Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Refiner's fire,,,,,,


As Christians, each of us will be called to walk through the fire at some point in our lives.  In other words we will all have trials and tribulations to go through.  These trials and tribulations often are a way of God testing and proving us to be His children.  It is how we come out on the other end of that fire that shows who and what we are.  Do not be afraid!!  God says, "Fear not, for I am with you."  And He means it!!  As we go through these trying times all we have to do is call on Him and He will help and guide us.

When I go through a fire I try to remember the 3 that were thrown into a furnace to be killed.  But their faith was so great, they called upon the Lord to protect them.  And He did, He was right there with them in the furnace, fire surrounding them.  Yet when the furnace was shut down and the door opened, all three walked out, not a hair on their head was singed!!

The trials and tribulations of today are not nearly as bad as that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in that fiery furnace, (Daniel 3),  but you can bet God will still be with you today as He was with them!!

Each time we got through trials and tribulations or "walk through the fire" we grow stronger, we learn lessons that will help us grow in our faith.  Count your "fires" as blessings.  God is molding you, and teaching you.  In short, He is not done with you yet!!  I personally hope God is not done with me until Jesus returns!!  I will gladly go through fire after fire until the glorious day when I see my Lord and Savior returning in the air to catch up His bride, His church!!  What a glorious day that will be!!

We have just a few days left until Christmas, the day we celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus, let's not forget the true meaning of the "Holiday Season" and give thanks to Father God for Jesus!!  And the next time you are taken through a fiery trial, think about Jesus, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and have faith that you too shall be victorious with Jesus!!

Merry Christmas and great blessings for the coming New Year!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's just a thing,,,,,,


God just laid on my heart a message to give as I was chatting on FB.

Some of you may know that I have blown out some disks in my back as well as messed up the sciatic nerves pretty bad.  I have no steady income or insurance at this time.  Finances are really tight to say the least.  So, when the going gets tough, we sell things, LOL.  Or give them away to reduce bills.

This past week I emptied out my storage unit which costs me $51 a month.  I kept some personal things but for the most part gave furniture and other things away.  I was able to help some people in need and gave the rest to a place that helps developmentally disabled people.  One bill eliminated!!  And I was able to be a blessing in God's name to others.  To me that is very cool.  :-)

Tomorrow, I am taking my car to the local auto auction to be auctioned off on Saturday.  Some folks are upset I am giving up my car, but it's just a thing.  Between insurance and gas I am laying out close to $100 a month.  I know to most people that is not a lot of money.  To me, it is.  The other reason for opting to give up my car is I am concerned about driving it safely.  The pain in my lower back and legs, coupled with the lack of feeling in my legs causes me concern if I were to have to hit the brakes suddenly to avoid an accident.  Would I be able to do it?  I'm not sure, and frankly, I do not want to risk the safety of others to find out.

Material things, such as cars and furniture are just that, "things".  In the grand skeem  of things they mean very little.  What good are things if I cannot afford the much needed medicine to help control the pain and muscle spasms?  What good are things if I have to put others at risk just to keep them?  Not much!!  The bible tells us to store our treasures in Heaven.  They will do us much more good there than here.  Life on this earth is very short but Heaven is for all eternity!!

Please do not feel sorry for me going through this rough spell.  I am blessed in much more important ways!!  I have a great peace in my heart making the decisions I have made about "downsizing" my bills and eliminating the things that cause those bills.  I will be fine!!  I truly believe the old saying, "when you are down to nothing, God is up to something".  I cannot wait to see what He has in store for me!!

It has taken a long time for me to learn this lesson but it is true.  Nothing, and I do mean nothing on this earth is as important as where I spend eternity.  I am a child of God and I will spend eternity in Heaven!!  I hope you know where you will spend eternity.  And I pray, if you don't know, you seek God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit with all your heart, mind and strength.  Find a good church and get to know Jesus.  He is the way, the truth and the light.  Without Him you cannot get into Heaven for all eternity.  Going to Hell for eternity should NOT be an option.  God can and will forgive you anything through faith in Jesus the Lord and Savior!!

As we approach this "Holiday Season" please remember were it not for Jesus we would not have Christmas!!  Jesus is indeed the reason for the season!!

Happy Birthday Jesus!!

Until next time,,,,,,,,,,Blessings!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Where does the time go???


Another week has flown by.  Where does the time go??  Naturally I am very busy with ceramic orders and that helps the time pass, but geeze it seems like it is flying and I am not getting everything accomplished that I want to.

Yesterday I had to go to the doctor's office.  My back has been getting much worse over the years and on Thanksgiving day I made it even worse.  I really hurt it lifting the turkey out of the oven.  The sciatic joint area and lower lumbar are both in really bad shape.  I need surgery but with no insurance and no steady income that is not going to happen any time soon.  I can barely walk.  When I go grocery shopping today I will use the motorized cart and ride through the store.  I absolutely hate the idea of this but with every step the pain gets worse.  I will never make it through the store otherwise.

When I go to the basement to work on ceramics I stay there a little longer than usual because the trip back up the stairs is a killer.  You've heard the song, "One Day at a Time", well I am now taking it one step at a time.  With each step I pray, "Lord, give me strength to concur this next step".  Yes, it really is that bad!!  There is no such thing as a comfortable position whether sitting, standing, walking or laying down.  The morphine I am on helps take the edge off just a bit, but sometimes that is better than nothing.  I don't like taking pills if I can avoid it so usually wait until I just can't tolerate the pain any more.

I rely more and more on the Lord every day just to get me through.  The bible says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".  I have to constantly remind myself of this when I want to give up.  Fighting pain is hard on the body and mind.  I also have chronic pain with the fibromyalgia, but even as bad as it gets it is not as bad as this.  I can somewhat push through that and at least take care of the basic household chores.  Now, I can not even take care of myself without help.  I hate feeling like this!!  I refuse to give up!!  Never give up!!  That is what I keep telling myself as I struggle each day to have some sort of a normal life.  But alas, normal for one person is not normal for another.

