Saturday, April 30, 2011

Michael Gungor - Doxology - What an awesome guitarist!

Michael Gungor will be at Elevate 2011 on June 25, with the rest of his band.  He is an incredible guitarist!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Giant Morel

    This picture was sent to our son, who forwarded it to me.  I was told the mushroom was found near Robinson (IL).  Wouldn't it be fun to find one like this? 
    As I mentioned in the post on cooking mushrooms--some of them are so large they need to be cut in several pieces--not just in half.   I believe this one would qualify, don't you? 

Thursday, April 28, 2011


     It rained another 1 1/2 inches last night on top of the 2 inches we got the night before and the 2 inches that came earlier in the week!  How wet it is!  I didn't remember to put our rain gauge out until last weekend so I haven't been keeping track of how much rain we have received until this week, but I would say we have had at least 10 inches in the past 2 or 3 weeks!
    I'm sure you can imagine how soggy everything is.  My gardens have standing water--as does the lawn.  Country Guy put out our garden a couple of weeks ago, but it looks as if most of seeds may rot in the wet soil.  The fields look as if they will never be dry again--water everywhere.  I know the farmers are getting anxious.  This is the third year in a row that we have had unrelenting rains in the springtime, coming every day or two so the ground never has a chance to dry out.  Farmers were surprised last year, I think, to find out they could plant a crop even into July and get a harvest (thanks to a late frost)!  It looks as if the same thing could happen again this year.
    I was noticing Tuesday, as I walked on the bridge to the pond which Country Guy made over our creek several years ago, that the creek is especially beautiful right now.  In the summer it is almost totally dry, but right now it looks like a mountain stream.  The trees and vegetation along it are bright green.  How could they not be?  It looks--and feels like a rain forest out here in the woods!
    It occurred to me that you might like to see the creek, so I stopped writing and walked out this morning to take a picture to add to the post.  It is a little muddy after the rain, but still very pretty, don't you think?  What a gloriously beautiful morning, the air is cool and the sun is coming up!  It is wonderful to see the sun--especially after a rain!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who Is Getting the Glory?

     This morning I was reading in John, chapter 7, but couldn't seem to get past verse 18,  "Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him."
     When I gave my life to Jesus, I surrendered my will to His Will, to do whatever He had for me to do and and to go wherever He desired to send me.  This verse seems to be saying then, that my intentions when I speak will be to seek glory for Him, who sent me, never out of personal ambition to be recognized.
   How different our world would be if this really was our intention--to never speak on our own, but to only say those things that would bring glory to the One who sent us.  If we tested what we were about to say with the question, "Will this bring glory to God," and then continued the conversation only if the answer was "Yes," what a difference it would make in us and in the world!  Our hearts would overflow with gratitude, and we would become men and women of truth with nothing false about us.  (Wouldn't this be a wonderful goal of politicians, too?) What a refreshing idea! 
    Jesus, how often I have brought attention to myself in conversation!  How often I have enjoyed the attention I've received from doing something good!  I have received glory when the glory was due you?  Forgive me, Lord!  Oh, that I would immediately give honor in my heart to You who made it possible--the One who gave me the opportunity, the idea, the ability, the time, the money, the place, the desire?  I ask, Lord, that you remind me before I speak, for whom am I seeking glory? Amen

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cooking Morel Mushrooms

        Since some readers of this blog are not familiar with the delicacy of morel mushrooms and/or how to cook them (finding them is another story), I am adding this pictorial post today.  For you experienced mushroom hunters and fryers, just disregard this post.

    When Country Guy brings the bags of mushrooms into the kitchen I begin by cutting them in half or quarters, or even into more pieces, if they are large because we like our mushrooms crispy.  If the pieces are too large they will be soggy.
     Then I soak them in cold water to which a couple of tablespoons of salt has been added.  I've always heard it is good to soak them overnight--if you can wait that long.  Since I rinse them several times before adding the salt to get rid of most of the bugs, I generally let them sit in cold water just until I’m ready to cook them.  Because we've been waiting a year for a taste of morels, the first batch of mushrooms usually soaks only a few minutes!  This has worked well for us for many years now, so I can safely say soaking overnight is not necessary.  Here is a picture of some we found this weekend, cut up, soaking, and ready to cook.
     When you are ready to begin cooking, add ½ c. (one stick) butter and ½ c. vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat on medium high.  As you can see, one skillet is not enough to satisfy our appetites, so if you have lots of morels, plan to cook more than one skillet full at a time.
     Drain the mushrooms and roll in flour to generously coat them.
     Before I put the mushrooms in the hot oil, I usually sprinkle a little flour in the skillet to see if it begins cooking, so that I know the oil is hot enough. If it isn't hot enough the mushrooms tend to be soggy and full of grease.  Ugh!
     If so, I drop in as many mushrooms in a single layer as the skillet will hold.  
      Sprinkle these with salt and pepper to taste, and watch them carefully—morels are too scarce to let burn.  When one side is crispy and brown turn them over with a spatula to crisp and brown the other side.  Drain on paper towels.  
                        Don't you wish you could taste these morels?

