Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Last year, because of our situation, we had $15.00 to spend on a tree...and we found a delightful little Charlie Brown tree. Knowing that the next year would be more difficult, we took a Christmas tin and placed any "found" money in the tin all throughout the year. "Found money" was money found on the ground, in the laundry, the car and more. When we added it up this year it came to exactly $40! Guess what this beautiful fir tree cost?
Elijah spent many hours out in the boys' shop creating something mysterious for me. I was banished with threats of coal in my stocking so I didn't dare peek! Turns out he was creating two cedar ornaments for me! One is a hand cut heart and the other is a lovely stacked wooden ornament! How blessed I am!
Joshua gave us this wonderful game for Christmas! We have spent many hours playing it already and highly recommend it . It has quickly become one of my favorite games....small caution - review the cards first before playing....I found just a few that I felt were inappropriate and discreetly discarded them.
Another hand made gift from Elijah! These are cedar hearts that he cut himself to keep my dresser drawers smelling wonderful! The time he took to create these....it just means so much to this mama heart of mine!
One of Elijah's favorite gifts!
Then, after a breakfast of fresh squeezed orange juice and homemade cinnamon rolls, it was off to Grandma's house to begin all over again.
The boys started with stockings - I don't think Elijah ever removed the hat...evidently he really liked it!
There were lots of lovely presents to open! My Mom manages to find the most beautiful wrapping paper and gift tags...each one is a work of art! She is so gifted!
Mom served us lunch...spiral cut ham, croissants for sandwiches, coleslaw and cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory for desert - yummy!
After helping to clean up from lunch, we headed home. I put the turkey in the oven and then we spent the next few hours playing games together while the smells wafted from the oven...it was so much fun! Then it was time for me to head back into the kitchen to pull together the last minute things for Christmas dinner. I had prepared as much as possible the days before which allowed me to spend my time playing games with the boys on Christmas...I am thankful that I took the time to do this...it made my day so much more enjoyable! We used to do Christmas dinner at around 2:00 in the afternoon but it kept me in the kitchen all day and left me exhausted...taking the step to move it to the evening meal made all the difference in the world for me!
We had turkey, stuffing, sweet potato souffle, green beans, homemade rolls and pecan pie for desert!
Then hours more of family fun and games!
I hope each of you took time through this season to enjoy the most important things..the celebration of our Savior who came crucified for our sins, our families and our friends!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Our table set for Christmas Eve... our Snicky Snack Night!
With a desert buffet - our traditional favorites!
The search begins after dinner for Baby Jesus. My oldest son, Joshua, hid the Baby this year in the bottom of a tissue box that still had 1/2 the tissues in it....right out in the open. He and I thought it would take forever...that we might actually have to play "hot...cold" for the boys to find Him...
However, my youngest boy found the Baby in just a few minutes...."I noticed the tissues were a little uneven"....noticed the tissues were uneven?! Funny how he can notice uneven tissues in a tissue box but be oblivious to the dust bunnies under his bed!
Laying the Baby in the manger...filled with love!
Together, we watched It's a Wonderful Life, played games, ate way too much food, drank a lot of eggnog, laughed a lot and talked a lot! Many hugs and lots of snuggles before we all wandered off to bed. Josh spent several days with us which made everything wonderful!
I'll share some pictures of our celebrations on Christmas next time!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of our celebrations and share them with you when I return on the 29th. I'll be taking orders during this time but I won't be shipping out packages again until the 29th of December.
Remember, my Medicinal Herb Course is on sale for $15.00 through midnight the 31st. What a great way to spend some of that Christmas money! You'll save so much more than that by learning to make your own remedies!
Also, don't forget the soap naming contest...who wouldn't love free handmade, handcut soap?
We will be enjoying our traditional Snicky Snack night for our Christmas Eve while we watch It's A Wonderful Night. Siah and I will change our sweet and sour meatballs a bit this year. We are going to try mixing some of our grass-fed ground beef with some of this family's wonderful sausage. Yummy! Mom told me this morning that her cheese tray will be all Amish cheese made with raw milk....yummy! And of course, the centerpiece will be our special Hot Wings! Lots of our traditional cookies for desert! I can hardly wait!
