Category Archives: MISCELLANEOUS

Doesn’t that just figure!

In an effort to continue on our path of self-sufficiency and healthier eating, I ordered a nut grinding machine.  I love natural peanut butter, but to purchase it in the grocery store is dreadfully expensive.  How does that work exactly?  Process it less, add fewer ingredients, and charge more.  Seems like a great gimmick to me.  So I searched online for an economical, home grinding machine, and I found one.  Only one.  It had a few reviews, which were all favorable and seemed to indicate that this machine would be perfect for our needs.  So I ordered it.  That was this spring!

A couple of weeks passed and I didn’t receive the order.  I checked our bank account and the money hadn’t come out yet either, so I sent an email to customer service requesting an update on my order.  I received a prompt reply that went something like this:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your recent order.  Unfortunately, this item is temporarily out of stock.  We do not have an estimated restock date from the manufacturer at this time.  Your account will be charged when this item is ready for shipment.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.  Have a nice life.

Okay, I didn’t end with “Have a nice life,” but it might as well have.  Basically, what that response told me was you ordered something that no longer exists, so don’t hold out any hope of ever receiving it.  After all, how many people do you know who grind their own nut butters?

This past week Kroger was having one of their 10 for $10 sales, and peanut butter was included in that.  So we decided it was time to stock up since our nut grinder was obviously not going to come through for us.  And stock up we did.  We now have 20 jars of peanut butter in our pantry.  Did I mention that we’re suckers for a good deal?!  But who doesn’t use peanut butter?  It’s not like it has a short shelf life.  It’s practically as indestructible as Twinkies are.

On Monday morning I sat down at my computer with my coffee in hand and pulled up my email.  And wouldn’t ya know it!  Smack dab in the middle of my list of emails was a notification from the nut grinder place.  My order is getting ready to ship.  Well, doesn’t that just figure.  Maybe I can give jars of peanut butter away as stocking stuffers this year…


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What a friend!

I woke up this morning with the words from “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” running through my mind.   I haven’t heard this old hymn in years; but as I was laying in bed this morning listening to the birds chirping gleefully outside my window I felt comforted by the thought that we do indeed have a friend in Jesus.  When I think of Him in that way, it makes me feel slightly strange because I’ve never really had a lot of friends – well, not really close friends anyway – not a BFF, that’s for sure.

In truth, I’m saddened by the way I often project my lack of understanding, my past history of poor choices and dysfunctional relationships, my inadequacies, and my insecurities into my relationship with the Lord.  He offers me the promise of a perfect friendship – free from disappointments, hurts, and rejection, and I so often am the one to muddy the waters with drama that is purely born out of my own dysfunctional heart and mind.  I’m so thankful that He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24) and is always there when I happen to wander into a deeper understanding of this crazy relationship we’ve got.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

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FRESH the movie

This morning as we’re getting ready for church, Sam comes bounding up the stairs nearly giddy with excitement over a new movie that’s coming out this spring called FRESH (<—–CLICK on the name to see the official website and to watch the trailers).  The movie is a happier spin-off of Food, Inc., and after watching the previews I’m so excited for it to come out.

In the past eighteen months, both Sam and I have radically changed our way of thinking in regard to the food we eat and grow.  When we moved to Georgia in 2008 we began vegetable gardening as a way to fill Sam’s sleddog void, and for something for me to do during my days at home.  With our first plateful of truly vine-ripened tomatoes back in 2008 we were hooked, and decided we wanted to try and grow all our own fresh produce.  That began a three-year plan to become completely vegetable and fruit self-sufficient.

However, in the last year or so, we’ve become increasingly and alarmingly aware of the dangers of the rest of the foods we regularly consume.  Things like “healthy” eggs, skim and 1% milk, “trans-free” margarine, “diet” sodas and “vitamin water” mix-ins, “whole wheat” pastas and breads, “low-fat” fruited yogurts and ice creams, etc.  As we began reading labels and considering how chemically, sugar, sodium, and MSG packed our diets had become (even in the foods we’ve been led to believe were healthy for us) we began to understand our various health ailments – things like slow weight loss (and in most cases weight gain), heart palpitations, kidney problems, muscle aches, migraines, water retention and bloating, and a variety of other issues I won’t bore you with.  Suffice it to say, that Food, Inc. opened our minds and eyes to what we should have seen all along, and yet didn’t because it has been elaborately veiled from us by those who stand to make the most money off of what we’re eating.