On the bright side of my doctor's visit, I have managed to get my blood pressure back down to normal range without medicines since August.  So the doctor has decided to keep me off the meds so long as I continue to lower my blood pressure.  Getting people out of my life that has caused me an unusual amount of stress has helped a lot.  I know it is not from exercising because of my back the way it is, there isn't any exercising going on, LOL.  Maybe it is someone new in my life that is always positive and uplifting.  Someone I can trust with my life?  I'm sure that is what it is, a dear friend that I can lean on completely.  :-)

I'm sure to some this post sounds like I am just moaning, and complaining.  But in every dark cloud there is a silver lining.  As my back grows weaker my faith grows stronger.  My Lord and Savior, Jesus, helps me get through every hour of every day.  The less moving around I can do, the more time I have for my ceramics, which I love, and for reading my bible or other Christian books, which I also love.  And I know that this too, will someday come to pass.  My suffering is nothing compared to what Jesus endured for a lowly sinner like me. 

The day will come when I will be given a new body, a spiritual body, one without pain and illness.  One without sorrow.  There will be no more tears from pain of the heart or of the body.  There will be nothing but joy, peace and true happiness. Knowing that this time here on earth is nothing but a blink of an eye compared to all eternity with Jesus gives me the strength to endure.  I suffer, yet I am blessed beyond measure because the riches that await me in heaven are far greater than anything good or bad that I will see in this lifetime.

Do you know Jesus?  I pray you do!!  But if you do not, I pray you seek and find Him for He is the one and only key to all eternity!!

Until next time,,,,,,,Blessings!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A day late and,,,,,,


Well, I am a day late with this, I totally lost track of days and I am sorry!!

My business page on facebook has taken off with orders for my hand made ceramics and I have been busy to say the least.  I'll include some pictures of the items that have recently been ordered at the bottom of this post.

With Christmas fast approaching I have been determined to make this a "hand made" Christmas this year.  In other words all the gifts I will give will be hand made by me.  No, I did not do the black Friday shopping thing and would not do it if the stores were giving out free gold bars.  I'm not a scrooge!!  I just can't see the big deal in standing in long lines for hours to get in to a store, just to fight with other customers over some supposed special sale.  I don't like crowds to begin with and I refuse to buy a lot of useless junk as I am simplifying my life as much as possible.  Besides, I think "home made" is more personal and usually more appreciated.

I will probably purchase a few things to supplement the items I make but I will buy local or hand made in the USA.  If I don't get busy on my gift making soon I might be purchasing a lot of things from other crafters and home businesses, LOL.  Luckily, I do not have too many on my gift giving list so hopefully, I will manage to get it done before Christmas.

I feel Christmas has become too commercialized and we have lost the true meaning of Christmas.  Let's not forget Jesus is the reason for the season.  Whether he was actually born on December 25th or not, it is when we choose to celebrate His birth.  At Easter we celebrate His death on the cross for the remission of our sins and more importantly His resurrection.  Jesus is alive!!!

I have neglected my web site and am not sure I will keep it as I am doing much better in sales on the facebook page.  It is just very hard to keep everything up to date when you are the only one doing all the jobs.  My web site should have been updated a couple of months ago but it has not been.  I also need to update the church web site, hopefully later today.  I might have to skip bible study to get this done.

I've also got to do some work on the house next door.  As you may recall my neighbor passed away in October and I have been helping the family who live out of state.  Winter is fast approaching and there is still much work to be done yet before it gets here.  Whew, I am out of energy just thinking about all the work that needs to be done, LOL.

Well, I need to make a couple of phone calls then I am going next door to work for a couple of hours, then to the post office and other errands.  When I am done with all the running I need to get back and do some more painting on ceramics.  Still a few more orders to get finished.

Hope you have an awesome week!!
Until next time,,,,,,,,,,Blessings

Blue Delft style mixing bowl set.  So far two sets are sold and a possible third.

Red Rooster Coffee Mug, sold one have an order for 4

Tea for two sets have been real popular this year.

My birthday and Christmas present to myself is an entire kitchen set of the blue delft style, it will include, plates, soup bowls, cereal bowls, dessert plates, salt and pepper shakers, mixing bowls, tea pot, mugs, and much more.  I work on it when I have the time, LOL.

This is a bowl that could be used as a serving bowl or an over sized cereal bowl, LOL.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What are you thankful for??


I am running a little behind in posting today as I ran errands this morning and got my grocery shopping done for both the holiday meal on Thursday and my usual shopping for the month.  Now I am broke until next month but there will be plenty of food in the house so I am thankful.

I am thankful for many things.  I am thankful my health is not worse than what it is and I can still get around and do things.  So many folks with chronic illness and pain cannot.  I am thankful for the roof over my head, I have been homeless and know what it is like.  I am thankful for the food I am able to put on the table each and every day.  I am thankful for my church.  They are a loving bunch of kind people.  I am thankful I can still see well enough to make ceramics, one of my many passions.

I am extremely thankful for my friend Harry.  It is such a joy and pleasure to have him back in my life again.  I feel so blessed!!

Most of all I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for the sacrifice of His only begotten son who died on the cross for the remission of sin so that I might have eternal life.  And I am so thankful to Jesus for being my savior, my brother, my friend and my shepherd!  I love you Lord!!

As you prepare for your Thanksgiving holiday I hope you take the time to thank God for all your blessings and think about the things that you are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Who do you live for???


Well the good Lord laid this on my heart this morning so I figured it is to be talked about.

Who do you live for?  What makes you tick?  Is there someone special in your life that you just don't ever want to do without so you feel like you live for him or her?  Your spouse?  Your children?  Perhaps your parents or a dear friend?  I live for Jesus!!

Don't get me wrong, there are some very special people in my life that I would never want to do without.  I love them dearly.  But if it came down to having to make a choice between them or Jesus,,,  Jesus would have to win hands down!!  My relationship and my life with Jesus is for all eternity.  The things of this earth are temporary.  In the grand scheme of things, earthly life is but a blink of an eye compared to eternity.  Here today, gone tomorrow so to speak.

