Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

The Glorious Season

 


Hello dear friends and quiet followers,
Once again we find ourselves almost at the close of another year. We can reflect on all that has passed,
all the joys and sorrows. All the unexpected blessings, all the struggles we didn't know we would face, and the Lord was with us, right by our side the whole year through. Isn't it a comfort to look back and to realise that. It is for me. I know it's a busy time for so many people, but I wanted to take this opportunity while I have a quieter morning to just reflect on a few things and share them with you. I do love this season best of all !


What does Christmas mean for you?
For me, its the pinnacle of the year. It's the time I reflect on God loving our world so much that He sent His one and only Son. I don't think about that; Christ as a baby that much at any other time. I reflect on all God has blessed us with, all He helped us with and me personally as well. I think about ways I can share and bless others in need; whether that be with some home baking/fudge or in a monetary way. There are so many people struggling financially. If you can ease someone's burden and help them to also enjoy a lovely Christmas, then what joy is that!
 

I think about the special food we will eat at Christmas and all the preparation required to bring that feast to reality. I know you hear me mums out there :) It takes planning and a schedule to flow smoothly. To prepare things in advance so we're not left to do it all on one evening or day. I've already planned our simple menu, printed it out and have put it on the fridge door. I need to make a sponge for the Trifle, as this can be frozen. I'll make the Pavlova the day before and add the cream and strawberries Christmas Day. I've already made my Christmas cake (which is best made weeks before it will be eaten). If prepared and cooked correctly it will last well into the New Year. Our Christmas food is nearly almost the same each year, but we don't always have a turkey. Some years we have a BBQ, and cold ham as its often very hot here in New Zealand, but this year I'm going back to traditional as we will have a smaller group coming.

What special food do you eat in other parts of the world?

M E N U   2 0 2 2

  Roast turkey, stuffing, gravy    

   Cold sliced Ham   

Grainy salad with vegetables

Steamed new potatoes

Roast Pumpkin

Peas

D E S S E R T

Pavlova & Trifle

Maybe Jelly & Ice-cream too :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We will probably have nibbles to start. Also I think we will have our meal as a late lunch, instead of dinner, so family with little ones can get them home in time...we will see. Just thinking about it all gets me excited. We don't get to spend Christmas day with all our children as one son lives further away and he will arrive Boxing Day. Our daughter and husband will spend Christmas day with his family this year, so we will see them Christmas Eve. All this juggling happens in most families. We have to be flexible and considerate of others.


Do you have a Christmas tree where you live? We do, and I love to decorate it. This year we opted for buying a small (but very lovely) artificial tree. It's just easier for us now. Although I do miss the lovely piney smell. 


I remember all the different Christmases throughout my life (well not all of them - ha, my memory is not that great!), but I just think of decorating the tree with my sisters when we were little. There was a lot of crepe paper and tinsel :) We also made elaborate streamers going all across the living room ceiling in very bright colours. We would wrap up gifts for each other, which were often just our own toys, but then if we had an argument we would go and remove it from under the tree - I know how silly !! My mum would have us save our pocket money (half of it) through out the year and then we would drive into town to go to one of the big department stores and try to purchase gifts for our siblings with a tiny amount of money. Often it was just sweets.


Oh the joy and excitement of Christmas morning. We get to experience that all over again now, with our grandchildren, as I know many of you do to. We just delight in buying special things for them, knowing they will be so happy. 


I know some people don't celebrate Christmas and that saddens me, more for the children's sake than anything else, because it's so much fun for children. Plus they get taught about the real meaning of Christmas. There are opportunities to encourage them to think of others and how they too can share and bring joy. They get to learn about God's great love and mercy for this world...it's all glorious to me :)


December is a time when I think about Mary the Mother of Christ and all she went through. I reflect on her quiet submission and obedience to God's will for her life. I think about the beginning for baby Jesus and then the simple humble life he led. 


Isn't it glorious? Isn't it just so lovely, that God had this all planned. What a joy to spend time reflecting on all this; how each person played their part, so that we can have this life in Christ now.




