Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Life is Urgent

"One must have the capacity for happiness
 in order to be fully aware of its absence."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

Blessings ~ our 19th wedding anniversary ~ 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

~ Sadie, waiting patiently ~

"Wait and trust the LORD,
Don't be upset wen others get rich
or when someone else's plans succeed.
Don't get angry.
Don't be upset; it only leads to trouble."

"It's not what we take up but what we give up that makes us rich." 
"True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare." ~ G. K. Chesterton ~
"Contentment is natural wealth
Luxury is artificial poverty."
~ unknown ~
"The world is full of people looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment. 
~ Doug Larson
"You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough." 
~ William Blake ~
"We may pass violets looking for roses.
We may contentment looking for victory."
"If you look for perfection, you'll never be content." ~ Leo Tolstoy ~
"What day is it?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh."
"Help me to have what I want." "Help me to want what I have." ~ unknown ~
"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for." ~ Epicurus
"You act like it's you against the world but it's really just you against yourself." 
~ unknown ~
"Content makes poor men rich.
Discontent makes rich men poor."
"Comparison is the thief of joy." ~ Teddy Roosevelt ~

"For I have learned in whatsoever state I am, 
therewith to be content."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Donna ~ Quesenberry Family ~ Jim ~ Stephanie ~ Hancock Family ~ Austin ~ Sandra ~ 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ireland: Two Hearts, One Land

Anita, at Castles Crowns and Cottages, is hosting a virtual travel party entitled:

(The blue print says "Europe: Simply Irresistible Link Party July 18-25, 2014")

It's a virtual party and travelogues may be imaginary or places one has visited. Last November I went to Ireland and, in several posts, you'll be introduced to my thoughts and photos. The series will end with an Irish gift giveaway...are you ready? 
These two lads evidently lost their heads over me...LAM! (laughing at myself)

The November day my plane touched down in the Republic of Ireland it was raining. 

Of course it was raining; it's Ireland, therefore it's raining. Fortunately, living on a farm, I'm used to weather and was prepared for chilly, rainy weather so wandering around the terminal, looking for transportation meant a minor inconvenience and not a tragedy. I opted to take the bus as opposed to a taxi; buses meant rubbing elbows with locals and that meant, possibly, good tips and advice. The older woman who sat next to me accepted, with a smile, my apology for my barely controlled suitcase as it skittered hither and thither. She asked if I was from the States and proceeded to tell me what she liked best about her home. For a city woman, she dressed country in sensible walking shoes, tweeds, a raincoat and carrying an umbrella; my kind of woman and we both enjoyed our short visit.

First Irish meal and first Guinness in Dublin.

~ Dublin statues, all alive, save dog ~

Dublin is a cozy city and a walkable one; I was never far from anywhere, especially as I'd opted to stay in a, more or less, central location. 
Not in the Temple Bar area because it's rowdy, busy, filled with neon lights, noise, pubs where drinkers spilled into the streets and more energy than I wanted to either expend or be around. I prefer cities in manageable bites; small portions where one partakes of the culture and the sentiment and where history can be smelled, tasted, touched and felt without being burdened by a crush of humanity.

~ The Long Room ~
At Trinity College, The Long Room was a must see. "Under the 1801 Copyright Act Trinity College was designated as an Irish legal deposit library entitled to a copy of every book published on the two islands. " The Long Room measures 63.7 metres long, 12.2 metres wide and 14.2 metres high and, in a word, is amazing!

At Trinity College, the Book of Kells was also a stop. I always visit as many churches, cathedrals and see as many important works as I can and have been blessed to stand at the alters of the Gutenberg Bible and the Magna Carta in London. To see the Book of Kells was as inspiring and tears were quietly shed; if you'd like to see digital copies, click here.

~ Go Slow and, I add...savor... ~

A couple of days in Dublin and I was ready to hit the road with Vagabond Tours, Discover Ireland tour. The first driver wasn't endearing while the second driver should be on the "promote Ireland" poster. Day and night, chalk and cheese; the difference between them was unbelievable but both were very safe drivers and Vagabond Tours is recommended with this caveat...be aware with November ends tourist season. Prior to booking, I asked about visiting Inis Oirr, Aran Islands, a sheep farm and Skellig Michael but, upon arrival was told "closed for the season". Still, Vagabond Tours is recommended and kudos to them for a lovely trip with very comfortable lodgings chock full of charm and with breakfasts to die for. Out of 29 counties in the Republic of Ireland, we traveled through the majority and three of the four provinces: Leinster, Munster and Connacht although I later visited Ulster in Northern Ireland on my own.
~ Vagabond van ~

