Monday, February 28, 2022

One new thing ...


 I'm back with another One New Thing post, inspired by Becki at Field Lilies.  Recall, Becki is posting weekly about one new thing in her life.  She wrote, "I’m not going to set goals or make rules.  I want this to be a discovery process, not a to-do list.   Actually, the challenge may be better worded this way:   I’m simply challenging myself to record here one new thing I explore, or learn about, or interact with… each week."

So I've been trying to also post about one new thing each week.  This week it's something really, really new to me -- getting a start to making maple kombucha.  You can see all of the how-tos here at Souly Rested.

Years ago, I used to make my own kombucha pretty regularly.  As you may know, kombucha is basically fermented sweet tea.  The sugar gets "eaten up" in the process, so it's actually a very healthy beverage and so good for you in so many ways.  Back then, I stuck to the basic flavor using either black or green tea and never experimented with fruit flavors and so on (which can be done using actual fruit or with fruit juices, doing what's called a "second ferment").  

As Michelle, at Souly Rested, points out, drinking kombucha has been shown to rid the body of toxins, improve energy levels, prevent the body from absorbing heavy metals, and help us better absorb nutrients from our food.  You can read more about Michelle's favorite kombucha products here, and even download a free ebook about this amazing beverage.  And it's delicious and inexpensive too (that is, it's inexpensive if you make your own -- but not if you buy it at the grocery store).

With all these benefits, you may justifiably wonder why I ever stopped making kombucha.  I made it for a few years and successfully managed to even go on vacation more than once without ruining anything.  Then one day a batch of kombucha went moldy.  I traced the problem to a fruit fly that must have gotten into the sweet tea as it was steeping.  

But I just didn't have the heart to try again.  I'm thinking that life got really busy right about then, with eldercare responsibilities.  We drank up what kombucha we had on hand, washed the jars and bottles, and put them away.  

Fast-forward to 2021, when my young friend Jennifer got started making kombucha.  As we talked by phone one day in December, I asked if I could get a SCOBY [symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast] from her so I could begin again.  Her prompt reply: "I'm already brewing one for you."

So just like that, in 2022, I have gotten into kombucha-making again.  I've now made 3 gallons and we're going through it quickly.  I've learned how to do a second ferment using fruit juice (which will probably turn into another One New Thing post) and discovered how easy that is.  

From the start, though, I was so intrigued with the idea of maple kombucha.  My hubby and I are trying to increasingly eat less sugar, so I wanted to learn to make kombucha without refined sugar.  I knew that in order to make kombucha using maple syrup, I would need to grow my own maple SCOBY.  As you can see from Michelle's post here, the simplest option for coming up with a maple scoby is to grow your own -- scroll down to the section titled Growing a new scoby with maple syrup.

So the moment I got my new scoby from Jenn, I followed the directions and snipped off a tiny piece to begin growing a maple one.  And it worked!  You can see it in a pint jar below.

Not the best photo, so I placed the jar on the hutch at eye level and tried again:

The scoby is now, I believe, thick enough to use in beginning a half-gallon batch of maple kombucha.  We have a busy week coming up, so I'll likely wait until the second week in March to begin the process.  I'll keep you all posted on how it turns out!

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Sunday Scripture


It's time for another Sunday Scripture post!   As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I worked on a Bible study of Ephesians for the month of January and now I've been using this study to write some Sunday Scripture posts for the remainder of the winter.  

The study I've been working on is the Ephesians Bible study from Good Morning Girls.  For the Scripture Sundays, I'll just select some of the verses I have worked on and share how I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  For today's lesson, we were to look at Ephesians 3:14-19.  Here we go:

S= "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ...
"That He would grant you,  according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;
"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
"May be able to comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, and height, and depth, and length,
"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God."  (Ephesians 3:14, 16-19)

O= Paul says: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father."  For what cause?
* That the Father might strengthen the believers with might by His Spirit.
* That Christ would dwell in their hearts by faith.
* That they would be rooted and grounded in love.
* That they might be able to comprehend the extent of God's love. 
* That they might know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge.
* That they might be filled with all the fullness of God.

The introduction to the Reflection Question added more insight.  Courtney wrote:
"The Jews normally prayed standing, with their hands in the air but here, Paul is now kneeling in prayer.  This is a position of humility.  As Paul considers God's amazing eternal plan, he cannot help but fall to his knees and direct His prayers to the heavenly Father.  Down through the ages, the advancement of the Gospel has been unstoppable even when those in the church have been imprisoned like Paul.  Just as he prayed for the church at the start of his letter, he is praying that the church would be strengthened and would know the breadth, length, height and depth of God's love."

