Reclaimed Treasures

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This past week was wonderful. We had a few days that were absolutely perfect, weather wise. It was dry and sunny with a light breeze and it was glorious.

I took advantage of those days and spent as much time outside as I could. The lawn got mowed. (Which is more work than it sounds; as we use a push mower for our farm….and it is not self-propelled.) I got a few more things planted in my garden and I had a great time potting herbs. I planted chives, rosemary, mint, thyme and have one pot just waiting for sage.

The pots I used were saved from the junk pile of my in-laws several years ago. They were the pots we all bought in the 80’s that came from Mexico. A couple were slightly charred and one is pretty rugged looking. (I told my husband it had character.) I had some fun-colored spray paint on hand; and set about sprucing them up a bit.

It is always amazing to me what a bit of paint can do for things. It does not completely cover the flaws and that is okay. It does renew those items and I am also good with that!

I have a feeling we are a bit like those pots…at least I am. We might be a wee bit worn or a lot worn. We might have dents and dings, scratches and scars and other flaws but with a bit of paint, also known as love, we are made beautiful again.

It is wonderful to know that with time and love, we are renewed…not like brand new but we are reclaimed. Our lives are still flawed; but they are beautiful and have purpose. It is also good to remember that perhaps we can help in the restoring of someone else.

Like my pots, let’s look for the beauty that may not be readily in view. Let’s allow things to get “messy”….because restoration is messy and takes time….but the end result is worth it. Let’s see the blessing in the cleaning, the painting and planting that makes us reclaimed treasures.

People, even more than things, have to be restored,
renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
never throw out anyone.
– Audrey Hepburn

 

Women…Special Creations

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I cannot believe how fast the days go by. About the time I think I will sit down and write a post, the day is gone and a new one has started. I am not sure, but that may have something to do with age.

Today I got to sit and rest. (It is Mother’s Day after all.) We had an awesome Mother’s Day message in church this morning and it made me reflect on how blessed I am to know so many great women.received_12067976928340321528788078.jpeg

Among those women; I put my Mom and my Mom in law. These women have given so much of their life for their families. They have paved the way for their children to raise families of their own….families that thrive. I am so grateful to these two women and their sacrifices.

 

screenshot_2019-05-05-20-09-54-1637973479.pngI am also grateful for the other women in my life. My sisters, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law and my sisters of the heart. These women make life wonderful. They love me, they laugh and cry with me, and they hold me accountable for what I say and do. I cannot imagine life without these women.

On this day that honors Mothers….let’s honor all women. Let’s remember that we are women. We were not made to be men or be like men. We were created to be exactly who we are and we are wonderful creations.

Men may not understand us and that is okay….personally I don’t always understand men and I am married to one and raised three more!

This weekend gals…let’s be comfortable in our own skins. Let’s not try to be someone else or fit their ideals. Let’s be grateful for the gifts we have been given and not worry that we do not have someone else’s gift. Let’s realize that we are enough. We have always been enough and we will always be enough. We were created as Enough!!

I hope you had a blessed day today. I hope you had a chance to celebrate a mom, a wife, a daughter, sister, a woman in your life. I pray you have been enriched knowing those special women who make life good.

Please feel free to leave a message about that special woman in your life. I would love to hear about them.

“When your mother asks,
“Do you want a piece of advice?”
it’s a mere formality.
It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no.
You’re going to get it anyway.”

― Erma Bombeck

Rendering Lard

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Finished product~now to get solid

This past week my husband called me to a task I had been putting off for a bit…..rendering lard. It isn’t that I don’t like to render lard. I just really don’t like all the clean up needed after that very greasy job.

We had two bags of trimmings from a hog that was processed. My husband loves the cracklings for Balken Brie and I love to use the lard for pie crusts and frying things. Because of those two facts I asked the butcher to keep the fat for me.

The first part of the process involved grinding the fat so it would melt better. I always kind of wonder what would happen if we didn’t grind it? Would we just have fried blobs of fat? Or would it all melt? If anyone has the answer to that, please let me know!

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Finishing up the process

After that process, we moved things to the garage. We set up our two fry pans and the cloth lined colander and began. The process never really takes that long to accomplish. It takes about as long to clean up.

As I was packing up the nicely fried up cracklings into freezer bags, putting the cooled lard into containers and washing dishes I had some time to reflect on the entire process.

The fat gets incredibly hot as it melts and you have to be very careful not to burn yourself. I wondered if sometimes our lives are like that. In order for us to be made into a “useful product” must we be put over the fire?

