Monday, January 31, 2011

Waiting on the storm,,,,

Greetings!

Well, I am just waiting on the storm to hit now.  I believe I am as prepared as I can be.  Extra water, candles, plenty of food, etc.  I even have a few gallons of water frozen in the freezer.  If we lose power those jugs of ice will come in handy to help keep food cold and fresh.  Nothing left to do but wait.

I looked at the forecast and radar this morning.  Still calling for up to a 1/2 inch of ice and a foot or more of snow to follow that.  But when I looked at the radar I was hard pressed to see what this "extremely dangerous storm" is suppose to come out of.  Of course I am not a weather man and I don't have all the computer data they have, so I have to take their word for it and then pray for it to not happen, LOL.

Usually on Mondays I meet with "the girls" for lunch here in town.  I will have to play it by ear today as the weather is suppose to be pretty nasty by then.  Time will tell.

In the meantime, I am working on a wine cooler in ceramics.  I have to put two more coats of top glaze on and then it can go on the shelf with the other glazed items waiting to be fired.  I am debating on what I want to work on next.  I have a lot to choose from.  Guess we will see what strikes my fancy when I sit down with the paint brush, LOL.

Hope you are prepared for the storm if you live in this area or areas that will soon be hit with it over the next couple of days.  Stay warm and stay safe.

Until next time,,,,,  blessings@

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bad storm brewing,,,,

Greetings,

I don't usually write on Sundays but wanted to let you all know if you don't hear from me for a couple of days chances are pretty good we lost power.

We are under a "Dangerous Winter Storm Advisory" through Wednesday.  We are suppose to start off sometime tomorrow, (Monday) with freezing rain.  Then snow, high winds and frigid temperatures with blizzard conditions.  They are calling for up to 1/2 inch of ice followed by around a foot of snow.

I am getting prepared today.  Getting candles out and ready to go.  I have three gallon jugs of water in the freezer.  The jugs of frozen water will help to keep my food from spoiling should we lose power.  Plenty of food and necessities in the house already.  I do like being prepared for emergencies.  I have a huge cooler I will get out on the front porch.  That can store frozen foods once the temperatures drop if need be.

Propane tank for the BBQ grill is full, so can always cook on that if need be.  But the gas for the stove should be fine.  I have a coffee pot that I can make coffee on the stove with, LOL.  Will have the cell phone fully charged and fresh batteries for the flashlights.  We should be fine.  It is always good to be prepared.  :-D  So don't worry my friends if you don't hear from me.  I will be safe and sound even if the power goes out.

Until next time,,,,, Blessings!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My babies,,,,,

Greetings!!

I did not do any work on ceramics yesterday.  I had counseling then errands to run which kept me busy most of the day.  I plan on glazing today though.  But here are a couple of pictures of my babies.

Rusty is the dog.  He is my best buddy.  He will be about 15 this year, near as we can figure.  He is starting to slow down a bit with his old age but is still pretty healthy.  The vet told me this particular breed only lives to 7 to 10 years of age so I must be doing something right.  He is primarily an indoor dog.  I don't let him stay outside long in extreme weather, either too hot or too cold.  He has gotten quite spoiled with that.  This dog appreciates heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, LOL.

His face is turning white with age, but he is still a handsome boy!!


Rusty does not like his picture taken so getting good ones is a bit of a challenge.


Had to try to doctor the eyes up a bit from the flash yellowing them out,,, but he still looks good.  :-)

My oldest cat Missy, pretty much sleeps 95% of the time now.  She is about half her body size when she was young like Faxon.  Missy is between 18 and 20, the best I can figure.  Still pretty healthy but has slowed down quite a bit.  She is the old lady in the house.  When she is awake she wants 3 things, food, clean potty and Frank's lap, LOL.


She has pretty much claimed the couch for nap time, when she is not on Frank's lap. I'll have to try to get a picture of her when she is awake some time.  She has taken to dragging her water bowl across the kitchen floor when she wants fresh water, LOL.

Faxon is the youngun in the family.  He is very playful and loving.  Always wanting to get into something, LOL.  He loves to watch me work when I am in the craft room.  I think he needs a play buddy closer to his age.  I take time to play with him a lot cause I think he gets bored.  Missy just doesn't want to play any more and Rusty is a bit too big for Faxon, LOL.


Faxon is blind in his right eye.  The picture I posted yesterday I doctored up the eye, but Frank said I should leave it so you can see.  It makes him look special.  And he is very special!!

Well, its time for me to get back to my glazing and get a few things done around the house.  Hope you all have a great day!!

Until next time,,,, Blessings!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Progress is slow but the work is good,,,,

Greetings!!

I am going to take today off from glazing as I have so much to do.  I have counseling this morning and many errands to run afterwards.

Progress is a bit slow on the mixing bowl set for me but the work is good so I won't complain.  It will take some time to build my speed back up again after taking the winter off.  But quality control must always pass my standards no matter who fast or slow I get something done.  And I am always very tough on myself, LOL

Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of how I am doing.  I do have the smallest bowl completed already and put on a shelf until I go to the kiln.  The middle sized bowl just needs clear glaze over the blue and white bands and a signature on the bottom.  I left the bands unglazed while I glazed the largest bowl so I could use it as a visual guide.  The larger bowl is complete.

I have completed the blue and white bands and am now just starting to put the yellow glaze on.


I had company today, LOL.  My cat Faxon.  He likes to watch mommy work.  Such a joy to have around!!


Three coats of the yellow glaze now on.  It needs to dry a bit before I do anything else.


I have clear glazed over the blue and white bands and am now adding a signature.


This signature will be fired into the glaze.  It can not be peeled off, or rubbed off and it will not wash off.  Its permanent!!  This piece is now on the shelf drying to go into the kiln.

My kiln is at Win's house so I am not sure what day I will get over there to fire everything but I can't wait to show you the finished pieces!!  I also have some other pieces to work on first so it might be a while yet.  I want to fire that kiln as full as possible to get the most bang for my buck.  So keep checking back.

Until next time,,,,,,,,  Blessings!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting back in the groove,,,,,

Greetings!!

Yesterday was my first day back to glazing and let me tell you, its not easy getting back in the groove after taking the winter off, LOL.

My hand was pretty shaky for the first hour or so.  So I will have some touch up to do for sure.  Banding is not as easy as it looks to begin with.  You have to make sure your piece is perfectly centered on the banding wheel.  Otherwise you come out with a band that either wobbles or does not connect when you make the first circle.  You have to turn the wheel with one hand and hold your brush with the other.

Some of my pieces are too big for my wheel so I put the wheel on top of a child's stool and turn the piece upside down.  But doing that means it becomes not just a centering issue but a balancing one as well.  To get it set up perfectly takes a lot of patience and I have been known to take as much time to center and balance as it did to glaze the entire piece.  But the finished product is worth it.

My pieces do not come out 100% perfect.  But they are hand painted.  No one can ever accuse me of using a machine to paint my wares!! 

I did not get as much done yesterday as I had hoped to but its a start.  I guess it is going to take a few days to really get back in the groove.  But I love what I am doing so that is OK.
Here are a few pictures of what I am working on.

