Saturday, November 29, 2008

All of These

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."

George Washington Carver

Thursday, November 27, 2008



Let us always give thanks
For the food we eat,
For family who loves us
And friends that we meet;

For the blue sky above,
The grass 'neath our feet,
For birds serenading
With songs that are sweet;

For laughter and sunshine
That brighten our day,
For our efforts at work
And our joys at play;

For hundreds of blessings
That are sent our way,
Let us always give thanks
Each and every day.

~ Joan Arbogast ~

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cooking America

Are you busy preparing for Thanksgiving dinner? Across America, grocery stores and markets are filled with shoppers buying ingredients for their traditional family foods. Kitchens are starting to sizzle with the sounds and fragrance of one of the most family-oriented American holidays. More people will be traveling to visit family during this yearly holiday than any other. Life has been busy at our house too. In the midst of it all, I've been trying to blog 'three recipes a day' at My Cozy Kitchen. Stop by for a last minute holiday recipe if you'd like. I look forward to seeing you there. And then I'd better get cookin' too. What's cooking in your kitchen?

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

Monday, November 24, 2008

Perfect Afternoon

A cup of tea
A quiet nook
A cookie and
A picture book
A lump of sugar
On my spoon ~
Now that's a



~ Eileen Spinelli ~

Sunday, November 23, 2008



Saturday, November 22, 2008

We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Traditional Thanksgiving Hymn
(A translation by Theodore Baker: 1851-1934)

Pumpkin Pie Turkeys

Recently a young guest brought his National Geographic (kid's version) along with him when he came to visit. In it there was a food idea for creating turkey's out of pumpkin pies. Aren't they cute? I took a picture so I wouldn't forget how they were made, and I'm sharing with you. The recipe, below, can be adapted to fit any dietary needs you might have.

While we are talking turkey, there's a great idea for turkey's made from cookies over at Vegan Vice. Their version uses Newman-O's and candy corn. They are so cute!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blessing over a Meal Prepared Together

We give you thanks
for this food which is our life,
for the fruits of the earth,
conceived in darkness
rooted in the secret soil.
We offer you our part in the mess of creativity.
We wash, prepare, cook, present;
we eat and taste and enjoy with our bodies;
we clear away the mess.
We embrace with you the chaos that fulfils,
the secret labour that maintains life.

~ Janet Morley ~

World's Din

T'ien Yiheng, an eighteenth-century Chinese sage, said that "tea was drunk to forget the din of the world". Bucky wants to remind you that petting your cat can do the same thing. I think he just wants some attention, don't you?

Enjoy a lovely day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Rosemary House

Far away, in an interesting town named Mechanicsburg, is a family-operated herb business that was started 35 years ago by an extraordinary herbalist named Bertha Reppert. Today two of her daughter's carry on this family run business, operating an herbal shop and a tea room called The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances Tea Room. Susanna's duties encompass the herbal shop and gardens, while Nancy is the proprietress of the tea room. Of course their duties interface as they intertwine the events they are individually responsible for. Famous in their respective circles, they are published writers and have been featured in many beautiful magazines. Last year they started their own blog, appropriately called Rosemary's Sampler. In celebration, they conducted a give-away and I was the fortunate winner of one of their prizes! Now, a beautiful "Rosemary House" afghan makes it home at my house. Thank you, Nancy and Susanna. I will treasure it always. . .it means much to me.

Faithful Friends

Observing nature as the seasons change in our neighborhood is always interesting and informative. I enjoy learning new things related to the flow of life, and seeing them in action is even better. Throughout the summer months, crops have grown in fields along the highway. Animal life has been limited to an occasional coyote, wild turkeys and geese, or deer feeding in fields. But after harvest the wild animals have had a little competition for space and attention.

On a Sunday drive this week we passed a cornfield newly cut. Where stubby corn stalks replaced the tall corn plants, a single-strand electric fence had been installed and cattle now dotted the field, greatly enjoying a feeding fest. They were easy to see because of their large size and dark color. Down the road a few more miles, sheep were more
camouflaged, looking like fuffy little lumps of sagebrush dotting a grassy field. A second glance revealed hundreds and hundreds of sheep! They were tended to a little more carefully than the cattle, having a three-strand impromptu fence and guards to protect them from harm. A sheep-herders trailer was set to the back at the top of the hill, but looked empty as the task of protecting and caring for all these sheep was assigned to two friendly Great Pyrenees dogs. This large breed of dog is known as the livestock guardian dog and was initially bred to assist shepherds in the Pyrenees region of southern France and northern Spain. These dogs are fearless, protecting their charges from coyotes, wolves, and bears. Our cousin, Della, who has a flock of goats at her ranch in Arizona finds that her Great Pyernees also protect her flock from the cougars who live in nearby hillsides. She trusts them implicitly.