Thank you friends for visiting my blog; your kind comments have been like gifts to me this year.
~ ~
I don't know if I will get a chance to write anymore words here this year, but I may :)
~ ~
I pray you all have a blessed, Merry Christmas, that you will get to be with
family, and that you will know the joy and true meaning of Christmas
Much love ~ Linda

He Heals Us

Advent leads up to a birthday. At Christmas we celebrate him who said he came to free the oppressed and the imprisoned, to heal suffering hearts, and to stand by the forgotten: Jesus Christ. He showed us that God is not somewhere far off, but close to us, like a person who has come to visit us. Like a brother who lives and suffers with us. Like someone who loves us.

by Jörg Zink















                                        








Thursday, 24 November 2022

Captured

 


Hello dear friends and quiet followers,
It's a new week and I have more to say..so here I go again...
Yes I had another revelation of sorts. Over the last couple of years I have felt the Lord speaking to my heart; encouraging me to let go of things...my busy life...to slow down...to re-focus...re-prioritize.
It's taken a lot of work, internal and external. I've asked myself these questions, why would God want me to slow down? Why would God want any of us to slow down?


The 'slower' our days are, the more peaceful we are. We're not rushed, not overly stressed and can think more clearly. We need a calm mind to be able to hear from the Lord well. We need inner peace to focus on the Lord; to go through our day speaking to Him and more importantly listening to Him. In our roles as Mothers, Wives, Sisters and Friends, the closer we are to the Lord, the more we have to impart to others, to help them in their daily lives. 
We live in a media driven world, our phones are never far away. and many of us have multiple social media accounts. But why do we feel we need this level of interaction with the world? Once people only received news via a newspaper, or through a letter from a family member or friend and that was all. 

We wouldn't necessarily know about everything going on in the world. We didn't normally hear about every catastrophe, every war, every misfortune, every scandal. We didn't, and we don't need to. I believe it overtaxes our nervous system. Well I can only speak for myself and it does do this to me. Many many years back I felt the Lord say to get rid of the television in our home. I called it the 'uninvited guest', bringing all it's horrors and ungodliness into the home (even adverts). So we did. But I think we just replaced it with the computer.  Still there is more control this way and we are very particular about what we watch.


Still, for me, I want my life to be closer to the Lord. I want Him to have my whole heart. I want to hear from Him and encourage others to do the same. Slowing down has helped greatly with this,
Our world today is filled with doom and gloom. People are running around like 'Chicken Lickin' thinking the sky is falling down. And while we are living in uncertain times; this is nothing new. People have lived through a lot worse than what we are currently experiencing. So what do we do?


Personally I have always strived to keep a large pantry. This serves us well, because if we need to save for something unexpected (like roof repairs), then I can just cut back on my grocery expenditure so we can save some of the food money, and instead of purchasing more groceries we just eat from the pantry and freezers. I didn't go and get a big grocery shop for a month just recently and we managed just fine. I just purchased fruit and milk. We also, as you know have a large vegetable garden and many fruit trees. This all helps. I believe in that old adage: 'God helps those, who help themselves'. He expects us to do our part. Although !!! having said this, I  know a lot of people are just living week to week and find it very hard, if not nearly impossible to buy anything extra. So I'm talking just a bag of pinto beans, an extra can of green beans, a bag of rice etc...just as you can...in a simple way. We don't need to be obsessed by the current situation; just make a little plan and work away at it.  Ultimately God is our provider and our trust is in Him.


When I read my bible, I see that hard times are just part of life. God doesn't promise us an easy life, He just assures us that He will never leave us. This scripture spoke to me this week: 

Habakkuk 3: 17 -18

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

This verse reminds me that no matter what is happening in the world, or in my own life, whether it be good times or bad, I am to trust in the Lord, and let Him give me peace and be my anchor. If we have spent our life 'having oil in our lamp', being prepared for the Lord, giving Him our all, and our whole heart then we will be prepared for whatever comes in life. We don't need to go into a panic. Yes we should be informed and not bury our head in the sand, but if we take time for the Lord and let Him lead us, He will speak to you and help us in our time of need.


I believe one of the reasons the Lord has called me 'away' from the world, is for this very reason; so I can write, so I can encourage others to spend their lives focused on the Lord, developing a deep relationship with Him, so they will be prepared internally and externally for whatever may be coming next. Yet, we do not fear - we just trust and let Him lead.