This is the largest of a set of three mixing bowls.  Really too large for the wheel.  So I will have to make some adjustments.  This is bisque, it has been fired once but not glazed yet.


Here is the same piece turned upside down on the wheel and the wheel sitting on the child's stool I told you about.  Now I have to make sure it is balanced and centered before I begin glazing.


The first coat of blue bands is on.  Two more coats of blue then I can clean up the edges and fix any mistakes before I move on to the white and yellow.


This is actually the medium sized bowl in the set.  I now have 3 coats of the blue and white and two coats of the yellow.  The colors once fired will be much brighter and deeper.  As you can see, I will have some touch up to do before it can go in the kiln.


Finally, 3 coats of each color on.  I will need to put a clear satin glaze over the blue and white bands yet after I make sure all mistakes are touched up and it looks the best it can.  Then it will head to the kiln for firing.  I will be able to fire all 3 bowls in the same kiln load along with some other smaller projects.

Each time I open the kiln I am like a kid on Christmas morning opening presents.  I love it and still get excited!!  Not sure if I will make it or not but I do hope to finish up glazing this set today.

Until next time,,,,,,,  Blessings

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm so excited!!!!

Greetings everyone!!!

I'm so excited!!  Today is the day I start on my ceramics again and I am just so excited.  I opened the door to the craft room about an hour ago to let some heat get in there.  All winter I have kept the door closed to save on heating.  I have had two rooms closed off that we are not using on a regular basis right now.  Anything to cut down on the heating bill, which I think is totally absurd.  No sense giving the utility company any more money than I have to, LOL.

Anyhow, I am really anxious to spend the bulk of my day working in my craft room.  I didn't get a chance to put those glazes away yesterday that I had talked about so that will be the first order of business today.  Then to those mixing bowls!  I should be able to finish up glazing them today and head on to the next project.  I'll try to take some pictures if I think of it.  I have a tendency to lose track of anything else when I am creating, LOL.

My hair has finally grown back long enough that I can pull it up in a bun again.  I like that when I am painting it keeps the hair off my face and out of my eyes.  Nothing more annoying to me than having to push the hair out of my eyes all the time.

Here are a few pictures of some of my finished work.  These are mixing bowl sets.  The pictures were snapped in a hurry and not very good.  I need to set up a place to take more professional looking pictures soon.






The mixing bowls come in a set of 3 and as you can see they can nest one inside the other.  I use only certified non-toxic, lead free glazes which are made in the USA.


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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nothing on my mind,,, except,,,,,

Greetings!

I woke up with nothing on my mind today except working on ceramics, LOL.  I can't wait to get back into the swing of things starting tomorrow.  But I think if I can squeeze in the time today I will do a little organizing in my craft room.

Today I have to take Frank to the VA for blood work.  Then as a treat we are going to Red Lobster for a late lunch early dinner kind of thing.   A special treat for Frank as he loves seafood.  I am deathly allergic however so I will usually get chicken.  Because there are so many fish oils floating in the air in a seafood restaurant I will take a couple of Benedryl just before we leave the VA to help prevent an allergic reaction.

The first time we had gone to Red Lobster I had not thought to do that.  We were in the restaurant about 15 minutes when the all too familiar itching and hives started.  But I carry Benedryl with me to stave off allergic reactions so I took a couple and all was fine.  Now I am smarter and just take the Benedryl ahead of time and have no problems.

We don't go too often so this will be a nice treat.  We have to drive right by Red Lobster to get to and from the VA so it is not out of our way.

I have a case of various glazes I need to open and get put away before I start glazing tomorrow.  I have a mixing bowl set already started so will work on it first.  It is banded in yellow, white and blue and very pretty.  Similar to the antique yellow ware but in high gloss instead.  I decided to go with a high gloss glaze rather than the original matt finish because I did not want anyone thinking I am trying to pass something new off as antique.  However, if someone wanted a set in the matt finish I could certainly do it.

I have a set of red bowls that I love.  I did them in a satin type finish.  Just a little shine like polished wood.  Actually the bowls remind me of turned wood that was stained a red.  Pretty cool!  One of my most popular sets is the Americana set.  It is done in a red, white and blue with a combination of satin and high gloss glazes.  Very pretty!

I have so many different designs running through my head today.  Several different projects to work on.  Just can't wait to experiment with them!!

I have a rather large supply of bisque in my inventory right now.  For those who do not know, bisque is what the wares are called when they have been fired in a kiln once but not decorated and glazed once.  Greenware is the name of the same item before firing, decorated and glazed.  Currently my shop is not set up for me to pour my own molds, so I purchase bisque wholesale and do the decorating and glazing and firing myself.

I do own over 2000 molds, pouring equipment and 3 kilns, but most of that is in storage.  I live in a rental home and am unable at this time to have all my ceramics molds and equipment here at this time.  I hope I get to do that this year.  It would be great to move it all here and then pour my own molds.

I love every aspect of ceramics.  From mixing the slip to pouring molds, cleaning greenware, firing, decorating, firing again and producing the finished product.  It is such a blessing to be able to be so creative!  I have also thrown on a wheel and might try to get my wheel here this spring.

Until next time,,,,, blessings!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gearing up for spring,,,,,

Greetings!

I woke up to a thin layer of ice with about an inch of snow on top of that this morning.  Rudely reminding me we are still in the middle of winter!  But I must start gearing up for spring.

The gardener in me is busy ordering seeds and planning the layout of my garden this year.  With such small space to work with designing a layout is imperative to getting the most out of my garden.  You don't want to go in haphazardly planting or you will find you have a lot of wasted space.  I use a combination of planting plans, square foot gardening as well as companion gardening.  They help me to get the most planted in my garden in the least amount of space.  For example pole beans take less space than bush beans and you can plant the pole beans so they will grow up your sweet corn stalks getting double duty out of the same space.

Today while I am out running errands I will pick up some grafting paper.  You know, the paper with the little squares on it.  This year my garden will measure 20 feet by 30 feet.  Not very big but I can get a lot in there if I plan it out first.  Each square on the grafting paper will represent 1 foot.  I will mark out the walk-ways and where each item will be planted.  This will give me a way to plan where the items will go and how much space I will allow for each item.  I usually wind up with a lot of rough drafts before I get to the one I am satisfied with.  Although its work it is also a lot of fun, LOL.  I usually will find room to squeeze one or two more things into.

The other thing I really need to start gearing up for is the spring craft shows.  I need to get back to making inventory with my ceramics and crafts.  It takes time to make ceramics.  There are numerous firings in the kiln and several coats of glaze before you have the final product.  It is not a weekend project so to speak.

I have everything ready to go.  I just need to sit down and start glazing again.  Looks like Wednesday will be my start day for it.  I have appointments and errands both today and tomorrow.  I can't wait to get back to working on ceramics.  Ceramics have been my passion for a lot of years. 

I was just a teenager when I took my first ceramic class.  A lady that I babysat for, for a number of years wanted to treat me.  She was taking classes in the basement of a lady's house and thought I would enjoy it as I have always been creative in one form or another.  I went to the first class and was the youngest person there.  I hated the class but fell in love with ceramics!!  I think the main reason I hated the class was because I was so young compared to everyone else I had nothing in common with them.  While they all sat and talked about raising their kids I was a kid, LOL.  I continued in the classes for just a short while.  Just long enough to learn the basics.  Then I struck out on my own.