Its really hard to imagine what eternity is.  Its hard to wrap your mind around it.  But let me see if I can give you a bit of an analogy.  Pick the largest sandy beach in the world and imagine how big it is, stand in the middle of it.  Now take one single tiny grain of sand and put it in your hand as you stand on that huge beach that you can not see the beginning or the end.  That tiny grain of sand is life on this earth and the beach is eternity.  Get the idea now?  You can not see the beginning of eternity and there is no end to it.  What do you then think is more important, life today or eternity?

When we can put things in perspective such as this then we can really begin to see what is more important.  I suffer from chronic illness and pain, but I do not let it control my life today because my eternal life is much more important to me.  I live for Jesus!!  I am promised a new body without illness, pain and sorrow in my eternal life.  So now I don't worry about what I am suffering today because it is but a blink of the eye in comparison to what I will have for all eternity.  Living a sinful life today is not worth what I might lose in heaven.  Am I perfect and without sin?  Of course not!!  But I strive to do the best I can and repent when I make a mistake because I want the rewards that await me in heaven and do not want to spend an eternity suffering in the lake of fire called hell.

We were not promised a life on earth without trials and tribulations but we were promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us  if we but call upon Him.  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  We can also endure and get through all things through Christ.  If you suffer from chronic illness and pain you can get through it with His help.  One day at a time, one hour at a time and even one minute at a time, but you can make it with His help.  Call upon the name of the Lord and you shall be delivered.  I believe these things with all my heart.  I have called upon my Lord and Savior millions upon millions of times and each time He was there.  He comforted me and strengthened me.  He carried me when I no longer had the strength to carry myself.

When Peter got out of the boat and walked on water he had his focus on Jesus.  The minute he let the storms around him distract him enough to take his eyes off of Jesus he started to sink.  That is like life today.  The minute we let the storms of life distract us from keeping our focus on Jesus we begin to sink.  But like Peter if we keep our eyes on the Lord we can weather the storms of life and walk on water or rise above those storms.  So, get out of the boat and walk straight ahead because Jesus is there to help you!!

Until next time,,,,,,,,Blessings!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another week has gone and what have I done???


Another week has flown by and I did not get accomplished nearly what I had planned but I did manage to get a lot of other things done in the process, LOL.  Unfortunately the recipe with pictures that I had promised for today did not happen, hopefully by next week.  I did manage to get a lot of ceramics made and will post a few pictures at the bottom of this entry.

Tonight is the New Hope Christian Chronic Illness and Pain Support Group that I run at my church.  If you are local to Clinton, IL I invite you to attend whether you suffer from chronic illness and pain or know someone who does.  It starts at 6:30pm at New Hope Christian Fellowship Church at 118 S. Monroe St., here in Clinton.  For more information please visit the church web site at http://newhopeclinton.org 

The holidays are fast approaching and there is so much to do in preparation.  My birthday is the day before Thanksgiving this year but I have no real plans for it.  Maybe I will take myself out to dinner, but probably not as I will more than likely be cooking and baking all day for dinner on Thanksgiving day.  This year I plan on giving "home made" gifts to my friends for Christmas so I really need to get a start on what I can soon.  I will be making candies and fudge as well as baked breads, muffins and cookies.  The time seems to be flying by and I hope I can get it all done in time.

My church will have its food bank open on Saturday the 19th just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.  We will have whole turkeys and other fixings to go with a turkey dinner.  Again check the church web site for more information.  On the 17th of November there will be a free seminar on how to prepare a winning resume and conduct yourself in a job interview to win that job.  This is also on the church web site.  We have a busy month planned at church!!

Today is errand running day for me.  I have bills to pay, ceramic orders to deliver and many other little odd jobs.  Then tonight is the support group.  Its good to be busy, but sometimes, too busy, LOL.

I hope your week has gone well.

Until next time,,,,,,,Blessings!!

This is a tea for two set that has been ordered.

Another tea for two set.  I make these in a variety of styles and colors.

This mug was an experiment, it came out OK but I did learn a lot in the process, LOL.

The smallest bowl in a mixing bowl set, this is a work on progress.  It is in the style of blue delft ware.  This is underglazes so the colors will not look like this when glazed and fired.

This is the middle sized bowl, I just started putting the underglaze on.  As you can see I drew in my basic design and will now fill that in with color.  There is one more, larger bowl to the set to do after this one.  I will post pictures of the completed set once it is done.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

So much to do, so little time,,,,,,


There is always so much to do, and so little time!!  Now that Halloween is over it is time to busy ourselves getting ready for the holidays.  This year I plan to make all the gifts I am giving.  There will be home made candies and fudge and baked breads, muffins and such.  I really need to get busy now on some of it or I will not get it all done!!

First, I am busy with ceramics trying to complete some orders.  I have been glazing every chance I get over the last several days trying to get a load ready to go in the kiln.  I plan on firing it tomorrow.  I was hoping for today but alas I am just not going to make it.  I also have a few loads of laundry to do today as well.

Happy 50th birthday wishes go out to my friend Harry!  I made a little birthday video for him that I will include at the bottom of this post as today is his birthday.

Last week I hit a fantastic sale at the grocery store and really stocked up.  Now that is my kind of shopping!!  I used every coupon I could find plus only bought on sale items.  That made for a huge savings.  According to my receipt I saved about half of what I spent or I should say, what I would have spent if I paid full price for everything and did not use any coupons.  In this day you really need to save where ever and when ever you can.

Next week I plan on having a recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin muffins complete with pictures.  I was hoping for this week but just ran out of time, LOL.  Hope you have a good week!

Until next time,,,,,,,,blessings!!

Harry, I hope you have an awesome birthday and don't forget I owe you 50 spanks the next time I see you, LOL.  Love you my dear friend!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

As a Christian,, Can you ever be too good???


It's good to be back at the computer again and see things try to get back to some sort of normal routine for myself.  I have missed my writing and reading of blogs, LOL.

