A place of encouragement:

Living By Faith, Walking in the Light, Saved By His Amazing Grace

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Your Not Alone, I've Been Where You Are......

I've often wondered if I'm ever all alone. Do I walk this journey alone? This Mama Journey......and I worry if I've done or said something to harm the shelter of their heart. Am I doing enough? Am I doing this right? And the feelings that I feel, am I the only one? That desolate feeling of absolute failure. Because when my first born son came into this world, there wasn't a manual that came with him all wrapped in ribbon. Only that "Mama instinct" that seem to consume every part of my soul and fill all of my senses. But even then I still needed to know that what I was feeling, going through, that all of this craziness of life, with me wrapped up in it..... I still needed to know there was someone out there riding the same roller coaster as I.

One sweet young Mama called today, wanting my advise. And I'm not sure if I were much help or if my words of so called "wisdom" can help her through the busy two's......There was one thing I did leave her with. One thing I could say......."Your not alone, I've been where you are, and you can do this. You will get through. And don't blink, because you will wonder what all the fuss was about all those years ago."
Another Mama friend flies me an email, wanting prayer. Her life is crazy busy and things just aren't the way they should be and could I please pray for peace. I fly one back and tell her "I'm on it, sweet friend." I take that moment and I lift her up. And as I do I wonder if she could feel.....If she could feel the peace hanging on a cloud up above.

Another Mama friend has two sick babies....so worn out and exhausted. Wanting to rock them, but She's been rocking all day and it looks like it's gonna be another long night. And all I can do is tell her I'm sorry.....I'll pray. And I hope she knows she is not alone. I've been there before and I'll be there again. But knowing I don't walk this journey alone brings a peace to the exhaustion. And don't we always seem to find ourselves on the other side  eventually........

I get a phone call from one I seem to share a lot in common with....A Mama I enjoy talking to. Her friendship is a comfortable one....."I just need to hear a happy voice."  I laugh cause I know where she's coming from. I've been where she is five times now. And I share with her, how one Sunday swollen with my fifth child, my emotions were high and ran wild...The woman that my man knew, seem to have checked out...left the building....I scared my kids and I ran into my room and slam the door......But I got through...we all got through it together. And by the end of the phone call I could hear the tone of her voice a little lighter than before. I tell her to call back when the baby blues start kicking again. She laughs and thanks me for my time.....

And today it is my turn to be the one that has been there before......To be there for my Mama friends. to let them know they are not walking this journey alone. And no matter how many days go right, the wrong ones are bound to come your way too....I'm not sure how long they will last, but please know we are in this together. Because today you needed me.....But tomorrow I may need YOU!

He knows your heart, He hears your soul. He's always with you

Keeping my Mama friends tucked sweetly in prayer tonight..................

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Putting Up Pears

You will need about a 1/2 bushel of pears to fill 7 quart jars. The first thing to do is to heat 10 cups of water and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a pan on the stove. Then peel your pears while your syrup mixture is simmering. When it comes to a full rolling boil, turn the burner off and let sit til you are ready for it.

  Cut your pears in half and with a melon baller, scoop the insides out. Pull the stem and the membrane out.

Then you will want to place the pear halves into a solution of lemon juice and water to keep them from turning brown.

 Fill your jar with the pears and ladle the hot syrup mixture in until you are about an 1/2 inch from the top.
 Make sure you get all the air bubbles out of your jar. You can use a plastic butter knife for that. Your jar should look something like this. Place your jars in the canner and process for 25 minutes.
1/2 bushel down! Only 2 more bushel to go! I will be making pear preserves next.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's The Great Pumpkin Recipe Charlie Brown!

This recipe is one of my absolute favorites! So versatile....

3 1/3 Cup Flour
3 Cups Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1 can 15 ounce Pumpkin
1 Cup vegetable oil
4 Eggs
2/3 Cup Water

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Now here is where you need to make a decision...You can make a sheet cake with cream cheese frosting, Muffins, or fill two loaf pans for Pumpkin bread. Place in the oven and bake until tooth pick comes out clean!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Canning Grape Juice

I'm a Northern girl at heart, transplanted here to live in the South with my man. I am truly blessed to have been part of both worlds. When  we were first married I had the privilege of being under my Mama in-love's wings as she taught me how to put up and store away food for the winter. (To be honest I'm still learning from her.) This is one of the easier things to put up and very yummy too.
Another blessing is that my husband's family up home has a Farm Market. We have a Trucking Business. Put the two together and I get all those yummy goodies that you can't get down here! One of those goodies are Concord Grapes.
The first thing you do is put your grapes in a sink full of cold water. You can either add vinegar or essential oils to dissolve the sprays and pesticides. I used Lemon essential oil. They are so good you will have to sneak a few in! There is nothing like slipping the skins off a concord. Although if your like my daughter, you eat the skin and all!
Fill the bottom of your steamer with water.
Place the grapes in the top part of your steamer, cover and let it steam away for about an hour.
Get your jar and loosen the clamp on the end of the hose. fill your jar till you have about 1/4 inch head space. Now I usually have the jar down in front, but for me to take a picture I had to clamp the hose and set it to the side. Don't do that, unless your like me and want to take a picture. The juice will be extremely hot, so please be very careful!
To seal your jars all you do is put the lids on and screw the rings on, and there you have it! Homemade Grape Juice!!

