Thursday, July 29, 2010

Garden Invader


My flower garden is my sanctuary.

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When I’m there I feel God’s hand.

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I feel His peace.


I see His Glory.

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Obviously the awesomeness of my secret sanctuary has been made know, because lately I’ve been encountering someone else there as I soak up the quiet …


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A green, well armed, incognito garden invader. G.I. Joe seriously in need of a little R & R has come to keep me company. 

Welcome army dude!  Hey, while your here could you possibly use those wicked looking weapons to take out a few nasty beetles? 


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It’s Simple


It’s the slow, simple pleasures that endear summer to my heart.

Taking time to watch a Monarch butterfly, just recently emerged from its chrysalis, dry its wings in my garden.




Caring for a new kitten, full of life and loving purrs, named Kitty-Kitty by a little girl who had her daddy wrapped around her finger from the first PUUU-L-E-A-S-E.



Building towers by the lasting, evening light streaming through the sliding glass door.


Its silly faces and giggles in the flower garden.




And its watching God’s nature work it’s miracles in my garden.


As the beginning of our school year zooms closer and closer. I am soaking up all the beauty, in sights and sounds, around me.  Out of doors, nature is poignant. Emotionally moving me to grasp and store up the wonders surrounding me.

White clouds scudding across brilliant blue skies, Cicadas humming their end of summer melody, warm, vibrant vegetables from my garden, intricate designs on flowers strewn throughout field and garden, laughter and flushed cheeks on my children’s faces, these all reside within me, lightening my heart as I enjoy the simple pleasures of summer.



This post is part of Summer’s Simple Things over at Kim’s ~ The Inadvertent Farmer.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Memories Made


When I was a little girl certain days in the summer were spent at local orchards.  My mom would gather up us girl’s and my little brother and we would head off to pick what ever was in season. 

Mornings and afternoon’s were spent gazing up into the tree’s laden with fruit.  Reaching and picking. Tasting and exclaiming over the warm, juicy sweetness.  Walking and dreaming under the shade of the fruit trees. Finding sweet relief from the ferocious summer sunshine.  Giggling and chattering away the minutes as we picked God’s sweet gifts.

One trip in particular stands out for me and my sisters.  A trip to pick sweet cherries, mid-June.  In the driver’s seat my Dad.  It wasn’t often that he was able to go on fruit picking expeditions with us. The whole family packed into the car ready for a couple of hours of sweet communion with nature and one another.  Laughter and silliness was always included when dad was in our midst.  And I’m sure us girls egged him on. I don’t remember many details of the day only a sweet serenity and a joyous hazy recollection of the day.  A memory that I am partial to because my parents made it so.

Cherry picking came full force to my mind yesterday when I set out with my Daddy and two of my boys to pick Blackberries in his field.


Deep breaths were taken as we travelled through the fields.  Peace was felt as the Cicada’s and Crickets sang us sweet melodies.  Exclamations exuded on the beauty of the berries and the sweetness of their taste. 


My mind flooded with memories.

Laughter among the fruit and heat.  Joy at being together.  Connections and memories being built for a lifetime.



Thank you Dad, for taking the time to build memories with your grandsons and me.  You are a treasure to us and to all who meet you. I’ve never had a better time, head high in brambles!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Capture My Thoughts


Recently my husband and I were having a discussion concerning the purchase of a Hoosier Cabinet that belonged to my grandparents.  Our conversation was going reasonable well until he asked me, “Can I tell you what I think without you getting angry with me?”

“Of course!” I replied

But, as he began to talk I felt a surge of agitation rise within me.  He wasn’t saying what I wanted to hear.  He wasn’t helping me make my decision, he was making it harder to make a decision.  Or so I thought at the moment.  As he continued to ask questions and make statements, my mind was reeling with resentment.  I was thinking unkind things and relaying my answers to him in a short manner. 

My thoughts were angry!

Check out At The Well  of the rest of my most recent article.



Monday, July 19, 2010

Lifting My Eyes

The past few weeks have kept me moving, but amongst all the chaos there was a lesson to be learned.