There was a new ceramic shop opening in town about the same time I was ready to quit the classes.  In fact I sat on their door step opening day waiting for them to open the shop.  I was their first customer.  I walked in, told them I would not take classes but wanted them to tell me what I needed to know and then I would take the piece home and work on it there.  I asked the owner, "if I tell you what I want it to look like when it is finished can you tell me how to do it?"  She said no problem.  I also bought a lot of ceramics how to magazines with various techniques in them and would read them and try the projects.

I must admit those first pieces I made nearly 40 years ago were pretty bad, LOL.  I sure have come along way!!  I also taught myself how to fire a kiln and bought my first little kiln in 1984.  I still have it today and it is in great shape yet.  Then I taught myself how to pour molds.  Now that was a trip, LOL.  I can remember dumping ceramic slip all over the kitchen floor in my trial and error learning experience.

Since then I have had two teaching studios and have sold countless finished ware pieces not only locally but around the country.  I have advertised in nationwide magazines and sold on the local show circuits as well.  I love what I do!!!

Soon, as i gear up for spring, this blog will be more about my ceramics and crafts.  I hope to post pictures of my works in progress as well as the finished wares.

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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Family Reunions and New Beginnings,,,

Greetings!!

Don't you just love family reunions and new beginnings?  I do, especially when family is spread out far and wide and have not seen each other in a number of years.  My own family has not had any type of reunion that I know of since probably the 80s.  That one was on my dad's side of the family and I got to meet cousins I had never met before or at least never remembered meeting them because perhaps I was too young when I had.

Frank's sister Grace and her husband Jim are planning a family reunion for their family this summer.  I am helping a bit.  That is what made me think of writing this blog though.  It reminds me of my family and how long its been.

I think of family reunions as a time of new beginnings.  It gives people a chance to grow closer.  You know in the busy lives we lead today we often drift apart from family and friends.  What a great time to catch up with each other, share some laughs and hopefully walk away feeling refreshed, like we just had a new beginning in life.  :-)  Sometimes families have drifted apart because of some old family feud.  That has happened in my family a lot.  A reunion gives everyone a chance to come together, put the past behind them and just move forward.  Its a good ice breaker you might say.

I know the last family reunion I went to I saw an aunt that I had been quite angry with for many years.  But it just seemed right at the reunion to stop holding a grudge and move on.  It was a great feeling.  We keep in touch now on a regular basis and all is well.  I am so grateful for that new beginning because she is much older now and who knows how much time she has left on this earth.  I know we will not have any regrets after she passes and that is a good thing in my book.  We can't change the past but we can change how we deal with it and what we hope to have in the future.

Family reunions can be a lot of fun and very relaxing.  I have a friend here in town his name is Tom.  His family is spread out all over the country but once a year they get together for a family reunion.  This past year it was in NY state and a couple of years ago he told me they all went to California.  This family really makes a point of seeing each other, no matter where they are.  That is so cool!!  I asked him if they were always close or if they were like most and had their fair share of problems and disagreements.  He said they always have problems but have resolved that when they get together once a year they leave the problems at the city limits and get together and just enjoy that time.  He said usually its like getting a new beginning every year.  During the reunion they let the past go and come together as a family.  What a neat family!!  Don't you wish all families could do that??

I have decided that I would give up going to my 35th high school reunion this year so Frank and I can go to his family reunion.  We really can't afford to do both and I feel family, any one's family is much more important.  Besides, I have not made it to one of my school reunions yet, what's missing one more, LOL.

When is the last time your family has had a reunion?  Maybe its time for a new beginning!!  Maybe this will catch on this year and this will be the year of family reunions, LOL!!!

Until next time,,,,,, blessings!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sometimes I confuse myself, LOL

Greetings!

Our discussion over on Amish America blog has somehow gone from truth in advertising to full time RVing.  Well for a couple of us anyway, LOL.  It gives me that old wander lust again.  I love to travel and see our beautiful country!

Full time RVing is not for everyone.  You need to seriously downsize what you own and haul with you when living in an RV.  There just isn't enough room for everything, plus you don't want to be pulling that extra weight around.  You won't make a lot of money living in an RV if you need the income.  So downsizing your needs and expenses is imperative.

Living in a small container smaller than most living rooms today is not easy either.  It's not for everyone!

I am so torn about what I want to do in my future it sometimes confuses me.  There are so many options and possibilities.  On one hand I would love to stay put in a home, have a garden, work on my business and set down roots.  But then I get that bug to want to go places.  See things.  Meet different people.  Feel the freedom of being on the road again.  You see, I was once a truck driver and travel from coast to coast all the time.

Yes, truck driving is much different.  You are on a time schedule.  You have a job to do and can't just pull over and relax when the mood strikes you.  But I also owned an Airstream camper at one time and got to travel with it, just a bit.

There are job opportunities for full time RVers.  And there are plenty of free places to park the camper for the night.  You can set your pace, pick your jobs, go where you want to go.  But unless you are rich, you won't have a home to come home to.  And you won't be setting down roots some place.

There are good points to both.  And both really appeal to me.  Guess in some ways I have not decided what I want to be when I grow up, LOL.

I put this in God's hands and I am sure he will lead me where I need to be and what I need to do.  But it sure is fun to dream.  :-)

Until next time,,,,, blessings

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Truth in Advertising,,,,,

Greetings!!

We are having an interesting discussion on the Amish America blog that I am a regular follower on about truth in advertising.  Is it deceptive practice to say, "made in Amish Country" or something along those lines when it is not actually made by the Amish?  What a good question!!

We had touched on this subject before but this discussion has gotten in depth not only about the Amish but about truth in advertising in general.  Being a person in business I find it very interesting.

One of the examples I discussed on the blog was a bakery in Arthur, IL, the heart of Amish country here called, "Amish Country Bakery".  For tourist, not really paying attention, that might lead them to believe it was an Amish run bakery.  In fact many people believed just that.  But when I went into the bakery, I noticed the lady behind the counter dressed more like Mennonite.  Believe it or not, there is a difference.  Anyway, I listened to other customers make comments like, "I only buy from the Amish", or "I just love coming here, the Amish really know how to bake and cook".

The lady would nod and say thank you but never once did she tell them she was not Amish.  After the other customers had left and I made my purchase I asked her if she were Mennonite.  She smiled and said yes she was and obviously I was not a tourist.  She also stated that tourist do not know the difference and why should she correct them.  Let them believe what they want so long as they purchased from her.

Now to me that is just down right lying and wrong.  It is one thing if people make assumptions without bothering to try to find out and another when they comment on them and you do not correct them.  The sign, "Amish Country Bakery" in and of itself is not totally deceptive as we were indeed in the heart of Amish Country.  But she was very deceptive!!

Another example in "truth in advertising" failing is Campbell's soups.  They advertise they use sea salt because it is 50% less sodium.  People, go into any grocery store, pick up a container of sea salt and a container of the same size of table salt and read the labels.  You will find there is NO difference in the amount of sodium!!