This is what he laid on my heart just yesterday morning. I will close with it and pray you all are encouraged by it. Have a blessed week ~ Linda

God gives the power and the strength
that is needed for each new day.

If we are wise we will walk in
that strength and not in our own.

If we are wise and attentive to the Holy Spirit
we will let Him lead us, we will listen
for His voice and gentle guidance.

If we are wise, we will tread lightly on this earth,
and hold onto what we own loosely,
as this world is not our eternal home,
and we take nothing with us when we leave,
but the spiritual acts of love we showed to others.

That in deed will go before us, and will be
stored up as treasures in heaven.

O that we would walk hand in hand 
with Him each day.

Lord set our eyes and hearts on
what is eternal and pleasing to you.
Amen

~~

 









Wednesday, 16 November 2022

The Unseen is Eternal

 

Hello dear friends,

This morning as I was having my morning devotions, these thoughts were strongly on my heart, and I wanted to share them, in the hope that they will encourage someone.

As many of you know I don't have very good health. I have asthma and it affects me in a way that makes me very sensitive to so many things: pollen, cold air, damp air, rain, humidity etc. Humidity is one of the worst, it sucks the life out of me and leaves me completely exhausted. My body is like a barometer. I know by how I feel what the weather is doing or going to do. The worst thing about it is that apart from dark circles around my eyes, nothing is really visible to show I am unwell. It has caused me so much difficulty in my life. I've had to cancel many things and are often unable to attend various commitments as I feel so weak, exhausted and hard to breathe.....BUT.... :) I had a little revelation this morning. 


...I realised that this 'health' situation at least keeps me very close to Jesus. Because of it I am constantly in prayer asking the Holy Spirit for strength to get me through the day. On days when my health is better, do I seek Him as much? possibly not..which saddens me. Some days I surrender to the situation and just have to lay in bed, but most of the time I do try to press on and at least do my housework and cook a meal. For those with similar health problems, please know that I understand. Our confidence has to be in God and not in what others think of us, especially when we often have to let people down because of our health.


I have cried out to the Lord so many times to heal me and I am not healed yet...but I still press on. So I have to look at life in a different way. I ask myself these questions. How do I live my life as a person with bad health? Is it my 'thorn in the flesh', and something I will have to bear and go through my life with? How can I still serve God and bring him glory within these limitations?  How do I continue to keep up with my home and garden and be a loving wife?


You'll be pleased to know I've come up with some answers, or the Holy Spirit helped me :)

HOW TO MAKE IT THROUGH LIFE:

1. I have simplified my life to do only what I know I can realistically achieve. I've had to let go of some things (which was hard), but in the long run its for the best. This isn't to say I don't challenge myself, because I do, but generally these things apply. I help my daughter with the children, but now I am doing less days. I have cut back on many many products that I used to make for my online soap business, to almost only making soap. It is what it is. I am too tired of trying to keep up. It just strips me of my peace and joy. Don't try to keep up, just do what you can and be happy about that.  eg.Yeh!!! I got the vacuuming done...some days that might be my one achievement.

2. I have more realistic expectations. I know my garden is never going to be completely weed free. We have a huge garden and often I can't even get out there because of the weather. It's just how it is. I know there are times when my house will not be spotless, well quite often actually. If I'm unwell, I need to rest. I do what I can...and the rest will wait.

3. I know I will let people down and disappoint people. It's happened a lot.  But that's really out of my control. I have to accept my lot in life and enjoy my life even so. I suggest building yourself up in your faith, trusting and being confident in the fact that God loves you. He knows your heart and he cares. He will never leave you. He is merciful, gracious and always there for you to talk to. He understands like no-one else. 

4. When you have a good day, don't try to do everything......don't ask me why I say this :)

5. Don't feel bad or think there is something wrong with you because God hasn't chosen to heal you. If your in one of those religions that think this way, then leave, or don't listen to them. God choses not to heal lots of people. It's true. It happens all the time. Just look around you. Be one of those people that presses in deeper regardless :) Rise above it.

