Probably not the most uplifting post for the last day of 2009....but I was reading a devotional yesterday on 2 Timothy 3-4 (thanks sis) and this commentary really struck a chord with me.
Verse 12 Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
The absence of persecution, in any active sense, from the lives of most Christians of this era is generally due to the watered-down version of their Christianity and not to any subsidence of the savage hatred of the darkness for the light. Besides that, persecutions today are manifested much more indirectly. Promotions are withheld, invitations are denied, and a snickering unpopularity are the daily portion of many precious souls working in a hostile, atheistic environment. Given the right conditions, such oppositions would be just as deadly as the great Roman persecutions.
Why does the world hate Christians? "Because ye are not of the world ... therefore the world hateth you"(John 15:19; Matthew 10-:22, 38,39). In the light of this warning from the Saviour, no Christian should be surprised at persecution. The doctrine of the necessity of persecution was no new thing to Paul. Luke recorded the very words spoken on the mission field long ago, "Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God"(Acts 14:22); and, in the words of White, "Consistency in the life of Christ must necessarily be always opposed by the world."
...Life, not exactly a bed of roses....not supposed to be.
Before moving on to this years resolutions, I thought I'd go over last years and see how many we can actually cross off the list.
Goals for 2009 (in white)
1. Implement the pantry product replacement plan. Success! I had planned on replacing 12 item and tho I only posted 11, we replaced more like about 15. This is one I will do again this year.
2. Cook at least 75% of our Thanksgiving dinner 2009 from things produced by us. No, not even close....what was I thinking? I made sweet potatoes and apple and pumpkin pies with our home-grown produce. Next year we're shooting for 50%.
3. Expand my cooking skills to include more oddities (for me anyway) things like couscous, spelt flour, seaweed, and miso. Can't even FIND miso in the grocery stores.....don't particularily like couscous or seaweed....and what exactly is spelt flour? Not even sure what the point of this one was anyway ;)
4. Include our children in the process of getting food to the table. Brad has actually made an entire chicken dinner for us. Being on his own taught him that if he wanted to eat well, he needed to cook, tho he does go thru a LOT of Cheerios :) The 2 youngest are doing a bit more but usually that involves Duncan Hines and chocolate..... it's a start?
5. Purchase and read Seed to Seed so I can learn how to start saving seeds from our garden.
Saved lettuce, spinach, and pea seeds this year (the easy ones) and all are germinating nicely. Also saved tomato seeds from the summer garden, we'll keep you posted on how those do in the spring. Next year I would like to do much more in this area....including some that cross-pollinate and have to be 'caged'.
6. (Re-) learn how to knit. I made 3 scarves and 11 dishcloths....another good start.
7. Get off the bottled water craze. We've bought 13 bottles from various sources....and at any given time I can find 7.....sigh.
8. Help build our chicken coop by Spring '09 so we can move the chicks in as the weather starts to warm up. Done.
...and probably the 2 most important resolutions for the year....
9. Read thru the New Testament of the Bible. Total failure....won't go into the excuses and rationalizations but I am putting it on this years list.....hopefully by next year it will have success written after it.
10. Find Joy. Somewhere along the way I've lost it and I am determined to get it back. Jury is still out...some days are better than others and I feel I truly know the Joy of the Lord....other days, not so much. But (I think) I'm heading in the right direction :)
As we are anticipating our first Christmas with no gifts (from parents.....kids are still giving to each other) we (ok, I) am dealing with a bit of guilt for not buying presents for our children. While it is fairly easy during the year to resist the temptation of spending on useless crap....it's much harder during the holidays. Especially when said useless crap gets beautifully wrapped up and set under the Christmas tree....I kind of miss it. But on the other hand, I have never been more relaxed about the celebration of Jesus' birth. I've never been more focused on what the day means and what it definitely doesn't mean. This could become a habit....finally.
Recently we were introduced to yet another reason for choosing our sustainable lifestyle. As I was perusing the sidebar of one of my new favorite blogs, Consciously Frugal, I found a wonderful site with a decidedly Christian bent. Alternatives for Simple Living mission statement reads (in part) ....Alternatives is a non-profit organization that equips people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and create meaningful celebrations.....Sounds good to me.
This is one of the Posts I found most meaningful.......
Simple Living is living in a way that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich. This way of life embraces frugality of consumption, a strong sense of environmental urgency, and a desire to return to living and working environments which are of a more human scale.
