Monday, September 30, 2013

Wonderful in the Wok

     It was a Monday. A chase-ten-rabbits-put-out-five-fires kind of Monday. To relieve the crazy building up in my being I went to the gym to sweat out the ugly. While this is excellent therapy and amazing for centering the tension, it is not excellent to realize you only had a handful of cereal, a cup of coffee, and a smoothie. A high intensity workout on those rations- not excellent.
     The ride home found me zoning my attention toward the contents of my very old and oh-so-tired fridge- thank goodness the farm boy was driving because I would never have made it. Fresh kale, some roasted chicken were forefront; time to dream up some aroma.
      For me the staples are garlic, ginger and a touch of heat- to that add whatever your senses long for and you have the beginning of a wonderful meal. With those in mind, a bit of white wine for sweet, a touch of sesame for earthiness, and a swoosh of vinegar stand as base to flavor the elements. Kale being front and center, there must always (in my opinion) be a hint of lemon and a good hit of salt- otherwise it's just 'too green'.
      A frantic bit of chop, the gathering of a few bottles, and we heat the wok to the point of smoking before- let the magic begin! Remember, heat, oil, aroma, sear, then sauce. Let's fire it up.

Kale & Chicken Recovery Meal

drizzle of sesame oil
2 clove garlic, smashed
1 nub ginger, rough chopped
1 chile, crushed
1 bunch kale, cleaned and chopped
1 large carrot, cleaned and julienned
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon sesame vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberry
Cut, prep, and whisk- get everything on hand.
Get that wok smoking hot before gently drizzling the oil down the sides and turning the wok to coat.
Toss in the aromatics and swirl them around to release their fragrance and flavor.
Remove them.
Toss in the carrots, sautéing until they have a bit of char (2 min).
Add the kale giving it a toss and turn until it takes on a hearty, dark color (1 min).
Add chicken to warm.
Drizzle the sauce down the sides of the wok.
Toss and incorporate allowing everything to meld together.
Sprinkle the pumpkins seeds and cranberry giving one more toss.
Serve it hot!
     Being completely honest, I ate two bowls of this wonderful dish- perfect recovery meal. Those wonderful nutrients, hearty protein, tossed with a warm sauce- seeds for crunch and cranberries for a hint of whimsy- yum! The farm boy was quite irritated no leftovers would be had tomorrow, although he did tell me to lay off the sesame oil- he is not a fan. Oh, well. You can't please everyone. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Where Have You Been?

     It has been a crazy, busy, wacky week- even Gumdrop follows me around with a quizzical look on her sweet face. Computer issues have kept me away from my little blog space, but a newbie has joined my tech toys. Tonight we test out a fresh computer in hopes of a happy return to blog land.
     Without any blogging to do, you may wonder what on earth has filled my days. Well, where do I begin? This week we were blessed to work with a local school building garden beds for their 3rd grade classes. Trailers and trucks were loaded down with cinder blocks and soil; tools, water and other sundries were in tow. It was hot, long, and a bit under-planned but a complete success. The image that fills my heart: kids clamoring a pile of soil filling buckets with reckless abandon. That equates true success!
      Aside from successful building, I have been unsuccessfully growing my own garden. Goats devoured the first plantings of fall crops. Rabbits took out the second planting. Needless to say, fence supplies are now purchased and in the works for this week. Those little fuzz bunnies best not cross my path- I will show no mercies- none at all.
      From the garden to the cabinets, I have been culling and cleaning closets, cabinets, and the all important pantries. Bag after bag of trash and donation have crossed the door frame leaving me a little less to mess with. With less kids at home and several hours at work, I need to downsize and simplify a bit more.
       Now you know where I've been, and hopefully you are ready to join me in where I am going. Great to be back- see you again tomorrow!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Healthy Food is Too Expensive, Or Is It?