The big highlight of the evening will be the search for Baby Jesus. You can read about this Tradition of the Straws here. The manger this year is overflowing with straws...we've had a lot of fun reaching out to other people in need during this holiday season and serving those outside of our family always brings fatter straws! We have been able to help several families who needed food and other things this year. (If we didn't raise and preserve our own food we wouldn't have been able to do this! We are thankful for a wonderful harvest and our grass-fed beef!) We like to call it "Ring and Run". You know, ring the bell and make a mad dash out of sight. We want their thanks directed, not to us, but to our Father who only used us as His hands and feet. We were humbled to be able to do so. I pray that our Father continues to give us the ability to help others as He blesses us....and we have been wonderfully blessed this year!
Our Baby Jesus will be hidden and the boys will have to search for him. Whoever finds him is the one who gets to place him in the manger! Even though they are older, this is still a very important part of our Christmas....I think each boy will continue this tradition in their own home one day. I can just see it, many years from now, when hopefully there will be lots of grandchildren searching for Baby Jesus!
Our Christmas morning starts out with opening the stockings and tree then we have homemade cinnamon rolls and fresh squeezed orange juice. Mom joins us for both....then after breakfast we head to her house and do another tree! Mom likes to continue the tradition of going to Grandma's house for Christmas too. I think it is wonderful that she has the ability and desire to still do this...even though we live right next door to each other. My oldest son always spends the night Christmas Eve so he is there for Christmas morning too. I know these years are fleeting...once he gets married he'll want to establish his own Christmas traditions...I am enjoying this time that we still get to have him!
After Mom's tree, she serves a light lunch for all of us (what a relief not to have to rush and prepare another meal!). Then I begin my final preparations for the big Christmas dinner. I have much of it done ahead of time and my Mom always helps prepare many things so my load is not so heavy. During the day we play many family games. I join as the kitchen work allows. I love this time.....pretty candles are flickering, Christmas music is playing, Mom and I are working and chatting together, the boys are laughing and enjoying each other...and the smells emanating from the kitchen...heavenly! What more could a mama ask for?
My prayer for you, my dear readers, is that you will also search and find the Baby Jesus and come to understand that the shadow of His cross lay upon that manger scene many thousands of nights ago....that our Savior was born crucified.....born crucified for you...so that you might live!
May you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I had on my work schedule to make a batch of Tangerine Moisturizer Soap. I got the lye water ready (always my first step) then I got the solid oils melting, measured out my liquid oils and lined my soap mold. Kept checking temps and as they got close to matching, I ran to my cabinet to get my Tangerine Essential Oil. I couldn't find it....anywhere.
I had just placed an order for essential oils in October. I went back to my notes...yep...it was there. I went to the actual paperwork for the order...nope...not there. Oh.....I remember.....they were out! I had forgotten to re-order. What to do now? I couldn't afford to just throw all of these oils out....
I did a quick study through my essential oils books looking for moisturizing oils. I found two that I liked. Rose Geranium and Lavender. I happened to have both on my shelf. So...I blended the two and used that, instead of the Tangerine, to create a moisturizing soap.
I could hardly wait till the next day to cut it...I was anxious to see how it turned out. Lovely! It is a rich, creamy color...sort of a light honey.
And the scent! Heavenly! And it will have all of the same moisturizing abilities of the Tangerine Moisturizer!
I now find myself with an unexpected new soap on my hands...and no name in sight. So, of course, I do what I always do....I turn to you, my trusted and talented readers, to help me find a name. Can you say contest?
Here are the rules:
1. Contest ends at midnight on New Year's Eve.
2. Name will be chosen by our family. Although there *is* a winner, we are not under obligation to use your name….after all…we might come up with one of our own!
3. You can't be related to me and win.
4. You may enter as many times as you like.
5. Suggestions must be left in the comment section of this post.
6. Winner will be announced Friday, January 2nd.
And of course, where there is a winner, there must be a prize! Winner gets a free bar of the new soap and one bar of any other soap of their choosing. I even pay the shipping! Always wanted to try my soap but never got around to it? Now's the time....perhaps you can try it absolutely free!
Let the games begin!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Act Now To Reject Con Con
By Chuck Baldwin
December 16, 2008
This column is archived at
My good friend, Tom DeWeese, chairman of the American Policy Center,
recently issued an urgent alert regarding a revived effort to assemble a
modern Constitutional Convention. Mind you, the United States has not
assembled such a Convention since 1787, when a Constitutional Convention
replaced the Articles of Confederation with the U.S. Constitution.
