Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring time chores

Today was the perfect day for planting peas - warm, overcast... an ideal day for a very hands-on task.

The soil turned over by my dearly beloved who enjoys digging.

The rows looked straight when I was standing. Down low, they are a bit off. I imagine in a few weeks the crooked lines will never show.

The seed packet says 65 days. Can't wait.

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Genesis 2:8

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The United States Postal Service

Although it is often maligned, I love the USPS. Not just because the mail arrives everyday, but because of the incredible services they offer.

Today, I sent a box halfway across the country by hanging it (with a check attached) from the flag on my mailbox. No trip downtown. No long lines. Service - plain and simple.

When I need stamps, there is the lovely orange envelope provided by - you guessed it - the USPS. I fill in the form on the front, insert my check - presto, chango - I have stamps. Sometimes even the same day... it depends on how specific I am with the type of stamps I request. (On occasion, I have shopped the styles online and then requested a particular stamp. That might take an extra day to arrive in my mailbox - at no extra cost!)

Are you getting full service treatment from the USPS? Try it. You'll like it.

I should mention that Helen, my mail lady, is the best.

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. I Thessalonians 5:21

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just a peek

I have a box ready to mail.

That being interpreted means - a bag is finished and ready to go to its new home.

I don't want to spoil any first impressions, so I'll just give a couple of peeks of the final product.

My favorite closure - layered vintage buttons.

A cHim pocket insert -

I am upset about one thing, though. I got so involved in taking "peek" pictures that I forgot to take full shots of the finished product before I packaged it up! Now I have no records for myself.

It's amazing that I have the confidence to send anything off to anyone! Oh my.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. Ephesians 5:1

Monday, April 20, 2009

Showers and flowers

A friend wondered recently... Who said "April showers bring May flowers"?

OK, I'm curious, so I looked it up. Turns out, it is a proverb... not the Biblical kind. The statement is used everywhere, for, well, pick a reason! If any person did own the rights to those five words - he/she would be rich indeed.

The interpretation given was this - "Some unpleasant occurrences bring about better things." Someone worked long and hard to define our lovely little proverb in such a boring way.

Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving... who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth the rain for the earth, who maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains. Psalm 147:7,8

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hidden treasure

Today while raking (yes, I'm still raking!) I found the last piece of candy from Grampa's annual Easter candy hunt.

I waited until my job was finished for the day... washed my hands... and rewarded myself.


But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Friday, April 17, 2009

Contemplating growth

There must be some kind of magical transformation that happens every winter in my yard... snowflakes melt into leaves... dead, damp, brown leaves. Then they cover the flower beds around the house like a blanket.

So today, I spent the afternoon raking leaves. It was amazing what I discovered beneath that brown blanket.

At first, I thought I had exposed the white root of a nasty weed. Since poison ivy is my enemy, I looked before I yanked the "weed." Thank goodness!

Visions of the bigger model that left this glistening skin in the dirt threatened to end the raking... until questions about growth, natural and spiritual growth, pushed all fearful thoughts aside.

I worked on those leaves contemplating growth in nature - discarded skins, the brilliant green of new growth, the resiliency of established plants - wondering... shouldn't I see similar evidence of life, of growth, in my walk with God?

In the end, the rake gave out.

The thoughts carry on.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. II Peter 3:18

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Red pepper sauce

When I have the opportunity to plan menus for family visits, there has to be something new... some unusual, untested treat that could earn its way to the list of old favorites.

The last visit was no exception. The main dish for our dinner together was pork loin - version #1 and version #2. The hands down favorite (thereby #1) was stuffed with kalamata olives. Version #2 was more beautiful - covered with a deep red paprika rub, stuffed with slivered garlic, to be served with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

Although roasting peppers is time consuming, it isn't difficult. I found beautiful peppers that roasted perfectly.

The sauce recipe was great... clear, easy to follow. All the ingredients simmered to the perfect consistency with beautiful rich color.

I fear that version #2 didn't really get a fair showing. After all that work, I forgot to serve the lovely red pepper sauce! Argh.

So, for those family members who want to sample what they missed, here's the recipe -

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Heat in a medium, heavy pan over medium heat:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 5-10 minutes. Stir in:
3 large red bell peppers, roasted
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Cook for one minute more. Add:
1 1/2 cups beef stock and 1 cup water, or 2 cups water
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover, and very slowly simmer the sauce for about 1 1/2 hours. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm.

How could something requiring that much time and effort be forgotten? Must have been too much excitement and art and games and goats and horses and cousins and moms and dads and...

...but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13, 14

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring break visit

Today, I am thankful for tight budgets... reduced discretionary spending... belt tightening. Why? Because when spring break comes and all of the above apply, Gramma's house is a good place to visit... no money required, lots of playmates (when all the cousins come too) and just enough excitement to make it special.

There was a field trip to a wonderful farm overflowing with goats in every stage of life. We were surprised with horse rides and trampoline bouncing. We left our tour, full of all the wonder that farm life offers city kids.

Home again, there was Grampa's annual Easter candy hunt.

Finally, everyone gathered around two tables for dinner and birthday cake (or cherry cream pie, if this was the big 4-0!)

The last two families left today. The house is quiet again. Tight budgets, reduced discretionary spending, and belt tightening? Those are just the gray clouds that have the "visit gramma" silver lining.

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Psalm 128:1,2

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bag #2 complete

My second attempt at creating a home for my little netbook is finally finished. That is the only good thing I can say about the experience. If I were new to sewing, my first impulse after this project would be to sell my sewing machine and hone my shopping skills.

But, I am not a novice... so I just destroyed the pattern. Immediately.

Reminds me to be thankful that God doesn't give up on me.

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Breakfast tables

The men's breakfast rolls around with frightening speed. Last Saturday, the table decor had to say "Spring!"... in a deep voice, of course.

All set for men and food...

Rumor has it that the thing they really liked about this decor - the yummy Peeps!

The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Psalm 126:3

Friday, April 3, 2009

Let's try this again...


Are you in there? ...there? ...there?

This is what happens when I put my mini into my brand new bag. It is wa-a-a-ay too big. Fortunately, I found a willing person with a larger laptop who will give this bag (with my beloved strap) a good home.

Now, I'm back at the worktable... This time I didn't just read descriptions, I measured... sort of.

I hope I like this color combo

...we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3-5