A= Kneeling to pray pictures humility.  I have frequently knelt to pray in the past, but can't comfortably do so now.  

What a wonderful prayer Paul prayed for the believers at Ephesus!  So meaningful!  I would like to think that someone was praying a prayer like this for me ... even occasionally.  Every day would be amazing.  I pray some of these verses daily for specific people, but this entire section is incredibly powerful.

P= "Lord, how I thank You for your powerful, transformative Word!  I praise You for this wonderful prayer of Paul's and how much it has to teach us about praying for our fellow believers.  I thank You for the rich truths in this passage and I pray that You will help me to appropriate them in my own life.  Help me, too, to faithfully pray such meaningful prayers for my fellow believers.  I thank and praise You in Jesus' name, Amen."

 And there is this week's Sunday Scripture.  Hope it was a blessing to you!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Friday five


Some of the nearby fields flooded and looked just like this before today's snow.

 Just popping in with a quick Friday five on a snowy day...  I don't have time today to come up with new photos, so I'll just use some winter photos from previous years.  Here goes with some recent blessings:

1.   Packing up a few things for the thrift store.  Vintage sheets (muslin, pink -- no, not pretty flowers 😏), flour sack material, cookbooks I'll never use again ... it's good to send them off to potential new owners who may appreciate them.

2.  Getting to have our young friends Sam and Jennifer and their boys over for lunch on Sunday.  What a treat to spend time with these dear younger believers who are like family to us!

3.  Finally getting our last trust property on the real estate market.  Praying it sells soon!  It will be huge to have that off my plate.

4.  Getting to spend Presidents' Day with our dear friends Syd and Cyndy.  The entire day ... they came for breakfast and we played Scrabble, the dictionary game, went for a long walk downtown and enjoyed an early snack-type supper together at home to finish things off.  Just a lovely, uplifting day of fellowship.

5.  Trying a new muffin recipe to post about on my Christmas blog.  I want to try one new muffin recipe each month with an eye to kitchen gifts for 2022.  For this one, I had to wait until we were off the sugar fast.  Chocolate chip gingerbread muffins ... scrumptious!

There you have it ... five simple blessings.  It seems a bit frivolous to post about such things while those in Ukraine are facing such hard times right now.  I'm praying for them and trust that many of you are also.

Monday, February 21, 2022

One new thing ...


Here goes with another One New Thing post, inspired by Becki at Field Lilies.  For today I am sharing something rather simple ... a new macaroni & cheese recipe that I recently tried.  It's from the Gooseberry Patch cookbook The Christmas Table.

 This recipe looked like one I would like to try because it did not involve cooking the macaroni first, and I've never tried doing that.  It has you mixing the uncooked macaroni with the cheese and other ingredients, and then pouring boiling water over the top and mixing it in.  The recipe described the result as "creamy and good" so to me it sounded worth a try.

Here is the very simple recipe if you'd like to try it for yourself.

2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1/4 cup butter
16 ounce container sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 1/4 cups boiling water

In a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish, stir together uncooked macaroni, butter, sour cream, and cheese.  Pour boiling water over top; stir to combine.  Bake, uncovered, at 375ΒΊ for 45 minutes.  Serves 4 to 6.

I melted the butter first in the baking dish while the oven was preheating.  I just thought it would all combine better if the butter was melted.  I then stirred in the sour cream, then the uncooked macaroni and the cheese.  It seemed like it would blend better in this order.  Also since the recipe called for no seasonings at all, I thought salt and pepper were a good idea, so I added 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  

And the result?  Well, it was good.  Had great flavor.  I would not describe it as "creamy".  It had more of a curdled type effect.  Would  I make it again?  I might.  

I honestly don't think my own regular macaroni and cheese recipe takes any longer to make, but it does take two more saucepans -- one to cook the macaroni in and one to cook the cheese sauce in.  But there really is no contest as far as the flavor goes.  

However, if I was in a tearing hurry and didn't have time to stand over the stove, I probably would make this Easiest Baked Mac & Cheese again. As I said, it was good -- just not as good as my usual.  I'm glad I tried this One New Thing and learned about this simple option.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Sunday Scripture


 Time for another Sunday Scripture post!   As I've previously mentioned,  I worked on a Bible study of Ephesians for the month of January and so I've been using this study to write some Sunday Scripture posts for the remainder of the winter.  

