Monday, July 30, 2012

Garden Time!

This last weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to go camping with my husband, cousin, and our two wonderful dogs. It was amazing! It was a lot of work to prep for and clean-up when we returned, but worth every second! One of the best parts, most of the food we took (aside from our meat and protein sources) came from our garden!!

We found new hikes, explored new trails, discovered how hard newspaper cross-word puzzles can be, tried to start a fire using two sticks and a shoelace (we got smoke but no actual flame:( ), went swimming, made s'mores, told stories, and so much more out in the Ochoco's! But once we returned home, I discovered how much I have neglected my garden as of late. There were weeds and tomato TREES when we returned, as well as some very large produce which was overlooked before we left! Oops!!

Well, now is the time to change that. Today we pruned all of the tomatoes (I'll explain my perspective on tomato pruning tomorrow!), weeded, watered, fertilized, and harvested. Fun and exhausting, but desperately needed!

I want to most of my garden this summer, and as the weather already begins to cool down, I'm worried our growing season will be shorter than usual. So, encouraging plants to set fruit and ripen it before the weather becomes too cold is all I can do to help them along. I'll keep you up to date on just what it is I'm doing!

 For now, I just wanted to share a little garden update! And to let you know, even though we often  have the best of intentions, sometimes life takes over our passions for a brief time. What is important is that we learn to adapt to these obstacles, embrace & enjoy them, and then return to what we love!

And always be thankful for what we have been given!


I'm also getting ready to plant some peas for a fall harvest, so I'll keep you updated!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Reflection For Women

This post is slightly biased, but this one is for us, girls!

This prayer really struck me this evening as I read, and took-in, every word...probably because of how true it is, especially in my life.

As I have grown in years and maturity (along with a degree in sociology and psychology) the role of women & girls in this society has become very clear. For some time, I have been bothered by the emphasis we all seem to place on outward beauty and appearance. Now, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with taking pride in our appearance; this vessel is our gift from God and we need to care for it. I just think women have lost sight of what is truly important in life...and what will make us truly happy.

I have struggled for years with low self-esteem and lack of confidence because I didn't measure-up to others' ideas of beauty and perfection; I let everyone place a value on me instead of focusing on my value as a christian woman.

 I work everyday to try to change this attitude. That is why I find this prayer so poignant.

My prayer is that reading this will allow all of the women, young women, and girls to find happiness within themselves. We are ALL beautiful and precious children of Christ!

(The following prayer comes from One-Minute Prayers For Women)


We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true - even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

~1 John 5:20~

Lord, do you see all the ways women are invited to falseness? A pretentious attitude and a modified appearance will get you far. That is what the world offers. No wonder so many women and young girls struggle with a sense of self. Your love grounds Your children in truth about their worth. We are all valuable because we are Yours.

Even if I cannot always tell which world image is real or retouched, I know the image of the cross is true. I can believe in You completely.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Plant Nutrition: Cheap & Economical

When it comes to our gardens, plants, or our yard/homestead, we all want the best; in both health and beauty. So it should come as no surprise that plants need to be fed much like we do. When we are provided with adequate nutrition, essential vitamins and minerals, we feel good, have energy, and are far more productive. Well, the same applies to plants...when given a boost of nutrients (generally from some form of fertilizer) our plants thrive. They grow faster, produce more, have more flowers, and are generally healthier and stronger than those left alone.

The type of fertilizer used is generally personal preference, and to be quite honest, based on affordability as well. I have been using my worm liquid fertilizer mostly this summer and supplementing it with some fish fertilizer I purchased at our local hardware/garden store. The fish is fairly economical and my worm is of course, FREE!

But not all of us have access to free fertilizer or we just simply don't have not fear, there is another cheap solution. It's called 'compost tea' and it works just as well and is easy!
When I first moved to the high desert, this is what I relied on. Try it out for yourself!