The practice of voluntary simplicity is advocated in the teachings of Jesus, the early Christian Church, St. Paul, St. Francis, and many others. It also has it roots in the teachings of other world religions, the teachings of Gandhi, and the writings of Thoreau. The American Friends Service Committee (The Quakers) define simple living as a “non-consumerist lifestyle based on being and becoming, not having."
Seven Reasons for Choosing a Simpler Lifestyle:
1. As an act of intentional living performed for the sake of personal integrity and as an expression of a commitment to a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources.
2. As an act of creation care for ourselves and especially for our children and grandchildren against the earth destroying results of over-consumption such as pollution, climate change, and resource wars.
3. As an act of solidarity with the majority of humankind, which has little choice about material affluence.
4. As an act of celebration of the riches found in God’s creation, and the riches of community with others, rather than in the “poverty” of mindless materialism.
5. As an act of spiritual discipline ordering our lives to reflect the values of simplicity and just living taught by Jesus and teachers in other world religions.
6. As an act of advocacy for changes in present patterns of production and consumption.
7. As an act of provocation (ostentatious under consumption) to arouse curiosity leading to dialog with others about affluence, and sustainable “green” living to redirect the production of consumer goods away from the satisfaction of artificially created wants toward the supplying of goods and services that meet genuine social needs.
Our local meal this week was a repeat of our 'test' meal...
....minus the strawberries.
We are getting hooked on grass-fed beef, tho I still need to work on getting the burgers off the grill with a bit of pink in them.
(I considered adding some in photoshop, but decided to go with the truth, warts and all:)
So for dinner we had-
Grass-fed local beef hamburgers with local mustard and onions from the farmers market...
home-made buns, catsup, and relish...back yard lettuce and one of last tomatoes picked this year. 2 more are sitting on our kitchen windowsill, can't believe we're eating garden tomatoes in December!
We also had my husbands new favorite, sweet potato fries dipped in more home-made catsup. We like the catsup, but I'm still looking to perfect the recipe so I won't post that.....too much cinnamon in this one (and I halved it).
....except in the winter. This was actually from a few days ago and may not be much in the way of weather to those of you in the middle of an actual snowstorm....but it's all we got right now (come back and see us when it's 113.....you'll feel much better ;)
It's been a busy week, everyone has been taking turns being sick so here's a quick post on a quick meal....Broccoli Soup.
I made a roux of flour and local butter, added my canned chicken broth, then in went cooked broccoli and sauteed onion and garlic from the farmers market. Added salt, pepper, local parsley and my dried basil, simmered a few minutes to cook in the flavors. I took out about 3/4 of the soup and puree in food processor before adding back in to pot. We like some chunks.
What the Garvers will be doing during Christmas vacation..forcing our kids to watch (yet) another documentary;
but doesn't this one look like fun?!?
...and the best part....I WON IT....yippee yahoo!
I recently discovered a new blog and entered to win a copy of this movie. I enter these things all the time and hardly ever win (tho this was the second time in 2 weeks, more on that one later)
Most importantly, I've found a very good blog with some great ideas on spending less money, being a better steward of our resources and giving more to others, plus she's funny and sarcastic....but nice.
My kind of gal!
Go see what Aldra has to say at Consciously Frugal...and enter to win her latest give-away (hint:good music). If any of my 3 readers goes there and enters, I promise to keep my Irish good luck out of the contest...
Our blueberry experiment has begun. We received 10 blueberry plants in the mail last week; 2 varieties for cross-pollination and just in case we kill a few, which is really why this is called an experiment.
Our soil is on the alkaline side (clay) and blueberries take an acidic soil...hence it will need to be transformed with the addition of peat moss (I know, not very sustainable but it's what our garden center carries).
These are Southern Highbush varieties,
recommended for our hotter summers.
For now I've planted them in pots, half peat/half potting mix, so we'll have time to get the bed ready. These will probably not get put into the ground for at least a year. I'm buying a soil test to see exactly how to amend it for the best results, and at least 3 will go into barrel planters permanently so I can control the soil and location.
And to prove that occasionally I do actually clean my kitchen.
But because I made cranberry-apple jamand catsup today (posts to follow) I will refrain from showing you my stovetop. My best friend and I used to say that it was our ministry to make other women feel better about how their house's looked....so you see, it's not that I'm a slob...I'm just doing God's work.
