Tuesday, May 31, 2011

when all else fails...

...speak the Truth.

...so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11

Monday, May 30, 2011


Success is getting what you want;
happiness is wanting what you get.
~Dale Carnegie

Friday, May 27, 2011

The gall!!

on the Bay Bridge...San Francisco in the distance...through a dirty window
It's always something. What's UP with my health these days? Or should I say lack of health? When we rang in 2011 I was so excited for this new year...this new start. I was so sure that this was going to be a good year...a great year...THE year. I began doing yoga...began incorporating a few other healthy changes into my life...was feeling good...and then BAM. Sick...flu...pneumonia...asthma...maybe I should have just stayed unhealthy!

What's wrong now, you ask? I am having mild gall bladder issues. That's my self-diagnosis, anyway. (I research this and that online and suddenly I'm a health professional!) They started yesterday morning. I went to the natural food store and got some cleanse capsules. I'm watching what I eat. No soda. No fat. No sugar. I drank lemon juice this morning. It's all helped. And lessened the intensity (if you could call it that) and frequency of the discomfort.

Anyone have any other natural remedies for gall bladder woes? Anything you've done at home that worked like a charm?

*disclaimer* The pain is not severe. It is uncomfortable. I am not feverish...or doubled over. I am having some discomfort...so don't worry, or freak out.  If this discomfort becomes unbearable...I will go the ER immediately. Until then, I am going to do what I can naturally.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday in the Word.

cantaloupe seedlings under a "cloche"..

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 32:7
Can you imagine? God surrounding us with songs of deliverance? All day long...as we go about our lives...our work...our errands...our struggles...our thoughts...our temptations...all the while, God is surrounding us with songs of deliverance. If God is for us, who can be against us?
God is on your side...go to Him...trust Him...believe Him...He loves you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sometimes there are no words...

Well...no words other than...

God is so good.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday morning...

 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven,
nor the Son, but only the Father.

Matthew 24:36

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It pays to save...

See this little bird? I bought him about 13 years ago while visiting Chris' mom in New Mexico. There was a yard sale across the street from her house so we decided to take a look. I actually found quite a few treasures that we schlepped back to California.

I'm pretty sure out of all of them...this bird is my favorite. He's been living in the kitchen junk drawer all these years...waiting patiently for his forever home. It's got a half-inch bolt sticking out of the bottom of it...and I always knew he'd be perfect on a garden post.

Problem is...we never had a garden post. Until recently, of course.

So I'd actually forgotten about him...but I was rummaging through said junk drawer looking for a paper clip and there he was...laying on his side as he always has, looking sad...and dejected.

I'm pretty sure that as soon as I laid my eyes on him an actual light bulb appeared over my head and lit up instantly. I pulled him out...ran out to the yard...showed Chris my idea...and one, two, three...he had his forever home. (Well, at least until we move, if we decide to do that one day...if we do, he's goin' with us!)

He makes me happy...

Thursday, May 19, 2011


hydrangea and azalea...soon to be a part of our backyard border.
God and I are working on things. My mind is consumed with this process. I wish I could just snap my fingers and be done with it. But...that's not how God does things. He doesn't allow us to go around things...or under...or over. He has us go through things. Going through things is the only way we can learn...and strengthen...and grow. And the best part? He walks through right along with us...

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God.
Isaiah 43:1-3
At times it feels as if we're wrestling this whole thing out, me and God...like He did with Jacob. (Genesis 32 if you want to read it.) Jacob was wrestling for a blessing...I'm wrestling for a different reason. And it's not the right reason. I need to think more like Jacob...I need to fight for that blessing...not to hang onto things I do not need in my life. I'm afraid If I don't get a grip on this situation...and lay this all down at His feet...He just might let me have my way. He just might let me hold onto it all.

I don't want to hold onto it all.

So I'm going through it. And He's going through it with me. We might stop to wrestle a bit here and there. I might come out with a limp. But we're going through it...me and God...together.

Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
Psalm 77:19
Maybe it doesn't feel like He's there.
Maybe I can't see His footprints.
Maybe I can't see Him, or hear Him, or feel Him, sometimes.
But I know He's there. 
I know He is.
Thank you, God. Thank you for never leaving me, nor forsaking me.
Thank you for preparing my path...for keeping me from drowning.
Thank you for loving me...and getting me through.
I wouldn't want to do it without You.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday in the Word

can you see the baby lettuce sprouts?

22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;
God comes in awesome majesty.

Job 37:22

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

no...you're not seeing things.

I removed my post "keep your eye on the prize". Thank you for your comments...for your prayers...and for sharing your thoughts with me. I will be praying for you, too...


keep your eye on the prize.

I wrote this post almost two years ago...and never hit "Publish".
And for the record...we still haven't found a new home church.
Nor have we tried very hard. 

I've got a lot of work to do...internal work, heart work, soul work. I've allowed myself to get to a place that I don't like very much. I was telling myself that I didn't mind being where I was at. But that's not true. That was an excuse. I don't like where I'm at...or how I'm thinking...or how I'm feeling. Or how I'm acting for that matter.

We haven't been to church in about 2 months. That's a long time for a family who rarely missed a Sunday for over 10 years. We are a church-going family. We go to church...we pray before meals...we tithe...we serve and do bible studies and play instruments on worship teams.

But for the last 2 months...nothing.

It's not for lack of wanting to...but circumstances. Things happened. People happened. Humanity happened. And suddenly...we found ourselves without a home church. It was a weird feeling.

We visited a church we thought we'd like to attend...but on both visits not one person said one word to us. Not a hello...not a get out of here...nothing. Weird.

We took that as a cue from God that it's not where He wanted us. And that was fine.

Instead of continuing to look for a new church home, we decided to take some time to get our house in order...specifically the backyard. And it's been good to have the time to do this. For the past 10 years every weekend has been full of church or baseball or wrestling or something other than taking care of things around here. Now our weekends are full of making our backyard habitable. It's been really good.

But eventually we need to get back into church.

The thing about church is that people are at church. And people are...people. Imperfect people. Messed up people...as Joyce Meyer literally just said on TV, "Hurting people hurt people." True dat. It's not an excuse...just a truth.

And I will say...I got hurt. Pretty bad. That's the thing I've been trapped by for the past...oh, year or so. Hurt. I like to fancy myself more Godly...above being hurt...above being trapped by self-pity...ha. Like everyone else...I'm part of that whole "people" thing. I am imperfect. And I'm sure I hurt people, too...not on purpose. Not anymore, anyway.

No excuse.

There comes a time when we know better. And when we know better...we are expected to do better.

To whom much is given...much is required

Can I just say...through all those years of hurt and confusion I learned a very valuable lesson. One morning I was praying...and I asked God why I was being treated in such a way by this person that I trusted.

"Why are you allowing this, Lord?"

And just like God always does...He answered quietly and simply and directly...

"Now you know how NOT to treat people."

Simple. And so HUGE. God allowed it so that I would learn from it. And so that I would never treat people the way that I was treated. And I pray...earnestly...that I NEVER inflict that hurt and that confusion and that pain on anyone else. If I fail...I pray for forgiveness. I ask the person I've hurt for their forgiveness...and I mean it. No sense in giving fake apologies...or empty forgiveness. Don't bother. Do it for them...not just to make yourself feel better.

No. I mean it. I don't want to hurt others. I want to encourage others. I want to build others up. I want to be a part of their success...not their stumbling. That is my desire...Lord I pray I do what my heart desires to do. I pray I am goodness and light to others...not a stumbling block...or a cork...or a hindrance. And if I am...SHOW ME so that I can STOP.

Yes...I've got some work to do. I need to get out of this rut. I need to get my focus back...keep my eye on the prize...and that prize is living my life for God. The prize is powering through my days here on Earth...being light in the darkness...so that one day, when I'm in heaven, I will see what it was all  about...what it was all for...Jesus.

