Sunday, February 26, 2023

Sunday Scripture


Back in 2021, I wrote Scripture Sunday posts about a simple study of Psalms that I had worked on throughout summer 2020.  I told you all what a perfect study it was to be working on amid the uncertainties of that year -- and how some of it was done sitting at picnic tables while camping in the midst of God's glorious creation.  There just couldn't have been a better backdrop --so awe-inspiring, and so many great reminders of God's amazing power and wisdom.

Although the study book covers all the rest of the book of Psalms, I only got as far as Psalm 129, so I stopped there and jumped into an Advent study after that.  And from then I've jumped around posting about various completed studies.  In praying and considering what to do for Sunday Scripture posts at this point, I decided to finish out this Psalms study.

This is another study from Good Morning Girls.  Although I love working on more in-depth Bible studies, these simpler ones are also a blessing to do.  In fact, once I finish the GMG Psalms study, I hope to tackle a more in-depth study of the same Psalms, this one from the The Daily Grace Co.

 I like to use the SOAP method of Bible study, and the journal from GMG uses a very similar method.  I find this method a real blessing whether I am studying shorter passages or longer ones, so I hope you'll give it a try if you haven't ever done so. Just a reminder that the S is for Scripture -- just write it out -- and the O is for Observation, the A is for Application and the P is for prayer -- concerning how you'll apply this verse or praise for what it means to you.

This study also includes a reflection question for each passage.  Sometime I answer this in my study, and sometimes not.  Most often, when I do answer it, I'll do so right after the SOAP part.

Today's study is from Psalm 130.  Today we were to focus on verse 5, but I chose to look closely at verses 5-6.

S= "I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in His Word do I hope.
"My soul waiteth for the LORD more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning."  (Psalm 130:5-6)

O=  The Psalmist says:

* I wait for the LORD; my soul waits.
* I hope in God's Word.
* My soul waits for the LORD more than those who watch for the morning.

He repeats this twice, apparently for emphasis.

Several cross-references include: 

"Our soul waiteth for the LORD; He is our help and our shield." (Psalm 33:20)

"I waited patiently for the LORD, and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry." (Psalm 40:1)

"And I will wait upon the LORD, who hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him."  (Isaiah 8:17)

Spurgeon wrote in The Treasury of David: "Waiting, we study the Word,  believe the Word, hope in the Word, and live on the Word; and all because it is 'His Word' -- the Word of Him who never speaks in vain.  Jehovah's Word is a firm ground for the waiting soul to rest upon."

A= I was encouraged and instructed by the words of James Vaughan as quoted in The Treasury of David: "Waiting has four purposes: 

It practices the patience of faith.
It gives time for preparation for the coming gift.
It makes the blessing the sweeter when it arrives.
It shows the sovereignty of God, to give just when and just as He pleases.

"In all your waitings remember two things:

Let it be not so much the event which you will wait for, as the Lord of the event.
And take care that you have a promise underneath you."

Am I waiting patiently and trustingly on the Lord?  Am I hoping in His promises?

P= "Lord, how I thank You once again for Your Word, and for the Psalms in particular.  They are both a comfort and an exhortation to us!  I pray that You will help me to wait trustingly on You as I wait for the answers to prayer that I am sure will come in Your perfect timing.  Help me to continue to hope in Your promises.  Philippians 1:6 is one that I can rest upon as I wait eagerly to see how You will work.  I praise You for all that You are doing, in Jesus' name, Amen."

The reflection question this week reminds: "A watchman does not doubt that the morning will come.  He knows it's coming and is watching for it.  Is there an area in your life where you are waiting on the Lord?  Are you waiting passively, stuck in a cycle of doubt, or actively waiting with hope?"

Think about that for your own life!

My answer: 

Yes, there is an area of my life where I'm waiting on the Lord.  I believe that I am waiting actively with hope.  I do not doubt that God is working, even though I can't see what He's doing.  And yet -- sometimes the things I'm waiting on Him to do seem nearly impossible.  But here's another promise I'm clinging to -- with God nothing shall be impossible!

And there is this week's Sunday Scripture.  I hope someone is blessed by this study from Psalm 130 today.

Saturday, February 25, 2023



 The above is on my computer desktop today.  It's a freebie from Gooseberry Patch and is one of my favorites of their winter graphics.  Truth to tell, it's been on my desktop since January, but it has never felt more appropriate this particular winter than it does today.  Our weather has been fairly mild until recently.