Recently I have been told on more than one occasion, "you are too good."  I always find myself wondering what exactly that means?  And as a Christian, how can I be too good?  Isn't there example after example of being good in the bible?  Of, "not repaying evil with evil?" And examples of "turning the other cheek?"

I have yet to find an example of not being good and it pleasing God.  So how can a person be "too good?"  After all, as a Christian, our primary focus is to be doing God's will and doing what is pleasing to God.  When someone wrongs you, do you plot to get even, or do you wish them well and pray for them?  Vengeance is mine says the Lord!!  This is not an easy concept to grasp as human nature tends to want to get even for whatever wrong has occurred.  I have been trying to practice this though as I find once mastered it really does make me feel better.  Recently I was wronged by someone and when it was over I did wish them well and a safe journey home, back to another state.  There was some damage done to me in a sense as it has caused me to have panic attacks.  (Long story and I will leave out the details) But I do feel better in the sense that I did not lower myself to their level by seeking vengeance for being wronged.

What this person did, hurt and was upsetting but in the long run I am much better off for not losing my temper and trying to get even with him.  By acting as a faithful Christian I have obeyed the Father and will find a reward in heaven.  Mentally, I feel better even though it did cause some panic attacks.  I feel better because I "practiced what I preached."  I did what I believe God would want me to do.

The bible tells us to, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness".  When we seek God first and seek doing right, which is His will then so many good things will happen for us and within us.  I have failed miserably many times but I strive to do better.  As the Apostle Paul says, it should be our goals as Christians to always seek God's will in our lives first, to race the good race and fight the good fight.  Yes, even to the point of self sacrifice!!  Too many times we become selfish and self centered.  It usually winds up coming back to bite us in the end.  Sometimes we need to put aside our personal feelings, even painful ones to do God's will in our lives.  Being a Christian is never easy, its the toughest thing you can do,,,,,, but it is so worth it in the end.

Can you ever be too good?  As a Christian the answer is,,,,,NO!!!

Until next time,,,,,,,,,Blessings!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Been MIA but I am really not lost or giving this up, LOL


Sorry I have been MIA for so long, but I am really not lost or giving this up.  I have been extremely busy helping the neighbor and her family.  Jean had a massive heart attack back in early September.  We did not find her for nearly 3 days afterwards.  She is not well and is currently under hospice care at the nursing home.  Both her daughter and son live out of state so I have been doing what I can to help out.  It has made for some very busy and long days.

I still continue to do what I can to help but am in the process of slowing down a bit.  There is so much here in my own home that is being neglected and I need to get back to it.  Today I will bake a couple of apple pies and perhaps some pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins.  I have things that still need to be unpacked and put away.  And I have to start getting ready for the next support group meeting coming up this Tuesday evening.

Speaking of the support group, the official title is "New Hope Christian Chronic Illness and Pain Support Group".  We will be meeting on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm at New Hope Christian Fellowship Church at 118 S. Monroe St., Clinton, IL.  If you are local, we invite you to attend.  I have several printouts to do yet from other support groups that will be beneficial to ours.  This group is for anyone who suffers from Chronic Illnesses such as Fibromyalgia, Lupus, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Arthritis.  Loved ones are also welcome!

We are off to a slow start, but that is OK.  It will give us time to get better organized.  We hope in the future to have guest speakers from the medical field, mental health counselors and spiritual leaders.  It is a Christian based support group designed to help those of us with chronic illness to better cope in every day life by both understanding our diseases better and lifting each other up spiritually.

I am also chomping at the bit to get back to my ceramics.  I have missed having the paint brush in my hands, feeling the pottery and creating.  I have some tea for two sets partially painted that I need to complete.  I have a set of mixing bowls I want to decorate and glaze and so much more.  Again, I have so much to get put away in the shop too.  The unpacking came to a quick halt when Jean needed my help and I had barely gotten started.

Please bear with me as I try to get back to some sort of regular routine.

Until next time,,,,,,,Blessings!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Decisions,, decisions,,,,,,


After much thought and prayer I have come to some decisions.  First I will only be posting once a week at least through the rest of this year.  So look for my posts on Monday of each week.  I have a lot on my plate right now and I am feeling a bit stretched and pulled at the moment at least until I get better organized.

I want to remind you the Christian Based Fibromyalgia Support Group will start tonight at 6:30pm at New Hope Christian Fellowship Church.  This is an organizational meeting and we will make such decisions as to how often we will meet, how we will promote the group, etc.  If you live in the Clinton, IL area and have fibromyalgia or know someone who does we invite you to join us.  For directions you can see the church web site at http://newhopeclinton.org/ 

I am going to be setting up for the Apple and Pork at the Catholic Church on North Monroe St. here in Clinton.  I will be helping sell some friends antiques as well as a few of my own.  If I have time to make fudge I might have some there to sell as well.  My fudge was a big hit last year.  So getting ready for that will also have me busy the next couple of weeks.  I will not be selling my ceramics there this year.

I am still trying to get unpacked and settled.  The unpacking is going slow as I have so many other obligations going on as well.  But it will get there, eventually, LOL.  And I also need to get back to working on ceramics just as soon as I get some things moved in the basement.  I have orders to fill.

Please bear with me as I make more decisions and changes.  Life is always changing,,,, its a good thing, LOL.

Watch for some money saving hints and tips next week along with a really good recipe using pumpkin!

Until next time,,,,,,,Blessings!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Changes are in the works, and works are in the changes,,,,,


Sounds like a snazzy title, LOL.  Well you might notice the first change is the name of the blog, it is now "The Frugal Homestead".  I believe any home whether it be in the country or in the city is our "homestead".  It is really whatever you want to call it.  And home is what you make of it.  It can be your sanctuary or the place you hang your hat at night and leave in the morning.

Many people are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet in this economy.  Things are tough and going to get tougher.  This economic mess  has been coming on for decades and its not going to get fixed over night.  Many people have lost jobs and have not been able to find new work, and that continues to be the case.