Yes we have laws regarding truth in advertising.  The problem is we do not have the resources to enforce those laws and people know it.  It has to become the responsibility of every consumer to pay attention, know what you are buying and from whom.  And when you find a company being less than truthful about their products, don't purchase from them.  The consumers have to send a loud and clear message they will not be deceived and not put up with it.

There are also laws that say when a product is made in another country there must be a "country of origin" label on that product.  Yet many retailers will remove those labels.  Why?  Because they know they can get away with it.  Our laws do no good if we do not have the resources to enforce those laws.

Searching for truth in business,,,,,
Until next time,,,,, blessings

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Weather Advisory,,,,,

Greetings!

We are under a winter weather advisory for tonight into tomorrow night.  They are calling for 4-6 inches of the winter white stuff that graces our tree branches and bushes and causes me much more work than I want right now, LOL.

After the snow we are to be followed with very cold temperatures.  Wind chill factors minus 16 to minus 20 below zero F.  It will stay this cold for several days.

Needless to say, its time to prepare and get a few odds and ends in the house before the storm hits.  I am going with Frank to the VA this morning to see a dietitian then will stop at the grocery store on the way home.  I am low on pet food and a few odds and ends and will get that replenished.  Then aside from having to get Rusty my dog out when it is necessary and shovel, I will stay in until things warm up again.

Its nice to know there is plenty of food in the house and we have a way to stay warm in the bitter temperatures.  I plan on ordering my garden seeds this week.  That will make me feel a bit warmer thinking about my garden and warmer temperatures, LOL.

Hope you all are prepared who are in the way of this latest winter storm.  Its always good to be prepared.

Until next time,,,,, blessings

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Conventional Medicine,,,,

Greetings!

I am finally starting to feel a little better after my latest battle with conventional medicines.  Seems over the last couple of years medicine and I have not been getting along.  I either have allergic reactions, or severe digestive problems as a result of the medicine.  Or it simply does not do the job I need it to do.  The cure has become worse than the ailment!!

I have decided it would be best if I take a more natural approach to dealing with my health concerns.  The body takes a beating with all these different reactions and that is not good for ones health either.

Not exactly sure how I will handle the fibromyalgia pain without meds to help but I must try.  I'll have to do some research online to see if I can find some natural ways to combat the pain.  I know eating right and exercise will help tremendously and I strive to do those things already.

Another thing that will help I am sure is eating more natural foods that are grown without a ton of chemicals dumped on them.  And so I am looking forward to my garden this year.  Getting out in the sun more will help too.

I wish I could afford a membership at the YMCA again.  Exercising in the water did help a lot when I did it before.  Maybe later this year I will have enough money put together that I can join again.  Either that or maybe I can convince Frank to buy a small pool for the back yard and get in that every day through out the summer.  I would make room for it, LOL.

If any of you have any tips to combating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia in a more natural way, please do leave your comments.  I would so appreciate any help I can get.  And if I find a good trick I will share it with you.

until next time,,,,, blessings

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Web Bot Project,,,,

Greetings,

I am running a bit late as I had to run some errands this morning.  I went and picked up more of my canning supplies from Win's house where they are being stored for me.  Time to get busy in the kitchen with canning!!

Then I went to the grocery store and while there I talked to Win who works there part time now.  Anyhow, he told me about a show he was watching the other night and they talked about this "Web Bot Project" and how this thing has correctly predicted natural disasters, terrorist attacks, economic disasters and the like for a few years now.  So, after my trip to the store I decided to look them up online.  You will want to do the same.

If their predictions are true for this year, there will be world wide hunger.  Something with the solar polarization will cause crops to fail.  You will either pay through the roof for some items or won't be able to get them at all.  (That's if I read it right as I just skimmed it in a hurry.)  I want to go back and read it more thoroughly later on.  They also have predictions for the next few years, especially the well talked about 2012.

I have always been one to stock up an emergency supply anyway.  One never knows when an emergency will hit.  In my area of the country we have a concern for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes as well as bad ice or snow storms in the winter.  I have posted about preparedness before, if you have not already done so, you can always go back and read those posts.

Today at the grocery store I picked up 10 cans of meat, and 4 cans of soup to put in my emergency supply.  Tomorrow some other items go on sale that I will pick up to put back.  I only buy items on a good sale for my emergency back up and will rotate them out from time to time with new stuff.  A good habit to get into.

Whether you think these predictions of hard times come from nothing more than "doomsday believers" or you think they could be serious, it is always a good thing to be prepared for emergencies.  We have no control over the weather or natural disasters but we do have control over whether we can still put food on the table in times of trouble.

Until next time,,,,,, blessings

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dis n Dat,,,,,

Greetings,

Seems my writing this blog is taking a little bit of a downfall as I try to adjust to the pain killers the doctor has me on now.  All I want to do is sleep.  I have way too much to get done to be sleeping all the time, but right now I have no choice.  Hopefully, the body will adjust soon and I will be able to get back to normal.

Next week I plan on ordering my seeds for my garden.  I just can't wait to get them started and for the first chance in spring to till up the ground and do much needed yard work.  I have watched prices climb in the grocery store again and feel having a garden is becoming more of a necessity than just a hobby.  We really need to be able to supplement our food budget with good fresh produce from the garden.  The cost of living goes up and up but the income does not match it.

Recently I heard a new law passed, don't know if it is state or federal for sure but I am thinking federal.  Anyhow, the local grocery store can no longer buy from the local gardeners and farmers in season to sell in their store.  Our local IGA grocery store always bought the local produce from people who had extra in their garden they wanted to get rid of.  No more!  According to what I was told from an employee, they were told that there is no way to keep track and regulate what a local gardener grows so therefore they will not be allowed to sell it.

I wonder what this law will do for the local farmers market where people sell what they grow in their gardens?  Will that soon be regulated or banned?  This is just one more step in big corporations and government taking total control of the food chain. 

I have talked before about the difference between heirloom seeds and hybrid seeds.  Soon you will not be able to buy heirloom seeds and forced into buying hybrid.  Which means you will have to buy them year after year or not have a garden.  When that happens be prepared to pay an enormous amount of money for one packet of seeds.  Corporations like Monsanto and the government want total control over the food chain.  They will force all smaller farming operations out of business with so many regulations, fees and permits that the smaller farmer will not be able to afford them.  You then will have no control over the chemicals dumped on your food.  If you only buy from the grocery store, you already have no control.

I believe the bulk of illnesses today are born of the chemicals already being used.  It will get much worse before it is over with.  Do I sound like a conspiracy theorist?  I suppose in some ways I do.  But research it for yourselves and you will come to the same conclusions.

I have gone to counseling one day a week for the past couple of years.  Primarily due to the abuse of my ex husband.  Counseling helps me get through the nightmares and cope with every day life.  Today, I am to start with a new counselor as my previous one took another job elsewhere.  I am apprehensive.  I feel like I am starting from scratch and moving backward instead of forward.  I had made great progress with my last counselor.  Time will tell with this new one.  I have only spoken to her on the phone once and already I do not like her.  This is not going to be easy.  But I go meet her in an hour and I am going to try to keep an open mind.  I know I still need to see a counselor, so I must try.