1) Gather your kitchen scraps that would usually go into your composter, or yard debris barrel (if you live in-town and don't compost yourself). Place a moderate amount of scraps (plant and food both work well) and place them in a mesh bag, burlap bag, or just into the bottom of a bucket.

2) Add water to the scraps and 'steep' the tea for 2 days to a week, stirring occasionally.

3) After steeping is complete, simply remove the bag of scraps, or strain the solids out of the liquid. Throw the solids into your compost pile/bin and retain the liquid.

4) Put a small amount of the tea into your watering can and dilute, you don't want it too strong.

5) Liberally apply to any or all of your plants! Let your plants take it from here! :)

**Note: The tea needs to be kept in a warmer area to steep properly. It should also be noted that this can be somewhat place it somewhere out of your direct path.**

Depending on the strength of the brew will determine just how much of a difference you will notice right away. If you feel like yours is on the weaker end, you many not need to dilute it as much. I think I may have done this to be on the safe side...I want them to grow and prosper but I don't want to kill them either!

As far as fertilizers go in general, I still prefer my worm and fish the best. But sometimes we have to adapt to our financial circumstances, or just simply want to make the most of what we already have; waste not, want not! Never a bad philosophy to live by; I try to make the most of everything we have too (just ask Cam, I think it sometimes drives him nuts, ha!).

Growing plants that can live up to their full potential is dependent on several factors. One of which is adequate and proper nutrition. This is an easy way to use what you have in another way!

I hope this helps your garden grow!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cherries, Cherries

 This year, I had the distinct honor of going out to my auntie & uncle's farm to pick pie cherries. I was absolutely delighted to be able to go out and pick some to bring home, despite the fact I didn't like cherry pie... I guess I was thinking I could just eat them or make pie for my mom who LOVES cherry pie!  So basically, I knew not the difference between 'cherries' and 'pie cherries' even; just another opportunity to learn!

A 'pie cherry' is generally very small with a thin skin. From the stories I've heard, when you pick them, juice just runs down your arm. They are usually quite tart as well, which makes them perfect for pies and desserts.

After probably 15 minutes of picking with family, we had a whole basket FULL of these small delicate, juicy, and vibrantly red fruits. We ate a few - not too tart to enjoy - and brought the rest home. We've been slowly munching on them and I've come to appreciate their unique combination of tart and sweet.

Yesterday, my mom made a surprise visit, and was able to spend the night with us! I was so excited to have her here that I wanted to make her her favorite pie: cherry. So I recruited her help with pitting, and got to work!

I don't own a cherry pitter so I was using a stone fruit knife. Needless to say, it took forever just to do a few of these small cherries. So my mom decided to share an old trick with me that they used whenever they made cherry pies; get a straw and just push the pit through. Heeding her advice, I scrounged up some plastic straws and prepared us for work.

Me & my mom pitting cherries on
the back patio
The cherries I picked were sweeter than most pie cherries, according to my mom. Their difference did just stop there though; they also had a much tougher skin than usual. So when we tried to poke the straw into the cherry, all that happened was we bent it! Well now...applying the same concept, I knew I must have something around the house that was a little stronger. My solution: the hard plastic straws from the reusable plastic drinking cups. And low-and-behold, we had found our cherry pitter!! We dove right into that basket of cherries.

Once we had pitted enough for a pie, I went inside and got to work!

Cherry pie!

I made a standard Crisco double crust for the pie. For the filling, I used 4 cups of cherries, 1/3 cup flour, almond extract to taste (several large glugs for us!! :), only 1/2 cup of sugar since the cherries were already sweet, and just a squeeze of fresh lime juice. I mixed it all up and filled my bottom crust. I gently placed the top crust over the berries, cut several decorative air vents in the top, and put it in the oven. Forty-five long minutes later, it was done!

Since I don't usually enjoy cherry pie, I was very hesitant to try this one. But, since I made it...I had to try it:) So I pulled a little container of home-made ice cream from the freezer and served up that warm pie a la mode!