photo credit
     Health matters are given a less than glorious nod from news sources on a daily basis. Most local channels host a weekly sound bite directed to health concerns, but few truly address issues that really get where we are at. In reality media has failed to shed light on an issue that I personally hear again and again throughout my day- healthy food is too expensive. Well, is it?
      Realizing the number of people living at what our country considers 'poverty level' and the fact Fox news announced today the house passed a bill 'slashing food stamp programs by $40 billion, I think the topic merits our attention. Is the problem of eating healthy really unaffordable? A recent article in the Huffington Post addressed the issue of healthy food cost versus junk food cost. I found their take on the matter truly interesting as they broke the matter down into nutrient density, sighting the reality that nutrient dense food is more cost effective than empty calorie foods. 
      Look with me at a banana. It contains a mere 150 calories and is dense in nutrient value costing around $3 for a small bundle. Now look at a chocolate glazed doughnut. It offers a whopping 240 calories lacking in any real nutritional value. If you buy a bag of them off the shelf you will pay about $3. At face value the doughnut seems more for your money, but consider- will the doughnuts fill you up? Do they satisfy? Can they offer nutritional support for you body? The bananas do. There is the rub.
     As a family of five living off one income with no health insurance we managed to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains, for our daily meals. It was never a question that healthy food was a necessity; never a question of affording it. It was a choice to make this our priority. This meant some things were not part of our daily expenses. We didn't eat out, own cell phones, or have television service. Our home was within our means and we did not have vehicle payments. For our family, this was our choice. 
     Some question those realities saying our family 'missed out', yet, we are healthy and active. Seasonal illnesses do not seem to linger as long when they hit our home. Our children's education is excellent and thriving. As adults in our forties, we are not on any medications or suffering health issues. Doctor visits are rare, often bringing astonishment to our medical clinic that we are the age we are and in the health we are in. 
     The point I am trying to make is.. healthy food is not too expensive especially if you look at the big picture. Over all, nutritious food boosts our ability to learn, balance emotions, and experience good health. The junk food is cheaper story is a lie given us by the corporations who are invested in it. It all boils down to choice. Whether financially stable, on assistance programs, or holding your own on a low income, your purchases are your choice- your responsibility. Consider your options and choose for yourself bearing in mind many education resources are available to assist you in those decisions. 

For local assistance, please visit Better Living for Texans
If you are not local, contact your county extension for a program near you. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oh So Naughty & Not at All Nice

     Most days I arrive home to find my beautiful herd grazing peacefully among the wild grasses and brambled fence line. Most days they come to great me with gentle sounds of affection and sweet nuzzles. This was not most days. This was an oh so naughty and not at all nice day.
     This day I arrived home to find my pack of twitchy tails and floppy ears on the wrong side of a fence- a garden fence- a fence which held recently planted seedlings and tender shoots of greens. A fence recently repaired and reinforced to keep out my littles. This day, my precious blue-eyed babies jumped a brand new fence and veraciously tore through those tender shoots leaving behind hoof prints and carnage.
     I jumped. I hollered. I proclaimed them 'dead to me'. I chased and swatted like only a crazed woman with serious issues could do. My naughty not so nice garden munchers were banished to their stalls. No crispy apple peels... no chewy raisins... no sweet nose rubs from me tonight. Dinner came ..a cold meal of pellets and hay. They fussed and they whimpered, begging with all their cuteness.
     Yes, it's true. I can't stay mad at them long. Tomorrow will be a new day. They will be forgiven and all will return to the way it was...unless they loose their minds completely and decide to remain oh so naughty and not at all nice.

      Oddly enough, our 'herd queen' Zaida was not inside the fence. Coincidence? Or wisdom of her years? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Valuing Relationships

   We are surrounded by them- they are one of the first experiences we have- relationships. Our family, our neighbors, classmates, our Lord- all relationships we come to face in the course of our lives. In our house relationships are an important family value.
   Each of us learns at an early age that while some relationships are good for us, some are not. Experience often leads us to the hard truth-  some relationships should be limited or even severed. How are we to know? Our family has some guidelines to gauge our relationships on to help us determine whether they are profitable or destructive.

   * A good relationship is edifying; it should build you up- enhance your character. 'As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another' (Prov 27:17) Our relationships should challenge us to better ourselves; to build a better character to compliment our relationships.