The study I've been working on is the Ephesians Bible study from Good Morning Girls.  For the Scripture Sundays, I'll just select some of the verses I have worked on and share how I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  For today's lesson, we were to look at Ephesians 2:11-21, but I chose to write out and SOAP verses 19-22, though I will allude to some of the other verses.  Here we go:

S=  "Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and with the household of God,
"And are built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone;
"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord;
"In whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."  (Ephesians 2:19-22)

O= In the Scofield Study Bible,  C.I. Scofield divides this reading (Ephesians 2:11-22) into three sections:

* Position of Gentiles by nature (verses 11-13)
* Jew and Gentile one body in Christ (verses 14-18)
* The church a temple for the habitation of God through the Spirit (verses 19-22).

My observations: We who were once far from God have now been brought near by the blood of Christ.  We are no longer strangers, but are fellow citizens with the saints and part of the household of God.  Our foundation is Jesus Christ.  He wants believers to grow together into "an holy temple in the Lord".

A= The Reflection Question for today pointed out, "It is not because we do good works, go to church, give money, read our Bibles, or are born of a certain nationality that we can be near to God.  It is Jesus' deep, sacrificial and saving love for you that has brought you near to Him.  Do you feel near to God today?  Why or why not?  Remember that our nearness is not based on the good and bad things we do but on the blood of Christ.  God is near even when He does not feel nearby."

I do feel near to God today.  He "is not far from every one of us" (Acts 17:27).  How thankful I am that someone like me, who was once so far from God, could be brought near by the blood of Christ.  His sacrificial death on my behalf is the only way this could have been accomplished.  I am so thankful for His nearness, and am asking Him to be especially near to dear, grieving friends of mine today.  

P=  "Lord, I praise You that when I was far from You and completely without You, while I was still in my sin, Christ died for me.  I praise You that because of His sacrificial and saving death for me, I have become a fellow citizen with the saints and a part of Your redeemed family.  I praise You for the closeness I can have to You.  I pray for friends today who are experiencing deep and unexpected grief.  Be very near to them, I pray.  May they sense Your closeness to them in a very real way.  I pray in Jesus' name, Amen."

That is our simple study for today!  I hope it was a blessing to you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Chock full of nuts hodgepodge


Incredibly, it's Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  Here we go ...

 1. February 16th is National Almond day...are you a fan? If so what's your favorite food item or recipe that contains almonds? 

Yes, we love almonds in our house.  Hershey bars with almonds have long been a favorite of mine, but I can't even tell you how long it's been since I tasted one. 

I'll also share this stir-fry recipe that we have enjoyed many times:


1 cup whole unblanched almonds
2 Tblsp. vegetable oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tblsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. ginger
1 14-ounce pkg. frozen sugar snap peas
Rice or pasta

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook almonds in oil for 3 minutes.  Add chicken; stir-fry until lightly browned. In a bowl, combine next 5 ingredients until smooth; add to chicken mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in the peas; cook until heated through. Serve over rice or pasta. Top with chow mein noodles if desired.

Serves 4.

2. Something you are currently 'nuts' about? 

Clementines.  We are going through them like crazy. 

3. Something currently driving you 'nuts'? 

The insane narratives coming out of our nation's capitol.

4. Something you recently bought for 'peanuts'? 

This wasn't recent, but it's probably one of the most recent buys in that category.  A local-ish discount store had 5-lb. bags of King Arthur organic flour for 99¢.  They were very slightly outdated, but we popped them right in the freezer.  We used mostly this flour for our Christmas cookie baking.

5. Share a favorite quote uttered by any U.S. President ( if you're not an American, a quote made by the leader of your own country). 

Here's a very appropriate and timely 1981 quote from Ronald Reagan:

"This is a time for choosing.
I made a speech by that title in 1964.  I said, 'We've been told increasingly that we must choose between left or right.'   But we're still using those terms -- left or right.  And I'll repeat what I said then, in '64.  'There is no left or right.  There's only an up or down': up to the ultimate in individual freedom, man's age old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with an orderly society -- or down to the totalitarianism of the antheap.  And those today who, however good their intentions, tell us that we should trade freedom for security are on that downward path."