     I have added a new category "Miscellaneous" to the "Recipes" page so that I can post this "recipe" there, too, to make it easier to find next year.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ideal Growing Conditions for Mushrooms!

     This picture seems to refute the commonly held ideas of growing conditions for morels.  I found this one growing in the rocks along the side of the driveway near one of my gardens.
    We have been finding quite a few big yellow mushrooms the past couple of days.  I guess this rainy weather is good for something!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Was Jesus who He really said He was?

      This quote was in The Patriot Post email yesterday.  Didn't President Reagan say it well?      
      Jesus came so that we could have abundant life--eternal life--and with His death and resurrection He achieved that for us!  Thank you, Jesus!  Happy Easter! 

         "I still can't help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history. No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion. Where ... is the miracle I spoke of? Well consider this and let your imagination translate the story into our own time -- possibly to your own home town. A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father's shop. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father's shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside, walking from place to place, preaching all the while, even though he is not an ordained minister. He never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most. He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal, so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing -- the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place for him so he is interred in a borrowed tomb. End of story? No, this uneducated, property-less young man has, for 2,000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived -- all of them put together. How do we explain that -- unless He really was what He said He was?" --President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Could this become one of my favorite plants?

     Yesterday I helped Mom with her gardens.
     The night before, Country Guy used the truck to pull out a big, old, mostly dead, lilac bush in the area in front of her house.  So before we got too dirty working outside, Mom & I checked with several nurseries to find a suitable replacement.  She wanted something already as large as possible, because the birds used the other bush as a perch when they were waiting their turn at her bird feeders.  We found a nice Persian lilac in full bloom and planted it where the other one had been.  Isn't it beautiful?
     While we were looking, I discovered "juddi" viburnum.  I had never seen this plant before, but the Apple House in Terre Haute had several in full bloom.  They have a beautiful round white bloom with a pinkish tint, that smells heavenly!  I couldn't seem to get enough of the smell.   We bought one for Mom and one for me and planted Mom's in the afternoon.  I haven't had time to plant mine yet, but hopefully, I'll get it done today before the rain begins.  This could be one of my new favorite plants.  The info says it is easy to grow and the flowers turn into red berries that ripen to black, so we will see how well it grows for me.  I'll let you know next year if it has become a favorite.
     When I got home, I looked up more information on "juddi viburnum" on the internet.  (I have posted a link on the "Plants" page if you're interested in knowing more about it.)  One of the articles I read  made it sound as if I need another one from the same family, but not the same species, in order to have abundant flowers.  The woes of gardening!  ;o)  It looks as if I may have to try a different viburnum along with this one.  Gardeners know this is not a burden!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wish I had brought my camera!

   This morning I decided to check to see if the dove was sitting on her nest.  It seems as if she may have abandoned it, since she hasn't been there several times when I have looked.  We have been keeping the blinds closed on the bathroom window to try to keep from disturbing her, so it is difficult to see how often she is there.
    When I peeked through the corner of the blind I caught sight of something brown and at first thought the dove was there, but then I realized the brown was fur, not feathers.  I opened the blind and there sat a chipmunk on the window sill eating one of the dove's eggs!  I wish I had brought my camera.
    Those chipmunks are destructive little animals, but I didn't know they ate eggs, too.  There is one left in the nest, and the dove is no longer paying attention to it.  I wonder if the chipmunk will be back tomorrow for its' second meal?

