Sunday, July 31, 2011

Be Touched By the River~

8 He said to me, "This water flows out to the eastern region and goes down to
the Arabah. When it enters the sea, the sea of foul water, the water
 [of the sea] becomes fresh.

9 Every [kind of] living creature that swarms will live
wherever the river flows, and there will be a huge number of fish because this
water goes there. Since the water will become fresh, there will be life everywhere the
 river goes.

 10 Fishermen will stand beside it from En-gedi to En-eglaim.
 These will become places where nets are spread out to dry. Their fish will
 consist of many different kinds, like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea.

11 Yet its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be left for salt.

 12 All [kinds of] trees providing food will grow along both banks of the river.
 Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. Each month they
will bear fresh fruit because the water [comes] from the sanctuary.
Their fruit will be used for food and their leaves
 for medicine."

Ezekiel 47:8-12

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty

We have had Thinking Putty in our home for about 5 years. It has been
used by all the children to help them with their fidgeting and now I have
found a new use for it.

As I use my hands a lot in playing music, I have been experiencing some
stiffness in my hands. When trying to build up speed in my mandolin picking
and remain accurate, I have come to realize that my hands are very weak.

While learning the chords and strength for finger placements, sometimes I have to
really stretch to make the chords or hit the notes.

A little history...

Crazy Aaron first created his putty back in the late 1990’s when he was building
websites in an office setting. He was inspired to develop the perfect desk toy, which
took off after he placed an order for 100 pounds of bouncing putty. He experimented
and did research for his product until he concocted a whole line of great colors and
textures. It was soon after that his co-workers began stopping by his cubicle to buy
their own tin of Thinking Putty.

When the demand for Thinking Putty outgrew what Aaron was able to make in his
mother’s basement, he moved the manufacturing to a vocational facility in suburban
Philadelphia. His company now provides jobs and teaches practical skills to
exceptional people with special needs.

When you order the putty you receive a card displaying and explaining a variety of
exercises that you can do to strengthen your hands.

I have personally made up my own exercises. You can personalize them to your
own needs. My hands have become stronger and most of the stiffness is gone
from them. Being consistent is a real key as with any exercise. I try to use it three times
a week.

It doesn't break apart much and it doesn't dry out. Though I have never experienced
a leftover mess, I did find a very small piece stuck to our living room carpet it
isn't fully "mess proof." But mostly.

If you would like to order your own, visit Amazon  or go to Crazy Aaron's Putty World
to learn more and or to order.

Have fun!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life is Rich... God is Good

God promises blessings in our lives. I must say that I am a blessed woman. These past two
weeks have been a whirlwind of blessings and challenges. Family... friends..truth revealed..
affirmation..special memories.. And God proving His faithfulness again and again.

I feel so behind on blogging, but I know that God has put this blog in the place where it
belongs as far as priorities and I am grateful that I don't have to fret about
the days when I just cannot get to it. He truly does order our time when we commit it
to Him.

I hope you all have been having as blessed a summer as I have. In the midst of the loss,
God has shown himself to be faithful and loving and ever-near.

One of the greatest blessings that Jeff and I have experienced together this summer,
is the reunion of our adult children. To see them walking in the ways of the Lord and
leading their families in God's truth and love is just so affirming, rewarding and healing.

To worship with them, discuss the bible and to be able to pray with them in unity has
brought a joy to us that cannot be expressed.

We also had a lot of fun singing together and target shooting. When it
wasn't raining, there were folks gathered around the horseshoe pit.

The little ones enjoyed the goats, chickens and watering whatever they
find! So precious.

God is so good to bring forth fruit from the things that we sow
in His name. Sometimes we are unsure of the progress and we toil over
and pine over our mistakes. It is in spite of us that He brings life.
As we walk in obedience to His perfection.. we can
rest in the fact that He is ever watching over His word to perform it.

Be blessed and encouraged. Walk in joy as He works His will and weaves His plan
and purposes in your life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Keeper of the Home... A Relevant and Interesting Link~

A couple of weeks ago, I had shared about the treasure trove of blogs and websites
that I have found to be insightful, fun, inspiring as well as offering answers to questions.
Not that I am an expert on blogging or on what my friends are seeking answers to.

I would just like to recognize some of these wonderful places to visit and share some
of these with you.