Although these dogs prefer to live outside, they crave human attention and are devoted pets. They are companionable and delight in human company. This was illustrated to us when we stopped by the side of the road to take a few pictures of their charges. Both dogs were at the far end of the field, atop a small hill. Instead of watching us from afar, they came as close as they could and then looked at us with tails wagging and friendly expressions on their faces. Even with the company of all those sheep, they seemed to crave our attention. When it came time to leave, they 'chased' our car down the road, as far as they could go, staying within the confines of their fenced space. It would take nothing for them to pass under that simple three-strand fence, but they remained devoted to their task, and even unaided by human contact, they stuck with their job of being keepers of the sheep, extraordinaire. Don't you just want to hug them?

"He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace." Micah 5: 4 - 5

With a Grateful Heart

The thankfulness month, congenial, favorable, good, gratifying, nice, pleasant, pleasing, pleasurable, satisfying, welcome, acceptable, agreeable, comforting, congenial, consoling, delectable, delicious, delightful, desirable, favorable, good, gratifying, pleasant, pleasurable, pleasureful, refreshing, rejuvenating, renewing, restful, restorative, restoring, satisfactory, satisfying, solacing, welcome, beholden, gratified, indebted, obliged, pleased, thankful, appreciative, thankful, congenial, favorable, good, gratifying, nice, pleasant, pleasing, pleasurable, satisfying, welcome

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Cozy Kitchen

At my house there are recipes in cardboard file boxes, recipe boxes, file cards, notebooks, cookbooks, scraps of paper, newspaper clippings, magazine pages, and computer files. They are everywhere! I love recipes! I'm sure some of you can relate. Think about it: recipes are inexpensive to collect; they represent traditions and family history from generation to generation; and they inspire and add to the tastebud experience. Resolving to organize them (and false starts and finishes) has taken place many times in the past thirty years. But I never give up. Instead of putting them all into one place (as I used to think I should do) I've found that little collections here and there works best for me. So, homemade recipe notebooks by theme grace my bookshelves. And file boxes with handwritten recipe cards sit on a countertop. Scraps of paper are gathered in a folder, each with a recipe written in the hand of grandma's, aunt's, and mother's. And last but not least, I'm compiling some of my favorite recipes on a blog I've called "My Cozy Kitchen". You're welcome to browse through my collection and see if there is anything you'd enjoy. The collection is eclectic, mostly gluten-free, all plant-based, and adaptable to the needs of the cook who prepares them. Please stop by -- you are welcome there!

Aunt Mabel's Christmas Fruit Cake

It's not too early to be planning your Christmas fruit cake. I know, it's not popular to 'like' fruit cake, but this one is actually very good! Fresh and sweet, it can be made with all-purpose flour or with the gluten-free flour blend given in the recipe below. My Aunt Mabel has always been known as 'the world's best cook' in our family. She's now in a nursing home and is no longer able to cook and bake. It seems strange to visit with her while she's sitting in a chair rather than briskly working in her kitchen. She's as sweet as ever, though, just without the cakes and cookies. This cake can be prepared in advance and frozen for holiday use. Give it a try. . .the recipe will not fail you!

1 1/2 cups brown sugar or honey
3 cups gluten-free flour blend of choice
1 tsp salt
2 cups flax seed gel
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 tsp almond
3 cups or 1 lb currants
4 cups or 1 lb chopped dates
3 1/2 cups or 1 lb cherries
3 cups or 1 lb raisins
3 cups or 1 lb dried pineapple
3 cups or 1 lb walnuts or almonds
3 cups or 1 lb dried papaya

1. Mix first six ingredients to make batter.

2. Work in remaining ingredients gently with
your hands.

3. Heap into four 7 inch loaf pans prepared as
follows: Cut paper grocery bags to fit pans and
grease well.

4. Bake at 300 F for 1 hour, covered lightly with
aluminum foil and then 10 to 20 minutes uncovered.

5. Remove from oven. Peel off liner as soon as cool
enough to handle. Let cool.

6. Wrap in waxed paper, then aluminum foil and
refrigerate. Keeps all year!

NOTE: For the lb. of cherries, drizzle some liquid
sweetener on frozen or canned cherries and slow cook
for several hours until cooked down but not hard and
dry. Or bake in the oven in a glass dish at 250 F.
You may also use dried cherries. If you don't have
dried pineapple fix like the cherries.