We had a nice snowfall over Wednesday night and Thursday that freshened everything up with a layer of white.  Friday morning I took this photo with my tablet as I prepared for my quiet time.  I loved how it came out.  Early morning with my Bible is the best ... a true joy to my heart.


Today is downright chilly.  Here's what it was doing here as of 10 am:

As usual, my hubby was out at the Saturday flag wave with a group of like-minded patriots who wave the American flag at a local intersection every Saturday morning.  The photos are from last week but it was possibly even colder then due to a strong wind.


He just got back and is currently warming up with a large mug of hot chocolate.

Wouldn't you love a Gooseberry Patch wallpaper for your own desktop?  I so enjoy the one at the top of the post; it's one of my favorites for this time of year.  The cabin and snowy evergreens, the skates and sled, the buffalo check and especially the sparkly stars just speak of all that I love about winter.

Check out all of the free downloads available here: Gooseberry Patch desktop wallpaper.  They have them for all seasons and you're sure to find more than one that you like.  They just add a touch of whimsy and seasonal beauty to the desktop.

Stay warm, everyone!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Hodgepodge for February 22


 It's Wednesday again, so time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  Several of this week's Hodgepodge questions have a definite Washington's Birthday flavor.   Here goes:

1. What do you find is the most boring part of your life at the moment? 

Ooh, I do not allow my grandchildren to use that word in my presence and especially not in our home.  Years ago, granddaughter Sarah commemorated that with a sign, as seen below.  There is always something interesting to do.  I can honestly say that I am never [that word].

2. February 22nd is George Washington's birthday. You'll find his face on the US $1 bill. What's the last thing you bought for roughly $1.00? (.94 €/ .83 £)

Marshmallow fluff (for fudge making) at Dollar Tree.   I have lost track of how many batches of Heavenly Delight my hubby has made since November. 

3. Is it ever okay to tell a 'little white lie'? Explain. 

For me, it is not okay.  I think Scripture is pretty clear on any form of lying.   

But I also believe that if it's a matter of not hurting someone's feelings, there is almost always a way to word things carefully and thoughtfully so we can be truthful and kind at the same time.

4. What's the last thing you 'chopped'? Cherry pie, chocolate covered cherries, a bowl of cherries, cherry vanilla ice cream, maraschino cherries, a cherry lifesaver...your favorite cherry flavored something? 

Last thing I chopped:  an avocado which I put in my lunchtime salad yesterday.

Favorite cherry something: fresh dark sweet cherries in season.  A cherry topped cheesecake is yummy too.

5. Describe yourself with three words using your first, middle, and last initials. 

 Servant (of God)

Joyful (in the Lord)

Trusting (in Him)

Beautiful graphic is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.  If you haven't visited there, you should.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I think our kids lost a lot when we stopped celebrating Lincoln's birthday and Washington's birthday in schools.  These holidays along with Valentine's Day made February such a festive month, one we all looked forward to.  They really brightened up the winter.  (And no, I am not old enough to remember the scene below!  It's a magazine cover from my old picture collection -- I've scanned and saved a few of these and tossed the rest as I am no longer needing them.)

That's the Hodgepodge for this week!  Happy Washington's Birthday!

Monday, February 20, 2023

Another cookbook recommendation -- Weeknight Dinners


 Here's another Gooseberry Patch cookbook that I highly recommend -- Weeknight Dinners.  This is one that we had a recipe published in.  I have used this book a great deal since it came into our household, and have gifted copies to others.  One of the favorite recipes I've used over the years is sort of pictured at the top left of the cookbook cover: baked potatoes topped with vegetarian chili.  

This cookbook is divided by type of cuisine: for example, meatless, Italian, Mexican, etc.  In fact, the categories include: Meatless Monday; Tuesday is Tex-Mex Night; Wednesday is Italian Night; Comfort Food Thursday; and Just for Fun Friday.  I've made recipes from each of the chapters.  One thing I love about this book is it has a good number of slow-cooker recipes.  In fact, there are so many that there's a special category for Slow Cookers in the index!

Stir-Fry Veggies & Rotini and Chile Relleno Casserole are recipes from the Meatless Monday chapter that we've greatly enjoyed, in addition to the Chili Baked Potatoes.  I want to make the Cheddar Baked Spaghetti, and the Lentil Brown Rice Tacos have been on my want-to-try list for some time.

