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

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Making Memories & Cream Sponge

Hi dear readers :)

I just wanted to share something special that happened last week. It was our daughter Katies 30th birthday. She's the mother of four of our beautiful granddaughters (Lily - 9, Kora -5, Poppy - 3, Laura -1), and is currently homeschooling two of them. So that means she's very busy and gets pretty tired too.

I wanted to do something special for her, for her birthday and as she doesn't like big fusses or parties, I decided to simply make a cake the day before and surprise her with it. That day I was looking after one of her girls, our little grandy Poppy May - 3 yrs old, so she helped me with the cake.

After we baked the cake, we went up town and I asked Poppy what she thought Mummy might like for a gift? (I already had a few things for her, but thought it would be fun to ask Poppy too.) She suggested a rainbow pinata (lol), but we settled on a gold tiara and a pretty notebook.  It was a lot of fun preparing the cake together and I made a little video, which I wanted to share. I phoned one of Katies other daughters and asked if she would pick some flowers. She picked 4 lavender spears and one daisy :) just a small bunch lol. Katie enjoyed unwrapping all her gifts and the delicious raspberry cream sponge cake too. We are very blessed to have Katie in our life. 

. . . . . . . . . 

One in a million— once in a lifetime— may do a heroic action;
 but the little things that make up our life come every day and every hour. 
If we make the little events of life beautiful and good, 
then is the whole life full of beauty and goodness.
(The Royal Path of Life)

Blessings to you all ~ Linda

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Taking my time

Hello readers,
Last Friday I got busy with Spring cleaning as I wanted our home to have a fresh start for the season. Even though the house is generally tidy and vacuumed, still every now and then I like to do a really deep clean.

I got down on my hands and knees with a rag and bucket of water filled with disinfectant and a little detergent. I wiped down all the skirting boards and got right into the corners where dust seems to accumulate and the mop might not always get to on our wooden floors. I then vacuumed, polished, cleaned mirrors, dusted and removed cobwebs from ceilings. It took me about two and a half hours to do the whole house. I'd been planning this big clean for a couple of weeks and after it was done I was thoroughly worn out, but so happy I was no longer 'planning it' and had completed it. Everything felt so clean and fresh,loved and cared for.

So what's the big deal you might say, doesn't everyone cleans their house? yes of course they do, but what I feel the Lord teaching me, is that I need to be fully present with whatever it is I'm doing or planning to do and to not procrastinate.  I feel I need to truly focus on the task at hand and to do that job well, in a calm and thorough way and not hurried or with my mind everywhere but here, thinking about other tasks or things I'd rather be doing.

When it comes to home tasks I had these thoughts:
1. Preparing meals:
A. I want to prepare food in an unhurried fashion, having planned what we will eat either that morning or even the night before. I like to think about the meal and make sure it's balanced and healthy. I want to prepare it in a way where I'm grateful that God has provided work for my husband and that we have food on the table. I want to prepare it in a calm joyful manner and not with a spirit that feels burdened by cooking yet another meal. I often batch cook meals, which is simply cooking more than we need. This way I always have extra meals in the freezer for times when I'm especially tired or unwell. I also have food to share with others by doing this.

2.Cleaning the house:
B. I want to go about this task in a planned way. I know I need to vacuum, mop, dust, polish etc on a regular basis, and do some of these tasks daily so that I keep on top of things and it doesn't get out of hand. Cleaning a house properly is not an easy task as we all know. New dust settles every day and that in itself could be depressing, if I let it get to me. I want to clean with an appreciative spirit. Not everyone has a house, it truly is a blessing from God. My husband works hard and I feel it's my job to keep it looking fresh, clean and welcoming for my husband and anyone else who may come to visit. I often watch the 700 club, via the computer and Operation Blessing goes out to help those in need in poor countries. I see the houses these people live in, which are often little more than shacks. There have been many times in my life when things have been out of balance and I've put more attention into other things rather than keeping the house properly clean. I'm thankful God raised my awareness that I need to be a good steward of what we have. So whatever it is I'm doing, be it ironing, mopping, vacuuming - I want to do it thoroughly, and be thankful I have the tools, appliances, electricity and health to even do it at all. 