   *A good relationships bears good fruit. In challenging us to better ourselves, there will be evidence of improvement. Habits, activities, and attitudes will bear the 'fruit' of those we spend our time with.

  *A good relationship has boundaries. Balance is important in all areas of our lives and in a relationship it is key. Contentment with our selves and our relationships shows our practice of good boundaries.

  *A good relationship honors God. His approval is the most important aspect of any relationship; if the relationship honors Him, He will approve.

   While this is not exhaustive, and different situations lend different considerations- this is where we start. Our emotions should never be the guide we use; pressure should never hold you to someone. Good relationships are built and grown- nurtured and proved.
   Today my heart prays for our family's relationships; that we would take the time to evaluate them and consider the path they are taking us to. I pray for the severing of destructive relationships and the construction of edifying, God-honoring relationships.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Is It Worth It?

    The past few weeks found me in attendance of several meetings revolving around fitness and health education. Information and resources abound; grants are readily available; we are not without assistance or education where the matter of our health is concerned. Yet with all this the reoccurring dark cloud that seemed to enter every conference room was the question- is it worth it? 
     Is it worth the effort and energy to plan events, strategically educate, and make resources available? After all, no one is willing. This statement irked me to the very core. I have always been one who believed our efforts were worth it if even one was reached. Our time is never wasted even if we only help one person to change. The problem is, at least one person has to want to change, and the workers have to be willing.
     Reality hits hard when we see the over sensitive response to the question of our health and the habits that promote it or deter it. Often our best efforts are met with stern resistance, but does that me we never try? After all, we are responsible for the knowledge and resources we are blessed with- and they have a choice.
     In the end no answer has been found. Meetings are held, opportunities exist, and resistance does happen. No resolution to the question comes. We leave and go our separate ways unsure what the next meeting will hold, or even if this meeting was truly productive. The struggle continues and most likely will remain. Once home I find myself in the detox position- flat out on the floor frustrated and saddened by the whole mess.
     So I pose this question to the issue of health/fitness education regarding all ages, ethnicity and socioeconomic it worth it?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Marvelous Muscadines

    Late summer in the south often find us strolling through the woods searching the treetops and under path for nature's juicy surprise. When my family came to Texas we were introduced to the wild grapes growing freely in the treetops. We traipsed the woods behind our home picking bucket after bucket transforming them into jellies and even one attempt at wild wine.

    Muscadine grapes are Texas natives thriving prolifically in our acidic soils. Being natives, they have wonderful disease resistance not found in common grape varieties. The only real pest are the ones who get to them before you do. These marvelous grapes do contain a small seed and rather tough skin- completely edible, they are more often used for jams, jellies, and that home made wine.
    My homestead is blessed to have wild southern Muscadines growing heartily in the canopy of several trees around our property. Since they are voracious climbers, harvesting is best done by laying out a tarp or sheet and shaking the vines with reckless abandon allowing the mature fruits to drop from the tree tops.

    While I generally manage to harvest several pounds of them, our curious donkey has managed to discover he has quite an appetite for them. Now, whenever he sees me head down the drive with a bucket he bellows with all his might absolutely convinced I am stealing precious treats grown specifically for him.
    Either way, the guys and I manage  to gather and freeze plenty before they dropped to the ground- forever lost to the herd who graze here. As soon as fall planting slows down a bit my frozen treasures will be delightfully transformed into pint jars of sweet Muscadine jelly.

Muscadine Jelly

4lbs muscadine grapes, washed

Mash the grapes with a potato masher or use a food processor, pulsing lightly.
Heat them in a heavy bottom pot to a gently boil and simmer 10 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent burning.
Using a sieve or colander lined with several layers of cheese cloth, strain the warm grapes over a bowl to collect their juices. I often run the mashed, hot grapes through a food mill before straining to extract more juice (not required). Strain about 30 minutes.
Discard pulp. You need about 5 cups of juice.
**prepare jars/lids and place a saucer (small plate) in the fridge.
Place your juice in a heavy bottom pot and stir in one and one half box of pectin.
Bring this to a full boil slowly.
Stir in 7 cups sugar and bring it back to a boil. Boil hard 1 minute.
Test for gel by dropping a spoonful of jelly onto the cold saucer (plate) and tilt the saucer. If the jelly gels, it is ready to ladle into prepared jars. If not, add the other half of the pectin box; return to a hard boil and boil 1 minute.
Ladle into jars leaving 1/4” headspace. Process in water bath for 5 minutes.

