“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, 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)




Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Freedom



This topic just won't seem to leave me at the moment, so rather than have it drive me nuts, I thought I'd get some thoughts down on paper and see where it goes. I wanted to look at what it means to be free? and more specifically what does it mean to be truly 'Free in Christ'. Generally when we talk about being 'set free', we mean free from our sins; that Christ's blood washes away when we give our lives to Him and we no longer have to fear what will happen to us when we die eg. going to hell.

But back to freedom. As I was meditating on this subject...I started to wonder how free are we really in Christ?  If Christ died to set us free, it's about more that just that moment of our deaths; its also about setting us free from being slaves to sin in this life, right now; those desires of our fleshy/selfish nature, which we will grapple with our whole lives to varying degrees. If we've let Christ take the wheel & He truly is King of our hearts, then the grappling with sin is lessened greatly, as we surrender to Him all our struggles and he relieves us of so much turmoil.

But what could we still hold onto; even after our conversion, that might cripple us and prevent us being free in this life right now ? What could so hinder our walk that we may find the Fruits of the Spirit, such as 'Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness & Self Control to be very hard to grab hold of and not really be evident in our life at all (in a lasting way).

So far we've see that we are:
1. 'Free' from fear of where we will end up when we die (an assurance of a heavenly home).
2. 'Free' from slavery to sin (we have the Holy Spirit to help and strengthen our resolve to live pure & holy lives).

However Sin is not always so obvious. In this instance I am speaking of Fear...as we can hide our fears and it becomes a hidden sin.  If we look closely at the word of God, it reminds us we need to truly examine our lives/hearts and see if any hidden sin remains. Even a small speck can spread through the whole.

1.“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

The only antidote to true and lasting freedom from fear is greater FAITH. Without it, we strive to do a lot in our own strength; we try to control outcomes and only feel a 'sense of peace' if those outcomes are good. But often situations/outcomes in life are not so good (even as Christians). People let us down; disappointment in people, church, friends, spouse etc stalks us at every turn. We often become fearful of life and what might happen next.
So where does our peace go in these situations?.. often right out the door. Are we Free from whatever life throws at us..No, we are not. The bible tells us God causes the sun to shine on the good and the bad. Are we Free to choose how we respond to life's situations? Yes we certainly are. What does this require?  It requires staying anchored in the Freedom we have in Christ. Walking steadfastly in Faith and not allowing Fear to have even a foothold in our lives. We need that precious faith, as of a child, trusting the Lord that he holds us and is in control. Faith and Fear are not Friends (remember that). They are like oil and water and will not mix (ever) !.

 2. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10


So to conclude - To truly attain lasting Freedom in Christ simply means disciplining your mind (first and foremost - and what a battle ground that is !!!), and your heart to choose to trust the Lord and walk in faith, not fear.  Meditate on faith building verses of scripture. Soak yourself in them through difficult times and you will find that those verses will naturally come back into your mind when you need them most. Pin them around your home. Paste them into the front of your bible..etc. The Holy Spirit will prompt you and comfort you by them in your times of doubt to drive away any fear, anxiety and fretting. Prayer and scripture are your spiritual weapons to fight with. Believe me, it truly is a choice and it is a sin to choose fear over faith. One will give peace, comfort and warm assurance. The other will drive you mad, leaving you cold and empty.  I truly hope this post with strengthen and equip even just one person who may read this.

Blessings to all - Linda
Please feel free to leave me a comment, if this writing has helped you in any way. xo

More strengthening versus:

3.“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

 4.. “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

5. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

6. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

7. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19

8.“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
9.  “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25
10. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
11. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
12. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
13. “Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.  Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
14. “Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4
15. “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:22-26
16. “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
17. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22
18. “Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'” Mark 6:50
19. “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
20. “'For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,' declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:13-14
21. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
22. “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” Psalm 118:6-7
23. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25
24. “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:39-40
25. “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7
26. “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” 1 Peter 3:14
27. “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
28. “Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22
29. “Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.'” Revelation 1:17
30. “Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” Mark 5:36
31. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38-39
32. “The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17
33. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…” from Psalm 91:1-16

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Power in the Word of God




Reading the Word of God, Faith and Prayer; they all kind of go together in my mind.
A.W Tozer would remind us that while the Bible is inspired and full of power, if those words simply remain on the page and are not applied to our lives; taking root in our hearts, then we rob them of any opportunity to equip and strengthen us in our daily lives.

It concerns me that so many Christians don't read their Bibles very often. It saddens me that in times of difficulty people will turn to everything else other than their bible and seeking God in prayer.   

I'm always mindful of and very thankful to my faith heritage that as a young christian I was encouraged and taught to read the word daily. Initially that was a discipline, but now after being a believer for thirty + years, reading my bible is a joy and something I hunger for first thing in the morning, just as much; if not more that I look forward to breakfast. I know prayer and feasting on the Word has grown and strengthened me greatly in my faith;especially during very difficult times. 


When I read the word it reminds me of how I am actually to live as a christian woman in this world today. It instructs me correctly, so I don't entertain false notions. So many christian woman are more influenced by 'quotes on facebook' and what other believers say or think, than knowing the truth about what the word actually says. If God doesn't say it in His word, then it is merely an assumption, someones personal preference, a dumbing down or simple human reasoning. If you study the Word in any great deapth, it won't take long to discover that God is Holy and He calls His people to be Holy; He is also unchanging.