Victoria Boyson: If You Hunger for Revival, Remember Gal. 3:28

       "There is (now, no longer) neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" Galatians 3:28(emphasis mine).
Galatians 3:28 is like a book containing the keys to life's greatest blessings and happiness that have been lost on a shelf waiting for the Bride of Christ to discover the depth of treasure it possesses.Truly, this Scripture holds the power to release a massive worldwide revival and transform the Church as we know it.
        When I read it, it makes me want to sing, "Red and yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight." But it's not a fluffy children's song. It's a stick of dynamite. And if we will embrace it, it will completely rock our world. Literally!
The Lord showed me what was truly meant by this Scripture. He said, "This is true revival. This is what My end-time Bride will look like – what makes her without spot or wrinkle. This is what Heaven looks like."
      When God looks at you, He sees Jesus – plain and simple. He does not see your race, sex or social standing – He sees His Son's Blood covering you. To Him, we all look alike. Yes, He knows us each separately and intimately, but, through Christ, we are made equal. He doesn't see race or sex – to Him it doesn't matter, and if we want to be like Christ, it won't matter to us either.
      How we treat people does matter to God. That is why He spends so much time talking about it. Seeing Galatians 3:28 manifest in our lives is important to Him, because He knows the hindering power of pride and wants desperately to free us from it. For "He is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6) and He wants to pour out His grace and favor on us!
      The Lord's heart explodes with joy when His beloved seeks to please Him by loving without bias. Yet, how deeply grieved He is when He sees His lovely Bride allowing discrimination to be a part of their lives. Indeed, we show the world how to love everyday and our love should exemplify His.
       Racism, sexism and nepotism are not the way of God's Kingdom, and when Christ talks about His Bride being without spot or wrinkle (see Ephesians 5:27), He is talking about a Church that shows no partiality, and loves without hesitancy. This is what He's leading us to – to become His beautiful spotless Bride who loves as He loves.
       When the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:25-37) took such wonderful care of the man who'd been attacked on his way to Jerusalem, it showed those around him how they should be living. The priest and the Levite were known to be Godly men, yet did nothing for the injured man. The Samaritans were known for their degradation and violent culture, yet he went out of his way to help the man recover from the attack  he refused to walk away.
     What Christ was trying to reveal through this parable was what truly mattered to Him. It doesn't matter to Him if you are a scholar, pastor, or teacher, but that you are revealing the character of Christ through your actions. By loving without conditions, we reveal Christ on Earth  we are bringing Heaven to Earth. People believe what we do much more than what we say, and to some, we may be the only Bible they will ever read.
     But honestly, what does Galatians 3:28 really look like? It looks like equality. It looks like being absolutely treated as an equal with the same equal status and capabilities. We should not look at anyone and judge him or her to be inferior or to disqualify them by their race, gender or social status, nor value them by how much money they have. To do so would be to discriminate against them, as though God Himself created them inferior.
     It is quite clear that Christ came to dismantle the traditions of men and show us how to love in His Church. Galatians 3:28 simply destroys all the man made levels or sects of society and gives to each human being the gift of absolute equality. Through Christ, the curse of the fall (or the curse of where you came from) is broken.      
      Sadly, many times we turn a blind eye to the Scripture in James that says, "If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, 'You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor'  well, doesn't this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?" (James 2:3-4).
      We need to think about and be reminded of the basic truths of Christ's mission – to liberate the captives. And those who are held by the slavery of discrimination should especially find freedom in us, the Church. It should be our Kingdom mission to see that they are raised up and encouraged to do the "greater works" Christ spoke about.  [Part of message deleted for brevity, see to read all.]
       Some of the biases in the Church today have their origins, not in God's Word, but in traditions. Truly, if we want God's Spirit, yet we don't like the vessel it is coming through, we don't really want His Spirit after all, do we? If we are hungry for Him, we will toss out our traditions and embrace God's blessing.
        Truly, God beams with pride when His children willingly embrace the full measure of Galatians 3:28. For anywhere women, the poor or minorities are protected and treated as equals, God shows up. What joy and freedom we flow in when we allow our hearts to love unconditionally, without bias; what supernatural power we unleash as we embrace the liberty of this compelling Scripture.
       So, dear friends, if you hunger for revival, remember Galatians 3:28! If you want more of God, remember Galatians 3:28! If you want God's glorious miracle-working power evident in your life, remember Galatians 3:28! Galatians 3:28 is simply and truly LOVE! And God IS love!
Victoria Boyson
Speaking Life Ministries


Wednesday, April 20, 2011


   Last week a dove decided to make her nest on the brick ledge outside our bathroom window.  It took her awhile, but once the nest was complete she sat on it a couple of days as if there were eggs in it, although there weren't any yet, and cooed.  As I was attempting to take her picture one day, her mate appeared on the ledge with her.  Then on Friday she layed an egg.  Saturday there was another.  She now seems to be sitting on them, so I guess there will be only two.  If either of them hatch, I will post pictures of the babies, later.
    This morning the dove was not on her nest, so I don't know if she will be back or not.  I think she realized it was not an ideal place to hatch her young since we were always going in and out of the bathroom.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Prayer Requests, cont.

   You may have noticed that I have added a "Prayer Requests" page to the blog.  Several people expressed interest but I needed a little time to think about how to create the page so that requests could be posted.  At first I didn't think it was possible, but I finally figured out how to enable comments on a Page.  You will now be able to add a request directly to the page through "comments".  If you have trouble doing this, please email the request to me and I will post it for you.
    FYI:  I have now enabled "comments" on all my Pages so you can leave comments on any of them.  A couple of you have mentioned you especially would like to leave comments on the Recipes page after trying some of the recipes.  Now it's possible, so I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What an incredible weekend!!

