trees cut down than I care to remember. One of the last casualties was a green lot that I loved that had Oaks about a hundred years old. There are two huge commercial buildings there now, all very chic.
I have always wanted to live in the country. when we left California and came to Mississippi we thought we did move to a little country town. We didn't know it was on the verge of big development which is great for property values. When I think of a country place with a pond and a nice big wrap around porch, my heart gets so still. It's a good meditation, a quieting dream. We have put a lot of work into this garden, so many plants and trees. My beloved dog is buried out in back. I've slowly acquired bulbs and perennials and divided them until there is quite a crop. It's almost to the point of happening by itself. I had trimmed and shaped a Wisteria along one fence in an espalier fashion. Last year it was as big and as long as the fence and was a solid cascade of blooms. Daddy BB cut it down into a little shrub shape. I did not divorce him, but seeing the wreckage was very hard. He doesn't like vines. I love them. I have Clematis variates everywhere they can climb. I even planted a Nelly Moser under one Oak tree. They have grown up together. I would like to put some netting around the trunk so it can wrap itself all over it. All the roses are leafing out and will soon have buds, the first bloom on the climbing Josephs Coat has opened! Columbine are leafing out everywhere, I have encouraged the reseeding of them I love them. The little Lambs Ears actually came with me from California as did some Vinca ground cover and two roses. I just couldn't leave everything. I also dug up my huge Iris collection and brought it. We packed the plants in sawdust. My Lambs Ears came from my friends garden. I would love some Bleeding Hearts but they haven't survived from year to year. The Queen Elizabeth rose did just fine moving and is an old girl now. There are so many beauties in this garden. 13 varieties of basil spring up on the side yard. I've grown Lillie's and Strawberries, Canna's and mums. Zennia's seed themselves too. I have a little makeshift fence across the driveway to keep the dogs in. It's really a flimsy cheap mess of wire and 2x4's so I grow Heavenly Blue Morning Glories all over it. The fence is in the pitcha of my kitchen garden. Trips to the nursery aren't even necessary anymore so much comes back and sprouts by itself. My only regret is, the hybrid roses that have too many fungus diseases. In the South the old cemetery roses and little miniature wild ones are best, they stay healthy. I know where I can get some cuttings and am going to start some.
It's almost Easter. We're going to have some friends over and see their new little baby what a treat! I have a turkey in the freezer and I think I'm going to roast it slow with some honey mustard barbecue sauce. We'll fix a big spring salad, some fruit salad, rice pilaf and warm bread with real butter. I haven't decided on desert yet but something fruity maybe a lemon pie. All of these lovely signs of new birth pale in comparison to the new life and future hope that our Lord provided when HE conquered sin and death. What a miracle, and what a glorious day to celebrate not only spring but Easter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Big Storms and Little Ha Ha's

