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

Friday, 8 January 2021

Just do the next thing

 

Hi everyone, I just wanted to write and encourage anyone who may be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. I know events that have happened in our world over the last year with the virus, unemployment, political woes, personal burdens, financial worries, health concerns or even just being unsure of the future. There are so many things that can strip away our inner peace and take our eyes of God.

I remember a time a few years ago when life was quite hard for various reasons, I was praying to the Lord and reading His word and I felt impressed upon me quite clearly to keep on doing what I always do, which was reading His word, seeking Him in prayer, walking in faith, believing he's in control and just doing the next thing that needed to be done.


And do you know what? it worked. It took my mind of things and put my thoughts back onto caring for my husband, looking after our home, and thinking about others. 
This week I felt some of those burdens reappear, I felt a bit weighed down and couldn't really put my my finger on why? So do you know what I did? I just got busy :)  I cleaned my house, I washed windows (hey if your windows are dirty, your outlook is skewed anyway!), I took down curtains and put them through the washer, scrubbed down the verandah, pulled weeds in the garden and now that the week is over I feel accomplished and the house feels clean and loved. 
My husband said how nice and tidy and clean everything looks. I consider it my job/role anyway to be a Keeper of the Home and to do that with love and attention. It really is a full time job to do it well.


However...I know a clean house isn't going to fix the worlds problems, but I also know me getting down because of it all or anything else in life isn't going to help much either. The only thing I really have any control over is right here and right now and how I live in this moment. So this day I purpose to have a good attitude, to make my home a welcoming space, to bake something delicious and have it in the tins for my husband, to put clean sheets on our bed and just do the best I can to make life comfortable for Him (which gives me joy anyway). 

I truly hope this little word will help someone today. As woman theirs so many things which can ruffle our feathers such as hormones, misbehaving children, ageing parents, feeling overwhelmed with what needs doing, commitments, the list goes on. 
So I think it's good to just get busy, spend some time with the Lord first and then focus on what needs doing, do one thing at a time and try to do that well. Don't try to do everything at once, or if your like me nothing will get done very well. 


Each day I make a list and then at the end of the day I tick off things I got done. If I don't achieve it all that's okay as there's always tomorrow. The sun will rise on a new day. Keeping busy stops my mid from lingering on negative things and I also send little prayers up to the Lord while I'm at it !!

Blessings to you all - Linda x




Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Waste not, Want not


 Hi everyone,

I'm sticking to my promise to write more and wanted to share my thoughts about waste not, want not. I heard this saying a lot while growing up here in New Zealand. I don't know if it's said in other countries as well? 

HO M E   I M P R O V E M E N T:

Anyway my husband and I have decided/purposed to not spend any unnecessary money this year eg. other than food costs, petrol, electricity bills etc and not to put anything extra on hire purchase. The upside of this is it causes me to have to be very creative and look through what I already have before becoming smitten with something new (shiny), that I might think I need (smile). So to stick with that plan and because I wanted to give my very small kitchen a wee makeover I knew I would need to do it on a shoestring. I found a small sideboard for sale on face book local marketplace and offered the lady $80 and she accepted it. My idea was to make a hutch dresser sort of set up. I already had a small bookcase which was once on a wall and we added a plate rail to that. So my husband and I got to work sanding and painting the sideboard and put it in our wee kitchen on the weekend. I used to use a large bookcase to store my plates, but it gathered dust so easily and looked quite dark, and that's why I wanted a change. We had excess paint in the shed, and chose a soft Dutch White cream colour. We also painted the book case that had been in the kitchen to put in the spare room. I had some pale mauve paint, and just mixed in some more white to the can. We sanded the bookcase, primed and painted many coats-of the pale mauve/pink. We are both very happy with it all. Here's the pics:



We oiled the top and it came up so lovely !!


