Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's Been Ever So Long Since I Last Posted...


It's hard to imagine I haven't posted since spring! So much has happened since March.

I learned how to start my own seedlings and got wonderful tomato plants, broccoli and brussel sprouts. I think if my tomato plants lived through the blight that crept through the northeast, I would have had gobs of tomatoes. They managed to grow beautifully tall and a lovely shade of green, until the sickly brown color took over and they did not survive...not one out of 33 plants! Oh well, maybe another year. I have to do some tomato blight research...I'm not sure if you can replant the next year without treating the soil. So much to learn about gardening-and I do not think one ever stops learning new things about tending the garden.

AND...I am STILL decluttering. Just today I tore my living room apart-for the umpteenth time! Each time I do it I thoroughly clean and decide what to give away and throw away-at least 15 items each. It's amazing what gets left out or stashed somewhere it does not belong. So there is also a 'put away' basket. Will it ever end? I have been on this simplifying path for what seems like eons...but I guess it's only since last spring. I just cannot fathom how I accumulated all this stuff! I am ashamed. But I will continue my quest for simplicity and one day I will have it conquered.

We are still learning what it means to walk the Lord's "Narrow Path". The journey so far is one full of discovery and it has been so enriching! We have met so many kind and wonderful people who truly heed the call to 'follow Jesus'. The call to come out of the world, once heard, is vastly life-altering (as it should be) and we will never be the same.

And so I am learning to live what some call the "Doctrine of Non-Accumulation". Now, it's funny, before I ever knew it had a 'name'...I was led to live it. Sometimes I last Wednesday when I went with my friend Linda to a Salvation Army store...and bought the most shabby chic tea cups and a creamer and sugar bowl with an old-fashioned design on them. For some reason, I have a hard time resisting dishes...I'll have to get that in check! But I made myself get rid of some things in their place. I am determined to not bring a new thing in without purging an old thing out in its place. Still, this can be defeating my purpose and I do not do this often anymore.

Speaking of all my teacups, some day I hope to be able to have hospitality again. Oh, I do miss hospitality. I love blessing people, and it's so nice to have them over and dote on them and show God's love to them. Yes, I miss that very much!

With Thanksgiving coming, I've been trying to think of ways to be a blessing. A 'Secret Blesser'. Not letting my right hand know what my left is doing. I once knew a woman who put together bags which held all that was needed for entire Thanksgiving meals and gave them away to people she knew or heard that needed them. Once upon a time, a long time ago, we were recipients of one of her Thanksgiving bag deliveries. What a blessing that was! Love in action. That is the Kingdom of God!

One more thing I'll add before I finish this post. I am very excited about a new site I will be launching soon. It's called "Simple Acts of Love" and can be found here . I haven't put anything up on it yet, but I will soon and I'll come over here and let you know when it's ready and add a link for it on the sidebar. It will be a site that has ideas and little tutorials and such on ways to show simple acts of love to friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers as we know it is possible to entertain angels unawares! My goal is to keep it simple and easy for the most part. There will be some in depth projects too. We'll see as it goes how it all plays out.

When I get a chance tomorrow, I'll take a picture of my new shabby teacups and saucers and my little creamer and sugar bowl and maybe post a photo or two of a display I've set up while preparing this place for Thanksgiving. I'm not going overboard, but bringing in some things from outside to display God's Handiwork. God's creation is so beautiful and awesome-I encourage you to take the time to enjoy it and ponder His love for us.

Try to Keep It Simple. Just enjoy the Lord's creation as you prepare the Home-Sweet Things to show hospitality to your loved ones.xo

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring and Other Thoughts

Spring has always been such a joyous time for me. As I'm sure it has for many. Winter is pretty, at first, but it's all so long and this year was especially gray, wet, icy and cold. I, for one, am so very glad it's over!!

Yes, I know that we have April Showers coming soon...but they bring May Flowers and that is so very wonderful in my book.

I've been doing my research this winter, reading and asking questions. I'm trying to learn the ins and outs of starting my own seeds so I don't have to buy the plants from a greenhouse. I want to be able to take that little sprout from start to finish.

I've been asking my sister-in-law alot of questions and started writing down some of her answers. She's been feeding her family with her own produce for 25 years and has always has so much success. That's the kind of person I want to inspire me. The successful kind.

Well, Lisa Vitello over at New Harvest Homestead was looking for someone to send little articles on seed-starting for the March/April 2009 newsletter. I got brave and asked if I could send one on Seed-Starting for Beginners. I thought I would interview my sister-in-law Arlene and get the whole process down on paper, then share it with Lisa's subscribers. The issue is out and you can get your copy from her at the link above. I enjoy the newsletter, it's got lots of neat advice and recipes and stories. Anyone who has the heart to homestead, no matter how much land you have, would be blessed by this publication.

