Sunday, 18 March 2018

A Thankful Heart

Hello friends,
I just wanted to share a few thoughts.

- This morning as I was kneeling on the floor taking washing out of my machine and putting in a second load, amazed that two people can still produce so much laundry, I offered up a silent prayer - "Thank you Lord for this washing machine". Then the thought, 'what about running water came into my mind', and I paused and said "Yes, and for running water, I am grateful". 
Later after cooking breakfast and returning to my room to have my quiet time with the Lord, those thoughts of water and gratitude returned to me. I offered up prayer for those in our world who may not have water close at hand let alone a washing machine. But even more urgent, that they would know the Lord, the Living Water, who would be their peace, joy and strength through life.

J. R Miller wrote:

Christian thanks giving is the life of Christ in the heart -
transforming the disposition and the whole character. Thanksgiving
must be wrought into the life as a habit  - before it can become a fixed
and permanent quality. An occasional burst of praise, in the midst
of years of complaining, is not what is required. Songs on rare
sunshiny days; and no songs when skies are cloudy - will not make a
life of gratitude. The heart must learn to sing always ...
Thanksgiving has attained it's rightful place in us, only when it is
part of all our days and dominates all our experiences.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Dear Lord, may a grateful heart lead me closer to your heart .
May I cherish every simple thing as a gift,
and every challenge an opportunity to grow.
I pray.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Clean before Winter

Hi everyone,
as I write this post I'm sore and tired (from cleaning). I've been putting off and off some much needed deep cleaning in my kitchen. What I wanted to do today was something fun, like make soap !!!, but procrastinating is not going to get us a clean kitchen.

I've also  just started monthly food shopping, to help stretch the grocery budget, and its taking quite a lot of discipline on my part. We do top up with fresh fruit and vegetables, that we don't grow ourselves - but even with these top ups I still need to be careful and watch how much we're spending. The good thing is I find it helps me to be more creative and frugal with what we have. To think of alternatives to use instead of just rushing down to the supermarket every time, as invariably I see things on 'special' and think 'I'll get that too"....hmm

"She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness". Proverbs 31:27

Anyway, back to what I originally wanted to say...
The job I'd been putting off forever was 'cleaning the ceiling in the kitchen, the light fittings, the light shades, the top of the cupboards etc etc.
As we don't have nets over any of our windows, and we don't have air conditioning..sigh, we have to open the windows in summer. Opening windows invites flies. Flies like to leave a memory of where they have lingered..yes, enough said. So today I decided I was not going to look at it any longer, and so I fetched the ladder from under the house and set to with a bucket of hot soapy water to scrub my ceiling. This has to be my least favorite job (next to cleaning the oven), but it had to be done.

I also cleaned the expelier in the kitchen, which gets very dusty and grimy...tick, another awful job complete. I scrubbed down wooden nick knack shelves that sit up high, and are terrible for gathering dust and grime . Then I did a big vacuum, as bits of dust had been flicked all around.

Some days it does seem overwhelming, especially at the end of summer, when the garden needs a lot of work too, so I just have to try and keep on top of everything, and not let it get on top of me.
Making a plan is always a good idea for me and writing a list of what's most urgent.

When the messy job was finally complete, I took another shower :) and felt very happy about all I managed to get done. Knowing I no longer have to look at jobs to be tackled in the kitchen, makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. So if your like me, I say:

Proverbs 6:4  "Don't put it off; do it now! Don't rest until you do".

afterward the jobs complete you can have a little rest !

I hope this encourages someone else who may have been procrastinating.

Blessings ~ Linda :)

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Ordinary days

Hi everyone :)
Lately I've been trying to find time to write this blog, but whenever I thought about what to write, nothing of any great consequence came to mind. Sometimes during my quiet time, I may have a little inspiration and think to share, but before I know it the time has slipped away and I need to get on with the days tasks. I enjoy reading other people's blogs so much, even if they're just everyday happenings, so I finally decided that I will do a post about that, just what I'm currently doing :)

S P E C I A L  E V E N T S:
My husband and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary on Feb 23rd.  We went away for a couple of days in Wellington a few weeks back, so considered that our celebration time, but still exchanged cards and a lovely meal. We're not a couple that really take many photos, but this is one of us on holiday in the South Island of New Zealand about 2 years ago. My husband doesn't have that lovely beard anymore.

I N  T H E  G A R D E N:
I'm mostly just harvesting at the moment. Summers ended and Autumn is nearly upon us. Leaves are started to change colour and there's a little nip in the air in the early morning.
The Lord has blessed us with an abundance from the garden once again. We ate our way through peaches, plums, apricots, peachacots and many many zucchini. We're picking tons of tomatoes, which  so far I've turned into Salsa and Tomato relish. I may still try to make and either bottle or freeze pasta sauce and some stewed tomatoes for Winter soups and stews. I also managed to preserve
about a dozen bottles of plums (which my husband likes on his breakfast.) before we ate them all.

