Cooking, Home and Family, Homemaking, Parenting

Life lessons while canning

We have finished bottling peaches for the year, and one lesson learned was such a fabulous observation, I am still smiling (and thinking).  As we taught my two oldest grandsons to peel the ripe peaches and put them in the jars, the nine-year-old remarked, “It goes more quickly if I go slowly….”.  He was referring to the reality that peach skin will rip (rather than peel) more easily if you pull quickly, or are in a hurry.  He’s right….and not just about peaches.

For him, it held lessons about slowing down in order to complete his math more precisely, or learning to take care with his penmanship so that it only takes one effort to be done. I’m sure we’ll be referring back to it for other lessons as well.

For the adults, it is continuing to teach us to remember to take time to slow down.  Children learn more quickly when we are patient.  Jobs get done more satisfactorily when we slow down and think things through.

And for Grandma.  Slow down.  Accept what you’re given with grace and gratitude.  Stop waiting for what may never be.  The Lord’s timing is perfect.

Be still, and know that I am God.  Psalms 46:10

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Home and Family

My goals for the New Year

Be still, and know that I am God.  Psalms 46:10

It’s that time again.  New Year’s Resolutions.  *sigh*  Often this exercise results in a list of things about which to berate myself, or, at the very least, to recognize where I fall short.  Not this year.  I won’t do it.  Instead of the more common goals of “fixing” my life, my goal for 2014 is to accept what is.  And work with it.  I don’t need another reason to feel I have failed, or a yard stick to measure my progress against those around me.  I need to simply “be still” and trust more. My limitations are no reason to not wish the absolute best for others, and my abilities do not give me the right to be critical towards anyone else (good, bad, or indifferent).  So how does such a basic, human, fundamental attitude change break-down into manageable, definable bites?  Here is what I have come up with so far.

  • If 20 lbs. (or more) comes off, fabulous.  If not, I still need to take care of the body I have rather than wishing I was 23 again.  (And really, I don’t want to be 23 again!)
  • Finances are okay.  Not ideal, not terrible.  I will continue to change things for the better a bit at a time, and refuse to feel as though the last of our debt isn’t disappearing quickly enough because I need to change something major, i.e. no more date nights, dvd purchases, cable bills, clothing purchases, days-out with Mom, etc. until it is all paid off.
  • Serving where I can, and doing what brings me joy is good enough.  Spending time with my grandchildren, or teaching cooking classes are wonderful and worthy places to spend my time.
  • Watching the news and wanting to throw something at the screen accomplishes nothing.  Being involved where I can, and trusting that, ultimately, the Lord is in charge is a much better plan.  He is smarter than I am, and can see things I can’t.
  • Find more joy as wonderful things happen to those around me, and express it.  I am pretty good at feeling happy for them, but I need to write more notes telling them congratulations, or simply patting them on the back!
  • Other people make decisions or participate in behaviors that confuse, annoy, or sadden me sometimes.  Not mine to fix.  My job is to love them, pray for them, and carry enough of His peace with me that perhaps I can share a bit with others as needed.  I am only in charge of my own sphere; I don’t have the time or energy to try to “take on” anyone else’s.
  • Laugh more-in a kind-hearted way.  Life is generally pretty funny.
  • Saving the planet single-handedly is not in my wheelhouse.  I will use my fabric shopping bags when I have them.  If I forget them, oh well, get over it, shoot for next time.  I can’t always recycle every bit of paper.  Or walk to every destination.  It’s okay; I simply need to do what I can. Reduce, reuse, and recycle is a good idea, but not a religion to me.
  • Remember that my children, grandchildren, and others I come in contact with may learn much from what I say as well as what I do.  Choosing to be cynical (which IS different than clever), or sarcastic, or negative is neither helpful nor worth-while.  Speaking positively and looking for the good can be much more difficult, but yields much better results!
  • I have an auto-immune disorder.  Not everyone understands my limits.  No problem.  But I MUST put my pride in my back pocket, count the cost of any given activity, and stay true to what I can and cannot do.  No more trying to push past where it is wise in order to meet someone else’s expectations.  No more worrying about how someone might (or did) react because I said “no” to something. No more worrying about letting others down because I’m having a bad-health day.  If the Lord gave me my limits, then He made them part of my package and will help me become what I need to become regardless of them.

So what do I do when I am not peaceful or still?  I am sure it will happen…repeatedly.  Sing a hymn.  Look out my window at the beauty all around me.  Say a prayer.  Serve someone else.  Count my blessings.  Re-read a favorite book.  Look for the good in others.  Hug someone.  Laugh.  Be happy.

Cooking, Homemaking

Promises kept

It is the 8th of October!  Wow.  I am finally back at the keyboard.  It has taken four weeks for me to get to where I can get my head above water from harvest season (and family emergencies).  Yeah!  We are almost there!  November is in sight.

Our family, including the grandchildren, has bottled, dried, cooked, frozen fruits and vegetables, and stocked the food room.  We have corn, peppers (in various forms), salsa, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, squash, herbs, and other various and sundry foods prepared and ready for the coming cold weather.  Pears are next.  (I have three bushels in my kitchen calling my name.)  Then more salsa, peppers, and beans.  Apples can wait a week or two- thank heaven!   I may even put up some grape juice.

Seemingly unrelated, but not really, I was in my scriptures and came across these verses.

  • Psalms 23:5-Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…my cup runneth over.
  • Malachi 3:10-Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there my be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

My kitchen currently “runneth over”, and we are needing to reorganize in the pantry because there is not currently “room enough to receive it” without some focused planning.

I love this time of year.  The feeling of coming together.  Planning for the Holidays.  And the end of canning season.  It always served as a great reminder to me that the Lord keeps His promises to those who are faithful, and will bless us as quickly as we can accept what He sends!

Now, back to the kitchen…