     What an incredible weekend!  What an incredible man! And I am exhausted--but in a good way!  The meetings were wonderful!  After we got home from the meetings we snacked, and talked, and listened to stories of God's love and mercy and healing till at least midnight every night, and then I couldn't sleep.  Instead I would lie in bed marveling at the goodness of God in bringing such an amazing man to our house so that we could hear what is happening all over the world!  What a privilege!  I am so humbled and so grateful!
     Ian Andrews told so many inspiring, amazing stories of healing and God's intervention in lives that it makes my head spin.  It seems impossible to imagine that this man who has been in the healing ministry for 42 years, and has spoken to thousands in healing conferences all over the world, came to stay with us and to speak at our small church in Robinson.  As he related story after story of meeting people, teaching and healing people, traveling to 65 countries to pray and teach, it became apparent that God has blessed us beyond what we could think of imagine, in letting our lives touch.
    One astounding fact I learned is there is a church in Nigeria that is 1/2 mile long and has a million seats with a type of road up the middle for the pastor to drive his vehicle to the front of the church?  Ian said he has been invited to speak there, but because of unrest in the country the pastor has said it is not safe for him to come right now.  Can you imagine a church that large?
    We heard so many almost unbelievable stories of healing--of body parts being replaced, of Aids, Down's syndrome, blindness, deafness, brain injuries, autism, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, all healed and documented by doctors.  We heard stories of thousands coming to know the Lord Jesus.  Why do we not hear stories like this in the news?  This is truly good news!  Isn't that what the gospel means--good news!  This was one incredible weekend of one story after another of good news.  What a blessing!  I wish I had had a tape recorder!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Manna" in the "Wilderness"

     We had old friends, Lonnie & Debbie, and a new friend, Ian, staying with us last night and this weekend so I haven't had much time to devote to blogging.
     I knew you would want to see these pictures, though.   This morning we went out and gathered "manna" for breakfast.   We found about 50, which was at least a good taste for all of us.  It was Ian's first opportunity to experience the wonderful taste of morels and, of course, he loved them as much as we all do.

     We are so blessed to be getting acquainted with Ian Andrews.  The stories of his experiences are almost unbelievable, they are so wonderful!  He has traveled all over the world teaching others to pray for the sick, and now he is teaching us at Crawford County Christian Center in Robinson tonight at 7:00 and tomorrow morning at 9:30.  If you have never heard and seen wonderful testimonies of healing be sure to come!  
     Last night several were healed, many of knee injuries.  It was an amazing meeting, and tonight promises to be even more so.  This is an incredible opportunity for our area to have Ian speaking.  He has seen people healed of alzheimer's, autism, brain injuries, sight restored, cancer healed--almost every disease you can think of.   If you know anyone who needs healing you don't want them to miss this opportunity for prayer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Houseplants #3

       I thought I would devote one more blog to favorite houseplants and then this will possibly be my last--at least for awhile.  I've already mentioned wax plant--also called hoya--and included a picture.   (See post--Growing Houseplants, February 7, 2011).  The wax plant has beautiful dark green shiny leaves with a very interesting and fragrant bloom.  This is an easy houseplant to grow if you give it enough light.  It doesn't need full sun, but it also doesn't want to be stuck in a corner far away from a window either.  Place it near an east window and it will thrive, and may even surprise you by blooming after it matures.
       Another easy to grow plant that grows rather large is Scheffelera.  There are several different varieties.  The ones I own have smaller leaves and are fuller than some of the larger scheffeleras.  Here is a picture of one of my 2 largest.  It is going to have to be cut back soon because it is outgrowing it's allotted space!  I have 2 others which I purchased as small plants to sit on a table but are now so large I had to move them to a plant stand.  Soon one of them will be moved to the floor.  This plant will grow in medium--to bright light.  It needs no extra care, except for the occasional pruning when it gets too large.

       Weeping figs (ficus benjamina) are also pretty adaptable and easy to grow.   They, too, will thrive in medium to bright light, if they are watered regularly, letting the soil dry between waterings.  They need very little extra care, except for picking up the occasional dropped leaf.  I have two of these plants.  As they grow they tend to take up a lot of room, so plan accordingly.   The largest one was given to me as a gift when it was small.  It is now over 8 feet tall and about 5 feet wide!  The other one, pictured below, belonged to one of our dearest friends and mentor, Tommy Tyson.  His son, Tom, said I should take it home after Tommy died because it was needing some extra care.  As you can see it is doing well.  I love having it as a reminder of Tommy and the rest of the Tyson family.

     The plants mentioned in these few posts are my fool-proof plants.  I have a few others that are a little more choosey about their growing conditions, so I haven't recommended them.  As you can see from the pictures I have included in this and other posts, the majority are thriving here.  I think I have mentioned before that we have great light in our house because of a multitude of windows.  If light is a problem for you, I would suggest trying pothos for awhile.  If you need another suggestion, another plant that seems to do well in low light is spathiphylum (peace lily).  If neither of these thrive don't bother trying the others.  But if they live then you may want to consider adding different plants to your collection.  I think houseplants are a great addition to the atmosphere of any house.
     Finding the right plant for the light you have is one of the most important things you can do to grow healthy houseplants.  The other, as I said in my first post, is to be sure to water them thoroughly and then let the soil dry for a few days before watering again because very few plants will do well in soggy soil.
     For those who have asked me how I grow houseplants I hope this has helped.  These few posts seem to have exhausted my knowledge on growing houseplants. (And I'm sure have bored several of you in the process.)  If, by chance, you still have a question you think I might be able to answer, I would be happy to try.  Just leave a comment or send me an email.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Your Hands with Lyrics JJ Heller