3. Gardening:
C. We have a huge garden and I never get on top of this and probably never will. It's too big for starters and there are too many invasive weeds. Some years I've been so busy with my soap business. I've put too much energy into that and the house and garden suffered yet again and also my relationships with people. I so easily get out of balance :(. I've blogged about this before. Now my approach is to try and do a little bit in the garden regularly. I keep some gardening tools by the back door: my trowel, gloves, kneeling pad, long handled hoe etc. Whenever the weather is good and I have a bit of time I just go out and pull a few weeds or hoe over the veggie beds to lift up any small weeds before they get established. I still have many areas I may never get too, as they require hefty digging and trimming, but I have to accept this and know we will never have a manicured property as we can't possibly employ a gardener....and that's okay. It is what it is. When I am in the garden I often forget about little problems and chat away to God, thanking Him for the beauty around me. I come inside feeling happier because at least i got a little bit done, and a little Vitamin D from the sun :)

4. Relationships
D. There is a quote I love 'Wherever you are, be all there'. It's so true. There is nothing worse than going out for coffee with someone and they spend most of the time texting someone else. Sometimes I've had people visit me and as I'm sitting with them I'm also mentally thinking of things I need to get done. I don't like that I do this. I don't think God wants me doing this either?  He created us for relationship, to serve others, to be there for them and to help and bear one another's burdens. I believe He wants me to be present, to fully engage, to set aside a portion of time for them, to truly listen, pray for them and be a 'friend'. They are my priority. Other things can wait.

Well friends this was on my heart and I just felt to share it. 
It's something I seem to need to be constantly reminded of. I am slow to learn it seems. 
Maybe someone else out there needs this reminder too?
It's a wonderful thing to have a family, friends and a home to care for
and it's equally lovely if we can go about these tasks
 with genuine care, attention and love. 
~ ~ ~ 

(Please leave me a comment if this has encouraged you in some way)
Blessings ~ Linda xo

Monday, 2 September 2019

Set apart Christ as Lord

1 Peter 3: 15 
Your heart should be holy and set apart for the Lord God. 
Always be ready to tell everyone who asks you why you believe as you do. 
Be gentle as you speak and show respect.

Some thoughts I wanted to share:
I've been slowly reading my way through 1 Peter (Holy Bible) in the mornings, meditating on the precious words and letting them wash over and through me in any way that the Lord sees fit, to either teach, correct, soothe, comfort or heal. I always pray before I begin reading that Father reveal to me what He wants me to observe from the reading. Sometimes something will come to mind that I had been unaware of, maybe I said something in haste, which wasn't helpful or encouraging. I thank Him for this, repent of it and will ask whoever I may have offended for forgiveness. It's very cleansing to do this. It's like a clean slate each day. It also doesn't matter how old or young the person may be :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1 Peter 3:15
Set apart Christ as Lord. The context for this passage is in the section 'Suffering for doing good'.
In his letter Peter has already told believers that they are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). As a “holy nation,” believers are set apart to be different from the world. In a world where we should be seen as different, our lives of faith will usually lead to suffering, whether that may be persecution from the government (1 Peter 2:13–18, 4:15–16) or from unjust masters (1 Peter 2:18–19). Peter is reminding his readers to expect suffering as Christians. Just as Christ suffered for us as our example of gentleness and suffering for righteousness, he is also an example of hope (1 Peter 1:21, 2:21–23).

Honoring Christ the Lord
In a world where we fear suffering, Peter reminds us that our focus should be on honoring Christ the Lord. What does it mean to honor Christ the Lord? The word for honor (hagiazo) here has the sense of “treat as holy, regard reverently”1 Christ as Lord. In other words, we are to treat Christ with a special status (see Hebrews 9:13–14). This is not an option but rather a command to all believers, and the desire of our hearts should always be to understand and obey the commands of our Lord (John 14:15, 23; 15:10).

Our holiness will ultimately come from our devotion to Christ, and personal holiness in a culture of opposition usually leads to suffering. To treat Christ as holy also means that we do not see ourselves as the center of our being or purpose; rather it means we see ourselves as those who are redeemed sinners (1 Peter 1:16, 18–19). Moreover, what you treat as holy in your heart will have an impact on the rest of your life: morality, understanding of life and death, ethical decisions, priorities, and so on.

If Christ is rightly honored in the hearts of his people, they will fear him and not the world. But notice that “always being prepared to make a defense” flows from the obedience to the first part of the text, that is the obedience to honoring Christ the Lord as holy in our hearts. It is because we are a royal priesthood and a chosen people that we are commanded to give a reason for the hope in us.

The Hope in You
Peter tells us that our personal holiness will require an explanation because it sets us apart as sojourners and exiles (1 Peter 2:11). Those to whom we give an answer are “anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you and to wonder why the christian is different?.” 
What is the hope in the face of a Christian’s suffering? It is a living hope, the hope of a life to come (1 Peter 1:3–4).

However, if we don’t live in such a way as to honor Christ, if we dress, talk, think, and react like the world, then who is going to ask us about the hope that we have? There must be something about our lives that results in us acting differently from the world. Sometimes people don’t hear our words until they see our deeds (1 Peter 2:12). This is not to say that what we do is more important than what we say, but that our words must be consistent with our testimony. 