Fortunately, the delegates to the Con Con of 1787 were composed of
freedom-loving patriots who had just fought a bloody war for independence
and were in no mind to reenact tyranny upon the land they had just fought to
liberate. However, can one imagine what would happen if the current bunch of
politically correct leftists in Washington, D.C., were to be granted the
power to rewrite our Constitution? It would be the end of the United States
of America, and that is no hyperbole.
The modern Con Con effort began back in the 1970s. Since then, 32 states
have issued the call. The total number of states that are required to enact
the Con Con is 34. Simple math reveals that we are only two states short of
this disaster. As word of this potential calamity began to surface, the
effort stalled with the total states issuing the call stuck at 32. With the
election of Barack Obama, however, supporters of a Con Con have been
emboldened and are now trying to resurrect the momentum. The state that is
currently in the crosshairs appears to be Ohio.
States that have already approved a Con Con include Alaska, Arizona,
Arkansas, Delaware, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland,
Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. A few of these states have since seen
the error of their ways and have voted to rescind their approvals. This
fact, alone, should be enough to kill the push for another Con Con, but
don't expect the powers that be to see it that way. Therefore, it seems that
if Ohio approves the Con Con, only one more state would be required, and
upon the call of that 34th state, a Con Con would be seated. And, no doubt,
state number 34 is already sitting quietly, but excitedly, in the wings,
ready to act with "lightning speed" to seal the deal.
Lest anyone take this lightly or think that a Constitutional Convention is
no big deal, DeWeese properly warned, "In truth no restrictive language from
any state can legally limit the scope or outcome of a [Constitutional]
Convention! Once a Convention is called Congress determines how the
delegates to the Convention are chosen. Once chosen, those Convention
delegates possess more power than the U.S. Congress itself."
DeWeese is right. If called, a modern Constitutional Convention could
declare the U.S. Constitution to be null and void, and could completely
rewrite the document. For example, former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice
Warren Burger once declared, "There is no effective way to limit or muzzle
the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its
own rules and set its own agenda."
Given the fact that Washington, D.C., is comprised mostly of Big-Government
liberals and neocons, it is almost certain that the founders'
Constitution--which was founded on the principles of Natural Law that
protects individual liberty--would be replaced with some sort of "collective
rights" document protecting an ambiguous "common good." At that point, there
is no more United States of America. There would be no more Bill of Rights
protecting individuals from governmental abuse and overreach. Furthermore,
the principles of Natural Law would be forever removed as a basis of all our
nation's laws and statutes. The nation that had been bequeathed to us by our
forebears would be gone forever.
Yes, it is that bad, and, yes, it is that close to happening!
In the short term, every freedom-loving American must do everything they can
RIGHT NOW to prevent this from happening. Since the state of Ohio is
currently in the crosshairs, it would behoove us to contact every person we
know in Ohio and do whatever it takes to motivate them to be sure to let
their Ohio legislators know how dangerous this is. Residents and citizens of
Ohio need to make sure the Ohio legislature rejects the call for a
Constitutional Convention. By the same token, it would be wise for all of us
who live in states that have not yet ratified the call for a Con Con to
contact our state legislators to make sure that they understand the issue,
and that they will do everything in their power to resist any attempt to
call for a Constitutional Convention.
For more information on the status of a new Con Con and how to fight it, go
to the American Policy Center web site at
In the longer term, there is another question that must be addressed. What
will we do if and when a modern Constitutional Convention is called and our
U.S. Constitution is declared null and void, with a completely new
constitution enacted? Which states will reject the new constitution? Which
states will declare their independence from any such new union? Or, will
they all surrender their state constitutions and go along with this
Twenty-First Century New World Order--a New World Order that will doubtless
incorporate some form of North American Community or Union?
It might be a very good idea to immediately begin identifying those states
that would unequivocally reject any new union, and would be willing to
declare their independence from whatever government would evolve from a
modern Constitutional Convention. Yes, I am saying it: we may need to
resurrect the original Thirteen Colonies, except they would probably not
number thirteen, and, in all likelihood, they would not be located on the
I am convinced that there are still millions of Americans who are sick and
tired of surrendering their liberties to Big-Government sycophants in both
the Democrat and Republican parties, and that if a Constitutional Convention
is called--and our U.S. Constitution is wiped away or rewritten--are ready
and willing to declare their independence all over again. So, I issue the
call: where are the new Thirteen Colonies?