I don't meet a lot of believers these days that truly Fear the Lord, and by that I mean 'revere' Him, and His Holiness. I say this because when I do meet someone that fears the Lord this way; it shines out of them and is evident in everything they do: the way they speak, serve, act, dress etc etc. 
It seems today many Christians are content to settle for less; when God calls us to higher ground in Him. They're content to plateau on some sort of 'this is enough' level; when NO,  we are called to continue striving, seeking, hungering for deeper fellowship, more intimacy and ultimately more of Christ's likeness to be evident in and through us; so God will be glorified.


~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~
When you look at these stone steps, may they bring to mind a 'well trodden path'. A path that leads to your prayer room, where you meet with the Lord in quiet intamacy and meditate on His Word. I pray I have a path that looks like this in the spirit.

~ ~ ~ ~
From my personal reading and meditating on the word of God this morning, specifically 2 Peter; Chapter 3, I was reminded that the whole purpose of both letters, 1 & 2 Peter is to remind all believers to be:
1. Stimulated towards wholesome thinking (2 Pet 1:3).
2. To always keep our hearts focused on the Lord
3. To be aware of those with little or no faith who will be scoffers, seeking to discredit the word, its promises and those who seek to live devout lives (2 Pet  3:3 ff)
4. Remembering the Lord is very patient and wants everyone to have an opportunity to 
come to faith in Him. 2 Pet 3:8 ff)
5. To live holy and godly lives; looking forward to the day Of God and speed its coming (2 Pet 3:11)
6. Since we are looking forward to this day, we are to make every effort to be found blameless
and at peace with Him (which is how we should be striving always). (2 Pet 3:14)
7. Since we know these things we are to be on our guard so as to not be carried away by false teaching (the error of lawless men) – therefore know your word !!! be in it daily. Make sure there is always oil in your lamp.  2 Pet 3:17

8. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, 
giving Him the glory at all times (2 Pet 3: 18ff)


I would encourage anyone (and especially woman) who read this post to truly 
believe and trust that their is power, real supernatural power in the Word when
 it is believed on in faith and applied in our lives. 
Blessings and peace ~ Linda


Good Links: http://www.moreradiance.com/books-to-read/


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Autumn...pause and enjoy :)



We had our first frost this morning..well the car windows were slightly frosted, and it was cold when I woke up..does that count ? My lovely husband lit the wood burner before he went to work, so I got to enjoy its warmth and lovely sounds of wood crackling and hissing in the warm glow as I went about my tasks of cleaning and baking. 

Proverbs 31
V 17:She sets about her work vigourously; her arms are strong for her tasks
v 27: She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness

 As I worked diligently, dusting, polishing, vacuuming, mopping and redoing vases with greenery - I thought to myself; I really like this !!!  My home feels so cared for, sparkling and fresh. My mum loves to clean her home, and I think I inherit that satisfaction I feel from her :)  I never once heard her complain about homemaking and actually just took a clean, neat home for granted as a child; not really realizing at the time, that a lot of hard work went into it all.

Psalm 90:17
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us; yes establish the work of our hands.

~ I like to light candles, even in the daytime; for their fragrance and glow. It gives me
a feeling of calm and warmth ~

~ 'In list form - the work of my hands this week' ~

1. Packaging soap: I'm slowly getting around to wrapping all the soaps I've made over the last month or so. I went with a new label for this Goats Milk one and I really like the pretty soft blue colour. 
2. Gathering : I love going out to the garden this time of year..so many changes are happening daily. More branches are bare, the sun doesn't stay out as long and its getting cold by about 3,30 most afternoons. The garden always beckons me to come and weed, cut back...tidy it away for winter and I will get there..its on my list :) Today I went to investigate why the branches on the Feijoa tree were hanging so low to the ground, thinking maybe one was broken; but they were merley laden with fruit (more blessings). I spent some time just looking, gathering bits and pieces..smelling those Autumn smells, feeling leaves beneath my feet and feeling thankful I have time to pause this year and truly appreciate this season.
art by Serena Curmi
3. Picking Feijoas and Autumn flowers..Chrystanthemums and Cosmos:)
4. Baking: Cornmeal Muffins that accompanied Bean & Bacon Soup. I added 1/2 cup of leftover mashed potato (frugal gal that I am)
They were deliciously fluffy and soft
Baking Double Chocolate Chip Cookies



~Yum ~

Baking Raspberry Cheesecake Slice



5. I've been doing a lot of reading lately..my usual Amish novels, plus different books I've bought from Amazon (via birthday money from my son :) isn't reading just delicious !!! I'm consciously trying to make a lot more time for it, instead of flipping open my laptop where I invariably end up working on something..instead I reach for a book..ahhh instant relaxation. Two books from my Amazon haul that I'm currently enjoying:

1.How to be a Wildflower: What a delight. For all those who love to forage, explore, wander, get lost in the garden, walk in the woods and appreciate simplicity, nature and art..

2.Forgotten Ways for Modern Days: I initially checked this book out of the library, but quickly realised it was far to amazing to return, so I needed to purchase my own copy. Its for the eco homemaker, recipes for everything homemade in the way of cleaning products and allsorts of quirky craft ideas and tips  just fabulous.

6. Images that make my heart to a double flip :)

(My lovely daughter Katie and wee grand daughter Poppy May all bundled up today)

 Art by Claudia Tremblay 'Our Walk'
When I saw this piece of art via Pintrest, I immediately thought of my daughter Katie and our walk in Christ together. While I have so many things I am grateful for in this life; to have my daughter love the Lord like I do and be able to have such deep spiritual talks together is a very rich blessing I hardly have words to describe... (Thankful)

Buy for now..blessings to all
please feel free to leave a comment :)