        Here is another beautiful song by JJ Heller, who will be in Martinsville, IL at Elevate 2011, on June 25.  To hear my favorite song by JJ see the earlier post on January 31.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Suggestions for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh

      While reading the "Cooks Illustrated" weekly email last week it occurred to me that you might like to know this, too.  In researching how best to preserve lemons they came to the conclusion that keeping them in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator would prolong their freshness for weeks.  Did you know that?  I didn't.  I've always just placed them loose in the vegetable drawer of the frig.
      Hopefully, you will find a new suggestion, or two, in the following list of ways to choose, and preserve other fruits and vegetables which I have discovered over the years.  Some of these ideas have come from friends, some from trial and error, and some from research, but all have kept me from needlessly wasting produce that deteriorated before I was ready to use it.  
     If you have suggestions that work for you, I, and the readers of this blog, would be grateful if you would post them in the "Comments"  below.  All of us are glad to save money.   With the price of food continuing to climb we don't want to waste anything.

Lemons, Limes, and Oranges   I choose those that seem to have a thin, smoother skin because they are juicier.   To keep them fresh for weeks, refrigerate in a zip-lock bag.
Strawberries  will not ripen after picked.  Refrigerate in glass containers with lids.
Lettuce   Wrap in a damp paper towel and store in plastic bag in refrigerator.
Green Onions   Same as lettuce.
Tomatoes    Store at room temperature.  They will continue to ripen.   Do not refrigerate because this breaks down the texture of the tomato.
Bananas  Allow to ripen by hanging on a rack.  They won't bruise as easily.  Then place in refrigerator once they are ripe (no green tips).  The skin will turn brown  but the inside will no longer continue to ripen.  This will extend the freshness 4 or more days.
Watermelon  will not ripen after picked, so choose a ripe one by checking to see if the round area on the bottom of the melon where it rested on the ground while growing, is yellow.  Store whole melon in refrigerator for several days, less if cut up.
Pineapple   I choose one that has fresh green leaves and is somewhat green on the bottom, but then allow it to ripen on the counter a few days.  If I want to use it immediately, I choose one whose leaf tips are just beginning to turn brown and the color of the pineapple is changing from green to brown and it has a slight fragrance.   Once cut up, refrigerate for up to a week.  It seems to get sweeter in the refrigerator.

Monday, April 11, 2011

ANDREAS HELGSTRAND - WEG2006 Freestyle Final

   For any horse lovers reading this, here is my other most favorite horse video.   Isn't this beautiful?!!  I would love to know how to ride a horse like that!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Oh! Deer!

    Lately, I have been wishing I was a deer hunter.  Of course, this isn't deer hunting season, but I am getting so exasperated with the deer around our house, I wish someone would shoot a few of them!  When I looked out the window the other day, there were so many grazing in the horse pasture it looked as if we were raising them!  If they would stay out there, it would be fine, but they seem to prefer grazing around the house.
    They have eaten off all my tulips, but two.  I don't think they have discovered them yet.  (Notice how pretty the tulips looked last year in the Spring pictures on My Garden page.)  Not so this year!  Fortunately, they don't like daffodils so at least they look beautiful!
     Now the deer are working on the day lilies!  What makes this so irritating is that I have day lilies growing on the banks along our lane, in addition to those growing in my gardens.  The deer could at least be eating those if they have a taste for day lilies!   They have a path right through them, but instead those pesky deer are walking boldly right up to the back door and eating the new growth of the day lilies in what I call my courtyard.  When these are in bloom in June the courtyard is particularly beautiful (see Summer pictures on My Garden page).  I hope they haven't completely ruined them.
     For several years I have used a product called Liquid Fence to keep the deer away.  (Because of being on vacation I hadn't yet applied it this year--even though I kept having the nagging thought that I had better get it done.)  It has been relatively effective--when I use it.   The problem though, with any of these products is they need to be reapplied after a rain, and since it rains so frequently in the spring this gets rather expensive, not to mention time-consuming.   Liquid Fence concentrate costs about $30/quart and only makes enough to spray my plants twice since I have so many.
     Last May I visited a botanical garden planted and tended by a retired professor from Eastern Illinois University.  He said the thing he has found most effective in repelling deer is a bar of Irish Spring Soap melted in about a gallon of water.  He then dilutes this and sprays it on his plants as he needs it.  He said the concentrate makes several gallons, maybe up to 50.  It obviously is much less expensive, so I decided to try it out this year.  An easier solution to melting a bar of the soap seemed to be to use Irish Spring liquid soap.  I hope it is just as effective.  Yesterday I added a little to water and sprayed my most vulnerable plants.
     I'll let you know how well it works.  Unfortunately, rain is forecast for tonight, so I will probably have to do it again in a day or two.  Those pesky deer cause me a lot of extra time and trouble!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stacy Westfall 2006