When I took the first bite, I nearly hit the floor! Cherry pie from fresh cherries tastes nothing like the store pies or a pie made with canned cherry filling! It is sweet, tart, creamy and chewy deliciousness when the first bite hits your tongue. The complete and true flavor of the cherries just blossoms, instead of being suffocated by red food-dye and a metallic taste (personal opinion though!).

So now when my mom asks to have cherry pie for her birthday dessert, instead of turning up my nose in disgust, I will eagerly proclaim: "I'll make it!!"

Thanks mom for sharing your wisdom and love with me!
Thanks Jojo & Ron for the wonderful cherries!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Courage and Strength

 (The following is an excerpt from One-Minute Prayers for Women)

The Strength of Jesus

But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
- Hebrews 3:6 -

"I am weak but He is strong." Yes, Jesus loves me. And I am so thankful. My weakness is more apparent all the time. I should be old enough to know better about everything. But I don't. I take false steps in strange directions. I strive to measure up to the world's expectations. But what I really want is to measure up as a child of God who needs the help of her Lord. I want Your power in my life.

Help me turn my hope into true strength. I am weak. But I know the One who lifts me above my circumstances. Let courage grow from my active faith.


Sometimes it's hard to admit we can be wrong; or that we get caught up in the thought or excitement of something so much that we lose sight of what is true. I've been there... a lot! This small prayer brings it all into perspective for me. I may get all wrapped up in the expectations and ideas of others, but if I allow myself to pause for just a moment, I remember just what it is I am working towards!

May this bring a little hope to your day and the beginning of this week.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Won't You Come Into My Garden

My day at Smith Rock, Terrebonne, Oregon
This is the time of year I've been waiting for...warm weather, plentiful sunshine, and long days. In the high desert, this is the perfect time of year, especially for our gardens! So now is the prime time to share all we have done with others! Invite them in, let them explore, and experience your work for themselves.

I recently had the privilege of having a few friends visit that we haven't seen in years. We were able to show them our house, garden, and catch up on all that has been going on in life. It was the moment when we entered my back garden to sit and visit that was the most poignant (from a gardener's perspective) moment for me! They entered, sat down, looked around, let out a heavy sigh, and said, "wow, it's like your own little oasis here...this is nice!"

Sometimes validation from others is extremely rewarding. It lets you know that how you feel and how you try to express yourself can be felt by those who enter into your space - your canvas, in a way. This is our form of art.

Knowing this has allowed me to be able to take pride in what I've accomplished; not in a boisterous or 'better-than-you' way, but in a 'I'm proud of what God has allowed me to do with His beauty' way. That's the best form of pride in my book!

So, if the opportunity arises, invite others into your garden,but keep one thing in mind: we need to invite them to experience it - whatever way they may - not to boast about our accomplishments. Be proud of what it taking place, but do it humbly! We've been given a beautiful gift...lets give credit where credit is due!

Share with me your experiences, pictures, or ideas, please. I love to read more ideas and see what others have been able to do!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Something Remarkable

Today was a bit of a struggle for me. I went to work and had very little energy. When I arrived home this afternoon, my cousin and I had to decide if we wanted to take a hike or try to start a project around the house. We opted for the former...we needed to get outside!

We decided to hike Misery Ridge at Smith Rock State Park...this is somewhat 'over-dramatic' but this hikes name was befitting of my disposition after work this afternoon. :-) Any how, we set off and decided to just make the most of the beautiful afternoon - no matter how we felt emotionally.

As we began, just as the trail described, it was a lot of work!! We could have easily stopped and turned back to the car. But instead, we chose to keep going. We hiked and climbed, and when we reached the top, something truly remarkable happened...we were having fun! We were happy again!

This verse pinpoints my day to a "T"!

Something Remarkable
(An excerpt from One-Minute Prayers for Women)

Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today."
~ Luke 5:26~

Lord, I confess I have been thinking about how unremarkable my life is. I wake up, I go to work, I try to be a good friend and a loving member of my family, but nothing extraordinary takes place. It is just me, moving through the daily necessities.