Jesus is the prize. He is the way...and the truth...and the life. Keep my eye on the prize...on Jesus...and my paths will be straight, my feet will not stumble, I will not grow weary, I will not faint...I will not be burned, I will not drown...keep my eye on The Prize.

Jesus. He is the prize.

And if I can just keep my eye on HIM, nothing else will matter. No hurt. No anger. Nothing.

If I keep my eyes on Jesus...my Prize above all prizes...all other things will fall into place.

Monday, May 16, 2011


The beans are sprouting.

The lettuce is sprouting.

A sunflower is coming up. As are some cantaloupes.

Snap peas are growing and climbing...I love tendrils.

Tomatoes and peppers and squash are growing and blooming.

We installed the border for the lawn this weekend.
Now all we need is the sod and we're good to go.
This is incredibly exciting.

* * * * * * * *

I worked Friday night. I was going about my business of tidying shelves preparing for closing time when I stopped to answer a few questions for a nice couple shopping for some DVDs. It ended up, after a bit of conversation, that they asked if they could pray for me. I usually pray for customers. They don't pray for me.

But I said yes.
They prayed.
And God spoke to me so clearly...so very clearly. A sweet, loving whisper...

"It's time to forgive."

I have been holding on to some pain...to some wounds...to betrayals by someone I thought I could trust.

It's time to let them go.

I knew the hurts were there. But I didn't know I was allowing them so much power in my life.

I didn't know they were like a cork, stopping me in my tracks...paralyzing me...preventing me from moving forward...preventing me from being effective...preventing me from becoming the woman God created me to be. Preventing me from truly living and accomplishing my dreams.

There is progress in my life...on the outside.
Now I need to allow some progress on the inside.

It's time to let it go.

It's time to forgive.

This is not going to be easy.
I am really struggling with it.

But why would I hang onto something so ugly?
I don't need it. It's not doing me any good. At all.

My mind says to forgive but my heart still has a death grip on the hurt. A death grip...exactly. It's death to me. Hanging on to this crap is killing me. It's killing my soul...my life...my future.

It's time to forgive.

But maybe I'm not ready.
Maybe I don't want to..?

But I have to.


It's for me. Not for you.

It's time to live..on purpose...forgive...and move on.

I have to do it because my love for
God is bigger than the pain.

It's time to let go.

It's time to forgive.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday morning...

When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart. ~John Bunyan

* * * * *

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:2

Saturday, May 14, 2011

you are valuable.

succulent clippings from my mom and dad's garden.

You are valuable. I just wanted you to know that.

You are valuable and you are worth it. You are beautiful...and creative...and smart...and worthy.

YOU are enough.

My friend sent me this link yesterday (thank you, again, K)...such beautiful words to live by...and to know...and believe.

Please go read it. I know you won't be sorry.

And never, ever forget...that you are valuable.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


A little corner of the garden...next to the cold frame turned compost bin...the piles happen outside, too. Dangit. I'm continuing to learn to just go with it.

I'm working two jobs today...this morning I'll be subbing at a local elementary school in the nurses office. Then this evening I'll close at the book store. Tomorrow, the same schedule. How I went from no jobs to two...? Not sure. But I'm grateful...the extra money is helpful. We've got a lot of extras this month...camps, sports, clothes for kids that grew overnight again. Skinny jeans that look more like capris aren't cute...on boys.

I work the first job at 10:30...I'll be done at 2:15. Then I have to make that stop at Costco that I still haven't done yet this week. I'll come home...figure out something for the guys to make themselves for dinner, maybe watch a little Oprah (yes...I will. I don't always agree with what she says. Matter of fact...I get so irritated with her more often than not, lately. But I've watched her since the beginning...will miss her when she's gone...so yes, I'm watching her until the end. Judge if you must.)...then head to the other job at 5:30.