Long may it wave!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I brought out this photo of felt chocolates to  share with readers on Instagram on Valentine's Day, and will add some felt Valentine cookies here.  I really need to get to making more felt food for the younger grandchildren.  I'm positive they would enjoy it.

And that wraps up the Hodgepodge for this week!  Why not head on over to From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog?

Monday, February 14, 2022

One new thing ...


Here goes with another One New Thing post, once again inspired by Becki at Field Lilies.  Becki is posting each week about at least one new thing she has tried or done.  

This week I'm going to post about something very new to me: reading a book from a genre I have seldom -- no, I'll just say never -- dipped into: middle-grade fantasy involving rabbits with swords.  Several of our grandchildren are huge fans of the Green Ember series of books by S.D. Smith.  They even own, and love, t-shirts celebrating this series.  

This rather inadequate Kindle photo shows Julia wearing her Green Ember t-Shirt in Nevada in Spring 2021.
Why did I decide to read this book?  Well, when one is acquainted, as I am, with a 15-year-old bookworm who has read hundreds of books already, and that bookworm describes a series as "quite possibly the best books I have ever read", one tends to take that a bit seriously.

The Book Overview of The Green Ember from Thriftbooks reads as follows: "Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world. Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend. Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?"

Obviously, this is a story with wider implications than just a fantasy about rabbits.  And there are many more books in the series -- sequels, prequels, and others I have yet to learn of.  I've finished The Green Ember but am reading through it a second time to catch details I undoubtedly missed along the way.  Granddaughter Julia assures me that there are plenty more where that one came from.  And I do plan to read them.  We're living in  a world that is crazy at best.  I will be interested to see what I can learn from Heather, Picket and the other Green Ember characters on their journey through a perilous world.

Check out S.D. Smith's author page on Amazon to see more.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Sunday Scripture


Time for another Sunday Scripture post!   As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I worked on a Bible study of Ephesians for the month of January and so I thought I would use this study to write some Sunday Scripture posts for the remainder of the winter.  

The study I've been working on is the Ephesians Bible study from Good Morning Girls.  For the Scripture Sundays, I'll just select some of the verses I have worked on and share how I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  For today's lesson, we were to look at Ephesians 2:1-10, but I chose to write out and study only verses 8-10.  Here we go:

S= "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
"Not of works, lest any man should boast.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."  (Ephesians 2:8-10)

O= We were dead in our trespasses and sins.  But God, because He is rich in mercy, has made us alive.  We are saved by His grace, through faith.   This is nothing we can do ourselves.  It is the gift of God.  We are God's workmanship.  We are not saved by our good works, as these verses make abundantly clear, but we've been created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of doing good works -- work that He has planned for us to do.  

Verse 10 is considered to be the key verse of the book of Ephesians.

A= It's completely amazing and mind-boggling that God would choose to use people like us -- that we could ever do good works to bring glory to Him.  Of course this is not anything that we could do in and of ourselves, any more than we could save ourselves.  The thought of being God's workmanship -- His work of art -- is so humbling and such a blessing to think about.  I'm so thankful that God has showed me clearly how He would have me to glorify Him and for the gifts and talents He has given me to use in this work.

P= "Lord, it would take me years (and will take eternity) to fully praise You for Your grace and for all that You have done in saving me.  It is incredibly humbling that You would choose to use me and other believers to bring honor and glory to You.  I thank You for helping me to clearly understand Your purpose in saving me, and that you've shown me specifically just how you want me to glorify You with my life.  I pray that You will help me to be faithful in doing so.  In Jesus' name, Amen."

As Courtney,  the author of the Bible study, notes in the Reflection Question, "Works do not save us but instead, after our salvation, we are compelled to do good works for His glory.  What is the work that you feel God has called you to do?"

My answer: * To bring honor and glory to Him using the spiritual gifts and the talents He has equipped me with -- to use these to encourage and edify other believers and to point unbelievers to Him. *

And there is this week's Sunday Scripture.  Hope it was a blessing to you!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Reflecting on 2021


I absolutely love this gorgeous graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

Yes, these things tend to take me awhile. 

These reflection questions are from Denise Cunningham at RefreshHer.  If you are not familiar with Denise, she is a pastor's wife and a much-loved speaker at women's events.  Her blog is such a blessing -- a mix of spiritual counsel and solid advice on marriage, parenting, and homemaking.  She has some of the best recipes out there, too!  

