Thursday, December 31, 2009
May the Lord God of Israel hear our prayers and bless us in the year to come.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I am looking forward to fulfilling that commitment. I've also been trying to steal away some time to read this little booklet I purchased at the supermarket while I was grocery shopping
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
So for the New Year, I had already purposed that the pond should be taken down, torn apart, the timbers used for garden beds. Yet I know in my heart of hearts that the fish had been a constant source of comfort and joy for the past ten years. Can I really say goodbye to keeping koi again? I'll have to think on that one a bit more. One of the reasons I had decided we should not get into keeping koi again was because my Sweetie is the one who did all the hard work, cleaning out the pond, the filters, and general maintenance. I didn't think it fair to have him doing that. But he always said he didn't mind and that he also enjoyed having the fish. The thing is, to ensure that any harmful pathogens are not lurking from the previous batch, it would mean buying everything new again, especially the liner and filters. I don't see that as being a viable option right now. So perhaps someday we can start fresh, but it will be a while. How's that for a New Year's resolution?
But what I can do is look to getting my gardens in tip top shape again. I've got a good compost pile and lots of good potting soil as well as clean pots. I can become more involved again. Plant new seedlings as well as cuttings. I feel so revved up, I feel I can do anything! LOL! If I can just keep my eye on the prize, which is to once again have a garden and take pictures like FlowerLady, I just might pull it off.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
WoolWinder's lifestyle- living near the beautiful ocean. Her new photography blog doesn't have a comments format, but if I could I would tell her how her photos positively make me fancy a life with the sound of the waves always constant- the better to drown out the worrisome noises of living. I would have the sand in my toes whenever I wished. I could feed the seagulls to my heart's content. I would learn to fish and in so doing I would eat healthier, with fish being our primary meat, and in the process lose weight without even trying.
I would live in the woods, in the Hill Country woods, enjoying the songbirds and rugged terrain marked by beautiful holey rocks. The rivers and streams would provide me with music-the better to drown out the sound of my thoughts. I could increase my rock collection, and very easily become a bona-fide bird watcher. Right now, you see, I only watch birds through my windows or when I step outside within the confines of my city.
I would live at the foot of the mountains, always gazing in awe, at the beauty and splendor of the shadows they cast. I would look to the sky, and my heart would rejoice at the sight of the clouds being lower than the peaks. It would take my breath away, like the first time I ever saw a mountain in Monterrey, Mexico or the Ocean in Corpus Christi, Texas and later along the Pacific Highway in California. And Winters would be magical, because you know it always snows near the mountains.
I would live near the desert, the beautiful desert, which is able to provide a livelihood to so many creatures and plants, as sparse as it seems. But I would select a desert near an artist colony, where I could paint my house in bright fiesta colors, and no one would protest. I could also then learn more arts and crafts. This would keep my mind busy- the better to drown out that which is worthless real estate within my thoughts.
In thinking about changes and new beginnings, it's so nice that dreams are free and harm no one. Because you have to start with a plan somewhere, before you can make those dreams come true. Above all, I'm grateful to God that we do have options.
And because bloggie friend's MexicoBob comment somehow reminded me that no matter what, to just have fun, I added a video with a version of the musical score "Pass Me By" (well, he didn't actually say that, but it just reminded me of that).
Thursday, December 24, 2009
My soul rejoices! What a blessing to celebrate and remember Jesus' birth on this Christmas Eve. The one event that changed the course of mankind and gave us hope for life everlasting! In this time of celebration I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May the Spirit and Joy of of this glorious Season be with us all throughout the year. Happy Birthday to our Savior!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Here we are near the end of another year and on this day I am grateful to be embarking on yet another year since the day of my birth. It's been a most interesting journey as far as I'm concerned. And 52 doesn't feel old at all. One thing I have noticed though, and that I find that even more interesting is that I don't laugh as much as I used to. I'm more serious now. I honestly don't think it is a reflection of my happiness, for I will tell you that I am the happiest I have ever felt in my life....well, except for the empty nest syndrome. I do miss being needed by my little ones- who by the way are not little any more-ha! No, I think this seriousness is more a result of aging. It's as if the carefree glee of youth which makes you burst out laughing at the most inane silly things becomes replaced by a serious composure that can be mistaken for crabbiness or even sadness. Is it perhaps the sign of wisdom? I suppose that the longer you live the more you experience loss, for inevitably along life's path death does present itself at the most inopportune times. And I would venture to say that loss does equate sadness and consternation. And then there are those health issues which suddenly become apparent as you age. Bones begin to creak...yes, they actually do creak sometimes! And you worry more, because now in all your newly found wisdom you become more keenly aware that you never really had any control over anything that happens. Which is a good thing. Because now you're genuinely glad you can really put your trust in God and toss all your cares upon him- which was what you should have done since day one and you were much younger. So why even bother to worry? Wisdom- oh yes. Elusive when I was young, but oh so tangible in the Autumn of my life.
