23 December 2010

~~Thankful Thursdays~~Dec. 23

This week I'm thankful for.....dormancy.

Webster on 'dormant':
a) asleep, inactive
b) having the faculties suspended: sluggish
c) having biological activity suspended as in not actively growing
but protected (as by bud scales) from the environment (referring to plant parts)

Odd thing to be thankful for?

Winter's redeeming value, in my opinion,
is the opportunity to slow down,
sleep a little longer as darkness descends earlier;
spend more time indoors around the fire enjoying family activities;
catch up on activities one is too busy for during
spring planting, summer tending & harvesting,
and autumns harvesting and preserving.
Time to think, plan, and prepare for the new year ahead.

May you, too, enjoy the blessings of rest this week,
in preparation for the bud and blossom of the coming spring.

22 December 2010

Happy Hen House

The current poultry compound.

It occurred to me recently that it has been quite a while
since I posted about our little friends in the backyard.

Some of the following photos will be familiar
to long-time readers, as they are being imported over here
from our private blog.
To the rest of you they will be new material.

A little over a year ago we began constructing the current hen house,
and for some time now it has been finished and in use.
I just forgot to update you about it!

To keep this as brief as possible,
I'll mostly recap the building process with photo captions:

This is an old pop-up camper the Man salvaged only because he wanted
the trailer frame. Hurricane force straight-line winds did this damage
one fine summer day, insuring that the trailer was indeed trashed!

When I see the Man in this stance, I know his wheels are turning and the
creative process is starting!

And then, when he begins digging through what I affectionately call
"The Poor White Trash Pile,".....I can be certain that something is up.

Here he is, cheerfully de-constructing the camper.
Demolition is always the fun part!!

Down to the frame, and floor, almost ready to start building.....
as soon as that back bumper comes off!

And here is the beginnings of the new hen house.
We pirated a general design from a commercial structure we'd seen,
but a lot of the measurements and such we had to figure out as we went.
Like I said.....creative process.

A family project.....the Treasure learns some new skills.

The frame taking shape.

Roof and sides are on, time to fill in the ends.
Where will the door fit?

And here it is, all cozy and complete.
The "tractor" to the right is the portable summer apartment,
we move the hens around to whatever greens need decimating--
usually garden weeds!
The pen on the far left is a dog kennel that a family member
needed to find a new home for, and we put wire mesh over the top
to discourage the chicken hawks.

It is hard to get good photos because it is so small,
but here is a shot of the inside.
Water is in an insulated jug (keeps it from freezing in winter)
and their feed is in the galvanized trash can on the left.

The roosting poles go across the back of the building.
We intend to build 3-4 nest boxes where the lighter boards
are under the window, but at present this is not a priority
as we only have 3 hens and they are on strike right now.
(I keep repeating the rhyme my dad told me to say to them:
"An egg a day--keeps the hatchet away!"
They pay me no mind. Guess they know
they are pets and are in no danger of being eaten!)

And on the right side of the door you see the hanging feeder,
a water dish, and the current--but very neglected--nest box.

So there you have it, our portable little hen house.
Small, simple and functional.
We do plan to take it with us when we make our final move,
but I think we will place it on a larger trailer to transport it,
rather than try to run it down the road on its little wheels!

The hens love it.
It is so funny to see them lined up at the gate of the big pen
every dusk these past winter afternoons.....the Man has them trained
to march right into the coop as soon as he opens the door.
Inside, they cluck and murmur and scratch in contentment.

A house that makes the hens happy.

19 December 2010

~~Honoring Old Quilts~~2

Here's another old quilt to cheer your day!

This one comes from the Man's side of the family~
unfortunately, I do not know any of the history behind it.
It came to us with a couple other tattered quilts
after the second of his two paternal aunts passed away.
Both aunts never married, but they were sweet, precious,
Godly women who knew how to make and keep a home
with very little income to work with.
They were always gracious and hospitable
and welcomed me into the family with wide open arms.