I used these ten questions last year and the year before, and found them so helpful!   I like that they also ask about the year ahead.  So here goes:

1.  What hindered my spiritual growth last year?  What moved it forward?

If anything hindered my spiritual growth in 2021, I'd say it was not memorizing Scripture as faithfully as I've done in the past.  As far as what moved it forward, I would say reading through the Bible in 2021 and journaling as I went.  This really helped me with continuing to learn to apply God's Word to my life and it also once again showed me how the various parts of the Bible fit together.  Doing some Bible studies and attending a couples' retreat helped me grow, too.


2.  What did God teach me last year?  

Probably one of the greatest things was helping me develop more of a servant's heart.  Although we have been serving in many ways in our local church for years, my hubby's retirement allowed us to serve in an additional way.  We were both so blessed to be able to help with maintenance at The Wilds of New England, mostly in spring and fall, before and after the camp season.  We both found great joy serving in this way and getting to be a small part of what God is doing there.  God gave me such delight in cheerfully and willingly taking direction from girls much younger than myself, and in cleaning bathrooms and sweeping up dead stinkbugs to His glory.


3.  What did I see God do in answer to my prayers last year?

I saw God give wisdom and direction in many ways, including moving toward a merger with another church.  I saw Him help us begin to renovate a derelict building into a sweet family getaway place through many hours of hard work.  I saw Him provide for us and work out many details to take a granddaughter  with us to Nevada to celebrate another granddaughter's birthday.  I saw Him bring healing to a half-dozen friends who had been hospitalized with coronavirus.


4.  To whom did I give my life the most?  Does this need to change?

I gave my life the most to God, to my husband and family, and to those we are seeking to disciple.  For years I have given hours of my life to teaching a women's Sunday School class, but partway through this year I stepped away from that as we began meeting with another church.  That has felt a bit odd, but I think in many ways it's been good.  I think I've kept a good balance of giving my life to others and I don't really see anything that needs to change in 2022.


5.  What activities did I participate in that I need to repeat this year?  Which activities should I consider removing from my schedule?

Some activities I need to repeat include discipling younger believers, extending hospitality to many, volunteering at TWNE, daily walks with a friend, and maintaining my blogs.  As mentioned, teaching Sunday School got removed from my schedule partway through the year, as did cleaning the church.  There is a possibility of both those things returning to my schedule in 2022.


6.  What books did I read last year?

A Cancer Battle Plan, by Anne Frahm
The Greatest Generation Speaks, by Tom Brokaw
Hope Again, by Charles Swindoll
We Will Not Be Silenced, by Erwin Lutzer
Shepherds Abiding, by Jan Karon

The first two of these were just some books I found on my parents' bookshelves that interested me.  I also dipped into a bunch of other books through the year and am partway through The Big Lie, by Dinesh D'Souza.


7.  Did I spend too much time on social media, TV or videos?  Do I need to set limits for myself?

I don't watch TV and can exercise restraint with regard to videos.  I could easily spend too much time on Instagram and I absolutely need to stay on top of that.  Staying off Instagram until afternoon each day is a good goal.


8.  What creative outlets did I enjoy?

Blogging, needlework, crafts, and cooking.  None of them to excess, but it's important for me to do something creative every day.


9.  Did I get enough exercise?  What could help motivate me to do more?

I got quite a bit of exercise with walking -- but I would also like to incorporate a simple daily exercise routine.  I'm off to a slow start walking in 2022 due to some physical issues.  That in itself is motivating me to get with the exercise routine.


10.  What area of my life brought the most joy?  The most frustration?

Most joy --  spending time at our little cottage, time with grandchildren, time in Nevada, serving at TWNE, crafting, getaways with my hubby.

Most frustration: housework!  Not being able (seemingly) to get organized or to incorporate workable routines as I would like to.  Obviously, this is an important goal for 2022 which I can hopefully achieve with my hubby's assistance.

Maybe you'd like to use Denise's questions yourself.   Even though we're more than a month into the new year, I found it very helpful to use them to reflect on 2021 and begin planning for the remainder of 2022.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Hearts and flowers hodgepodge


Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  Here we go ...

1. Besides the predictable name-rank-serial number, what's something you know by heart?

My kids' phone numbers; my credit card number; certain (simple) recipes; quite a few Scripture verses; the Pledge of Allegiance and probably more, if I take time to think about it.

2. Something recently that had you tickled pink?

Chatting with my Nevada daughter about the likelihood they will drive out here this summer.