A few tasty variations:
Add lime zest to the mix offering a fresh twist.
Basil or rosemary steeped with the original simmer (before straining) is unique and wonderful!
Drop a chile pepper into the mashed grapes before simmering for a spicy hint of flavor.
Green apples can be added if you are a bit short on grapes, or if you have already strained the grapes and are a bit short of juice use apple juice.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Hebrews 7

King James Version (KJV)
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Children in the Garden: Exploration

     In the dictionary, exploration is defined as the act of traveling in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it. Truly many lessons can be prepared and shared in relation to nature and the garden, yet, exploration has it's place as well. The absolute freedom and release to roam without directed or dictation-  that is the essence of our exploration. 
     Exploration was the first introduction my children had with nature; in formal gardens, home gardens, and the great woods. As infants, I carried them on walks through the beautiful trees resting near ponds and creaks or sat them nearby our home gardens while weeding the flower beds and planting the vegetable plots. The outdoors can calm a fussy baby and engage a cranky toddler as they gaze at color and contrast; see the butterflies and hear the call of a bird. Once mobile, exploration come easily as fresh curiosity is allowed to be satisfied. 
     As older children, we enjoyed strolls through nature reserves and visits to area forests or master garden lots. This gave them greater exposure to continue stirring those inner questions and curiosities. Opportunities came for them to plant in our own yard and seek information from various resources as they pondered their visits. Picnics were had in the midst of native trees after visiting a butterfly museum filled with amazing living habitats. Freedom to explore and make requests for further exploration stirs the older child as they grown in their own wisdom and experience. 
     Teens need the opportunity for exploration as well. Often I struggled with the strong desire to 'teach' or 'lead' as we hiked, planted or planned, but letting go the reigns gave them courage to press on and seek for themselves. At this age, they planned many of our outings as well as designed gardens at our home placing close at hand the beauty of nature for their own quiet place to be. To sit beneath a tree on a hike, with a rod in a boat, or even stroll the vegetable garden in absolute quiet simplicity brings a rest and comfort not found anywhere else. 
      In this world of violence, over stimulation, and media driven entertainment our children- our adults as well- need the unhindered opportunity to explore the beauty and wonder of nature. It doesn't have to be complicated or even all day, it simply needs to be available and repeated to refresh ourselves and renew our sense of being.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Long Ride Home

     The car door closes as a sigh leaves my lips. Traveling out of the parking lot the reality of tired, frustrated drivers greats me head on. Red light, long turn lines hinder my progress as I trudge along toward a very busy gas station. The decision to wait till morning lends me the escape from one more frustration as a fellow motorist cuts me off only to realize this is a turn only lane. He holds up traffic while waiting to merge back over before the road runs out.
      Turn to the right. Mainstream madness fades away behind me as the roadside boasts fewer businesses. Trees hug the shoulder offering a gentle canopy through which sunlight filters and clouds play peek-a-boo. The ride slows allowing the first signs of relaxation to soften my rigid frame.

       Rolling to my gate I am greeted by a farm boy busy at his work. Little goats line the drive offering a gentle sound as I pass. Doc gives a hearty holler while he runs to me eager to stick his head in the window for some nuzzling.

       Parked. I open my door to a very excited Hadassah- kisses abound as I step out. Deeply I breath in the scent of good earth freshly tilled and ready for planting. Inside a glass of iced tea waits beside a comfy chair where I will sit a bit and chat with my guys catching up after a hectic day.

