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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Autumn Reflections

Ok, I have to admit  -  I believe that Autumn is the best time of year.  I absolutely love it!  I don't know if it is because I can't stand the heat of summer and the coolness of the air just brings new energy to me, or what, but I love it!  Right now, I have my doors and windows open and the fresh air just permeates my home.  The little ones are snuggled under their covers still sleeping and our home is quiet.  I'm sipping on some Apple Spice Coffee (I just ground up some apple pie spice with my coffee beans and voila!) waiting on my bread to rise!  A day of homeschool, concert at the library, settling disputes between Ben and Grace, teaching a class tonight at church all await me, but for this moment - peace and stillness.  What a wonderful gift from my Creator!

One of the most wonderful things about fall are the smells - cinnamon, pumpkin, all spice, nutmeg, cloves, leaves burning, fires in the fireplace...then we have the foods - apples (pie, butter, fried, pancakes, etc), apple cider, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes...yum!  Then the pinnacle of meals - Thanksgiving Day!  Time with family and friends.  What is not to love about Autumn??!!!!

I have recently started exploring do it myself flavored coffees.  I ground up my coffee, put it in the filter, then added sliced (very thinly) bananas with a little cocoa and a tad bit, and I do mean a tad bit of baking soda.  It is fantastic!  The baking soda takes away the bitterness of the cocoa.  Then I added frozen peaches yesterday.  It didn't give me the peachy taste I was hoping for.  I'm going to mash them up next time and see if that isn't better.  Today, it's Apple Spice.  Tomorrow, I'm going to add Pumpkin Spice.  It's fun to explore!  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

God Doesn't Wink At Me

I was reading this morning in my devotional time and I read that some people see God as a great grandfather in the sky who winks at sin and says that you are a good person - it's ok.  Well, I have to say that I have been guilty of this myself.  Sometimes when I loose my temper or have a bad attitude, I will think, "God knows me.  He knows I'm basically a good person, so he will laugh along at all my little slip ups - it's just me!"

While God is merciful and loving and kind and loves me more than anyone on this earth possibly could, He does not overlook my "slip ups".  Sin is sin.  God and I do not have a special understanding.  God never takes a light view of it, no matter how small.  His mercy is awesome, but I must confess my sin with a repentent heart.  He is quick to forgive, and I must be diligent in trying to live a life that brings glory and honor to Him.

God never changes.  He is the same God that we see in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  He is long suffering, but is also able to deliver discipline with a firm and mighty hand!  I have been, praise the Lord, a receiver of His discipline and it can be painful!  But He loves me and I feel that too in those times.  All of God's kids get disciplined, so I count myself worthy and happy to receive these corrections - some easy some not so much!

As an aside...
Ben, my 7 year old, made me a great spot on the porch for my devotions in the morning!  What a blessing he is!
The view from my chair

My special spot!

Isn't this beautiful!?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Check Up!

Today, let's pause and have a check up!  How is your attitude?  Attitude is so crucial to our day.  It is also something that is an inward change and doesn't depend on your outer environment.  I have just sat through a trying phonics lesson with my 5 year old.  I was getting really frustrated and the Holy Spirit quickened me and I changed my attitude toward the class.  Grace had done really well, and I was pushing her to move along to the next step.  She, on the other hand, could barely keep her eyes open.  I congratulated her on how well she did and now she is lying on the couch, looking out the window and resting.  Changing our attitudes requires a choice on our part.   The Word tells us "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."  How often I slip into thinking about the opposite of the above.  How many times I have listened to Satan's little lies he whispers in my ear and let my mind run rampant.  All I really need to do is say the name "Jesus" and look around me at my beautiful home, my great children, and listen to the sounds of nature to get my attitude focused on the things of God and not the things of this earth.  I am sitting now at the bar in the kitchen and I can see  on my wall "Christ, The Center of Our Home", a beautiful quilt I have hanging that says "Be Still and Know that I am God" made by the most kind and gentle spirited woman I have ever met, my grandmother's picture of the Last Supper to remind me of what Jesus did because He loves me and a plaque my daughter, Jessica, gave me that says "Amazing Grace" to remind me of my precious miracle girl, Gracie, and how God's Grace is sufficient for every moment in every day!  Fill your surroundings with reminders of how blessed and wonderful you are to your Creator.  Rest in the protection of His wings and find peace and   refreshing!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Change!

Ok, my little friend, I mean fiend, Meno (short for menopause - I have made it a 4 letter word), and I are not quite jiving yet!  Due to a mini stroke I had way back in my past, I cannot take any kind of hormone, natural or otherwise.  So, I am walking through this season with the Lord close by.  At least, I am trying so hard to.  Many days I have to turn back from the wrong way and go back to Him, but He is there waiting!  My mantra is "I will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Me!"  The Lord is good and faithful!  Aside from the mood swings and hot flashes, there is the whole changing of season cycle.  I'm entering the fall, no, I'm going to call it Autumn, season.  What does that mean??  Where did summer go??  I am entering the Autumn season with 4 children, 2 are grown up and 2 are small.  I have a wonderful husband 8 years my junior.  I am staying at home and homeschooling my younger children.  I am designing and spinning yarns for a living.  Life is wonderful!  So, chipper up little buckaroo!  It looks good!