Lord, forgive me...I have forgotten how remarkable it is to breathe in and out, to be alive. Somehow I have ignored the privilege of true joy. And how may times have I been amazed by Your compassionate covering of my hurts? Each day that I move deeper into the future You have planned for me is a miracle of renewal. Praise You, Lord, for You are doing remarkable things in my life today. Sometimes I just need to be reminded.


Today was truly my reminder! I hope this brings light to the doldrums of an 'average' day for you as well!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Wonders of Summer Vegetables

The time has come...I'm beginning to get quite an array of vegetables ripening in this wonderful weather we have been so blessed with!

I've picked three heads of broccoli so far and am hoping that they will soon send out off shoots that will be ready to eat later this summer. I picked the last of my peas, more Swiss chard, beets, and kale. I folded down the tops of my onions and set them on the top of the soil to cure. So much is changing so very quickly now.

Things are progressing beautifully and I'm so excited to be able to experience it all! I've been really busy with my cousin and work, but none-the-less, I always make time to appreciate the very simple calm side of garden!

Along with garden work, we've been really busy working on our home as well. We have painted two bedrooms so far and are working on baseboards and trim. It may be very time consuming, but when it's all said and done, its so rewarding!

Tomorrow we have another hike planned...Misery Ridge! I'm excited! I'll keep you posted on how it goes!!

Enjoy the weather and the blessings the garden brings this time of year! When we take a step back and truly appreciate what hard work and discipline can do (along with blessings :-) a whole new type of appreciation emerges!!

Let me know about your gardens and the things you find to do this time of year...even your favorite part of the season. I'd love to hear it!!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

So Much Fun!

As I said earlier, we have been working hard on reviewing many different trails, parks, and fun places in the area. Yesterday we completed a 5-mile mountain bike ride to the top of a look-out. Today, well, we went all out and finished a trail 15-miles in length, 75 % of which was all up-hill riding! It was beautiful, but most much fun!!

I also had the privilege of going out and picking fresh pie cherries at our aunt and uncle's farm. Not only did we get delicious cherries, but we had so much fun visiting family! We then came home and made home-made ice cream...what a way to end our day!

I've gotten my fourth picking of raspberries tonight...two large bowls!

I am feeling extremely blessed! I have what I need - health, shelter, family - and so much more.

I pray that wherever you find yourself at now, you can find hope for what lies ahead. Everything is changing (it will never stay the same) and when we can truly appreciate the things we have - no matter how small our blessings may seem - we will lead such full lives!

Share with me some of the blessings you have encountered...I'd love to hear!

Learning to Go-With-The-Flow

The First Step

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

~Proverbs 16:9~

I have great intentions, Lord. You know my heart carries with it many hopes and plans. Some have come to pass, and others I wait for with patience from You. But lately I sense my life shifting ever so slightly. One moment, my eyes are cast on a defined horizon, and in the next, they are peering at something hazy. Without my permission, without my foreknowledge, my true future emerges. You encourage my spirit to carry on.

Thank You, God, for letting me rest in the security of Your plans, not my own. Things change - sometimes so quickly that I lose my footing. But as I take the first step in a new direction, I know You are holding me upright and directing each step.

-(Excerpt taken from One-Minute Prayers for Women) -

I found this verse extremely calming applies to so many different aspects of life! I can truly find peace in change and the "unexpected" moments of each day!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kohlrabi: A Lesson on Something New

Kohlrabi (German turnip) (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes group) is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage that will grow almost anywhere.
The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter, hence its Austrian name Kohlrübe.