In the Tex-Mex Tuesday chapter, I have made a slow-cooker recipe, Tex-Mex Chicken & Rice, countless times.  I can't eat frozen corn, so I substituted a can of black beans, drained and rinsed, for the corn.  This meal is delicious and I have often taken it to church potlucks.  Shredded Mexican Chicken is made in a slow cooker also and is perfect for tacos, enchiladas, taco salads, or any Mexican dish.  South-of-the-Border Rice makes a perfect accompaniment to many Mexican dishes, and I have prepared it many times.  Chicken Tortilla Soup was also published along with a review of this cookbook by my friend Linda at Prairie Flower Farm.  It's a really delicious and easy slow-cooker recipe.  

Another nice thing about this cookbook is that not only does it feature main dishes, but also sides, salads, a few breads, and desserts.  In the Tex-Mex section is a recipe for a dessert called Tim's Apple Burrito -- really just a huge apple turnover that serves 5 to 6 and sounds amazing!

Wednesday is Italian Night is a fun chapter filled with want-to-try recipes.  I've made Yummy Chicken Italiano -- another slow cooker dish -- for church potlucks and it goes over well.  Creamy Tomato Tortellini is another I've tried.  It's meatless but so scrumptious. Herbed Parmesan Squash is a good side dish.

In the Comfort Food Thursday chapter is another slow cooker favorite, Jan's Pork Chops & Pierogies.  True comfort food!  Chicken & Broccoli Bake is delicious but only serves two.  I would double or triple that one, and I prefer florets to chopped broccoli.  Dill Potato Wedges is a side dish recipe I've tried and loved.  Swedish Meatloaf is a recipe I'd love to try.  We enjoy Swedish meatballs and this would have a similar flavor.  

The chapter Just For Fun Friday contains the reason I own this book: my own recipe for Slow-Cooked Pork Ribs.  I've also tried Melissa's Hawaiian Chicken, another flavorful slow cooker meal.  Cheeseburger Macaroni is another recipe I've tried and liked.  And there are many, many more in this chapter that I want to try.  Baked Potato Bar and Pizza Butter Muffins, just to name a couple.

Because this cookbook contains such a variety of cuisines, it makes meal planning quite easy. 

Apparently this book has been updated to include photos and a photo cover.  You can check that out here: Updated Weeknight Dinners.

If you should be interested in the edition I have, Thriftbooks has one in good condition for $4.69: Weeknight Dinners.

Whichever edition you choose, I think you would be very pleased with this cookbook.  I know it's a much-used addition to my own cookbook shelves.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Sunday Scripture


Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The eighth, and last, section is Made for Community Challenge Week.  So here we go with the Scripture for the fifth day of that section. 

S= "And He sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all."  (Mark 9:35)

O= As they walked to Capernaum, the Twelve had been disputing among themselves as to who should be the greatest.  When Jesus asked them about this, they were ashamed to answer Him.  Jesus sat them down and explained that if anyone desired to be first, that person should be not only last of all, but servant of all.  

If we read further on, we see that Jesus took up a child in His arms as He sat in the midst of the Twelve: a visual to reinforce the lesson.

Warren Wiersbe notes in Be Diligent: "The world's philosophy is that you are 'great' if others are working for you, but Christ's message is that greatness comes from our serving others.  Since the words child and servant are the same in the Aramaic language, it is easy to see why Jesus connected the two.   If we have the heart of a child, we will have little difficulty being servants, and if we have the attitude of servants, we will welcome the children as the representatives of Jesus Christ and the Father."

He adds: "When we lovingly receive a child or compassionately share a cup of cold water, we are giving evidence that we have the humble heart of a servant."

A cross-reference is 1 Corinthians 15:9 where Paul wrote:

"For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

Another is Matthew 23:2-8, which presents the contrast of the Pharisees, who did all they could to be noticed by others: 

"But all their works they do to be seen of men."

Cross-references for "servant" include:

Matthew 23:11 -- "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant";

Mark 10:44 -- "Whosover of you would be the chiefest, shall be servant of all."

Luke 22:27 -- Jesus said, "I am among you as He that serveth."

A= This was an important lesson that Jesus had to teach the Twelve.  He had modeled servanthood among them, but they still didn't get it.  Jesus had to create a teaching opportunity to sit them down and explain to them about the first being last, and the need to be a servant to others.

Jesus also wants me to be a servant.  He Himself came not to be served, but to serve, and He is my example.  I think I need to pay closer attention to my heart attitude -- to remember that it's very possible to serve others and yet have a wrong attitude in doing so.  I have often done so!  But Jesus wants me to have a servant's heart.