If you use pint jars, empty the contents out of two pint jars into your one gallon pitcher and add sugar or natural sweetener to taste. ( you won't need very much, maybe 1/2 cup) fill the rest with water and stir.

If you use quart jars, empty one full quart jar into a one gallon pitcher.  Again, mix with sugar and water.

So Good, So healthy! Way better than store bought!!!

Just a little note....Traditions like these will pass away, never to be told again, if you don't share these things with your children. I'm so thankful my Mama allowed me to be in the kitchen with her. I'm so thankful my Mama in-love took the time to share.....Love them both very much!!!

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Today I made my second batch of Liquid Laundry Soap. My first batch was made in February so it lasted me a whopping 8 months, and all for around $2.30. So I thought I would share the recipe. I love the savings we get. There is one thing, for that extra sweet smell I make sure I add a dryer sheet to each load. By the way I want to thank my sweet friend Jaime for turning me onto this!

4  Cups - hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax
- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)
*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" -  Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lil' Miss Patience

When things aren't always what they seem. And moments don't go as planned. I've learned to let go and move on. Let go and live. I've learned not to linger too long in a place that will only cause more hurt and frustration. I've learned that I can forgive and forget. I've learned to ask for Forgiveness. They go hand in hand. You can't do one with out the other.
And there she sits, as big as life...My doll baby. She reminds me often how precious this life. And I've said before she helped me find my patience. It was right there all along waiting for me to take notice.  With patience your day runs smoother. With patience your words are kinder. With patience you notice things you wouldn't normally take the time to see.......
What I see is her all wrapped up in sweetness and my heart melts. At times I feel as small as she is. And there are times that I stumble and struggle to communicate and it seems all I can do is just point and make noise. Loud noise. There are still times when I misplace my patience. Today Miss patience slipped out the door. And me, well........I felt helpless with out her.

And little baby boo she comes walking in as I'm tapping words out.....She comes in walking backwards and giggling cause she made it here with out tripping. I can't help but smile.....there's Lil' Miss Patience. She's there in my laughter, she's there when I slow down, breathe deep and remember I'm not in this alone.

I never walk alone.....You see there is one thing I'm convinced of, and that is when God gave me her, he showed me how to use Lil' Miss Patience more often.

Little Baby boo reminds me everyday how quickly the days turn into years. I'm still grabbing moments and holding on in this futile effort to keep her little. Knowing my efforts are all in-vain. You see I've been here before, I've seen how they grow. I've seen life speed out of control. So today I may have misplaced my patience for just a short while.....but she came strolling back in again when I slowed down to hear that sweet giggly laughter!

I'm linked with The imperfect house wife

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just One May Hear

When I write of God's Grace....I don't write to be flowery.....I don't write to be in competition with any one. I write so that just one may hear.......Writing is a love of mine. I'm not perfect at it. I am grammatically incorrect more times than not. I'm so sorry if I have ever made this journey I'm on, all about me....That certainly was not my intentions!

They say in life God blesses you with natural gifts. Gifts that were meant for only you. Things that come natural. And to serve God is to use your God given gifts. Now I don't know if my writing is a gift from God.....All I know is that I love to write.......Always have. To be honest, when I was in school all I wanted to do was get a pen and paper and sit in a quiet corner so I could let the words flow from my heart into my pen.

Now at this very moment I am questioning my reasons for this love of mine. For what I do. Because what I do is share my life with you. I share in the joys and struggles of being a Mama. I share that I'm not always gonna get it right.......But most of all, the one thing that I truly love to write about is His GRACE. That's what I'm most passionate about.....So I guess maybe I do come across flowery.....But in competition? How can it be competition?....When His GRACE is free.

I want you all to know that this God/man....the one that walked this earth. He found me in a place that I'm ashamed to have ever been in. He washed this sin soaked Mama. Picked me up off my feet and told me I am PRECIOUS. And I have never looked back since. I write this way so that JUST ONE MAY HEAR! Because just maybe that "ONE" may have been where I've been and he/she feels there is no way out. I want to be that person to tell them YES there is a way!!!

I once took a spiritual gifts test......This is what the test said are my gifts....
1. Exhortation
2. Faith
3. Teaching

I love to do all three of these things.....I love to encourage and build others up, I love to use my faith, and I love to teach! Can I use all three in my writing? Can I do it in a way that it's not about me?

My prayer is that you see Christ in me....in my writing. Not someone who uses flowery words to make herself look pretty......Not someone who is in competition.......