I am doing my first big craft show tomorrow!  I am trying to get everything ready.  I haven't felt great this week, and I needed to paint my spinning wheel - it was unfinished.  So, in a weak moment, I let my Ben and Grace, 7 and 5, do the job!
Ben's side
Grace's side

It is Primitive Art, just like spinning wool!

I've got to go and prepare for company this evening!  We are having Baked Spaghetti!  It is wonderful!

1# ground beef
1c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped green pepper
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
1 4 oz. can mushroom pieces, drained
2 t. dried oregano
salt to taste
12 oz. spaghetti, cooked and drained
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 10 3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and green pepper until beef is browned;  drain.  Add tomatoes, mushrooms, oregano and salt.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Place half of the spaghetti in a greased crockpot.  Top with half of the meat sauce.  Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheddar cheese.  Repeat layers.  Mix soup and water until smooth;  pour over casserole.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Cook on high for a couple of hours, then turn to low until ready to serve.

Until next time!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Change Without Leaving Your Bed

Change is inevitable, as we all know, however, I have found it is how you embrace change that really matters. This is about a different kind of change - an inner change of thoughts and attitudes.   I can be lying in bed and a little thought can whisper something negative, i.e. "I'm never going to have energy in the mornings because I'm so old", ...then..."What if I'm so old my husband doesn't want me anymore"....then..."What if he finds someone else?"....then....more ugly thoughts based on nothing!  Then I am mad at myself, mad at my husband and this has colored my whole day!  Yikes!  All before setting one foot out of bed!  Nothing has happened except that I opened my eyes!  Has this happened to you?  The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we must take EVERY thought captive - "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."  Now, instead of getting all upset, I work my way back though those ugly thoughts and see the truth.  My husband has never showed any sign of wanting anyone else and has actually always been pretty loving, and once I set one foot out of the bed, energy comes.  I pray and ask God to help me to take captive EVERY thought and bring it under His Word.  How quickly I can get on the roller coaster of life without anything in my world really changing except my thoughts!   So, I've ridden this roller coaster of emotions all from one little thought about not having energy as soon as my eyes pop open!  Now, I replace that one little negative thought with one positive one and, volia!  Now my day is colored with a positive outlook.  All from taking thoughts captive and not allowing the enemy to whisper his little lies to me.   Now on to more creative avenues...

I have started the Charlotte Mason method in my homeschool and it is working out beautifully.  I thought Ben, my 7 year old, and I were going to have to part ways, particularly in math.  I started this approach a week ago and it has made a HUGE difference!  I am having to unschool me!  We are spending lots of time outdoors and alternating subjects like math and language arts with Art Appreciation and Music and Dance.  Wonderful fun and he is enjoying school again!

We are getting settled in our new home and are enjoying being so close to church and Gene's work.  I planted flowers and have made a little outdoor room on our porch.  Home!  More coming, but it's a good start.  Vegetable gardening with our neighbors this year and it is going to be great!  There is also a small orchard here so looking forward to apples, peaches and, I think, pears.  Lots of canning in my future!   Cabbage is already planted and growing.  My neighbor is going to help me can sauerkraut.  I love sauerkraut! 

Our garden spot and apple trees
Our Front Porch
Living Room

Ben and Grace having school
Cafe Table for Lattes and Tea

As part of our homeschool now, we are having lifeskills classes.  Ben just made muffins:
1 3/4 c. Flour
1/3 c. Sugar
2 t. baking powder
1t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/8 t. ground ginger
1 egg lightly beaten
1/4 c. milk
3/4 c. Almond Joy Coffee Creamer by Int'l Delights
1/4/ c. vegetable oil

Combine the first 8 ingredients.  Combine egg, milk and oil:  stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fill greased muffin cups with batter.  Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. This was based off of another recipe but we tweaked it and made it our own.  The original recipe called for 3/4 cups of milk and 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. nutmeg, and 1/8 t. ground allspice.  We LOVE the Almond Joy creamer and it really gives the muffins a wonderful flavor!  The original also had you filling the muffin cups partially, adding apple butter filling, and covering with more batter.  However, I didn't have apple butter, so we are going a la carte!  You can also add the topping of 1/2 c. chopped pecans and 3 T. suger, but we left that off also.  No nuts!

My ETSY shop is doing great!  Not sure if I'm opening a physical shop here yet or not.  There is a really cute shop here, but right now it's full of stuff!  I'm now on Pinterest so you can follow me there also.

Until we meet again, may God bless you richly in all you do!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Good Morning!  My husband, Gene, left on a medical missions trip to Guatemala this morning at 2:30.  He will be gone for 10 days!  I am very happy for him, but Ben, Gracie and I already miss him!  They will be working in various villages bringing medical help where needed.  He was very excited about going.  I think it will probably remind him of his Army days.  I'm praying he will come back all refreshed, because....