P= "Lord, I thank You for the clarity of Your Word.  I can picture the disciples arguing as they walked that dusty road, and I can picture them later sitting around Jesus as He explained what it really meant to be great. 

 I pray that You will help me to take this lesson to heart and to consistently be a servant to others.  Help me to serve with a right attitude, with a servant's heart, with a desire to please You my only motive.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

As you see, this is the last of my Made for Community posts.  As I write this in mid-February, I'm considering and praying what to do next for Sunday Scriptures!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Hodgepodge for February 15


 It's Wednesday again, so time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's Hodgepodge questions are all over the place but I'm tackling them anyway.   Here goes:

 1. Pantone's color of the year for 2023 is Viva Magenta. Etsy's color(s) of the year are indigo and honeycomb. Your thoughts? Would we find any of these three shades in your home or wardrobe? Is there a room in your house that needs painting this year? Will you do it yourself or hire out? 

Viva Magenta (the way Pantone has presented it) to me looks hideous and somewhat hellish.  I think that I do have a magenta shirt that I like a lot, but it's not anywhere near as scary looking as this.  I do like Indigo and Honeycomb.  There is indigo in my wardrobe and possibly in my home as well.   The honeycomb color reminds me of a shirt I had and loved in high school, but my mother informed me it wasn't a flattering color for me.  A couple of years ago I bought a long-sleeve tee in this color (clearance in Wal*Mart) thinking that it might be fine with my gray hair -- I'm still drawn to the color -- but gave it up.  Thankfully I had only paid a few dollars for it.  Back in the 1970s we had a couch cover in this color.  Yes, that's me in the photo below, just 2 days away from giving birth to my youngest.

Many interior walls in our house need work, but we probably will be covering them with pine, not painting them.  Our camp interior walls (the ones that have paint) were repainted in 2020 but they are looking like they could use another coat.  The exterior walls need repairing, scraping, and painting badly.  We will do it ourselves, of course.

2. Something you had to do recently that could be described 'as exciting as watching paint dry'? 

Hmmm ....  I'm drawing a blank.  I don't get bored very easily.

A 1976 paint set cereal premium from Frosted Flakes

3. Who would you most like to sit beside on a 10-hour flight? Tell us why? Have you ever taken a 10-hour flight? 

My hubby would be a good choice because he is good company in any situation.  Other than that, I would say either granddaughter Julia or grandson Josiah because a long trip like that would most likely mean we'd be traveling to Nevada and they'd be looking forward lots of cousin time.  And these two are also good company in any situation.

I think an 8-hour flight may be the longest I have been on.

(You've got to feel confident with a girl who jumps into maple sugaring like this one, and a boy who can put in the time and effort to hatch three ducklings successfully from eggs.)

 4. What's something you did growing up that would get you into trouble? 

Picking on my younger brother. That got me in a lot of trouble over the years, especially after he got taller and bigger than I was.  

5. According to Google the top searches in 2022 were- Wordle, election results, Betty White, Queen Elizabeth, Bob Saget, Ukraine, Mega Millions, Powerball numbers, Anne Heche, and Jeffrey Dahmer. 

Hmmm...what does this say about us? How many of these words did you search last year? What would you guess was your most 'googled' word/phrase/question. 

Very interesting.  As to what it says about people as a whole, we're morbidly curious and greedy.  Also maybe basically uninformed.  And lazy when it comes to research.

 I didn't search any of those words last year.   The only one of those that interests me much is Queen Elizabeth, and I would be more apt to seek out books about her rather than do a google search.   As to what my own searches might be, they usually involve vintage items that I'm trying to price for my Etsy shop.

This note card is one of the recent searches I've done.  I found some fascinating information about the artist.  You can read about this listing here: Fawn and Butterfly note card.  If you don't have time to go there, I'll just share this tidbit: This illustration is by Maurice "Jake" Day, who was a well-known Maine artist. He illustrated many books and magazine articles, and also worked for Walt Disney and other motion picture studios. In fact, while working for Disney he played a big part in the illustrations for the film "Bambi", arranging for two orphaned Maine deer to be shipped to California for the illustrators to use as models. He and a friend also took many photos of wildlife and scenery in Baxter State Park which were used in making the movie.  I found this so interesting and thought others would find it so, too.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Just have to share this link to a recipe I recently tried: Spicy Tomato Pork Chops.   As I've mentioned, we have been eating more meat and a lot less carbs lately.  We had found a great deal on boneless pork chops and I was looking for something a little different to make with them.  