Tomorrow I am hoping to start some of my seeds. I've got to get my containers together and my other tools. I've got my seeds, my soil, the want-to, and I think, the know-how! With my new-found knowledge...I will be able to finally grow my own plants from my own seeds! I'll keep you posted as time goes on and let you know how it's all progressing.

We went on another wonderful weekend to Lancaster this past weekend. It is a special place for us. We also got to visit the kind folks at Charity once again and were blessed to make some more friends. We always come home in the presence of the Lord after fellowshiping there.

I'll post the photos in the morning, I only got a couple this time because we were so busy and my passenger-side window won't go down right now. But we'll be going again and by then the beautiful gardens should be growing and I will be sure to photograph the lovely gardens.

This post will come up before spring... as it's only 11:46 here in NY...but tomorrow it will officially be spring and well, forgive me if I'm a bit early.

Never forget to praise God through the winter as He will always send you spring in His time. Praise Him!

The Home-Sweet Things are ready to begin another season of rebirth and renewal-I wonder what's in store for this new season upon us? Bless His Holy Name. x0

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Warm Crock-Pot Tapioca Recipe For a Cold Winter's Day

There's nothing like a cupful of warm homemade tapioca on a chilly winter's day! It warms the bones and the tummy! Total comfort food for those who love the Home-Sweet Ways! And while it's simmering in the crock-pot, you have time to do other things to bless your home.

Here's the recipe...serves 6-and you have to soak the tapioca overnight-so plan ahead!!

1 Cup large pearl tapioca (not instant)
I used the large pearl tapioca this time, but it works for any size pearl.
4 Cups cold water (or enough to cover tapioca for soaking)
5 Cups milk (I use 2%)
1 Cup evaporated milk
3 egg yolks
2/3 Cups sugar
1-2 teaspoons lemon zest or zest of one lemon
pinch salt (opt.)
1. Place tapioca in bowl, cover with water, cover, let stand overnight.
2. Drain water from tapioca.
3. Place tapioca in crock of slow cooker.
4. Add milk, evaporated milk, and salt.
5. Cook on high for approx. 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
6. In small bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar.
7. Temper small amounts of the tapioca into the egg/sugar mixture. I add 1/3 cup at a time until I have added 2 cups. Whisk constantly.
8. Add this mixture to the remaining tapioca in the crock pot.
9. Add lemon zest and stir to combine.
10. Cook for additional 15 minutes, stirring at least once.
11. Transfer to a large bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap to keep skim from forming.
12. Allow to cool to room temperature for at least 1 hour; then place in refrigerator until chilled. (Unless you like it warm!)

That's it! It is so easy and hits the spot on a wintry day!

Remember to always be thankful to God while you enjoy the Home-Sweet Things! x0

Teaching Good Things Giveaway!

This is really a great opportunity for the chance to win educational material!

Here's the scoop from Kathy's place...

Giveaway- Your choice of CDs

Vision Forum is allowing us to give away some really great gifts! One winner will be able to choose a gift from the albums below when the contest ends on February 27th.

Rules are simple: Leave a comment stating which set you would like to win and I’ll enter your name in the drawing once. Leave a comment AND post about the give away on your blog (including the link in your comment) and I’ll enter your name twice.

That’s it!

The contest will end at 10 p.m CST on Friday, February 27.

This Friday we will be giving away a CD set of your choice from:

*True Beauty: 8 inspiring CDs recorded at the 2008 Father and Daughter Retreat

*The 2008 Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy: an up-to-date look at the most important constitutional battles we face. This album includes 24 CDs.

*Let Freedom Ring: 13 CDs from the Philadelphia Faith and Freedom Tour

*Lights, Cameras, Action! Highlights from the 2009 Christian Filmmakers Academy

*History Has Been Made: Moments and Messages from the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival

To enter this drawing...GO HERE!!!

And while you're there, check out Kathy's other fun stuff too!!! They're totally geared toward the Home-Sweet Things!

Have a wonderful day! x0

Monday, January 12, 2009

What the Lord Hath Wrought OR My Amish House Tour


I didn't want to just post the photos here without giving the reason why I got them in the first place. They were the result of a "sending out" by God. The obedience to a command given to me by the Lord. What a blessing it has turned out to be for my family and I!

In the early spring of 2008 I was sitting in my dining room wondering how I was going to get out of the cluttery mess I was in. I was overwhelmed by the state my home was in. Once, I told a friend, "It is as if a Thing-Monster came into my house and vomited." Gross, I know, but that is how I felt.