I can only wonder about the history behind this quilt...
from appearances, it was treasured to tatters!
It was so threadbare that I despaired of finding
any way to salvage it...
yet it was so beautiful I couldn't bear to throw it in the trash.
I really love this pattern that creates a red and white checkerboard,
and I love the simplicity of it, and the warm homey-ness.

So I looked very closely at the entire quilt,
and was able to find a few places that I thought would hold up to
a gentle washing...
and maybe create some new memories for a little girl
I particularly love.

Those few places were cut out...
the largest was hemmed and became a new quilt for the doll cradle,
a smaller area became a pillow for the same.
I thought I had some photos of them in the cradle,
but they are evading me at present.

So here is one more recently of the Treasure...

...with a doll and a quilt that she now treasures.

18 December 2010


            It was the evening rush hour, when homeward-bound workers pour out on Washington streets by the thousand, and when street cars are packed-jammed to the very doors. A late train had brought a traveler, cumbered with baggage, to a cross-town transfer point just when the street was most crowded. One-two-three cars whizzed past before a motorman deigned to even stop; and then we just did manage to get aboard.
            There were no seats to be had, of course. As we went around a curb, most of the standees slipped off balance and grabbed wildly for the nearest support. Suddenly a dusky-faced, bright-eyed, kinky-haired boy of twelve or there-abouts touched my arm and spoke:
            “’Scuse me, lady, but ef yo’kin scrouch roun’ inter dis corner, I kin change places wif you.”
            Thankfully I “scrounced” even though a florid fat man almost did get the precious corner to lean against first!
            In half an hour we were out in the suburbs, and the crowd began to melt away. The last part of the ride was comfortable enough—as street carsgto—for anybody.
            “Georgia Avenue,” called the conductor; then “7th Street – 6th Street – 5th Street–“
            I turned to gather up my belongings, as we ground to a stop, but a dusky hand reached for the heavy suitcase, and once more the small gentleman-of-color came to my rescue.
            “Yo’ goin’ dis a-way, lady?”
            “Yes, but—“
“I kin carry it—well, as not,” he insisted. And so—with numerous stops—he did.
Four blocks later, having told me enroute all about “Miss Mary and Mr. Jack” for whom “my mammy cooks and housekeeps while dey run de stor’,” he set the burden down at last before the house where it belonged, but with a smile that showed two rows of snow-white teeth, absolutely refused to accept the quarter I offered—yes, urged--him to take.
“No, indeedy,” he explained. “I’s glad I kin do dat fo’ you, ‘cause it’s my ferfume fo’ terday.”
“Oh!” I responded blankly. “Well, I surely thank you very much.”
“Ho’ shor is welcome,” he beamed—then looked at me quizzically and added, “but lady, yo’ shore know ‘bout the ferfume don’ you?”
“I’m not so sure, Jerry. Suppose you tell me.”
“Why, Miss Mary, she say (Miss Mary’s her I chores fo’ after school,) Miss Mary, she say yo’ must do some perliteness fo’ somebody ever’day, and she say dat’s de ferfume o’life—make it smell sweet, yo’ know!”
Ah, now I understood. Politeness is the perfume that makes life more fragrant—sweeter—lovelier!
And really, isn’t it?