Going south, one of the first stops was the magnificent hill top setting of Rock of Cashel where the wind was beating a few tears from the clouds. 
It reminded me of home and I knew, better than most, what it would feel like in a few months. What was a chilly, blustery day would become bitterly cold, making the monks earlier decision to leave for warmer climes an understandable one. This group of 12th, 13th and 15th century medieval relic buildings keeps watch across the valley where an Abbey once nestled, protected from the worst of the wind. Even so, when the monks left, the nuns followed.
~ crosses, Rock of Cashel ~

BlarneyCastle was a delight. At least, I'm sure it would have been had I gone but, having no desire to press my lips where hundreds of thousands have pressed their flesh, I bypassed the Castle and had a Murphy's and lunch in
Muskerry Arms pub and also the first place I saw “my people” meaning a farming gent, sitting at the bar, Guinness in hand, barn coat spread open across his body, muddy boots resting on the fender and his newsboy hat pushed off his forehead. He was holding court and I could only imagine the exchange having to do with the weather (of course), harvest, autumn planting, the price of petrol and a dozen other topics peculiar to those living close to the earth and her seasons.

A walk up the road and a little retail therapy meant a wool vest and snood at the Blarney Woolen Mills which were, eventually put into use. In some of the outdoors photos of me, it looks like I'm as round as I am tall and that's due to the enormous number of clothes I have on. I took silk long johns, wool sweaters, Dave's Barrow, Alaska fleece jacket with hood, a rain hat and rainproof jacket and wore Patagonia waterproof boots all of which came in handy when a stop alongside the road meant a visit to the fairy glen. 

Mercy! I'm exhausted and it's just the first day or two and am hopeful you've enjoyed the travelogue and photos thus far and will return for more episodes. I am so grateful to Anita for hosting this little party; it's bringing back so many wonderful memories and I'm enjoying myself...all over again...

Blessings ~ Ireland ~ pubs ~ Guinness ~ Murphy's ~ Blarney Woolen Mills ~ Rock of Cashel, Vagabond Tours ~ Muskerry Arms Pub ~ Dublin ~ Trinity College ~ Book of Kells ~ Anita at Castles Crowns and Cottages ~

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Make Mine Real

When someone gives you a bag of lemons, you make lemonade...right? This wasn't how I was taught to make lemonade but this is how a lazy woman, short on time and long on hand pain makes lemonade. Everything I do requires hand, wrist and arm strength and my hands, etc. take a daily beating. Anything I can do to circumvent or alleviate pain, I do and, sometimes, that means wearing wrist/hand supports on both hands. Truly attractive...not but, a lot of days, so very necessary. 

All the lemons were washed before being cut into quarters. In smallish batches, they were piled into a blender along with a couple of cups of tap water. My tap water is delicious but if I had to drink city tap water...shudder, gag, choke, cough, sputter...ugh. I'd rather use bottled water because I don't like the taste of bleach and no matter where I go, I can always, but always, taste bleach in city tap water. 

Once the lemons were crushed and chopped they were put into a China man's hat which is what I grew up calling this apparatus. At the thrift store, when I was buying it,  a woman said, "Oh, you've got a ricer." I replied, "Well, I've always called it a China man's hat." She looked like one of those prim sorts who had fallen prey to the PC crowd...you know the type...pursed lips, disapproving look on her face, looked like she'd been sucking lemons. 

Anyway, I digress. I smiled and said, "I started out calling it a China man's hat and since it's going to live at my house, that's what it'll continue to be called. Her eyes looked like Morse code...blink. blink. blink. blink blink...you get the idea. 

The lemon water mixture was pushed and pressed to give up all the juicy goodness collected in the glass bowl beneath.

Each time, all the lemon water mixture was encouraged to give up everything except the bare dregs of lemon peel and rind.

There's a couple of pictures missing...the one where more water was added (to taste), the photo where the lemonade was poured into a big round pitcher; the photo where I made simple syrup. Hmmm. What can I say except ooops.

Simple syrup is in the glass jar on the left while the leftover lemonade is in the milk jug on the right. Simple syrup is a nice, easy way to let everyone sweeten their own drink (lemonade or tea) as much as they want. To make simple syrup I mix 2 cups boiled water with one cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. Keeping it in a glass bottle in the refrigerator means it stays fresh and is an easy pour.

The Aladdin plastic drinking vessel is my new favorite. Although I'm not crazy about drinking from plastic, nor am I crazy about broken glass or condensation. This drinking vessel doesn't sweat or break and, when filled with water several times a day, is one way I trick myself into drinking 64 ounces. 

My lemonade isn't as clear as when the lemons are pressed so their juice is released. My version is also a trifle more tart than the other way but, to my taste buds, it's far superior. There's ever so much more flavor and nary a seed to distract the indulgence.  This lemonade was a rare treat and was served with freshly baked shortbread. I would show a photo of the shortbread but it's gone...all gone.