Trove: A collection of valuable items discovered or found

Keeper of the Home is a wonderful site that offers information about homemaking,
health and nutrition. Organic gardening and recipes are a few other features that you
will find here. There are interesting articles about family, frugality and stewardship

"She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness
 (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat" -Proverbs 31:27 (AMP)

I hope you enjoy this site and find it as helpful and interesting as I have.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Beginner's Herb Garden~

Summer is such a glorious time to be out. I look for every reason
possible to be in the fresh air.

One of my favorite past times is to work with herbs. I find it to be very
therapeutic. Using herbs as culinary flavorings is a very rewarding
way to utilize what I've grown. Nothing brings food to life or can
 substitute the flavor of fresh herbs.

Growing and maintaining herbs is not difficult. They are a wonderfully fun
and exciting way to introduce children to gardening or to encourage some
one who may need a little boost of confidence in growing things.
They really are very easy.

A few reasons why herbs make a perfect beginner's project are:

*they are easy to establish
* they are low maintenance
*they provide a quick yield
*they are pleasing to the eye
*they spark creativity

Our newly transplanted Basil plant. This pot is right outside our back door.
The children have always loved to go out and pull off the fresh leaves
for tomato sandwiches or a pasta salad in the making.

This delicate looking plant is one of my favorites.
It's delicate appearance can fool a person though. Last winter, I brushed
the snow away to cut fresh pieces from it to add to a batch
of herbal vinegar that the girls and I were making. 
I also mix it in chicken salads and rub it all over my
turkeys before I roast them.
 OH! The aroma that comes from the oven~ 


Catmint or Catnip

Our cats crawl in the middle of this plant or lay on it.
Sometimes they break off entire branches! They can't resist it.
This can used for tea or dried and used to make cat toys.
It grows very quickly into a beautiful, bushy plant; it's been cut
back three times already this season.

Verigated Sage

I use this for stuffing and a homemade turkey sausage recipe that
our family enjoys. It smells so good drying in the kitchen.


This plant makes a lovely addition to a dried arrangement
or just used by itself.


We cut this fresh and chop it for our baked potatoes.


Apple Mint

This is our second planting of Apple Mint.
Last year we lost it because it was in too hot of a spot.
Mint does prefer a bit of a cooler location. This year, I re-located the mint
so that is gets about half sun and half shade. It has
established well. I included a photo of the new shoots coming
only 5 days after transplanting. I was very surprised.

(Many herbs are draught tolerant. However, I have found in this
brutal AZ. climate where I live, even the hardiest of plants need
extra water and sometimes prefer part-shade.)

The Apple Mint with it's new shoots!

 Common Sage

Many herbs are perennials which means they come back
each year without re-planting. This is helpful to
the budget and also makes anticipating springtime even more fun.
The plants grow in size and can often be propagated each year.

Plants make wonderful gifts or if you are of the entrepreneurial
mindset, you can pot and sell them at a local farmer's
market or craft fair.

Herbs can be grown in ground or they make wonderful plants
for container gardens. I like to mix them up with flowers when I
plant in containers.

If you put them on pots, and have a nice south-facing window,
they can wintered inside very well.

Here is my pot of Rosemary that I moved inside last winter.
It wintered very nicely.

This south facing window is in my bedroom.
I was very glad to add some green to my sanctuary
for the winter. (I am VERY big on green things inside.)
Not only do I enjoy just looking at my herbs, touching them releases
the wonderful aroma into the room.

As you can see, herbs provide so much enjoyment and
are useful as well.  They can be used in foods, preserving, crafts and
medicinally. The possibilities are limited only by one's
creativity and desire.

If you enjoy herbs but aren't really
sure how to use them, here is a book that will help you get 
started. It is called The Pleasure of Herbs
and is available through Amazon Books.

It is not a new resource but it is my old favorite.
I have used it as a reference for twenty years.
 Just the fact that it is still available
today speaks of its relevant information.

Here is a description of the book.

This lively book is brimming with information about herbs and herb growing.
 There are 298,000 copies in print.

Whether it's creating an herbal wreath for Christmas, a circular herb garden in April,
a bridal bouquet in June, or a savory harvest feast, this lively book is brimming
with dozens of exciting things to do with herbs every month. You'll learn to plant
an indoor herb garden, make herb breads and jellies, grow and use everlastings,
create pomanders and herbal pet aids, and much more.