Most of all, we must not forget to explain the reason for our hope in gentleness and respect. If we suffer, it should be because we have honored Jesus as Lord, not because we have dishonored him in conduct or speech.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I've noticed that simply living every day life as a Christian 'setting apart Christ as Lord' and striving to bring Him glory by my words and actions can be inflammatory to some people. It's like they despise me just because of this. Is it because their hearts are so hardened to the things of God?  Is it because they want to live in sin?. The light will always reveal what is hidden. 

I've found this quite a cross to bear in my own life. I've lost friends over it, who couldn't accept me and my narrow way beliefs. Thats hard and brings with it suffering. While I know I have not lived a perfect life by any means and have made many many mistakes which caused other people pain. When God revealed to me the depth of my own sin, I repented of it, sought forgiveness, confessed where I needed to and have not looked back. Was this easy? NO !! It was very hard, but the fruit of it now is glorious. My relationship with the Lord is pure and intimate. I keep short accounts with Him, I set Him apart as my pearl of great price, my precious Lord. I don't ever want anything to come between us and contaminate that LOVE. I know as a christian woman He is the only one who will never let me down or abandon me, He actually spoke those words to my heart when I needed to hear them most. 

I truly pray what I have shared is timely and helpful for someone today. 
Be blessed, anoint these words dear Lord, 
continue in the narrow way which leads to godliness
if your walking with God.
. Pursue His heart with true commitment and devotion. It is worth it. 

If you are a non-believer why not surrender.
 If you just open your heart even a tiny crack, and ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you, He will. 
Ask for forgiveness for your sins, 
the way you have lived your life on your own terms up to now.
Ask Him to be Lord of your life and He will. 
Your life will change in ways you couldn't even imagine. 
It will have true worth and an everlasting reward
 in heaven when this life is over.

xo ~ Linda

Sunday, 1 September 2019

An ordinary day in my life

Romans 14: 6 a
He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he
who eats, does so for the Lord, 
for he gives thanks to God

Hello dear readers,
I thought I would share a typical day. I enjoy reading how other homemakers spend their days, so I wanted to share mine, but before I do I'm super excited that some new ladies have started following me. That brought so much joy to my heart I can hardly even explain it :) It made me more motivated to actually write more (thank you).
Okay here we go:

6.30 am My hubby wakes me up...then I put the laundry on, chat with hubby and then prepare his snacks to take to work (he comes home for lunch). Make myself a cup of coffee and head back to my bedroom to have my quiet time. We don't eat breakfast right now as we're practising intermittent fasting and I eat at or 12.00. I pretty much do this every morning, except the days I go and help my daughter, then I make the lunches early in the morning too. I am a creature of habit ! :)

Painting by: Fran├žois de Bruycker

7.30 am Prayer time, Bible reading (1 Peter chapter 1 ff at the moment). Then I write in my journal. I like to journal about everyday things: what I'm cooking, prayer needs, current affairs, family issues, goals, spiritual inspiration from the bible reading etc. I also go back and read through old journals. It's very interesting :) Then I check emails on my laptop.

8.00 or 9.00 am depending on my schedule, I shower and prepare for my day. If I have any soap orders I package them up now. I will normally bake in the morning or put bread in the breadmaker for my husband. It takes him about 4 days to get through a loaf. This morning I made him apricot and white chocolate slice (one of his favourites).

Apricot & White Chocolate Slice

1 x 400g pkt of vanilla wine biscuits - crushed
125g melted butter
1/2 can of condensed milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup chopped apricots
1 cup white chocolate chips
extra white choc to scatter on top
1 T organic coconut oil
extra coconut

1. Melt the butter, stir in the brown sugar and the condensed milk. Whisk until all are
2. Place the coconut, apricots and crushed biscuits in a bowl.
3. Pour the melted mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix well.
4. Press into a parchment lined square tin.
5. Melt the coconut oil and the white chocolate chips together in a small bowl in the microwave for about 40 seconds.
6. Pour the melted chocolate over the base. Sprinkle with extra coconut. Refrigerate until hard. Cut into 12 or 16 pieces and enjoy.  :)

10.30 am. Make myself a cup of decaf tea. Then I do some cleaning, dust, vacuum etc or clean bathroom. I discovered we have ants in the kitchen grr, so I've set up a little lid with some ant poison to try and nip that in the bud.

11.00 am I made some homemade laundry powder. I know a lot of people do this and I have too on and off over the years. As I already had the ingredients I thought I would just try and use some of them up. I know there's hundreds of recipes out there for homemade laundry powder - liquid ones and dry. I've tried them both. I just found this one quick to make and it makes a large quantity. 
So far it's doing what it's designed for :)

L A U N D R Y  P O W D E R


1.5 Kilogram - Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
1 .5 Kilogram - Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate - washing soda)
1 .5 Cups of Castile Liquid Soap
1.5 cups of Epsom Salts
1.5 cups Sea Salt
Essential Oil: I used  Lemongrass, Tea Tree & Peppermint

M E T H O D:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients well in a large stainless/or enamel basin. I wore a disk mask. 
2. Add however much essential oil you want to use (or none) to the castile soap and mix well. 
3. Pour the liquid soap into the dry ingredients and one again, mix well :)
4. Let it dry a little bit, maybe 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Spoon into whatever you want to store it in. Mines stored in large plastic containers. 
6. Use 2 Tablespoons per load.