Another celebration, another year, another blessing- what more can I ask for? I am grateful, yes I am. Praise God! And before I wax poetic and even more philosophical, I bid your farewell for now.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
So important has this event become, that the Mexican government has even set up a web page to help their countrymen make the return trip home safe. In addition to the basic services these weary travelers are offered, such as forms and documentation for their crossing into Mexico, they are also given helpful information for reporting the well known abuse and corruption to which they fall victim at the hands of Mexican officials. It is a sad thing to admit, but after many suffer discrimination and low wages here in our country, they then have to suffer more injustices at the hands of their own customs, police, and various other law enforcement agencies who try to extort money from them. Perhaps Mexico is trying to change that image that its government has long been known for- the infamous "mordida" or 'bite' that they inflict by demanding money in exchange for letting them go through without problems. The government endorsed web page plus various other messages advocating honesty and transparency have certainly helped with the tarnished image. In any case, it's a little awe inspiring to me to see how in spite of their travel woes, these people still look forward to the long journey home.
For me, the sight of these vehicles driving bumper to bumper along our expressway helps me see that the Christmas spirit is alive and well. Christmas trees being toted in trunks of cars, Holiday decorations all around, people bundled up warmly, their breathing visible in the cold air, the excitement in children's voices all remind me that the Holidays are a magical time. We may be suffering from a bad economy, job shortages, our troops fighting in foreign lands, and all the sadness that because this is Christmas we are more keenly aware of, yet in seeing that some things never change regardless, I am filled with hope. Because whether in times of abundance or times of lack, people have a way of looking beyond the difficulties and can hope for better days. So even if material gift giving is not possible, the gift of self goes a long way. That is also something positive these Paisanos remind me of. I love this time of year!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
C. David Baker founded an award-winning business before redirecting his career to write full-time from his small farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is the author of eight books, including six novels, one of which was nominated for a Christy Award. He has contributed articles to the Christian History Institute’s international publication Glimpses, and to Christian Singles magazine. Baker has a Master’s degree in theological studies from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
“Why don’t I have more faith?”
“Why am I so bored with Jesus?”
“Why are Christians so hard for me to like?”
There are many questions we’re not supposed to ask when playing by the religious rules. It makes people uncomfortable. So why is it that Jesus invited questions and even asked some of them himself? What is it that you’re afraid to ask God? It’s a risky prospect to begin asking–but far riskier to continue simply trying to get by without knowing. Author C. D. Baker asked himself 40 soul-searching questions which started a conversation in his heart and ultimately showed him more about God than He ever expected.
Can we become more honest with who we really are and find who God says He really is at the same time? Come indulge yourself in daily readings with an honest exploration of your secret fears and thoughts, and know that you will always be welcomed in God’s unconditional love.
Search me, O God … and know my anxious thoughts.
–Psalm 139:23 NIV
I'll be honest. When I received the book, I was somewhat skeptical about coming to enjoy reading it. I feared it would be another 'theological' or 'religious' book like the millions out there with just theories and people's personal opinions and/or perspectives. The book did look 'good', it has a nice 'feel' to it, like something that wouldn't be so time-consuming or that would make you lose interest quickly. But I knew that sometimes it's hard to stay focused on lengthy religious tomes. And although the book itself is not a huge novel, I wasn't really expecting to be impressed or blown away by the content.
After reading it, I must say, I found it refreshingly thought provoking. It is somewhat liberating to find that a theological expert would actually ask such deep intimate questions about faith and beliefs. And in doing so, he makes you want to delve deeper into your own values and belief system. The questions he brings out are basic: Why don't I know what I want in life? Why do I have such a complaining spirit? Why don't I seem to love myself more? The author doesn't pretend to supply the answers, but he does give you food for thought. But what I liked the most and what I came away with from reading his book: to look at and keep your sight focused on Jesus. Not in yourself or your own faith or in others, but in Christ. To me, that in itself is a multi-carat diamond to treasure!