Highly recommend this recipe.  It's easy and takes only a few ingredients.  In fact, my hubby (who is more of a baker than a cook) put this together last Tuesday evening when I was involved in a lengthy phone call.   We loved the sauce and how it tastes much more flavorful than one would expect for something prepared in such a short time.  We enjoyed this over cauliflower rice, but if you are not watching carbs it would be yummy over pasta, brown rice, or even mashed potatoes.

 That's the Hodgepodge for this week!

Monday, February 13, 2023

A bit of winter decorating


 Just popping in with a quick post to share the small bit of winter decorating that I've done.  Most of it's on my hutch.  I found this gorgeous snowflake plate at our favorite local thrift store.  The blue mug is a Fire King mug in the "Kimberly" pattern; I found it at my childhood home and fell in love with it.  The little "Snow Day" cross-stitch is from the Prairie Schooler January sampler leaflet.  I'm working on the sampler, but I simply could not resist stitching this little piece also.

The log cabin plate was also a thrift store find; the vintage Gurley snowman candle was a gift from my friend Cyndy.
This shows more of that shelf.  The snowman plate was another thrift store find; think it's from Walmart originally.  The little cardinals were gifted me by my friend Lynne.
A closer look at the snowman plate.
The shelf below looks pretty much the same every winter: lots of glittery houses and little trees.  This year I added in a Christmas card from our friend Steven.  I thought it fit so well with the trees and houses.

 I already showed you this bookcase top from the living room, below.  It looks exactly the same now except I removed the "January" garland.  I decided I loved everything else just as it is!
 Oh, and this is an older photo but I have also hung these banners over the dining room windows:

And there is some of my super-simple winter decorating that I'm enjoying so very much.   Probably in March I will transition to a maple sugaring theme.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Sunday Scripture


 Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The seventh section is Made for Community Challenge Week.  So here we go with the Scripture for the fourth day of that section. 

S= "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."  (James 5:16)

O= The theme of the book of James is Practical Christian Living.  Here in the last few verses of the last chapter of the book, James gives a number of exhortations, in view of the coming of the Lord.  This is one of them.  It tells us to confess our faults [or sins] one to another, and to pray one for another, that we may be healed.

I have some concerns with confessing my sins to another human being (though I will freely admit my faults to them).  Warren Wiersbe, in his Bible study on James, sheds some light on this: "We confess our sins first of all to the Lord (1 John 1:9), but we must also confess them to those who have been affected by them.  We must never confess sin beyond the circle of that sin's influence.". He adds, " There is healing (physical and spiritual) when sin is dealt with." James adds that the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous person has great power.

I really like how Believer's Bible Commentary explains this: "A casual reading of this statement might give the impression that we are to tell other people all about our secret sins.  But that is not at all the thought!  Primarily James means that when we sin against someone else, we should be prompt to confess this sin to the person we have wronged.

"Also we should pray for one another.  Instead of holding grudges and allowing resentments to build up, we should maintain ourselves in fellowship with others through confession and prayer ... Physical healing is linked with spiritual restoration."

A=  I must keep short accounts, not only with God, but with others.  I must not delay confessing, and I must not try to hide my sin.  And I must pray for others.  People have wronged me in the past, but by God's grace I am able to pray for them faithfully and extend love and kindness to them. 

Disobedience to God on any believer's  part can lead to sickness, but healing and restoration are entirely  possible when sin is honestly dealt with.

P= "Lord, I pray that You will help me keep short accounts with others, as well as with You.  Help me not to try to hide my sin or to delay confessing it.  Help me to be faithful in praying for others and not to hold grudges against fellow believers who may have hurt me in the past.  I know that an effective prayer life depends in part upon staying "prayed up", so I ask for Your help to do these things, and I thank You for all You'll do in Jesus' name, Amen."

That's the Sunday Scripture for this week.  Only one more to go in this series!   I'm still praying about what study to share next.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Winter nights at our little camp

 In 2022, we spent at least one night every month at our little cottage in the woods -- except for January and February.  So for 2023, we set a goal to be able to stay at least one night during those winter months as well.  This is quite a challenge considering the fact that our camp is not winterized.  

All of the interior photos in this post were taken with my tablet in the main, living/dining room on an early morning in mid-January.  In the photo below,  directly below where the oar is hanging, the expanse of wood is one of the large shutters that cover the huge screened windows.  These shutters are held up by hooks to the rafters in warmer weather.  But during the off-season we enjoy looking at the art we have hung on some of them.  You can also see that we brought in our "Lakeview Lodge" sign 

for the winter and it is hanging from the rafters.

