Thursday, December 31, 2009

2nd Timothy

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.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How We Did in 2009

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 :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009


One of our favorite Christmas day traditions
is our annual Rocky Hill hike.

This year we were joined by two of my brothers and their families.

Not much of a workout for Army Sam (and passenger)...
....but Mom (aka me) was tired.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

...thinking of you Mom.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Simple Life

As we are anticipating our first Christmas with no gifts (from 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'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.

Good Times

Our son, Army PFC Garver, is home for 2 weeks.....Yippee Yahoo!

Plans are afoot for toffee making, game-playing and movie watching....perfect :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Something's Missing

We love our puppy...

...we love our puppy...

...we love our puppy...

...repeat as necessary....

....we love our puppy...

...we love our puppy...

....but this time he may have gone a BIT too far!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dark Days Week 5

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).

Friday, December 18, 2009


Thursday, December 17, 2009


Seek pleasure, and in the long run you will find boredom, disillusionment and enslavement. Seek God, and you will find, among other things, piercing pleasure.

-John White

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Quote for the Christmas Season

I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires,
rather than in attempting to satisfy them.

- John Stuart Mill

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It Never Freezes in California...

....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'll feel much better ;)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stay off the Sidewalks!

Annie's driving!

Our baby, who only recently turned 16, will soon be behind the wheel ......legally :)

And her favorite part....she gets to drive a Mustang!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dark Days Week 4 - Lunch

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.
I didn't even have time to make bread,
but it's at least from a local bakery :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas without Shopping???

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...
...and I might even loan you my new movie:)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Blueberries have Arrived!

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.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

For Kim

And to prove that occasionally I do actually clean my kitchen.

But because I made cranberry-apple jam and 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 you see, it's not that I'm a slob...I'm just doing God's work.

Bah Humbug

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. be continued.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lost Generation

Pretty Cool!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dumpster Diving

More than a little sad that we throw away so much perfectly good food. Not that I'm recommending hosting a party with delicacies from the garbage...I have some standards (not the video).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November Garden Tally

Sweet Potatoes .................27.5 lbs.
Butternut Squash...............23.5 lbs
Feijoas..................................13 lbs.
Green Peppers....................9 lbs.
Tomatoes...............................6.5 lbs.
Peanuts..................................4.5 lbs.
Soup Beans..........................3 lbs.
Salad Greens........................2 lbs.

....and 159 eggs!

Total for November.............89lbs.

We are finally eating Feijoas from our tree,
and by we I mean 'I' am finally eating them....
....if I eat it I get to count it :)

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.