Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Better Together

My children have been working together on this puzzle entitled "Fair Foods" since Sunday afternoon.  They've only had bits of time between their school work and chores, but they have managed to get quite a good chunk done of this 500 piece puzzle and they are having a blast!
 Every sunny day this month I have spied the three together playing baseball in the backyard.  I'm always surprised by the strength and accuracy of Isaac's heartfelt throws.  Tannah requests "grounders" every time someone pitches to her for catching purposes, and Caleb smiles and plays on with a good-natured patience that you hope and pray an oldest brother would possess.
These days also find them together tending to their chickens and loving them up while I dig up new garden beds for vegetable planting alongside their antics.  There may or may not have been some chicken racing today.  Okay, there was.  No one was harmed, I promise.  They would line up two chickens next to each other and dissolve into fits of giggles as the two chickens ran back to the flock at top speed.  Pretty cute.

I savor these days.  Community and fellowship are dear, sweet things; a treasure.  So often today people are scurrying around, looking to find these priceless gifts outside of their home; beyond their family members.

Why not start with your family?  The very people that God has placed in your intimate circle that you are responsible to Him for.  Love them well.  Cherish them.  Make grand and humble memories with them.  Laugh hard and often with them.  

You will soon begin to find that when you love those closest to you well, your family's unity begins to leak out to others around you.  A good friend of ours says often, "Vision leaks".  It's true.  When your family has a strong and clear vision of living, simply loving one another the way God intended, it seeps out to those around you. 

You have an amazing opportunity in this one life to love those in your path well.  Seize it.

"Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."  ~ Matthew 5:15

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chocolate Lemon Zest Scones

Early this morning, I made these little treats for our family's breakfast. 
Josh and I were up before our children, so we enjoyed them in a quiet living room with our cups of steaming coffee and a flickering candle.  Bliss.

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Chocolate Lemon Zest Scones
Makes:  8 scones

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
zest from 1 lemon

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Make a well in center of mixture and add chocolate chips, three quarters cup cream and lemon zest.  Stir until crumbly and use your hands to knead dough into a ball.  Work the dough gently and do not over-mix.  Pat or roll dough into a half-inch-thick circle and cut into 8 wedges.  Space 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheet.  Brush with additional cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Enjoy today,


P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Spinach Has Sprouted!

As our family's homemade beef stew simmers on the stove-top and our accompanying loaf of freshly ground whole wheat bread finishes up in the bread machine, I thought I would rest for a few minutes and share our day with you.
Look closely.  Can you see it?  Spring! 

My spinach seeds have finally germinated and sprouted.  I have to tell you, although I checked them daily for four weeks and prayed over them diligently, I was beginning to have my doubts about their viability.

Nevertheless, I checked again this morning and there they were.  In all their fresh from the earth green glory, rows and rows of tiny sprouts pressing out of the earth and standing tall.
 I am jubilant.

If you recall, we consume a lot of spinach and greens here.  We can't wait to start eating our own from our backyard garden again this spring!
We also spent a good portion of the day working together as a family on our chicken coop.  We have used almost all donated/reclaimed lumber from friends up until this point and are now scouring reclaimed sources for some pressure treated plywood for the walls.  It's coming together, and just in time, because these babies are growing!

As soon as I sign out here, I am taking my pup for a quick spin for our daily walk. 

Take advantage of any beautiful spring days and get out there and grow something!

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chore Walkin'

It was another cold and chilly one today.  I contemplated an outdoor walk for about two seconds and decided firmly against it.  Instead I took my walk to where it was most needed today:  the grocery store.  After making our family's meal list for the upcoming week, including breakfasts, lunches and dinners, I compiled our grocery list.  From there I piled my three little travel partners in the van and off we went.

The wind howled and the rain poured.  We accomplished our mission and filled our fridge and pantry with good healthy eats for the week.  In order to count it as my daily walk, I speed walked in the store while pushing a heavy cart for 45 minutes.

While out in the elements, we made a quick run by our local Post Office and dropped off these beauties.  This is a shipment of soaps that will be headed to Colombia, South America in the coming weeks for distribution to those in need by a missionary there.  Included here are Lemon Poppy Seed, Chocolate Mint and Eucalyptus Cold Care.  It's always a joy for our family to send our handmade all-natural soaps to people who need it!

How is your walking challenge going?

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Just Do It

The rain started to blow in today and the sky turned mighty gray and cold.  That said, I took my walk on the treadmill in the gym. 

Honestly?  I didn't feel like working out at all today.  There was no gumption happening in any form or fashion here.  Whenever the weather turns all stormy, I just want to hunker down and wait it out.

I read recently that fit people exercise every day.  No ifs, ands or buts; they just plain do it.  A bit of Nike, if you will.  "Just do it." 

Since one of my main goals in this whole exercise/eating deal is to simply be fit, I am trying to do what fit people do.  This whole line of thinking is what propelled me out of my house and onto the treadmill.

Our ladies' Bible study is memorizing the Sermon on the Mount this month.  We are taking it two verses at a time; chewing slowly and attempting to assimilate it into our hearts and minds through the Holy Spirit.  I took along my tattered little gray book with Jesus' words spoken on a mountainside scrawled inside and studied the scriptures for this week. 

