Posts tagged ‘life’

July 21, 2011

Neglected Blog

A little neglect may breed great mischief. – Benjamin Franklin

More business is lost every year through neglect than through any other cause. – Rose Kennedy

A man should never neglect his family for business. – Walt Disney

My blog is suffering from wanton neglect – even my daffodils seem to be wilting…

When making your choice in life, do not neglect to live. – Samuel Johnson

Well, at least, I can say I’ve been living:)


Gloria Dei vivens homo. (The glory of God is man fully alive.) – St. Irenaeus

Whether a dainty cupcake, a massive painting, a mini-mermaid tail or a woolly pair of socks – when I create, I am fully alive!

Magic bubble wands and fluffy tulle – that’s what little girls are made of!

The foundation of my hamburger cake design…

My booth at the Strawberry Festival…

And, my painting…

Sadly, I’ve a neglected blog.  On the flip side, I’m feeling ALIVE!

Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 1 Timothy 4:14

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June 6, 2011

New Chicks, Pizza & Donut Chips

School is finally out for most of us (except for my high school sophomore) so this morning we went to Ravencroft Farm to see the new chicks. New chicks mean more delicious, organic eggs – I love new chicks!

So precious!

The huddled masses…

After a fun day in the sun, we had home-made pizzas for dinner:)

Do you remember life before Domino’s Pizza? One of my dearest friends when I was growing up, her parents’ owned and operated a pizzeria – the kind everyone flocked to after Friday night football games. They made incredible pizza, but the piece de resistance were their beloved donut chips – oh, my! These lovely little bits of fried pizza dough were tossed in sugar and served with a bowl of hot fudge for dipping. Dreamy!!

It’s a little scary how some of my best memories are tied to food – hmmmm…

Donut chips are simple to make. I simply doubled my pizza dough recipe so I had enough for pizzas and fried dough. Since I don’t have a frier, I heated canola oil in a pan.  Using my pizza cutter, I cut pieces of pizza dough – some much bigger than others. I plopped the dough in the hot oil and within seconds the dough puffed and danced. I sprinkled and tossed them with granulated sugar & delighted my sons with a nostalgic after-dinner treat.

Not exactly uniform…

Dancing dough…

A whole lotta lovin’!!

And some hot fudge to boot:)

I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body. 2 Peter 1:13

May 18, 2011

Sometimes…

Sometimes, God speaks to us without any words….

Even in the muddy moment of life, His amazing LOVE shines through.  Are you experiencing some muckiness in your life?  Know this, my dear one, God loves you eternally & unconditionally & lavishly!

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

January 18, 2011

Handmade

Handmade…  *Sigh* Just the word, brings a simple smile to my face and a warmness in my heart.  I’ve had a life-long infatuation with all things handmade.  I was blessed with a grandma and a nana who created beautiful handmade gifts for us children, especially for Christmas, and a mother who was always creating and coordinating gifts for baby showers and weddings.

My grandmother was a brilliant woman who knitted, crocheted, quilted and sewed.  Each year, we each received hand-knit, woolen slippers from her.  She quilted bed covers for my parents.  But, the best gift of all, she taught my sister and I to crochet at a young age.  If there was a crochet hook and yarn around, we could easily be occupied for hours creating and designing clothes for our barbies and dolls.  I inherited her travel sewing machine which served me well in making costumes and clothes for my sons.

My Nana is an artist.  Her handmade gifts tended to be hand-painted with delightful whimsy and pizzaz.  Each year, we received hand-painted ornaments each year a new theme and design.  Her gifts also were always wrapped in her signature, Christmas themed cloth bags.  Being the granddaughter of a tailor, my Nana could sew just about anything.  She created much of my mother’s clothes, and later created dresses for my sisters and me.  Even though she is very shaky now, she’s still crocheting gifts for charities, babies and friends.  Her greatest gift to me is she taught me to sew.

My mother is a brainy, Rennaissiance women who knits, sews, quilts, spins, crochets, needlepoints, and more.  If there’s a hand-craft, she’s done it (some she enjoys far better than others).  She’s always creating something whether it’s handknit socks for my dad, or a quilt for a new baby.  Her greatest gift to me is her example of giving something uniquely special and heart-felt.

I’ve a beautiful, handmade legacy which I hope continues into the next generations.  My hope is as I highlight my handmade creations that it’ll inspire and even spark a passion for all things handmade.  As I work to build my Etsy shop, I’d like also to feature some of the stunning work others artisans on Etsy have crafted.