I don't know how women who have to work two jobs do it. I really feel for them. And having to leave their kids home in the process? I know they're old enough...I know they can handle it...but just because you can ________, doesn't always mean you should __________. Fill in your own blanks.

I'm really distracted lately with work schedules...finances...time...life. I feel like my mind must look like that pile of gardening supplies. Messy. Probably worse as the things in my mind don't all make sense...or have a common theme. It's a big jumble...so I continue to remind myself to do one thing at a time. And I continue to break my days up into small manageable slots...one thing at a time. So far it's working out!

OK...off to start those "manageable slots"...don't want to be late!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday in the Word.

Psalm 57

1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me;

God sends his love and his faithfulness.

4 I am in the midst of lions;
I lie among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

6 They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.

7 My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.

8 Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

9 I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.

10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

God sends His love and faithfulness. Beth Moore spoke Psalm 57 this morning on a show I was watching. And it got me. She focused on verses 1 and 2...I needed to focus on the whole thing. I've read it four times already...and each time I hear...God sends His love and faithfulness.

There are times when I think about God...and all He's done...and my thought is, "Well, yeah. He's GOD." It's a bit of a flippant attitude...maybe even with a bit of a "spoiled teenager with a deserving attitude" kind of attitude. You know what I mean? Almost like I take my relationship with God for granted...and maybe even take HIM for granted.

This conviction makes me wince I have to admit. To take God Almighty for granted? To walk each day in freedom...because of HIM...and not even give it a second thought? Yes...I take it for granted. I take HIM for granted. I'm not proud.

Yesterday was kind of a weird day...not sure what it was, really. It just felt weird...distant...surreal in some ways. Of course it was business as usual...get the kids off to school, prepare lunch for when Chris came home, laundry, chickens, garden, bills. Mopping floors, rearranging cabinets, tossing things in the donation box, going to the grocery store.

In the midst of it all...there was an underlying...darkness. Maybe darkness isn't the right word...or maybe it is. Things felt unsettled. Not necessarily in me. But...in the world, if that makes sense. As I was running errands and driving through town and going into stores...I felt this sense of...I don't even know how to explain it. Almost like it all wasn't even real.

Or maybe it was all too real.

Outside of one store there were 4 or 5 homeless people. They were just sitting there...holding signs...coughing...filthy...they all had the same look on their faces...empty. Tired.

Outside of another store there was a mother with three small children. They were wild...and she was impatient. It was not a good combination.

Inside of that same store was a couple...an angry man...and a broken woman walking about 10 paces behind him. Bruises on her arms. Sadness in her eyes.

As I drove home and looked around...people walking, people driving, people running this crazy race right along with me...people everywhere. And I felt very alone.

But as Joyce Meyer says..."BUT GOD..."

BUT GOD sends His love and faithfulness.

Fighting a battle that you just can't fight anymore?

GOD sends His love and faithfulness.

Feeling alone in this great big crazy world?

GOD sends His love and faithfulness.

Bill collectors calling from 8am until 9pm?

GOD sends His love and faithfulness.

Kids making you crazy with worry?

GOD sends His love and faithfulness. (And He sends it to our children, too....even if they don't know it.)

Anxiety or depression preventing you from leaving the house?

GOD sends His love and faithfulness.

Chronic, physical pain about to push you over the edge?

GOD sends His love and faithfulness.

Church people making you scratch your head? I have to say...I've had some interesting encounters with church people. Church people I trust, no less. I have to admit, I'm pretty disenchanted with church people. (And before you say it, I'm SO tired of the excuse, "Christians are human, too." Yes. They are. But when we  become Christians we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, and are therefore called to be different. I am called to be different. And SO ARE YOU. Be nice.)

Even still...

GOD sends His love and faithfulness.

Life. In general. Daily. Sometimes it's nothing in particular...but everything all piled up so we can't put our finger on just one thing. Life.


GOD sends His love and faithfulness.