      I love this video!  Stacy is an incredible horsewoman!  What balance!  I had saved this from several years ago, but only recently discovered it again, so I decided to post it here so I would know where to find it when I want to be inspired to be a better rider.
      I watched the clip, also on YouTube, of Stacy on the Ellen Degeneres show, before posting this.  She said she started training this horse as a 2 year old and that it took her 3 years riding her 1 to 1/2 hours a day, 5 days a week before the horse was trained to perform without a bridle.  It then took Stacy another year of practice before she could stay on the horse without a saddle.  Now that's persistence and determination!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Prayer Requests

    One of the commenters on this blog suggested it might be good to have a place to leave prayer requests.   I said that was a great suggestion, but I would need to research the possibility.  So last night I looked to see if it was possible.  The only way I can see how to make it happen is for me to add another page to the blog entitled "Prayer Requests".  You could then email requests to me and I would post them on the page.  There doesn't seem to be any other way that others can post to my blog except in the "comments" at the end of each post.  I think the requests would get lost there, don't you?
     In order to see if there is enough interest for me to set up the page, I have added a poll to the right hand side of the blog.  Would you take a second and vote.  The results will let me know whether to proceed, or not.  Thanks.

Dr. Art Mathias from Wellspring Ministries April Newsletter

           This was such an encouraging word and an attitude adjustment for me.  I can easily descend into the gloom and doom of the news today.  What a much better way to be thinking!  
      I believe this ministry has a very well balanced approach to health and healing.  I've especially found the "Health A to Z" on their website interesting and thought-provoking.
       Here is a link to Wellspring Ministries if you want to know more about them:

Today is the Best Day to be Alive and
Tomorrow Will Be Better! 
by Dr. Art Mathias

The doom and gloom from the “prophets” of today remind me of 1984, 1988 and 2000. They all have forgotten the promises of God.

First, He has promised that His Kingdom will grow as the mustard and leaven. The mustard plant grows anywhere and in any condition. Leaven takes over the entire loaf just as His Kingdom takes over the entire world. (Mat. 13:31-33, Mark 4:31, Luke 13:19-21)

Today there are more Christians than any other time in human history.  There are over 200,000 per day and over 200,000,000 per year accepting Jesus. Christianity is growing faster than any religion. Some even expect that the entire world will be Christian by 2032. (Mega Shift by James Rutz) God promises that He will bless those that follow Him. As more and more follow Him we should expect to see more and more of His blessings.

A study of human history reveals that today is the best day ever to be alive. While there have been ups and downs in the economy or living conditions, mankind is far better off today than ever before. 2000 years ago Rome held most people in captivity. There was no freedom of speech or press. The average life expectancy was 35-40. There were no central heating systems, electricity, airplanes, cars etc.

150 years ago in America abortion was legal and common. Life expectancy was 45-50 years. The age of sexual consent was 10-11 depending on which state you lived in. Contagious diseases were common, killing many. There was no electricity, cars, airplanes, highways etc. etc.

While today is not perfect and there is much work to do we are far better off. Our living conditions and freedoms are unparalleled in human history.

Second, in John 13:19, Jesus said, “Now I tell you before it comes, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.” If you read the King James Version, you will notice that the word “he” is italicized, meaning it was supplied by the King James translators and is not in the original. The Greek simply says, “…Ye may believe that I AM!” Jesus is strongly and boldly asserting that He is the Great “I AM” of the Old Testament. (Ex. 13:14)

The Jesus that we serve is powerful! There is not a force strong enough to resist His power. No sickness, financial turmoil, relational problems, political force—absolutely nothing has enough power to resist the supernatural power of Jesus Christ! When the Great “I AM” opens His mouth and speaks, every power that attempts to defy Him or His Word is defeated. This is not just a promise for the future it is also for today.

What is your need today? Why not choose to present them to Him and trust Him for an answer? Let Him speak to your heart and trust in His promises.  This is not the time to throw up our arms in anguish and proclaim the end. It is a time to review the promises of God and learn to stand on them. It is a time to be aggressive in building His Kingdom. While there are many reasons for concern about the future we are the ones that have answers—from the Great I AM. Let’s go to Him and find them and then proclaim His answers. We must remember that He loves us and only wants the best for each of us.

It is time to make a difference for His Kingdom and not go into despair and quit.

My prayer for today:
Lord, I am so glad that You are the Great “I AM” and that You have power over every force in the world. When You speak demons tremble, sickness flees, poverty is vanquished and Your Kingdom rules and reigns! Because You live inside me, Your power is resident in me and ready to set me free from any fear, worry or any other force that tries to come against me. I stand on Your Word. I speak it out loud by faith and expect mountains to move out of the way! I pray this is Jesus name.