WE ARE MOVING!  We are moving closer into the town of Crossville, TN.  Our church is there and Gene's work is there.  We live about 30 - 40 minutes away, depending on if you get behind a tractor or not on the way in.  It will save us a lot of money on gas as well as give us a lot more time with each other.  We are moving, not into a tiny house, as we had planned, but a small mobile home, a bit bigger than our proposed tiny house!  It will give us a good idea, though, of life in a smaller space.  We will have awesome neighbors and a lot of property to have a garden and for the kids to play.  It is still somewhat in the country and it has a little shop already there, just waiting to be filled with yarn and spinning wheels and looms and bunches of fiber!  Speaking of yarn...

Valentine's Day is coming up.  Here is my first Valentine yarn of the year!  There is more coming! I call it Candy Hearts.
My shop is doing great!  I just need more time to spin!  I'm spending a lot of - too much - time on the computer marketing.  I would like to eventually hire someone to take that part over.  Perhaps I can talk my hubby into it after our move and things settle down a bit.  I am working with a wonderful lady, Heather a.k.a. "The Buzz" to help me with some improvements to Simply Homespun, so I'm looking for some good things from this.  She is wonderful to work with. 

I am moving along on the goals I set up in the last blog.  However, exercise is still lacking!  I have GOT to get on the stick!  Although, I wonder if packing and lifting boxes could be considered exercise??? hmmm.....  We are moving across from Cumberland Mountain State Park.  Lots of trails there.  Gene wants us to start riding bikes as a family over there.  That should be fun, right???  There is also a pool, so we can go swimming.  Now, I know that will be fun exercise.  No wait, I have kids!  I can't be swimming laps and watch kids!  Oh, well.  I guess I will just have to have fun with them.  Splashing is good arm exercise.  Pray for me in this area!

Homeschool is going great!  Gracie is learning to write her letters.  She is very good with numbers.  She also is doing very well in Spanish class.  Ben does great in everything but math.  He hates it.  We are finishing up subtraction with 3 numbers this week and moving on to measurement next week.  That should be more fun!  He loves to cook and build stuff.  So, I see projects...

I published this, then realized that I hand titled this "Change" and never really mentioned it again.  I feel like my life is going through change.  For one thing, I'm approaching the big "change" - menopause. Then we are moving - for the better, I believe.  My husband has been nominated for the board at our church.  If elected that will be a change in my church role.  I'm facing 2012 for the first time without my sister.  In packing, I've come across a lot of Karen's stuff and it brings with it both happiness and melancholy.  But one thing to remember, in the midst of change, both bad and good, God never changes.  He is always there and always the same.  He always loves me no matter what.  His love, His rules for living, His faithfulness never, ever changes.  I praise God for His strength in the midst of our changes.  His consistency is so comforting.  I love You, Lord!

Until next time!  Take care and may God bless you richly!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goodbye 2011 - Hello 2012!!!!!!!!!!

So, it's 2012, and I just turned 50!  YIKES! Suddenly I can't think of anyone older than me!  I was speaking with a gentleman the other day and he was saying how at 40 things start going downhill - physically and mentally - and at 50 it just takes off!  Well, guess what!?  Not for me!  I am going to take a turn for the better!
I was reading a friend's blog this morning on Operation Twenty12.  It inspired me to have my own Operation 2012!  Not resolutions that will happen this year, but new beginnings of a healthier way of life that will take root and grow for the next 50 years!  Here are my top 5 areas:
1) Physical - Walk!  That's it!  No fancy gym memberships or aerobics tapes, or marathon training.  Just plain, old fashioned walking!  I enjoy a nice leisurely stroll and generally find that I start of slow and wind up fast.  A nice one mile hike with my kids through the woods would be a great place to start!
2)  Mental - LESS STRESS!  Stress is causing me to hurt all over and I'm afraid I have passed this to my daughter!  I am going to chill in 2012!   Life is way to short to spend it cramped up in a stressed state.  Less stress means less dis -ease. 
3)  Spiritual - Continue in my daily devotions FIRST thing in the morning!  God wants my first fruits, not what I have left at the end of a long day.  I am going to start keeping a prayer journal for all the answered prayer. AND...I am going to press through trials with HIM and praise Him all the way through!  This time on earth is just college for our responsibilities in eternity.  I am tired of having to take the same old classes over and over!  This year, I am going to pass the class on patience and having a quiet and gentle spirit!  Then I can move on to Patience 2 and Quiet and Gentle Spirit2!
4)  Family - Plant seeds of love and kindness in my home.  Take and pass the class of being a helpmeet to my husband!  The wife sets the whole stage in her home and I can either build my up or tear it down!  I choose to build it up!  We are learning to be thankful and content whether we abase or abound and I am very grateful to the Lord for that one - especially for my kids.  What an awesome class in learning to be happy even in the midst of trials. 
5) Simply Homespun - Finally, and yes, #5 on purpose is my shop!  I love my shop!  I love creating all of those great yarns - wacky and otherwise.  I love creating the colorways in my fibers and spinning them to see what comes out!  I want to, with God's guidance and blessing, grow my shop this year!  I want Simply Homespun to bless my family as well as my customers!

So there it is!  I will keep posted as to my  progress.  I would love to hear some of my reader's goals and progress along the way!

Take care!