Beautiful, Humble Strength

dsc_0255

Like the veins of an oak leaf

nourishment flows through her, unnoticed.

Her strength is warmth and light.

Each day, she catches the dewdrops and birds find solace among her branches.

This one is strong,” passersby say, tapping a hand on her thick trunk.

But if they could only see deeper to her innermost being,

if they could feel what she feels,

they would know of the stretching towards the sun, 

the drawing from the earth,

the shock of the cold in the fall.

Her last resort is to change her colors with the season.

Now they will see me,” she says.

The passersby look up in admiration at her beauty and this time they pause in reverence.

The rains come and go, the winds threaten her, but she remains.

In the winter, her branches sparkle with snow in the sun.

She drops some branches for the passersby to collect for firewood.

Her reign of strength and beauty flows onward.

Sweet release is found when the sun shines upon her.

Silently, she continues on.

Although the depth of her life is not known to men,

it is enough that it is known to her.

For her strength comes from the sun,

her nourishment from the earth,

and her weakness is her beauty.

 

Chicken Poop, Knitting Machines, and Voices

jeremiah 106I’m a bit here, there, and everywhere in my thoughts but I will attempt to pull all of this together.

This morning, my observant, little, scientific son pointed out that my other son made a mark on the floor. I, in my busy state was going to dismiss it until I realized it was chicken poop. I got my sanitizer and was cleaning it. I was so grossed out by it that it turned into a complete overhaul. I needed to clean the whole upstairs and also the downstairs lest any of this same substance graced our floors there as well. In the end, I was happy for the motivation to clean in this very overwhelming time of preparation for the holidays.

On a different note, I was recently given a knitting machine. It’s so awesome. It is still in the box, in my bedroom, but step by step I am going to meticulously learn how to use it and make such glorious items that my hands never could produce on their own. I can picture handing these items to people in need and I can picture the smiles on their faces when they receive them. More than that, their hearts will be touched and softened by these gifts and they will know through them, that there is a God that loves them. All because someone went through the effort of giving me this machine.

Receiving the knitting machine got me to thinking about how the little gifts that we give, whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual, most likely will go a lot farther than we could even imagine. I thought of my husband teaching my son about music when he was little. I believe music saved his deep thinking little life. I believe that his music will speak to multitudes of people in his life time. All because someone took the time and effort to reach out and show him he had a voice.

Tying this all together in a nice little box with a little bow on top, I want to say that what we do, really does matter. Most likely the unspoken is the most profound of it, and the matter that we see evolve from our having reached out, is the overflow.

A word of encouragement to all two of you who read this; (it was worth writing just for you) don’t despise a day of small beginnings. Those small beginnings may be changing the world. Even mistakes made can have their merit, such as chicken poop on the floor.

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Project: Dandelion Biscuits

DSCN2317

Dear Friends,

The dandelions are in full bloom here and I am so excited! I have made dandelion jelly, and I saved the dandelion tea for the dandelion soap that I will make as soon as the lye arrives via UPS.

Today, however, I have made dandelion biscuits. I changed up a biscuit recipe to make it super healthy. The recipe I used is as follows:

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons homemade maple syrup 🙂

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon finely powdered dandelion root

2 tablespoons dandelion jelly (recipe can be found online)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together with a pastry blender, save the jelly.

Roll out half of dough to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut with a 2 inch round cookie cutter.

Place on baking sheet.

Roll out second half of dough to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut with a 2 inch round cookie cutter. Cut holes in center with a 1 inch round cookie cutter (I just cut circles in the middles with a knife)

Place the second “O’s” on top of the first circles and with a teaspoon, scoop dandelion jelly into centers.

They will have a coconut taste to them but the health of the dandelion will be with you.

If you are allergic to the Aster family of plants, don’t try this.

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes

Taste test: Yum yum. The kids like them too!

Try Try Again

Dear Friends,

I greatly enjoy creativity. I drink it in. I breathe it. I live by it you could say. Without creativity life would be so mundane. I love doing a variety of things.

The other day I extracted pine tar, in order to make pine tar soap. It was super fun.

I have recently made a denim cuff bracelet and sent it off to a new friend of mine. It was an experience of creativity, mixed with the joy of giving, and meeting new people.

I am an herbalist to be. I observe my plant friends and use them in order to heal bodies.

Through all of this creativity, there is a nagging that I cannot seem to shake. There is a voice, if you will, that says, “it isn’t good enough.” The simplest thing that goes awry makes my head spin and seems to confirm that nagging voice. Yet sheer determination makes me keep going.

There is a poem by T.H. Palmer that is entitled, “Try Try Again.” It  helps me to know that I am not alone in my feeling of inadequacies. I will keep trying and remember to focus on the process and not on the goal. The process is to be the enjoyable part, and the goal is a reward for a job well done. Nothing is perfect, but definately one can feel complete in having their lives be very full of unique purpose.

And so my friends, I leave you with this today. Let’s not forget that our best is good enough, and hard work is a reward in itself. 🙂

Try Try Again

by T. H. Palmer

‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again;

Then your courage should appear,
For if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear
Try, try again;

Once or twice, though you should fail,
If you would at last prevail,
Try, try again;

If we strive, ’tis no disgrace
Though we do not win the race;
What should you do in the case?
Try, try again

If you find your task is hard,
Time will bring you your reward,
Try, try again

All that other folks can do,
Why, with patience, should not you?
Only keep this rule in view:
Try, try again.

When Trees Cry~

DSCN2234Dear Friends,

Last year was very difficult, though I shouldered the burden of pain graciously. I find in life, it is possible to make the most of a bad situation. Also, a seemingly deep pit in one’s soul, although ever-present, can change one’s perspective, and bring out the best in someone in the most unexpected of ways.