So, there I was, talking to God about how I know He told me to simplify years ago and how I never really attempted it whole-heartedly. I was truly sorry-mostly because I was busted. I had come to the end of my rope and needed to bail out! I was one of those people who needed a day's warning before company came, and I would spend the entire day before dashing and stashing! I mentioned to God that I really needed a visual to attain to, something I could see to use as an example of what He thought was a simplified, bare-bones house.

I thought of how I had become sucked in to the superfluity of America. How, somehow, I began collecting so many things I no longer had room for them. I couldn't throw anything away, I felt I had to store it somewhere and began filling bins which ended up filling my basement and overflowing into my barn and then my garden shed.

My friends always teased that they were going to call "Clean Sweep" or some other TV show. This thought mortified me! To have everyone see my sin of horror! Then I realized, who cares? God saw it all, the glut, the disobedience to Him and my lack of regard to a command He gave me-no matter how simple. Still, I knew He cared for me and in His love wanted to deliver me from this!

Simplify. One word from Him:simplify.

The Father keeps it simple for me. One word commands. No complications that way. No need to try to figure out exactly what He means.

So, I asked for a visual. I sat and wondered what He would show me. I sat in my dining room that day, waiting. Then, plain as day, the word "Amish" came to my mind. I had no reason to be thinking about Amish people. I had only been to Lancaster County, PA once, years ago, when I went on a couple's retreat with my husband. There was the conference and some sight-seeing, but no deep-down "Amish Experience"...and then we went home and forgot about it.


That's what I heard.

I immediately went online and searched 'youtube' for some kind of video about Amish people. I searched online for anything Amish that would show me some kind of example of Amish housekeeping. I got nothing. I could not find any photos of Amish rooms to use as my visual.

I let it go for the time being.

I don't think two hours went by. The phone rang. It was my friend Linda. She told me she and another woman were heading for Lancaster County, PA for a couple of days and would I like to go.

"ARE YOU KIDDING????????", I shouted!!!

This was my answer to prayer! My husband agreed to let me go and I was off on my "Amish Adventure"!!

I told the girls before I left that it was time for me to: sell all I have, give to the poor, and follow the Lord. I told them what had transpired earlier in the week. I told them that I was going to see if there was an Amish house tour anywhere down there and that if it was possible to take photos (knowing how they are about photos), and use them as my visual for my own home.

Well, long story short, I was so blessed on this trip! Not only did I find an Amish house tour before I left for home, I was able to attend Charity Christian Fellowship and their guest speaker, Jerry Mawhorr spoke on the very thing I knew God told me before I left for the trip!

Click here to listen to his message if you'd like.

After the wonderful experience at Charity (their online ministry had blessed me so much!)-and now to actually meet some of the people who had unknowingly blessed me and my family! It was a day I will never forget! (One day I'll share the story of my first trip to Charity-it is a joyous testimony of their kindness to visitors.)

Not only did I get to take my house tour, the guide told me I could lag behind the group, take as long as I wanted and as many photos as I liked. I was so very, very happy!

What you are about to see, was ordained by God in my life. It has been a blessing to me and a day I will always remember. The Lord said in Proverbs 29:18a, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." I was sent by the Lord to get my vision to bless my home, and I am still pressing on until I receive the reward of my simplified house and simplified life-no clutter to hold me back from what He has for me!

Here are some of the photos I took on the Amish House Tour:

This is the laundry room.

This was said to be a "Daughter's Room".

Another bedroom, with pretty light purple walls. The man said it was not a traditional color.

A Boy's Room. The walls were paler, my photo shop enhanced the blue color a bit. Ice hockey and baseball are favorite pasttimes!

There was this coffin in a room upstairs. He said it was in there to show it and he explained how Amish funerals were conducted. Morbid, but I guess some people would want to know.

Another bedroom. This one was downstairs. Notice the stuff on the dresser-that basket was an original diaper bag!

This was the sitting room. This is where the family would gather in the evening under the light of the lamp (which was very bright by the way) and play games or quilt or visit or read the German Bible.

And last, but not least, my favorite room in the house...

The sun room at the back of the kitchen was very inviting and the treadle machine was in a good spot by the windows-lots of sunlight to sew by.

So there you have it. Bare bones clean. Nothing in there to trip over, no excess, no superfluity. Simple. It was neater than I imagined. Nothing in there that didn't have a use. And that is my "Amish Revelation" from the Lord.

I still have a long way to go!! But I'm making progress! This trip and tour has led to a long and educational study about the Amish, their beliefs and lifestyle. We have been blessed in many ways by the Lord because of this. But that is for another post, another day.

Thanks for sharing my tour with me, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

God Bless you as you aspire to your own Home-Sweet 'Vision' from the Lord!