Each chaper presents a potpourri of projects appropriate to a different month.
 In February, for example, you plan your spring gardens -- a perennial fragrance
bed, an all-purple garden, and all-thyme garden, a knot garden. Meanwhile you
luxuriate in a lavender bath and sip a hot tisane (herbal tea) -- or perhaps concoct
an herbal valentine. November, on the other hand, features recipes for poultry stuffings,

directions for making gift baskets, potpourris, and Thanksgiving condiments,
and instructions on bedding down the garden for the winter.

An extensive "Gourmet Gardening" section begins each chapter, with advice
on seed-starting, soil preparation, companion planting, organic pest control,
harvesting, and garden wrap-up.
The book also includes:

* A culinary "herb-of-the-month"
* A chart of botanical names and families
* Harvesting and preserving tips
* A brief encyclopedia of herbs
* A list of herb suppliers
* A bibliography

I hope this information was helpful
and that you will be able to begin gardening soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

No Internet..

I'm sorry I have not posted..Our internet was down for three days.. I'll be back soon..

Sunday, July 10, 2011

101 Ways to Encourage Your Children

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Proverbs 25:11

Speaking encouraging words is so important. They lift people up and often times bring
a smile to someone's face.

Most often times the encourager is lifted up as well. It makes me happy to know that
I have brightened another's day.

It has been said that for every negative word spoken it takes ten encouraging words to
to counter that. Wow!

We know that the Bible says that "there is death and life in the power of the tongue."
That can be applied to the words that we use to encourage as well.

Positive words can bring healing to relationships and hearts. Dreams can be restored
and hope can spring up from the pit of discouragment.

When my children were small, I found a poster that listed these 101 ways to encourage
a child. I sticky-tacked it to the side of my refridgerator. The entire family
used those words to encourage one another.

Great Job * Way to go * You are so creative * Your talents never cease * Terrific
* Fantastic * You are very thoughtful * Thank you * At-a-boy/girl * I trust you
* You are a joy * Stupendous * Marvelous * You are a beautiful person *
That was gutsy * I'm so proud of you * You're a miracle * That was ambitious *
Let's try again * Let's try it together * You are generous * You're the best * Great
* You make me smile * You're a great artist * You are super * You're on your way
* I appreciate your … * You are really growing * I am so happy for you * I like the
way you handled that * Thank you for your honesty * You are not alone * Outstanding
* Congratulations * You can do it * You have a terrific sense of humor * That took
a lot of patience * You deserve it * I forgive you * You are courageous * You are
independent * Give it a try * Awesome * God loves you * You are so bright * I'm sorry
* Please join us * You're welcome * Let's go for it! * I see real improvement * You
tried your best, I can tell * Wonderful! * I see you like to explore * You're Clever *
You are my sunshine * You are perfect, just the way you are * I respect your privacy
* Great idea * That was original * I love your imagination * You're a great athlete *
I love how you sing * You are a good friend * It's ok to make mistakes * You are very
observant * Great listening skills * You are strong and healthy * You're growing up *
I have confidence in your judgement * Thanks for helping * Superstar * You're special
* You're making progress * You've discovered the secret * That's incredible * You're
unique * You've got a friend * You belong * Nothing can stop you now * You really
tried * Now you're flying * Hurray for you * How did you do that * Looking good *
You're doing it * Bingo * Well done * Bravo * I like your work * You're important *
You're a winner * Exceptional performance * You learned it right * A big hug *
A big kiss * I love you *

Your words have power!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Song that He Sings Over You

Life is rich... Life is painful...  vast... uncontainable..

We try to remember the joyful times by taking photos and recording movies.

                                            Times of reflection.

At times we even try to re-create the moments that we so cherished instead of

letting them go. Accepting that the moment for that particular joy has passed.

When we are visited by tragedy, we tend to move

as quickly as we can through and away from

those experiences. We shy away from loss and

pain and grief. 

Nothing can hold back these events that come our way..

Sometimes they rush in like a wave.  At other times the overwhelming is slow

like the creeping in of a flood.


The month of June held many losses for our family. We lost two beautful

friends to cancer. Sometimes the grief just pours out. I try to play and replay

the memories of our times together. I don't want to forget. Remembering hurts.