I'm going to keep this little book near me- in my desk actually. It's not going to be stashed in my bookcases with all the other 'help' books. I really do consider it worth a reread or two. Do I recommend it? I actually thought before reading it that I might say no. However, my answer now is yes. I really do recommend this book. It would also make a good conversation piece at any gathering.
To learn more about or where to purchase this book visit Random House at http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307444905
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I'm also due to give my book review on a wonderful book "40 Loaves", and I'll be getting to that this week here on my blog. Plus, I'm working on some nifty kitchen towels, which I'm hoping to add to my shop. I also need to personalize some golf towels. In the shop I've also added some nicely fragrant lavender sachets. It was fun making those! My sewing room is redolent of lavender.....which is a good thing! So the days and weeks (2) leading up to Christmas will see me very busy. I need to make some time to go Christmas shopping! Good thing I've got the Christmas cards mailed out. This blogging thing has turned out to be a good way to visually get a sense of my to-do list and mentally check off items. And what's next? Food! Still gotta figure that one out.....maybe a turkey or ham.....wish I had time to do tamales. Maybe for New Year's Eve. That sounds within the realm of possibility.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Today's meal consisted of said demo recipe, with a couple of minor additions. If you know anything about me, it's that I always tweak a recipe, just because I love to add more layers of flavor. That's why I first chopped up some onions and celery and sauteed in just a very little bit of olive oil (this was not in his recipe).
This would be a print of a lovely collage she put together of her Copper Lady painting.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Now why would a Mexican like myself enjoy reading farming and chicken blogs so much? Well, friends, there's always a reason for everything, isn't there? I grew up during the 1970's going to school in a little farming/agricultural area in North Texas. My Dad was a simple, uneducated farm laborer. He worked the land, tilling and planting crops, and being a 'vaquero' working with cattle and horses. He was an inordinately hard working man. And I do mean hard working. He always got up at dawn and didn't get home till very late in the day. During harvest season, he'd be working in those fields well into the night. You may often hear Farmers tell of the hard work they put in to be able to keep their farms going. Well, I will tell you this, they very often forget to mention the quiet laborer doing all the back breaking work, trodding through the snow in sub freezing weather to make sure the livestock get their feed and hay, and in blistering hot days bending over and over countless times to get the irrigation tubes 'going' from the ditches into the neatly planted rows of cotton or sunflowers, or wheat, or whatever the crop was supposed to produce that year. He'd lug a ton of 'tubos' or heavy, thick irrigation pipes to the truck, and then he'd have to unload them again in other fields. Then there were the various duties that had to be carried out. Applying pesticides and fertilizers, always exposing himself to harmful chemicals. He wasn't able to don 'protection' garb to carry out those jobs. It wasn't offered to him. Back then it was probably unheard of. But I suspect it contributed to his and Mom's health problems.
Of course, the work was not done for free. My Dad was paid, not handsomely, but he was paid enough to support his family. It was a good thing my Mom was a very thrifty saver, and could squeeze miracles out of every weekly $50 paycheck. But then things got better, because by the time I was out of High School, he had been promoted to $120 weekly paychecks. Cost of living increases during the 70's you see. But he didn't complain because the farm owner provided free housing with all utilities paid. A humble abode of course. And on very good years, he'd get a nice Christmas bonus of about $500. Sometimes the arrangement was for him to get the proceeds from the cotton crop of a few acres .... usually up to about $1000. I know my Dad earned every single penny. So yes, it was a mutual understanding and a mutual effort, only my Dad was the one who put in the hard labor. Period. That's just the way it was.
So I grew up looking at what to me then seemed like huge lonely fields as far as the eye could see. On windy days, you could hear the howl of the wind as though it were someone crying. It always made me want to cry. And I remember the fields of sunflowers. Those were a beautiful sight to behold. Each plant always turning towards the sun.....ahh, yes, the girasol.
So when I found Ang's Chicken Coop blog and saw pictures of lonely fields, I had to add it to my reading list. Turns out as sad as those things may have seemed to me then, now I truly enjoy reading about agriculture and chickens, and farms, and all the things I used to want to get away from. Maybe because those were the things my Mom and Dad lived. The things they loved. I was just standing at the edge looking in at the painful picture. Mom and Dad were living a reality that they must have loved, or else they wouldn't have endured it for so long. I try to draw comfort from that thought.