It is my hope to be able to post money saving tips, hints and tricks to help you stretch your budget.  Some of the tips you may have heard of before, some not.  I'll post some recipes from time to time that will also help to stretch the food budget.  I hope you will also feel free to contribute when you have an idea.  This should be a place where we can reach out and help each other, sharing ideas, thoughts, recipes and prayers.

I have not decided yet how frequent I will post, but it is liable to change in the near future.  Don't worry though, I will let you know, LOL.

While I am writing this morning I want to let you know that here in the Clinton, IL area we are starting a Christian Based Fibromyalgia Support Group at the New Hope Christian Fellowship Church tomorrow evening at 6:30pm.  This will be hosted by yours truly, LOL.  For more information you can go to their web site at  http://newhopeclinton.org 

Please bear with me as I start making changes for the posts here and get things set up better.

Until next time,,,,,,Blessings!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Frugal Homestead,,,,,


This thought has been on my mind for several weeks now of changing my blog to "The Frugal Homestead".  With today's economy only getting worse I see a need for people to learn how to be frugal and stretch their budget dollar as far as they can.  Being frugal takes planning and preparation.  It takes making a real effort and not just going willy nilly crazy in the stores.  For those of us with lower incomes it is becoming a necessity to be as frugal as possible.

Many people have lost jobs over the last few years and finding new work is becoming more and more difficult.  Trying to live on a fixed income if you are retired or disabled is also very difficult.  The cost of living is going up rapidly but the income is not.  Many people face the question of whether to buy food or buy medicine.  These are very hard times we live in.  So perhaps, I can help ease the pain at the grocery store when you get to the check out or help with saving on utilities to help stretch the budget.  I have learned a lot of tips over the years that have helped me, perhaps they will help you too?

I might also change the frequency of when I post and not post 6 days a week any more.  But I have not decided that for sure yet.

I would like to share tips, recipes, canning, freezing and drying food types.  I will also share scripture from time to time and perhaps some "how to" pictures and videos.  Becoming as frugal as possible means going back to a lot of the old fashioned ways of doing things.  Cooking from scratch is a major thing.  Do you have any idea how much money is waisted on frozen or boxed goods?  They are OK in a pinch once in a while but really not good for the food budget or your health.  I'll talk about gardening and putting food up for the winter.  Making your own spaghetti sauce from the garden.  Raising and drying herbs both for cooking and medicinal purposes.  And who knows what else I will come up with, LOL.

So my question to you is do you want to see the blog change and go into a new direction or do you want it to stay the same?

Until next time,,,,,Blessings!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gutten Appetit,,, a cook book purchased in Arthur,,,,


A few days ago I made a trip to Illinois Amish Country in Arthur, IL.  You might have seen my post with pictures from my trip.  I purchased this cookbook from an Amish shop called Clear View Fabrics and Books.  I have enjoyed going through the book and will share some recipes from time to time.

While I was in Arthur I picked up a couple of pumpkins for baking to make filling for my pumpkin pies and also some pumpkin bread.  That is why I chose the recipe for today, it is for a pumpkin pie.  For some reason none of the pie recipes include a bottom crust but I am assuming they would make the pie with a bottom crust to help hold its shape.  I am also including a recipe for pie crust found in this cookbook.  Hope you enjoy them!!

Arlene's Easy Rolled Pie Crust by Mrs. Louie Jr. (Olive) Peachy

4 c. unsifted flour            1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder           1 T. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt            1/2 C. cold water
1 1/2 C. shortening

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.  Cut in shortening.  Add egg, vinegar and cold water.

Pumpkin Pie by Elam and Nina Nissley Family

1 1/2 C. white sugar            2 C. mashed pumpkin
1 1/2 C. brown sugar            4 egg yolks
4 T. flour            4 C. milk
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice            4 egg whites
dash of salt

Mix everything together, except egg whites.  Beat egg whites until stiff and fold in last.  Bake at 350* for 45 minutes to 1 hour.   Yields two 9 inch pies


A scripture for the day, found in another book I bought while in Arthur called "God's Wisdom for your life"

Luke 6: 20-23 (NLT)

Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, "God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.  God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied.  God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.  What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.  When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy!  For a great reward awaits you in heaven."

Thank you dear Lord for these timely and most precious words!!  Yesterday, I was attacked for trying to live the life you have chosen for me, for wanting to follow you.  People have shown their hate and anger towards me because of my close relationship with you.  I pray for them O' God that they might find a close relationship with you and walk in your ways.  In Jesus name, Amen!!

Until next time,,,,,,Blessings!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Digging potatoes,,,,,,


Well I have procrastinated a bit too long on digging potatoes and now I must get it done today.  We are to start raining this afternoon and continue for the next several days.  I lost my window of opportunity!!  But I must admit I did have other things that had to get done.  Yesterday was a goof off day, but much needed to refresh my body.

I enjoyed my trip to Illinois Amish Country, in Arthur, IL.  I posted pics of my trip yesterday on this blog.  Also pics are posted on the Amish America blog.  I hope you enjoy them!

I am going to keep this short as I have so much to get done today.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Until next time,,,,,Blessings!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Some pictures of Illinois Amish Country,,,,,


I did not post first thing this morning as I usually do because I made a trip down to Illinois Amish Country in Arthur, IL.  What a beautiful day God blessed me with for this trip!!  The sun was shining, a beautiful blue sky, and temperatures were just perfect for a day trip, in the low 70s with no humidity.  What an awesome day!!

The first stop on the trip was a place called Clear View Fabrics and Books.  What a cool store!!  I will be going back there for fabric when I start to sew clothes again later this fall.

This is the sign outside the store.  The store is on the owner's personal farm in a separate building.  Like most places around the Arthur area, this place is out in the country and not downtown.

This horse and buggy were parked outside the store while its owner was inside buying fabric and perhaps a few books.

As you face the store, their house and barn are located to the right of the store.  That's an easy commute, LOL.

This is an Amish School House out on a country road, I stumbled on it when I got a little side tracked, LOL.