Thank you God...for your love...and your faithfulness. I couldn't do this without you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

nothing in particular, really...

herbs in the garden...survived the winter...and the chickens.
I have a nice list of to-dos today...Costco, pay bills, plant succulents that I didn't plant yesterday, wash bedding and make beds. (Or maybe just my own bed and the boys can make their own! I like that idea better.)

I want to make a stop by the thrift store later this afternoon...drop off a small box of donations...then drive around, park my car, go inside and see what treasures I can't live without. What? I figure as long as I donate more than I buy then I'm still ahead of the clutter game. Don't worry...I watch Hoarders...I am leaving a path. (Kidding!)

I am eating an English muffin with peanut butter and jelly for breakfast. I thought I'd have an egg and toast...but there was one, teensy little serving of jam in the bottom of the jar...a teensy serving I couldn't see putting back in the fridge, and a serving I couldn't see wasting. So...I changed my breakfast plans to include that teensy little bit of jam...and it was quite tasty.

Um...what else? Hmm...Seth has his last baseball game of the season this afternoon. That'll keep us busy until after 6pm. I think we'll have biscuits and gravy for dinner again...that is one of the quickest meals to cook ever. No...not the healthiest. But it's good...it's quick...it's ready in about 15 minutes...and my family likes it.

I am on the sub list for our school district...not as a teacher but to fill in for clerical positions. One of those positions is the Health Clerk...aka school nurse. I got a call yesterday to sub tomorrow, Wednesday, through Monday at an elementary school. I subbed last Friday as the Health Clerk at another elementary school and it was hilarious. Little kids are a riot. I never saw so many bumped heads. Luckily none of them needed surgery. ;)

Anyway...it's not a bad gig...the hours are great...10:30-2:15. The only bummer is that I'm scheduled to work at the book store Thursday and Friday night at 5:30 until closing...so I'll be doubling up on those days. But that's OK...work is work. I am grateful for the bit of income.

I got up a bit early this morning for some quiet time with God and some prayer journaling.
God gave me Colossians 3:12-15...
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Alrighty...better get going on that list of to-do's...

What's on your to-do list today?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Today is Monday.

Me and my boys
in 2005. Time goes
so fast...
Yesterday was Sunday. And Mother's Day. I went and picked up my mom around 9:30am and we headed out to the cemetery to take Noni some flowers. Mom got her a big, beautiful bouquet and I got her a corsage. Noni loved flowers. And she loved corsages. If she were still here I'd have given her a box of Almond Roca to go along with it.
We stayed a while arranging Noni's flowers...and talking to her a bit...telling her we missed her...and crying some. It was a nice time...and we know Noni would have appreciated it all.

I miss Noni...a lot.

Afterward mom and I went to get some lunch. We went to Panera for some soup and a sandwich and ended up sitting and talking for 2 and a half hours! But...that's nothing new for my mom and me. We always talk a lot. (You may have figured out by now...I can be a bit chatty. Ahem.) Chris knows that once I get on the phone with my mom it's gonna be a while. I love that my mom and I can talk like that...I love my mom.
She gave me a sweet card and a Starbuck's gift card for Mother's Day...so nice. She didn't need to do that. She and my dad also gave me a bag full of succulent clippings. Can't wait to get those planted!
I found my way home around 2:30 or so and walked in to a family happy to see me, a stack of cards and gifts and steaks marinating in the fridge! They'd washed dishes and the dog! I opened my cards that were very sweet and funny. I got a cool bird feeder, two packages of Ghirardelli chocolates and a Starbuck's gift card. Do my guys know me or what? They're very thoughtful gift givers. (And so is my brother, by the way. I'm always so impressed by his gift giving...her really thinks about what the person wants, or would like. He's a good gift giver.)
I relaxed the rest of the afternoon and into the evening while Chris and the boys prepared dinner for me. It was delicious! Steak and salad and corn on the cob and french bread. SO GOOD. Then...they even cleaned the kitchen afterward!
It was a great day. One of the best Mother's Day's ever I'd say....
But...today is Monday. And Mother's Day is over. Today it's back to the real world and I have to take care of some stuff around here. It seems to have gotten out of hand again...piles, as always...piles, piles everywhere. And laundry. Laundry, laundry everywhere!
I'd like to plant some lettuce seeds. And get the succulent clippings in some soil. Maybe I'll find some time to make granola. I haven't done that in a while.
How was your Mother's Day? (I hope you were spoiled rotten!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

* * * * *

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
~Washington Irving

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Preparedness...bit by bit.

variegated sage backed up by a sage in bloom.

