A post with a rather different tone….

Its just like that….
Could I safely say this is how I feel right now?
Isn’t that how I always do? 
Even sub-consciously. 
I haven’t been writing lately because I happened, before Thanksgiving, to come up on this rather difficult 
section in the last scene I was working on. 
Keeping close in the shadows of the more-solid buildings, I made my way slowly towards the stone fortress of Hold…but not for obvious reasons.
Realizing the extent of the danger we were so suddenly in…a precipitate fear…violent and possessing…had gripped me…such as I had never felt before….
Or an energy….
I could not label it….
But it was beyond my reason to move without its force…. My mind dominated by only one thing, it pushed me on…slowly…cautiously…but ever forward…towards the dark, morbid walls of that stone prison-house….
And…I was in no wise over-zealous for my goal….
As I reached Hold the screeching, green door was being pulled open before me. 
I jumped over the drunken guard – who still lay, serenely oblivious to every danger, before the narrow doorway – and pulled myself through the opening door not two seconds too soon….
A scream pierced the night-blacked room…glass shattered…and I found a grasp on her wrist….
“You’re not taking one step from here, lass,” I silenced her… my eyes were slowly adjusting to the dim light…I could see her…tense…panting….
“You nearly scared me half to death!” she wrung her arm from my grasp, and tried to step round me to see out the door. 
I stepped before her and blocked her way….
“You’re not taking one step from here, lass,” I repeated…my voice hoarse…

This scene has more to it, but this is all I felt comfortable with sharing…since it is very rough
and further on only gets rougher.
I’ve had no inspiration to dive in and work so hard to iron all this out. 
I’ve been busy about the house, with my family, with Thanksgiving, with the farm….
But now things aren’t looking quite so cheery or nice around here….
With work looming over us, 
and the realization that in a few days or weeks we will be back to that routine….
up at 5, to chores at 6, (if you notice that give you one hour to make up your bed and room, dress, read your Bible and study, write in your diary, and write – or either fb or blog, you have to choose which is more important; story or social – and it also puts you down at the barn in the near-dark….it was dark before day light savings ended; wonderful way to check out the goats, isn’t it?) work at 8 (commute is almost an hour, and you have to give time to pack lunch and grab breakfast), work ’till between 1 or 3 when we stop for lunch (supper), then back to work ’till between 5 and 7 depending on how much we’ve gotten done and how much we have left to do, home at last, chores in the dark, to bed by 9 if we can manage to get the van unpacked, lunch ready for the next day, dishes and laundry in, and our showers done before then, and try to go to sleep before 11 so you can get up again at 5…..
Oh boy….
I’m not mentioning the other problems in between all this.
Family troubles and the neighborhoods we work in….
I’m glad to work with my family. 
I love working together.
And I love the freedom of having our own business. 
If I feel bad one day I just say so….
No one expects you to be a feel-good-every-day-work-machine.
But I am not happy with how hectic this work makes our lives –
nor how, when we are not working everything seems to be about bids, getting up bids,
calling subs, talking to city officials, organizing meetings with home owners….
It just never seems to stop. 
There’s no “I’m not bringing work to home with me.”
Its always here…Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – and even Sunday!
I just want a quiet life at home.
I just want a happy family where we’re all focused on serving the Lord Jesus –
not on making money. 
I know in order to live we have to make money – we can’t pay bills, buy things etc. etc. etc. without money.
The world runs on money.
But we don’t have to run on money!
Can’t making money to pay our bills be part of our lives instead of being our lives?
I’ve been able to survive the past few weeks since we left the job at Gatewood
because I don’t think about it. 
That’s one way I’ve taught myself to handle things….
I ignore problems, and just don’t think about them until I just have to.
Like now. 
We spent the entire day yesterday riding through very bad areas of town
looking at houses to bid on
when we already have low-bid on two houses in the last package and haven’t even
begun work on them yet!
The plan is to spend this morning (i.e. today) looking at the rest of them.
All total; 15 houses.
And to bid on them on Thursday.
And we haven’t even begun the other jobs yet! 
Faced with this sort of frustration I pray and pray and pray….
I know the Lord Jesus will answer me, He will hear me, He will guide our lives according to His will. 
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”