I did not stop in and visit this business but apparently they make and sell rugs.  Perhaps next time I will pop in for a look around.

There is laundry hanging on the line near the house.  I just liked the looks of this place and snapped the picture while driving down the road.

The two mail boxes, with two different names caught my attention at this farm.

An Amish lawn mower??  It does seem to be cutting the grass.  There were actually 2 of them working this field.

This little Amish boy was working in the fields with his father.  No doubt he is learning how to care for his own farm someday.

Well, I was able to stock up on some baking supplies while at Beachy's Bulk Foods.  I also picked up a neat cook book from Clear View Fabrics and Books which I will share some recipes from in another post.  I picked up a couple of other books at Yoder's Restaurant where I stopped for lunch.  And I will be sharing them in another post as well.

I had a really enjoyable day and look forward to my next trip down there.  I still want to make it out to Miller's Dry Goods and a few other places.

Until next time,,,,,,,Blessings!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Not much news today,,,,,,


Not much news today.  I have just been busy unpacking and putting things away.  I hope to make a trip to Illinois Amish country within the next few days.  I love stocking up down there, prices are so reasonable.

Today, I am making egg salad, apple pie and roasting a couple of chickens on the grill.  I have to make a quick trip to the grocery store also.  So today is pretty much a muddling type of day.  Lots of little jobs to get done.  My eggs are already cooking on the stove and the chickens are thawing.

Now that the eggs are cooked, I am going to get ready to head to the store.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have something more to write about.  Have a great day!!

Until next time,,,,,,Blessings!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Unpacking and cooler temperatures,,,,


I am very busy unpacking today.  I have been busy in the kitchen this morning putting all my kitchen items into place.  I love to cook and bake so there is a lot of it.  I have one full cabinet dedicated to baking pans and think I will be spilling over to the cabinet next to it.  These are not small cabinets either, LOL.

All my candy making supplies are in a cabinet by themselves also.  I will be making home made candies and fudge to give as Christmas presents this year, LOL.  I have molds for some of the candies that I hope to make room for in the cabinet too.

I have several sets of good mixing bowls to put away yet and then my bread making supplies.  Still lots to do but the work is worth it to finally get the boxes out of the way.  Its nice to be getting settled in.

The temperatures are much cooler today.  So much so that I had to put sweats on this morning.  Just two days ago the temperature was over 100 before the heat index factored in.  I love the fall temperatures and will be looking forward to baking pies and breads and making home made applesauce.  I so love baking in the fall!!

I need to get back to work.  Hope you all have a wonderful day!!

Until next time,,,,,,Blessings!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Hope Christian Fellowship Church in Clinton, IL


Recently I posted about Ministry work and the local Church, today I want to touch on that a little more with one of the local churches who is setting a good example of ministry work.

New Hope Christian Fellowship Church here in Clinton, IL is a church filled with people with the desire to do ministry work, reaching out to their community to help others.  They have many plans in the works.  First, there will be a food pantry opening soon at the church to help feed the hungry.  They are busy building shelves and getting equipment such a freezers in place at this time.  They are hoping within a few weeks it will be up and running.

I will be starting a Christian based fibromyalgia support group at the church.  Our first meeting will be Tuesday, September 13th at 6:30pm.  This will be an organizational meeting to make such decisions as how often we will meet, etc.

Pastor Dan Melton plans on having specialists come in and help people trying to find jobs to "write a winning resume", and to learn how to conduct themselves in a job interview and so on.

We have a family in need that the congregation is reaching out to with food and cash donations.

As Christians we must all be about our Father's business.  That is the business of helping others.  This is a church that takes that mission very seriously.  I am blessed to be able to work with Pastor Dan and the congregation at New Hope Christian Fellowship Church.  I manage their web site, facebook page and twitter account.  Soon I will be writing a weekly blog for their web site as well.

I ask that you keep this church in your prayers as they continue to reach out to our community and to the world.

Until next time,,,,,,,,Blessings!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ministry work and the local church,,,,,


Over the last several weeks this subject has been weighing heavy on my mind.  Ministry work and the local church.  First lets think about what ministry work really is.  I believe it is reaching out to your local community and beyond helping to provide for both the physical needs and spiritual needs of others.  Some of the physical needs would be food, shelter, clothing and furniture.  Jesus says in Matthew chapter 25 we are to, "feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned and be hospitable to the homeless."  Does your church do these things?

While providing for the physical needs of others we can also provide for the spiritual needs by sharing the gospels.  Talking to people about the saving grace of Jesus.  Give them guidance and hope.  Share with them Christian reading materials and try to help them come to a relationship with Christ if they do not already have one.  If they are in a relationship with Christ then we can reinforce and support that relationship.  Help someone to grow in their faith.  Be encouraging to them.

I believe all Christians, no matter how far along they are in their faith walk should be ministry minded and always willing to reach out to another person.  It is our duty so to speak.  I also believe a church that is not active in ministry work is not much more than a social club where people get together once or twice a week to hang out rather than to do the work of the Lord.  A church without ministries is not setting a good example of Christian behavior to the community or world around them.  Jesus said let your light shine like a city on a hill.  It is not works that gives you salvation but works that shows you are saved.

Jesus sacrificed His life for us.  If we are to be like Jesus we must be willing to make sacrifices to help others.  It is sad to see that so many have fallen away from doing what the bible teaches us to do.  Many think, "its not my problem", or, "let someone else help, I have my own life to deal with", and other similar statements.  I wonder if those people who think these things would feel the same way if they suddenly found themselves falling on hard times?

Times are tough right now, the economy is very bad and getting worse every day.  There are more natural disasters such has hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and tornadoes, not to mention severe droughts, huge wild fires and more.  Would you reach out to a flood victim, the drought victims in Texas or victims in some other area or would you say, let the government take care of them?  Yes, I agree, FEMA needs to do what they were created for, but so do we!!  If your church is not involved in ministry work, I strongly encouraging them to start and if they refuse, I strongly encourage you to seek a church who is.  Read carefully the scriptures in Matthew 25 and hopefully you will understand why I say this is so very important.

