Anticipation


June is almost upon us. I find this remarkable. It seems that just yesterday we were celebrating the new year – and now suddenly we’re six months in! Whew – talk about time flying.

We are supposed to start shopping for our homestead this month. Choosing a property to which we will retire and become self sustaining. I anticipate this being many things… a lot of work, exciting, and even heart rending I’m sure as we agonize over which place will suit us best.

I want to be closer to my grandsons – and am being pulled in that direction. Yet I don’t really want to leave these mountains, and I honestly don’t think he does either. So… we shall shop – and we shall find that perfect place… the one for us. And we shall homestead the hell out of it.

What about you, what would  you look for in a new abode?

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Things I’m Pretty Sure I’ll Need to Know


You know, moving is never easy. It is always an experience – most often a bad one. Yet, here I stand. Two years shy of 50 preparing to retire and embark on the most challenging journey of my life. This is going to be interesting to say the least. I’m sure that it will be fraught with peril. And joy. I know there will be a lot of joy.

Soon, our lives will change forever and we join countless others making a trip back. Back to a time where each and every family could sustain its own members with the fruits of their labor. Where a bushel of tomatoes was worth a pound or so of flour, or sugar. A time when working meant something – and not working meant you may not survive the winter. It’s not a lifestyle for the faint of heart, this is for sure.

Animals don’t care that you’re in pain, sick, or tired… they must be tended to every single day, regardless of the circumstances. Crops cannot be left to moulder in the field because you don’t “feel” like doing anything today. One night could mean total loss. You don’t get a pass on your birthday, sick days, or vacation.

Each and every day is another opportunity to provide security for yourself and your family. There are some pretty specific skills that are required to do something like this… Things I’m pretty sure I’ll need to know:

  • Canning and preserving vegetables, meats, and fruits
  • Growing, tending, and harvesting a year round garden to feed 4
  • Raising and caring for goats, chickens, pigs, and eventually cows
  • Making paper, soap, laundry detergent, and other toiletries
  • Rainwater catchment and purification skills
  • Basic first aid – human and animal
  • Irrigation, carpentry, basic plumbing
  • Fire Building and charcoal production
  • more, much, much, more…

You know, there is a lot that goes into becoming self sustaining. I know that it’s not going to be easy… sometimes it’s not going to be exactly “fun”… but all the time it’s going to be rewarding. That’s what counts. Utilizing your God given skills to care for yourself. I’m excited to begin this next phase of my life. I know that my future holds untold adventures. I look forward to sharing the experience with you all. Stay tuned…

The Foodie in Me


I must confess that I do have a little bit of “foodie” in me. I simply love good food. And lots of it… I like healthy foods as well as the stuff that most of us probably should avoid. As I’ve stated previously I’m going to be doing a focus group at work for a diet supplement to assist in my weight loss goals for the New Year.

I will sharing some of the recipes I am cooking through this time, as well as some old “favorites”. Such as my sons specialty – Chicken & Sausage Gumbo. Which is what’s for dinner tonight.

So, check it out – and enjoy for yourself. If you try one of the recipes, please comment on it and let me know what you and your family thought!

Happy Cooking!

The Good Wife


I know what you’re thinking, and no… while I did watch The Good Wife the first season and found it enjoyable – this post is not in fact about the show.

It’s about something else altogether – something kind of different from our dear wife on television.

This is about the true definition of a Good Wife. The one set forth in Proverbs 31  – and what she might look like today.

Proverbs 31:10-31

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

I want to take just a moment to stop here and really look at these first three verses. As women, this is something we see our entire lives. We look for someone who sees us as more precious than jewels, who trusts us implicitly in all things, and that we never feel the need to walk away from.  What kind of woman does it take to snare a man like this… well – read on!
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.

Now I see this as the typical working mom here. This is the one we all know (and sort of envy a little). Even though we know she works tremendous hours… she still has time to:
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.

Yeah, that gal – the one that’s up two hours before she needs to be because she cannot trust her family’s nutrition to just anyone. They will leave her care well fed from a home cooked breakfast.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.

The powerhouse executive, who still makes plenty of time to make every single ballet recital, AWANA award ceremony, and Sunday morning program. She is a career woman, yes… but her family is an always will be a top priority in her life and it shows.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.

And with everything else she has going on she still finds time to volunteer at the shelter, or church… never hesitates to prepare an extra meal for a family in need; and is usually the first name on the list for the prayer chain.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.

If she doesn’t make them herself, she makes certain that her clothing and that of her family is a compliment to her husband and herself. She ensures that without wasting money, they all look good and wear clothing that is comfortable and clean. She doesn’t squander, but man she can make her kids look so cute with bargain finds!
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.