The painted bookcase installed in the spare bedroom :) 


*I hope this might encourage someone else to realise they can improve a situation without needing to spend much money at all :) I still haven't finished in the kitchen. I want to paint the walls, and the window sills, maybe even the cupboard doors and the French door that comes into the kitchen area. It would be wonderful if we got it all done this summer :) as it's been a long time in coming and will really freshen it up. Apart from the wall colour we have enough leftover paint in the shed !!! yeh

I N  T H E  G A R D E N:
This year we've put in a smaller vegetable garden than other years...and I'm not stressing about it. I know many people are planting huge victory gardens around the world (which is wonderful), but I decided to have a little rest from placing too much stress on myself for a change and I don't intend to do much canning either :). Next year it may be different. 

This summer we have: Tomatoes (x6 plants only), Courgettes, Spring Onions, Masses of self seeded Italian Parsley - my favourite), Green Beans, Lettuces, Herbs of course, and still to plant - Silver beet and some Cos lettuce.





..and of course our ever faithful fruit trees continue to bless us abundantly. Pretty Feijoa flowers below, Figs, Little green oranges starting to form, Figs, not many Apricots - the birds got them..grrr, but masses of plums as per usual. We did a lot of pruning last seasons end, so the trees have put their energy into new growth, which is good, because some of them had got too leggy and the fruit was getting too hard to reach, which meant our feathered friends were getting most of it.





Garden flowers to bless our table :)

                                                           I N  T H E  K I T C H E N :

'Sugar Free Stewed Rhubarb'

2 Cups chopped Rhubarb
1/3 - 1/2 Cup sugar free sweetener (I mixed 1/2 Cup Erythritol with 1/2 teaspoon Stevia)
1 extra 'doonk' of stevia
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1/2 - 3/4 Cup water.

Method:
Place everything in a small saucepan with the lid on. Bring to the boil and then turn
the heat down to a simmer and cook until the fruit is almost soft. Then remove the lid
and reduce the liquid a little until it thickens a little bit.
Leave it all to cool and then put in a covered container and store in the fridge.

*I enjoyed a few spoonful's of this with some unsweetened Greek Yoghurt, I also added a teaspoon of LSA (ground equal amounts of Linseeds, Sunflower seeds and Almonds), and a wee drizzle of sugar
free blueberry syrup. Oh my was it good :)

~ ~ ~ ~

W H A T  I'M  R E A D I NG:

 I've been reading only Christmas books through December and into early January. I'll re-read these books probably every Christmas :) I got this book for only $5 second hand!!

 'An Amish Christmas - by Cynthia Keller ( I really enjoyed this simple story).

 As it was such a busy month, I just wanted to read something light. Here's the synopsis:

 Meg Hobart has everything: a happy marriage to a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and three wonderful children. But it all comes crashing down around her the day she learns that her husband, James, has been living a lie—and has brought the family to financial ruin. Penniless and homeless, the Hobarts pack up what little they still possess and leave behind their golden life for good. But it’s not the material things Meg finds herself mourning. Instead, she misses the certainty that she should remain married to James, who has betrayed her trust so thoughtlessly. Worse, she is suddenly very aware of just how spoiled her children have become. Meg wonders what her family has really sacrificed in their pursuit of the American dream.

 A frightening twist of fate forces the Hobarts to take refuge with a kind Amish family in Pennsylvania, where they find themselves in a home with no computers, no cell phones, nothing the children consider fashionable or fun. Her uncooperative brood confined to the Amish world of hard work and tradition, their futures entirely uncertain, Meg fears she can never make her family whole again. Celebrating life’s simplest but most essential values, packed with laughter and tears, this is a story of forgiveness and the power of love.

 ~ ~ ~

...and prior to this book I read: Christmas at Harmony Hill  by Ann H. Gabhart  (I love Shaker novels) ! I have the whole collection of her Shaker books. Ann is a very good descriptive writer. If you like reading historical novels and books about unusual religious people, like the Shakers then you'll enjoy the Shaker novels.