Flax seed gel can be made easily by grinding flax
seeds in a coffee grinder. Use about 1/2 cup of seeds.
Add about 2 cups of water and stir. Allow to sit for
a few minutes until gel forms. Use as is or strain out
seeds, whichever is your preference.

Use a variety of dried fruit according to your family
likes and dislikes!

Special thanks to Salina for the beautiful hand-crafted
trading card shown in the picture. She makes so many
beautiful things. If you'd like to take a look, you can
find her at Salina's Home Journal. She also made the
pretty little journal in the photo below.

Dried Strawberry and Apple Tea

Dried Strawberry and Apple Tea

With the arrival of autumn and winter, colds and flu's become more common. Keeping the immune system healthy is important, and having an herbal tisane that is both delicious and helpful in boosting our body's ability to fight infection is important. Here's a simple recipe that is high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants.

1 teaspoon strawberry, chopped and dried
1 teaspoon apple, chopped and dried
1 cup boiling water

Combine the strawberry and apple and place in a warmed ceramic teapot or mug. Add boiling water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until well steeped. Add a little of the sweet herb, stevia, for added sweetness. Sip and enjoy. You can strain out the fruit pieces first if you desire, but hint, they are delicious eaten with your stirring spoon!

Enjoy a healthy and happy day!

Finest Friendship

"The finest kind of friendship is between people who expect a great deal of each other but never ask it."

Sylvia Bremer

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Muddle and Tea

"My dear, if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head, I should better understand your affairs."

~ Charles Dickens ~

*Bucky Beau-Jangles wishes you an awesome day!*

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Next Summer's Tomatoes

This is actually a little note to myself, so that I remember a nifty tip that a friend told me yesterday. Connie was making a Taco Salad and discovered she was out of tomatoes. She added extra avocado and olives to make up for them, but that got us discussing the subject of garden tomatoes. In our area, frost has killed off the tomato plants, and this just when our plants were starting to produce well. There have been so many green tomatoes that have gone to waste. Connie's sister shared with her a tip that we are planning on trying next year (thus, the note to self here on my blog).

Right before a deep freeze, pull up the entire plant, tomatoes, roots and all. Don't worry about leaving dirt on the roots, but make sure the entire plant is whole. Put the tomato plant in a sheltered place like the garage. Over time, the green tomatoes will continue to gain nourishment from the plant and will continue to ripen to red. You should be able to extend the 'garden tomatoes' in your cooking repertoire for another month or so. This works not only with regular garden tomatoes, but with grape, cheery, and pear tomatoes too.

Since I am sharing a picture of some of Dad's and Alma's beautiful tomatoes, I thought I would share a few pictures of their garden as well. Dad has built several of these gated gardens to protect their plants from deer and raccoons. Each raised bed is made with treated lumber and is wrapped with wire mesh. The areas within the raised beds are soil enhanced with compost that Alma creates with household scraps. I like the compactness and orderly appearance of their raised garden beds. Because things are planted close together, weeds don't have much room to grow, thus ---- less work!

Happy garden dreams with me!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

It's that time of year; the time when cold weather arrives, creating parched, flaky, itchy, or cracked skin. Oh to have the flawless, perfect skin of our youth --- year-around! Aren't these young beauty queens pretty? I love their perfect skin.

Counteracting winter's dryness can be accomplished with special care. Wearing lotion on your feet and covering them with cotton socks to sleep in all night helps sooth cracked and weary heels. But hands can sometimes be more difficult to keep soft because we get them wet frequently throughout the day. Cracked, flaky lips are another problem when temperatures drop. A Haven for Vee has been experimenting with using white vinegar to rinse her face, and she says that it seems to have a skin softening effect. It's amazing how many things vinegar can be used for!

