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“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

Saturday, 5 August 2017

His Heart


On Sunday afternoon hubby and I drove into the city to get a few things at the supermarket and to go to the library. We had some time to fill before the library opened, so we picked up some lunch & drove to the supermarket car park (I know... what a location!!!) and sat in our van and ate lunch :) As I sat there watching people going to and fro into the store....all sorts of people, I was asking myself the question: I wonder what God thinks of it all, people in general and all the stuff that's going on in the world today?

I couldn't imagine being God and knowing about everything !! all the neglect, abuse, crime, drug addiction, sex slavery, hurts, loneliness, fear, persecution, poverty, starvation, war etc. going on in the world and in peoples lives :(
I often have feelings of hopelessness about it all and its one of the reasons I don't watch the news very much. Some may think that's burying your head in the sand, but I know enough to know things aren't getting any better and my spirit can only cope with knowing so much. Sometimes I feel annoyed, even angry when I read, view or hear about senseless acts. I can't understand the motivation behind a lot of it. Stories of children suffering is the worst.






So to return to that question, what does God think about it all?
Well I know He's a God of justice, he's a God of mercy, He's a God of love and compassion. I know it must sadden His heart too. But I also know that He goes way beyond me when it comes right down to it. So as I was sitting there in that supermarket car park with my thoughts, my heart did a little jump, because I knew and I know what God thinks of it all.


* HE STILL LOVES PEOPLE...amazingly, surprisingly !!!! *

He says in the bible 'My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts' (Isaiah 55:8), oh how true is that. Because this is how He thinks, this is how He acts.
John 3:16 (NLT)
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone (anyone) who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."



That blew my mind and pierced my hardened heart the first time I ever read it and still has the same affect today. HE IS AN IMPARTIAL GOD OF LOVE.  




We can't put Him in a box and we should never limit the capacity of His love or the vastness of it. It stretches far and wide. While He might hate sin/evil, he'll forgive in a heartbeat any truly sorrowful person, who weeps over what they may have done to themselves or others. That's all I wanted to say :)
Be blessed and be a blessing ~ Linda






Tuesday, 4 July 2017

June in pictures

Hi all :)
I thought I would photo blog June, or otherwise all the pics I took throughout the month were in vain.
June was a month that reminded me that Winter brings with it many challenges: Laundry...cold dreary, dark days (which make me feel a bit blue at times) and flu bugs. Most people I know are sick at the moment..& thankfully after 4 days in bed I am almost over the worst of it. Yes all those things we so quickly forget about once Spring is in the air and Summer well under way. Autumn woos us with its lovely shades and welcomed cooler days and then BAM !! hello Winter is back to stay :)


 The positive aspects of Winter for me: Soup, Wooly's, coats and scarfs, the sound of the fire crackling away and gratitude in my heart for these blessings, as I know many don't have them.

Life slows down somewhat here at The Little Homestead (at least in the soap making side of things), and it gives me time to plan new things...think about what to plant in the garden in Spring, and also time to get around to little jobs I have neglected..cough cough..such as washing a few curtains etc..anyway on with the pics (some are a bit blurry) of what I achieved, surprises etc this month.
 I gathered the last of our apples (Sturmer), cooked and bottled them, to use in crumble puddings. The rest I put in the fridge to use for muffins etc.
 I quite forgot about the beetroot we planted in summer..oops. As I was getting the last jar out of the preserves pantry I remembered it. I thought it might have gone woody, but decided to pick it all and cook it up. It did take over an hour to cook as some of the beets were very big. I canned about 7 x 1 pound/500g jars of pickled beets. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 Lovely hubby helping with the dishes after one of my many messes xo

Just another banana cake...we seem to have it quite often :)

 Bread : I spent several hours one day baking a huge batch of bread (3 loaves - that's huge for me)..and I was so proud of myself...wait for it...then at the final stage, what did I do? You guessed it, I overcooked it :(   I didn't even think I could slice it, so left it covered with a tea towel over night and then the next morning I was able to slice it thickly. I just froze the whole lot and we've been gradually making our way through it as toast. It's still delicous..but I was very dissapointed in myself !!
 This is the latest book hubby has been reading me while I cook dinner.
Surprise !!! a big fat cute rabbit appeared in the garden one afternoon. !! I spotted him the next day too, but then he disapeared, just as quickly as he arrived. I almost felt like Alice in Wonderland.