The fact that she is an amazing wife and mother shows in the fact that she is also an amazing friend and coworker. She’s known by everyone around her as one of the nicest and most giving people you’ll ever meet. Yet she is a fierce prayer warrior who stands in intercession for any and all who ask.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She never fails to be on time and ready with anything she needs to do. She shows the world her grace and silent strength. She does not fear the end of time for she knows her heart and the hearts of those she loves are right with the Lord and they will join him one day in His Kingdom.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

She does not spend her spare time “catching up on Facebook” or doing unnecessary tasks. She spends her spare time doing things that have meaning, and that benefit her family.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Nobody has anything bad to say about this woman. She is loved by everyone she meets. She does not evoke jealousy among other women for they long to model themselves after her, and treasure her friendship and open advice. Her children nominate her for “Mom of the Year” every single year, and the essays they write bring tears to the judges eyes. Her husbands eyes never roam, for he knows that his heart, hearth, and home are are top priority and he loves the fact that she has eyes only for him. She makes him proud in the way she handles not only their household, but her working and church life as well.

This is the wife we should all strive to be. The woman we should all desire to become. The prescription for the Good Wife is right here in Proverbs. We could learn so much from her. We could become this wife – should we only try.

How do you see the Proverbs 31 wife?

 

Dear Friend


Dear Friend,

So, it’s been eight months now. Almost six since we spoke. Five since you “secretly” unfriended me. You talked about me behind my back. Called me names, trashed me to any and all who would listen. You did. My friend. A “best” friend.  I don’t want to rehash our relationship… or lack thereof on the internet. Instead… well I’ve been doing my own research – and study. Quiet contemplation… These verses have made me see things in a different perspective. Maybe they will you too.

James 1:19-20 ESV

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

1 John 4:20 ESV 

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

James 4:11 ESV 

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Psalm 101:5 ESV

Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

Proverbs 17:17 ESV

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

 

Just a little food for thought. If you’re struggling with a friend now – these are some of the best verses to contemplate upon.

Happy Wednesday!!

 

 

 

 

 

Writers Workshop – May 9


Thursday again already… which means it’s time again for Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writers Workshop!

Mama’s Losin’ ItIt’s not too late to join the fun either – come on by!

So this weeks writing prompts are:

1.) Your top 10 favorite YouTube channels.
2.) A long drive…
3.) Describe a talent of flaw that seems to be in your genes.
4.) When you first discovered the internet, what sites did you frequent most?
5.) Tell us what (or who) you’re crushing on.

I’ve chosen prompt number 2… A long drive… Because – I took one the other day, and reinforced the lesson that you absolutely cannot always trust your GPS.

I know that I’ve been away from these mountains for 10 years… I do. I also know that certain things stick in your memory forever; like how to get to a relatives house…

A couple of weekends ago we decided to take the trek up the mountain to my Aunt’s place. It takes about an hour… It is a beautiful trip through very lush forest and some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see. And, bonus? It’s all paved roads…

Well, when we go, we go big so not only did R & I go… but so did Jon and R’s sister… PLUS R’s daughter K and her boyfriend C.

Two cars… it’s not a bad drive and kind of fun. Usually… fun, that is..  until your GPS decides that paved roads are for the weak and simple… you must take the road less travelled… in this case a partly flooded “camp road” that cuts through a mountain pass instead of going up and over. The reason it’s not paved? Well, in most places its not wide enough for two cars, and there is not really any room to  make it any wider what with the drop offs and such…

While I love a great scenic drive… taking 30 extra minutes to drive the route to see nothing but forest floor and dirt clouds… just not my idea of scenic…

Also – driving a Challenger over this terrain is always an interesting prospect – made even more so by the aforementioned dirt clouds and partial flooding… less than 2 hours after washing said Challenger.

We did however spend the entire trip down this forsaken track laughing and joking and cutting up. It was worth the time spent just enjoying the company of those around me. Anytime I can do that, it’s a good day.

How about you? What’s a great “long drive” story?

It started with a phone call…


I’m pulling an old one from the archives here guys… originally posted on May 19, 2010… I don’t know why this time of year reminds me of him so much… I guess because he loved when spring finally arrived because it meant we could be back on the water. I hope you enjoy reading!

My Dad and Me, 1968

My third birthday, it was kind of special. This was 1968, and in Florida a miracle had occurred. We were connected finally, to Interstate I-75, and this was our “rest area”. We had my birthday party here, and it was a fun day. Mom and Dad and I all dressed up and celebrating my third birthday.

I can only imagine how my mother felt when the phone rang that morning in 1978, just 10 years later. All of her hopes, dreams, and plans changed in a single ring of the telephone. For years to come my mother will have issues answering the phone, and the duty will shift to me when I am old enough.