O N L I N E:

 *I also follow various people on YouTube and find a real kinship/fellowship with people of a like mind there. One of my favourite ones is 'The Oldsteaders Homestead: Living Life Simply'. They are a family of Mum/Dad and 2 grown sons and two young sons. They built their home in the woods themselves. They work very hard and Leah considers herself a modern day peasant by choice :) They post a lot of devotional videos which I enhoy listening too as well. I was watching one of her videos last night and she shared that before they were homesteading, when they had a VCR player she loved to watch 'The Waltons' and 'Little House on the Prairie" and she felt like when she watched those shows she was having fellowship, because she didn't find people in her world who thought the way she did about living a simple old fashioned life. By old fashioned I mean, they have no electricity, she gets her water from a well and creek, they garden, have chickens, cook on a wood stove, wash laundry by hand etc. Pretty hard work !!!

Disclaimer: When I share a link to anything online, or show books I read, don't assume I agree 100% with what that person/book/channel etc may support or believe. It's always just aspects that I appreciate from these things/people/books. As I grow older I realise I don't easily fit into any particular slot when it comes to my faith (eg. denominationalism). I am simply a follower of the Way as it's written in the bible. I try to stay faithful to God and Him alone by adhering to the scriptures and using my own common sense.

* Regarding kinship with earlier times in history I know just how she feels. I often feel like I was born in the wrong time. When I was younger I tried to do things the modern way, but the older I get I am veering towards things I love which don't necessarily fit into the modern world. To me it's wonderful and fulfilling.

(Just wanted to share this :)

~ and finally...

A  LITTLE SPIRITUAL NOTE:  In closing I just wanted to add that living a simple life at home brings me tremendous peace and joy. I'm not interested at all in the direction this modern 'world' is going in because I don't agree with most of it. I find wisdom and truth in the bible and it's a solid foundation to build ones whole life upon. I knew it the day I gave my heart to the Lord (over 30 years ago now) and it still remains true and sure to this day. Whenever I've had upheavals in life it's because I veered off the path, the straight path and way of the Lord and not because of anything lacking in my Christian faith. If your not a believer I would encourage you to 'try Jesus' - I can promise you, you will never look back and He will never leave you or let you down.

Blessings to anyone who stops by. I hope something I have shared is a blessing to you ~ Linda :)

Art by Robert Reid - 'Tending the Flowers' (I think)

 ~

 Psalm 146

(NIV Bible)

 Praise the Lord

Praise the Lord O my soul,

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

 Do not put your trust in princes,

in mortal men who cannot save.

When the spirit departs they

return to the ground;

on that very day their plans come to nothing.

 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord his God,

the Maker of heaven and earth,

the sea, and everything in them,

the Lord who remains faithful forever.

 He upholds the cause of the oppressed

and gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets prisoners free,

The Lord gives sight to the blind,

the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,

the Lord loves the righteous.

The Lord watches over the alien

and sustains the fatherless and the widow,

but he frustrates the way of the wicked.

The Lord reigns forever,

Your God, O Zion for all generations.

Praise the Lord. 

~

 


Friday, 1 January 2021

The Joyful Season

 Hello dear friends and quiet followers :) HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR !!! I know I've been absent quite some time, so I thought it's about time I got on here and wrote a little bit. I'll just share in words and pictures some of my goings on of late.

D E C E M B E R - always one of my favourite months of the year. I'm always like a big kid when it comes to Christmas. I love to decorate our home, make special food, have twinkly lights strewn here and there, put Christmas lilies in a vase to fragrance our home and special scents in the essential oil burner. This all creates that special atmosphere in our home....and of course the nativity scene will take centre stage, because after all that's what Christmas is all about. 

Nowadays each Christmas is different. Some years all the family will gather here...well we did for a long time :), but now all our children are either married or almost there and have 'new' families as well to consider. So I've learnt not to expect that everyone will come home for Christmas these days...and I'm okay with it now :) even though it has taken some getting used to. Other people's families are just as special and we just need to share everyone around.