Courtesy isn’t such a complicated accomplishment, after all. It’s merely “to do and say the kindest thing in the kindest way,” not merely sometimes, to some few persons whose favor we may wish to gain but to everybody, everywhere, and under every circumstance.
She was the queerest little old woman! “Eighty years, come July 3,” she told us. I wish you could have seen her! She was dressed in a patched black dress, and had a much-patched faded blue gingham apron protecting her long, voluminous skirts. Her hat—a “sailor” type of ancient vintage—was perched on the tip top of her head, but securely tied under her chin with a string, and beneath its spacious brim gray hair fell in sparse strings around a wrinkled face. Her shoes were at least twice too large, and had long, long ago seen their best days. On her right arm hung a spacious, though pitifully thin, old pocketbook tied shut with a shoe lace. In her right hand she carried a broom-stick—full length—with a nail in the end. This served as a cane! Her left hand clung to a tiny, old-fashioned “hand satchel.”
The conductor brought her into the Pullman from the crowded day coach, just after our train left Baltimore, and she settled herself with a sigh into its more comfortable quarters.
“Nice man, ain’t he?” she remarked in a high-pitched, carrying voice to her nearest neighbor. “I mean the tall feller wearin’ all that gold braid. Come in where I was a-sittin’ an’ said he had extry room in here, an’ he brought me right along, he did!”
Before an hour had passed everyone within hearing distance knew that her home was in “St. Paul, in Minnisoty;” that she had, after years of economy, saved money enough to see at least part of the world, and had selected “Jerusalem, an ‘them places over there” on which to begin. We learned that she had bought her ticket—“A round tripper” from “the ticket-agent-man in St. Paul, “and charged him to see that she traveled “straight to New York an’ then straight to Jerusalem!” Disgusted and disillusioned, she was hurrying “straight back to St. Paul to give that ticket agent man a good settin’ about, and make him give the money back!”
She positively refused “to go to bed” when night came. “Whoever he’erd of such goin’s on in a train!” But if she had been – the Queen of Sheba – those railroad men, from the colored porter to the portly goldbraided official, could not have taken more trouble to make her as comfortable as possible. And when we reached Chicago, they arranged for her transfer to “the Minnisoty station” in a taxi, and even put themselves to considerable trouble to locate her missing specks, and the way they did this proved that it was not just all in a day’s work, but that they knew the real meaning of real courtesy!
This after all is only the golden rule translated into a gracious reality—the “ferfume” of life.
“It’s so easy to be too busy in these hustling, hurrying days for some of the finer courtesies—those things that are perhaps outside the realm of expected civility. But ‘tis well worth anybody’s while to take a few steps aside from the beaten path of his polite duty, and be extra courteous!
Why? Because it will not only sweeten other lives, but it will do wonders for one’s own naturally all too selfish heart, and transform one’s little world into a warm, kindly, sympathetic living place.
You wonder if it’s worth while—this super courtesy. Well, just try it someday and—you’ll—be—surprised.
~Lora E. Clements, The Youth’s Instructor, September 9, 1930

16 December 2010

~~Thankful Thursdays~~Dec 16

Today I'm abundantly grateful for natural remedies!

The Treasure is recovering nicely from a bout of 'Walking Pneumonia'
(which required a Dr. visit and antibiotics)
and the Man and I are recovering from similar symptoms
that attacked us both about two weeks ago.
We've been using:
  •  copious amounts of raw garlic (antiviral + antibacterial)
  • alternating hot (3 minutes) and cold (30 seconds) baths or showers (invigorates the immune system)
  • eucalyptus essential oil drops placed on cloth beside head when lying down (miraculous at calming cough, also is antiviral + antibacterial)
  • raw honey + fresh lemon juice (mix 1:1) with a few drops eucalyptus oil (cough sryup, 1 tsp. every 3 hours or as needed)
  • steam inhalations (calms cough, and changing the temp or humidity helps kill the 'bugs')
  • sipping citrus juices (increases vitamin C intake)
  • sipping mullein tea (amazing how it relaxes the bronchioles and clears them out!)
  • drinking lots of fluids (thins secretions, makes them easier to expel)
  • Vick's vapor rub--rubbed on soles of feet and then socks placed over (helps relieve congestion and cough)
  • prayer (we know who The Great Physician is!)
We were doing a decent job of holding the infection down,
but couldn't quite kick it,
and I could tell it was infiltrating my lungs.
After listening to my whining far too long, my good friend L
shared a personal-experience-story with me,
and I was sooo impressed I sent the Man to town
for some Echinacea + Goldenseal tincture.
After dosing ourselves with it every two hours
we both started feeling better--within a matter of hours.
I'd made a Dr. appointment, as in the past, when an infection goes to my lungs
I have never recovered from it without allopathic medicine's help.
The morning of the Dr. appt I woke up feeling so much better
I called and canceled the appointment.
So far, so good, though we are not 100% over it yet.
Still resting, doing natural remedies, praying.
Grateful, nonetheless!

Many thanks to our good friend, Mrs. S, and for L. for sharing their experience,
suggestions and advice!

