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, 12 September 2020

Why read?

 Hi everyone,

It's been a month since I last posted....mostly I've been busy with my soap business. The time leading up to Christmas sales is always a busy time for me, since all stock is made by hand by me. Aside from this and having nothing to do with soap I wanted to share some thoughts that have been on my heart and swirling around in my head. They've come into my head, my consciousness because I selected some books in a second hand bookshop a couple of months ago and let these real things which are still happening in our world today be made known to me. 

These are the books I read: 

Book 1:


Slave: The extraordinary true story of a young Sudanese girl who was kidnapped and sold into slavery and how she finally escaped to freedom. (An excellent read - I cried quite a lot).

Book 2. 


This book is just a novel based on true facts which are centred around Spinalonga, a small island in the Gulf of Elounda in north-eastern Crete, which was used to isolate people affected by leprosy from 1903 to 1957 (when a cure was discovered). Settlement began in 1903, and by October 1904, 251 people lived on the island at Spinalonga (148 men and 103 woman). The story centres around a family and how their lives are affected by leprosy. (It's a great read).

Book 3: 

Synopsis: Mahmoud's passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she's ever known. But their happy, middle-class world-a life of education, work, and comfort-implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.

Mahmoud, a civil engineer, becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime and is murdered. Forced to flee Kabul with her three children, Fereiba has one hope to survive: she must find a way to cross Europe and reach her sister's family in England. With forged papers and help from kind strangers they meet along the way, Fereiba make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness. Exhausted and brokenhearted but undefeated, Fereiba manages to smuggle them as far as Greece. But in a busy market square, their fate takes a frightening turn when her teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family.

Faced with an impossible choice, Fereiba pushes on with her daughter and baby, while Saleem falls into the shadowy underground network of undocumented Afghans who haunt the streets of Europe's capitals. Across the continent Fereiba and Saleem struggle to reunite, and ultimately find a place where they can begin to reconstruct their lives.

*I found this book hard to put down and even though it's only a story, it concerns real things that are happening still in our world today. I stayed up late at night reading more and tears flowed as my heart went out to the suffering of these displaced people.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

The title of this post is why read?

As you can see the three books I read are all different subjects, but the thread that connects them all is human suffering. 

I read because I want to understand. I want to be aware. I want to be informed. I want to know so I can intercede in prayer. I want to pray for people, even those I don't know. Our very humanity connects us all. We are all made in the image of God.

Other thoughts:

You'd have to be living isolated in the woods, or on an island of one to not notice what's happening in our world right now and it's not pretty. It involves layers upon layers upon layers. Nothing is quite how it seems and there is no easy answer. It's hard to know what to believe in the media and just what the agenda is of some of these people. What I do believe is that when we don't know our history, when we think that we as human beings are capable of making a brighter future all on our own, without any understanding, belief in or awareness of the nature of sin in the hearts of mankind then we are doomed to fail. History shows us that socialist agendas never work. Greed, selfishness, oppression and cruelty always end up fueling those who are in power. People have ridiculous utopian notions that we can all live as one, share everything in common and all 'be kind' and get along (without acknowledging what really exists in people's hearts). Outside of Christ, this is impossible. Even with Christ, I see people behaving badly...which is very very sad. I see compromise all around, even in the church...Oh how it grieves my heart. 

Just recently here in New Zealand we had a four week lockdown, because of Covid 19, as many countries have also had and may continue to be in. One of the saddest things to come out of that was to see how many people dobbed in their neighbours and strangers or maybe people they knew that they thought warn't abiding by the lockdown rules. While no doubt people justified this action, thinking they are helping the greater good, I wonder if it was all noble. It reminded me of the second world war, where people would dob in their Jewish neighbours, where people willingly signed up with evil regimes because they thought they were helping some great cause. I was shocked to see how quickly and willingly people would behave this way in my own country. As the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us: Ecclesiastes 1:9 'What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

The only peace I have in this life comes from the Lord, it comes from knowing that I am loved even when I don't deserve it. Passages of scripture like Romans 5:7 & 8 inspire me:

 'For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.'

and Matthew 13:15  'For this people's heart has grown callous; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.'

What our world needs right now is prayer - lots of it. It needs people whose hearts won't become hardened, who won't turn their back on their neighbour, who won't ignore suffering, who will offer a cup of water to whoever needs it. Who will pray to have their heart grieved by what grieves the heart of our Lord. The greatest thing we can do for the Lord is make Him known. However that may look in our individual situations. 

As Christ himself answered, Luke 10: 27‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

Blessings to you all - I pray this writing speaks to someone today ~ Linda




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.


















Monday, 16 March 2020

Cleaning & clearing Part 2

Hi everyone,
I hope you are all washing your hands :) It is silly really that people need to be told to do this, but obviously not many people were before, or at least not doing it properly. There's no worries here at the little homestead however, especially considering I'm in the soap business lol !! he he, but seriously, whoever saw all of this coming !!! certainly not me.


As we are now in Autumn here in our little corner of the world, the mornings and evenings are cooler and wouldn't you know it sniffles/colds/virus etc have arrived as well. My husband is currently tucked up in bed with a sore throat. 
I decided to make up another batch of Theives. If you've never heard of it, it's a blend of 5 essential oils: Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Clove and Cinnamon. I'll attach a link if your interested in making it. I know companies like 'Young Living' essential oils sell it, as do other companies, maybe under a different name? I had the oils on hand anyway, so chose to just make some for my family. From my research I know it is not effective against Coronavirus, but it is still effective against germs and bacteria. I will be diffusing it to purify the air in our home and also adding drops to my homemade spray cleaner. I also purchased some hospital grade medicated wipes which I'm using to wipe door handles etc with (at the moment), just to be hyper cautious. Every little bit helps in my opinion.
Also I will attach a link to a really informative video regarding hand sanitizers. If you are at all interested in making your own their are certain facts to know regarding what will actually be effective against these virus's like coronavirus.