These are a few of my favorite things (click images for link):

Are you feeling the LOVE?

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.  Proverbs 21:24

October 3, 2009

Harvesting “Les Raisins”

October 2009090Autumn is synonymous with harvest in the cooler north. The trees begin to show their fall splendor with shocks of brilliant red and golden yellow.  The garden is finally yielding its hard squashes and pumpkins for spice-laden pies and breads.  The cooler nights means that apples of all variety are finally ready to become apple crisps, dumplings and sauces.  And, the grapes…

Picking ripe fruit is an experience of utter joy.  The fragrance fills the air and the colors stimulate the senses.  I’ve had the pleasure of harvesting strawberries, raspberries, currants, cherries and now grapes this year.  But, it’s not only the harvesting.  It’s sense of community with those around you who are also caught up in the moment and in the pleasure.  The excitement in their voice as they exclaim, “You must see this clump.  There’s a bucket-full right here!”

Graeme

Graeme

Grapes, to me, are the grand finale of the fruit picking season. I am lost in the sheer pleasure of the experience feeling a special kinship with my very (very) distant relatives harvesting ancient vineyards in the French countryside. The Bible tells us the God has given us wine/grapes to gladden our hearts. Just the plucking of the fruit is enough to make my heart sing.

Forrest

Forrest

He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:

wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart. Psalm 104:14&15

Colin

Colin

Drake

Drake

Grandmere

Grandmere

C'est moi!

C'est moi!

Grapes!

Grapes!

June 28, 2009

65th Wedding Anniversary

My grandparents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this week at a nursing home in rural Wisconsin. The guests were primarily staff and residents with the addition of my mother, my younger sister, me and my three sons (son #1 of 4 is on his way to Belfast, Ireland, via Merritt Island , Florida). Cake was served with some cheese and crackers. Balloons adorned the table and a few cards were given. It was bittersweet.P1010096

Five years ago, we celebrated their 60th at the Courtyard by Marriot in downtown Springfield, Ohio. My sisters with their families and I with my three sons (at the time I was carrying #4) all made the well-traveled journey to Ohio. Along with cousins and aunts and uncles and family friends, we honored my dear Nana and Papa on their special day. The event was catered much like a wedding reception and included a wedding cake, sit-down dinner, floral arrangements and a memorable slideshow of new and old family photographs.

P1010089Much has changed in 5 years.

Now, my Papa doesn’t know who I am. He smiles the kind of smile you might give a stranger – warm yet distant. Absent is the sparkle in his eye filled with affection which has always warmed my heart and made me feel adored. For a moment, there was a sense that he is trying to remember me, but he just remained confused. It’s so strange to loose someone before you’ve really lost them.Inn1972pic1Much has changed in 5 years.

Nana and Papa came to live with my parents not long after their 60th wedding anniversary when it became apparent they couldn’t live on their own any longer. Our annual visits to Ohio have abruptly ceased, and I find myself homesick for the familiar sights and people who shaped my life from early childhood. I love Springfield with its amazing architecture and history. Even though I never grew up in Ohio, my roots are there.800px-Springfield_Ohio_c1900Much has changed in 5 years.

I knew the experience would be bittersweet. What a beautiful and rare thing to witness a 65th wedding anniversary! Yet, it was painful watching my Papa being lead around like a child, being spoon-fed and not fully comprehending the monumental event. He was the one who held my hand to lead, who bought me treats for the long airline flights home to Minneapolis, and who absolutely delighted in seeing me. Everything in me wanted to cry out, “This is not right!” I wanted the beautiful catered-meal, the wedding cake, the floral center-pieces, the crowds of relatives and the slideshow of memories. 

800px-Wittenberg_Ward_St_En_11-23-08Much has changed in 5 years.

Life is ever changing. I know the cliches, but sometimes you just have to protest. Five years ago, I bought a simple chocolate-colored dress for the party. The style of summer dress which could be dressed up or dressed down with the proper accessories. As silly as it may be, I wore that old brown dress to the 65th party this week. It was my silent protest against change, but it was also my way of connecting and making sense of 2 dramatically different events. 