Must we be refined, just as the fat is? The only way to refine the fat and make useable lard and edible cracklings; is to put it on high heat for the necessary time. Without doing that, it is just a blob of fat with bits of meat in it.

I really don’t like being uncomfortable, but I guess if it take high heat to turn my life into more than a blob of fat; I will have to go through that! I am trying to remember that particular truth….Refining is hard, but necessary to be useful.

If you find yourself being “refined” lately; take heart…..it gets better and soon you will find a life of joy again.

Discipline is the refining fire
by which talent becomes ability.
Roy L. Smith

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/roy_l_smith_155560?src=t_refining

Frayed Edges and Quilts

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About a month ago I started a project. I began making a circle style jean quilt. I found boxes of blue jeans in my laundry room and thought that perhaps I should do something with them rather than just let those boxes take up space.

Pinterest was a great place to start looking for patterns for the quilts I wanted to make. (And no….I don’t get any kickbacks from Pinterest!  I just really like Pinterest.)  I had in mind I wanted to make my grandchildren smaller quilts that would be sturdy enough to use for picnics or tea parties. Blue jeans and old flannel shirts seemed to fit in with that idea.

The flannel shirts that I used came from my husband and my dad-in-law. I also had some flannel leftovers from baby blankets made years ago. The blue jeans were worn out ones that came from family members. I really liked the idea that these would be quilts with history.

I spent days cutting circles out of the jeans and squares out of the flannel. (I know for a fact my husband thought I was a bit nuts to go through all the effort…..I know this because he told me so LOL) I thought it was a great way to keep busy while the weather was to miserable to be outside!

The quilt is 15 circles x 15 circles and ended up being about 4 ft 8 inches square….a very nice size for picnics or tea parties!

Right now; it is hanging over a chair….mainly so that I can admire it and marvel that I got one done. I also have stacks of more jean circles and more flannel squares.  Two more grandkids; so two more quilts!  (I am not even asking my husband his opinion of that!)

Making that quilt was fun. It gave me time to reflect on family and life and all the stuff that goes with family and life. I love the variety of the colors…the plaid flannel pieces and flowered ones….the shades of denim that tie all those colors and patterns together.

That quilt and all it’s variety is a wonderful reminder that every family member is different and yet tied together by a strong bond. The colors blend and mesh when put together, in a way I would not have thought possible. Families blend and mesh in much the same way….everyone unique with their own personalities and yet alike in so many ways.

I liked this pattern because the circle edges remain raw.  They will be allowed to fray and soften the look of the quilt. Another reminder that life and families are not always tidy and neat.

Sometimes things unravel and have lots of loose ends that seem to go nowhere. Sometimes the edges of life and family appear downright messy and that is okay as long as they are still strongly tied together. There is a beauty to the fraying….a testament to life lived fully.

I think frayed edges are just fine. They soften the rough spots…..they add interest.  I will take the fraying that comes…in life and in quilts.

Life is a Crazy-Quilt of Suffering and Joy.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 

Families are like Quilts…
Lives pieced together-
Stitched with smiles
and tears, colored
with memories
and bound by
Love.
Unknown

 

The Perfect Plan

It has been a beautiful Spring day today…so beautiful and bright that it is hard to remember that it is Good Friday…the day our Lord was crucified. For some reason it seems like it should be a bleak, cold, gloomy day. It seems like it should be a day where even the earth seems to cry about the events that happened so very long ago.

Today the sun shone, instead. The breeze blew warm and soft and the grass was lush and green. The chickens contentedly pecked about the place all day. In fact the day was perfect. It was a day filled with promise.

I wonder if the day was perfect, weather-wise, because those events so long ago were also perfect. Those events were God’s perfect plan for the redemption of His most beloved creation…man.

I read a post that a friend of mine shared today.  (She and I have no idea who the original author is so I cannot credit it to anybody.) I want to share it with you; because it really hit me…hard.

“Think about this for a second. Jesus knew.

He goes into that room with His disciples. He knows He is going to be betrayed. He knows it is Judas who will turn against Him. he knows that He has been sold out for a handful of silver. Stabbed in the back by one He has poured His life into.

Yet, in that room, hours before the death of Jesus, Judas ate too. Jesus fed Judas too. Jesus prayed for Judas too. Jesus washed Judas’ feet too. I struggle to fathom that kind of love. A love that would feed the mouth that deceived you. A love that would wash the treasonous feet of the traitor. A love that could forgive even the vilest of betrayals.