But I know man’s actions, behavior, and decisions can sometimes hinder His will –
and cause those involved a great deal of heartache and pain while the mess must be cleaned up
so His will can take IT’s rightful place. 
He always is my Comfort.
But my flesh is so great an obstacle. 
– like now, my friends –
I can’t seem to shake my worries and frustration enough….
But still He provides.
He has created me to feel I have two choices.
Three really.
Argue about these problems.
(Which usually will not get anyone anywhere….)
Run away and cry.
(Have I done this before!)
Frustrated, burdened, and against a brick wall in my mind,
I’m going to do like often I find myself doing 
– whether I want to or not –
completely submerge myself into another world where I can momentarily escape all 
my troubles. 
Another place where – though dark, difficult, and troublesome it might’ve seemed only a couple weeks ago –
I now find a quiet haven.
Where I can be myself again.
Where I don’t have to cry….
“Did the really, really bad trouble hurt you, Papa?” he asked, in almost a whisper.
I nodded…, “It still does,” my throat ached….
Those memories….
The past….
My entire life….
I closed my eyes for just a moment…just long enough to try to reorder my thoughts…but it was useless…utterly useless….
I was not myself….
Not the man I wanted…or I thought I had…to be….
The guilt….
The pain…..
It hurt….
“How Papa?” he looked up at my face, his head lying on my shoulder, “How does it still hurt you if it happened so long ago?”
“Because it was my fault, Michael,” I swallowed the sharp pain in my throat as best I could…but it would not go away, “Sometimes it takes time for a man to live down the mistakes he makes in his youth, lad,” I tried to explain it as simply as I could, “I just never have lived mine down,” never…would I ever? “The outcome was too awful for me to get over it quickly,” I added quietly, “I still can’t get over it.”
The young boy was silent, his small, thin hand toying with a disengaged, bone button of my shirt, “I love you, Papa.”
An Unlikely Love

Cranberry Pie

Every year now we buy packages of fresh cranberries and make our own 
cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.
Naturally, its not the strained, jellied kind, but its just as good, much more healthy, and wonderfully homemade. 
Apart from cranberry sauce, however, we haven’t ever though of doing anything different
with these papery, tart berries….
until this year. 
Ever since I was a very young girl I have been oh! so thankful for libraries. 
They are a complete gold mine of buried treasures for the young mind seeking to expand its horizons,
for the writer desperately needing facts to complete her story, 
for the homemaker needing tips on housekeeping, sewing, gardening, farming….
or cooking.
With our last visit to the wonderful library the Lord has allowed the near-by county to have,
(you know, some counties don’t have libraries worth speaking of….),
the Lord allowed me to chance by the interesting title of;
The Fannie Farmer Baking Book
I picked it up and gave it to K, because she’s the one who’s so interested in baking…
(cakes etc.).
as it turns out it not only had cakes etc, in this cook book, it is also 
packed full of recipes for pies, cookies, breads (sweet and savory) and anything else you could 
think of that would be deemed ‘baked good’.
And best of all, its an old-fashioned style, simple-type cookbook, without all the fancy, up-to-date
language, pictures etc. (though I do love a cookbook with pictures. :).
In it we found a delicious recipe for this Cranberry Pie…the first we ever heard of,
as well as a wonderful, wonderful recipe for a pie crust 
(that was not the sweet, short-cut, press-in crust we have been using).
Almost everyone at Thanksgiving was convinced this was a cherry pie. 🙂
And cranberries are so, so healthy for you too!
I think if the crust was made with part wheat flour this would be a tremendously nutritious recipe.
Cranberry Pie
Pie dough enough for a 9″ two-crust pie
3/4 cup sugar (we used honey)
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2/1/2 cups whole cranberries (you can also use whole cranberry sauce, or fresh, frozen cranberries – just don’t thaw the berries before using)
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup lemon juice (I would use less lemon – 1/4 to 1/2 or so maybe)
Preheat oven to 425* F.
Line a 9″ pie pan with half the rolled out dough, then roll out the remaining dough, as for a top crust, and cut strips for a lattice top. 
Combine the sugar (or honey), flour salt, and water in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and mix well. Place over medium heat and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. {The flour will work fast, so watch it carefully; use a whisk to stir, and you may have to remove it from the heat every so often to keep it from getting lumpy.}
Add the cranberries and cook, stirring for one minute more. { You may have to cook for longer, depending on what sort of berries you used; we used our berries we had frozen, so it took longer to heat them up and start them cracking – don’t mash them. }
Remove from heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Spoon the mixture into pie shell. Arrange the lattice strips on top. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until nicely browned. 
Serve warm.
“Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.”
Proverbs 16:8