As I walked, I imagined hearing His voice speaking these same words to the multitudes; seeing His eyes flicker with the light of life as He shared.  His kingdom amazes me.  It doesn't play out at all in the manner we are trained by society to think that it should.  The culture as a whole teaches us to respond reciprocally to a person. No, in Jesus' realm, most things are upside down from the way we generally see them.  It's only through His divine nature taking up residence in our hearts that He begins to radically alter who we are for His glory.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Monday, March 4, 2013

There and Back Again

Hi there, friends!  Today's walk in my 31-day walking challenge was fairly straightforward.  I walked down the block to meet a friend for a morning run.  After running a bit over two miles, I walked back.  There you have it.

There and back again.

The morning air was brisk and chilled; the sun barely peeking over the tips of the neighborhood pines.  I thought I could see my breath, it was that cold.  I arrived at the corner a few minutes early and knelt down to stretch.  As my muscles slowly awakened from their nighttime slumber, I breathed deep into my lungs and allowed the cold of the air to fill me.

Our run was good, and it was even better to see the warm smile of a friend first thing in the morning and chat about our days.

There is something so profoundly simple that God has instilled in the heart of fellowship; that yearning of individuals to come together and know and be known.  What is even more resonating with the soul than a simple friendship, is true communion within the body of Christ.  When a person finally begins to grasp even the tip of the understanding that our Creator loves us, their heart becomes a fiery testimony of His love.  God sears His mark upon our hearts and once we have come face to face with that love, we are never the same.  

So you take that person, the marked one, and put them in community with other believers.  This is a uniting of souls, of people who understand a like faith in One whom they cannot yet see; and there within that breath of God is unity.  We who believe in Christ for our salvation are travelers walking the same trail, finding our source of life and hope in Him and our mutual love for Jesus.  

This is good.

Community and fellowship within the body of Christ are some of the most precious gifts and we dare not take them for granted.  To do so would be a great travesty.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?

Once, when I was a girl, I made a commitment to chew the same stick of Wrigley's Extra Spearmint gum for as many consecutive days as possible.  The self-inflicted parameters were as follows:

1.  If I was awake, I was chewing unless I was brushing my teeth or eating. 

2.  The wad stayed on the post of the old wooden bunk bed I slept in. 

That was pretty much it as far as the rules were concerned.  Two rules, plain and simple.  I embraced the challenge wholeheartedly and went to town on the chewing.  By day nine, the once other-worldly green hue gave way to Girl Scout uniform tan.  At day fourteen it was more the consistency of rubber than that of chewing gum as we know it.  As I recall, that sticky mass made it to 21 days of chewing before it finally began to break down.  Or I began to break down.  I'm not exactly sure which.

In any case, it was a grand experiment and one that lives on in the recesses of my childhood memories along with summer days of wild blueberry picking and hurling our bodies off of smooth rocks in Lake Superior into the chilling waters below.  Good stuff indeed.

I've grown now, but the thrill of a challenge still entices me.  Hence, 31 days of walking in March.  This one is fairly simple; absolutely not as difficult as other summits I've sought to reach.

I stepped out this evening again with Ben skipping along beside me (yes, I tell you, my dog skips on walks; he's that happy!).  A curious thing always happens when I walk.  I set out thinking, "I don't have time for this."  Or, "Why am I walking for 31 days?  This is so silly."  Two more minutes in and I get it.

Immediately all of the swirling thoughts in my brain begin to slide into place.  I'm whispering prayers aloud into the evening air, "Lord, I'm Yours.  I don't see what You see.  But You see.  And that's Enough."  

"I trust You alone."

"Some trust in horses and some in chariots, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

And then I quiet and still and simply walk and listen.  And He whispers into my heart.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kicking Off 31 Days Of Walking

For the month of March, I will be walking every day and writing a bit about it.  The purpose?  Our family will be traveling to the Smoky Mountains to meet up with my entire side of the family in April.  We will be sharing one large cabin, and I intend to do quite a bit of hiking while there.  I can't really travel all that way and be surrounded by the beautiful scenery there and not take full advantage of it, now can I?

I really look forward to hiking with my husband, children and all of our extended family members.  Hopefully it will be more spring-like than winter-like, but we will be grateful for whatever the season brings.  We are really looking forward to being all together, sitting fireside, playing games and making memories.

For today's walk I took a quick brisk turn around the neighborhood with my faithful four-legged sidekick, Ben.  He was more than eager to get outside and breathe in the air than I was. 

Winter is so funny to me.  When I'm inside, I want nothing more than to stay bundled up and try to warm the chill away.  Taking a walk in the frosty air does not sound like a good idea.

But once out there and slipping into the quiet rhythm of the journey, everything changes.  I enjoy breathing deeply from the diaphragm, feeling the crisp air fill my lungs.  It is quiet outside; just Ben and me.  The click of his nails on the pavement, an intermittent jingling of his City tags linked to his collar and the quiet padding of my tennis shoes:  these are the only sounds I hear.  It is bliss.

Would you like to join me?  The challenge is simple.  Walk every day for the purpose of exercise in the month of March.  Join us here each day and comment to let us hear about it and encourage one another! 

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.