Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Joy! My Second Grandson!

Our second Grandson, Owen, was born almost a week ago. We are filled with joy and thanksgiving that birth and delivery went smoothly. And we are totally smitten with this little bundle of love.

Would you believe we were blessed to hear his first cries from the adjacent room? This to me was such a blessing. I had wanted to be there
also when our little Elias was born almost two years ago, but at the time, we had my Mother's funeral arrangements to tend to. We had to wait two days before we finally met our Elias. So to be there, or almost right there, when Owen was born, to me was just unbelievable! The reason for this is because we had to take care of Elias, and since we arrived in San Antonio during the labor segment and while Elias was napping, we had to wait for Elias to wake up. He finally did, just moments before Owen was born. It was certainly an interesting experience for all of us, including Elias.
The hard part was saying goodbye when we had to leave. It's always hard when your children and their families live in other cities. Each time we see them again, we know the babies will have grown and changed more. I feel that Grandparents who get to see their Granbabies often are so blessed. But then, that's just me. If it was up to me, my two Sons would live here with us, or at least in the same city. But I know, they have to grow up and be independent. And they have to pursue their own dreams. That's life, or so they say. So for now, I'm grateful I get to see this new generation of babies. Thank you Lord! You are so good!

Renee Award!


How wonderful and honored I feel to have received the Renee Award from my good friend Gloria of Viva la Vida blog fame. I am especially grateful to her, because she never fails to make me feel special and appreciated, as only a good friend will do. Thank you Gloria! This is the history of this award which I copied from Gloria's glog:


This Renee award was created by Bella and Ces in honour of their friend Renee.In Bella's own words "this is a brand new award and I have the pleasure and honor of spreading the seed, watching it grow. I hope it finds it's way to those who are like Renee: the acorn, a small package becoming a tall and sturdy oak, giving more acorns, becoming tall and sturdy oaks, giving acorns..."


So now, on to passing it on to others whose blogs have blessed me and so they too might enjoy posting the award on their blogs:


1. Elissa from Proverbs 31 Maiden


2. Amy from Home Acre


3. Cheri from A Joyful Handmaiden


4. Peggy from The House of Kent


Congratulations ladies!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Garden Note










Last year, I happened upon a wonderful European blog which showed a sample of a card generator. Happily, her blog also offered an English translation, and I was able to follow the instructions. I'm not sure what this might be useful for, but I did like the look of the 'old' index card look. So I wrote out what one page of my gardening journal looks like. I just think it's a nifty way to show your plans for the day. I might actually go outside to carry out my to-do list, even though it's been very hot in my location.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sisterhood Award


I Am the Sisterhood of Bloglandia Forever More!
Early last week, Gloria created this fabulous Award and I was honored to have received it from her. She made a post about it, sharing it with a few other people. Somehow, what with my being out of sorts lately, it completely slipped my mind. I make a note of this because it helps to illustrate how our state of being can have an impact on things we don't normally do....be forgetful. Well, I don't want to forget this award, that's for sure, so I'm passing it on to more of my blogging friends. This award is about a Sisterhood....and what better way than to include those whose blogs and writing enrich our lives. So as to follow the rules for this award, you must post the sentence at the top of this post and pass the award to four others, then notify those people so they too can post the award on their blogs. My choices as recipients will be :
I. Elaine from At Home 'n About
II. Beverly from Tea Time and Roses
III. Amy from Home Acre
IV. Karen from Clever Karen
Enjoy!

Fabric Giveaway

The fine ladies over at Farm Chicks are hosting a giveaway of two yards of fabric from the Pixie Dust line. I just happened upon this info a little while ago. The deadline is today, so if you want a chance at the drawing, head on over there for all the details now! It is so worth it, because the fabric is just sooo nice! I'm thinking.......something for my baby Grandsons!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Something to Cheer About

When I saw this video on Diane's blog, I knew I had to post it here as well. It's been making the rounds worldwide since the day it came out, so I'm rather late adding it to my blog. But it's never too late to be inspired by something like this.