My confession for today:
I declare that there is no force strong enough to resist God’s power in my life. No sickness, financial turmoil, relational problems, political force—absolutely NOTHING has enough power to resist the supernatural power of Jesus Christ that is resident in me! When I open my mouth and speak the Word of God, every power that attempts to defy His Word is defeated. When my mouth gets into agreement with God’s Word, I see His power unleashed against the forces that try to come against me.  I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Commenting on this blog

     Jess has said that sometimes she has been able to post a comment on this blog and sometimes it is impossible.  Then I began hearing from several others who said they are having the same problem.  I looked up why that might be in the "help" section of Blogger.  It seems others are having the problem, too.
    I followed one of the suggestions--which was to click the "revert widget templates to default" button in the layout settings using html.  I have no idea what that means or what it did or if it helped.  I'm just glad I could finally find it!   It would be very helpful to me if you would try again to comment.  If it doesn't work would you email me so that I can contact "help" again to see if they have any other solutions?
   The only other thing I know to suggest is to keep trying.  Maybe it has to do with the traffic on Blogger at a certain time, or if I am adding a post.  I feel as if I have learned a lot since I started blogging, but most of what I've learned just shows me how much I don't have a clue about how all this works!

Joseph Prince's Devotional Today

      I like to read Joseph Prince because he reminds me that I can't earn God's approval.  I can't work my way into Heaven.  There's nothing I can do on my own to get there.  It doesn't matter how good I try to be, or what great deeds I do for others.  Nothing will get me to Heaven but recognizing and believing that Jesus has already "bought my ticket" through His death on the cross.  By becoming a sacrifice for my sins He became my Savior.  Believing and accepting this is the only way I will get into Heaven.  Since I have given my life to Him, the Father sees only Jesus when He looks at me.  My part in all this is to rest in that fact and trust that He is, and always will be, my advocate before the Father.

Your Advocate Always Wins Your Case
1 John 2:1
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

      If you want a glimpse of some real-life celestial drama, picture this: God the Father sits as Judge of the universe with Jesus Christ at His right hand, who is not only your High Priest, but also your Advocate.
      When your accuser, the devil, comes along and says, “You have done this wrong and you have not done that right,” Jesus says, “Father, the devil is right, but My blood has paid for what the devil is accusing him of.”
       Then the devil adds, “You have also not been reading the Bible or praying enough. And this morning, you told a lie.”
       Again, Jesus will say, “Father, the devil has indeed reported correctly, but My blood has paid for all these failures.”
       God the Father will then slam the gavel on the sound block and say, “Case dismissed! Next!”
        You need to understand that God can justly declare you innocent and completely righteous because Jesus took your place at the cross, and shed His blood to pay for your sins and condemnation. (2 Corinthians 5:21) God is simply being faithful and just to what Christ has done.
        When Jesus rose from the grave, He rose as your Advocate, your lawyer. But unlike most earthly lawyers who take on cases because it serves their interests and wallets, He is a lawyer who is personally interested in your happiness and well-being. Unlike earthly lawyers who are not caught up in the feelings and sufferings of their clients, Jesus went through great sufferings for you and paid with His own life so that you can receive all the blessings of God.
       As your Advocate today, Jesus ensures that what He died and suffered to give you, you get! In heaven today, He defends and represents you to ensure that the healing, wholeness, protection and other blessings that He died to give you are enforced in your life. Beloved, have confidence in and rest in the ability of your Advocate!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New format for "Recipes" Page

      I have reposted the "Recipes" page in a new format.  It seemed to me it would be easier to find recipes if they were divided into categories, so I have moved them into sections labeled by the type of recipe.  The best divisions I could come up with are Appetizers, Breads, Desserts, Entres, Salads, Soups, Vegetables and/or Side Dishes.  So if you have tried one of the recipes previously, look for it now under one of these categories.  It is my plan to continue to post the newest recipes first, but they will be posted under the category that best describes them.  Therefore, you will need to scroll through each category to discover new ones that have been posted.  (I posted a few new ones today so you can practice.  :o)
     This may make it a little more difficult to discover new recipes until you get used to the new format, but I think it will make it easier to find older ones.  It is my plan to add the post date each time I post a new recipe (sorry I haven't always done that before) so if you don't check my blog daily, you will be able to easily discover which ones have been posted since you last checked.
    I would love hearing your comments, or questions, on any recipes you have tried, or on this new format.  Since none of the "pages" except "Home" allow posting directly to them (that's the only way the blog site allows you to set it up), feel free to add the comments you may have about the extra "pages" anytime to my most recent post on the "Home" page.  That way I will be sure to read it and respond if a response would be helpful.
    I hope you find this arrangement a little easier to navigate.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We're back!