The other day some of my grandchildren came over and we baked cookies. I saw an idea pop up from a ladies blog for chocolate chip cookies, dipped half in white chocolate and then sprinkled with crushed candy canes and they looked so good, that I gathered all the ingredients together and we had a fun time making them. My daughter was at the hairdressers, so I managed to keep them all amused between a sink full of soapy water for the littlest, to an ipad to watch slime videos on for older girls :)

My two year old grandaughter Laura Joy, having fun mucking in Nanny's bubbly dish water :)



My middle son Louis proposed to Ren :) - how exciting !!!
Our youngest little grand daughter came to visit - little  'Freya' - so cute

I forgot to take many more pics as the season just rolled on and there were presents to wrap, a Christmas cake to be baked, a house to decorate and food to be prepared. What fun it all was. 

However....

Sadly in the midst of all this my oldest sister passed away from an ongoing illness. That was very sad. I hadn't actually seen her in over 30 years as she lived in Australia. We weren't really close anymore and didn't keep in touch. There were many years when we didn't really even know where she was living...but even so, we watched her funeral via a skype sort of set up and the tears still rolled. My other sister had childhood photos she shared on the day of the funeral and all the old memories cam flooding back. It was especially hard for my mum to have to sit through her own child's funeral. Life is hard at times, and that makes me ever more grateful for my faith. The Lord is such a comfort. It's a blessing to be a believer.

I sit and write this on New Years day, which has been lovely. I just ate my way through the last slice of Pavlova...ahhh...thats enough pudding for quite some time. In my next post I'll do a wee update on what we're up to around home...always some sort of sanding/painting, furniture moving, weeding activity going on...ahhh LIFE, isn't it grand. The older I get the more I realise what a privilege that is, to have another day, another year. Each day is to be treasured. 
I'm thankful for my blog, for all of you I've met, for your quiet friendship and the sharing that goes on. It's a blessing. I'll try to post more this year. 

Love to you all ~ Linda (New Zealand)




Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Don't lose your head





Hello dear readers (friends),
I hope your all well and trying to maintain your calm in these unusual times we are living in. It's been a while since I shared anything much at all, other than pictures of my cleaning out the pantry and I had something on my heart so decided to just go ahead and share it. 
Does anyone else remember the children's story book: Chicken Lickin?




 Chicken Lickin thinks the sky is falling in because an acorn drops on his head. He plans to tell the King this news and on his way meets various friends/characters who all believe him and follow him without question to tell the king. Eventually they also tell Foxy Loxy (crafty and clever) and he leads them to his den where his wife and children are waiting and they eat them for their dinner. Moral of the story: Question everything, don't believe everything you hear, think for yourself and use your head - be wise.

Saying or expression: lose (one's) head
To lose one's composure and act emotionally or irrationally. You need to calm down before you talk speak. You don't want to lose your head before finding out someone else's side of the story. freedictionary.com

There is nothing new under the sun. God sent His prophets to encourage the people with the same sound advice when they faced difficult situations in their history.
Isaiah 8: 11 - 13

This is what the Lord says to me: With His strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of His people:12 - Do not call conspiracy everything this people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 -The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread.

Jeremiah 10: 2 This is what the Lord says: Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by the signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.
Matthew Henry's commentary advises: Do not be afraid of evil tidings on earth but let your hearts be fixed. Fear not that which they fear or be afraid as they are. Jeremiah advises the people to a greater religious fear "But sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself". 
Note: The The believing fear of God is a preservative against the disquieting fear of man. We must look upon God who has all power in His hand and all creatures at his beck. 

Several years back I a had a very unusual and vivid dream concerning the future, where it was all grey and gloomy. People were running around terrified, in and out of buildings. I didn't understand in the dream what was happening and remember feeling very calm. I looked up and before my eyes thousands of sticks were swirling in the air and assembling themselves into an ark. The next moment I was in that ark. I was standing in line with others to get food. When I got to the front of the line, someone was handing out what looked like wafers. They were to be our food (like manna). The taste was anything you wanted it to be. The impression the Lord laid on my heart after I woke, was that God knows His own and we are not to live/walk in FEAR. He is sovereign, in control and His plan is unfolding. All believers need to be is be alert, be faithful, have oil in our lamps, continue in prayer, bible reading, fellowship, encouraging one another in this way. Loving the Lord and serving Him with all our hearts, soul mind and strength and loving our neighbour as yourself.