When I had Rusty out this morning I saw my car was covered with ice so I need to get out there and get it warmed up and scraped off soon.  After counseling I will run a few errands before coming home.  Might as well kill two birds with one stone and save myself some extra trips.  I have become a real homebody and actually dread when I have to go out.  Not sure if that comes with getting older or from all the abuse I went through.  Home, feels safe to me.

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fibromyalgia,,,,

Greetings,

Many of you know I suffer from fibromyalgia and its horrible pain.  On Tuesday I went to the doctor's and got a new pain medicine as I have been having problems with the stuff I was taking before.

So far this seems to be helping the pain a lot.  Unfortunately the side effect is I can't stay awake, LOL.  Well, I am sure my body can use the extra rest I am getting now.  I have not had a solid night's sleep in years from the pain.  Now, I sleep on and off most of the day and pretty much sleep through the night too.  I guess my body needs time to adjust to the new meds.  But sleep is good, it gives the body time to heal.  :-)

Hopefully, tomorrow I will feel up to writing more.

Until then,,,,,, blessings

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Something to ponder,,,,

Greetings!

Here is something to ponder .....

We have all heard things like, "God won't give you more than you can handle."  But are you sure God is the one dishing out the trials and tribulations as well as temptations in your life?  I'm not!!  We have some pretty good examples in the bible to look at.

First, was it God who tempted Adam and Eve in The Garden of Eden?  No!!  It was Satan!!  Satan was the serpent who tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit.  Why on earth would God tempt them and then punish them?  (One of many reasons I hate snakes, they represent Satan and all that is evil.)

A huge example of who tempts, and brings on trials and tribulations can be found in the book of Job.  Satan, the great tempter was the won who caused all the calamities that fell upon Job, not God!!  God allowed it to happen but if you remember He said to Satan, "I know that Job is faithful, do anything you wish as he will not betray me, but do not kill him."  So God allows temptation of His believers but He does not do the tempting.

If Satan is allowed to do whatever he wants to us but kill us, then how can we say God will never give us more than we can handle?  It is not God giving it to us in the first place, it is Satan.  But I will say this,,, it will never be more than we can handle so long as we trust in God and call upon Him.  Always being able to trust in God and call upon Him to handle our problems is often hard when we are knocked down physically and especially emotionally.  But that is what we are called to do and that is the true test of our faith.

I have known a few people in my lifetime that I would call serious, practicing Christians that were knocked down so far by severe trials and tribulations that they tried to commit suicide.  One succeeded the other did not.  The one that succeeded, in my opinion, was given more than he could handle.  Did God do that to him?  No!!  Satan did!!  If you think for one minute that Satan does not have that much power or control in the world then you need to wake up and smell the coffee.  He is losing the war against God and he is not about to go down without a fight and without taking as many of God's children with him that he can.  That is his sole purpose in life, to destroy God's Kingdom.  If you claim to be a part of God's Kingdom, if you endeavor to live a godly life then you must expect frequent attacks from Satan and be prepared for them.

The bible tells us that we need to "put on the whole armour of the Lord."  "We will face trials and tribulations, we will be attacked by the evil one."

I heard a Pastor tells his congregation not long ago that, "If you are a Christian, Satan cannot come up against you."  That is so wrong!!  Satan can and will come up against you.  Whether or not he is successful is up to you!!  How strong is your faith?  Do you put on the whole armour of the Lord?  Will you call upon the Most High to help you and protect you?  Will you stand steadfast in your faith no matter what comes up against you, like Job did?

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Its raining snow!!

Greetings,

I need to keep this short as I have to go out and shovel snow before I head to the doctor's office.  It looks like it is white rain!  Raining snow!  Yes it is coming down fast and furious.  We already have a couple of inches and suppose to get a few more today.  I am praying we make it to the VA with Frank this afternoon, 25 miles south of here.

I am going to keep this short and will try to write something more this evening.  But if I don't you know I am busy shoveling the white stuff.  I don't plan on going any where tomorrow if I can help it.  So if you don't see me here later I will definitely be here tomorrow.

Blessings, Alice

Monday, January 10, 2011

Downsizing the Government,,,,,

Greetings!!

I knew the title of this entry would catch your eye, LOL.

We all know the economy is in pretty bad shape.  So I started thinking about things we could do to change that.  Of course I have my own plans for coping which I have written about before and will again as the mood hits me.

But why can't we downsize the government in much the way big corporations downsize?  Seems to me every time a big corporation downsizes their stocks go up and they make a huge profit.  But lets start at the top.  Do we really need a president?  After all, the president is nothing more than a figure head really.  He may propose things but if congress does not work with him, nothing is going to get accomplished.  Something to think about.  I suppose we do need some sort of person at the top, so we have someone to blame when things don't work.  Us Americans have made a tradition at blaming the President for everything that goes wrong in our lives and our country.  So lets just chew on that one a while.

What about congress?  I wonder if we could do away with half the congressional seats and just make their districts bigger.  Oh, I know, that means they would have to work harder.  But golly gee willikers, when corporate America downsizes the working class is expecting to do twice the work for the same pay or even less.  Lets cut out about half the congressional aids too.  And while we are at, I think Congressmen and Congresswomen can do with less perks and benefits.

They should have to pay income tax on their salary, and pay into social security.  Buy into a standard health insurance plan like the rest of us.  Drive their own cars to work, buy their own auto insurance and gas, just like the rest of us.  Brown bag their lunches or if they do go out to eat, pay for their meal with their own money, not an expense account.  Their retirement funds should be the standard 401K plan just like the rest of us who are lucky enough to have a retirement fund at all.

They should not be able to vote to give themselves a raise.  That should be put in the hands of the general population by vote on election day.  Not doing the best job you can?  Sorry, no raise!!

I know this next suggestion will sound off the wall to some folks, but hear me out.  I think we should do away with political parties.  No more Democrats or Republicans.  My reason for this is simple.  It needs to be put back into the hands of the people and today, we have become a people that vote the party line, no matter whether we think that particular candidate is the best person for the job.  Let's face it, its just easier.  We have become lazy.  We don't really follow in depth the candidates to really know what they stand for.  And as such this is no longer a government by and for the people.

Just imagine what would happen if the America public called most of the shots by vote.  If a candidate could not be elected solely because of the party he/she is affiliated with and actually had to prove their worth in that position.  I think they might actually try harder, and be more honest.  Just think, no more arbitrary spending, it has to be voted on first.  No more, raising or lowering taxes without a vote.  No more pay raises without a vote.  No more appointments without a vote.  We might actually become a government of, by and for the people again!!

Does that mean the America public would have to do some work and be better informed?  Yes it does!!  But you should be any way.  Does that mean you would have to get out and vote for things more often.  Yes it does!  But then we the people of the United States of America would also have to stop complaining and stop saying, "there's nothing I can do about it".  Because yes, there certainly would be something you can do about it!!  Imagine the possibilities!!

Of course, we can not stop there on downsizing the government.  We need to take stock of every governmental office right no down to our local communities.  Where can there be cuts made?  Certainly many offices are a waste of time and taxpayer money.  They serve little to no purpose.  Or they receive perks that are totally absurd.