Thanksgiving Day

After days of cleaning, cooking…
and of course a lot of fun in preparing….
Turkey took a bath before it jumped in the oven. 🙂
Daddy tested recipes for us. 🙂 😉 
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls – love this new recipe and pray everyone else did to! 🙂
Carra baked a special, marble Chocolate cake and decorated it. 
We even moved our new stove in and hooked it up where the dryer goes so
we could bake the turkey and do other things too!
If you think this is a smokey picture….
it is…
the cake cooked-over and spilled onto the element!
WOW did we have smoke! 🙂
Turkey Day was finally here! 
We spent the day at home
visiting with our two sisters and brother-in-laws, and our nephew and his family.
(I wonder if this was too painful for K….maybe I should have cut the cake? 🙂
It isn’t usual we all get together at one time.
So it was special to all get together and enjoy a big, healthy meal, good talk,
and each other’s company! 
I thank the Lord Jesus for these opportunities to visit and enjoy our family here on earth. 
We even got to give the boys a little lesson in milking! 🙂 
But…Turkey Day has come and gone already!
Its over all too soon!
For another year….
“Rejoice evermore.

Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I Thess. 5:16-18

May we do this today….
and everyday!

30 Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 22

I am thankful this morning to my precious Savior for my dear and loving parents.
I love you, Mama and Daddy!
You mean so much to me, and have taught me so much in the Lord Jesus 
through these 21 years. 
I continue to learn from you, and always will!
Thank you both for serving the Lord Jesus and teaching me His Ways and loving me in 
His Love.
I love you both!
Happy Thanksgiving!

30 Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 21

I am thankful to the Lord Jesus today for the special gift of sisterhood
His is in us.
For the joining of three hearts – though oceans divide them –
in the bond of His Life and Love.
I am thankful today for our sister, 
Maddy Douglas.
We love you, dear Maddy!!

30 Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 20

I am thankful today for the little surprises Jesus sets in our way. 
Look at what we found today out in one of our trees by the driveway! 
An actual wild honeybee hive – probably a swarm from 
one of our near-by hives. 
Aren’t these little bees the marvelous handiwork of the Lord?
To think that they could make these delicate combs – right out in the open.
I pray they survive the cold winter and stay here for years to come. 🙂
Won’t it be lovely to watch it grow and change?

Can you find the hive in this tree? 
What little surprises are you thankful for today?

In over-drive….

I guess we were in pre-Thanksgiving mode today.
As if we aren’t going to have enough cooking to do with Thursday 
coming up far too fast,
we spent most of the day today in the kitchen….
making sweet treats for our friends (and ourselves 🙂 and mixing up a nice 
hot pot of curried pumpkin soup.
(Recipe to come. 🙂
Carra has been dreaming of making tartlets for our 
friends round town here.
She originally had the idea of mini-chicken pot pies, but as it turns out
sweets won out again….
now our kitchen is surrounded by mini pecan pies and pumpkin pies,
as well as a couple large pumpkin pies. 🙂
These are delicious, K. 🙂
Thanks so much for making them!
(the teapot in the background is one Carra picked up at the fundraiser 
yardsale Saturday. Works wonderfully. 🙂

Pumpkin Tartlets.
I think pumpkin would have to be my favorite pie.
Pumpkin minus the whipped topping too! 🙂
More pumpkin….
yummy pumpkin…. 🙂
And for supper…
more pumpkin. 🙂
Pumpkin Curried Soup.
Carra and I love it! 🙂
How are ya’ll preparing for Thanksgiving?
Are you in over-drive yet? 🙂

If anyone is wondering about my blog-change, please look through the pages above and especially read “The Reason Why”
It should explain somewhat. 🙂 
I’ll probably do a post on it later.

30 Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 19

I’m thankful today for the Lord’s granting us the ability to grow a garden,
and for giving us such a wonderful Daddy who can teach us!
These beautiful – but little – tomatoes are some of the last of our crop. 
We have the others wrapped in newspaper in a box. 
These are slowly ripening…we should be able to have fresh tomatoes again
with our Thanksgiving supper! 🙂
What are you thankful to the Lord for today?

30 Days of Thankfulness ~ Day 18

I an thankful for the cold. 🙂 
Last winter it stayed pretty comfortable all season.
And through the summer we had a lot of trouble with parasites, 
diseases, and extreme heat – for the animals, crops, and us!
we have been praying for a good, cold winter.
Yesterday we went down to a nicely frosted barn yard. 🙂 
Thank the Lord for the cold!!