Their are all kinds of controversies, doomsday theories, scare mongering going on. There may be a little truth in some of it? But it's not something I'm going to base my life upon. Laundry still needs to be done, families need to be nurtured and fed...Elderly parents need to be looked in on...gardens get weedy, bills need to be paid....people need to go to work...babies are being born....a new season will roll around, life goes on and must.  

Some Tips to NOT LOSE your HEAD:

1. Walk in wisdom. Be wise as you go about daily life. Don't believe everything you hear or read. Do some research if need be. 

2. Be prepared (my girl scout motto) It's always sensible to be prepared in case of an emergency of any kind - be that illness, loss of job etc. I always keep at least 6 weeks extra food in the house. It's wise to have at least 3 months extra stored away (in my opinion - more if you can afford it ). We eat very little meat these days, so it's quite inexpensive to do this. I always have a good stock of dry good: rice, flour, dried beans, dried soup mix, canned fish, canned beans, frozen vegetables, spices, herbs etc on hand. I store extra rice in the freezer if I don't have an airtight container available. We grow a lot of fruit and I preserve it in the summer, freeze some and make jam. I make pickles/relishes for our sandwiches. 


3. Continue doing the things you always do: Worship the Lord, spend time (everyday) in prayer and in your bible. This maintains my sanity :), my inner peace. Encourage others in the faith to do likewise. Share this hope with those who are unbelievers. A lot of people have no hope or security right now.

4. Don't spend money needlessly. Have some savings in the bank. Make conscious purchases, things that will go the distance, good quality over quantity. Start small eg. I now purchase steel clothespins/pegs instead of plastic, which become brittle and break in our hot summers. Slowly replace cheap items with quality/study materials for garden/home/clothing etc..as you have the money for this.



5. Downsize or move to reduce debt/living costs if possible and if necessary. Pay off excess debt as soon as possible. Buy only what you need. Budget for other things.

6. Plant a garden. If you don't know how, then get a book out of the library. There are endless resources available for free, or watch videos on youtube.



7. Live simply. You don't need to constantly update your wardrobe (unless you have a lot of money and things like this don't concern you). I only get rid of clothes if they don't fit or I know I won't wear it. Then it's donated somehow. Or I wear it out :) - yes I do. !! A simple wardrobe reduces stress. We cook our own meals, we rarely go out to a movie and hardly ever eat out. We don't have a television, just the internet, so we choose what comes into our home. 

8. Health:  Keep yourself and your family safe. If Covid is in your area, then wear a mask if that's what's called for. It's probably sensible in flu season anyway !! If your sick, stay home. Keep needed simple medicines on hand: Disprin, Anti-inflammatories, Bandages, ointments, thermometer etc. Get a water purifier (if you don't have one - we have a Berkey). Maintain good hygiene at all times. Be sensible. Take caution where necessary. DON'T LIVE IN FEAR THOUGH.

9. And finally - be a leader. Lead by example. Let your inner peace be evident. Go about your daily tasks with confidence in tomorrow. If today is all we have, then go out with Joy. Share with others, Say a kind, caring word. Love those around you. Maintain a peaceful, calm, uncluttered, clean, loved home. Love and encourage your husbands !! You'll be surprised how even these simple things can be a witness and a light to others during uncertain times...and well at anytime really  :)

I truly hope this writing will be an encouragement to someone. I know in other countries right now Covid seems like it's out of control, but still heed these words, stay close to the Lord, carry on doing what you need to do. If there's rioting over other matters in your area, keep shining the light of the Lord's love which dwells within your heart, don't give in to fear, or enmity. Don't stoop to another's level, seek the high ground and dwell there. Much love to you all. Stay hopeful. There's a peace in knowing you've done everything in your power to care for your family/home and know God will amply provide the rest. Be comforted in that assurance. His Love covers you. God's got this :)
Blessings ~ Linda


Sunday, 31 May 2020

Stepping Back & Stepping Out


Hi everyone,
Sorry it's been so long since I've written. My last post was at the start of the awful Virus outbreak and I think as we as a country went into lock down, I sort of withdrew from a lot of social media and the internet.  It wasn't really intentional, it just happened, so I just wanted to let you know what has been happening here in our life. I continued on with cleaning and clearing and have now worked my way through every cupboard and pantry, as we have several, and most of the bookcases. Oh how cathartic it is..much less clutter. We also purchased two inexpensive white pantries to store a lot of the packaging that I use for my small soap business...just things like that :) It takes a lot of sorting through, and I find I have to stay focused on the task to just complete it properly and not try to do a whole lot of other things at the same time. 