Is this doable?  I think it is but of course it would take a lot of work and restructuring.  And most importantly, it would take changing the way of thinking in this country after so many years of just following blindly and hoping for the best.

Just my thoughts for the day,,,, until next time,,,,,  blessings!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Get ready,,,,,

Greetings!!

I rarely watch the news any more because it can be so depressing, but last night while I was on my computer, Frank had the news on.  I heard one of the most shocking things I have heard in a long time.  Congress is proposing raising income taxes by a whopping 75%!!  Nearly doubling what you pay.

That coupled with gas prices predicted to go up to $5 a gallon soon, coffee predicted to rise to $30 a can and its down right scary for us poor folk.  The working class if not prepared will not survive.  They think they have too many foreclosures now?  Its like they have us in a snare and are preparing to go for the jugular!

I know, I know, most Americans will say, "there's nothing I can do about it."  Well, yes and no.  Complaints to your congressmen probably will fall on deaf ears but its still worth the try.  But you can do things at home to help you get through this.

Grow as much food as you can yourself.  If you live in an apartment you can grow things in containers.  No, it won't be as much as someone who can have a good sized garden but every little bit will help.  Give yourself a little extra in your food budget when you shop.  An extra $5 or $10 a week can go a long ways in buying canned items to put back for emergencies, or boxed items.  Things that won't spoil.  I know a lady that has taken the closet in her guest bedroom and filled it full of food.

Shop the sales!!  You can save a lot of money if you watch the sale flyer's for your local grocery store and make an effort to only buy what is on a good sale.  It takes a little work and planning but well worth it.  When meat is on a good sale, buy extra, freeze it or can it if you know how.  I taught myself to can many years ago.  The Ball Bluebook of Canning is very resourceful for the new canner.  It gives step by step instructions and recipes.  Canning is not hard but it is time consuming.  Again it is well worth it.

During the Great Depression my grandmother raised 13 children by herself and they never went hungry because she was prepared and was one to can everything. 

Although I like the tastes and textures of foods that are frozen rather than canned, I prefer canning for my emergency supplies.  Why?  Because canning needs no refrigeration!  If the power goes out for any length of time I do not need to worry about my food spoiling.

I also stock up on things like flour, sugar, baking mixes, pasta noodles, etc.  They can be stored for a long time if properly stored.  Put them first in black plastic, then put that in an air tight bucket with lid.  Store in a cool, dark place such as a basement or closet that is not heated.  Why the black plastic and bucket?  Flours and grains will often get bugs if left where the light can get to them.  The plastic and bucket also prevents moisture from getting in and ruining them as well.

Date your stock and rotate it, using up the older items and replenishing it with newer.  This will help keep your emergency supply fresh. 

Store up gallon jugs of water as well.  And of course, date it and rotate it out.  You do not have to buy water for this purpose, you can use your tap.  But be sure to keep it fresh.  Stock up on bleach.  Just a few drops of bleach in the water will make it safe for drinking and cooking.

Personal hygiene items, toilet paper and the like are nice to have a back up supply handy. 

Things are only going to get worse folks.  Its time to get ready!!!

Until next time,,,,,, blessings!

Friday, January 7, 2011

When someone asks you to pray,,,,

Greetings,

A few days ago I wrote about the power of prayer.  Now today I have a question for you.  When someone asks you to pray,,, do you stop what you are doing right then and pray immediately?  Or do you think, I will pray about this later?

I used to be the type that would think, I'll pray about it later.  Unfortunately, most times, later never came.  I let other things occupy my time first.  Essentially, the business of every day living usually got in the way.  Then I would forget and that would be it.  Gone, out of my mind forever!!

Then one day, I asked for prayer.  I got the usual answers of, "yes, I will pray" and found myself wondering,,, 'will they really?'  'Will they get busy and forget?'  God had used this as a lesson for me.  Now, when someone asks me to pray, I immediately stop what I am doing and pray.  You know, prayer only takes a couple of minutes,,, but it does so much.  Just a couple of minutes is not going to take away from anything I need or want to get done.

Prayers don't have to be full of big fancy words, they just need to come from the heart.  God doesn't want us to change who we are or how we talk when we pray.  That would not be sincere. 

In this country the push is on to not allow public praying at all.  They have taken it out of our schools, they are trying to ban public praying altogether,,, but I will not stop!!  On facebook if someone puts out a prayer request,  perhaps for a sick loved one, or some other need,, I will respond with a prayer.  I will not just say, I am praying here if I am not sincerely praying.  I imagine someday, someone will have a complaint about my praying on facebook.  So be it.  I will still pray, complain all you want, it won't stop me.

I often get emails asking me to pray.  Not only do I pray right then but I type in my prayer in the reply email and send it back to them, they can rest assured I prayed.  There is no greater comfort or joy in times of trouble than to know without a doubt someone has prayed for you.

How do I know God really listens?  I have experienced it first hand both in times of trouble and in times of serious health concerns.  I told you about my experience while living in a tent and needing a vehicle.  Now let me tell you about one of my healings that I know without a doubt was the result of sincere, honest, faithful prayer.

This story, in depth would be a little gross so I will try to tame down the details and keep it short.

I had severe diarrhea for nearly 9 months.  Nothing would stop it.  The only thing that kept me from getting severely dehydrated is I drank gallons of water a day.  At that time, I was not aware of how to properly pray for healing.  I was scheduled to meet with a doctor who was going to do a colonoscopy on Monday.  It was like a preliminary meeting before the actual test.  My family doctor was convinced I had cancer due to the other tests I had had up to that point.  There was no doubt in her mind and the colonoscopy would show how bad it was.

The day before I was to meet with the doctor, I watched Pastor John Hagee on TV early that Sunday morning.  Everyone in the house was still asleep.  Pastor Hagee's sermon that Sunday was about faith prayer for healing.  It was a dynamic message!!  Most importantly to me, was how to pray in faith.  How to keep doubt out of your mind.  How to know that God wants to heal you, if you just ask in faith.

As I watched the program I was scribbling down every scripture he quoted. And reading in my bible at the same time.  What he was saying was true!!  At the end of the sermon, he asked those who needed healing to pray with him.  I did.  Then, again I prayed after the program was over with.  I prayed the way he showed us.  I prayed from the heart and I no longer had any doubt that I could and would be healed.

As I prayed, I began to tremble and cry uncontrollably.  I held my arms up, my hands raised towards heaven, welcoming the Holy Spirit to come into me and heal me.  I felt a presence like I had never felt before.  The palms of my hands tingled.  I knew right then and there I was healed.  Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, I kept saying over and over again as I cried.

The diarrhea stopped immediately!!  The next day I got up and kept the appointment even though I no longer felt I needed it.  I drove the hour and a half to the doctor's office, not once stopping to use a rest room.  This in itself was a miracle to me as I had not been able to leave the house for months without knowing where every single bathroom was.

When I arrived at the doctor's I told the doctor I was healed by God and did not need the colonoscopy after all.  Of course he thought I was a nut job and insisted on doing it anyway.  Reluctantly I gave in and let him schedule the colonoscopy but told him he would not find anything wrong.  He said, "according to the medical report you probably have cancer.  We are going to find out."