We better start looking now, because there will come a point when the time
for looking for good ground is over and the time to stand our ground will be
Call your representatives now...and I would suggest putting pressure on your legislators to rescind the call if you are in one of those states who have issued one. I know that I will be!
Monday, December 15, 2008
They had lights...lots of them!
They had dimmer switches, in case your lights were too bright. They had filters in every color, in case your lights were the wrong color. They had microphones, light tents (am sure there is a more techy title but...I'm a farm girl!) and of course, a monitor and a wham-o-dyne, real deal, television camera ($10,000 worth no less!).
Who were these people and why were they at our farm?
They were from the Christian Broadcasting Network and were doing a special on adversity. Believe it or not, they weren't here to interview me (amazing isn't it....if they only knew the trouble I've seen!). They were here to interview my Mom.
But she isn't the "hero" in the story. The real story is about my brother Mark.
My brother was a cop. In 1982, he was on a 4 lane highway directing traffic around an accident that involved a fatality. It was Halloween night. There were multiple police cars, ambulances and firetrucks around with lights flashing. He was standing on the highway helping traffic crawl around the tangled metal. Then it happened. Some young man, drunk out of his mind, came barreling down the highway, apparently unaware of the lights, cars....unaware of anything. He hit Mark at a high rate of speed, throwing him hundreds of feet down the highway. My brother died that night....yet he lives today by the mercy of Yahweh.
My brother's story is an incredible one. Over 30 operations later, and still more to come, his life is a strong testimony on allowing our Father to work through you to conquer adversity in your life. He has written a book, which you can find here. He is now a polygraph examiner full time and a motivational speaker part time...which he'd really like to be full time. The 700 Club wants to do a short piece on his story and they wanted my Mom's perspective. As she was going through some of the details, I sat on the couch and wept at some of the memories. I was pregnant with my first child when this happened. Twenty-seven years ago, yet the emotions attached to that time are still so strong! I still can't talk about much of it without crying. Once he was able to talk, weeks later, I called my brother everyday. He was so worried he would die before my child was born....he so wanted to be an Uncle. He was also out of his mind on pain medication...and remembers none of those conversations. Of course, as his big sister, it remains my duty to question the state of his mind to this day (love you Mark!).
I am so proud of my little brother. What an amazing example of courage and perseverance he has been for my boys. He was told that he would face double amputation (his legs literally exploded from the impact) and that he would never walk, much less run again and that he would never be a cop again,. My brother dug his heels in and defied all the predictions with the help of our Father. He refused the amputation...in fact he threatened to shoot anyone who took off his legs. I think he might have been serious! (I still feel sorry for the lady from the prosthesis company who was sent to show him what life could be like without his legs...I'll just chalk it up to the morphine!) It took him years to get on his feet again. He is still in pain everyday and will be for the rest of his life. His legs...not pretty...but he can walk! He ran in a short marathon, with his police buddies surrounding him so that no one could bump him and cause injury. He went back to police work and was a homicide detective for many years. There is no limit to what you can accomplish when you lean on the Father!
I and the boys were allowed to be behind the scenes that day.
I explained that we were a homeschooling family and would really like to learn about what they did. They let Elijah sit in the interviewer's chair for the lighting check. Neat!
I found this picture, Elijah must have taken it, and have no clue what this is...wish I had seen it to ask. My guess would be some sort of light meter...any Hollywood type people out there?
Getting ready to start the interview!
And the camera with a monitor on the floor...
They were so gracious to answer at least 5,000 questions and to suffer having their pictures taken repeatedly. Elijah is a rapid-fire photographer! They had lots of interesting stories about people they had worked with and places they had been. They were sweet, kind, respectful and fun. It was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
I don't know when this will air but I will be sure to blog about it when I find out. We'll pop some popcorn and head next door to Mom's to watch since we don't have t.v.
We've settled back down into the normal farm routine around here pretty easily. This is our last week of school before we break for Christmas. I'm trying to get lots of Christmas baking done.
Oh!...I almost forgot! This last weekend...we had our annual Tacky Party.....and I have pictures worthy of blackmail....