July 15, 2010

As much as I want to simplify and as much as I have talked about slowing down. I haven’t been able to. It’s still go, go, go and do and do some more, cross another thing off the list and continue to accomplish.

It’s catching up with me. Yesterday, I snapped and snarled at my kids. Several times.

After we got home from VBS last night Joel and I got into a disagreement. It was nothing major, but it left me in tears, just the same.

I’m not a runner. I’m a pacer. I like things at an even keel. These past couple of weeks have shaken up this momma’s nice tidy schedule.  I’m not persevering in this race to well.

With all the craziness and to-do’s I haven’t had much time for my children.  Yesterday, Lauren, received a new Candy Land game.  She was extremely excited to play it. She asked me multiple times to play with her.  I kept putting her off.  The game never got played.

The boys requested help with this and that. I struggled to find time to help. I felt frustration rise because they needed me so much.

As I laid down to sleep last night, I realized the toll this busyness it taking. I dislike it.  Immensely.

But what struck my heart the most, as I laid there with tears and discouragement, was that I have wandered away from the Lord. My mind, my heart and my soul have been preoccupied. I’ve been stumbling through on my own and doing a pretty sorry job of it.  I have been forgetting to “lift up my eyes to the hills from whence does my help come.”  The Lord is my help in times of busyness and in times of tranquility.

I can’t be the momma I want to be when I’m sprinting if I don’t fix my eyes and heart on Jesus.  He alone will give me the peace, patience and endurance required for the busyness. And when the days quiet again and I’m once more pacing at an enjoyable rate, He will give me the insight and wisdom I need to understand and learn from the days I spent racing around the track.


Looking forward to a slower day today, maybe.

I’ve already tutored my young student, while wrangling a stray dog who insisted on tearing up our turkeys.  I’m dealing with a bit of frustration.  We now have 11 stressed turkeys. One with a broken wing and one missing a chunk of flesh from its breast. I’m praying for patience. And also that our turkey’s won’t die from the stress.  My son has spent the last 45 minutes sweet talking them and offering them lots of water and lettuce from the garden.  He continues to sit with them. He is so concerned for their well being.

I’m continually lifting my eyes today and teaching my children to do the same amidst the angst and frustration.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In Their Eyes

When my days are chocked full of responsibilities and necessities, I often forget to remember the blessings gazing daily into my eyes.



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In their eyes I see such joy of life! I need to gaze longer into those eyes and bask in the love I always see there.

Oh Lord, help me to remember these gifts from you. Help me to take the time to cherish them even in these busy days. Thank you for choosing me to be their momma.

~Seeking sweet simplicity through my children’s eyes and remembering to find joy and comfort in my family.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Kosher Dills


DSC_2825 My garden has me busy.  I planted my cucumbers extra thick this year, because in the past I have not had great success with my cucumber vines.  This spring before planting we applied composted rabbit manure to the garden.  Let me tell you, it has done wonders.  Now I have cucumbers in excess. And a little green tree frog who loves all the lush foliage to hang out in! Love these little guys. They are so cute and their songs are so cheerful.


So, to preserve some of this wonderful freshness I have been canning pickles. My favorite dill recipe is for Kosher Dill Pickles.  If you have never canned before pickles is a good place to start they are SO easy.

1. The first thing you need to do is wash your quart jars and place them in a LARGE pot full of water. Set this on the stove and turn your burner on high.  You want to boil the jars so that they will be sterilized.  I use my hot water bath canner for this job.  Stove space is at a premium and I can’t fit more than two big pots on my stove at a time.

2. Next scrub your pickles. I take a dish cloth and wipe the pickle all over.  If you are using a cucumber that is a “pickler” then it will have lots of sharp spines that need to be scrubbed off.  These cucumbers, by the way, are the best type to use for pickling.


3. Once my cucumbers are washed I combine my brine:

1 quart white vinegar

3 quarts water

2/3 cups of canning salt (make sure to use this not regular salt)

Place in a large pot and heat to boiling; then reduce to a simmer until ready to use.


4. While my brine is heating I gather the rest of my ingredients.


1 head of dill for each jar (7-8)

1 clove of dill per jar

bay leaves

crushed red pepper flakes

mustard seed

5. Once your jars are hot and the brine is ready, place your lids into a glass bowl; ladle some of the hot water from your canner over the lids.  Grab your rings and a clean damp dish cloth.