I spotted these dried peas the other day, so quickly picked the pods and shelled them with my grandaughter one day.
At the moment we're picking Cox's Orange apples - a lovely old fashioned apple with a slight tartness.

W H A T   I'M  R E A D I N G:
Before I go to sleep:
'A Land of sheltered promise, by Jane Kirkpatrick. I love her books and have read quite a few of them.  She's a Christian author and all her novels that I have read are based on true historical events .

and during my quiet time, I read:
My Bible
The word for today ( a little booklet that contains short devotionals, our church gives out) and
The imitation of Christ - by Thomas A Kempis . I've read this several times before and just love its depth. It never fails to make me have to honestly examine myself in the light of the nature of Christ. An excellent read. This book was first published in 1503.

W H A T  I'M  C O O K I N G:
Trim Healthy Mama meals of course :) I'm several months into this way of eating now, and can see me just eating this way for the rest of my life. I feel well, no more tummy bloating and less aches and pains. 

I like to keep my freezer stocked with THM muffins, Buns (carb free) - which I use as Hamburger buns and frozen preps like bags of chopped onion, celery, peppers, which make for speedy crock pot cooking, frozen cooked pumpkin & apple sauce, that I add to muffins and frozen cauliflower. I've also been enjoying 'Fotatoes', which is just cauliflower cooked & pureed with a little cream, butter and seasonings, while my husband has potatoes. I don't really miss potatoes, rice, pasta or bread..surprisingly. 
Here's a great link for anyone interested in Trim Healthy Mama cooking/baking. I purchased Briannas Cookbook a while back, which comes spiral bound. It's choc full of healthy/low carb/sugar free/healthy fats style of cooking.

W H A T  B R I N G S  M E  J O Y:
Sharing this walk of faith with my dear husband :0)
I snapped this picture of him one Saturday morning. There he was up early sitting out on the verandah reading his Bible ~ his faith inspires me and his love of the word of God brings me endless joy. Every night before we go to sleep, he reads a chapter of the bible. We started this a while back...a year or two. We are up to the Gospel of Luke...but we skipped over the Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon..we will return to those books :) 

W H A T'S   F I L L I N G  M Y  D A Y S:
2 days a week I help out at my daughters, with cooking, cleaning etc, as she's home schooling our grandies :) The other days I'm busy at home, cooking and cleaning..notice a pattern here :) and keeping busy with my small soap business. Pictured below - Lemon Eucalyptus, in the mold and then cut. yes my soapy obsession continues. 

G O A L S   I'VE   S E T:
I wanted to get fit again, along with losing a few pounds and I am well on my way, thanks to a new treadmill. !! .I usually walk on it and the occasional few minuted of jogging about 5 days a week, for about 20 - 30 minutes, depending how much time I have and then I  go for a long walk with my husband on Saturday morning (weather permitting).  
I am so thankful to have another treadmill again, as I have Asthma, and am limited as to when I can go walking outside eg. too much pollen in the air, too damp, too hot etc etc. I also don't like to go to the gym, so a treadmill at home is perfect for me. It only requires good sneakers and comfortable clothes :) I can go at my own pace and it has built in fans - perfect. I set up my tablet on the large console and watch various you tube vlogs I follow. Before I know it 20 minutes has whizzed by. For anyone reluctant to exercise, I say - try a treadmill !!! Walking is probably the only form of exercise I enjoy.

~ ~ ~ o 0 o ~ ~ ~

Well that's about all from me for now. I hope this little blog will bring encouragement to someone. I'll close with a favorite scripture and a couple of Thomas A Kempis quotes. ~ Blessings to anyone who stops by ~ Linda xo

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Quitting Sugar

We're having extremely horrid humid weather at the moment...the sort of clammy heat that causes sweat to run down your back..gross I know. Today my daughter and I were lamenting about our lack of air conditioning...and we both decided that we don't care how much extra it would cost in power bills, we're just so desperate to be cool.
January normally sees me preserving food like a crazy woman, but this year it's just too jolly hot and so I'm just enjoying the gardens bounty fresh and giving any extra away. Last year I think I canned about 50 jars of relish or various kinds, and we did get through it. But this year I think I'm only going to bottle a few jars of plums, make some Tomato relish later in the season and stew any extra tomatoes for freezing,  to use these in soups and casseroles.
~ ~ ~

Other News (ground breaking) : I've jumped off the white sugar wagon !!!. yikes...For those who don't really know me, this may not be a surprise, but for anyone who does, they will know a large part of this blog has comprised baking recipes, sweet sugary decadent things. So I thought I better let you know that things will look a little different around here from now on..still delicious, but healthier :)

And why? The quick answer: it's time for a change. Over the last few years I've added on a few pounds here and there and I just don't like it. Most of my life I've been reasonably slim (apart from during and after pregnancies. I've prayed many many times over the last year asking God to help me to stick to something and strengthen my resolve to get back into exercising. And He is helping me. I have started walking again (treadmill) and I've also started the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle eating plan, after much loving encouragement from my sweet daughter.