Friday, December 12, 2008
Just thought I would respectfully point out to you, in my best southern mama fashion, that when you next need a drummer... feel free to drop me a line or give me a ring! I met some people today, who were at our farm filming some sort of special or something... who were recently at your house filming some sort of special or something. You know the ones...they found the dimmer switch behind your couch that the last film crew accidentally left. Now that they know where you live and where Jeremy lives, I'm sure they wouldn't mind getting us all together so you and Jeremy could do a little something together! Your people and my people should talk...it isn't everyday you get the opportunity to make a boy's dream come true.
*Note* You'll want to turn off the music in the sidebar. Also, there is about a minute of music and no picture...please be patient :)
I just can't believe this is my kid....isn't it marvelous to see what He brings forth in our children and what gifts and talents He bestows upon them! (Did I mention he has never taken a lesson?)
And then there is this one....just for fun....because he knows I like this song...and my nickname for him is ~Sticks~ :) He surprised me with this tonight.
So...all you Christian Music Producer type people....I'll be glad to take your calls between 10 and 2 to discuss Jeremy's future in the music industry....cause it certainly appears to me that he's got one! (I am totally unbiased you know!)
Really proud of you ~Sticks~ ! Thanks for the surprise...I loved it!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
He began to explain that the C-47 was used to hold different filters over the camera lights so that the correct lighting could be achieved...even though we weren't in the studio. He explained the red film gave warm tones to the wood, the yellow film mixed nicely with sunlight (which is blue?!)...he had a whole bag full of beautiful colors...colors to paint people, objects...the world. But all of them useless without the C-47.
He told me they were very expensive...at least $30 if he had to bill someone for one...he just needed to find his bag. Bag? There were bags strewn all over the living room floor...cables ran like snakes in every direction...furniture was re-arranged to get the right angle...lights set about with odd looking tents....and lights just waiting for the C-47.
Aha! Success...he found them!
What exactly is a C-47?
Take a look!
I'll bet you have one too! He told me that you could ask for a C-47 in any television studio and this is what they would bring you. Why the name?
How are you going to charge someone $30 for a clothespin?
What was happening at our farm today? It has something to do with adversity...but...you'll just have to tune in again to find out!
Yes...I know....I've been told I can be a bit of a stinker ;)
One of my favorite things to do is make custom gift baskets. I like to learn a little about the recipient and their hobbies, likes and dislikes and so forth. Give me your budget and turn me loose! I did one last year for a local celebrated chef....lots of dried organic herbs from my garden, Coffee soap to remove the smells of garlic and fish from her hands, Arnica salve to fight those carpal tunnel tendencies, Lavender soap, some Sleepy Easy Tea and a lovely candle to relax with at the end of the day....with other little goodies tucked in here and there. This is no job...this is great fun!
Here is my latest creation...it is one of my favorite creations!
I loved the tin the instant I saw it...then the hunt was on for matching paper, ribbons, gift tag. This was done for a very special friend so I really wanted everything to be just right! My Mom was with me and she helped me get everything coordinated - she really caught the spirit and was getting just as excited as I was. There is just something about it that inspires you to do your very best!
Their request was, lots of salves and lots of soaps. I made some suggestions, they made some changes and I was off! Some scrubbies for bathing, some lip balms for winter and of course, who can resist Ghirardelli Christmas chocolates? Yummy!
I delivered it last night..I think they were happy with the results.
If I ever see my dream fulfilled, a little shop here on my farm, I will definitely have a corner dedicated to creating special gifts for special people. I'll stock it with lots of different things. But, I'll still enjoy the hunt to get just that thing that will endear the basket, and the giver, to the recipient. I think Mom would enjoy working in that corner of our little shop. She is a shopper extraordinaire and has the ability to add that little extra something that turns an ordinary gift into something really special. In fact, I think she needs to be in charge of that little corner! (Psssttt! Mom....have I got an idea for you!)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Every year, after Christmas, I shop for a new Christmas book for the next year. I usually pay half price or less! This way I can increase our Christmas Book collection for very little money. I keep our books in a lovely basket in the living room and read one aloud every night from Thanksgiving on to the end of the holiday season. It works for me!
Visit Rocks in My Dryer for lots of other great ideas!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
I was working on a project that I hoped to have done by Christmas. I intended to post it on my website at a discount for you, my faithful readers. However, it isn't quite done. So, still having a desire to bless you this Christmas, I have chosen something that I believe will benefit you and your family now and for years to come.