Until next time,,,,,,,Blessings!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Getting back in the groove,,,,,


After a move, whether it be a major one across country or a minor one across town it is hard to get back into the groove.  Routines change, schedules change,  even sleeping habits often change.  I am finding it difficult to get back into the groove.  It seems everything has changed in one way or another.

My sleeping habits have definitely changed.  I no longer have someone keeping me awake until 2 or 3 am every night.  I am sleeping better and find I do not need that afternoon nap as much.  I am getting more work done during the day.  These are all good and positive things but it still takes an adjustment.

My eating habits have changed again too.  When he cooked everything was over salted and or spicy.  Neither of which I enjoyed at all.  I am enjoying simpler meals again, nothing too fancy and my digestive system is liking me for it.  :-)

I used to get on the computer first thing in the morning to stay quiet because he was sleeping till 1 or 2 in the afternoon after sitting up all night and I did not want to wake him.  Now I find I have other things I want to do first thing in the morning so getting on here and writing my blog has become a bit of a chore.  I might have to change that routine and write later in the day.  Let's face it, life changes when there is a move, LOL.

I guess I should say I am not getting back in the groove but perhaps creating new ones, LOL.  So please bear with me as I try to figure out what new schedule will work best for me!!

Until next time,,,,,,Blessings!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sliding into home plate is dirty work,,,,,,,,


I bet with that title you are wondering what this post is about,,,,, me too, LOL.  Seriously though, the move is coming to an end and I am sliding into home plate as it were.  Yes, it is dirty work!!  The last two days I cleaned the house that is now empty.  Why?  Because I have a good reputation and want to keep it!!  I might need a good reference some day and if I leave the house a mess for the land lord to clean up then I will not get one.

I'm not sure when or how it happened but somewhere along the way people have lost their core values.  They could care less about their reputations.  I have seen many a rental left in a shambles filled with garbage and junk for the land lords to have to clean up.  And then they could not understand why they did not get a good recommendation when they went to look for another place to rent.

When I was a child my father would always tell me it does not matter how much money you have or how many things you own, your most important asset is your reputation.  Keep that in tact and you have everything.  I believed that and still do.  Integrity is one of the most important character traits you can have.  Part of integrity is of course values.  The bible tells us to "let our yes be yes and our no be no".  In other words, say what you mean and mean what you say.  Be truthful and honest in all that you do.

Of course we are also told to treat others as we would treat ourselves or want to be treated.  Do that in every aspect of your life.  So, my question is, if you were the land lord would you want someone to leave your property a mess?  Of course not!!  So don't do it to someone else!!

I had my land lord come over yesterday and look at the house.  It was the first time he had ever been in it.  He bought it sight un-seen.  He was amazed at how clean I had left it.  He promised me a good recommendation any time I needed it.  He told me how he had other tenants who left things in a horrible condition and was very surprised to see I had gone to such efforts considering my health and the fact that Frank left all the work on my shoulders and did nothing to help.  Frank will never get a good reference from the land lord but I will.  That goes a long way in showing the difference in characters. 

Throughout my life I have tried to do the right thing.  Sometimes I failed, after all, I am human and make many mistakes.  But my efforts were in the right direction.  I pray you also try to do the right thing and think about your reputation, character and integrity.

Until next time,,,,,,Blessings!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sliding into home plate,,,,,,,


I feel like I am finally sliding into home plate as far as this move is concerned.  I have a few boxes of small stuff to pack up today to bring to the new place.  Tomorrow a couple of fellas are going to come and move the furniture into storage.  Saturday I will clean and then the move is done!!!

Of course I have a lot of things to unpack here and put away.  But I can do that little by little and take my time. 

I am very tired, this move has really taken its toll on me both physically and mentally.  But I am so very happy it is almost done.  We stayed here in the new place last night.  Both Rusty, (dog) and Faxon, (cat) are adjusting nicely.  Faxon has discovered the screened in front porch and is loving it.  It is cool this morning so the door and windows are open and all the cats here are enjoying the fresh air.  Faxon joined me on the porch this morning as I had my morning coffee a couple of hours ago and has not come back inside yet. LOL.

Hopefully by next week I will be back on a normal routine again and will be back to writing regularly.  So look for that to start hopefully on Monday.

Until next time,,,,,,,,Blessings!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Moving update,,,,


The move is coming along well and I am on the home stretch now.  Frank will be leaving in just a little over a week and then I can get the big stuff like furniture taken care of.  I am so looking forward to getting this move over with.  It has been long, hard and very tiring but it is still progressing.  The cooler temperatures we are having now is very refreshing and helping a lot to keep me motivated and moving.

Today I have some of the usual chores to take care of.  Need to go to the grocery store and do some house keeping and laundry.  I will also be doing some more packing and bring another load over sometime later today, I hope, LOL.

I feel like I am pretty much on schedule and should be back online on a regular basis by the end of August or early September.  Thanks so much everyone for all your prayers, they are very much appreciated!!

Until next time,,,,,Blessings!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Last regular post until September,,,,,


This will be my last regular post until September when I am finally completely moved and settled in.  I will miss writing my posts and will probably drop in once in a while to write a quick update on the progress of my move, but I can not predict what days that might be on.  It will just be whenever I have the time.

You might recall when I mentioned I had to move the computer early in order to take advantage of a special promotion by the internet provider.  Well, now is the time.  I will move the computer to the other house today and the internet will be turned on there tomorrow.  Also tomorrow the internet, house phone and cable TV will be shut off here in this house.

At some point this week, I need to take a break from moving and get some much needed garden and yard work caught up.  I have been picking tomatoes by the bucket fulls every couple of days.  The romas are going in the freezer whole for cooking and canning after the move is complete.  Looks like I will be making a ton of sauce this year for canning and might just try my hand at making ketchup too.  I also have a lot of cucumbers for pickling.  And I need to get my potatoes dug up as well.