15 December 2010

Paper Snowflake Extravaganza!

While this momma and her Man and her Treasure 
have been laid up for the past week and a half
with respiratory illness of the 'walking pneumonia' kind...
keeping an energetic 7 year old entertained is no easy task!

We have made many, many paper snow flakes,
and really it has been quite fun.
While doing blog rounds yesterday,
I ran across a fellow blogger who is doing a whole week
on snowflakes...
please be sure to visit The Pleasant Times this week
to get in on the fun yourself.

There is a beautiful Snowflake Tea Table set over there,
and many more snowflake activities as well!
What a fun celebration!!

Here are some of our family's snowflakes:

Dancing girls around the border...

The Treasure thinks this one has boys
holding hands as they run around the outer edge...

A marigold blossom...

This one is supposed to have angels around the edge
holding hands...

And this one is what happens when you
fold the paper wrong!!

The Meaning of the Snowflake

Every new snowflake comes to the earth
as a picture of our Saviour's birth
because they are sent from up above
and remind us of God's care and love.

Each one is so intricate and small
because Christ sees the details of us all,
and just as two are never the same
the Lord knows and calls us each by name.

Snowflakes gently cover the world in white
and hide what's unlovely from our sight,
showing us how He covers our sin
and gives us His grace when we come to Him.

So may every snowflake bring Christ to mind
and in every bit of white may you find
a reason to celebrate anew
and a reminder of His love for you.

--Holley Gerth


One more thing before you go--
if you want to turn your snowflake crafting
into a science lesson--

The Snowflake
Image by Amazon.com

Check out these books by Kenneth Libbrecht.
They are fascinating,
and quite possibly available from your local library!

Image from Amazon.com

The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes
Image from Amazon.com

Snowflake shadows shining on a wall at sunset...

14 December 2010


The Treasure came to me recently with a bunch of this dried
(click on link to see photo of it in bloom)
which I had collected and hung up to dry about three summers ago...
she wanted me to make a broom for her new

I broke off a generous amount of the brittle old stems
and put them in a bowl of warm water to soak.
Several hours later the material was pliable enough to work with,
and with a few twist ties,
the Treasure is thrilled with  her newest home-keeping miniature.

I was pretty excited, myself, when I saw the golden color left behind
in the bowl I had soaked the broomweed in...
didn't have time to experiment then,
but I have more material and you can be sure
I will be boiling it down and adding some mordants
and some wool to see if this is a good source of natural dye!

I never cease to be amazed and grateful
for the gift of creativity...
and for the abundant riches God provides for His children
in this amazing natural world we inhabit!

12 December 2010

Wool Gathering

Remember my dad's sheep named Miracle?
Miracle is one of a synthetic breed (a combination of four different breeds)
called Polypay and she is a fairly good wool producer.

Poor thing hasn't been sheared for three years...
nice warm coat in the dead of winter,
but I really feel sorry for her in July and August!
Poppa J just hasn't been up to finding someone to shear her
so we will make sure it is done in the spring.

After spending several weeks entranced with finger knitting,
the Treasure announced to me recently,
"Momma, I want to learn to knit with sticks like you do!
Will you pleeeeeze teach me?"
Well, that kind of request makes my heart beat a little faster.
What fiber enthusiast can resist the opportunity
to create a similar addiction in another willing soul?

Rather than jump right into the knitting technicalities
(we've had some issues with that in the past--
just needed more time to mature developmentally--)
I decided to combine it with some whold-life educatin'
and snatched the opportunity that presented itself
when we made an emergent trip to Poppa J's farm recently.

I wanted her to understand where wool fibers come from
and gain some appreciate of the labor required by our fore-mothers
to gather, process, dye, spin, knit and or weave
and then stitch the garments that they wore
and which we take for granted because we can acquire them
with such a minimum of effort at present.

I also wanted to introduce her to the joy of creating 
and all the magical processes that we can manipulate along the way.

I remembered that there were a lot of tufts of wool
caught in the barbed wire of the corral fence where Miracle lives,
and as we were currently reading a living history book
that kept mentioning the term 'wool gathering'
(in reference to the heroine's thoughts wandering)
I got the idea of inventing a story and taking her out
on a wool-gathering adventure all our own.