There are ways to help retain moisture in our skin. Flaky lips are sometimes caused by an allergic reaction to lipstick or other lip coverings. Once you've decided that's not the case, gently lift off the flecks and then apply a soft, wet and warm cloth between lips and hold there for about 30 minutes. It will sooth and apply moisture to this area. Although hot bubble baths are relaxing and may be inviting on a cold winter day, caution should be used if you have dry skin. Too long in a hot tub will leach moisture from your skin and make dryness worse. Adding bath oils may help, but a better solution may be to take a short, lukewarm shower and then gently pat dry. Rubbing briskly with a terrycloth towel will only make things worse. Lotions and body oils are all helpful in replenishing moisture, and are best applied for most effect within 15 minutes of showering. Hydrating from the inside helps as well. Pure water works from the inside, out.

There are many fancy products out there that can help. I have been fighting dry skin with Arbonne Night Cream (morning and evening), Body Serum, and Hydrating Body Lotion. They do a nice job, but don't necessarily fall into the category of 'economy'. Simple homemade remedies may do just as well. Vaseline is frequently used successfully by bargain hunters to coat hands, lips, and feet that are dry in an effort to retain moisture. Simple sugar scrubs made with baby oil and essential oils are a great way to smooth dry skin. Recently I've heard of an inexpensive little miracle worker called Smith's Rosebud Salve. Have you used it? It comes in a little aluminum tin and works not only on cuticles, but on hands, feet, and lips to help remedy chapping. It's even said to help with diaper rash. Developed in 1895, who says products need 'new technology' to be good!

Although those of us under thirty might not be able to retain the flawless skin of our youth, there are wonderful ways to take keep our skin soft and pretty without spending a fortune! Diligence and a little extra effort can give us happy skin year around. Now, if we could only turn back the clock a little bit. . .

Discovering Tea

Have you ever wondered who discovered tea? Legends vary by culture. The most popular story is of an ancient Chinese emperor who was relaxing by his garden and sipping a cup of hot, boiled water. A leaf from a nearby tea bush fell into his cup. The emperor smelled the infusion, gave it a taste, deemed it more satisfactory than water, and the practice of drinking tea began.

The people of India have their own legend of the story of tea's discovery. According to their version, a Buddhist priest decided to prove his faith by spending seven years without sleep. After achieving five years of success with this task, he found himself catnapping. Desperate, he snatched some leaves from a nearby tea bush and chewed on them. The leaves were able to keep him awake and he was able to complete his seven years of meditation.

Now, next to water, tea is the most popular, least expensive beverage in the world.

Holiday Salad of Grapes and Grains

Holiday Salad of Grapes and Grains

The holidays are somewhat of a challenge for those who must eat 'gluten-free'. Recently I've been searching for recipes that are unique, colorful, delicious, and wheat-free. I found a recipe that seems 'just right' in our local newspaper. Not only does it consist of several types of yummy whole grains, but it includes fresh fruits and veggies, and several savory herbs. I've made a few adaptations and will share it with you here. . .

1/4 cup wild rice
2 cups water, divided
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 cup halved seedless grapes
1/2 cup diced tomato
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
sprig of fresh sage

Soak wild rice in one cup of water for one hour or more. Drain. In a skillet, saute celery and onion in oil until tender. Season mixture with sage and salt. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and the drained wild rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover, then simmer for 45 minutes. Rinse (to remove bitterness) and drain the uncooked quinoa. In another saucepan, bring broth to a boil and add quinoa. Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Toss the wild rice, quinoa, and grapes together. Mound or mold on a platter lined with romaine leaves. Garnish with the tomato, parsley, and additional sage.

Serves 6

Sunday, November 09, 2008

River Walk and Yellow Boat

Brent loves exploring along the river, but since I don't like rattlesnakes, I won't go with him during the summer months. Yesterday he decided that it was cool enough that the rattlesnakes would be hibernating. It was time for a river walk.

Although it was overcast, the temperatures were pleasant and there was no wind. Walking along the railroad tracks gave us an easy pathway along the rocky shore. From sagebrush and driftwood, to loons and cormorants, there was much to explore and see.

Brent spotted something yellow in the driftwood along the bank. Can you see it on the lower left of the picture above? He discovered that it was a small boat, crafted out of Popsicle sticks and coated with hot glue or silicone. Dried foam made up the top. Light and watertight, it was ready to sail! In fact, it probably had been sailing, but had been washed ashore during a recent stormy day.