6. Finally - this world is not my home. When I leave this mortal coil, I will have to give an account for my life. I don't want to stand before the Lord and be ashamed. I want to know and believe in my heart that I did the best I could, that I relied on Him for strength, that He was Lord of my Life and no-one else. The very fact my health is bad makes me press into Him and rely on Him for strength. 
Do His will in whatever way you can. Share His love in every way you can. Be His voice and His arms. There are a myriad of ways we can still serve in this life, even when we're limited physically. I find simply blogging a way to encourage others and be encouraged at the same time :) 

~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


This post was titled 'The Unseen is Eternal' and knowing this encourages me.

2 Corinthians 16 - 18 
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, 
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us 
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

1 Corinthians 13: 12
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror,
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.

Psalm 73: 23 - 24
Yet I am always with you,
you hold e by my right hand. 
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take
me into glory.

I do pray this writing will encourage someone. It was a revelation to my heart this morning that even though my health isn't always good, this very thing causes me to seek the Lord for strength. Maybe I knew that before but sort of forgot. For that alone I am very thankful...that I don't charge through life in my own strength. Be blessed and know that God loves you. ~ Linda



Seasons

 


Hello dear friends, I'm sorry I have been so long absent from my blog, it wasn't intentional...but here I am at last. I am however reasonably active on Instagram if you want to follow me there too:  _thelittlehomestead_  . I personally find it upsetting when people just all of a sudden stop blogging, so I do apologise for that. I am still going about my life here at the Little Homestead, cooking, cleaning, gardening, loving, caring, doing all those things. 

I do know what caused me to stop writing and what ruffled my feathers. We were going to sell this big old house and move onto some land at our daughters. That was the plan, but our house didn't sell, the market has dropped in our area and also since Covid the prices for timber, builders, and all trades people have almost doubled and the whole idea became very stressful and unrealistic for us....so we are staying here. 

The whole thing completely consumed me and I would go about my home with less enthusiasm, as I didn't think I would be here, so why plant the garden, why paint that little thing etc etc. It rattled me a lot, and I couldn't focus on tasks or plan properly. So for those simple reasons alone I'm glad it's over. We do love our home, so its not a sacrifice to stay here, but it was disappointing, as it was going to be a big adventure, and we would have been closer to some of our grandy's. Still some of them are still only 7 minutes down the road !! :)  Now enough of all that, but at least it was an explanation.

 ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~

Here at home the garden is looking lovely. The Japanese Cherry Blossoms out the front of the property looked spectacular this Spring and as their blossoms are finishing off, they leave this pretty carpet all over the grass. It truly brings me joy. We planted nearly all the trees on our property, so now we get to reap the rewards of their beauty and also many of our trees bear fruit as well. Hard work always pays off.



We've planted the summer vegetable garden: Tomatoes, Cucumber, Zucchini, Beans, Pumpkin, Potatoes, Peppers...all the normal things :) Last summer the garden did so well, so we will pray for the same again....anyway I have another blog idea, well something on my heart I want to share, so I will wind this little one up for now and get on with that. Love to you all ~ Linda















Thursday, 17 March 2022

Living Simply

 Hello friends,


I just wanted to pop in here quick and share a couple of 'frugal living' things with you a recipe & an idea. These days most people are being a bit more mindful about spending and looking for ways to cut costs. Like many people I spent many years having to live this way out of necessity, especially when the children were small. Now life is easier but I still enjoy being a good steward of what God has blessed us with, and like looking for creative ways to do that.

First up: the recipe 'Pillowy Potato Bread' - oh my word this bread is so good.  It was fairly easy to make and I used our garden potatoes and that made it even better and cheaper. We ate a slice each with our dinner tonight and will have it for sandwiches for the next couple of days. The texture was simply divine, very soft and delicious. I made two loaves because if I'm turning that big oven on I may as well make it count and use the power wisely. The only changes I made were I didn't have regular yeast, only instant - so I used 2 teaspoons of that instead per loaf. I also added 1 T of light olive oil to each loaf and added a little oil to the bowl that the loaves were rising in. Here's a link to the ladies recipe and blog: https://www.attainable-sustainable.net/homemade-potato-bread-recipe/



 

Next up - here's a little idea for homemade cloth napkins to save on purchasing paper serviettes.