The bottom line for us is, we’re taking control.  We’re fighting back.  No longer are we content to sit back and just shrug our shoulders in defeat.  God created this brilliant ball of green-space just for us, His creation.  And, not only did he entrust us with this magnificent rock, but He even gave us a manual for living, eating, and caring for it (we like to call it the Bible).  So we will rake and hoe the soil.  We will plant seeds and trees and care for them.  We will harvest and preserve and pickle until our fingers are green and wrinkled.  We will grow our own rabbits, chickens, and beef, and we will eat it all.  We will hunt more.  We will make our own butter, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, clotted cream, and other dairy products.  We will grow our own grains and we will grind them and make our own breads and cakes.  And we are going to become beekeepers as well.   And we will do it all (or as much as possible) without hormones, steroids, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and in God’s timing, not our own.   We have determined to live our life as stewards of God’s creation, not manipulators of it.  I hope you’ll consider joining the revolution too.

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Nearly there, nearly there! Construction days 15 to 18

Well, despite the last three days of rain the construction project is nearly completed!  All that’s left to be done is some window caulking, minor clean-up, and the carpet installation.  We’re finally beginning to see the completed project.  In the next weekend or two I’ll be doing some furniture shopping, a bit of painting, possibly putting up a few curtains, and adding in all those homey touches that make any new construction project feel like home.  I can’t wait, and I believe the finish line is in sight!

The painter did a great job!

The stairs feel less dangerous now that we've got railings on them.

We finally have doors and windows!!!

More doors and windows.

The sunroom windows are going in beautifully.

All the windows are in place and the screens are being trimmed up.

The bottom screens are up is the extension ladder for the top screens.

The main entry door to the sunroom. I love it!

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Our weekend To-Do list…if it ever stops raining…

This weekend is going to be hit the ground runnin’ busy.  Here’s what  my To-Do list looks like:

* Grocery shopping

* Trip to the Farm for milk, eggs, and meat

* Build four raised beds in the garden

* Recondition Earth Box soil

* Plant early crop of sugar snap peas

* Put together Mantis rototiller to use in raised beds

* Pick up trash and dog poop in yard

* Clean out the garage

* Break down enormous pile of empty boxes for this week’s trash pile

* Clean the house and scrub bathrooms

* Plant peach tree

* Make farmhouse cheddar and mozzarella

* Brew Irish Red Ale

* Mop the floor in the dog’s room

* Pick out paint colors for living room, dining room, and basement

* Put down fresh pine straw in front landscaping beds

* Start shopping for a milk cow

* Organize our basement storage rooms

* Put together upside down planters

I don’t think I’ll get everything on this list accomplished, but I’m sure looking forward to trying!  What are your weekend plans?




I am naïve, and I know this.  But sometimes my naivety takes me by surprise, especially when it’s about something as fragile as relationships.  You see, I’m one of these people who ‘captures moments’.  When I have a conversation with someone, something from that conversation will stick with me forever.  It might not always be the most significant piece of that conversation, but it’s there – inside my mind, like a reference card in a library – and it points to a specific memory.  Sometimes these moments haunt me for years, maybe even forever.  I like having these moments, even when they’re torturous.  But the funny thing about relationships is, they don’t preserve well – they must be constantly worked in order to stay fresh and alive and thriving.

Do you remember cassette tapes?  I do.  My memory is a lot like a cassette tape when it comes to relationships.  Every time I interact with someone the cassette is running and recording.  But as soon as we part ways, I stop the tape, file it away, and then when we interact again, I start the tape exactly where we left off.  I like to pick things up in the same place, even when years have passed.  You see, for me, we’ve only been apart for a few moments; maybe days or weeks even, but certainly not years.  I just pop the tape in, and we’re off and running…at least in my mind we will be.  But that’s not reality, is it?

People move on with their lives.  They make new friends.  Their priorities change.  Their lifestyle changes.  Their sense of humor changes.  Everything about them is different and I suddenly realize I no longer know this person.  That once common bond between us is broken – severed – disappeared, and dangling in the winds of change.  And when I realize this my heart aches, and I curse time.  I wish we could just rewind time like I can rewind my cassette tapes.  Play them over to familiarize us with the past and then pick right up where we left off and go on.  But we can’t.  We must all move on with life, including me.  Sadly though, in my mind I’m still that same girl – young and fresh and full of vigor.  It’s only when I look in the mirror that I realize I’m reaching my sell by date, and fast.

Friendships are rare.  Occasionally you have one that lasts a lifetime no matter how far apart you get –  like your spouse, or parents, or siblings, or maybe even a childhood friend; but mostly friendships come in short burst.  They are cyclical, like the seasons; and the larger the distance between you the harder it is to keep them steady and flourishing.  Sometimes, whether we want to or not, we reach a place when we realize it’s time to pack this waning relationship up and just move on with life.  Sure, we can pull these memories out occasionally and enjoy the warm fuzzies that are associated with them, but it is naïve to think that you can just pick back up right where you left off and expect everything to be exactly as it was all those years ago.