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.
(Definition taken from Wikipedia )
This description is what sold Cam and I on trying to grow this vegetable ourselves; it just sounded like too much fun to pass up, so we bought the seeds and tried it for ourselves.
I did a little research on Kohlrabi and found that this vegetable, since part of the cruciferous family, grows well in cool conditions (meaning it will grow well as an early spring crop) and grows in most areas. I also read that the younger Kohlrabi are sweeter and milder in flavor...if allowed to mature, they can become quite spicy. They require constant moisture (but good drainage) in order to keep them juicy and from becoming "woody".
My newest vegetable trial!
I planted my seeds directly into the ground early this spring (actually May 1st in this area) when I planted my peas, radishes, turnips, lettuce and spinach. I kept them watered and waited for the stems to swell. When the weather began to warm up, they took off. I now have a beautiful crop of Kohlrabi!!

Now that I've successfully grown it, I had to learn just how to use it. I flipped trough different web-sites, cookbooks, and magazines to try to find out some different ways to use Kohlrabi. I finally stumbled across this recipe and decided to give it a go! It was so good, I wanted to share it...

Cabbage-Kohlrabi Slaw
( Food Network Magazine,  July/August 2012)

Peel 1 medium Kohlrabi and cut into matchsticks. Whisk the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/4 cup chopped dill, 1/2 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl; whisk in 3 TBS olive oil. Toss with the Kohlrabi, 1/4 head shredded cabbage, and salt and pepper to taste.

I found it to be unlike anything I have eaten recently. The sweetness of the kohlrabi is perfectly balanced by the spicy cabbage and slightly sour lemon juice. The more I ate, the more I craved it. I really enjoyed did Cam!!

After this trial run, we have decided Kohlrabi will be a constant in our future gardens!

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Monumental Day

As I mentioned earlier, I love, love, LOVE fresh apricots! I've shy-ed away from the apricots at the grocery stores because the flavor is nothing close to the caliber it should. So technically, I haven't had a freshly picked apricot since I went with my family to Coral Reef National Park...back in 2006!

Today was monumental for me...I was able to pick - yes, pick - and eat fresh apricots today!! I got word that there were some ripe and available along the Deschutes river; so my cousin and I packed a basket, the dogs and headed out (after, of course, our 7-mile hike at park #2 on our list :).

We took turns using the 'picker'. I will admit, that thing takes a little more skill than I thought to be effective at using it. Our first attempts ended in a lot of falling fruit; it's fine by me...i just have to eat the bruised ones first! We eventually got the hang of it though, and despite the very hot and still conditions, we were able to gather an entire basket full of fresh, juicy, sweet, and perfect in almost every way, apricots!

I've already enjoyed several of them - I couldn't wait any longer - and they are indeed just as wonderful as I remember! Well worth the time, sweat, and a little bit of frustration.

So if you have an opportunity to go out and pick fresh produce you can't grow at home, seize it! Being able to taste fresh fruits and vegetables direct from the field is such a delightful experience!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Lesson in Charity

This was my prayer of the evening and I found it so striking, I just wanted to share it!

The Riches of Hope
(Excerpt from One-minute Prayers for Women)

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

~ 1 Timothy 6:17-18~

Your are my provider, Lord. You gave me life, and You will create ways for me to follow in Your way. I should not question this, yet I have been in situations where financial uncertainty cause me to doubt the plans You have for me. I question what tomorrow might bring, rather than counting on what my Lord might bring.

I turn my circumstances over to You today. I will accept the goodness and the riches You allow. From the blessings You give, I will give to other people. I will strive to put my hope in You, God, not in my bank account. Let this step of faith encourage me to take bigger leaps tomorrow.


I pray you find encouragement in this, as I did. Enjoy!

Nature's Army

 My garden has been overwhelmed with's a sad fact, but none-the-less true. My roses are covered; my plum tree and honeysuckle bush have even fallen prey to these little critters.They have been extremely destructive in past years and I want to put a stop to it!

My rosebuds covered in aphids!
We have tired natural pest control - ivory soap and water - which worked when we had only a few. Now that we have so many, it doesn't seem to phase them. So then we tried a chemical citrus based product to control them. Still, there was no difference in our aphid population.