So on a crisp well-lit full-moon evening,
I gathered some baskets,
grabbed her and the Man,
and off we went.

As we walked along in the silvery darkness an made our way into the corral,
I wove with words a story about a Hispanic girl
and her Native friend who were sent out on an errand
to deliver a message to a shepherd in the desert southwest,
and how on their journey they gathered medicinal herbs for one girl's aunt,
and gathered sticks for firewood,
and as they found this magical white tufts of fiber caught on the branches of
the small shrubs they gathered it's soft whiteness as well...

...and we started collecting the tufts of Miracle's wool that we could plainly see by moonshine.

We gathered a nice, though small, amount,
and took it back to the house
where we gently soaked it in warm water and shampoo.
Then we picked through it
(at least half of it was discarded due to being hopelessly matted~
truly, this stuff is trash wool~but it served our purposes at present)
and spread it out to dry over night.

Next morning, the Treasure was thrilled with the mound of fluff
we had collected for her basket.

Next lesson will be with the carding combs.

(Hope I haven't packed them in the boxes that are hopelessly buried at present!)

11 December 2010

Cast Thy Bread Upon the Waters

            Nels Lundquist entered the little sod house in which he and his family had made their home during the five years they had lived on the Nebraska prairie. He placed his rifle on its accustomed pegs in the wall and turned to greet his wife.
            Noticing the troubled expression upon his face, she asked, “How was he?”
            “I don’t know, Martha, I didn’t see him this time.”
            The solemnity in his voice frightened her. “You don’t think he is…” She couldn’t finish the sentence.
            “No, I don’t think he is dead; at least, I hope not. But there wasn’t any smoke coming out of his chimney. I called the dog and he was there.”
            “You didn’t let the dog come near you, did you?” anxiously queried his wife.
            “No, I threw rocks at him to keep him away.”
            Crossing the room and seating himself before the hearth, the man aimlessly poked at the logs upon the fire. Finally he thrust out, “Martha, it doesn’t seem right, it isn’t Christ-like, we must do something. Just last night you were telling of the priest and the Levite. Sick old Matt isn’t a stranger, but our neighbor, and a good one.”
            With a pained but determined look on her face, Martha replied, “Think of little Nelda and Arvid. We can’t risk their lives. Anyway, we are taking him food and leaving it near the door. What more can we do?”
            “I shudder when I think that he may be too sick even to crawl to the threshold to get it,” answered her husband.
            Just then their conversation was interrupted by a vigorous knock at the door. Mrs. Lundquist opened it.
            “Come, warm yourself by the fire and tell us your errand.”
            “I was returning from the Junction with a few supplies,” explained the youth, “and old White Foot was getting pretty tired. Therefore, I decided to stop and rest him awhile.”
            Ralph noticed a strained expression upon the faces of his friends as he was talking.
            “You look worried. Has anything happened?”
            “Yes, Ralph, we are worried,” replied his host. “Four days ago our neighbor, Old Matt, who lives east of us about a quarter of a mile, was taken sick. At first it didn’t seem to be serious, but day before yesterday, as I was approaching his cabin, he called and told me not to come near, for he thought he had the smallpox. I dislike to endanger my family, yet I feel it is my Christian duty to care for him. Matt is a good man; he drifted in here about two years ago and built himself a one-room shack. The results of his good influence are to be seen on every hand. He has never said much about himself. I don’t even know his full name or whether he had any folks or not.”
            “Surely there is someone who can give him assistance,” protested Ralph.
            “No, there doesn’t seem to be anyone around here who has had the smallpox or who is willing to run the risk of getting it,” answered Mr. Lundquist soberly.
            “I can do it,” suggested Ralph calmly.
            “You!” they both gasped in astonishment.
            “Yes, let me go. You see, I can’t take smallpox, for I’ve been vaccinated,” Ralph explained as he rolled up his sleeve and showed his friends the round scar on his arm.
            “Do you remember that terrible storm we had in January about two years ago? That night a doctor who had been visiting some relatives up the country was delayed in reaching town by the storm, so he stayed with us. That evening, as we were visiting, dad happened to mention how near he came to dying from smallpox during the War of 1812. That aroused the doctor’s interest, and he told us about the wonderful discovery of vaccination by Edward Jenner, and English physician, and we were surprised to learn that it is now being successfully used in this country. In fact, he said that he was using the vaccine himself. I begged him to try this experiment on me. My father consented, so he made a few scratches on my arm and rubbed on some of this magic medicine. It took, and a scab formed which fell off in a few days, leaving this scar. Even though two years have passed since then, I haven’t taken smallpox, although I have been exposed twice. I’m sure that if dad were here, he would care for old Matt himself. Dad never loses an opportunity to help someone, even if it means risking his own life. You know the reason, of course. I’m better, though, at taking care of sick people than dad is.”
            Seven years before, Ralph’s father had been left a widower with three sons. Ralph, being the eldest, had taken the place of a mother to his two younger brothers.
            “We couldn’t think of letting you risk your life,” exclaimed the Lundquists as the youth paused for breath. They were a bit skeptical in regard to any new-fangled notion, as they called this vaccination for smallpox of which they had been hearing a great deal.