So today I’m doing some mental housekeeping.  It’s hard – I don’t want to let go of these things.  I don’t really enjoy change, even when it’s change for the better.  Some of these relationships were so lively, sweet, laugh-out-loud funny, and even heartbreaking, but they’re all apart of me.  They have made me who I am today, and I’m not ready to just say a quick ‘thanks’ and then drop them in the recycle bin to be forgotten about.   So I’ll pack them up and tuck them into a corner of my heart, and one day in the future I’ll dig them back out and filter through them – tossing what I can and savoring the rest.

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My ladies Bible study group started the Invisible Warfare DVD teaching series by Chip Ingram the first week of January.  When I announced to the leadership of the women’s ministry my desire to do a series on spiritual warfare I got more than my fare share of raised eyebrows and dissent.  But I felt God was pressing me to do it.  I felt like it was important and a subject that needed to be addressed with my group.  There was a lot of push back though and I was pretty sure there would be backlash once it was done.  My goal as a facilitator is not to cause conflict or strife or disagreement, but to challenge ladies to step out of their spiritual comfort zones, to pick up their Bibles on a daily basis, to get deep into God’s word, and to commune with him every day – not at a superficial level, but at a real, transparent, and authentic level.  I believe we all must either grow in maturity, or stagnate and die.  And I’m speaking to myself here more than anyone.

Over the past three weeks I’ve heard a number of ladies comment on how timely this study has been for them.  And I can’t agree more since it has been for me too.  You see, I’m not perfect.  I’m not always right –  I feel like I am most of the time, but then I remember that we live in reality and I’m usually wrong, or at least misguided in my approach.

Before I started this study I was one of the ‘end of the spectrum’ kind of people when it came to spiritual warfare – the conservative end, that is.  I was more likely to discount spiritual warfare as ‘circumstances of life’, ‘consequences of actions’, ‘reaping what I’d previously sown’, ‘my own fault’, and a variety of other excuses that laid the blame everywhere but where it needed to go.  I mean, after all, we live in the 21st century and the Devil’s been keeping up with technology as much as we have been.  There’s no way he’s going to act on a singular level any more – he’s going to go for the  mass attack approach using the Internet or other media outlet; he’s not going to worry about little ol’ me in po-dunk Georgia.  But I’m beginning to understand that I’m wrong I’ve been deceived.

In today’s study we started talking about putting on the belt of truth as our first and most important line of defense against the Devil’s schemes and attacks.  Belt of truth?  What’s that?

Truth is being absolutely forthright with God, ourselves, and others.  If we can’t face the ugly reality of who we are, where we are, at our lowest points (and yes, even Christians still have low points), then we’ll never be able to put on the belt of truth or withstand the attacks of the Devil.  Oh, we might fare okay for a while, but he’ll eventually wear us down and then completely overrun us.

As I thought about that, I came to this conclusion: Who am I trying to kid anyway?  Do I really think that God doesn’t already know everything about me – my every thought, my every motivation, my every action and inaction, my every whim and fancy?  He does – that’s why he’s God.  I can’t hide from him, even when I try to hide from myself or from others.  He sees.  He sees it all.

In the DVD lesson, Chip commented that as Christians we need to pray for God’s conviction on our life.  And not that we need to fear conviction – it’s not a bad thing, although as defensive people it seems like a bad thing.  God’s conviction isn’t meant to shame us, although it often does.  His conviction is meant to draw us back to him – to show us our areas of weakness – the areas the Devil is targeting and using against us – things like bitterness, anger, judgmentalness, pride, addiction, secrets and lies, gossip, bad attitudes, unforgiveness, etc.

See, the Devil’s biggest victory in our life is when we buy into the lies that are associated with these feelings.  Lies that the world tells us are okay to believe.  Lies like:

* I need to take care of myself first, cause no one else will…

* This is righteous anger – what they did to me was absolutely unforgivable…

* I know what I need to do in order to fix this situation – I don’t need God’s help with it I can do it myself…

* After all these years of being hurt over and over, it’s time to just walk away…

Chip encouraged us to pray a prayer that David prayed.

“Search me oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”  Ps. 139:24-25

As you pray this (as I’m doing), I ask that you listen to what God speaks into your heart.  Ask Him to reveal: 1.) Where you’ve been deceived by Satan’s lies.  2.) What parts of your life are displeasing to Him?  And then 3.) Allow Him to take control of these areas and heal you.  Put on your belt of truth and begin to really live.

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