~ ~ ~ 0 ~  ~ ~

Other News:
I've just been super busy here at home cleaning, clearing and sorting and oh my does it feel good. I am steadily working my way through this house sorting cupboards, wardrobes etc. The last post mentioned my linen cupboard, well last week it was the Pantry. I actually have two. One is smaller and its more of a prepper style pantry where I just store extra canned goods, dry food etc. I am including before and after pantry pics. I havn't properly cleaned this large pantry out for a coupe of years. All I've done is wiped shelves down, but not properly emptied it out o clean as I've been too jolly busy...anyway you can see for yourself: (the big pantry)


 A big jumbled up mess..packets, bottles, cake tins, bags of flour..everything very disorganized. It was hard to know at times where things were and if I even had pinto beans hiding in there? I hate to be wasteful and if I end up having to throw something out because it was shoved to the back of the pantry and then has expired, that makes me upset. Food is something to be very thankful for ! 
I know with some people having to stay home and self quarantine right now, its the perfect opportunity to get stuck in and make that time work for you.  Get cleaning :)


Okay, this is where it got ugly...oh my what have I started !! ?? It took me two and a half days to empty it all out, sort what I wanted to keep, clean and reorganize in new jars. The original jars were preserving jars, so they are just going back into my canning cupboard :)


and then finally ta da...


One side contains the dehydrator, electric frypan, crockpot, cake tins..non food related items etc. and the other side is all food. The white plastic baskets contain things that are not used that often and I don't particularly want to look at all the time. I wanted the pantry to be simple, clean, tidy, and functional. Now I know exactly what's in there and it's so easy to find everything. I also arranged things so the weightier items (like large jars of bottled fruit) are all on the bottom shelf.




 ~ Of course I had to make my own jar labels. I have label paper on hand that I use in my soap business. Its water and grease proof, so will stand up to some handling. I'm pleased with the result and think they look a tad vintage too.

These other labels were made with an electrotag maker..but then it broke half way through..grrr, so that's why I made my own, and I actually like my ones better. (smile)

...then just because I don't know when to stop, I rearranged, cleaned and sorted out my spice drawer !!! That was a big job too. I didn't do a before pic (forgot), but this is the completed look. I colour coded the labels to make it easier for me to see without my glasses :). I had all the wee jars already up in my jar stash..now that's another story !!




Gathering/Harvesting:
Our garden is winding down for the year and didn't do as well as other years. Because of that I haven't been able to preserve as many jars of relish/pickle. I normally make tomato salsa every year, but the tomatoes haven't done as well either. It truly has been odd weather. We've made a lot of jam though :) And for the first year we have been able to harvest some figs. They are little, but still delicious and such a treat for me.



~ A simple lunch for me: Fresh Cox's Orange apples of off our tree, some sliced edam cheese, and a pumpkin muffin with homemade almond butter in the middle = delicious


Other baking:  'Date and Orange Scones'
Our oranges are starting to get a bit dry now, but the zest is still lovely and they do still give
 a little juice, so I made a simple scone recipe: (1/2 wholemeal flour and 1/2 self-raising white) - all up it was 3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 cup or more of milk, I squeezed in some fresh orange juice, and grated the zest of 1 x orange. I added about 1.5 cups of chopped dates and a pinch of salt. 1/3rd  - 1/2 cup brown sugar.  I rub 50 grams of butter into the flour. Then I stir in the zest, sugar, salt, dates, sugar, and pour in the milk and orange juice. Mix to a scone dough consistency. Continue to make as you would a scone recipe. I bake them at 190 Celcius for about 15 - 20 minutes.


~ 'Kale Burgers' ~
I follow a couple of ladies on YouTube. The channel is called Jane Essylstyn. They have some great recipes for plant based eating. Her father is a heart doctor and the recipes are for people who may have a history of heart disease and need to be careful of their diet. I have just purchased their book. Anyway I ramble, I just wanted to say I tried one of their recipes. They are Vegan and it was really good :) We will eat these again !! 


 ~ I served them on English Sourdough Muffins - homemade of course ~

Here is a link to their channel. The recipe for Kale Burgers is on there. It just consists of Kale (obviously), sweet potato, kidney beans, other veges and hot sauce). I added a couple of extra tweaks and may make my own video of me making it in the future.

Well dear friends and quiet followers, that is about all for now. I just wanted to check in with you all and let you know how we are. We haven't managed anymore painting of the house and quite frankly it will probably have to wait until next Spring now...and that's okay :)  We feel we did well this summer.
 If anything I've written here has helped or encouraged you in anyway I would love to hear from you.
Feel free to leave me a wee comment. I love to receive them and will write a reply.

~~~
and finally...my prayer is for all those in the medical profession who are working so tirelessly to help those who are ill. They themselves could be at risk, yet they faithfully serve in their professions to care for others in need. Oh Lord please protect and bless these people.








Why read?

 Hi everyone, It's been a month since I last posted....mostly I've been busy with my soap business. The time leading up to Christmas...