6. Begin filling your jars.  I usually place the dill and garlic in the bottom of the jars and then put in the cucumbers.  Fill the jar to within 1/2 inch of the top with the cucumbers. Place in one bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon of the mustard seed.  Ladle the hot brine over the cucumbers to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar.  Using the damp dish cloth wipe down the rim of the jar.  Take a hot lid place it on top and screw down the band.  Repeat until all the jars are filled.

7. Place jars back into the canner.  Lower into water.  Make sure there is water covering the tops of the lids. I can usually achieve about a half an inch when using quart jars. At this point your water may not be boiling, but it should still be close if you kept the lid on the canner.  That is fine when making fresh pack dills.  It does not need to come back to a boil according to my Ball canning book.  Begin you timing.  Let your pickles cook for 15 minutes then remove them to a towel to cool.

8. Lastly listen for the joyous popping of your sealing jars! Personally my favorite part. :)



There are a few tips that can be helpful when canning pickles

  • cut off the blossom end this can effect the pickling process
  • for a crisper pickle soak your cucumbers in water and alum before you start canning. Just make sure to drain and rinse before canning.
  • Use small fresh cucumbers.  If your cucumbers are too big it will be hard to can them whole.  Sometimes I do cut mine into spears and shove them in with the whole pickles so that I can get as much as possible into the jars.
  • Use soft water or distilled water in your brine mixture.  Hard water affects the canning process.
  • Shake the jars gently before placing on the lids to remove any hidden air bubbles.
  • Let your jars sit for 4-6 weeks before opening. They will be more flavorful this way.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mommy Brain and Busyness

This week is stuffed full.

Somehow (not fully by my doing!) it has become over-scheduled.

I will be going multiple directions and filling various requirements.

Therefore my mind maybe a little scattered and loopy. Even more than it usually is.

Like last Friday when I took a meal to a young mom who just had her second baby. We chatted a few minutes then I headed for the door.  My mind was on the next item on my list of To-Do’s.  As I reached for the door knob her daughter said, “Mommy?” 

I quickly called out over my shoulder, “Yes, Honey?” 

As soon as I said it I wanted to bolt out the door, but I knew I had been heard. 

Shaking my head I turned around and laughingly (out of pure embarrassment because I don’t know this lady well) I called, “Did you hear what I just said?”

I was desperately hoping she hadn’t heard me, but she answered with an affirmative. I quickly made some flimsy excuse about a busy day and muddled brain, then scooted out the door at lightning speed.


SO, don’t be surprised if I don’t make it to your blog to comment this week.  I will try, but be prepared for a comment claiming your children as my own or some crazy off the wall comment about green beans and cucumbers (gardening, ya know).

Before I jump straight into this gigantically busy day I want to show you this picture my brother took of my sister and I this weekend.  We had donned my Grandma’s and Great Aunt Betty’s red hats.

Just for fun….

Marisa and Me

I love how it turned out!  I will definitely cherish this picture.  I LOVE YOU, SIS!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cousin Camp 10’


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This week we packed up and headed to my sisters house to partake in our annual cousin camp.  Our sister-in-law Heidi joined us and we had nine cousins ready to create and play. My sis, Marisa located crafts for us to do and graciously gathered all the supplies we would need to do them.

We made Tie-dye shirts, snakes out of ties, and painted with homemade puffy paint. We ate wonderful meals, played outside, and even headed to a water park.  My kids loved it! It was their first experience with all that gushing water. I took oodles of pictures with my point-and-shoot camera and now can’t get them loaded on my computer.  UGH!  Not sure what the problem is there.  Oh well, maybe I can share them with you at a later date.

Anyway, Cousin Camp 2010 was a success!

cc-6 Look at all that color and enthusiasm!  This was taken the last 30 minutes of our Cousin Camp adventure and the littles were beginning to go into meltdown mode, enthusiasm was at a minimum.  There were a few tears, a bit of grumpiness and us mommas needed a nap, but…

We can’t wait till next year!

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