       Nightfall finds me listening to the crickets and the whirl of my fan. Drifting off to rest a prayer of thanksgiving is breathed for the long road home.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Precious Memories

   In the great expanse of prairie life there are many variables; the weather, the crops, the herd and the gatherings. No matter the circumstances a few constants always remained; my grandmothers. Strong women of the prairie who lived through hard times, maintained a steady homestead, and were faithful to their families. My grandmother and I had a wonderful relationship, but, oddly enough, my great grandmother and I had and even better one.
   Just a ways from the farm in a little 'suburb'-type area was where she lived. Encircled by a white picket fence, her house always made me thing of a 'cottage' with simple, native flower gardens and a little white rock driveway. There was a trellis-arbor to enter her place; rambling roses climbed and bloomed there. Just like a picture on a postcard, her gate just seemed to welcome you in.
   Often our arrivals were abrupt..just picking her up for a monumental and rare trip to a neighboring town where the only Walmart was located. She and I sat together in the back seat of my grandmother's big car. She's squeeze my hand and smile; sparkling eyes hidden by tinted glasses, a light hint of red on her lips. Red hair was tucked in a scarf and a hefty dust of powder coated her softly lined face.
   Once at the store my great grandmother and I were left to ourselves; she didn't walk as fast as the others. I always stayed close by her because, after all, she may need some help reading a label or seeing things. Her first stop was always the perfume counter. I do not like perfume; don't wear it nor do I enjoy it, but one of my favorite memories of her is the perfume counter.
   In those days perfume counters had whole trays full of 'tester' bottles. She would spritz her wrists to sniff each one, then as me to sniff as determine the 'best one'. When her wrists ran out of room, it was time to use mine. Goodness, we must have been quite a scent to come across! From there we went to test talcum powders before hitting the rest of the store; anything fragrant was grounds for testing and sniffing....beware the candles..and when she discovered potpourri- oh, my!
   The end of our shopping trip sent us to her home where bags were unloaded over iced tea. My job was to take Fritzie outdoors for a "puddle". Such a tiny little ball of fluff; I didn't know anyone else with such an itty bitty dog. He and I went out back, and, you had to watch it because he would slip under the fence. Off to the side of the house was her laundry room where the old cast iron chicken fryer sat atop her dryer..I have no idea why she kept it there, but it was always there; always. Then came the garage where her powered blue car sat; I found it fascinating..powder blue. She didn't drive, but she kept that car and it looked right out of a picture.
   Before heading back to the farm there was always 'a little something' to eat. My great grandmother would open the cabinet next to the fridge and pull out a flour sack towel covered bowl full of fried chicken. Talk about a quirk that would weird you out--many a times I got 'the look' for asking why her chicken wasn't in the fridge - since it was in the cabinet right next to the fridge..a girl needs to know these things, right?
   In later years she moved from her home to an assisted living apartment, but my great grandmother stayed a vital part of our farm lives. Her frequent visits to the big farm kept her actively part of that busy and sustainable life. Along side her I shelled peas, pitted cherries, and snapped beans every season. Along side -her memories were made of perfume and fried chicken.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


    Today we pause to remember
live lost
heroes found
images seen
devastation beyond belief. 
Let us never forget.

Monday, September 9, 2013

While we Wok: Bok Choy

    My path to becoming a master gardener offers me the opportunity to meet many people of many different walks of life, each one sharing a bit of themselves along the way. One sweet soul introduced me to the marvelous world of Asian greens. Her encouragement led me to turn a new row in my garden for the sole purpose of growing Tatsoi and bok choy. Today we meet a new member of our garden greens family: bok choy.

    Bok choy,  brassica chinensis, is a member of the cabbage family. It doesn't look anything like a cabbage. To me, bok choy more closely resembles Swiss chard in both appearance and flavor. As a green, it lends well to salad or saute readily absorbing and carrying any flavor you introduce.   

    Enough technical stuff. Let' fire up the wok. Today we gently saute the chopped bok, introducing gentle flavor with a hint of citrus. You will need: bok choy (1 head or three baby heads), an onion, dry cranberries, segmented oranges, oil, garlic/ginger seasoning and a little cooking sherry.