Why am I telling you all this? Seeing this boat flooded my mind with memories. Early memories of one of the first books I remember my mother ever reading to me. Perhaps you have read it too. It's called Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling. It was a 1942 Caldecott Honor Book. This book tells the story of a Canadian Indian boy from Nipigon country in the Canadian wilderness who carves an Indian figure in a small canoe that he names "Paddle-to-the-Sea". Wishing he could go traveling, he cannot. Instead, he sends his small boat afloat with a carved note that says "Put me back in the water. I am Paddle-to-the-Sea". His little boat meets much adventure as it floats from a river near the little boy's home to the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and finally the Atlantic Ocean. Four years of floating to the sea creates a story that captures geography, nature, drama, and adventure. It's an imaginative and captivating story.

As children, my sister and I were inspired by it. We would both create little boats out of whatever materials were near and set them sailing when we were by a river's shore. We hoped our little boats would have as many wonderful adventures as "Paddle-to-the-Sea" did.

I suppose there are some things you never outgrow. It seemed so appropriate to ask Brent to please place "Little Yellow Boat" into the river so it could paddle to the sea as well. It has a long journey ahead, but given enough time and a few hydroelectric dams, it could soon be to ocean shore --- albeit it won't be the Atlantic like the Indian boy's boat, but rather the mighty Pacific. Brent was happy to indulge me and sent the little boat sailing on it's way again.

The sage is fragrant, although it's yellow flowers are drying and it's foliage is taking on blue-gray tones rather than sage-green. It was a pretty resting place for the "Little Yellow Boat --- for awhile. It's on it's way again, taking a journey to the sea. Soon maybe someone will find it as it passes by evergreens and forests as it nears the coast. Who knows where "Little Yellow Boat" might end up. My imagination takes it even farther; to Japan to visit a dear friend or maybe even to Australia.

The adventure, mystery, and intrigue of it all leave much to the imagination, and that's what makes it so much fun!

If you haven't read "Paddle-to-the-Sea" yet, be sure to pick it up at the library. I am quite certain that a youngster you know will enjoy the book immensely (and so will you!).

Enjoy a lovely day! Let the imagination soar!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Happy DAD-Day

Dear Dad,
I find myself wondering...
Did I give you your due...
For all that you've done for me
Did I ever thank you?

For all of my childhood memories
For helping me deal with life's stresses
For helping me accept my defeats
And celebrate my successes?

Or for teaching me the value of hard work,
Good judgement, courage, and being true
The laughter, smiles, and quiet times we've shared
Did I ever thank you?

If I have forgotten, I'm thanking you now
You taught me right from wrong....
I hope you know how much you're loved and appreciated
I hope you, instinctively, knew it all along.

Happy Birthday to a Wonderful Dad!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sewing Therapy

Friendship is sewn with love and measured by kindness.

Some days call for quiet and a little peacefulness. Today was such a day. With the excitement and frenzy of the elections, emotions have been running high and low. They were the topic on every one's mind at the beauty shop today. From the young to the old, everyone had a different perspective and opinion on the history that was made this week. Although it was fun to discuss opinion and listen to perspective, a quiet afternoon doing something relaxing seemed the best way to unwind. My fabric stash was inviting. I decided it was time to work with fabrics I loved; cottons in prints of pink and brown. There's something ultimately soothing and relaxing about working with textiles. Such cozy comfort in sometimes chaotic world.

Unleashing Your Inner Wild

I'm excited about a new book I found recently. What wonderful ideas; a real inspiration. It's MaryJane Butter's recent book called MaryJane's Outpost - Unleashing Your Inner Wild. Have you read it yet? MaryJane has reached deep into her inner-child, focusing on the good things of days gone by, making vintage fun, practical, and so very fashionable. It's a quirky mix of home crafts and decor, gardening, outdoor living, outdoor recreation, recipes and cooking ideas, and living with nature. Her goal is to help the reader look beyond the front door, reaching towards the romance of the outdoors. She says "why sit around indoors when you can invite your friends, young and old, to a unique picnic? Not only do people bond better without a roof over their heads, you don't have to vacuum the floor afterwards." Hmmm, good point. This book presents ideas that break all molds and is beautifully illustrated with photos that bring ideas to life. An outdoor kitchen established on a front porch, furniture made from twigs, ironing boards used for tables or displays, a bed made up with ruffles and frills on the back of a flat-bed truck (to be driven to a field for a night under the stars), tidbits of nature study, care for the environment while living wild (backpacking, believe me, is wild), setting up a 'story tree', and much, much more. This is the kind of book that I like to keep on a coffee table or bedside stand to review over and over again. See if your local library has a copy, or order one for yourself from MaryJane's Farm at Happy, inspirational reading!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Glorify with Thanksgiving

"I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."

