Monday, March 31, 2014

Gathering the Moments......March!

This is a new and delightful event for me.....Gathering the Moments with Cheryl (http://thinking-about-home.blogspot.com/)
(Please, oh please work, dear Blogger, and let me have a link to Cheryl's blog on her name!)
So, looking back on the month of March.....

We had snow, ice, and cold.  Even this past Sunday, we got an inch of slush.  All of which is gone, now....Hallelujah!


In the midst of all the wintry weather, we had the perennial anemones bloom.


I gathered my cast iron skillets and started using them daily.  For meat, veggies, bread and dessert!


Spent lots of time in the kitchen...a good thing.  Made Danishes from scratch.  Homemade dough.  Homemade filling.  The works.  That's future blog fodder, 'cause there are lots of pictures.


Made applesauce.  After I made it a few months ago, Chickie decided that all our applesauce must be homemade.
Made laundry detergent.  Nothing new there.  But that's what's in the little pan.  15 minutes of work, 6 months of detergent for pennies.


Gave a cat a lion cut.  Now that was interesting.


Oh, and Mister retired!

I had a most encouraging email exchange with Cheryl where she 'got' what I was expressing in a post, and she described dealing with change this way, "Sounds as if you are in the midst of lots of changes at your house and are finding the courage to forge ahead with joy!"  Isn't that a beautiful description of life with Jesus??!!

Thank you Cheryl for hosting and for sharing yourself with the rest of us!




Saturday, March 29, 2014

Skillet Apple Crisp

I mentioned recently  (http://oursearskithome.blogspot.com/2014/03/on-new-kick.html) that I'm kind of on a new kick....using cast iron for cooking. I shopped the garage and got my 3 other skillets and they now reside in the kitchen.

They are great for stove top use, and oven use.  Or over a fire or on a grill.  I'm making plans!


I made my usual fruit crisp recipe and assembled it into a screaming hot, buttered skillet.
Oh my.


That baby was gone within hours.  Hours, I'm telling you!

It will soon be time to trade out the apples for berries and other seasonal delicacies!

Fruit Crisp Recipe:
1 and 1/2 stick butter
1 cup flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Fruit of your choice...3 cups, or eyeball it.
__________________________________________________
I grease an 8x8 pan, put the fruit on the bottom.

Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl and throw the other ingredients in, stirring well with a spatula.

Plop the topping on the fruit, evenly distributing it atop the fruit.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, until topping is golden.




And by the way....I am declaring that Spring is here!  I'm looking forward to THIS!

Wishing each of you a wonderful weekend,

Carol

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Beautiful Perspective

If you visit here with any regularity, you know that Grace Livingston Hill is my favorite author.
Her stories, which take place in the early 1900's, are stories of triumph over tragedy, and she includes the salvation message in all but the earliest books.
When re-reading "Happiness Hill" the other day, these words caught my heart......


 ""Well,......this is as near heaven as I'll ever get on this earth!.....Why, if I'd ever known we were coming to this I could have borne everything I went through sweetly."


 "You did, Mary!", (said her husband), "but isn't that just like us mortals!  I expect that's the way we'll talk when we really see heaven.  We'll say, 'If I had known it was this He had in store for me I could have borne all and never faltered!'  'The sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed hereafter.'"

If I had know it was this He had in store for me I could have borne all and never faltered.

We all have trials and difficulties.  We see through a glass darkly.

I'd like to remember to have a heavenly perspective......NOW.  Wouldn't you?!

Wishing you a wonderful week.  Encouragement follows!

Here's Romans 8 from The Message Bible.....


17 And we know we are going to get what's coming to us - an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him! 18 That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. 19 The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. 20 Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in 21 until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. 22 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. 23 These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. 24 That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. 25 But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. 26 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. 27 He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. 28 That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. 29 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. 30 After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun. 31 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? 32 If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? 33 And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? 34 Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us - who was raised to life for us! - is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. 35 Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: 36 They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. 37 None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. 38 I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, 39 high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of SPRING!

"They" are calling for periods of sun and 50-some degrees.
I believe that means it's time to make sun tea on the sun porch.


I shall enjoy the tea brewing in the sun-warmed porch.
Because the sun porch is not heated....unless the sun is heating it.


Forsythia is easy to force.  This isn't ours, but I think I'll wander out back and pick a few branches to bring indoors.  I'll put them out of the cats' reach.

Wishing you a day of springtime delights!
Even if it doesn't feel like spring where you are.......spring IS happening below the surface, I promise!

Carol

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March's Note Card Party: Words of Strength, Hope and Comfort!

Life change takes adjusting to.  It takes courage.
Changes like....going back to work after not practicing veterinary medicine for 2 years.....Mister resigning from his job.....doors unexpectedly closed.....contemplating retirement....seeking how to best serve in a new season of life.....not to mention a new financial perspective.
I discovered this verse a week or two ago, and it speaks for itself.
Directly from the mouth of God.


"Even to your old age and gray hairs


I am He, I am He, who will sustain you.


I have made you and I will carry you;


I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
Isaiah 46:4


Ok.  So He made me and He carries me.  He sustains me and will rescue me.
That ticks all my boxes.