Spending the next few days cleaning and storing stuff so we (I) can decorate the house for Christmas. I love having all the decorations up but hate the process of getting them up. Especially when the house is a mess (when isn't it?).
The mantle is almost empty....and ready for the Santa collection.
Tho I suppose I'll need to get rid of the cobwebs (which photograph amazingly well:)
The kitchen is a disaster...
...and I need to make jam today (leftover cranberries).
One of our goals before Sam gets home (one the 20th, we are thrilled) is to put up the cement board on the backsplash and paint....I am now officially accountable.
Mostly I'm eating them because my sister finally showed me how to eat them (let's not go there). I was peeling them and leaving too much of the pith around the fruit so they always tasted bitter. We have for years just thrown them in the compost. But after smarty pants sis showed me the 'cut in half and scoop' method.....I'm hooked, these things are delicious!
ps. lucky for the tree too, we were about to take the dang thing out and plant something worthier in it's spot. SO glad we are not complete idiots.
This weeks local meal was grass-fed beef roast, cooked all day in the crock pot with tomatoes from the garden and canned Anaheim peppers (ours). Green beans (canned, also ours) and my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes - Roasted sweet potatoes in lime syrup with chives (our potatoes and chives, neighbors limes).
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lime Syrup and chives
3 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (10 cups)
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 teas. salt
Toss potatoes with butter, salt (and pepper if desired) in a bowl until coated well, then spread in 1 layer in 2 shallow baking pans (cookie sheets). Roast, uncovered, switching position of pans halfway through roasting until potatoes are tender and undersides are browned, 15-20 minutes.
1/2 cup water
2-4T sugar (depending on how tart the limes are)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teas. finely grated fresh lime zest
2 T chopped fresh chives
While potatoes roast, bring water, sugar, and lime juice to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer until reduced and thickened, 3-5 minutes. Toss potatoes with syrup and zest in a large bowl, then sprinkle with chives. This may sound like a strange combination but the tang of the lime syrup is a perfect compliment to the potatoes.....they are just yummy!
ps. We also found out yesterday at the Farmers market that the couple who raises the cattle will soon be raising meat birds.....yippee yahoo!
Family life is the normal context in which we can learn that a life filled with thinking about others instead of ourselves is the sure road to the most fulfilling joys and satisfactions. -Alan Keyes
The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.
-Erma Louise Bombeck
The children have been a wonderful gift to me, and I'm thankful to have once again seen our world through their eyes.
They restore my faith in the family's future.
-Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
The institution of the family is decisive in determining not only if a person has the capacity to love another individual but in the larger social sense whether he is capable of loving his fellow men collectively. The whole of society rests on this foundation for stability, understanding, and social peace.
We harvested our potatoes at the beginning of the month and I was surprised by the amount we got out of our little 4 ft. plot. I had no plans to plant these but since one I had bought to eat had sprouted....it was another case of 'why not try something new'. The potato rested in a glass of water (half in half out) on my window sill for several weeks as the sprouts grew the requisite 6 inches (or so) before I planted them out.
After breaking off several 'slips' (as they are called) I just stuck them in the ground in our parkway bed (between beds of peanuts) and that was it. I planted 5 slips in July (around the 1st) ...
...and by mid-summer we were having to cut back some of the vine so people(or rather large cats) could use the sidewalk (our kitty is actually next to the peanut plants, sweet potatoes are in the background). Next year I'll give them a bigger area and plant more. No diseases, no pests, no worries.....my kind of plant.
Greens go to the chickens.
It was kind of like an archaeological dig....you have to be careful getting the potatoes up so as not to damage the skin in order for them to last in storage.
I kind of brushed them off as I went until they were exposed enough to pull out. Because our soil is still not as loose as we would like (ie....it's clay) if I pulled too soon the potatoes broke off in the dirt.
We harvested 27lbs. in all....not bad for a spur-of-the-moment planting.
And several were close to 2 pounds each...eek!
I'm making a wonderful sweet potato in lime syrup for Thanksgiving (the citrus is so good with the sweetness of the potatoes). Plus, I use them in pumpkin recipes; mixed with Jack-O-lanterns, they really add flavor.....especially in Pies!
Solar Oven Solar Dehydrator Grain Mill Pressure Canner Soil Block Maker Pasta Maker Indoor Seed Sprouting Station Cast Iron Dutch Oven - thanks John and Ashley!!! Freezer -Sears...no interest for a year!