Thursday, February 28, 2013

...an hour into my morning

A Morning Journal Entry

...I am ensconced in a wicker chair in my sun room, every once in a while glancing around at the untidiness. George wrestles with things and scatters plant leaves and papers higgledy piggledy. I am wrapped in an ecru wrap against the morning's chill. My coffee cup is almost empty, there's more awaiting in the coffee pot in the kitchen. I read Joshua 6 this morning and I am preparing to pick up and read my daily Lenten devotional. The bird feeder has been restocked in sunflower seeds and I've made note that my husband needs to pick up another bag on his way home from work. 

Early riser that I am, I have a little trail of routine rituals that accompany my morning. This little jotting was done about an hour after I had risen from my warm bed. Maybe I will share some of those "firsties" at a later time.


On the 26 of this month two years ago, my father passed away. We were caring for him here in my home and the eternal shapings this allowed in our lives were manifold.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

history and mitts

 Forsooth, I will attempt not to show any more fingerless mitts... for a while anyway! Alas, my way                     of thinking was that someone "out there" might just enjoy this free pattern to knit, especially if mitts and cables are your present knitting fancy. They were knitted on straight needles and then sewn up. I decided not to add the thumb because I thought with the visual weight of the cabled mitts themselves, the knitted thumb would only add extra bulk.
These knits were included on a past yarnalong, but maybe some of you would appreciate seeing the finished product.


(My daughter, Rose graciously obliged to be my hand model wearing these mitts. )

If you are wanting a recommendation on a good book about church history, this is an excellent book by B.K. Kuniper. One thing I am noticing in Christian circles, as a whole, is that many adults do not have a thorough knowledge of church history. I have discovered that having a greater knowledge of the history of the church has only increased by understanding of the people in history that He has used to write His story. It all unfolds as you study the Scriptures and time periods. This book is easy to read and a great handbook to pick up and get clarification at any time. I have read bits of it while sitting by the pool during a hot summer day, traveling in the car, before bedtime, or while grabbing a few moments with my feet resting on a footstool in the afternoon. 


Sunday, February 24, 2013

second Sunday in Lent

"Come to my help, O God; Lord, hurry to my rescue."
Psalm 70:1

It was innocent enough. Isn't it always? On the way home from church today Charlotte asked what we were having for dessert. Dessert? I am beginning to sense the tiniest oozing in the pit of my stomach about this time. I had made no plans for dessert. Didn't they realize I was fasting desserts/sweets this Lenten season? Surely they realized that the temptation of a dessert would hinder, and that it would be an easier road if I just left dessert off the day's menu?

 "There's an entire gallon of milk that could be made into ice cream in the extra refrigerator that will go bad soon if we don't use it", adds my level-headed, frugal husband.

I looked around at the hopeful faces dismayingly.

I asked Charlotte to pull out the Cuisinart ice cream freezer when we arrived home as I gathered the ingredients for the ice cream.

Lord, don't you know how weak I am?
 Don't you know how much I love soft vanilla ice cream, with strawberries?

The preparation and serving of a dessert at the end of our Sabbath meal is something everyone looks forward to at my house. After our Sunday dinner, dessert allows for more time to sit around the table as we celebrate Sundays. Usually, I will take time on Saturdays to plan and fix an extra special dessert that everyone will enjoy.

As I stirred the milk and cream I began to see clearly the joy in this act of abstaining from something my flesh truly looked forward too and enjoyed every Sunday. Yet this was another practical opportunity to turn outside myself and look at the cross, embracing the costly price He had paid for me. It wasn't legalism at all. This was a perfect opportunity to worship, though the comparison of what it had cost Him was mind boggling.

I am dependent on His grace. I am dependent on His help in all circumstances, no matter how small it might seem at the moment. Amid my moments of human frailty He is there to guide me.

Worship never tasted so sweet.




Wednesday, February 20, 2013

therefore, I knit and read

I knit. I read.

The very next words that spring into my mind are, "therefore, I am"; and I giggle. 
More appropriately, I am, therefore, I knit and read.

 Reading and knitting certainly have a rightful place in the rhythm of my days.


I knitted these mitts right before Christmas, when holly berries were center front on my mind.  It was a pleasing knit, probably due to the lushness of this yarn. Yet the little cabling that came forth from this pattern was rewarding too as I sat at the kitchen table and did school with Charlotte.

I love this book! Please allow me to say it again, I love this book! It is rich, and I prefer only taking little morsels at a time. I chew contemplatively on its substance, picking up the Bible and reading the scriptures for myself that Mr. Packer references throughout its pages. I want to be like the Bereans, "in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11)

Ginny, of Small Things, is calling my name to be a part of her Yarn along this week. Come along too, it is always fun to spend a bit of time with fellow knitters and readers!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

a taste of home

I like my meals to taste of home.

Grabbing a quick bite while out when time simply does not cooperate for the allowance of a cooked meal, is okay once in a while, in a pinch anyway. But home cooking should taste like home, and it should please, while filling and satisfying your belly and soul.

photo credit found here

It is a good thing to have a few easy standbys that are tried and true, especially when you take
 the few extra minutes to do the preparations.

Roasted Chicken 
3-4 lb chicken
2 stalks of celery
1 small onion
fresh parsley
whole grain mustard
herb de provence
 or any combination of dried herbs, 
dabs of softened butter
salt and pepper

Pat chicken dry and stuff the cavity of the chicken with celery and onion. Pull up the skin of the chicken and smear mustard with herbs all over the chicken.  Salt and pepper, then rub the softened butter all over the outside skin.
Tie the legs together.
Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until the meat gauge registers 165.