My new soap stamp arrived - that was exciting :) (Heart and Hand)

 I found this lovely poem book that was in the 'Free Box' at a Homeschoolers weekend I attended with my daughter (so I could help with the grand baby). What a lovely weekend it was too. Anyway - the poem book. I loved so many of A.A. Milne's poems as a child, but didn't even realise who the author was. Maybe we read them aloud in the classroom or something. It's a bit vague in my memory, I just know they are familiar and they bring me joy, at their silliness. I've been reading some of them to our grandson Alex and he's enjoyed them too :)
 A book out of the library. Shibori is something I'm interested in. I used to do batik many many moons ago when my children were small, but all the complicated heating of wax, ironing it out of the fabric etc put me off....because I just didn't have the time back then. However Shibori doesn't involve wax, its just sort of tie-dying with Indigo. I love the finished patterns and the bright contrast of deepest navy and white.

This months second hand store find $2.00. Its a ravioli mold, with an enamel base :) I haven't used it yet, but plan too. I do made my own pasta every now and then and even purchased a wooden dowel stand thingy that you drape the pasta over to dry. In the past I've just used my broom handle propped up. Maybe winter might give me a chance to get back to some of those activities and venture into Ravioli making too :)

More baking: Blueberry muffins with Lemon Zest and a little bit of lemon glaze icing drizzled on top.

 My little preserves pantry. I also keep some jars in anther large pantry, as this little one doesn't like too much weight on the legs.

Tasha Tudor Pantry art


and that's all for June, as now we're already into July..phew :) Time for me to go to bed. 
Blessings to anyone who reads this. Please leave a comment if you feel to. I'd love to hear what's happening in your corner of the world :)
 ~ Linda


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” 
John Steinbeck



Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Saddened

What makes you sad? What puts a burden on your heart? What causes you to become discouraged?

I'm sure the answer to this may be different for each one of us.
One thing that causes me much sadness is 'Facebook'. While I know it's lovely to be able to connect there with friends and family and share pictures from our holidays etc;  still  the many negative things I see there cause me to wonder if the good out weighs the bad?

The other day I saw a post from the Duggar family pop up, where one of their children had celebrated a birthday. There was a picture taken of the birthday girl standing in a group with some of her friends.
 I suppose its their choice that they share these images with the world and then open themselves to whatever people will do by way of 'comments'. If anything one would think people might click 'like', or write happy birthday - smiley etc. You would think...and yes people did do and say those things, but what they also did and said was distressing. People took it upon themselves to critique the clothing that the girls were wearing. The girls were dressed nicely/modestly and looked happy...It was a special day. However people criticized the style of dresses, saying they looked frumpy etc etc and picked on one friend of the Duggar family in particular, saying she looked like she was wearing her grand mothers dress...and on and on it went.

After reading through some of the comments, I felt thoroughly disillusioned and asked myself these questions:
1. Why are these people following the Duggars? Do they share the same values? Are they christian? 2. What makes them feel entitled to say anything of this nature at all?  Are they aware that their words are cruel and mean spirited?

and I reflected on these thoughts:

1. Would people say those comments to the girls face to face?
2. Does social media provide a venue to promote meanness and bullying?

Once this type of behavior was relegated to our childhood schoolyard years..or was it? It still apparently happens on social media and in work places, so it can't be just considered 'childish' behaviour.

Time and time again on Facebook I witness people being very thoughtless and hurtful with their words and posts. Just spewing out horrible things, without thought that they will hurt others. I see people putting others down, discussing personal matters, telling whole arguments publicly, where one tells there side of the story, but the others persons side is never heard.
I wonder why do people even do this? Is it to get attention? sympathy?  to make themselves look good? I just don't understand it.

When I see this kind of behavior among those that don't know the Lord, I can sort of accept it easier, because I know they are not striving to live a holy life, and are not aware of God's goodness and what He requires of believers.

When I see it going on with people who profess to know the Lord and supposedly walk with Him, I am saddened greatly.
1. It casts believers in a poor light. Where is the moral integrity? Can they be trusted?,  if they would publicly malign someone so easily?
2. What does it do to someones witness?  People scoff at Christians as it is..and say things like.."Ha..look what she's doing, saying etc and she calls herself a christian". (or Him)

I have brought all these thoughts and concerns to God in prayer and was reminded of these scriptures from His word.