~ C L O T H   T A B L E   N A P K I N S ~


I wait until tea towels/dish towels are on sale (normally at KMART). I cut them in half across the middle and hem them. They look good are lovely to use. I much prefer them to paper ones. Also cloth napkins are expensive in New Zealand and often come in shades I don't like or the material is synthetic.
Pics of what I did:
 
        ~ Then I store them stacked up in this little wire basket, so they are always handy to grab. ~
 

...and finally. I got an Instant Pot. :) and I'm quite pleased with it. I'm taking my time and apart from one bad experience where I disintegrated the vegetables, it hasn't been too bad. Mind you I've only made two other things in it ...he he :) One of the things I made was to cook a whole chicken. I followed a dear lady on YouTube and did exactly what she said. Mine somehow took a little longer to cook completely (48 minutes), and also made about 2.5 Cups of delicious chicken stock too. I like that it is saving money as I'm not using my big oven and it cooks so fast. I can use ti to cook beans (which we eat a lot of), Rice and even yoghurt. I also made a Thai Chicken Curry another night and that was very delicious too. I purchased the 6 litre and that is a good size for our needs. If you also have one I would love to hear what you've made in it plus your cooking adventures, be they good or funny :)


Video tutorial to cook a whole chicken in the instant pot: https://youtu.be/vjQzADYqSow

Well that's all for now. I hope you try the bread recipe - let me know if you do. I also hope you enjoy reading about how I make our little cloth table napkins. Blessings to you all ~ Linda





Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Light a Candle

 



Hello dear friends and quiet followers, Welcome to the Little Homestead.  First up I just wanted to say what a blessing it is to have a home; I know many of you out there will be saying 'Amen'. I know how you love your homes and that you strive to create a place of calm; a welcoming refuge for your children and husband as they return at the close of the day.


A home is a place that almost wraps its arms around us during hard times. I know when I am unwell I can retreat to my clean and cosy bedroom and I'm always so thankful for its comfort and warmth - it feels like a little sanctuary. 
If we have a disappointment in life or someone has hurt us, to be able to go home and be surrounded by our family and sit by the fire while they listen to our woes is a great comfort. 


To come through that door and smell food cooking, or just that familiar smell that is your home, is comforting. You can be yourself, put your feet up; you can relax.

...I've tried to lay a little ground work, build up a feeling..an atmosphere of what a blessing, that physical dwelling and its furnishings are and equally what a blessing those people that live within those walls are - your family.

So imagine if all that is suddenly taken away from you; or you had to abandon your home? That's what's happening to millions of people right now. Many of them no doubt our brothers and sisters in the Lord. I am of course talking about what's happening in Ukraine right now. The images on the news are so terribly sad. For me what really hits me is seeing elderly people and also young mum's with children looking frightened, cold and walking along carrying a single backpack or suitcase. It's seeing fathers having to farewell their families as they stay to defend their country - families broken apart. People headed into the unknown and for how long. Will they get to return and if so will their home still be there?

This scripture came to mind: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.(Matthew 5:14-16). 

I see people in Poland and other villages taking in refugees. I hear of organisations collecting clothing, bedding, food, pushchairs to help the refugees. I see Go Fund Me sort of pages set up to help individuals to escape from Ukraine. I've received emails asking me to pray into specific situations for the leader of Ukraine and for the people. What motivates people to want to help others? It is LOVE. It is compassion. It's merciful hearts. I see all these efforts as people shining their light; shining the gospel light. I know not everyone would be a Christian that's helping but the impulse of the heart to help another, comes from a place of love. That spark of God in all people, that part of them that's created in the image of God even if they don't realise it, is shining the light, showing the heart of God. If all people acted in this way, putting others ahead of themselves this situation wouldn't even exist. 

I just wanted to encourage you to shine your light today in any way you can- let that spark of the divine be evident to all around you. Bring God glory this day and all days. 

Blessings to you all ~ Linda

*All pictures sourced from the internet/pintrest.



The Glorious Season

  Hello dear friends and quiet followers, Once again we find ourselves almost at the close of another year. We can reflect on all that has p...