Valley Walking

It's so much easier to type than to write in my other journal about things I'd rather not talk about. Typing makes it seem more removed from my person. As if I were writing a story about someone else....even a fictional character perhaps.

I am one of those few and 'fortunate' people who have little to no drama or pain in their lives. I have much to be thankful for. Certainly more than I deserve. But that doesn't exempt me from those lows in life that I can honestly say is unexplainable. With everything to be grateful for, why is it that I feel so....drained and numb? Nothing thrills me or moves me as of late. I jump from blog to blog, hoping to find the antidote for my present condition. Always before, I could go away from the computer feeling inspired and motivated. But not now. So I reasoned that perhaps just seeing this phase in words could give me a better understanding of what is happening to me. Is it seasonal? Am I ill? Is it hormonal? Is there something I must think and meditate about deeply? The answer to most of those questions is 'perhaps'. Of course the scariest of all is the 'ill' one. To everything else, I know I can safely say 'this too shall pass'. But illness is something that always shakes the foundations of any family. All I can do is continue to pray and believe that the Lord's blood is on my doorpost.
Funny, but already I actually do feel better. Perhaps writing truly can be a therapy of sorts. I know I can faintly see the light beyond the valley of darkness I walk in now.
Edited to add: Perhaps it's the chocolate bunny I'm enjoying right now that did the trick. You know what they say about chocolate. :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Wishing everyone a very happy Easter celebration!



Remember, our King lives!
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
St. Matthew 28: 5-7

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Goody, Goody II

Well it turns out I missed a goody treat in the package Gloria sent me! But that's ok....I get to have double the thrill, don't you think? It was sandwiched between some cardboard that I thought was only protection for the wood plaque she had sent. But fortunately, I found it, and all is well with the world. The only problem is now I can't decide which of the two I like best. The first gift I posted about is absolutely wonderful and oh, so functional. But this second one, a beautiful print of one of her paintings.....is just downright beautiful! I think I like it so much because of the purple hues, since purple is probably my favorite color. Gloria had made a post about this painting of hers. I am so glad she made a print of it. Once framed, it will look even more amazing.

LILACS

I really like the dreamy, gauzy effects of the print. It has a very soft
and pleasing quality.
I'm no art expert, but this is a really nice work. Now I'm just thinking to myself here, but I am really beginning to see how nice it would be if I could do some paintings and then make prints for postcards and stationary, as well as wall decor. But I think I'll leave that up to the experts like my friend. All I can say is, again, Thank you Gloria!

Goody, Goody!

My good friend Gloria from Viva La Vida sent me a little treasure from her "Ladies of The Kitchen" series of artwork. She is a very accomplished artist with a heart of gold! To wit, she shared her talent in sending me this little apron lady with a name of her own---like mine. Gloria knows I love aprons, and this gift will do double duty. She shows off her apron and...


although you can't see it in the photos, the wall plaque has some very useful hooks for hanging what else? Aprons or even dish towels!
Thank you so much, Gloria! I absolutely love this gift!! My Sweetie already hung it up on my kitchen wall for me. He also thought it was a very nifty gift. I've got an apron hanging on it right now. I have a feeling something like this would be a winner on Etsy, Gloria. Personalized artwork--very cool idea!

Friday, April 10, 2009

# 22!

My precious youngest Son came down to visit for his Birthday. I find it hard to believe that 22 years have passed since the day we brought him home from the hospital! Such a wonderful gift from God. I can still remember how good he smelled. I also remember he was such a good baby. Always has been. It's just that for me, time just went by too quickly. I blinked, and then he was flying away from the nest to try out his wings. Sweetie and I encourage him every chance we get to just move back home, but he'll have no part of that. I think once they move away, they enjoy their freedom just a bit too much.
Of course, to him, his most important birthday was last year, his 21st! I remind him that after 20, every birthday just seems to come at you faster and faster. For some reason, this birthday was somewhat poignant. I mean 22! My last baby....the baby of my youth. Where has the time gone?