      We returned from a great time in St. Pete's Beach, Florida, today.  After 2 other attempts to go on vacation this year we finally succeeded!  As you may recall from previous posts, the first trip was cancelled due to an ice storm, and the second was cancelled due to flooding in our basement.  We managed to get to St. Pete's Beach on Wednesday with no problems, but Wednesday night and Thursday the worst storms they had had in years pelted the area with winds up to 70 miles/hour and rain coming down at a rate of 2-3 inches per hour!  The palm trees were bent almost parallel to the ground in the wind!   It really gave me an understanding of what it must be like in a hurricane!  I think the local paper said 9 tornados touched down in the area, but the damage was much less extensive than you would imagine. 
      We are beginning to wonder what it is with our vacations and weather!  The weather began to clear late Thursday evening, so our daughter and her family were able to fly in Thursday night arriving after only about 1/2 hour delay from the storms.  The weather turned beautiful for the rest of the trip.  It was in the 80's and sunny everyday till today when it was raining again as we were leaving.
      We had lots of fun in the sun.  Our 3 and 5 year old grandsons moved a ton of sand with their shovels.  I think the beach is a perfect place for family vacations--especially with little children.  There is so much to keep all of us occupied.
       I must say that for me, parasailing was the highlight of the trip!  Country Guy and I decided we needed to do something special to commemorate our 45th anniversary.  Here's our picture.  I know it is a little difficult to recognize us so you'll just have to take my word that this really is us.  We do have a video if you're interested, though.  :o)  (Of course we had to buy the video!  When will we ever get to do this again?)  I only wish I had taken my camera up with me.  The view was absolutely spectacular! 
   It's good to be home, though.  I'm ready to get serious about cleaning up the gardens, and moving and dividing plants.  Are you as eager as I am for spring?  It has been a long winter!  It seems our time in the sun just made me that much more ready to get outside.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Why "Shalom in the Wilderness"?

      You may have wondered how I came up with the name, "Shalom in the Wilderness."   It all began when Jack & Friede Taylor stayed with us.  They commented on how peaceful and restful our house is.  I told them I had always wanted to find a name for it so that I could embroider shirts to give to our guests, but so far, had not come up with one.  (One of our earlier guests, Melinda Fish, talked me into buying a Husqvarna Viking embroidery sewing machine, so I thought it would be great to have a logo. As a matter of fact, she also is the one who kept after me to start a blog.  I guess if you think about it she has added a lot of extra work to my life :o)—but so many extra blessings, too!)
       Jack said he had named his place on the ocean, "Shalom By The Sea."  He commented that this house definitely should have “shalom” in the name.  So I looked up “shalom” in our Strong’s concordance and discovered it means not only peace, but also completeness, soundness, welfare, safety, health, prosperity, tranquility, contentment, friendship with others, and friendship with God.
     Before we built our house, we had to make a road through the woods to the spot where we wanted to build.  To do this Country Guy and I walked through the woods leaving stakes in the ground so the man driving the bulldozer would know where to make the lane.  We have always called the section he had to come through “the wilderness” because the blackberry bushes and multi-flora rose growing there make walking very difficult.  The name, "Shalom in the Wilderness", seemed perfect!
      I asked my embroidery instructor to make an outline design—I think she called it ‘redline’--of our house from a picture I took, and then I designed a logo, which I embroider on sweatshirts to give to all who stay with us.
     A few months after I began doing this, I picked up my Bible.  It fell open to Ezekiel 34; verse 25 stood out:  "I will make a covenant of shalom with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods." It seemed to me to describe our place in the woods and God’s intentions toward it, so I added this verse to the logo.
     As I was discussing starting a blog with friends, I said how difficult it seemed to be for me to begin.  My friend, Cindy, said, “You already have a name for it.,” and I realized I did.
     When I give the sweatshirts to our guests, I explain to them that as I make each shirt I pray for the wearer.   I bless them with shalom (peace, completeness, soundness, welfare, safety, health, prosperity, tranquility, contentment, friendship with others, and friendship with God) in their wilderness.    
    That’s my prayer also for the readers of my blog.  As you type in the address, or read the name, receive the blessing I have already prayed for you.  I pray, too, the contents of the blog will bless you and contribute to your shalom (peace, completeness, soundness, welfare, safety, health, prosperity, tranquility, contentment, friendship with others, and friendship with God) in some way through inspiration, humor, information and by reminding you that we share life and experiences together.
     I bless you with "shalom" in any wilderness you encounter!   

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wedding Anniversary!

     Today is our 45th wedding anniversary!  I can't believe we have been married 45 years!  In many ways our wedding seems only a few years ago.  I can still remember it well, and I don't feel much older than 45 now, so how could I be married that long!
   The years have been wonderful, for the most part, filled with the addition of 3 great kids, 7 adorable grandchildren, building our dream house together, exciting adventures, new experiences, and lots of memories.  Of course, there have been trials and tribulations, too, but the good memories far outweigh the bad.
      Country Guy has been a great husband, who has provided well for us, and made it possible to do so many things I would never have dreamed we would be able to do.  We have visited most of the United States, traveled to Canada, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Brazil, England, Ireland, and Scotland (hopefully visiting many more countries in the future), and taken a few cruises.  We have met people from all walks of life.  Our family cares for one another and our friends are the nicest people in the world.  How grateful we are to God who has blessed us 'abundantly more than we could ask or imagine'!
    We look forward to many more adventures as we grow old together.  It has been a wonderful life and we believe the best is yet to be!
    Thanks, Country Guy!  I love you!