So three days later I went in for the colonoscopy completely sure they would not find even a pallop.  After the test while I was in the recovery room the doctor walked in to give me the results.  He could not look me in the eye.  There was no cancer!  There were no pallops!!  He said, "there is a pink spot that shows something was there but it is healed."  There is nothing wrong!!

Even with that proof he still refused to acknowledge God healed me.  But I know He did!!!  I asked him, "now do you believe?"  His answer was, "well I don't know what happened here but I know something did."  Foolish man!!  The power of God is awesome!!  He is still on the throne!!  He is still in charge!!  And He is the Great Physician!!  Thank you Jesus!!!!

Until next time,,,, be blessed and don't forget to pray!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

When you are down to nothing,,,, God is up to something!!

Greetings!!

When you are down to nothing,,,, God is up to something!!  The God of the mountains, is still God in the valleys!!

The story of Ted Williams is all over the news these days.  It is a perfect example of God's love and grace.  Ted was down to nothing, deep down in the valley.  But he cried out to God and look what happened!!  God has shown us He is still in control.  He still listens to prayers and answers them.

Some people think it was a coincidence the reporter just happened by where Ted was standing that day with his sign, looking for a job.  I think not!!  As a Christian I know there is no such thing as coincidence.  God moves people to do things.  God moved Ted to stand in that location.  God moved that reporter to be there, to talk to Ted and then to show the clip.

When we are up on the mountains of good times it is easy to thank God for our blessings.  (Some still don't.)  But when we are down in the valleys of bad times, it seems easier to blame God for our troubles instead of thanking Him for what we do have and asking Him to help us.  But when we do reach out to God during those troubles He is ever faithful to get us back on the right path to climbing out of those valleys and back up to the top of the mountains.

God is good, all the time!!!

I pray the Lord blesses Ted Williams and moves him in a mighty way to always show who is in control of his life, the God of the mountains and valleys!  Thank you Jesus for all you have done and all you continue to do!!

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

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Being old fashioned in a modern world,,,,

Greetings,

I like being old fashioned in a modern world.  The old ways were much better in my opinion.  I like taking care of my home more than having a career.  I like making bread from scratch.  I like gardening, canning, freezing and putting up food.  I even like finding new ways to stretch the dollar,,,, especially in this economy.

I don't see anything wrong in being a "stay at home, homemaker".  Nope, I didn't burn my bra with the other feminists.  I don't want a man's job.  I want a man to be the type of man God created him to be.  And I want to be the woman God created me to be.

I like who I am and make no apologies for it.

I am a very loving, caring and giving person.  I am selfless, even when it winds up hurting me to do so.  I do not like this selfish, self-centered world which we live in now.  The me first attitude of most people makes me sick to my stomach.  So many people will miss the boat come judgement day.  This is not the world God created it to be.  How it must break His heart to see so many people behave in such a manner!

I will seek first the old paths and whatsoever things are good and true in His eyes for He comes first and foremost in my life!!

Until next time,,,,,, blessings!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

So many questions, so few answers,,,,

Greetings!

The world economy news is so bad it leaves one with so many questions but few answers.  As many of you know I am working on getting my small ceramics and crafts business going.  But now with predictions of gas rising to $4 a gallon by summer and $5 a gallon by next year the big question is what direction do I take my business in?  My plans seem to be changing faster than I can get merchandise made.

At one point I had planned on advertising in Country Sampler, but the cost of advertising has ruled that out.  They have deadlines 6 months prior to the issue coming out.  And they come out every other month.  So basically if I want to have more than a one time ad, which would be preferable, I would be paying for 3 ads before the first one hits the news stand.  That adds up to a lot of money not knowing if the ad will bring me enough business.  Money I do not have right now.  So with that ruled out for at least the time being, on to the next plan.

I wanted to go to a shop in Arthur, IL and rent a booth to sell my wares.  I have sold there before and believe it has potential.  But Arthur is an hour and a half south of me.  At $4 a gallon for gas that would be another expensive proposition and I would have to raise my prices considerably to cover the cost of gas to get there and back.  Raising my prices too much will cost me business.  So now I am questioning if this is a smart direction to go in.  On to the next plan I had.

I had also planned on selling at 3rd Sunday Market in Bloomington, IL.  It would be about a 45 minute drive to get to the market place.  OK, that is better than going to Arthur, but still would be an added expense in gas that I would have to try to recoup in prices on my wares.  Would it be worth it?  Would it hurt my sales?  Some might say, "well that is the cost of doing business."  And while that is true to a certain degree, you can rest assured that no company will ever just chalk it off to a necessary expense and not try to recoup that money.  You have to, or there is no sense in having a business.  Folks are not in business to give their products away.

So now what?  Along with higher prices will come higher shipping fees.  Will people stop buying on places like eBay and Etsy because of the shipping costs?  When and where does it all stop?

I have heard rumors that coffee will be over $30 a can by the year's end.  Naturally, the price of all food is going up and up and the packages are getting smaller.  How long will it be before people can not afford the extra things in life any more?  I know I can't now,,,  but obviously it is going to get much worse.

I don't mean to sound like I am all doom and gloom but I just don't see anything positive coming out of this economy, especially where my business is concerned.  I do not have a big budget to put into getting this business off the ground.  In fact I don't have much of a budget at all.

I have so many questions and so few answers as to what would be the best direction for me to take at this point.  So, here is a temporary game plan.  Stop, think, and regroup!  I am going to go ahead and work on making inventory, as without that, there is no business anyway, LOL.  As I am doing that I will watch the economy and see what it will do.    I can try my hand at online sales only for a while.  I might not get as many but I think it would at least allow me to keep my prices reasonable as the customer pays the shipping.  Then go from there.

If you have any ideas I sure would appreciate hearing them.

I pray the economy does not get as bad as predicted.  Survival for some will be difficult at best if it does.

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

Monday, January 3, 2011

The power of prayer,,,,,

Greetings!!

God gave us an incredible ability when He gave us the power of prayer.  We can move mountains when we pray in faith.  Actually, God moves the mountains for us,,, but we have to ask in faith.  The bible tells us time and time again to ask in faith, pray in faith, have no doubt what can be done when we pray.

Praying with that kind of faith, with no doubts in our hearts and minds is not always easy.  We have been conditioned to have doubts.  But God says, we can not doubt Him.

Many people will use the Lord's Prayer as their guide for praying.  And you should.  But do not use it in the wrong way!  There are different types of prayers for different circumstances.  When I pray for healing, I already know what God's will is regarding healing.  The bible tells me.  His will is that we be healthy, so therefore I do not use the phrase, "if it is your will."  Why?  Because that phrase causes doubt.  Think about it!  "If", lets the door open for you to think, OK, maybe it is not His will, maybe He won't heal me.

When we pray for healing James 5:15 tells us a prayer in faith will heal.  Pray in faith, accept it, believe it and thank the Lord for it, because you WILL be healed.

In the Lord's prayer we say, "Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."  We are not asking for healing at this time.  We are asking for God's will to be done on earth.  There is a huge difference!!  To ask for God's will to be done, we must first know what His will is.  We can find His will throughout the bible.