I'm afraid of forgetting.


One half million acres of the wilderness and forest that we treasured so much

is gone.. burned.. lifeless..

                                         Our family used to make the hike up to this tower.

The view was incredible. This photo does not compare
to the real thing..miles of God's creation~

                                                              After the Wallow Fire
                                    Escudilla Mountain burned almot 60 years ago to the day.
                                                It will never be the same in my lifetime.


It's a slow thing for me. Waiting on God. Allowing myself to feel.

Looking to His grace..Depending on it. There's a knowing that He is near.

With His Father's loving touch, He will bring healing.. a peace and a rest.

I can trust in His mercy and truth. His love endures...and He is

faithful to bring life from things that die..that's His way.

 Without the pain.. there is no healing..
Without tears... why would we need laughter?

Victory would not be attained without defeat...
Were there no valleys..mountain tops would not exist..

The loss would not feel great if we did not deeply love.

God knows what He desires for each of us. What He allows in our life will be

part of the song that He sings over us and the way that He orders our steps.

And it will be good... His plan is good..

He knows what we have need of before we ever ask and has made every

provision for our good according to His plans and purposes..

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Declaration: What the Signers Sacrificed for Our Freedoms

Our family looks forward to the fourth of July. It is such a festive time and we
enjoy the visits with family and friends. We live in a small town that still offers
a parade and fire works. Living in the west means there is also a rodeo.Yahoo!

We decorate our home and hang out the flag. There is always a watermelon and
a barbecue. As I write, a horse shoe pit is being added to the backyard. All we will
need is some lemonade. One of our favorite family traditions is to make homemade
ice cream using the old hand crank contraption. It's a great time for traditions.


As parents, we have always believed that our children should be aware of their
heritage as Americans. As we partake of the freedoms and privileges of this
great land that we live in, we want our children to be aware of the sacrifices
that were made that afford us these liberties that we, can and do at times, take
for granted.

In teaching these facts of the establishing and founding of our country, it
 plants a patriotism in their hearts. As they have grown older, this patriotism
has turned to a sense of ownership. In the realization of  this ownership,
they have been moved by their conscience to a place responsibility.

The responsibility that falls to each American citizen to use their voice and
resources within their means to protect and uphold the liberties that were
born out of tremendous hardship, sacrifice, heartache and deep conviction.

Following through with this responsibility is the only hope that future generations
have for the protection of these liberties.

As I was searching for something to share with the girls, I came across
this book and read the information following. It touched us deeply and
turned our thoughts toward the signers of the declaration. I thought I would
share it with you.

Here is a book that highlights the lives of the 56 signers. It speaks of the sacrifices
that they and their families made and the hardships that they endured to secure our

 Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed
 the Declaration of Independence

In July 1776, fifty-six men risked their lives and livelihood to defy the British and sign
the most important document in the history of the United States and yet how many of
them do we actually remember? Signing Their Lives Away introduces readers to the
eclectic group of statesmen, soldiers, others who were chosen to sign
this historic document and the many strange fates that awaited them. Some died from
war-related injuries; others had their homes and farms seized by British soldiers; a few
rose to the highest levels of U.S. government (ten signers were later elected to Congress).
George Wythe was murdered by his nephew; Button Gwinnet was killed in a duel; and
of course Sam Adams went on to fame and fortune as a patriot/brewer. Complete with
a reversible parchment jacket (offering a facsimile of the Declaration on the reverse),
Signing Their Lives Away provides an entertaining and enlightening narrative for history
buffs of all ages.

Below are a few details.

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve
had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary
Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their
fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and
large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration
of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas
by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family
almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, andhis family was kept in
hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or
soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward,
Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis
had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George
Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis
Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died
within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.
Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For
more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and
his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed,
rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had
security, but they valued liberty more.

"Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a
conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God?
Thomas Jefferson

Interested in purchasing the book? Order it Here

Quotes about our constituion.

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the
people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government."
Patrick Henry

"We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to
overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution." 
Abraham Lincoln

I also found a wonderful site called:

  Archiving Early America   Your Window into America's Founding Years..
It offers a wealth of information. There are writings offered here that you won't

find in the American History books. Much of the information is taken from 18th

century materials.

                            Happy Independence Day!

                                      God bless you~