We kept our celebration simple. After a meal at a nice Mexican seafood restaurant, we treated him to his favorite cake- strawberry shortcake.
And that was the celebration we had yesterday, on my little one's Birthday! May the Lord bless you always, my beloved Son!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

One of Those Days

Ever have one of those days when it's a struggle to feel joy about being alive? You know, you wake up and your back hurts, you know you didn't sleep well, and you teeter-totter through the morning routine. And then you start to have thoughts about death and mortality. You wonder if you feel this way because maybe you're dying and don't know it? For the sake of keeping a journal, I hereby share this day and the thoughts and feelings it brought to my mind.

So I wonder if it's about being 51 years old, and feeling the passage of time more keenly than before. Only, in truth, I've felt this way before in my youth as well. So obviously, it's not an age thing. Depression, you ask? No, I don't think it's that, but if it were, well, I say we're all entitled to a little bit from time to time. It does make you take stock of your life and think and meditate a bit on the deeper things. I wonder if this is a little bit of how King David felt when he was besieged by his enemies. The result of that---one of the most beautiful books in the Bible-- the Book of Psalms.

So, I have to think that in terms of what I don't know or see, I am being besieged by enemies. They're there all the time, waiting for an opportune moment to attack. It's also SO good to know that we have weapons with which to defeat this enemy. One of the most powerful weapons I have found to make him flee is Praise. I praise my Lord and Creator for all things, even for my weaknesses and my aches and pains. I praise him for my flaws, which are many, and my imperfections. I know he has a plan for me. That is all I need to know. And yes, I sometimes inwardly rebel, again another byproduct of that invisible enemy. I begin to question why God allows this or that to happen. I question and say "What the ? What is the purpose to this?" And I am reminded by the Spirit
"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"
Romans 9:20

After reflecting on this and other Scriptures, I feel better. For I know I'm not alone in this journey. My Savior has traveled this road before me. And he intercedes for me before the Father. So I know I'll be ok. And as to sickness, disease, aches and pains? "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5
Praise God! That whole Scripture speaks about Christ generations before he was born. Isaiah 53. The whole chapter from verse 1-12 is a portrait of Christ. Check out verse 2 ".....he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."
My Lord was not a handsome, goodlooking man. He was nothing like he is portrayed in artist's renditions! But if you don't read the Bible, you won't know that, will you?

In summary, I am saying, I am not perfect, I am full of flaws. And some days I wake up feeling terrible, thinking not so good thoughts. Yet, because of the grace of God, I am redeemed. And I hope if you are reading this, you will give some thought to your afterlife. And if you decide you want your life to change, to be full of the joy of the Lord, the answer is simple. Just go into prayer, and ask the Lord for forgiveness of your sins. Only he can give that. Confess before him that you believe he died for your sins. And then ask him into your heart, and tell him that you want him to rule over your life. Then read the Bible, to get to know him better. It's that simple. That is how your walk with God begins.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev. 3: 20

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Friendship Pizza

After making rolls using Rhonda's recipe, I then thought I ought to use her recipe, with yeast this time, for making pizza dough. And once again, I was inspired to be creative after seeing the mouth watering pictures of home made pizza over at Vickie's family blog. Take a good look at the above picture. That picture is from her post on their Friday Nights Pizza. Her family has such a sweet ministry, and sharing pizza is one way families are invited to join them for some wonderful Christian fellowship. I just love to hear or read about families who live with old fashioned values. Makes me long for the good old days when it was safe to trust people, ya know? Now, about the pizza......isn't the picture amazing? That olive pizza would have to be one of my favorites! Boy, a picture like that sure did set me to work! I'm always tweaking recipes, so while I did ask Vicki for her recipe, which was graciously shared on her blog, I did make a few minor changes and/or additions.

Mind you, I did use a roll recipe for pizza crust, and it came out pretty good. Here, I decided to try using Mexican crumbly cheese just because I had some, and needed to use it before it expired. I also used lots of sauce:


And fresh out of the oven:



This one does have mozzarella cheese, but I'm afraid I used less sauce.