Winter was a time of planning. It was a time of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies, pies, presents, warm fires, and lots of love. It was a time of thought, and tears of anguish, that were replaced with hope. This planning was a distraction that turned a page in my life.

For the first time ever, I decided to make maple syrup.  I read and gathered materials until I felt I was good and ready for the trial and error portion of this journey. At long last the time came to tap the trees. It was a cold day at the end of February and I knew that the trees would not be giving sap due to the days temperature, however, I wanted to be ready for the warm spell that was upon us, so I tapped them anyway.

Much to my surprise a tree was actually producing! I was so excited! This was the first time I had ever seen sap directly from a tree. It resembled water. I had been warned in my reading that it would.  Within the first couple of days, I had enough sap to boil down to my first syrup, and it was so tasty.

Sap is released when one actually wounds the tree. The sap is flowing to the spot that was wounded and the nutrients aid in sealing the wound over time. We benefit much from the trees suffering, and the tree bounces back nicely as it continues to grow and change throughout the year.

As I had mentioned, this past year has been very difficult for me. Like the trees, I felt that I had been wounded greatly upon the loss of a loved one. Not through death mind you, but through separation. I understand now that sometimes we cover up our wounds from the past and never deal with the real issues. Perhaps a past rejection that was so great causes us to guard ourselves against ever being rejected again. We even look for people who will rally with us and build the walls around our wounds stronger. For me, this little trick back-fired. I know now that it is not proper to make human shields of friends. It causes our wounds to be exposed and made deeper, and theirs as well.

Solace came in tramping around in the snow, through the woods, gathering the sap from the trees. I felt they knew my plight. They were and are a constant reminder to me that dealing with wounds is an essential part of life, and life only gets sweeter from there.

We must learn to face the past wounds; to forgive ourselves and others, and to know that a tear shed, is joy regained, through hope in the Creator.

Ps 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
(KJV)

Belonging

“It’s mine, no one can take it from me,” is what we say to ourselves when we find something that is precious to us for reasons we have long forgotten how to explain. To have a sense of belonging in this world is a wonderful gift. To have others look at you admirably and think, “wow, they are doing something that is worth while.”

I have had this battle many times. The struggle to share or not. Even upon the birth of my first child I had thought, if only I could just keep him to myself. It did not take long for my independent child to sprout wings, though my heart is with him wherever he goes. This battle has to do with belonging. Finally, something good was accomplished through my life and others are noticing. If I let go, what will I have left?

We need to understand that before we were even born we had approval. Our lives are approved by God. He is the Creator and the reason.  The truth is, we are loved and we are created lovely. If number one, we could understand even in part the love that God has for us, then we could speak it out, and the truth would in fact set us free. We would be free to move forward in life.

God gave a command to us to take dominion over the earth. This was our gift from God. If we understand His love for us, then we are also more accepting of the gifts He has for us. This earth, being one of the gifts, along with all of the other plans He has for you personally. He has given us dominion over the plants and the animals, over the oceans and the fish. To sit back with our hands folded waiting for something to happen to us is ridiculous. God has said for us to take it. Take dominion over the earth.

My friend reading this today. Your life is so meaningful. If you have not met Jesus, I invite you to ask Him into your life. When He is in your life, you can truly understand belonging. And if you feel alone, know that you are not. So many people struggle with the feelings you are having right now. Perhaps it is time to admit what has been going on with you so that you can be free from it. He knows you more than you know yourself. Just talk to Him.

July 24, 2014

Embrace the simple things in life, commit them to your memory and bind them to your heart. They are as treasure in a sea. They wash ashore when you cannot see past the vastness of the waters.

Dear Friend,
It was a quiet evening. The sun cast it’s shine on the still pond. The bugs were numerous, but we didn’t care. We had crowns of mugwort as a natural insect repellent. It was just my boy and I, walking along the pond in search of Joe Pye Weed and Loosestrife.
Splash! Across the pond a splash sounded off as if someone had thrown a large rock in. I was momentarily startled wondering what it was. It was different than the thwap that is normerly heard when the beaver is around. Up came the head of beaver. We saw him swimming briskly toward the grate where the water flows under the driveway to the other side. He works hard daily to clog that drainage up. It is a challenge to both the keeper of the property and the beaver to see who will win.
My son was thrilled to see the beaver. I cautioned him not to get too close, to watch from a distance, as they too are easily startled.
We found an abundance of plants that can be used for all sorts of things.
My daughter came running down the hill to meet us. She and her brother ran around for a while, and then we made our way home.
I spent the evening preparing and painting our living room ceiling with my other son. What a wonderful thing to have alone time with my kids. I am learning about who they are and I like what I have learned. I am so proud of them.
As I was painting, I was recallng when I too was a teenager. My mother had asked me earlier that day if I had been bored during the summer. My reply was that I used to do the same things I am doing now. I remembered how boring I appeared to be to my family and friends. Somehow in my longing to please others, I lost my way. I worked my way into the partying social scene but I was very unhappy.
I believe that living honestly is a tremendous thing. It seems that God has placed in each of us a passion that brings us much joy and transcends beyond all scope so as to allow others to know the presence of God through it. He can be seen in all creation because He created it. The human being however is given much responsibility. Unlike the plants and animals which need only to survive, we have many choices about how to survive. Do we live reaching toward God, or do we give ourselves to sin allowing our passions to be tainted? I prefer to live my life surviving much like the plants and animals do. I want to yield myself to God for every breath, every word, every moment, every day. I have a knowledge that the God I serve uses the simple things to show His love, grace, mercy and discipline to others. Although my life may appear to be boring, I am finally settling in to what God has called me to be. To me, it is anything but boring. It is full and satisfying and surrounded by the security that only God can give.