The pictures all reflect hope to me.  Hope of new seasons, hope of beautiful green leaves and blooms and sunshine.  Hope of new life.

Thank you Lord.  For Your compassion and that all You've ever wanted was my heart.  You have it.

Be blessed today, and do visit Vee at ahavenforvee.blogspot.com for her wonderful party.


Monday, March 17, 2014

On a New Kick

So I joined a FB group all about cast iron cooking last week.


I rarely use the big iron skillet I keep in the kitchen any more.  I wanted more variety of skillets, so I shopped the garage......


....and behold!  3 more!
I dreamed of mounting them on the wall in the kitchen where I could not only admire them and have them handy, but save storage space.


The cabinet door was also picked up in the garage, and scrubbed.


Mister is concerned about the weight on the wall, so the skillets were simply seasoned and tucked away in a drawer.


It became necessary to use them daily.
The apple crisp came out great.


The chili was a crowd pleaser.


I've made the lower cornbread recipe in a skillet before, and I will say it IS the best cornbread I have ever had.  But lately, I'm going with the tweaked gluten free recipe above it.

There's nothing like cooking or baking something in a screaming hot iron skillet!

My sister has even gotten in on it, and she's been texting pictures of her efforts.  Between us both, we've also done chicken, pork chops, eggs, Irish soda bread, and salmon.

You are welcome to join in!  Or just inspire us!

Wishing all of you a wonderful St. Patrick's Day and week,

Carol

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I've got something....for YOU!

I trekked through the snow. My left foot is still wet. But it was worth it....for YOU.

I headed for this faux fence made from an extremely large, found pallet.


Because I watch for the bright yellow of spring here, every year.


Yellow is such a cheerful, joyful color, isn't it??!
The seasonal finding reminds me of something I am living this very season.
Just because it doesn't necessarily FEEL like Spring, or LOOK like Spring......


....doesn't mean it ISN'T Spring.
We don't see under the snow, beneath the surface of the ground.
We pray and long for Spring.
We trust that it will come.  Because we have never known it not to.


God's working is a lot like that.
We pray.  Pray some more.  Circle promises, people, circumstances, in prayer.
It doesn't look like anything is happening.
Where are the answers to our hundreds of prayers, our hours on our knees?

Our role is to trust Him.  Relinquish ourselves, our circumstances, our grief to Him.
Because when we do, He WILL work.
We trust.
He works.

After all, if we can trust our ETERNITY to Him, can't we trust the temporal?


And this I can promise you.  You can stand on this.

He. Is. Working.

God is fighting for us behind the scenes, in so many ways that we will never see this side of heaven.  Sometimes we get a glimpse.

But really, we have no idea.

"Trust not on your own understanding."

........It was 65 degrees outside today, and when we took a walk around the neighborhood, we found this CROCUS blooming!  What a surprise!  And the sunshine felt soooo good on our backs as we walked..........

God is good.
He is working.
Our role is to trust.

Be blessed today.  Even if it doesn't feel like a blessed day. It's Spring, you know.

Even though it isn't supposed to get above 24 degrees on Thursday.

;),

Carol




Saturday, March 8, 2014

Thinking Spring

In February, Chickie and I took a day trip to Longwood Gardens.  She had been there more recently than me, but we have gone together through the years, just the two of us, so it's a special place....
(longwoodgardens.org since the links no longer work....)

The living walls were new to me.  Each door opens up into an individual restroom with toilet and sink and mirror.  Kind of cool, curvy little rooms.


The lilies were out in full force.


The spring garden caught my heart.


Arches repeated themselves overhead in the Mediterranean garden.


The ballroom is magnificent and houses the Longwood organ.  Composed of 10,010 pipes divided into 146 ranks, the organ is the largest Aeolian organ ever constructed in a residential setting.,  Pierre du Pont was an organ afficianodo, who had the organ installed in the Conservatory in 1930. (http://longwoodgardens.org/events-and-performances/music-performance-and-theater/our-resident-instruments/longwood-organ)


The "knees" on this bald cypress look like figures of ancient robed peoples to me.  Explanation follows!


And there you have it.
Now some pictures....





I do love old kitchen cabinetry.  The kitchen in the Peirce-du Pont house is no exception.  Complete with a safe for the silver!


The details on the stairway are lovely.



Chickie and I were delighted beyond words to learn about the feline residents at Longwood.  There are about 15 cats, all rescues, and they each have their own territories and cat doors that allow each one into his or her own specific area.  Belin, here, lives in the Peirce-du Pont House.  He spends most of his time sunning in chairs and being petted, for which he doesn't bother to really awaken.  There are blog entries and You Tube videos featuring this fellow.  (http://longwoodgardens.org/sustainability/integrated-pest-management/cats-longwood)


The Chimes Tower and water fall are beautiful.  The chimes' sound keep time.


Beautiful stonework inside the tower.


One just can't stop looking at it.


Chickie was snapping away with her fancy camera.  I kind of just watched and sometimes tried to get the same picture.  Here is one example!

Even though we still have plenty of snow, I have seen anemones blooming, and the birds have been singing up a storm the last few weeks.

Springtime....she approacheth!   Thank God.