3. How do you define the word romantic, and are you one? 

I had to think about this.  Not sure if it's referring to romantic as a noun -- I think so, because the second part of the question asks, "are you one?"  So according to this definition screenshot straight from my computer desktop, a romantic is "a person with romantic beliefs or attitudes."

Honestly, I don't really know how to answer.  I can be romantic.  I love romantic activities like walks on the beach, dinners out with my hubby, evenings by a crackling fireplace.  I love happy endings and seeing God write love stories.  But on the other hand I tend to be a realist as well.

4. Finish this verse with your own original thought....'Roses are red, violets are blue...

"... Masks are useless, and mandates are too."

5. Five little things you are loving right now? 

 1.  More daylight at each end of the day.
 2.  Clementines.
 3.  The temps outside today.  Nearly 40ΒΊ!  That's terrific after recent below zero temps.
 4.  Studying the book of Daniel in my quiet time.
 5. Getting started with making my own kombucha again!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

 Thinking about how Valentine's Day used to be a much bigger holiday in some ways than it is now.  Even back during my mother's childhood in the 1930s, Valentines from one's classmates were a given.  I've run across a good many that she received.  And then in my own childhood, making a Valentine box at school in which all of one's Valentines could be placed ... if I remember right, the making of Valentine boxes took up at least one full art class.  Mothers would bake Valentine cookies to be sent to school for the classroom party.  My mom would make cutout heart sugar cookies and frost them with pink frosting.

And that wraps up the Hodgepodge for this week!  Why not head on over to From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog?

Monday, February 07, 2022

One new thing ...


Here goes with another One New Thing post, once again inspired by Becki at Field Lilies.  Becki is posting each week about at least one new thing she has tried or done.  

This week I'm going to post about a new pattern I tried for making a checkbook cover.  My hubby and I both like to have a fabric cover for eheckbooks that we use often.  The one that was on this particular checkbook was literally in tatters, and Mr. T had been asking me about making a replacement. (The existing cover had been purchased at a craft fair in the 1990s or earlier.)

  Now years ago, I made this checkbook cover for our other main checkbook:

At that time, I thought about making a second one, because the cover on our main checkbook was pretty tattered even then.  But for whatever reason, this cover was a bit too small for that checkbook.

So when Mr. T asked me about making another, my first thought was to use this pattern but to enlarge it somehow.  There was only one problem with that idea: I couldn't find the pattern.  After a few days of fruitless looking, I turned to the internet for further research.

This is the pattern I ended up with: 20-Minute Checkbook Cover.  The pdf will open right up and you can print it out if you're interested in making a checkbook cover.  (If not, just close it.)

My hubby had even specified the fabric he wanted me to use.  He was so tickled by a s'mores fabric I had used for Arielle's floor pillow at Christmas, he wanted the same fabric for his checkbook cover.  The fabric was flannel, but that didn't matter to him.  So that's what I used.

 I must admit that this project took me more than 20 minutes.  The project stretched over 3 days -- but probably only 25-30 minutes in actual time.  I was pressed for time so the first day I made the patterns out of scrap paper and cut them out.  On the second day, I pinned the pattern pieces to the fabrics and cut them out.  Then finally on the third day, I sewed the checkbook cover together.  It was a surprisingly fast process when I actually got around to doing the sewing.

This is a case where I really liked the new pattern that I found.  I've printed it out so that I can't possibly lose this one!

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Sunday Scripture


 Time for another Sunday Scripture post!   As I mentioned last Sunday, I worked on a Bible study of Ephesians for the month of January and so I thought I would use this study to write some Sunday Scripture posts for the remainder of the winter.  

The study I've been working on is the Ephesians Bible study from Good Morning Girls.  For the Scripture Sundays, I'll just select some of the verses I have worked on and share how I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  For today's lesson, we were to look at Ephesians 1:3-10, but I chose to write out only verses 3-7.  Here we go:

S=  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,
"According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love
"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
"To the praise of the glory of His grace, through which He hath made us accepted in the Beloved;
"In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."  (Ephesians 1:3-7)

O = There is so much here!  We bless God, for He has blessed us with so much:
* He has given us all spiritual blessings
* He has chosen us before the foundation of the world
* He desires for us to live holy, blameless lives
* It was His good pleasure to adopt us into His family
* He wants us to live to the praise of His glory
* He has made us accepted in the Beloved
* Through His blood we have redemption and forgiveness of sins
* His grace abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence
* In His timing He will bring all things to completion.