            “I am eighteen,” argued Ralph, “and, besides that, I know dad would give his permission.”
            Finally he won their consent to his plan, and was soon on his way to the home of old Matt, it having been agreed that he was to signal the Lundquists if their old neighbor was still alive.
            Upon receiving the assurance that old Matt lived, Nels Lundquist set out upon the fifteen mile journey to inform the elder Guinn of his son’s whereabouts. He planned to bring the younger Guinn children to his own home, that they might be cared for by his wife during Ralph’s absence.
            “I wonder,” pondered the man as he rode along, “What Ralph meant by saying that he supposed I knew why his father never missed an opportunity to do a good turn.”
            The hour was growing late as he saw in the distance a light which made him realize that he was nearing the end of his journey.
            When the reason for his son’s absence had been told, Mr. Guinn remarked, “That’s just like the boy, but I’m glad he went. It is too late for you to start back tonight, Lundquist. Come in and rest. You can get an early start in the morning. I will have the children ready then, since you insist on taking them home with you.”
            As they sat around the fire discussing the weather and such problems as confronted those hardy pioneers, Mr. Lundquist suddenly said, “John, that son of yours spoke about your willingness to help anyone in need or trouble, as if there was some mystery attached thereto. Tell me about it.”
            “I thought that everyone in this country knew about my miraculous escape from death,” answered the elder Guinn, surprised. “But if you don’t, you shall hear it now.”
            “It happened when I was a young man several years older than Ralph. I was a careless, indifferent youth who took many unnecessary risks. We had moved to the Ohio Valley after I was nearly grown, and the Indians were on the warpath most of the time. Thinking that I was capable of caring for myself, I left my companions one day while out hunting, and was captured by a band of Indians. How I escaped being scalped then and there is more than I know. They seemed in no hurry to get rid of me, yet I didn’t know what moment would be my last.”
            “Finally, one day about three weeks after I had been taken captive, a white man strode into camp. I watched his actions closely, as he seemed to be acquainted with this band of red men. Upon seeing me and guessing what my fate was to be, he tried to gain my freedom, with the results that my captors only became angry and threatened his life. He was evidently a trapper, as he had a great number of skins with him.”
            “But finally after much bickering, I was actually turned over to this stranger, though it cost him everything he possessed. The few days that I was in his company he treated me very kindly, and through his influence I resolved to mend my ways. We parted without my being able to repay him for his great sacrifice, and I lost track of him entirely. I have hunted for him for years without success. My failure caused me to resolve to risk my life, if need be, to help my fellow men and to give unselfishly of my worldly possessions to those in need. In this way I hope indirectly to repay my debt, in a small measure at least, to one who sacrificed his all for me. And it was a sacrifice, for those skins which were exchanged for my life represented the work of an entire winter.”
            “Would you know him if you saw him again?”
            “Yes, I think so. He had a queer scar over his right eye in the shape of a half circle. He must be quite an old man now if he is still living.”
            Nels Lundquist was up at daybreak to start for home, because he was anxious to see Ralph. Suppose the vaccination did not protect the boy? Suppose he should take the smallpox?
            Meanwhile, the self-appointed nurse was busy caring for old Matt. His knowledge was limited, but he possessed kindness, patience, and a firm determination to succeed in everything he undertook.
            A search of the cabin, which was begun in an attempt to find a clue regarding the relatives of the old man, was of no avail. He noticed a half-moon scar above the patient’s eye while bathing his fevered brow, but thought nothing of it until the next day when he discovered an old rifle in a corner of the room with the name “Matt Sawyer” carved on the stock.
            “Why!” he exclaimed to himself, “that was the name of the man who saved dad’s life. No, it couldn’t be he—what would he be doing here?”
            For fear that he might be mistaken, he said nothing about his discovery.
            After some weeks the sick man began to improve, and Ralph was satisfied that he would live. As he gained strength, he thanked his young nurse time and time again, with tears in his eyes, for saving his life. He realized, had he been left alone, he would have died.
            Then one day Ralph’s father came to see his son, and to make the acquaintance of old Matt. The boy met his father at the door, and with an air of importance drew him aside and told him about the rifle.
            “Yes,” Mr. Guinn said, when he saw it, “this is Matt’s gun.  Now let me see the man himself, and if the scar is there, as you say, son, it must be he.”
            As they approached the bedside, the old man spoke, “I can never repay your son for his kindness to me.”
            “You owe us nothing,” exclaimed the visitor, choked with emotion. “I am the one who is still indebted to you. I have been searching for you these many years, Mr. Sawyer.”
            “But I have never seen you before,” the old man exclaimed in feeble surprise.
            John Guinn bent close. “Look at me. Don’t you remember? You saved my life long years ago, when the Indians were about to kill me.”
            “Ah, yes! I remember,” mused the old man thoughtfully. “God is good.” After a moment came the words, “Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days.”