A question: How did you feel about the Lock Down? Are you still in Lock Down? in your country?

We are out of lock down now and nearly everything is open again. I personally loved the lock down, as did a lot of people I have spoken too. Our world is just so busy these days. I found it a joy to look out the window and see neighbours at home, out in their gardens or people as families going for walks together. When the lock down was over I was saddened that for so many people the thing they missed most was shopping ?? 
We still haven't even left our small town. It reminded me how fulfilling it is to take time to make special things for our home, to go through my own fabric stash and not just order something new online or rush into town to buy something. 

It was so quiet on our streets...I felt so peaceful...like nothing was expected of me and I didn't need to be anywhere. Apart from missing friends and family, I was able to be still...to think...and to start and complete projects I didn't think I would ever get around too.

Here's pictures of some of those things:

PRESERVING THE HARVEST:
We have four apple trees and three of those produce quite abundantly, so May sees me bottling apples, making apple butter and we eat a lot of them too.









SOME SEWING: 
I made some little reversible elastic cotton covers for my sourdough. I love the pretty floral fabrics.
They were quite simple to make. Here's a link to a great tutorial on You tube that I used:
 



I made several face masks, and while the lock down was in place we wore them when one of us needed to go to the supermarket. I also made them for my parents and was pleased they actually wore them too!


...and lastly I made three new aprons for myself :) I've been alternating two shabby brown aprons for several years now and are so pleased to have finally completed them. I even added pretty lace trims and also a lining. 



My husband has been working from home for two months now (because of Covid) and will finally return to work next week. It's been lovely having him here even though I had to be very quiet :) It's been a lot less stressful for him too. (please excuse pictures of laundry hanging in every picture..he he. It is Winter here now !)

We kept ourselves entertained playing board games :)

I made more soap (of course).. Goats Milk - Lemongrass & Lavender and a special soap to encourage people during the pandemic, called the HOPE soap.




We've been continuing on with our plant based meals, even though we still include eggs, occasional fish and chicken. We've been enjoying curries with paneer or Haloumi, homemade pasta, roasted cauliflower and Lentil Bolognaise recently.



I hung some herbs to dry - Sage, Basil and Thyme..and enjoyed stripping them off the stems once dry, putting them in jars and making pretty labels. They taste wonderful in our meals and it's so good to know they are organically grown too.



H O M E:  It's such a joy for me to care for my husband and our home. I know I've said it before but I truly do love the things I do here - cleaning, placing vases of freshly picked flowers here and there, turning on a lamp to make a room feel cosier, recovering cushions to freshen up a room, using the vegetables in our garden to make our meals healthier, preserving our harvest so we'll have fruit to enjoy during the cold Winter months, stripping down the beds, washing blankets and quilts and putting on fluffy warm winciette sheets as the cooler nights come closer. All these things I enjoy. 
I found this old notice called the Homemakers Creed and just love the words:


I love to save images of  homes, especially country style or vintage, pictures of simply prepared food like bread, baking, washing on the line or someone tending their garden. They remind me of my childhood and lovely days spent with my Nana, where we would just laugh and laugh. 



........

Well that's all from me, I pray you are all keeping well and 
trying to stay close to God (the only way to stay sane in these troubled times the world is in!) 
God Bless ~ Linda


1 Peter 2: 29 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ~ May we all remain and walk in that light.


















Just do the next thing

  Hi everyone, I just wanted to write and encourage anyone who may be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. I know events that have happened ...