My hubby has insulated the walls in the living room and loft, but the walls in the other two rooms have no insulation (and it would be a difficult task to add any) and none of the floors are insulated.  

However, due to some warmer than usual temperatures in January, plenty of dry firewood, and some good old Yankee ingenuity on my husband's part, we were able to stay several nights last month. 

 The middle room (where the sleeping nook and bathroom are located) can be kept warm, since that's also where the wood stove is.  Enough heat filters into the kitchen from there so that we can prepare a quick meal or wash a few dishes. (At night, while we're sleeping, we curtain off the kitchen to keep the heat in the room where we are.). That would be Yankee ingenuity hack #1 -- there's no door between the two, so we put up a tension rod and at night we clip a quilt to the rod.

In the evenings before bed, though, we like to have the big living/dining area warm enough that we can eat supper and relax there.  We have a couple of electric heaters that we can use in there, but my hubby figured out something that works even better: Yankee ingenuity hack #2.  He took a fan --- just a plain, ordinary metal fan -- and placed it on top of the wood stove so that it blows warm air through the doorway into the big room.  It makes things so comfortable in there throughout the evening!  When we're ready for bed, we just unplug the fan and close the door to the big room.

My hubby figured out a different system for the Christmas candles this year.  He still doesn't have window sills made.  So rather than individual shelves under each window as he did last year, he made one long shelf beneath all four windows.  I really like it and wouldn't mind if his eventual window sills came out something like this.  You can glimpse a buffalo check throw in the photo below.  We have a cozy throw on every chair as well as the couch. 

I mentioned earlier that all the floors are uninsulated (though some of them will eventually be insulated, they are not at this time).  The floor in the large room is mostly covered by a woven vintage rug, so that helps a lot.  The floor in the bedroom/bathroom area, however, becomes downright chilly in the middle of the night.  Which brings me to Yankee ingenuity hack #3: We had a large, very thick "bath sheet" that I bought by mistake on clearance some years ago.  We just lay that down on the floor before bed on top of the throw rugs and it does the trick.  It's easily taken up in the morning.  We shake it out, fold it and stash it out of sight until the next time.  It's easily washed when needed.  

Below a couple more photos from the living/dining area:

Another of the large shutters with artwork displayed on it.  When the shutters are up, the framed pieces stay safely in place.


 For Christmas I had this simple runner on the table (it's actually still in place) with a sweet wintry candle holder atop it.

I mentioned in my Hodgepodge post how we plan for spontaneous winter evenings at the camp by being prepared.   The two basic things we need other than PJs and such are water and coffee.  We have a supply of K-cups at the camp.  We keep our camp Keurig (which would freeze internally if we left it there) in a box ready to transport, and another box containing our jug for drinking water.  My hubby watches the weather forecasts like a hawk, keeping an eye open for warm winter days (40s or above) and warmish nights.  When a likely night shows up, we just add water to the jug, grab the Keurig box and our duffel bag with clothing, toothbrushes, etc.  and are ready to go.

We also try to keep a good amount of dry firewood and kindling under cover on the camp porch, ready for starting a fire in the wood stove.  When it's possible, my hubby will go over to the camp in the afternoon of a night when we plan to stay, and start a fire to warm things up.  It gets very cold in there as one would expect of an unheated seasonal place.  If we can take the chill off first it really helps.

Oh, speaking of coffee, which I was a paragraph or two ago -- I almost forgot about Yankee ingenuity hack #4.  You might guess (and you'd be right) that kitchen cabinets in an unheated building would be very, very cold in winter.  And everything contained in them is also cold.  Probably even cold enough to break if hot liquid was poured into it.  So, the night before, we take two coffee mugs out of the cabinet and place them on a handy shelf not far from the wood stove.  By the time we're ready for coffee in the morning, our mugs are preheated and ready to use.

 We're hoping to stay over again either this week or next, as there are some warm days and nights in the forecast.  If we can stay even one night in February, we'll meet our goal to stay over at camp every month of the year!

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Goals for 2023

Life can be kinda crazy, don't you agree?  And I find that if I don't have some goals to aim at, it's very easy to just get through each day without making it count for God.  I'm pretty sure I didn't set yearly goals in either 2021 or 2022.  (I did in 2020, but we all know how that went.)  So for 2023, even though I am late posting them, I have set some goals -- goals in keeping with my word of the year, focus.  Here are the areas I've set goals in, including some of my specific goals for each area.