At our whits end, we decided to visit our local nursery to distract ourselves from our disheartening infestation. As we wandered around (after closing time coincidentally...oops...they were so nice to us though! :) and found several beautiful plants I wanted to take home, we came across a sign hanging on the side of till booth. It read, "The Ladybugs have flown in!"

Cameron paused for a moment and said, "that's cool...but what do you do with them?!"

I just chuckled and told him they were amazing at controlling many garden pests. As the last words flew from my mouth, a light went off for both of us...why not try ladybugs to control our aphids?!

So that is just what we did! On a whim, we bought a bag of ladybugs - about 1/3 C. which is approximately 1,500 ladybugs - took them home and began our release effort!


We let them sit on the counter for two hours to get acclimatized to the weather conditions outside of their little mini-fridge. After that, we opened the bag and began to disperse them throughout our garden!

As soon as the bag was open, they were crawling and flying out everywhere. It was amazing to see so many of these little bugs in one spot and having the responsibility or releasing was extremely fun to do!

We 'sprinkled' them all around our house and watched some land safely on the soft, moist ground while others immediately took flight and flew off. And as quickly as we had opened the bag, they were gone. We had successfully emptied our bag of about 1,500 ladybugs hoping they would find safety and satiety in our yard.

For the next two days, we went out to see how many of them stuck around. To our surprise, we could only find one or two, every couple of days, in different areas; nothing consistent. We began to feel like this was just one more thing on our list that wasn't going to work for us.

But just as I had given up hope, today, when I walked out my front door, I noticed that several of my rosebuds had opened. As I examined them closer, I noticed they did not have nearly the amount of aphids covering them as they did! Those wonderful little ladybugs did stick around! They may be a little bit slower than I originally thought, but they are efficient...each bud would be completely stripped of bugs or would be covered, simple as that!

So far, I'm thoroughly impressed! After so many different attempts, all I needed to do was go back to God's creation and his master plan. How can you go wrong with that?!

If, like me, you are experiencing a pest problem, give these ladybugs a try. We found ours at our local nursery, so your nursery would be a good place to start inquiring about where you can get them. It's a simple and fun way to clear out some very destructive bugs, which will allow you more flowers, fruit, and vegetables to sit back and enjoy!!

Have fun and try something a little obscure for may just pay off!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Steelhead Falls

Here is what I'm working on next...a review of a local park. We discovered it last Sunday and had a great time oohing and ahhing at the view. It's hidden back in a very our-of-the-way area which made it all the more enjoyable. It was also open for fishing...which completely excited Cam!!

I am blessed to have my cousin staying with me for a month! Not only is he a lot of fun, but when he's here, I do a lot more exploring; not just to State, National, or City parks, but to off the road trails, water-ways, and natural areas.

So for the next few weeks, I will continue visiting areas and filling you in! It's a good way to truly absorb the complete beauty of the area in which we live. So, Steelhead Falls was just the first of what are hopefully many more!

As I enjoy this new experience I would encourage to get out, if you can, and do a little exploring. Google "hikes" in your area and pick one that intrigues you. And when you have some free time, explore may even give you a whole new appreciation for what we are blessed with!!

If you know of any awesome trails or areas where you live, share them!! Hopefully soon, Cam and I will be able to take a little camping road trip and who knows...we might just find ourselves in your neck of the woods!!

Enjoy! :-)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Day of Excitement!

Today was such an amazing day for me! I spent my morning mountain biking in a magnificent area for three hours with my husband, picked fresh produce from our garden, & released 1,500 lady bugs as pest control!

Nothing was 'normal' for us...but thats what kept us coming back for more. With every new exciting venture, we continued longing to extend the 'newness' of each moment of our day.

That is what life is about! The Lord has given us so much beauty to enjoy, but it is up to us to experience it! That's what I feel like we did today...and it was such a phenomenal experience!