Matthew 12:36
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

and...

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves (NIV)

My daughter keeps telling me that I am too sensitive, and while I don't deny this (It's how God has made me). I do feel very strongly about what I have written here. Also, it is not judging. What I am doing is simply naming something that is real and going on constantly.

If this speaks to you?as it has caused me to examine my own heart, then I pray you will think about what you say, write, share publicly in a deeper way and how it will affect others. Let's strive to encourage and support one another, celebrate alongside others and not tear down.

Blessings to anyone who reads this and comment if you feel to. ~ Linda

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Saturday, 10 June 2017

Busy.. Busy..

Life, Oh my isn't it busy?
I always find there are more tasks/projects to be completed than hours in the day. When one has a set back in their health it only adds to those things mounting up. Currently we are getting parts of our roof repaired.

Our home was built in 1880, so its understandable that their is much that needs doing. Yesterday the sound of hammers banging away was music to my ears..with intermittent pauses as sun showers came through. We're also getting some rotten weather boards replaced. Then all this new work will require painting, which will be my husbands domain, eventually :)
I thought I would just post a whole bunch of pictures of various things I snapped over the past couple of weeks, mostly baking & soap :)
Muffin our cat, lounging on the front deck.
Front yard trees in Autumn, now they are all bare, except for the Camelia's which are just coming into flower :)

1st up: I love to go to Second Hand Stores - called Op Shops here in NZ, as one never knows what little treasures might be found. This week I got a little Hand Sifter, and some good quality square baking tins (esp for Christmas fruit cakes). I picked up this little crockery mustard pot a couple of weeks back - too cute !!!
here it is displayed on my kitchen shelf :)
and some baking I've been doing for lunch boxes etc.
Chocolate Afghan Cookies - some with choc chips & some with walnut toppings.

CHOCOLATE AFGHAN COOKIES

200g Butter (softened)
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder - sifted
1 1/2 cups cornflakes 

ICING
1 - 2 Tablespoons Butter
1 - 2 T cocoa powder
2 t vanilla essence
1 packed cup icing sugar
Hot water to mix


Method: 
1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper (I always use baking paper or those silicone
tray liners that are washable.
3. In a medium size bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Sift in the flour and cocoa. Mix well. Add cornflakes and mix again, being careful not to thoroughly smash the cornflakes :)
5. Roll mixture into balls, I use a tablespoon (not mounded). Press with a fork.
6. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Ice with chocolate icing and sprinkle with walnuts or chocolate chips. ~ enjoy

Icing: Mix icing sugar and cocoa with a fork. Throw in the butter, mash till crumbly. Add vanilla & mix well. Drizzle drops of Hot Water at a time and beat until a smooth consistency is reached, but still thick (not runny !!!) . 

Hokey Pokey Biscuits - a simple old fashioned and inexpensive Cookie with quite a unique flavour. My Nana used to make them when I was a child and I always loved them !

HOKEY POKEY BISCUITS

INGREDIENTS
125g softened butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup
1 Tablespoon warm Milk
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Method: 
1.  Preheat oven to 170 C
2. Cream the butter and sugar.
3.  Warm the milk in the microwave and stir in the baking soda until it froths.  
4.  Add milk mixture and creamed mixture to the flour. Mix well and form into small balls. 
5. Place on lined trays. Press with a fork lightly and bake for about 12 minutes. ~ Enjoy

I also made some Black currant Jam from Blackcurrants I had from the garden in our freezer. It turned out beautiful. Apparently most berry jams are improved when the berries have been frozen (well especially blackcurrants), it soften the skins. 


Yield x 9 Jars

Soap & Apothecary: I restocked my website with Body Butter (so perfect for Winter) and made some lovely Rosemary/Lavender Soap with French Green Clay.



all tidied up and stamped :) These are Bastile Bars made with 75% Olive Oil (I know the stamp says 72%) :) plus Coconut Oil for extra Bubbles and Cocoa Butter for added moisturizing properties. One of my favorite soaps.
same batch, different molds (below)
Rose Geranium Savon Bastile Bar Soap (with Coconut Milk)
Little Owl Lavender Cocoa Butter Soap


Garden produce: Our Feijoas are just finishing off outside. All up we gathered about 3 plastic supermarket bags worth of fruit (about 10 kilo - 20 lbs.) We gave some away and have just been enjoying eating them fresh on porridge with homemade yogurt in the mornings. I havn't bottled any this year (just storing them in the fridge). We also have a huge yield of Sturmer cooking apples that I havn't done anything with either sigh...well I did make one apple pie so-far. But honestly we do not need to be eating desert very often. I planted all these trees to not only eat the fruit, but also preserve; however I find we mostly share it, eat it and preserve very little. But that's okay, its just a blessing to have seasonal fruit nearly all year round, that's not only organic/spray free, but also nutritious !!!