Zowie we had a whopper of a thunderstorm last night. I don't usually worry about them and just go on about my business. At 4am we had a thunderbolt that shook the whole house, those rattle my chains. Soooooo I turned on the TV to see what was up and the weather channel was looking ominous for us. I looked outside and it was still and quiet with that scary eerie light. Now my nerves are really wadded into a twist. I woke my husband up, never an easy task. Men who have spent time in the military are jumpy prospects to rouse from sleep. After he,"WHAAA?' I asked him if we should wake the girls and hangout in the downstairs bathroom; because the weather channel said so. My husband does not worry about the weather ever. His answer was his usual, he was trying to sleep. Wrapping his arm around me he asked,"does that feel better"? Actually I was still so cotton pickin nervous that I could flip cartwheels for the first time in my life. However, I said,"Alright we won't wake them up". By then it was almost 4:30am and the tornado warning had moved down the road. Needless to say, I did not go back to sleep before my alarm went off at 5:30but my husband did. Maybe some day we will blow away in a storm but he'll sleep through it. I thought about every possible scenario of what might happen. If we all blew out of the house, how far would we fly, and where we might land. Including the whole dead or alive thing. Dying quickly would be OK, it's the being broken up and suffering part that does me in. All of my anxiety was for nothing we didn't even loose a shingle off the roof.
The Lord smiled on my nerves and loss of sleep by providing me with a very laid back day at work. Don't get the wrong idea, my job is a bo-hiney buster, but every now and then we actually have time to sit down and gab. Several of us were sitting in the break room talking just about everything.
One of our agency nurses was really funny. She didn't feel well. She reminded me so much of myself that I couldn't help but laugh. First she felt sick, then she was starving. She was telling us how she keeps her place so-so, you know, a no trash in the bathroom garbage can because it's just for looks. When she said that she bought eggs and milk to decorate her refrigerator I lost it. "I buy them to make my refrigerator look normal like everybody else and then throw it out when it goes bad." "You buy milk at $4.00 a jug for looks?" another nurse quipped. Totally cracking up I asked her,"why not put the empty cartons in there if it's just for decorations". "That's a good idea, she said I never thought of that".
After another comment or two she sighed and said, " I'm just starving I wanta a hamburger". A different nurse stated,"Your a mess". We were all laughing and she was a great sport about it. I decided at this point to top it off with, "I have a pain in my head". Which got everybody howling again. Maybe you had to be there but we had a good time. Our friend the mess drifted into conversations about hot flashes. She isn't very old but she already has them, more giggles. We began reminiscing about our childhood into womanhood days. I hated it. When my mom told me the awful truth about "menstruation" I just looked at her mortified. Waiting for her to go ahead and tell me that, no this really was a bad joke. When she pulled out the kotex and the belt with the two hookie thingies I thought my life was over and hell was real. This was a dirty rotten gip! Here this happy go lucky kid that loved her corduroy pants and PF Flyer tennie shoes was strapped into this ridiculous "training bra" (training for what?)and now this kotex mess. Horrors. This was not my idea of a wonderful life. It was no great emotional high to become a woman, it was a stinking gip. Mom did not choose this moment to tell me about sex and orgasms. In fact she never did mention that, except for having babies, more trauma. At the first sign of a pubic hair I nearly lost my mind, here comes the kotex! When the nightmare of "periods" began those lousy things were itchy. I hated anything that itched. At the tender age of 5, I busted out bawling in Sunday School. The teacher asked me what was wrong. My reply, "My Mommy says this slip doesn't itch me but it does". Torture is itching, poison oak is itching, and these dad gum kotex itched and not only that, they had to be worn every 3rd week. It got better, every 3rd week with the kotex came cramps. The grand finale of it all is menopause and hot flashes which was where we started with all of this. Somebody qualified had told this fairly young woman that all her sleepless nights and other ailments are going to be resolved by throwing all her parts into the OR trash can, otherwise known as a hysterectomy. "Hummnn is this doc a man?" I inquired. Of course I already knew the answer to the question. No self respecting woman would ever suggest that menopause would make anybody sleep all night. No sweaty, power surging heat pulsating, wringing wet with sweat in the night, woman would dare! "It's not true dear", I ventured into that brave world of contradicting an MD. Menopause and sleep don't mix. Once we finally don't have to buy all that crap to deal with our monthlies we don't even get any rest. More issues. The positive approach to a hysterectomy is to have plastics close your belly up with a modified mini tummy tuck, highly recommended. The other perk is not buying kotex or any other such "feminine" product again. Humnn, that is until your bladder gets a little saggy and stress incontinence is your next reason to pad your panties; but we didn't even go there. Nobody had the heart to even bring it up. And that my friends is a good day at work.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Blooming Blab

It was tackle a mountain of laundry day,so when Piglet pinched me I was surprised. Ah ha, but my flip flops were green! I forgot it is St. Patricks Day today. I learned the hard way as an elementary school kid to never ever forget. I am not a student, thank God! Life is hard enough without homework. At my age I can still have that random nightmare of showing up for a college class midterm and missing all the other classes; knowing zip, nada, nothing. Yes, that is anxiety. For years I could feel headgear in my dreams and be hunting for that lost retainer,...
Once we established what special day of the month it was, and quit pinching me, (green shoes do count),it was a spectacular day. Spring has sprung! It is so pretty outside. The Bradford Pears are in full bloom and they are everywhere. The Redbud's are blooming and the daffodil bulbs are nearly finished. This little bit of perfect weather is short in Mississippi but our spring, and fall are lovely. Even if last year it seemed like we had 10 months of heat.
In between loads of wash, the dogs and I went for a walk around the lake. I let them off the leash for a run and a swim. Miss Piddles is nuts about water. Axel likes it too, but the puppy is crazy silly splashing around in that lake.
We came home to a mailbox full of goodies. I won a funny story contest over at Peaches blog and my gift card arrived. A copy of "Murder Mayhem and a Fine Man" by Claudia Mair Burney also came today. Celebrate good times come on! Can't wait to sit down with that, she is adorable.
I have been finding so many wonderful blogs out there, it's like an ocean of groovy gals. Something has happened to me during this process. I tend to be a negative thinker. It's never occurred to me before that we are surrounded by negative media, news, and all that blab. Duh, my favorite color is clear. BUT since finding all of these really wonderful women out in the wild blue yonder, my attitude is distinctly more positive! How can the world be grim with so many lovely ladies in it? There are moms and grandmas, gardeners, cooks, photographers, artists, music lovers, and comedians, everywhere. You are good at it too. There are inspiring people at our fingertips and it's an endless sea. How wonderful is that? My kids would say, " it's stinkin cool"! What a delightful surprise. Our world is full of people who are making the place they live in more beautiful. They are impacting families and friends, communities and through these websites, the world at large. It almost seems like an example of eternity. We can't number the grains of sand on the beaches, and these creative women who love words and beauty are as inexhaustible. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it. One can't be too full of doom and gloom when the collective whole are making their little corner of the world a better place. Blooming where you are planted just quit being a cliche and moved into the realm of real. Now that is stinkin cool.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Awwhhh Sometimes your Kids Bless Your Socks Off