I will write in more detail about our excursions but I just wanted to leave you with this...take a day to do something you truly enjoy. You will be amazed at how it affects the rest of your life!

Go out & enjoy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Pics of the Week!

These are just a few of the memorable moments I had during this past week...I hope you enjoy!!

My cat Clyde is back! After being a little too curious and friendly, he found himself locked in the neighbors garage for a day and a half...which is scary to me. I was blessed to hear his yowl from my back fence and, upon investigation, I found him. He's been clingy ever since :-)

The night he came home, he decided he wanted to play in the garden with Cam and he found himself buried in weeds! He never objected, though, he just enjoyed our attention.

Cam and I were joking and said this is how he catches all of the mice and birds around our's kitty camo!!


Relaxing on the couch with Bandit after a long hard day! He likes to think of himself as a lap dog - a little cuddle bug - but he unfortunately doesn't realize his size or strength. I admire his persistence though!


Meet my husband Cam! He decided, bless his heart, to rid our cul-de-sac of weeds by power washing all the cracks in the kind-of just made a mess! ha ha!


This little guy I stumbled across on a walk we took last Sunday afternoon. It was overcast and calm and this particular tree was abuzz with bees eagerly collecting pollen. This guy took the time and posed for me!

These are just a few moments from my week that make me smile and realize just how very blessed I am. I hope you enjoy!

A Piece of Encouragement

Facing the Storm

(Excerpt from One-Minute Prayers for of my favorite devotionals!)

Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

~Matthew 8:24-26~

Craziness consumes me, Lord. Beneath the confidence I show the world, God, You know an ocean of fear rocks and swells. I feel it when I spend a few minutes in silence. That is why I avoid quiet time with You. I'm afraid to face the storm.

God, I am just like the disciples who followed You and listened to Your many explanations of what it means to believe. I have heard Your parables and witnessed Your faithfulness, yet I cry, "Save me," with little faith. Pull my gaze to Your eyes. Do not let me look at the waves about to crash into my ordered world. When the winds die down and I face You on the calm waters, I want to be found standing as a faithful servant.


At the close of this work week, for me, this is exactly how I feel. I feel as though I have let all the faith be drained from me by the constant and overwhelming bombardment of tasks and information throughout the week.

I have noticed my lack of faith, trust, and the confidence from the Lord, hanging gloomily over me like a storm cloud on a perfectly sunny afternoon. This prayer and verse are a comfort for me. I realize that I'm not alone in or through these rough times. Faith and perseverance is what I need to cling to...I can feel that storm cloud beginning to break up!

I hope you can find comfort in these words, just as I have, or can share them with someone who could benefit from them. We all need some reminding of what we have to look forward to!

Enjoy and may peace find you, wherever you might be!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Garden Fever!

I feel almost as if I've been at a stale-mate with my garden. I weed, I dead-head, I fertilize, water, mow, and train, and still I feel as if everything were growing in slow motion. I have a tremendous pea crop; as well as kale, Swiss chard, radish, turnip, beet, and even kohlrabi! But as far as maturation goes, I feel sort-of behind...but slightly encouraged after my day in my garden :)

I walked into my serenity garden (the portion of my garden completely fenced off from the dogs and cats; a place welcoming and inviting to those other than my pets :) and noticed several red raspberries amidst the sea of green berries. I've been blessed with several, albeit small, strawberries, and am so excited to be able to pick my first raspberry crop of the year!! In fact here is my first picking... :-)

After the brief encouragement from my berries, I began to take a closer look at my garden; really get in there and see just what was going on. To my surprise, a lot more has been happening with these plants than I gave them credit for.

                                                    My Brussels sprouts have small spouts on them, I have four small heads of broccoli, two heads of cauliflower, several heads of cabbage...and what is that I see?! A green tomato?! Indeed, it is!

After so much anticipation, my work is beginning to pay off with the warmer weather crops. Honestly, I couldn't be more excited! I was able to walk out into my own garden, pick a fresh raspberry and not only eat it, but almost experience the way the fresh, sweet berry tasted. It was phenomenal!