So that's about all for now. I've been making a concerted effort to return to the ways of my youth when it comes to my cooking style. I used to make everything from scratch, bread, baking meals and we were healthier for it. The garden was more of a focus, and our meals revolved more around it. I mentioned in the last post that I've been making bread again too. The problem is New Zealand wheat is not that high in gluten, so additional gluten flour needs to be added to help the texture. I purchased some Organic flour yesterday from the wholefoods store: German Spelt flour and Unbleached White. Plus some more whole grains for the grain grinder: Wheat and Buckwheat. Buckwheat makes the most delicious pancakes. Okay, so now I am rambling..I really must go and make some more labels for soap. Bye for now, blessings and love to all.
* Please leave me a comment, if you stop by, It brings me Joy with a capital 'J' to hear from you :) ~ Blessings to you ~ Linda


Thursday, 8 June 2017

All the Comforts of Home

Hello :)
Home - isn't that the loveliest word...I always remember that line from The Wizard of Oz,  where Dorothy is waking up from her dream state and saying out loud : "There's no place like home, there's no place like home "...and its so true. The older I get the more I appreciate and love being at home. In my younger years I had a bit of wanderlust and desire to see the world (which I did, the parts I wanted to see that is :), but now there is nothing I love more than cooking dinner, knowing my husband will come home and enjoy it with me, in our clean, quiet, humble home. Home for me is a place of contentment..and where I choose to use my gifts of creativity. That may be in cooking, gardening, or craft. It's never a drudge to me, rather I find it a joy.
I've just spent an hour or so writing out..well copy and paste more like and then printing out bread recipes. Periodically I go through a season where I want to make bread and experience the wonderful aroma as it bakes. I watched this video below on youtube and was even more inspired, even though I'm not really a white bread gal.



One of the main reasons I wanted to get back into bread making, was because
1. Its more nutritious and you can add whatever you want to in it.
2. It seems to be better for my whole digestive system and body in general. No more upset tummy, like I get when I eat regular bread from the supermarket. 
3. It's cheaper :) and puts the most wonderful, earthy, homely aroma into the atmosphere.
Anyway...
This week I've mostly been making bread in the bread maker as I havn't been feeling the best, some sort of Winter virus thing...sigh. So far  I've made Oatmeal/Milk & Honey bread, which was very delicious and wholemeal/seed bread - with a mix of seeds: linseed, chia, sunflower& pumpkin. I also occasionally add in some ground cornmeal and Barley, which I grind with this little guy: My Snitzer Pico electric Grain Grinder. Its the smallest model, but adequate for our needs.

Another bread I often make is 'Crunchy Bread'..full of lots of seeds too. As soon as this bread is baked and cold, I slice it thick and freeze it, as it makes the most wonderful filling morning toast. But often I'll sneak a quick slice, with a little butter and peanut butter or Marmite (Our Mate) !!

such fun adding in all that nutritiousness. 


One of my latest online purchases via another blogger https://www.nourishingdays.com/
is a foodie book all about fermentation.
This is the family from Nourishing Days Blog (No, they're not Amish).
and this is Shannon's Book: Traditionally Fermented Foods
and I have to say, it is the most well written, thoroughly researched book I have ever read on this subject. I am yet to start making her sourdough recipe. It takes a week to make the Sourdough Starter, so quite the process initially and I have to be fully up to speed to start something new. If I get around to it, I'll post some pics as an update to this bready post. Well that's all for now. If anyone reads this and is also enjoys bread making I would love to hear what you bake. 
Blessings and Love 
~ Linda ~
(comments are welcome)




His Heart

On Sunday afternoon hubby and I drove into the city to get a few things at the supermarket and to go to the library. We had some time to...