And here is the mozzarella pizza fresh out of the oven:

Now, I think they don't look anywhere as good as Vickie's pizza. And the cheese topping might have toasted just a wee bit too much. I'm not afraid to show that sometimes my culinary attempts are not perfect. But I can attest to these pizzas being very good and tasty. Works for me! It made for a nice inexpensive dinner. Turns out the roll recipe can also stand in for pizza dough! How versatile!

That's why I copied it on to my homemade tags like I do with all my favorite recipes!


Friday, April 3, 2009

Friendship Sourdough Rolls

Earlier last month, when I found a recipe for Amish friendship bread and made a post about it, I had no idea I would find a new use for the recipe. But perhaps a little history is in order to understand why I am so thrilled about this new discovery. For years, since 1997, I have kept a sourdough starter in my fridge which I made using a recipe in one of Nancy Silverstone's books. This is a starter which will make dough rise without the use of commercial yeast. Well, to make a long story short, there have been a few times- very few- when I have had success with my starter in making glorious loaves of bread. But I've never given up hope that I could somehow find a way to make good sourdough bread consistently. That I'm afraid is the operative word. I'm also afraid I am to a certain degree obsessive about reaching that goal. My dear Sweetie has even gone so far as to tell me to just give up, that it's easier to buy bread already made. Enter the Amish bread recipe: with a few adaptations, it works great for bread rolls! Now, the first batch of starter I made for some unknown reason developed a tiny bit of mold, so I had to discard it. But the second one.....well, let me just say it is alive and kicking! Goodness, was I surprised with how bubbly and fermented it became! So I did make my loaf of friendship bread, which is delicious, and to me tastes like a pound cake-all sweet and full of moist goodness. But then, I found this post by Rhonda of Down to Earth fame. If you scroll down about five paragraphs, you will see pictures of her beautiful rolls which look so light and airy, along with a recipe that uses yeast. And I thought to myself, what if I use the Friendship starter to replace the water in her recipe, and just add the amount of water she used to dissolve the yeast (1/2 cup), would it work? Now, one other thing I did learn. Her recipe, like most of the artisan baker's recipes, had you place some or all of the bread in the fridge overnight. It's supposed to create more depth and flavor in bread, a step called 'retarding' the dough. The thing I learned, that while it might be good for flavor, it can also inhibit a good rise. So while my dough did rise, and then again when I took it out of the fridge the next day, it still made for less than light and fluffy rolls. Next time, I'm using the same exact recipe, but I will not place the dough in the fridge.

Here are my sourdough rolls. I used black sesame seeds as a topping and cornmeal underneath to keep them from sticking.

Fresh out of the oven and the whole house smelled heavenly!


Checking the internal temperature:

And this is the starter I used. It's so bubbly and alive!
And the starter's scent? It's wonderful! I love the fermented aroma, almost like wine, that develops after just a few days. There is no bad odor whatsoever! This considering there's milk in it. While I did tweak the original Friendship starter by not adding sugar to the final "feedings" or refreshments, there is still a slight, pleasant sweetness in the bread from the original sugar used when I began the starter. Sweetie and I did like the taste of the rolls, and found them to be very good, especially sliced and toasted with butter. Yet as I mentioned earlier, they were somewhat dense. I wanted light and airy rolls. Perhaps next time, next try. There is one other thing worth mentioning. I am finding this whole blogging experience to be so amazing! From one blogger to another to another, there is a wealth of knowledge to glean. I guess inspiration is the key word. I become inspired by so many different people to try different things to make my home run more efficiently and better. That is why a woman from Australia inspired me to try something different in bread making. Imagine that!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cheri's Apron


Well I just had to share the news about a giveaway on Cheri's site A Joyful Handmaiden . It's a lovely apron based on a vintage pattern she drafted. Hope you'll head over to her site for all the details! All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is to post a comment with your name and last initial. Sounds easy enough to me! I've posted about Cheri's sewing skills before, she's phenomenal! She also has an Etsy shop Peasant Cottage with
a great selection of her handmade aprons among other items!

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