11.45 am Prepare lunches. I made myself a tuna/egg salad and a ham/cheese and lettuce sandwich with homemade bread for Bruce. I also had a couple of squares of very dark 80% cacao chocolate with my lunch and a cup of decaf coffee. Bruce had some Banana Cake.

1.00 pm I drove Bruce back to work, so I could use the car. He works in the next town over from where we live (population about 8,000 people). Our small town has around 2,500 people. I call it Smallville. We downsized to one car a few years ago and it works fine for us this way. 
While I was in town I went to the small fabric store as they had a sale on. I've found it hard in the past few years to find clothing that I like, so I'm teaching myself to sew, or should I say resurrecting my sewing skills.  I sewed various things for my children when they were small and I've made a couple of quilts etc. Anyway I bought a top last year I really liked the style of and decided to try and make a pattern. I've got an old tea trolley, so I store my sewing machine on that and my sewing box and material, so I have it all close by to actually use all the material I have. Anyway at the sale I got some material for a new nightie on sale for only $6 a metre !!. I was very pleased. Next I went and looked around a couple of thrift stores (we call them op shops). At one of them I found quite a few patterns for only .50 cents each..!! I was overjoyed.
Next I went to the supermarket as I needed to get Bananas, Milk, and a few other things.

2.30pm Back home again, I was pooped and needed a rest. So I put away the groceries and the other bits and pieces and sat down with a cup of tea and a THM (Trim Healthy Mama) chocolate blueberry muffin. I like to split it in half, spread a little peanut butter and some sliced banana - it's delicious ! 

I sat and read for a while. I'm re-reading books from my vast collection of Amish novels. Currently its book two from the Rose Trilogy - 'The Judgement'. I love Beverly Lewis Amish Books :)

3.00pm - I decided to wash my stash of fabric I intend to use to make two night gowns, several aprons and a couple of skirts and tops. This was a big job, but I got it done and will iron it when it's dry, so it's all ready to be used for my projects. It's my daughters birthday coming up soon and she;s requested I make her some Beeswax wraps :) I did a post on that a while back - a sort of tutorial.
I have lots of pretty lightweight floral fabrics which will be perfect for wraps. The thinner the fabric the better when it comes to these. Poplin is a great option. 

3.30 pm- I printed off some labels for soap and wooden soap dishes (that's something that I can work away at quietly in the evenings.) I hurt my back two weeks ago now and it is taking a long time to heal. It's been two and a half years since I hurt it last (my chiropractor told me it was this long) and I had forgotten how awful it is to be in pain and have to do everything so slowly. 

4.00 pm - I start planning for the evening meal. I actually plan it out in the morning or even the day before, eg. if something is going in the crockpot or needs defrosting. Tonight we are just having chicken burgers. 
Note: this particular image is not mine, I just got it off the net, but this is pretty much what it looked like, except I had a grain free THM Swiss bread. Sometimes I'll have a homemade sourdough english muffin for my bun. 

5.30 - 6pm This is around about when we eat. If I'm still preparing dinner when hubby arrives home he will read to me from a book we choose together. We've read our way through many many christian biographies, missionary tales etc from our church library or that friends have lent us. After dinner, we wash the dishes together, watch the 700 club, via the computer hooked up to a TV screen as we don't actually have TV. We stopped having TV about 6 years ago and don't miss it. I started calling it the uninvited guest that was bringing it's worldly viewpoints into our home via adverts etc, so we all decided we didn't want it or cable anymore. It was liberating to unplug from it all. 

7pm - 9pm - My husband Bruce and I both normally spend time checking emails or I might be wrapping soap, printing labels etc for my soap business until around 9m and then we prepare for bed.

Before we go to sleep Bruce prays and then reads a chapter from the bible. We've been doing this every night for a few years and it's just wonderful. I would encourage everyone to start and close their day with prayer and the word of God. It's so great to know that as the day begins we first seek the Lord's covering for our day, and at the close I like to keep short accounts with God...thinking over the day, what I may have said, thought or done that perhaps I could have done better, been kinder, or more thoughtful towards my husband or others. I ask for His help and guidance, and also repent of anything I feel I need to. We both love to read as well, so we read for a bit too.

Well thats my day, thanks so much for coming along and sharing it. 
Blessings to anyone who stops by here.
Please leave me a comment, if you feel too, it always makes me smile :)
Linda :)

'So teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom'
Psalm 90:12

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