I am putting my Medicinal Herb Course on sale for $15.00 between now and midnight December 31! This is only the second time in 8 years that this course has been on sale. This course is $40.00 if you take it with me here on the farm and is normally $25.00 on my website. This is $10.00 off the normal website price! Perhaps this would make a wonderful Christmas gift for you or for someone you love.
Because I already know what I have planned for next year's gift (that same thing I didn't get done in time for this year!), I will not be putting this course on sale again for at least two years!
Also, anyone who purchases my Medicinal Herb Course between now and the end of the year will receive an extension on the email mentoring portion of the course. Instead of 30 days from the date of purchase....you will receive....(can we say "ta daaahh!" ?) free mentoring until the end of February!! You can wait till after the holidays to begin your study and still have an extra 60 days instead of 30!
I will also offer this extension for anyone who has ever purchased this course...so, my previous, faithful students....grab your notes and questions and give it all you've got until the end of February!!
If you've taken the course and would like to share your experience, please leave us a comment!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Please follow this link and read about the SWAT team who descended on a terrorist organization food co-op. Yep...that's right a FOOD CO-OP! Don't worry about terrorists...there are bigger things to worry about.....people buying food... in bulk...together...to save money....dangerous stuff! Good thing they kept those semi-automatics trained on the toddlers. I've had four of them and know how dangerous they can be.
We aren't as free as they let us think we are....Oh, and that whole "civillian national security force" idea....not original....anybody remember a guy named Adolph?
A question...since I don't have t.v.....has this been on the news? Anywhere? Or are they keeping this one quiet?
Can't wait to hear what ya'll think about this one!
Rethinking my own food co-op idea....
Friday, December 5, 2008
Our yard has been so littered with pecans that it is almost impossible to walk safely through the yard. I had to tell my Mom, who is a little unsteady on rough terrain, to stay out of the area!
We have had a little rain and lots of snow flurries these last two weeks making it too wet to pick up nuts. Today, however, was a beautiful day - warm and sunny. Beautiful enough to be outside without a coat. So, after school today, we ventured out to rake pecans. Yes. I said rake. I raked pecans into piles like most people rake leaves. Then we'd go through the piles and pick up the pecans. I listened to my boys plan inventions that would make this job easier. They had some great ideas and I am sure something will come forth from their workshop before next fall rolls around.
We filled a 5 gallon bucket...and kept picking. Josiah climbed the tree (he can climb a tree faster than a cat!). He shook limbs and we watched it RAIN pecans...
*Note to self* Never stand close to the tree when it is raining pecans...unless you have a hard hat.
We talked and picked up pecans. Elijah sang praise songs...and we picked up pecans. The kittens joined us...and we picked up pecans. We made Christmas plans....and picked up pecans. We picked up pecans for about 3 hours and filled 3...count 'em 3....5 gallon buckets. And the ground is still littered with them!
Even my Mom joined us for a few hours to help pick them up. She has also been cracking and picking in the evenings. My friend Julie also told me that we can bag them whole and freeze them. I think one night next week, I'll pick a Christmas movie and we'll bag while we watch...sounds like fun and then my living room decor can loose the big white buckets!
Our pies this Thanksgiving were made from our wonderful, organic pecans and what a difference in taste. The flavor was so delicious - not sure what they are doing to the pecans in the stores but these were SO much better.
I sent home a gallon bag with my brother to Florida. I gave another gallon to a sweet friend from North Carolina who came to Thanksgiving. We have more bagged up to bless local friends. I'd say our total count SO FAR is at least 25 gallons of pecans this year. I'll let you know when we're done!
Here's the kicker....
Why so many pecans? We have lived here for 10 years. We have NEVER seen this. NEVER. We might pick up a bucketful some years. Most years little to nothing. We have been pondering this. There has been one of those niggly little things in the back of my mind...."this means something". But I just couldn't seem to remember. I knew I had read something....somewhere...but I couldn't remember.
Then someone mentioned it and all the lights came on (yes...sometimes all my circuits dont' fire at the same time....happens once you pass the 50 year mark!) An extra bountiful nut harvest is a good sign of a hard winter to come! Duh! I knew that...somewhere in the deep, dark, recesses of my mind.