Just a little quick note. Today when I came home from picking Piglet up from work Tigger was waiting in the kitchen doorway with a red and white kitchen towel draped over her arm like a Maitre D. She chirped, "Welcome home, dinner is served!" In those few minutes she had set the table, boiled some angel hair pasta and mixed the leftover sauce with it. She heated up bread and cooked a package of green beans. She tried her best to make a pitcher of sweet tea and had the romantic Italian music playing. I was so impressed! Just when you think that nothing you do sinks in, one of them will go and surprise you like that. She looked so adorable and she was so happy and proud of herself. I was proud of her too.

What Do I Have?

Scooting around in the bloggin world I have been stumbling upon some very sweet blogs. Over at The Simple Woman, lives a country lady with her family of 6 and a husband she adores. I enjoyed reading her reflections of life. She has a very calming presence; one can almost feel the breeze of country air float by.
I admire women like that. I am not one. My cage gets rattled easily. But she asked a good question, "What do I have?" We tend to go about life striving for something different than what we have. Contentment is born from thankfulness.
The problem with going about wishing for something different is that it's a never ending list. As we get those things or make those changes the list gets added to and is never done. One time during a visit with a dear friend from Kenya; I made an excuse about not having. Her rebuke was unforgettable, "Oh you do have, you have pockets that are full, you have buttons on your clothes, you HAVE." I have pockets.
Those words stopped me in my tracks. I have pockets, more than one set of pockets, I have buttons and spare buttons, and shoes and socks. I have choices each day from a selection of foods and items to wear. I have the luxury of pets. I have a home. I have a family. I have a husband who loves me. I have windows full of sunshine and none of them are broken. I have good friends who love me. I have two hands that can and do work, I have two feet that can walk and bring good news. I have a saving faith in the God of the universe. The one true LIVING God who relates to me and gives me answers; even if the answer is a mystery. I have the ability to accept that I cannot explain all the suffering of the world; but I can put forth the effort each time my foot goes to the hospital to relieve it. I have love. I have mercy. I have a full cup with which to give. See how my heart has changed? Before I asked the question of what do I have, my flesh wallowed in the have nots. wishing the house was cleaner, wishing my back would heal and quit hurting so badly, wishing my husband would pull up the carpet and work on the yard. Those thoughts breed strife.
My Lord says, "Cease striving and know that I am God." Cease is simple it just means stop. Like anger, the answer is to just "lay it down." One cannot sort it out or work threw it. Somethings the answer is simple, just stop.
Today when I take my walk I will reflect on the haves, and will pray for those who truly need. Those who are sick and dying, those who hunger and thirst. Those who are grieving for children, those who are lonely and heartsick. You see when we remember the richness of our Father's gifts and give Him the glory; He in turn fills us up with hands and hearts to give. We have pockets.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring Dreaming