    Prep everything and set up near your stove top before lighting the fire. Get that wok smoking hot and drizzle a hint of your favorite oil down the sides, rolling the wok to coat it. Drop those onions in and toss them until they are nice and translucent before adding the bok choy. Toss and turn the bok a good 2 minutes giving it a light sear and a slight tenderness. Sprinkle in some garlic/ginger seasoning and toss again. Lightly drizzle cooking sherry down the sides of the wok and work the veggies along to fuse the flavors. Drop in the cranberries allowing them a minute to plump.

     Toss in the oranges and garnish with pecans, if desired. We added a bit of salt, as greens tend to need it. Plate it before your oranges get mushy and enjoy.
    This time we served our bok with a piece of baked salmon, however, it went wonderfully with Soba noodles and chicken (we tested that first:). In all honesty, bok choy is quite versatile in any dish you would use a green in. Even a simple saute with garlic and crushed red pepper turned out beautifully.
     My family's take on it? Well, the farm boy ate it without pause but did comment he would have left the oranges out  (not a fan of warm oranges). My husband gave me the 'I think it's cabbage' face and simple nibbled a bite to appease me. His comment- it's okay, but he's pretty sure it's cabbage (not a fan of cabbage). He didn't complain a bit though when it was tossed with those noodles the other day..of course, I hadn't told him what it was then.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect

    A quilt takes hours upon hours to piece together making it somewhat valuable and precious, to me anyway. After all that work I am in no hurry to quilt a design I am not fully comfortable with, especially if I am using my machine. Due to the possibility this quilt will receive wash and wear I decided to machine quilt it instead of hand quilting..meaning, I need to practice before I start. 
To read the rest of this post visit me in the sewing room.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Hebrews 6

King James Version (KJV)
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
And this will we do, if God permit.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekend Gardening: Children in the Garden

a much younger farm boy
    It is no secret; I am a huge supporter of garden education, especially with children. Natural wonder and inborn curiosity are free to run in the midst of a garden. Turn a child loose among the growing things and simply watch as their unfettered roaming leads to investigation and question. That drive to investigate and learn can be fostered and encouraged leading to adults who continue in that quest for understanding, whether in nature or in another area of interest.
    Unfortunately our current cultural environment no longer encourages the native roamings of a child at play. Instead we face sterile walls of confinement met with hours of screen time. Commercialized neighborhoods offer a few well placed shrubs and a manicured facade aimed to enhance curb appeal, but leave very little to the explorative nature of a child. Children are kept clean and given activities, homework, and rewarded with media exposure instead of the freedom to roam. 
     In this we have built for ourselves generations of souls suffering. Richard Louv, in his book Last Child in the Woods addresses this culture with great sorrow and concern. Modern educators are seeing the truth in his writing as he summons up the situation with the term "nature deficit disorder" (NDD). Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they’re right in our own backyards. (*
   We have a choice to make. Do we reason this to be the new norm, allowing the continuation of NDD and it's side effects? This choice leaves us to consider the rise in reading and concentration problems, obesity, anxiety and depression. Do we stand up and make a difference? This choice leaves us to look closely first at our own homes, then beyond to our communities offering encouragement and example. 
    I stand for the children and say, let's open the doors and lead the way opening the door to a return to the woods. Over the next several weekends our 'Weekend Gardening' section will be dedicated to the children and their return to the wild. My family has been raised with freedom and opportunity to roam the wild with nature parks, habitat preserves, and home gardens. They have been given permission to seek for themselves and direction to learn from others. They now have the opportunity to mentor and share that love with others as they mature and move on. 
    My heart's desire is to inspire life long learners- and one way to do that is through God's glorious creation. Next week we look at the aspect of exploration; providing opportunity and freedom to the very young, the more advanced, and the special cases. As always I offer you the freedom to share your heart, your experience, and your questions..let's learn, grow and encourage together. 
    Let's meet in the garden, shall we?

To learn more about NDD please consider visiting, and consider reading Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happy, Happy, Happy

It may have been a short week, but it was a week either way.  I am ready.
Ready to slop around in my grungies.
Root around the garden rows.
Muck it up in the barn.
Flop out on the couch with my man.
Shut the gate and leave it that way.

Happy Friday everyone!
See you tomorrow for "Weekend Gardening".