Does God ever say no to prayers?  Yes!  Pray for something frivolous or something that will not be good for you in the long run and God will tell you no.  He knows what is best!!  If you ask to win the lottery,,,, chances are pretty good, you will not win it.  Why?  Money can corrupt and cause sin.  It is not that God does not want you to prosper or be rich,,, it is a matter of whether you can handle in a proper and Christian manner that kind of money without making it your God.

God will always provide for your basic needs,,, but not your greed's.  That is a hard concept for some people to accept.  There was a time when I was homeless, living in a tent, at a state park 15 miles from the nearest town, grocery store, post office and phone.  I had no car, so I was basically stranded.  I relied on a friend to come out once a week and bring me into town so I could get some food, go to the post office, etc.  One week I was down to just a sleeve of crackers and a half a jar of peanut butter and waiting for my friend to show up.  He did not, and he had no way to call me.

His car had broken down and was in the shop.  I prayed in faith and asked God for a vehicle.  In poor health I was unable to walk the 15 miles to town to go to the grocery store and I needed food.  I did not ask for a brand new fancy car, just for something that would get me to town and back.  The first thing that happened was God provided me a ride for that day, so I could take care of my immediate need of food.  But three days later a miracle happened!!

There had been an older rather wealthy gentlemen in the state park where I was living.  He was staying in his huge million dollar motor home while he was in a golfing tournament in the area.  Each day he was there he would come and sit with me in the evening by the campfire and talk.  I had told him about my situation, how I was hurt on the job, my employer stopped the weekly TTD and I had lost my home with no income and no ability to work at that point.  I told him how I had heard about camp-hosting as a way to have a place to stay that was safe and I would not get arrested for vagrancy and living on the streets.  I had no where else to go.

I also told him that I was fine and trusted that God would provide and I would make it through this.  Little did I know while talking to this man that he was a Christian.  He kept saying to me that he was surprised that I was not bitter and angry.  I told him we all have trials and tribulations to go through in this life but we can all get through them if we trust in God.

The last day he was there he stopped by my campsite and gave me a large package of flavored crackers he had won in the golf tournament, wished me well and was on his way.  He did not know this but during the time he was there, I was praying for a car to get me around.  Also praying for a way to plate it and get the required insurance on it, so I could be legal.

The very next day,  the park rangers came to my site and said I had a phone call to return from the guy who had been there golfing and they gave me a toll free number and said I could go to the office and use their phone as it sounded urgent.  My first thought was he left something behind and wanted me to find it for him.  Never in my wildest imagination did I think what happened next would happen!!

I walked the mile to the office and dialed the number and asked for the man.  Not sure what to expect.  A couple of minutes later he came on the phone.  To make a long story short,,,  he felt the need to help me.  He said,,, I have a mini van you can have.  It is old but in decent shape.  If you can get a ride up here, I will have it ready to go.  The ride was about 2 1/2 hours north of my location.  I called my friend who had been coming out to bring me into town once a week and said can you take me up there, he said yes.  So we made plans for his next day off to take me up near Chicago.

At this point I still did not know how I was going to put plates on the van, gas in the tank or insurance but this was a step of faith.  Because I knew if God was answering my prayer and providing a vehicle he would also provide a way for me to get it back and take care of the essentials of getting it on the road legally.  So off we went.

When we arrived at "Bill's" business, not only did he give me the van, he gave me a check with enough money to buy a new battery as it needed one, put plates on it, fill the tank and pay for the first 3 months of insurance.  God is so very good!!!  He does answer faithful prayer!!

I have also received total healing of serious health conditions through faithful prayer.  I'll tell you about those another time.

Until next time,,,, keep the faith!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gardening Days ahead,,,,,,

Greetings!!

I am so looking forward to the gardening days ahead.  The other day I sat down with my favorite seed catalogue and started planning out my garden and what I want to grow this year.  I plan on starting all the plants from seed myself this year too.  I am so excited!!

I plan on using only Heirloom seeds this year.  While its true hybrid seeds are more disease resistant, they are treated with chemicals, which I don't like.  They also do not produce a quality seed for saving to use for the next year.  Heirlooms have been around for decades if not centuries and most, to me anyway, seem to have the best quality produce.  I want to be able to save seed from one year to the next making the only expense in my garden, my time.  Oh how much money can be saved on the food budget when you do things yourself!!  Not to mention the satisfaction that comes along with it.  :-)

I plan on having two types of tomatoes this year.  Some for cooking and canning and some for eating fresh off the vine.  I am going to grow sweet corn, potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage, lettuce, radishes and green beans.  Broccoli and Cauliflower are also on the list as well as Rhubarb, pickling cucumbers and butternut squash.  I think I need to throw in a plant or two of green peppers as I use those in my spaghetti sauce that I like to can.

I prefer most of my vegetables frozen but I do can a certain amount to put back for emergencies.  Besides, there is only so much room in my freezer, LOL.  The one thing that canning does that I really like, is the food will not spoil if we lose power for any length of time.  If canned properly, food will not spoil no matter how long it is on the shelf.  What it will do however, over time is lose some of its flavor.  After about 3 years the flavor starts to deteriorate.  The food is still safe to eat though.  I rotate out my stock so it does not sit that long.

Of course some things are never frozen like pickles or pickled beets.  Frank and I both love pickled beets so I plan to plant a lot of beets this year.

Someone had planted a lot of strawberry plants around the foundation of this house in the back.  I plan on getting out there and working on them this spring as they have not been cared for in a very long time.  This past year they produced a very tiny fruit, unusable, but that is how I discovered they were there.  So first signs of them popping up this year I will get out and thin the plants out and cultivate really good.  I'll apply an organic fertilizer to them and hopefully will get some nice fruits to use for jellies, jams and pancake syrup.  They'll be great fresh on cereal and ice cream too.  They seemed to be the everbearing variety so that will keep us stocked in fresh strawberries the entire summer.

I also plan on growing a few herbs for cooking and for medicinal  purposes.  Echinacea is a wonderful immune system booster and natural antibiotic.  Chamomile makes a wonderful tea and is used for relaxing and helping you sleep.  This list goes on and on, perhaps some day I will write about herbs and their medicinal properties.

The next job I have besides ordering and starting seeds is getting some grafting paper and laying out my garden.  I like to do this in advance to know exactly where everything will be planted.  It makes it easier in the long run and it also helps me to see if I have either room to pop something else in or perhaps add more of a favorite.  I tend to do a little "square foot gardening" as well as "companion gardening".  Both of these methods of gardening help me to fit more in my garden and make the best use of my space.

Basically, square foot gardening is getting the most in the smallest amount of space.  Certain plants can be planted closer together than what a seed packet call for.  You need to know how big that plant will actually get to know how close it can be to the next one.

Companion gardening is planting certain things together because they can benefit each other.  For example, if you plant your tomatoes then sprinkle your carrot seeds around your tomato plants they benefit each other.  Certain pests will leave your carrots alone because the tomato plant is poisonous to them.  If you plant sweet corn, once it is up about 4 inches plant pole beans around the corn plants the pole beans will grow up the corn stalks and you have a natural pole for them to grow on and you save space in your garden.  There are tons of neat little tricks like this I try to use.

Well, I have to get busy here for the day.  Until next time,,,,,,,  happy garden planning!!