I am also beginning to see what awaits me in the next few weeks and months; green beans, zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, sprouts, corn, beets, cabbage...and so many more! It is this moment of peace, satisfaction, and delight that keeps my hands in the soil year after year! I hope you have found peace here in your garden as well!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrating our Independence

Today is July 4th. This is the day when we celebrate our independence; as a new nation, under God. We are thankful to those who fought for our freedoms and for those who are currently and will serve. A most heart-felt 'thank you' is owed to you!

We hung our flag proudly today; we put out stars-and-stripes decorations and Cam even bought me a bouquet of red, white, and blue carnations! But for the rest of the day, we spent it enjoying time with friends and partaking in one of the many freedoms we are blessed with: mountain biking!

I realize this may sound completely un-patriotic but our ability to take a day and experience/enjoy  this beautiful land and country is one of the privileges we have here...something I feel our founding fathers would have wanted us to be able to delight in. But I digress...we chose to spend our day, not only being thankful, but being active and acquiring new skills, knowledge, and appreciation for the country in which we live.

It was the perfect day for mountain biking; the sun was out but there was a breeze to cool us down. We took our time, explored several new trails around the area, talked, but most of all we enjoyed every minute or our day. I'm not going to try to fool you either...we're all extremely sore:) But I honestly feel like that was part of the fun.

When we were finally finished - after about 15 miles and three intense hours - we were so thrilled; not only to be finished but to know we saw and experienced so much much we take for granted every other day!

We ended our Fourth of July celebration with fire-works. We bought some from the stand down the road and set them off in the street. No matter how small they were or how short they seemed to last, something about setting off your own fireworks is so much fun!! And, as an added bonus, we could even see the community fire-works show from our house -  in all it's splendor!!

I will always be thankful to those who continually fight for our freedoms, on and off the battle field. Yes, this is a day to celebrate our independence, but I feel it is also a day to truly be thankful for all we have been given and have to opportunity to partake in!

I wish you all the happiest Fourth!

Share with me, if you will, what you did this Independence Day and what it means to you and your family! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Reaching Beyond Yourself

When I woke up and went off to work this morning, the last thing I was thinking about was anyone else out there who was in the same boat as I was - off to work to provide for our families! Almost everyone does it, in one form or another, and it is easy to get caught up in 'our' believed purpose for the day. However, when we pause for just a minute, we can see those who are struggling just as we are or, unfortunately, are scraping from every last reserve just to make it through each day. Whatever the case may be, we are not alone, in any sense of the word, in the monotony of the daily grind or worldly struggles.

 For me, there were several times today when I was presented with a 'choose-your-own-adventure' type of action; let the man behind you in the grocery line with two items go ahead of you, let the semi-truck into traffic on a very busy road, talk to someone who needs a friend, listen to someone who wants to share a story as you pass them in the isle of Goodwill...whatever or who-ever comes your way, it is entirely up to us on how we choose to proceed. I like to think of it as an opportunity to show people there is good left in the world...good that comes from knowing Christ and wanting to share Him with others.

Make a choice and make it happen!!

Lending a Hand
(Exceprt from One-Minute Prayers for Women)

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
~Proverbs 31:20~

To whom should I give today? Whom can I help? Let me start the day with this question, Lord. If I am asking to be of service, then I cannot ignore the opportunities when they arise. I have looked into the needy faces and kept walking. I think too much about such things. My mind asks, "How can I fix someone's life?"
You ask me to be a woman of charity and kindness. My actions to assist another child of God become a part of Your will for that person. You are not calling me to fix her, to make her whole. Only You can do that. My job is to lend a hand along the way.

I hope you find this verse and prayer as encouraging as I have. We work for Christ, and when we let Him shine through us, we truly make a difference!

Reach out!! Share it with me...I'd love to hear how you let Christ work through you!