Lemonade is best consumed with friends and this friend is Mary Katherine, from Through a Glass, Darkly. She and her lovely daughter, Julia, stopped at the farm on their way from somewhere to somewhere else. Did it dawn on me to get a photo of she and her daughter? No and I must admit I'm ashamed to admit it. Julia, please forgive me!

Meeting blogging friends is a blessing and for we Christians, gives a taste of what Glory will be like one day. I know most of we happy Christian bloggers will never meet this side of the veil so when it happens, like this visit, it's joyous indeed. Mary Katherine and Julia, many thanks for making me a stop on the way; thank you for your gift of time.

Blessings ~ fresh lemonade ~ simple syrup ~ Christian sisters ~ blogging friends ~ Mary Katherine ~ Julia ~

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

"For every animal of the forest is mine, 
and the cattle on a thousand hills. 
I know every bird in the mountains, 
and the insects in the fields are mine."

"In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, Who alone is sovereign, does not declare. 'That is mine!' " ~ Abraham Kuype ~
"The greatness of the man's power is the measure of his surrender." ~ William Booth ~
"Everything we have is really loaned to us; we can't take anything with us when we depart. If we have no use for a thing, we should pass it on to someone else who can use it--now."
 ~ Norma S. Scholl ~
"In our good works nothing is our own."
"There is no such thing as a great man of God, only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a great and merciful God." ~ Paul Washer ~
"Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, "God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. 
I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what you command me to do." ~ R. C. Sproul ~
"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." ~ Martin Luther ~
"What defines us as Christians is not most profoundly that we have come to know him but that he took note of us and made us his own." ~ John Piper ~
"One of the greatest missing teachings in the American church today is the reminder to men and women that nothing we have belongs to us." ~ Gordon MacDonald ~
"Stewardship is the act of organizing your life so that God can spend you."
~ Lynn A. Miller ~
"If there is one single reason why good people turn evil, it is because they fail to recognize God's ownership over their kingdom, their vocation, their resources, their abilities, and above all their lives." ~ Erwin W. Lutzer
"It is an anomaly of modern life that many find giving to be a burden. Such persons have omitted a preliminary giving. If one first gives himself to the Lord, all other giving is easy."
~ John S. Bonnell ~
"God is the Lord of human history and of the personal history of every member of His redeemed family." ~ Margaret Clarkson ~
"God is never at a loss because He cannot find someone to cooperate with Him in carrying out His plan. He so moves in the hearts of people - either Christians or non Christians, it makes no difference - that they willingly, of their own free will carry out His plans."
~ Jerry Bridges ~
"Forget happiness.
You were called to a throne.
How will you prepare for it?
That is the question of virtue, Christian style."

"Behind Calvary's cross is the throne of heaven."
~ James Stewart

"But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore; 
ye are of more value than many sparrows."

If you've a name to be added to the prayer list, please let me know. Around the world, people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Austin ~ Dustin ~ Jim ~ Donna ~ Sandra ~ 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

This Magic Moment

~ the view from my window, this magic moment ~

Did you notice the header photo changed? It's such a beautiful scene I wanted to show it again...go ahead, drink in all that wonderful beauty. Take huge gulps until you're sated, filled to overflowing with the wonder of God's holy creation. Marsha, aka Splendarosa, asked, "How can you bear to leave?" The answer is, "I can't but it's a different season of life now and needs are being dictated by age and the desire to be closer to family. I want to serve a huge meal with parents, siblings, nephews and their families gathered around. I want to be a Titus woman to my family and want to use my remaining days more wisely than they are now being used. And, truth be known, I want to be closer to creature comforts like museums, theatre, opera, restaurants, book stores, etc. When Dave was alive, he was my family and our lives were filled to overflowing with each other so those "creature comforts" weren't missed. Besides, we traveled often and to far flung places and it seemed we'd return from one trip only for him to say, "Where would you like to go next?"

So, until I move, I drink deeply from the stellar views surrounding me, take lots of photos and enjoy this magic moment

What Passes For Entertainment Around Here

Across the road there's an alfalfa field that has always proved too tempting for cattle. One reason it's easily accessible are the fences...or what passes for fences. Last week, a cow went through the fence and was hastily followed by a lot of friends and, I assume, some family. As they all look alike, Black Angus, it's a pretty safe assumption, don't you agree? Anyway, late Thursday afternoon, someone pulls up in a farm vehicle, opens the gates, dumps minerals and salt on the other side, then rounds up and pushes the cattle through. By 9 p.m. that same night, the cattle returned and were grazing in the field.  And who said animals are dumb?

This morning, four drivers showed up, including a small car, and they all proceeded to round up the cattle. I should mention the cattle don't belong to the owner of this field and for most of the 19+ years I've lived here, this scene has played out time and time and time and time...again. Often, I've wondered why not repair the break in the fence but hey! what do I know, I'm only a "hobby farmer".  This morning, after the cattle were pushed into "their" pasture and the gate closed, I heard the pounding of a hammer. It seems someone (finally!) decided to fix, or at least jury rig, the fence but my money is on the cattle...I give 'em until dark to make their way back into the alfalfa pasture.