My heart is hurt and I so apologize if I've ever come across any other way than to show His Amazing Grace.....Please forgive me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Would Tell you This

If you were to ask me today what I've learned in all my God given days up until now.......I would tell you this....Life is too short to stay here and squabble over who was right and who was wrong. I would tell you that it takes more energy to frown than to smile. I would tell you, your not invincible, your not guaranteed tomorrow, so make the best of your today!
I would tell you to take a moment and walk outside and notice the heat lightning in the clouds. Take the time to breathe and inhale His creation......Because He made it just for you. I would tell you to forgive your neighbor, your brother, your sister....Just FORGIVE. Bitterness is like a cancer, it will eat you up from the inside out until it destroys you. I would tell you that hearts are worth mending, love is worth saving.
And Mama, I would tell you that patience is worth learning....It's worth finding. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.......I'm living proof. I had no patience. I lost my cool more times than I would care to admit. I'm still learning how to control my tongue. Still learning how to be their Mama. With each passing day I see evidence of His Beautiful Grace, how it washes over me and recovers me for the new day to come.
I would tell you to remember what it was like when you first pulled the covers back with your man, then hold that love/thought and keep it there till he comes home from a long hard days work. Then let that love/thought spill out all over into the dinner you've have made....Let it spill into the conversation you share. Let him know it's still there. That same magnetic force that pulled you together. Then when the kids are tucked away for the evening. Pull the covers back and remember what it was like way back when. Bring it to the present. Bring that love back to the here and now.

I would tell you that birthdays come and go but not one of them would mean a thing if you didn't have loved ones to share them with. If you didn't keep in touch with those you cherish. Today I've learned how important it is to be a friend. Near or far, from long ago or one that's brand new. Friends are worth having, worth making, but most of all they are worth keeping. The friend that gave me this antique roll top desk also happens to be my lover.......My very best friend....

But tonight I want to share that through all the FB posts and the messages sent....The singing birthday wishes left on my phone. The cherished words from cherished friends and family. Phone calls from long distant loved ones. I wonder that if maybe we all reached out to those we love more than just once or twice a year......What impact we could have on the lives that surround us. I mean, do we really need a reason to just say hello to send prayers and thoughts their way?............

I've learned that wisdom still comes, if your open to it. If you ask for it. I would tell you, you don't need a reason to just say hello......I would tell you, that you will get far in life, in your relationships when you learn how to communicate......And not assume people know how you feel or assume how you think they feel.

Out of all the things I have learned in the 41 years I've been here this side of heaven, this is probably the most precious lesson learned...........I would tell you to talk...........And not in anger.......Just talk in truth.......

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Count Your Blessings

Sweet moments wrapped in arms of love. Special moments captured to remember.........
To remember that she was once little.....to remember they were all "once little". To remember that Bubba has always been there......
To know he always will be. And time doesn't stand still, not even for a moment, not for any one....Precious friends, slow down......Capture moments wrapped in love. Live for today and remember you may not have tomorrow....

Feeling blessed today........And knowing I am blessed every day. It's learning to count your captured moments (Blessings)  everyday.

Count your blessings, name them one by one............

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Passion Gift

She comes to me with questions she's hoping I have answers for. And as the words leave her lips and fill my ears I am amazed she is only 13. "Mama I don't know why I am scared.......I just am. I'm scared for all of those that will never choose life. I'm scared for the ones that say they have and really never did. And how do you know if they really have?"
" I'm scared for the people who have no clue. The ones who don't know what's to come. I'm scared for their future."   This is my baby girl, the one that came the night the tornado's were all around. The one who is bold and beautiful in every way. The one that came into this world head held high looking all around. She is strong and wise beyond her years.

And this is one of the those moments where I need to dig deep and pull up faith. Oh child, this feeling you have, the one that causes you to fear, is the very fear that God has chosen to instill in you. If you could hear what I'm hearing right now. If you could feel the passion that's coming from your heart. You would know that what you have is a gift. This Passion Gift is the same gift that will help you reach those who are lost......The same ones that you fear for. This GOD GIVEN FEAR will build bridges and heal the broken. It will change lives and melt stone cold hearts. Be strong and grip this fear, hold tight to it. This fear is your faith and your faith is having growing pains. That's why this fear comes and goes.

And you said tonight that when you talk to God that you feel alone and oh how you wish he would just talk back to you. My sweet Sunshine He has been talking to you and you haven't even realized it. What He is placing in your heart right now is His voice and some day when He feels you to be strong enough He will set you off into this world to speak TRUTH to all those who will hear.......Keep growing, Keep Reaching, Keep Digging and hold tight to your FAITH. He is with you every step of the way!

You asked me "Is it normal to feel this way?"..........I guess I would have to say, if normal is having Christ move into your heart and you feel fear as He is moving some things around......then YES! It is SOOO normal!

I love you Sunshine Girl!