As you slip the chicken into the oven, you may take a few minutes to sit down and prop your feet up with a cup of tea and pray, or even spend the time reading a good book.
  
I have served this alongside a fresh green salad and consider it an ideal home prepared meal.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

first Sunday in Lent

"The tradition of Lent - a forty-day sacrifice - is one way of mourning the death that sin has caused in our lives. As we see Jesus perfectly withstand Satan's temptation in the wilderness, we admit our own shortcomings, our own inadequate sacrifices. This period of 'giving up' has a profound way of recalling our desperate need for Jesus Christ."

Devotions For Lent

I am taking these days of the Lenten season to remember my desperate need for Jesus Christ. I am preparing my heart for the forthcoming Easter celebration with special times of reading His Word, repentance, prayer, fasting, and reflection.

"All God's plans have the mark of the cross on them, 
and all his plans have the death to self in them.
~E.M. Bounds

Saturday, February 16, 2013

white rain

One, two, three, four, ....... ten, eleven, twelve cardinals outside my kitchen window, dining from the restocked bird feeders! I am presently sitting at the table eating a hot and spicy chicken sandwich. Snow is fingering down steadily and has been since about 6:45 this morning. It is a stark reminder of what my Saviour's death on the cross did for me; my sins were as scarlet, He washes them whiter than snow.

Yesterday, I was enjoying afternoon temperatures of around 60 degrees with warm sunshine and blue, cloudless skies. If the ground would have been colder today when the snow started to fall, we would have a blanket of white everywhere right now. Instead the snow is wet and melts as it hits the outside surfaces. But that does not in any way lessen its white rain beauty.

 Mr. Squirrel visits from time to time. He is quite plump.

And I am doing a little sewing today on Charlotte's Easter dress. The embroidery was completed last night as I listened to a few chapters of Good Wives  by Louisa May Alcott here, but I am wondering how I could have missed the fact that there was appliqueing that needed to be done on this dress?


I'll keep you posted.

Friday, February 15, 2013

a fine romance

One never can assume upon Valentines Day or how it might pan out in any given year. I gave up thinking I had it all figured out and could ever control the circumstances of any day, much less one smack dab in the middle of winter! There were so many things I wanted to do this year on Valentines Day that I didn't do, yet there were things I did manage to do that led to a delightful ending of a day designated as a one of romance.

The menu was planned several weeks ago. Other than the chocolate pots de creme that must chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before hand, the rest of the food took about 45 minutes of constant chopping, searing, sauteing, frying, stirring, and cooking.


If one word could sum up Valentines Day this year it would be rich.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

balmy day knitting/reading



The other day I was taking a winter's day walk around the block and the wind was so blustery that it put me in the spirit of yearning for something to cover my ears, something soft and warm. Over the Christmas holidays I knitted this for Claire. She is able to wear this sort of headpiece with glamour and sophistication, and she does it so fetchingly.

I remembered there was one-half of a ball of yarn leftover from this project and it certainly did not need to go to waste. So this balmy afternoon while Charlotte and her friend played in the creek, I situated myself on the creek bank and began to knit the beginnings of another one. The chunky malabrigo yarn is fabulously lofty and dyed in the most pulchritudinous shade of orange.

I can not imagine why I decided to take the month of February to begin reading a book series by Francine Rivers. But here I am engrossed in its pages. Joining once again with Ginny's yarnalong.


Monday, February 4, 2013

meet George


 He has never had it so good.

Neither have we.

I have always had a cat in my home. When my husband married me, I came with an attachment, a long-haired cat named Tiffany.
I considered him blessed, he was getting a double portion, after all.

With Penny no longer being around, not only was there a huge hole in my heart, but my home felt like it had a hole in it too. A cat-less house is lonely. Since Penny was almost twenty years old when she died, the thoughts of a kitten make me twitch slightly, but a grown cat, 
now, that would be perfect. 



Friday, February 1, 2013

hibernum

Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand 
and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.

~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun



It seems like I have been encased in a state of hibernation, as it might possibly relate to communicating anything on this blog of late anyway. It was never intended to be that way, just spells of activity and priorities immeasurable overcame any extra computer time. 


But isn't winter stoked with good things? We are drinking oodles of steaming pots of herb teas or hot freshly-brewed coffee with cream, reading wonderful pieces of literature, and eating comfort foods with family and
 friends.



Smothered in the essence of winter, rather reminding me of a hot biscuit smothered in chipped beef gravy. 


Cozy and dappled,


Welcoming places to gather,


Rosemary peach jam spread on an English muffin, I call this preserved summer in a jar.






"Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew;
especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied."

~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun



Although this post has quoted a particular piece of Hawthorne's work twice, frankly, I have not read the novel, The Marble Faun. But I do love the quotes.
 As far as the sewing goes, on winter afternoons and evenings I stitch. Lately, I have been keeping my hands busy smocking on a blue batiste nightgown or my "piece-de-resistance", a table runner created as a crazy quilt type arrangement. It lends itself to such creative needlework, and to me astounds with its distinct siren call.


the 13th of October

Friday, the 13th, and at last the weather has turned cooler. I breathe deeply as I turn off the air-conditioner and slide open a few windows...