I'm not sure but I have a sneaky suspicion the groundhog might have gotten into my potatoes.  I sure hope not!  My corn is finally starting to develop ears.  It got planted really late due to all the rain in the spring and I will be happy to get any under the circumstances.  I am not sure what happened to my beans.  They had a ton of blossoms but no beans have developed, so at this point they might be a lost cause.

But boy do I have tomatoes!!  I planted two types, Romas for cooking and sauce making and then Celebrities for eating on sandwiches and salads.  I have had so many of both and given away several of the Celebrities and enjoyed many myself.  Considering the uncooperative weather this year I am pleased over all with the garden.

Well I have a few more things to do on the computer before I shut it down and start packing it.  If you do not see me before, I will see you in September!!

Until next time,,,,,Blessings!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,,,,,,,,


This morning I woke up singing some of my favorite Christian songs.  A mixture of old time hymns, country gospel and some contemporary.  The Lord has surely put a song in my heart and a spring in my step this morning.  :-)

Yesterday we had a guest pastor in church, Pastor Willis Fischer.  He delivered an awesome message about "Letting our light shine" and it has really stuck with me.  Sometimes it is not always easy to live our lives as an example for others to follow.  After all, we are all facing trials, tribulations and temptations every single day of our lives.  But Jesus tells us we must be that example.  We should let our light shine like a city on a hill for all to see.

Have you ever been traveling at night, especially in some of the western states where there are miles between each city?  I have many times.  And this scripture reminds me of that.  Let me give you an example.  When I was driving to Albuquerque, NM one time, it so happened I was driving the last several miles after dark.  It seemed like the darkness went on for miles and miles.  Not a light any where as there were several miles of vast open ranges and mesas between the towns.  That darkness felt like a very lonely place.  You felt like you were in the middle of a black void, a great nothingness so to speak.

As I continued driving west towards Albuquerque on I-40 I began to feel a sense of dread and wanting and wondering when this long drive would ever end.  Then as I began to work my way up the east side of the Sandia mountains I started to see little glimmers of light coming from the city.  Hallelujah!!  I finally see the light of the city!!  My long trip is almost over!  Thank you Lord!!  Seeing the light gave me something to sing about.  My spirits were immediately lifted!!

When we as Christians, let our light shine in a dark and dismal world, we can give other people the spiritual lifting they need to keep going, to walk in faith.  Sometimes we are the example for someone who has not come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and the example we set leads that person to the Lord.  Sometimes we are blessed to know we had that effect on someone but often times we are not.  We just have to believe and understand that God is using us in a mighty way when we let our light shine.

It is not good for a Christian to show hate or anger, especially in public.  But we are fallible and do it from time to time.  We sometimes let our emotions get the better of us.  I strive every day to be a good example for others to follow, but I too fail from time to time.

I pray every day for the Lord to help me to be the good example and let my light shine.  Don't let me fall into the temptation of "getting even" with someone who has hurt me.  Don't let me give into any temptations that put me into that darkness rather than walking in the light.  That darkness is not a good place, and not a place I want to be.  Take me through this troubled world one day at a time sweet Jesus!

May you always walk in the light and let your little light shine!!

Until next time,,,,,,Blessings!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Keeping it light, LOL,,,,,,,

Greetings, I got this in an email and thought I would share it with you today.  Just to keep things light for the weekend.  Hope you enjoy it!!
Cowboy rules for:
Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nebraska, Idaho, and the rest of the Wild West are as follows: 
1. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot. 
2. Turn your cap right, your head ain't crooked. 
3. Let's get this straight: it's called a 'gravel road.' I drive a pickup truck because I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you're gonna get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way. 
4. They are cattle. That's why they smell like cattle. They smell like money to us. Get over it. Don't like it? I-10 & I-40 go east and west, I-17 & I-15 goes north and south. Pick one and go. 
5. So you have a $60,000 car. We're impressed. We have $250,000 Combines that are driven only 3 weeks a year. 
6. Every person in the Wild West waves. It's called being friendly. Try to understand the concept. 
7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of geese/pheasants/ducks/doves are comin' in during a hunt, we WILL shoot it outta your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time. 
8. Yeah. We eat trout, salmon, deer and elk. You really want sushi and caviar? It's available at the corner bait shop. 
9. The 'Opener' refers to the first day of deer season. It's a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November. 
10. We open doors for women. That's applied to all women, regardless of age. 
11. No, there's no 'vegetarian special' on the menu. Order steak, or you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham and turkey.
12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup! Oh, yeah ... We don't care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you eat... IT AIN'T REAL CHILI!! 
13. You bring 'Coke' into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice. You bring 'Mary Jane' into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair. 
14. College and High School Football is as important here as the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch. 
15. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards - it spooks the fish. 
16. Turn down that blasted car stereo! That thumpity-thump ain't music, anyway. We don't want to hear it any more than we want to see your boxers! Refer back to #1! 
A true Westerner will send this to at least 10 others and a few new friends that probably won't get it, but we're friendly so we share in hopes you can begin to understand what a real life is all about!!!
And there is more.............
The COWBOY Solution to save Gasoline.
OBAMA wants us to cut the amount of gasoline we use..... The best way to stop using so much gasoline is to deport 15 million illegal immigrants! 
That would be 15 million less people using our gas. 
The price of gas would come down..... 
Bring our troops home from Afghanistan to guard the borders.... 
When they catch an illegal immigrant crossing the Border, hand him a canteen, rifle and some ammo and ship him to Afghanistan .... 
Tell him if he wants to come to AMERICA then he must serve a tour in OUR military.... 
Give him a soldier's pay while he's there and tax him on it...... 
After his tour, he will be allowed to become a citizen since he defended this country..... 
He will also be registered to be taxed and be a legal resident..... 
This option will probably deter illegal immigration and provide a solution for the troops in Afghanistan and the aliens trying to make a better life for themselves. ....... 
If they refuse to serve, ship them to Afghanistan anyway, without the canteen, rifle or ammo. 
Problem solved..... 
Until next time,,,,,,Blessings!