For anyone who doesn't know what Trim Healthy Mama is, its basically a low carb (not no carb), low glycemic style of eating.  I initially found it a bit confusing. I looked at the book last year and it all seemed too different and i didn't have the motivation or the head space to truly give it a chance. This time when my daughter suggested I try it, I thought why not? and I  can honestly say I'm not feeling deprived at all following this plan and am even enjoying Stevia as a natural sweetener. In fact, I will go as far as saying I love THM and have become somewhat of a devotee.
Here's a good video that gives a good introduction to what it's about.

Here's a link to the main website for anyone interested. They also have facebook pages which are very helpful to new people like me.
and another great THM low glycemic sort of blog:
Here's what I've been eating...
B L U E B E R R Y  S M O O T H E E   with almond milk
Bacon and eggs and tomato/garlic/courgette
(I have this once or twice a week for breakfast
(normally without the additional smoothee)

Most mornings I eat pancakes, with fresh berries - these are from the THM cookbook with lite cottage cheese, oats, natural sweetner and egg whites. I love them :) For luch I normally have salads with some sort of protein and various different yummy dinners. I also have great snacks. If anyone else out there needs to lose some extra weight and is looking for something that really works, I hope you'll give this a try. THM was started by two lovely Christian mums who have a real heart to help people achieve their goals, whether that be to simply eat healthier, gain weight or lose it..and best of all 'maintain it'..yeh!! :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Other things...

- I N   T H E  G A R D E N -

I've been harvesting and infusing St Johns Wort flowers which have no end of medicinal qualities.
I've made a tincture and also infused flowers in Olive Oil. I'll leave both of these infusions for about 6 weeks and then strain and bottle.

Here's a little info:
 St. John’s Wort is useful for reducing stress, anxiety and mild depression when used consistently overtime. It also has a reputation for being a 'Trauma Herb' ,beneficial to the skin and soul. Its blood red anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory medicine is wonderful for treating bruises, burns, sprains, reducing pain and infections.

Here's a good link to some helpful info about St Johns Wort :  I purchased this ladies book and enjoy it very much.
Please let me know if you also use St Johns Wort and what you make with it or use it for. :)

~ ~ ~ ~
Well that's about all from me. Blessings to anyone who stops by. I hope what I have shared tonight is helpful to someone in some way ~ Linda :)

Sunday, 17 December 2017

December & Old Prayers

Oh how I love this Christmas season :)
even though its a busy time, and hot and humid here in New Zealand. There's just something about Christmas..the whole month of December really, that is magical to me. It's always been a joyful time. Maybe it's because my mum always put so much effort into making it special for my brother and sisters when we were young?
This time last year I was recovering from an illness, which was mostly self-induced burnout. It helped me to re-prioritize and make more time in my days for people and making our home and garden a much more pleasant place to be.
But what I really wanted to write about today wasn't Christmas, but  'Old Prayers'.
I'm sure every christian knows about old prayers. They represent pieces of our heart, our dreams, hopes, longings, either for something in our own life or somebody else we care about. They're prayers we've  possibly prayed over and over again and can't seem to let go of, or their prayers we may have prayed once and stand strong in faith that God heard us the first time and will answer the prayer in His own way and in His own time.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 encourages us to rejoice always and to pray without ceasing.

There are many examples in the bible of persistence in prayer. I believe whenever the Holy Spirit prompts us, no matter how frequently, we are to pray for a person or situation.

1 John 5:14-15: Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions we asked of Him.

I know and believe that God knows what is best for us. No matter how long it takes, all prayers will be answered eventually. Sometimes we forget we even prayed them, and then see a resolution to a situation and a memory comes to mind that we petitioned God about that.

I just wanted to write this to encourage anyone who may feel their prayers are simply 'OLD' and that it's time to give up !!!  I say no, continue on, until you get a response. :) Maybe write different prayer requests /situations in a journal and then at the end of the month or year, read back through those old prayers and see if any of them have been answered. I bet you'll be surprised.

So I will close this with saying I wish you all a beautiful, joy filled Merry Christmas :)
I'm truly thankful and encouraged  by all who stopped by my little spot and read or commented on what I wrote. It always makes me smile. I'm going to finish with pictures from our Christmas thus far..baking cakes, garden, decorating our home etc.

Blessings to you all ~ Linda xo


 Christmas Lilly's..always so beautifully fragrant.

 Tidied up BBQ area :)

 We just harvested all the peaches, the biggest yield yet !!

 Tiny wee figs on the tree !!
 Flowering Feijoa tree

 Pretty Hydrangeas

 Pea pods :)
 Lemon Verbena flowering

A Thankful Heart

Hello friends, I just wanted to share a few thoughts. - This morning as I was kneeling on the floor taking washing out of my machine...