I've slowed down in the Preparedness department the past couple weeks...mainly just focusing on getting the garden planted. And so far, so good. We've got tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, lettuce, zucchini and squash and herbs. Not enough for survival, but I imagine enough to keep us from starving.

I've also set aside a LOT of empty milk jugs over the past several weeks for extra water for "washing and flushing"...and they were beginning to pile up. So last week I loaded the utility sink in the garage full of milk jugs and filled them with water. I plan on doing another batch today.

I also bought a few extra cans of beans and a few packages of pasta. I found a plastic shoe box that I had in the garage holding stuff that I no longer needed so I emptied it out and am going to use it to store the small emergency supplies...soaps, matches, travel shampoos, can opener...stuff like that.

It's funny how just filling up those water jugs gave me a sense of accomplishment. They've been sitting around empty for weeks...and then when the storms hit...and when Osama was killed...I started to get a little concerned. I would be so upset if a disaster DID take place and here I am sitting around with a bunch of empty milk jugs. Saving milk jugs isn't helping anybody if they're left empty!

Have you started your preparation? Join in the Preparedness Challenge...great ideas and lots of encouragement. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Friday, May 6, 2011

anticipation = anxiety

credit for the goodness here.

1. to realize beforehand; foretaste or foresee: to anticipate pleasure.

2. to expect; look forward to; be sure of: to anticipate a favorable decision.

3. to perform (an action) before another has had time to act.

6. to consider or mention before the proper time: to anticipate more difficult questions.

7. to be before (another) in doing, thinking, achieving, etc.: Many modern inventions were anticipated by Leonardo da Vinci.

9. to think, speak, act, or feel an emotional response in advance.

{I edited some of the definitions out...hence the missing numbers. Just so ya know.}
No...this is not a post about Carly Simon. Um...I'm feeling a little anxious today. It actually started yesterday. There is a lot going on today and over the weekend. Simple plans really...and nothing overwhelming or huge. But I have this tendency to anticipate everything I have to do...every plan I've made...every obligation I've been given...every expectation of me...and lump it all into one big tangle.
I take all of those things and pile them into one big pile of "to-do's" and next thing I know....I'm feeling nervous. My heart is beating a little faster...my mind is racing in about 40 different directions. My stomach feels a bit nauseous...my limbs feel heavy...and I have to deliberately take good deep breaths to stay calm.
It used to be that this feeling...this anxiety...would stop me dead in my tracks. Possibly even for a day or two..or three. It would stop me from going places...and talking to people. It would stop me from enjoying the day...my family...my blessings. It was a huge distraction. And still can be on occasion.
The difference between then and now is that now I am aware of how I'm feeling. And I'm usually even aware as to why. What I've learned to do is to stop, take some good, deep breaths and then say a prayer. I stop and think about what is making me nervous...and anxious. Many times it's a busy schedule or maybe a relational issue with someone. Or maybe it's what I think someone is thinking about a certain situation...or how I think someone is feeling...or what I think....think...think....in my own head that is quite often not the case!
Once I pinpoint what is making me anxious...like right now for instance...I know I have a lot going on this weekend...so the anticipation of a busy schedule is making me anxious. But what I'm learning to do is to break it all down into manageable bits. I have to stop and take a realistic look at what it is I'm doing...the actual times they are happening...and then I can see that there is plenty of time for all of it. It's not all happening at once.
When I do this the anxiety dissipates almost instantly. Sometimes it takes me a little longer to realize what's going on inside and I allow the anxiety more power than it deserves.  (Which is NONE.) But more often than not I am able to recognize what's happening, deal with it accordingly and then move forward.
Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Oh my...the girls are being LOUD this morning! Good thing my neighbors find it humorous...or I could be in a lot of trouble.