It is our Father's way of providing for His creatures and His people. He knows what the weather will be and He reaches out months before to make preparation for us since we are unaware of what will happen. What a loving Father! This might also explain the amount of snow flurries we have been experiencing. Months ahead of schedule! My boys and I were in a neighboring town this week - much closer to the Smokies - and it was pouring snow. I was worried about getting home it was snowing so hard. It was so beautiful...breathtaking.....then the sun came out and it was all gone. This cycle happened three or four times during the course of the day. What fun it was! How unusual it was...
The boys and I are excited. We have been praying for at least one good snowfall so we can spend a day sledding together. We have a wonderful sledding hill. We sled until we are frozen stiff, come in to homemade hot cocoa and gingerbread, throw the clothes in the dryer and then suit up and head out again. All.day.long. Did I mention that we suit up at night and sled under the millions of stars in the sky? It is a breathtaking experience! I can remember laying in the snow at the bottom of the hill and praying with Josiah and Elijah under the stars one year.
We had a mild snowstorm here about 10 years ago. Perhaps 5 or 6 inches but it made for wonderful sledding. Elijah was a baby and doesn't remember it. We've had paltry little snows over time but nothing very deep. We are hoping that this is the year. We are hoping for The Big One! (Sorry Amy!)
We are ever so thankful for this bountiful harvest. I don't think I will need to purchase pecans for years! Yet another provision and blessing from the hands of our very caring Father.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Each year I purchase a Christ-centered Christmas book to add to our collection. Beginning with the evening we finish decorating for Christmas (usually right after Thanksgiving), I read a Christmas book out loud to the boys after dinner. I do this every night through the Christmas season. Many years ago I found a little book called The Last Straw by Paula Palangi. I believe it is out of print now which is a shame. Although there were aspects of the story that I was not pleased with, (I edited it as I read aloud) this book has impacted my family more than any other Christmas book. This book introduced us to the Tradition of the Straws. This is far and away my boys most favorite Christmas tradition!
You do not need the book to add this to your celebration of Christmas...let me share with you what it is all about....you will need a tray, some straw, a manger and a baby. This is the concept....Jesus is coming! We must prepare a place for him and we will do that by loving and serving others for His sake. It is an act of worship. Beginning the fist night, the names of all the family members are written on scraps of paper and placed in a bowl. Each person draws a name, checking to make sure they have not drawn their own. This name must be kept secret! The goal for the next week is to secretly do acts of loving kindness for that person without getting caught. For each secret act of love, you may place a straw in the manger. The idea is to build a soft and comfortable bed made from acts of love for the Christ child who will arrive on Christmas Eve.
This is a picture of our manger. Josiah made it several years ago. The book actually came with a heavy cardboard manger in the back to punch out and put together but after many years, no amount of tape could hold it together. So, Josiah blessed us with this wooden one and I will always treasure it!
As you can see we have been busy filling the manger this season. Each week, the names go back in the bowl and everyone draws again. Parents will need to help younger ones with ideas and sometimes with practical help. I have kept many a boy busy so his brother didn't get "caught in the act". And often you will have to turn a blind eye so a little one can bless you with an act of love!
Because we do not have network T.V., cable or satellite, and we aren’t in the stores a lot, (and I throw all of those gift catalogs in the trash as soon as they arrive....they tend to give my boys a terrible case of I want-itis!) my children are not exposed to all the brainwashing that goes on trying to sell them the latest useless toy. But their focus still tended to be on “what will I get” instead of “what can I give”. The manger certainly helped to realign their priorities. Bickering seemed to take a back seat to loving kindness - everyone was thinking of the Christ child and how they could serve Him through kindness to others.
It is amazing how this simple tradition changed our focus and the atmosphere in our home. Sometimes a child will find their bed made, their chores done or their laundry folded. I have found dishwashers emptied, or filled, clothes folded, my bed turned down with a cookie left on the pillow, a wildflower in a vase on the kitchen windowsill, animals cared for and the list goes on. Arguments stop before they really start and everyone seems to be thinking of others first.
Secret acts done for neighbors, church members and others outside our family circle earn fatter straws, or multiple straws. Hands are constantly testing the manger - is it soft enough for Jesus? On Christmas Eve day the pace for loving acts really picks up….who will place the last straw?
On Christmas Eve, when the boys determine that the bed is ready, they must search for the baby, just as the Wise Men searched for the Christ child. Whoever finds Him gets to place Him lovingly in the manger that was filled with hundreds of straws, each one representing an act of love to others.
My prayer for you this season is that you too find the Christ child who was born crucified for you.