                                    --from Miss Virginia Shull, July 29, 1956

09 December 2010

~~Thankful Thursdays~~Dec 9

As our Chanukah candles flickered and slowly burned themselves out last night,
I was filled with gratitude for their gentle light and beauty,
which points me to my Jesus who is the Light of the World.
The first time we celebrated Chanukah, three years ago,
as I studied and learned more about the festival,
I was most grateful to celebrate the fact that in this country
we still have religious liberty~the freedom to worship God
according to the dictates of our conscience~
(~or not~if one so chooses~!)
a liberty the Macabees fought and paid for dearly
back in the days of Antiochus IV.
(If you're unfamiliar with Chanukah,
it commemorates actual events in the history of God's people which occured
between the Old and New Testaments, around 164 B.C.,
after the Greek Alexander the Great died
and before the Roman conquest...
and it is recorded mainly in the Talmud,
but also in historian Flavius Josephus' work,
Antiquities of the Jews, Book 12, Chapter 5,
as well as the Apocrapha books of the Macabees.
If you want to learn more, the juvenile literature department
of your local library is a great place to start!)
Last year, it was the miracles~
the mighty hand of God,
working on behalf of his obedient people~
that really captured my interest.
That a small band of guerilla warriors could effectively wrest back their beloved homeland
from the great and mighty armoured elephant armies of the Greeks,
and, while cleaning up their beloved temple find only one small flask of pure olive oil
that had not been destroyed during its three year occupation and desecration by the pagans,
and, that the oil which was sufficient for only one day continued to burn for eight days,
the amount of time required to secure a new supply of pure oil,
and, that the Temple was rededicated to the service of the one true God
on the exact same date (Kislev 25th) it had been desecrated three years earlier...
some may consider it coincidence...
but I believe that 'coincidence is simply God's way of remaining anonymous.'
And this year?
It is the oil...the flame...the light.
Jesus is the light!
It delights me to read that Jesus kept Chanukah:

"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication,
 and it was winter.
And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch."
(John 10:22-23)

"The law did not require Jews to be at the Temple in Jerusalem, as this was not one of the pilgrimage festivals. Every one observed it in his own place, not as a holy time. Jesus was there that He might improve those eight days of holiday for good purpose.

"Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch when the Sadduciens asked him "How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ tell us." They pretended to want to know the truth, as if they were ready to embrace it; but it was not their intention.

"Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:25-27)

"He had told them, and they believed not; why then should they be told again, merely to gratify their curiosity?...

"Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus and departed, and did hide himself from them. (John 12:35-36)...

"Many believe that our Messiah, the 'light of the world,' was conceived on the festival of lights--Hanukkah. The Bible does not specifically say the date of Jesus' birth. It was not during the winter months because the sheep were in the pasture (Luke 2:8). A study of the time of the conception of John the Baptist reveals he was conceived about Sivan 30, the eleventh week (Luke 1:8-13, 24). Adding forty weeks, for a normal pregnancy reveals that John the Baptist was born on or about Passover (Nisan 14). Six months after John's conception, Mary conceived Jesus (Luke 1:26-33); therefore Jesus would have been conceived six months after Sivan 30 in the month of Kislev--Hanukkah. Was the 'light of the world,' conceived on the festival of lights?

"Starting at Hanukah, which begins on Kislev 25 and continues for eight days, and counting through the nine months of Mary's pregnancy, one arrives at the approximate time of the birth of Jesus at the Festival of Tabernacles...

"Many scholars believe Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles. Matthew Henry states:
It is supposed by many that our blessed Saviour was born much about the time of this holiday; then He left his mansions of light above to tabernacle among us (John 1:14), and he dwelt in booths. And the worship of God under the New Testament is prophesied of under the notion of keeping the feast of tabernacles, Zec. 14:16. For, [1.] The gospel of  Christ teaches us to dwell in tabernacles, to sit loose to this world, as those that have here no continuing city, but by faith, and hope and holy contempt of present things, to go out to Christ without the camp, Heb. 13:13, 14."

(quotes above from 
by Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce)
Interesting ideas...fascinating to study in depth for onesself.
My next Chanukah related study will be to understand the Tabernacle/Temple
and all its construction details, its furnishings, and its ceremonies.
All point to Jesus!!

Blessings to each of you this Season...
and may you always remember
the Reason for the celebration!

07 December 2010

Bliss Amidst the Boxes

About a month ago, on a trip to check on my folks,
we stopped at a Goodwill store that was just off our beaten path
because the Man wanted to see if he could find a some jeans and chambray shirts.
He scored well~ 3 pairs of jeans and 2 shirts for less than $20.

While he was shopping I made a sweep around the rest of the store
and saw this most adorable doll house...
I really loved it but didn't think the Man would go for it...
but, when he found it, all on his own, he was intrigued.
And when the Treasure added her very vocal adoration for its charm...
for another $19.95 it went home with us.
Home, in this case, meaning it lives at Poppa J's house.
(We are not going to move it twice!)

It was/is intended to be an early 'holiday' gift,
and the Treasure is delighted!
Turns out to be something she looks forward to on on trips,
and, it has really sparked her creativity as well.

The striped bedding is a thrifted napkin.
The pillows and blanket were designed and hand-sewn by the Treasure.

The doll's name is Anne, (like Anne of Green Gables)
and she belonged to my momma.
The rocker is hand~carved and was thrifted.
The purple and white rug is a piece of finger knitting by the treasure
that she requested I make into a rug...
I coiled it on a piece of paper and zig-zagged it to itself using a sewing machine,
starting in the middle and going around to the end.
(The paper was too stiff, so I soaked it in water
and dissolved as much of it as I could--
it works ok, but next time I'll use lite weight interfacing.)

A picnic supper set out for the dolls...
the dishes are vintage, I played with them when I was her age...
and the bowl of 'food' is just plain interesting...

The rag doll is named 'Charlotte' (like Laura Ingall's doll)
she is the momma...

Another thrifted chair...

...and if you look closely, there are several plain wooden 'babies'
(thrifted, of course!) nestled in-between Charlotte and Anne.

I'm enjoying watching my Treasure
find her own bliss amidst all the packing boxes...