I cannot fathom the depth of fear, heartache, and loneliness that phone call must have delivered to my mother. On the other end of the phone? My fathers boss… his news, an accident. A really bad accident. One which necessitated my father being airlifted to the hospital. In a time when that was reserved for only the most severe injuries. This phone call never should have been made, he should have gotten in his car and gone to my mother. He could have sent the sheriff, or called my uncle, or anything else… but he called her to tell that her husband might die before she could get to the hospital.

She went, straight to the hospital they told her he went to, but he wasn’t there. He was too severe, they said, transferred to the trauma center down the road. My uncle met her on the steps leading out, together they went to the other hospital.

Together they received the news. My father’s brother and wife stood in the emergency room and heard the news nobody should ever have to hear… Nothing they could do, brain injury too severe, blood loss too great, chances of survival were nothing to begin with, husbands brains were scrambled eggs… The last statement from the attending ER doctor, broke my mother.

My father, the intelligent, hardworking, fun-loving, heavy equipment mechanic with 20 years of experience, a wife and young child was gone. His brain function totally destroyed in an accident that didn’t have to happen.

I arrived home from school on the bus, my pastor and my mother’s best-friend met me at the stop. I knew before I ever got in the car something was terribly wrong. Nobody every picked me up by my grandmother or neighbor. Where was my grandmother, my mom, my dad? What had happened to my family??? I was terrified as I climbed into the backseat of that car… and heard the words that would break my heart and change my entire life.

Your daddy was in an accident at work today, and even though the doctors tried very, very hard, your daddy was just hurt too bad. He didn’t make it honey, your daddy has gone to be with Jesus.

I couldn’t, wouldn’t, believe the words coming out of their mouths. They were lying. I wanted my mother, what had they done with my mother… take me home, now…

I walked into my grandmother’s house moments later in a state of disbelief. My uncle was the first person I saw, he was crying… something is wrong. Mom is there next to him, she’s crying too – so is my cousin. Grandma is in grandpa’s lap, and she’s crying too… tell me this is not happening… tell me this is not the truth. Why is everyone crying? Where is my father?

I don’t know when she arrived, but soon I felt my best friend at my side. Her hand gently slipping into mine and leading me out the door, to the woods, through the brush, over the rocks – safe! Safe in our fort in the woods, safe to slip a cigarette out of the carefully hidden stash… safe to sort out the lies with a comfortable friend.

Why would they tell me this, what possible reason would they have for wanting to hurt me this way? Maybe daddy was just mad and left – and they want to forget about him. But I’m not going to forget – no matter how much they might want me to… I will not let him go, he can’t leave me… I just turned twelve three days ago, he can’t leave me now.

Quiet sobs in the twilight, voices calling us… come and eat something, the bugs are out come inside… Honey we need to see you are okay, please come on in and talk to us…

Slowly, making my way out of the bushes, best friend holding my hand. Surrounded by love and family, crying and asking why… taking each breath as it may be my last… pain so deep my heart hurts.

Days go by… people come and go, they hug, cry, speak softly and don’t ask questions. Food comes in huge quantities… I don’t know where it all comes from, or why… I don’t want it, see it, or taste it when forced to eat. My fathers sister comes and takes my mother home, we sleep in the same bed for weeks.

I cannot return to school, to all the friends who have fathers – who do not know death, who have not lost what I have. I cannot handle their stares, their sympathy, or their happiness… my world has been destroyed, while theirs is still complete.  I founder and fail at everything I try – school is a mystery to me – a separation from those I love, if I am here, how can I be at home protecting my family? If I am not there someone could die.

Summer finally here, and the houses are sold belongings packed. My fathers things I did not keep have been given away or sold… my mother and I walk through our house a final time and say goodbye. One last look at the corner where he and I sat watching Star Trek and M.A.S.H. each week… One last tour through the horse pasture where he taught me to ride a wild man-hating pony… one last look at the woods, hills, and valleys I knew as home. A final good-bye and a tearful look at the last place I felt whole and complete – the last place I felt undamaged.

Florida, summer all the time, sunshine and water. Beaches, palm trees, sand, surf, and sun. A mountain girl on the beach…

Fresh start, new school, new home, new neighbors with kids my age. Family surrounding me, people who knew and loved my father as much as I.

Learning to live again, learning to laugh and enjoy again… living without him. laughing without him. dancing, smiling, singing, growing, loving… without him

Aging now and living each day as if it could be the last, dancing like no one is watching, singing like no one is listening, loving like I’ve never been hurt… lessons learned at a tender age carry through and shape a being.

I am who I am because he died like he did – it all started with a phone call.