Much has changed in 5 years.P1010100

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

May 22, 2009

Frugal Friday: Time

Dost thou love life? Then waste not time; for time is the stuff that life is made of. – Benjamin Franklin

Frugal might be a trendy, buzz word right now, but what does it truly mean? In defining this word, Noah Webster referred toAstronomicalClock frugal as being “wise in the expenditure or application of force, materials, time, etc.”  In other words, we wisely use the resources God has given us. It is no small thing that Mr. Webster included time in his definition. Time is a such a precious commodity!

Lately, time has not been on my side. I’ve been rushing here and there busily crossing out tasks on my mental to-do list. Finally, I found some perspective and realized, “Oh my goodness, I have no joy!” Caught up in the various demands on my time and the “tyranny of the urgent,” I’d been completely drained of any pleasure in my work. It’s not about managing my time. Actually, I believe you can over manage your time. We have learned to cram into one weekend what others would do in a month of weekends.

Perspective and priority are two things to consider when spending time. Time is indeed money and saving money isn’t always saving time. Gaining a clear understanding of your priorities and looking at things through a clearer lens will help you spend your time frugally and with joy. This can be easier said than done especially when all the urgent tasks are seemingly noble.

I’m on the road to recovery, and have purposed in my heart to find pleasure in the moment. Praying daily for wisdom, I press on toward the goal of being “a good and faithful servant” of all God has given to me.

Peace and joy!  Happy Frugal Friday!

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May 20, 2009

Weeding My Soul

This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process. To you it seems like a mess, but I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing and alive – a living fractal. – The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

shackcoversmRecently, I read an interesting and intense piece of literature called The Shack by William Paul Young.  If you haven’t yet read this New York TImes Bestseller, the book is a beautiful allegory exhibiting God’s love for broken humanity.  My favorite chapter in when the main character, Mack,  joins Sarayu, the Holy Spirit, in a messy garden.  The two spend time together laboring over a plot of weeds all the while weeding through Mack’s deepest questions and hurts and utter confusion.

Today was a perfect spring day and I was fortunate to be able to spend much of my morning in flower beds pulling out many, many weeds.  One of the reasons I love to garden is because nature truly reveals some of the deeper things of God. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

As I pulled and hoed and clipped, I was able to reflect on the imagery of The Shack. Isn’t amazing how garden plots are so similar to our lives? Just take a look at weeding. Weeds are the enemy to our soul. Their sole purpose is to choke out anything fruitful in the garden plot.  They steal. They kill. They destroy.

So what do these perversive weeds look like in our lives? Jesus describes them as “sons of the evil one” in Matthew 13. Weeds are really anything that separates us from the love of God thereby inhibiting growth and fruition. Weeds are worries.  Weeds are 450px-Tulip_-_floriade_canberralies. Weeds are sin. Weeds are condemnation. Weeds are past hurts. Weeds are works. Weeds are a physical representation of our fallen state. Weeds are the enemy of our soul.

What is amazing about weeding and gardening is that it is a lifetime task.  One cannot just weed their garden and expect that they will be weed-free thereafter. It is a process of pulling and uprooting. And, if one is diligent about this task, it actually gets easier. The roots aren’t as deep and so becomes quite easy to pull them up. But, pull we must.

Jesus told us in this life we will have trouble. In other words, we will have weeds – it’s a given. But if we diligently partner with the Holy Spirit, we will be able to root out these enemies to our growth and freedom. Together with the Master Gardener, we can walk through the garden secure in the fact that we are loved and that we are a work in progress. Weeds will grow, but the Holy Spirit will be there as our Helper and Companion. He will patiently assist us as we yield to Him.

There is no condemnation or judgement in this garden. God has a plan and loves us deeply. He isn’t concerned that everything isn’t perfectly manicured. He is God the only infallible one. He understands our fallen state better than we do. When we do miss it, His grace and love are poured into our lives. His love washes over us and causes us to be a well-watered garden. (Isaiah 58:11)

I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit is actively beside me and He lovingly identifies the weeds that have prevented growth in my life. It is like Sarayu says to Mack, “To prepare this ground, we must dig up the roots of all the wonderful growth that was here. It is hard work, but well worth it. If the roots are not here, then they cannot do what come naturally and harm the seed we will plant.”

May 1, 2009

Frugal Friday

p1010079Frugal Living is an art form and a skill I wish to cultivate in my life and home. It’s not just about saving money, conserving resources and being green.  What makes it an art is combining frugal standards while creating a nurturing and pampering environment. In other words, your family feels spoiled and loved not neglected and deprived.