What is it about spring that gets under our skin so quickly? Weeds can be growing all year long but on a beautiful spring day I'll stoop over and pull them. The outdoors beckons and walks are delightful. We have a lovely lake to walk around in my neighborhood. I have always enjoyed it's beauty, watching the subtle changes from year to year. With my new commitment to fitness one of the "perks" is time with myself. Time for thinking, praying, dreaming.
Today I prayed for a friend who has a very loved friend near death from ravaging disease. That led me to pray for her husband and the rest of their families, for dying grace and mercy for the one who is sick. Then my mind travelled to another friend wrestling with a call to missions; no small decision when your the mother of seven school age children, and the country is ransacked with AIDS and starvation.
Then there are my own little now petty wishes, a bigger kitchen, another poodle, to publish my book.
As I go around the bend I am reminded again that life is more than wanting, more than dreaming; and it's also less. Life is a vapor. Life is fragile and also resilient. Life is forever and is not quite long enough. Life is a mystery.
As my muscles work out their kinks so does my soul. What is important is to thank God, to glorify Him, to give Him the credit for the awesome ways He works in our lives. It's not an accident, that phone call or letter. It's an appointment with the power of the Almighty, bigger than this universe and small enough to know every detail of your life. Isn't that something to dream about?
My little pea pickin brain can't really wrap itself around all that God is and I don't pretend it can. I am grateful for the little word mystery and all that it contains. As I walk and think and pray and dream, I can rest in the shadow of His wing and just simply enjoy the beauty of the day; nothing has changed but me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Funny Kitties

Even if you don't like cats, this is hilarious! Curtain climbers caught in the act.
If you have kids they will crack up! Enjoy.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sleeping with the Cat

Our calico cat is a good sleeping buddy. Some people think that having an animal in or on their bed is horrific. There are those animal lovers who chose only one kind, a dog person or a cat person; I happen to like both. I draw the line at sleeping with the dogs, no dogs on the bed. But Callie who I like to call Patches is a wonderful sleeping kitty. She purrs and she cuddles. I love it when she chooses my lower back to snuggle against, it feels wonderful and the aches in it seem to lessen. It amazes me that grumpy Kiwi is her mother. Kiwi does have her moments when she's nice; she just is very much a cat, those moments are her choice. You reach to pet her and you might get a hiss or a purr, no telling. She doesn't swat at me, she has learned that I swat back.
Callie is just plain nice. Her fur is indescribably soft.She's better than Valium on my nerves, that soft humm of her purr. When I pet her, I often think of my brother Mark. We had a humongous orange tabby cat named Tootie. We obviously did not know how to tell the sex of a cat when we named him. Actually it was quite comical. As if the cat knew he had the wrong name, he was the biggest toughest cat in the neighborhood. Mark loved to sleep with Tootie. He rubbed his cheeks and chin and provoked a purr so loud you could hear it across the room. It's a pleasant memory, one that let's me know I'm getting older and am easily entertained.
Pets I think help us to stop and smell the roses, not just the cat box. Taking the time to sit down for a minute and relax; to pet the kitty. It's a nice time out. time for reflection, relaxation and hopefully thanksgiving.
My husband says the key to a positive attitude and contentment is thanksgiving. That's not natural for me. It seems there is always something I want. However, I can choose to be thankful. I can start with my fingers and work my way to my toes; everything works. When I take care of a 22 year old youngster paralysed from a car wreck; I really am grateful. We take so much for granted. Getting settled for the evening and stroking lovely Callie, my heart does focus on my blessings. Contentment really does come from a grateful heart.

Dancing in the Kitchen

One of my friends has a teenager who likes to see her parents dancing in the kitchen. I thought I was the only one who was silly enough to dance around while cooking. When I make Italian food I play my Romance in Venice CD. It sets the mood and the food turns out even more scrumptious.
Early spring is trying to happen here and with it thoughts of fresh basil, ripe tomatoes and simmering pots of fresh sauces for dinner. My husband loves Italian food. I'm very grateful because he doesn't like much, and I love to cook. He eats to live; I live to eat and there is the difference. What is it about music and food together that makes a heart feel light? Music and dancing turn dinner into an event. My parents used to go out for an evening date to accomplish this. I just plug in some CD's. A cheap date. Actually by the time I get back from the grocery store it's a hundred dollar feast. The herbs and tomatoes come out of the yard. Every year when spring hits I want to garden and get my hands in the dirt; when the heat of summer hits I'm finished. That's a good reason to plant a perennial garden. The plants just come up on their own and need some water now and then. Today the weather is lovely, the birds are singing and the sky is blue. It's not cold and it's not too hot. so if you'll excuse me I'm going to take it to the streets and enjoy the day. Maybe will have dinner and dancing tonight.