Personal growth (I included both spiritual and intellectual growth, as well as character development, in this category): Work on character qualities of unselfishness, kindness, compassion, perseverance, and self-control.  Work at eliminating the time-wasting habit of procrastination.  Read through the Daily Walk Bible.  Study, memorize and meditate on God's Word daily.  Continue my study of Lamentations.  Read at least 12 books.  Nurture creativity.

Health (includes physical, mental, and emotional health):  Exercise and/or walk at least five times per week.  Get enough water, sleep, fresh air, and sunshine.  Continue intermittent fasting.  Cook and eat with health in mind.  Do something creative or craft-related every day.  Journal and write as often as possible.  Continually cultivate the habit of gratitude.  Continually seek to be joyful and to keep my eyes open daily for the little things that make each day special. 

Marriage/family life (includes homemaking): Plan periodic getaways.  Take the best possible care of my husband and help him in every way possible.  Take advantage of every moment together.  Take time for dates.  Find moments of relaxation with my husband as often as possible.

Relationships outside the home:  Be more of an encouragement to my daughters, friends, and the ladies  who will be in my Sunday School class.  Stay in better touch with faraway friends and family.  Make myself available to help and encourage those who are nearby.  Continue blogging as a means of encouraging other ladies.  Work harder at cultivating extended family relationships.  Plan trip to visit faraway family.  Plan fun activities with nearby grandchildren. 

Homemaking:   Minister to my husband and others with the gift of a peaceful, orderly home by decluttering the entire house and implementing homemaking routines.  Get serious about downsizing.

Money matters:  Spend less on groceries on a weekly basis.  Continue selling small vintage items on Etsy.  Consider doing some writing for paying publication.  Prayerfully finish up my trust responsibilities, seeking God's continual guidance as I do.

Ministry:  Deepen my prayer life, praying regularly for those with deep needs. Work on a study to teach as a women's Sunday School class starting late spring or early summer.    Continue with our volunteer work in maintenance at The Wilds of New England.  Minister to others with hospitality as the opportunities arise.  Prepare to speak at a ladies' brunch in May.

Have you set goals for 2023 yet?  I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I do find it very helpful to consider and set goals for a new year.  I'm certainly late doing that this year!  You can find further inspiration on this Pinterest board of mine: A new year, a fresh start.  Happy 2023, and happy goal setting!

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Ever-lovin' hodgepodge


It's Wednesday again, so time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's Hodgepodge questions revolve around love and romance.   Here goes:

1. Something you've done recently that might be considered a labor of love? 

Oh, let's see.   I would say a couple of things.  An embroidered flannel baby blanket is in the making -- I have completed the embroidery.  It's not the one below but is a similar style.


And then last week I prepared and froze food at home to bring along as part of my cooking for off-season volunteers (along with some staff) at a Christian camp.  That was a labor of love and the freeze-ahead part turned out to be a huge blessing. 

2. What's one thing you love about being the age you are now? 

Freedom to be myself.  Curly gray hair, dangly earrings, comfortable un-fancy outfits.  No one expects me to be anything but a Grammy and a biblical older woman.  

3. What do you value more: careful planning or the freedom to be spontaneous? Elaborate.

I think that oftentimes careful planning can free one up to be spontaneous.   Here's an example: we like to spontaneously spend a winter night at our little camp.  (I'm actually working on a blog post about how we make this happen.)  Careful planning might include keeping plenty of firewood there, keeping a handy box to carry along drinking water and the Keurig, keeping a duffel bag packed with essentials all ready to go.  Then when the weatherman gives a forecast for an unseasonably warm winter day, off we go for a spontaneous night at our cottage!

4. A home cooked meal or a fancy restaurant? pink or red? watch the sunrise or watch the sunset? wine and cheese or champagne and chocolate? 

💟  I would basically never choose a fancy restaurant.  They intimidate me.  I much prefer diners or simple family restaurants. A home-cooked Valentine meal can be lovely too.  My daughter treats her family to one every year.

💟  Red.  I like pink too, but if I had to choose it would be red.

💟  Either sunrise or sunset -- I'm awake for both -- but around here the sunsets tend to be prettier than the sunrises, so I'll pick sunset.

💟 I wouldn't pick either of these food/beverage pairings.  Maybe coffee and chocolate.  Or just plain chocolate.

The roses on my daughter's Valentine table last year -- half-price roses from the supermarket!