A= The spiritual blessings enumerated in this passage are just a few of the blessings God has showered upon us.  We should be so very thankful for all that He has given us and blessed us with.  The very idea that we could be adopted into God's family is mind-boggling.  Of course we would want to praise and bless Him for all that He has done for us.  Of course we would want to live in a way that brings praise and glory to Him.  I liked this thought that the author shared in the Reflection Question: "If we minimize what God has done for us, we will not have much of an outpouring of love back to God."

P= "Lord, I do praise and bless You for all that You have done for me!  You have given me new life.  You have redeemed me with the precious blood of Your own Son.  I've been adopted into Your family.  And there is so much more!  I pray that You will help me to live every day to the praise of the glory of Your grace!  In Jesus' name, Amen."

And that's our simple study for this week!

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Groundhog Day Hodgepodge


 So it's Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond, where Joyce asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers.  Here goes!

1. The Wednesday Hodgepodge landing on Groundhog's Day sounds about right. Besides the Hodgepodge what else lands on your calendar just once a week? Is it as much fun as the Hodgepodge-ha!? 

Hmmm ...  I was going to say grocery shopping, but sometimes that happens more often than once a week.  And no, it isn't as much fun as the Hodgepodge!

Mid-week Wednesday prayer service happens once a week and so does Sunday worship.  Both of these are truly enjoyable times with other believers.  

2. The Winter Olympics begin on Friday, surrounded by much controversy. Will you be watching? Why or why not? Have you ever been to China?

I've always liked the Winter Olympics and enjoy watching the various events some years.  I'm not planning to watch this one; we don't have TV and I'm not likely to go to the trouble to watch it on the computer.  With China's ongoing horrific human rights abuses I don't think the Olympics should be held there at all.  And I'm more than a bit concerned about the safety of our athletes.  No, I've never been to China. 

3. Something in your life lately that has felt a bit like an 'olympic event'? 

Let's see.  Trying to get first, my sciatica and now, my knee issues resolved so that I feel predictably good and ready to go out and walk on a daily basis as weather permits.  It's getting there, but it seems like quite a training regimen.

4. Do you like fondue? Sweet or savory? Restaurant only or do you own your own fondue set?

It's been a long time since I've had fondue.  I think I may have only had the savory kind -- steak, if I remember right, and maybe cheese fondue as well.  It was at someone's home, not a restaurant.  But no, we don't own a fondue set.   I snagged the photo from Pixabay.

5. Give us five short (2-3 word) phrases to sum up your January. 

Pretty sunrises
Chiropractor visits
Walking in Walmart
Friend's memorial service
Fasting from sugar

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

My hubby and I have been mesmerized following the  progress of Freedom Convoy 2022 in Canada as they made their way to Ottawa.  Hundreds of people cheering and waving Canadian flags from bridges and overpasses; people lining the sides of the road with gifts of food and water for the truckers.  Many are moved to tears, as this is the first glimmer of hope they've seen in two years.  It's been truly impressive to see Canadians coming together in support of one another and the cause of freedom.  

 And there's the Hodgepodge for this week!  Why not head on over to From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog?

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

February goals


Gorgeous graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

February!  How is it that the year is 1/12 over already?  (Note that I haven't even set yearly goals yet; I haven't reviewed 2021 either.  So sad.)  Here are some goals for this short month:

* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week if possible
* Set some yearly goals for 2022
* Begin reading through the New Testament
* Post in this blog several times per week
* Post in my Christmas blog as often as possible
*  Prepare for and attend a monthly ladies' Bible study
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Craft some homemade Christmas gifts and decorations
* Spend a little time on some UFO craft projects
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items
* Spend some time on my trust responsibilities
* Have friends over on President's Day
* Spend some time volunteering at a Christian camp
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating
* Possibly plan a getaway with my hubby
* Memorize several Bible verses and review some older ones
* Get back into our study of the book of Daniel with younger believers
* Continue to help a widowed friend with the challenges of life in general
* Complete a 40-day sugar fast
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night  -- maybe even 8:30
* Drink enough water each day
* Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week

HEALTHY HABITS FOR FEBRUARY:  Drink more water/get more sleep/get more exercise/limit sugar

 And there are February's goals!  We will see how I do.  

What about you?  Do you have any specific goals for this month?