We are getting new next door neighbors...they are going to be moving in over the next couple of days. They are a young couple...this is their first home...and they seem very nice. I went out to introduce myself to them yesterday...and then warned them that I have four chickens. "Oh! We want to get chickens, too!"


And, as it turns out, they know the young couple down the street as well as the pastor across the street. They were all walking up and down past our house last night and finally The Pastor shouts our names from the sidewalk, "Hey Takacs' (pronounced Tack-us), did you meet your new neighbors?" We went out front to chat a bit...and then the young man from down the street asked if we wanted to be part of the Memorial Day celebration he and his wife are putting together...like a block party, a "stroll" of sorts. I'm thinking my offering will be DIY hot fudge sundaes.

As we talked a little more I learned that the young man down the street and his wife are going to raise rabbits...for manure and for...food. He was excited to hear we had chickens...said they'd wanted to but opted for rabbits instead...then mentioned something about bartering. Um...heck yeahhhh...!

I was really happy last night as I thought about all of this...new, nice, God-loving neighbors, like-minded about self-sufficiency, possible opportunities to barter...it's an answer to prayer it seems. And then there's always that little whisper in the back of my mind about the possibility of needing to be prepared through hard times...and it's nice to know that others around us are thinking the same way.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday in the Word

Pablo...at rest...not a worry in the world...

1 Chronicles 16:35

Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.”

I was out in the garage this morning...starting some laundry, feeding the chickens and then I noticed Reggie was out of water. I grabbed his water bucket, plopped it in the garage sink, and began to fill it up with water. Right at that moment I felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness to God. That with the simple turn of a knob I was able to get fresh, clean, cool water for my dog.

Not to mention fresh water for my whole family...and for my garden...and the chickens...and to wash my car...or to rinse a little something sticky off my finger.

At that moment I realized how much I take water for granted. And not just water...so many other things. Food, transportation, shelter, health, rest...and a comfortable place to do that. With the twist of that knob on the faucet I felt a rush of thoughts for others....and their desperate realities...and thankfulness for my own situation.

I felt a rush of compassion and sympathy for those in this world who are not as fortunate as I am. So many times, I have the nerve to complain about this or that or the other. But the reality is...I am blessed. So very blessed. And I need to be thankful...always.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

a snail in the rosemary.

Fortunately, snails don't like rosemary. Neither do earwigs. But they like squash plants...and cucumber plants...and tender little seedlings...and soft leaf herbs like parsley and basil.

Maybe this little metal snail will work like a scarecrow...to scare off the real snails...and maybe the slugs, too. You think?

Well, just in case it doesn't...I scattered some Diatomaceous Earth around the innocent garden plants and as it draws closer to the time my seedlings should be popping up (I'll start checking in 5 days...I planted some beans, chives and sunflowers yesterday...definitely vulnerable) I'll scatter some more.

Diatomaceous Earth works like a dream. It deters snails, slugs, earwigs, roaches, ants...and it's organic...which I love. Because I don't want to cover my fresh, organic, homegrown food with poison. If I wanted my food covered in poison I could save myself some work and just go buy produce at the grocery store.

Oh...and another thing about Diatomaceous Earth, it's also good to scatter in your chicken bedding. It will help to deter those horrid, disgusting, nasty pesky flies.

And guess what? Chris got bit by the garden bug too (that bug is welcome in the garden!) and decided to plant a couple of mounds of cantaloupe seeds. We love cantaloupe. Well, Seth doesn't love cantaloupe. He doesn't even like it. But the rest of us do...so majority rules. And I have to say there is nothing like a fresh, homegrown cantaloupe. We've never grown them before...I've been told they're tricky and picky about their soil. But we went for it anyway...you'll never know until you try. If it doesn't work we'll just continue to buy them at Aliki's, our local fruit stand...they grow a delicious cantaloupe.