5. What's your definition of romance? Are you a 'romantic'? 

 I think the definition of romance absolutely varies from person to person and from couple to couple.  I'm not even sure I could define it. 

I'm a romantic in this sense: I love to hear a real-life love story with many chapters and a happy ending.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

A friend treated me to one of these Dark Cocoa Maple Cream Truffles today.  Oh, my.

And that's the Hodgepodge for this week!  It's good to be back.

Monday, February 06, 2023

What I'll be focusing on for 2023

 Others may be wondering what living out my word for 2023 is actually going to look like.  I'm working on a more detailed post concerning my goals for the year -- or the eleven months left in it.  But here's just a quick overview of some things I want to focus on.

🌿 Time with God -- I not only want this to be an important focus of my life, but I want to truly focus on God during my time with Him.  That may sound odd, but believe me, it's highly possible to focus on time with God and not focus on Him.  For example, you're reading through the Bible in a year, but you zip through it so you can cross it off on a list or chart.  You're not really getting much out of what you read.  Or you have a structured prayer list (and I'm not saying this is a bad idea), praying for specific people each day, but again you zip through it just to have it done and cross it off, not really considering the needs of those you are praying for but just generally asking God to bless them.  

So I want my time with God to be focused and meaningful, a two-way conversation as it were.

🌿 Personal growth is in great part a natural result of time with God.  When I think of personal growth, I think of both spiritual growth and growth in character.  With each year that passes, I am more conscious of just how few years I might have left in this life.  I want to make each moment count for God and I want to be strong in character and in my spiritual life.  That means, again, quality time with God each day.  It also means that I face up to my character flaws and begin, with God's help, to grow and change in those areas. 

🌿 Health -- I'm really trying to focus on my health this year.  I want to be as healthy as possible, so I will feel my absolute best and will have the energy and stamina I need for serving God and others.

🌿 Marriage and family  -- After my relationship with God, my relationship with my husband is my highest human priority.  So my marriage needs to be another daily focus in my life.  It's so easy to just go through each day in a kind of humdrum way, not taking time to appreciate and enjoy the things that make our marriage special.  We should never take a day together for granted.  

Family also needs to be a focus.  What do my children and grandchildren need from me?  My prayers, for sure.  Awareness of needs in their lives so I can bring those before the Lord.  And I won't have that awareness without communication.   Sometimes they need my presence in their lives.  Always they need to know I will be there for them and that I am praying for them.

🌿 Homemaking -- I'm determined to focus more on my homemaking this year.  It would be so much easier to keep things clean and organized if I would seriously declutter and downsize.  I truly want my home to be a place that ministers to others and offers them a peaceful respite from the world.  It is that already, but it could be so much more with a little more attention.

🌿 Ministry needs to be a focus too.  In Sunday School yesterday morning the emphasis included using our spiritual gifts to love and serve one another in our local church and beyond.  As I worked through some of the lesson questions on my own in preparation for class,  I was struck by how God is giving me more opportunities than ever to use my spiritual gifts.  I'm not currently teaching, but He has given me so many other ways to give and serve that I can't help but be encouraged.

🌿 Friendships and church family -- I want to be much more intentional with my friendships this year, staying in better touch with some and maybe rekindling some old friendships.  Our church family too -- they are far more than just people who happen to attend the same church.   I read this quote on my friend Whitney's blog, Come Home for Comfort, and was so blessed by it:

“When God saved us, He made us members of His household, and He gave us as gifts to one another. Each brother and sister is a portion of my gospel inheritance from God, and I am a portion of their inheritance as well. We are significant players in each other’s gospel narrative, and it is in relationship with one another that we experience the fullness of God in Christ. 

"Hence, the more I comprehend the full scope of the gospel, the more I value the church for which Christ died, the more I value the role that I play in the lives of my fellow Christians, and the more I appreciate the role that they must be allowed to play in mine.” (Milton Vincent)

Speaking of quotes, I have in my prayer journal a number of quotes from various people, many of them from Elizabeth George.  The one below is really impacting my thinking for this year:

"We have a limited number of years left to change and grow, to follow God's plan, and to live a life marked by diligence.  But just think what can be accomplished for God and for others when we walk in godliness and diligence for our remaining years!

" We dare not waste our most precious resource -- our lives.  We must number our days -- and use each and every one of them for God's glory!"

With that in mind, these are the major things I plan to prayerfully focus on in the next 11 months.  What about you?  What are you focusing on in 2023?