Remember Levi Lilly? He's the kitten, here and here, rescued from the barn owls and has grown into a sleek, handsome boy. He's also a murderer killer and likes to hunt for his meals which is totally unnecessary as he's never hungry. Cat food is always available, set out away from the dogs, so Levi is hunting from instinct and not survival. In this photo, he looked up from a warm morning meal and is letting me know is not the best time for a photo op.

Of an early morning, I've been deer watching. In and of itself, that's a wonder because the deer are anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 mile, or more, away. The photos are a bit fuzzy but this little fawn has been romping around Mother, wandering further and further afield but never too far for Mother not to have him/her in sight. 

This buck or stag, as they're called other places, was in the back pasture. He's a fine specimen and I hope he's able to successfully hide come hunting season. I've never understood the desire to have a deer head with antlers hanging on the way...and I come for a family of hunters! The men folk in my family have, mostly, hunted for food and that I understand but trophy hunting...not so much. 

Speaking of Europe...it's time to return. Last November I was in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and thoroughly enjoyed those weeks. It was quiet in Northern Ireland but The Troubles are threatening to flare up again and that's something else that totally befuddles me...how we use our religion to hurt others by trying to force them to comply with our ideology. Somehow I find it very difficult to see Jesus in people me when that happens.

Lately, I've been thinking of a return European visit, perhaps eastern Europe this time. I adore Budapest and the Hotel Thermia Palace in Piestany, Slovakia is my favorite among all spas. 

So! On July 18-25 I'm going to Europe; want to come with me? I haven't decided where but it's going to be with Anita at Castles, Crowns and Cottages and is entitled 

Europe: Simply Irresistible Link Party.

It might be one of the places already mentioned or it might be London or Corsica or Florence or Barcelona or Tiblisi or Yerevan or Hipat Monastery or... hmmmm. Me thinks it's time to take a whirl around my photos in order to begin working on my contribution.

Make sure you return on July 18; until then, it's a secret but it's sure to be another magic moment...

Blessings ~ travel ~ Europe ~ stag and fawn ~ Hotel Thermia Palace ~ Anita ~ Castles, Crowns and Cottages ~ 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

"If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face,
and turn from their wicked ways; 
then will I hear from heaven, 
and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land."

"While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian." ~ George Washington, 1st U. S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence ~

"Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God...What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be." ~ John Adams, 2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence ~

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probably by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event." ~ Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence ~ 

"I am a real Christian - 
that is to say, 
a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ." 
~ Thomas Jefferson

"Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. ... Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us." ~ John Hancock, 1st Signer of the Declaration of Independence. History of the United States of America. Vol. II, p. 229 ~

"A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest while we are building ideal monuments of Renown and Bliss here we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven." ~ James Madison, 4th President of the U.S. and signer of the Declaration of Independence ~

"Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ." ~ Rev. Jonathan Dickinson,  first President of Princeton University ~

"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man." ~ Alexander Hamilton ~ Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Ratifier of the U. S. Constitution

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not be religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here." ~ Patrick Henry, Ratifier of the U. S. Constitution ~ 

"The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made 'bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God." (Isaiah 52:10)." ~ John Quincy Adams, 6th U. S. President ~ 

"I do declare to the whole world that we believe the Scriptures to contain a declaration of the mind and will of God in and to those ages in which they were written; being given forth by the Holy Ghost moving in the hearts of holy men of God; that they ought also to be read, believed, and fulfilled in our day; being used for reproof and instruction, that the man of God may be perfect. They are a declaration and testimony of heavenly things themselves, and, as such, we carry a high respect for them. We accept them as the words of God Himself." 
~ William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania ~ 

"By conveying the Bible to people thus circumstanced, we certainly do them a most interesting kindness. We thereby enable them to learn that man was originally created and placed in a state of happiness, but, becoming disobedient, was subjected to the degradation and evils which he and his posterity have since experienced.
"The Bible will also inform them that our gracious Creator has provided for us a Redeemer, in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; that this Redeemer has made atonement "for the sins of the whole world," and thereby reconciling the Divine justice with the Divine mercy has opened a way for our redemption and salvation; and that these inestimable benefits are of the free gift and grace of God, not of our deserving, nor in our power to deserve."
"In forming and settling my belief relative to the doctrines of Christianity, I adopted no articles from creeds but such only as, on careful examination, I found to be confirmed by the Bible."
~ John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court and President of the American Bible Society ~ 

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven 
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who hold the truth in unrighteousness"

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ United States of America ~ the Godless and Godly employees, elected and hired, of the USA ~ military men and women ~ Dustin ~ Jim ~ Stephanie ~ Donna ~ Austin ~ Sandra ~ 
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