Case in point, my sister is very passionate about green-living, but her family never feels like they are being given a raw deal. She is very nurturing while holding a high standard of green-ness (see her blog: mygreenside.wordpress.com).

Being frugal is conservation at its finest, and my goal is always to be a good steward of all God has given me. It is fascinating to study the lives of generations past who excelled at economical living, and to glean what may be applicable for my family and our life-style.

Frugal Friday is born of a desire to share little tid-bits I am learning on the way. So for my first installment, I am sharing my smoothie recipe. My son, Colin, is a AAA hockey goalie and today marks the first weekend of this season.  He knows as an athlete what goes into his body before a tournament weekend will affect his energy-level on the ice. This p10100281morning was a smoothie morning…p10100291

Jane’s Smoothies Recipe

  1. Fill the blender half way with plain yogurt (not vanilla or any pre-sweetened varieties – you control the sugar!) preferably organic or homemade
  2. Add enough orange juice to blend
  3. Throw in 1-2 frozen bananas and handfuls of frozen blueberries & raspberries
  4. Blend and serve

So, where is the frugalness? Let’s start with bananas. Many stores discount bananas once they brown and you can buy a bagful for a reasonable price.  Peel them and bag them and pop into the freezer.  When you are making smoothies and malts, they are the perfect addition for nutrition, thickening and frosty flavor.

Blueberries are a lovely fruit!  In season, you can find pints for around $2. At this point, I buy as many as I can. (Last year most of the blueberries I froze for the winter months, I picked from a local garden. The benefits of picking and purchasing locally are numerous. It is more cost effective to pick-your-own berries while soaking in the fragrant smell of berries – heavenly! Also, you know exactly where your money is going and where your food is coming from.) I place them on cookie sheets and pop in the freezer.  This way they freeze individually so it is easy to portion out for recipes.  After they are frozen on the cookies sheets, I fill quart bags and stick them back into the freezer. Frozen blueberries are so much easier to work with when making scones, muffins and blueberry pancakes.

All the above could be said of raspberries. They freeze well, too, and it is best to freeze individually before you bag them.p10100773 Having frozen blueberries and raspberries make for a great pop-in-your-mouth frozen treat – better than candy!

Happy Frugal Friday!

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son… Proverbs 10:5a

April 30, 2009

Strangers Among Us

180px-chocolate_chip_cookies1Piles of laundry. Gallons of milk vanishing.  An endless list of missing items.  Coincidence?  I used to think so…

How does a family of 6 the amass so much laundry in one day?!  To where did the 2 gallons of milk disappear that were delivered just yesterday? – not to mention, the 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies freshly baked this morning? Why don’t I have any tea-towels when I just did laundry yesterday?!

10664A_CelestialSeasB

Then one evening as I sat sipping my Sleepytime tea in the comfort of my living room, I listened for the very first time.  I really listened.

And, these are the sounds that I overheard that fateful evening:

372px-dominator39First, I heard the Stanley Cup Championship Game being hard fought by the Detroit Red Wings and the San Jose Sharks. (I didn’t even know we had a rink in our house). It was a close contest, but alas the Detroit Red Wings lost in a dramatic shoot-out. Now, it seemed they needed bandages, ice baths and food – lots of food!

Just then, a blond flash in a tea-towel cape streaked through the room yelling, “Wonder Boy needs vegetables for super-hero power.”  Just as quick as he appeared, he disappeared.

At this point, I had a flash back from the day before. I had walked into one of the boy’s bedroom and there onwhiz2 the top bunk was a blazer and tie-clad preacher complete with The Rhyme Bible and a guitar. He was “preaching good” to a capacity crowd.

Hockey teams, super-heroes, mega-church pastors – I was just discovering what my children have known all along: There are strangers among us!

Can you image the piles of home and away jerseys I need to launder not to mention the mounds of hockey socks?  Do you know how many tea-towel capes an adventurous super-hero can go through in a single afternoon? Have you ever fed a congregation of hungry church-goers?

I’m not sure how to break it to my husband, or what his reaction might be. Personally, I am much relieved it to 526px-washer600pixknow the truth – finally! I was beginning to think I was loosing things. I was beginning to think my children were drinking milk like it is water. And, I was beginning to think I was a failing laundress.

So now, in my new found freedom (the truth always sets you free), I can put up my feet, sip my tea and laugh with the strangers among us!

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2