Psalm 69:30

Monday, November 03, 2008

Quiet Reflection on Purpose

Life is quiet right now. A quiet, peaceful, and rainy week-end would be boring as recorded in blogland. But oh, it was so tranquil. There's something about watching clouds drift by and raindrops fall, and about walking in the woods, or baking apple cake with cinnamon and eating it while sipping a nice cup of hot tea. Even the dogs relaxed and slept by the fire, not worrying about squirrels or noises in the night.

Since life is quiet, I decided it would be a good time to review another chapter of one of my favorite books, "Disciplines of the Beautiful Women" by Anne Ortlund. The chapter called "Your Goals" speaks to my heart during a time of transition in my life. It could be applicable to all of us collectively as well, as election day draws near. Goals not only help us in our individual lives, but in decisions that impact the future of our nation too. Anne starts this chapter by comparing establishing life goals to a journey on a ship. She says that along the way, all kinds of contrary winds and cross currents could try to take us off-course. It is only by continually refocusing, redirecting, and recentering on our destination that we end up in the right place at all. In other words, we'll get nowhere we want to be if we just drift along. However, goals do more than head you in the direction you want to go. According to Anne, they also give you your identity! Identity --- who I am --- who you are --- all tied up in goals and objectives, and lead us in the direction we want to take our lives from this point on. When we make goals it helps us focus on who we are and how we are different or the same from those around us. They help us identify who we are in this world. Anne then discusses how we must live out our goals in an authentic manner, reflecting the love of the Lord. Life's goals combine with life's purposes, what we hope to be, what we hope to do, by the time we die. Achieving these goals and purposes is clarified by writing them out so we can read them frequently and use them to measure our success in achieving them. I could not help but smile when I read this paragraph of Anne's: "I don't deserve a single day, but I must say I want to be like that woman of Proverb 31:25; she 'smiles at the future'. 'Little old ladies' have been kicked around so long that I'd love to be a way-show-er, an old woman with God's glory on her head who would help change the image." Isn't that an awesome objective? I'm imagining a little old lady dressed in red with a purple hat covered with flowers, on tour with her tea group, being a way-show-er to everyone around her! What a valiant purpose!

Establishing our goals in life should not be something we are cautious in! Anne reminds us to recapture the visions of our youth, or get fresh new ones; to be courageous to make them specific and large --- and all for His glory! And she continues with these words: "If you're young and you figure you've got another fifty years to live, you could fool around for another forty-nine years, figuring then you could scramble like mad to get everything done. But only God know how long you have, and He isn't going to tell." So true, but even if you could live your life into old-age, think of all the things you'd be missing out on by living with purpose only at the end and not during the entire process of living. Life isn't just about 'product' but about 'process' as well.

"So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

Anne says that God makes no two flowers or snowflakes or women alike. Therefore, the way we establish our goals will be different from one another. She recommends, though, that goals be broken down into smaller units so that we can evaluate them in order to check our progress. Quarterly, monthly, or weekly --- whatever works best for you and your personality will do. Some people are 'paper people' and write everything down in detail. Others are more 'fly by the seat of your pants' types. Either way can be dangerous, but through self analysis we can avoid the dangers of over-planning (and not having time to get past the planning and to our goals) or seat-flying (taking each day as it comes without having anticipated it, planned for it, shaped it, or prayed over it). Anne suggests establishing guidelines for ourselves so that we can control our days rather than letting them control us.
Living by the goals we've established on a daily basis is precious and important. When we establish goals and life purposes, some daily duties get eliminated, some streamlined, and others highlighted in the scheme of our whole life! Life becomes meaningful and fun! We live on purpose and with purpose.

A Life Spent

"A life spent in the service of God and communion with Him is the most comfortable and pleasant life that anyone can live in this world."

Alexander Whyte
Written the day before he died

Saturday, November 01, 2008

November Comes

"November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."

Clyde Watson