I think I have a small idea of why the Lord uses grapes in so many analogies in the Bible…
Because WHEN grapes come… they come in abundance! We have so many grapes, there is no way we will be able to eat them all. I picked 20 pounds to take to church to share with my friends and there is easily 20 more pounds left on the vine! This is from 1 grapevine!!!
This is the picture of God’s extravagant love for us!
Today, I am so thankful for my Shire Life.
May the Lord remind YOU of His great love for you in some abundant way. Maybe it will be grapes!? Maybe pumpkins… only God knows!
And dirt… Is incredibly good for the soul!
Shire life means being a good steward of all that God has given us. I have more apples than time and my tomatillo plants have bushed out and fallen over onto my squash. It’s a beautiful problem. I spent half the morning pulling weeds and coaxing tomatoes back into their cages.
Productive. Quiet. Fresh. Focused. Me, God, dirt, and Denby the Shire Cat.
If you have yet this season… Go get some dirt under your nails. Pick some berries. Hunt for potatoes. It’s amazing the perspective one can find in a little but of dirt.
We all wish we could go back… Take back… Change a response… Take the right instead of the left… Speak up… Stand up… Shut up… Wait… Listen…
But what’s done is DONE! Gone. Finished. Behind us.
Just like the morning mist on the valley creeping through to wake up the flowers for the day – each morning brings NEW opportunity to start fresh.
I wouldn’t trade today for 100 yesterday’s.
“His mercies are new everyday.”
Rockin’ this Monday!
What are YOU listening to?
“You must plant your seeds with care
What you sow will blossom there
Keep your garden free from sin
Plant wisdom from above with in.”
~ Ants’hillvania ~ circa 1981
My first lessons in gardening I learned from a record player.
Before & After
- Everyday begins and ends with a cup of tea.
- Books from the last 2 centuries adorn shelves and surfaces around the house – The oldest and most beloved are kept on shelves with glass doors.
- Food is enjoyed – preparation, serving, eating – makes the cleaning up worth it.
- Dessert is delighted in for anything that can be called a special occasion.
- Bird watching is a daily endeavor.
- Watching the weather and discussing it is not small talk; it is an important facet of life.
- Golden hour: right before sunset, when the trees dance in the last of the day’s sunshine, is meant to be openly admired – it is never the same.
- An open or cast iron fireplace is a necessary part of life.
- Music happens everyday.
- This weekend we are planting the potatoes and tomatoes.
- The Cat is appropriately named after British Pottery (Mine is Denby the Shire Cat).
- Work boots are as necessary as bare feet on a sunny afternoon.
- We work hard so that we can play hard and rest well.
You’ll have to stop by sometime and see for yourself… I really do live in the Shire.
Have you ever noticed that chocolate chip cookies are always a good idea? Seriously, there is never a bad time to make them. (Its your own fault if you eat too many!)
Rainy Day Chocolate Chip Cookies
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together well
- 3/4 cup butter (ideally room temperature)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (same here)
Then mix in –
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
Blend these together well – Remember –Homogeneity is the goal! (At this point, you should probably stick your finger in the batter… cuz butter and sugar!? Duh. It’s caramel in its pre-mutated state!)
Add – mixing in 1 at a time
- 2 eggs (also room temperature)
Add and mix –
- 1 cup of flour then BEFORE mixing this in…
Now mix thoroughly then scrape the sides of the bowl before adding –
- 1 more cup flour
- 1/2 cup oat meal (optional) if not this – then you’ll need at least another 1/2 a cup of flour depending upon the weather and your altitude. SO, I don’t understand this scientifically, I just know this practically. at 300 feet sea level in the Pacific Northwest, in May, (so its damp), I need to add at least 1/2 cup of flour more than the recipe actually calls for. Otherwise the cookies will be very flat and crispy. So if you want flat and crispy, use less flour! This is the beauty of chemistry in baking.
Now for the good stuff!
- 1 cup of chocolate
- my favorite just now are Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate baking chips. This is totally up to you! Milk, dark, white, whatever you like. You can even do raisins with an added tsp of cinnamon or craisins with white chocolate.
- At this point you can always throw some nuts in if you go for that sort of thing… but if so do only 2 parts chocolate to 1 part nuts. For a total of 1 cup of extra-delights. Yeah, right… like ANYONE is going to put in less chocolate! lol.
On a baking sheet drop ping-pong ball size dollops of dough. Its a good idea to attempt to make them all the same size. This way they will bake evenly. Place tray on middle rack in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Be sure to note whether your oven cooks hot or fast or any other quirk that is inevitable in your kitchen.
During the 12 minutes: make yourself a cup of tea, coffee, or pour milk over ice, and eat a cookies worth of dough while preparing the next sheet.
Cookies will be light brown with a little bit of crispness to them. DO NOT OVER BAKE… because none of us really like really crispy cookies! Use a spatula to remove the cookies from the sheet right away, place on plate, cooling rack, or sideboard.
Then enjoy with your beverage of choice!
My friends know that I love to read… the truth is I need to read… I crave the fresh perspective, challenge, and delight found in a good story. I recommend ALL of the books below. Please let me know if you have any questions! I’d be happy to elaborate on any and all of them!
November – January
Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the Incarnation, Madeline L’Engle
December – January
Light in My Darkness, Catherine Marshall
January – February
The Mercy Watson Series, Kate
Epic, John Eldridge
A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside, Susan Branch
A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken
Peter and the Star Catchers, Dave Berry & Ridley Pearson
April – May Currently Reading
Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis
The Mystery of God’s Will, Charles S. Swindoll
Isle of Dreams, Susan Branch
What’s on YOUR Reading List?
According to Google –
“In order to protect itself from irritation, the oyster will quickly begin covering the uninvited visitor with layers of nacre — the mineral substance that fashions the mollusk’s shells. Layer upon layer of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, coat the grain of sand until the iridescent gem is formed.”
So we too should accept the “irritations” and life’s challenges, cover them in prayer – learn from them and see them for what they really are. Continue to cover them in prayer trusting that God has given you the strength to continue on.
Watch… wait… pray… trust… we will see our irritations turned into “pearls” – treasures that make this life even more beautiful.
*Thank you, Allie, for inspiring me today!