Today I need to plant some lettuce (it never got done yesterday) and maybe more beans. I also need to get the herbs we purchased over the weekend into the ground. And then I think we're done for a while. After that it'll just be about the maintenance, and watering and then...the harvesting and eating!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Planting the garden.

tomato plant.
We planted our vegetable garden yesterday. Finally! We've had our poor little vegetable plants sitting on the table on the deck for two weeks! (Or is it three?) I have to say...they look a lot happier in the ground.

We also, thanks to my helpful husband (who is getting into this whole garden thing), have a drip watering system installed. Each plant has its own little water spout...it's wonderful! No more hand watering. Well, except for the lettuce and the herbs and trees in pots. But that's fine...the majority of the watering will be done by timer.

We planted 10, yes, 10 tomato plants. Um...not sure what we were thinking. Actually, I do know what we were thinking...SALSA. We love homemade salsa. And we love it with fresh tomatoes and peppers from our garden. So there ya go.

Speaking of peppers...we planted six of them. Two jalapeno, two Anaheim, a purple bell pepper (because I love purple in the garden and do NOT like eggplant) and an heirloom purple hot pepper. It oughtta look pretty in the salsa. It says it's also good dried and made into mole for enchilada sauce. Sounds good!

Walla Walla onions...
We also planted one cucumber, because I'm really the only one who eats them...one zucchini plant (although I am going to plant a few more seeds as we all like zucchini...especially prepared this way) and one Blue Hubbard squash...because they're a gray blue, I think they'll look pretty in the garden, and I wanted to try something new.

For the first time, we are going to try our hand at growing onions. I've never grown onions before...so I'm excited to see how it works out. I got Walla Walla onions. It's what they had at the garden center...and we sort of bought them on a whim so I hadn't done any research as to which ones would be best to grow. Eventually I'll have my act together (I hope) and be a more organized gardener. Eventually...

Until then...we garden on the edge. Seth used to call me the "loose canon mom on the edge"...maybe we can change that to the "loose canon gardener on the edge"!

purple garden gloves...thanks Mavis!

Today I'm going to get back out there and plant some seeds...green beans, lettuce and cantaloupe. Oh...and a few more zucchini seeds and some sunflowers! I got two varieties...I hope they come up. Ian and I planted some right before the days and days of rain and none of them sprouted. (Or they sprouted but I didn't know it and the chickens found the sprouts before I could! I'll never know.)

I purchased some herbs yesterday...more sage, basil, parsley and thyme (quite possibly my favorite)...two varieties, English and creeping. We have a sage plant that survived from last year. It's not pretty...but it's alive. It grew out from under a pot somehow...so it's stem is really long and the actual growth is about a foot away from where it's rooted.

Like I said...it's not pretty. But it's alive. So...it stays.

It was a great day to get outside and plant. At the warmest point I think it was about 80-something degrees. But there was a breeze off and on so it kept it quite cool.

Not to mention, the pecan tree still hasn't been trimmed. And it provides more shade than we want. We're still waiting on PG&E to come by and trim the parts that are dangerously close to the power lines so we can get a tree trimmer in to prune the rest. Can't wait...it's shading a lot of our garden expansion. Sort of defeating the purpose, ya know?

Welp...better get a move on. I've got lots to do today. Gotta get those seeds planted, dust and vacuum, clean the bathroom, mop the kitchen floor and try and keep up with the laundry piles!

How was your weekend? Did you get any gardening done?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday morning..


Remember this.
 When people choose to withdraw far from a fire,
the fire continues to give warmth,
but they grow cold.
 When people choose to withdraw far from light,
the light continues to be bright in itself
but they are in darkness.
This is also the case when people withdraw from God.