I honestly struggle to comprehend it. And then, suddenly, I realize that I’m Judas. And in that moment I’m so thankful and altogether overwhelmed that Judas ate too.” ~unknown

May you have a blessed Good Friday. May you realize that know matter how far you have fallen or what you have done….He still loves you and He will not let you go. He will not leave you where you are. Always remember….Judas ate too.  What an amazing promise…what hope!

Know that this day, that seems steeped in sorrow, is filled with triumph. It is a day that the world thought evil won….They were wrong! God had a plan….He always does…and His plan is perfect. The sun/Son will shine, the breeze will blow soft and warm…..Always remember – it’s Friday…..but Sundays Coming!

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
~Stuart Townend

 

 

Dissension in the Coop

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It is hard to believe that is has almost been a year since we moved the new chickens into the chicken coop. An entire year since my husband and I transferred the new girls from the old block milk house to their new quarters.

I remember that for a while there was a bit of dissension in the chicken coop. Nothing major…just a bit of fussing and fluffing of feathers going on.

I remember it was fairly easy to capture them as they were used to me touching them and talking to them. We put them in a wooden chicken crate and transported them across the yard to the coop.

Once there, they did not seem to appreciate their much larger, more airy surroundings. Instead of gratitude they milled around, making questioning noises and generally looking a bit stressed and anxious.

The “old girls” were even less impressed with the change than the new girls were! They promptly exited nesting boxes and left the building.

The two groups were pretty leery of each other for a time. They tended to stick with the group they knew. I knew that down the road that would change and they would acclimate to life together.

For a long time they roosted as far away from each as they could get and still be on the roost. They would not eat together but huddled in their own groups and looked a bit miffed at the entire situation.

I had no doubt that in a short time they would come together as a group. I had no doubt that it would not take long and it would be hard to tell who was “old” and who was “new”.

In looking back I wonder if we, as people, are a lot like my girls?  When put in a new situation do we fuss, do we question and are we generally anxious and stressed? (I know I am!) I wonder if we tend to keep separate from things and people that we do not know.

I have a feeling that  for most of us, if not pushed, we do not make an effort to get to know the new  around us. I also know that if we don’t make that effort, we miss out on so much.

We miss out on amazing people who bless our lives. We miss out on experiences that enrich us and make for great memories. Let’s get out of our comfort zones and get to know the others in the coop!

Today you get three quotes because I just could not choose which one I liked the best.

 

“Walk with me for a while,
my friend
—you in my shoes, I in yours
—and then let us talk.” 

― Richelle E. GoodrichSmile Anyway

 

“And that might just be the root of the problem:
we’re all afraid of each other.” 
― Leslye WaltonThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

 

If possible,
so
far as it depends on you,
live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18

 

Signs….Not Always Accurate

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I do not typically make e-bay purchases, but when my husband called my attention to this sign and it was a buy it now deal……I found I could not resist.

This sign is pretty laughable when I think of my chickens. The girls are pretty tame and generally mind their own business during the day.  (My husband pointed out that this sign is accurate if you happen to be a bug or a worm….)

I have seen them chase small birds that were picking at the same seeds or bugs they were after. It is great fun to watch them chase the small moths that like to hide in the summer grass.

I have never yet seen them attack anything that was bigger than them. After thinking on that I may be wrong. I did see them, one time, go after a friend’s toenails.

She and her husband arrived one evening before I locked the girls in for the night.  My friend had sandals on; and had her toe nails painted red. We soon discovered that those girls love red toe nail polish and they were very persistent as they followed her where ever she went.

I often wonder what those chickens would do if I painted their toe nails red…..chase themselves around? I wonder this because I have another chicken loving friend who actually does this!

My biggest problem with my sign is knowing where to put it. My husband thinks it should be put on the chicken coop. I think it needs a more prominent place…somewhere that keeps people wondering about the girls!!( In case you were not aware of it….I have a sense of humor that may or may not be a bit off-center.)

My husband also wonders how long I will keep having chickens. I really don’t know how to answer that question. I enjoy having the girls around. I laugh about their different personalities and I love the fresh eggs.  I also wonder what my grandkids would call me if I no longer had chickens?

I have a feeling there will be chickens around here for a long time….and I am thinking that is a fine idea! We don’t have a dog…who else am I going to talk to as I work outside this summer? Yup, the girls may be around a long time.

 

Chickens are like potato chips
You can’t have just one…..
Unknown