One Weed at a Time

Dusk came.
The reddish sun had already retired, But I still had light for a good 15 min.
Anyone with a garden knows that every little bit helps.

So I grabbed my gloves and a bucket – prepared for hand to leaf combat with the little invaders creeping up under my tomatoes.

It's amazing how something so simple can be so satisfying. With every weed I threw in my bucket another burden rolled off my shoulders. As Prayers bubbled up and spilled out of me as I cleaned the beds of our small garden, so too the Master Gardener pulls the "weeds" from my heart.

This week. That conversation. Her heart. His pain. My hope. Their safety. Will I? Can they? How can we? But what if…!?

Deep breath. Exhale.

The sweet smells of summer..
Warm dirt.
Tomato leaves.
Blackberry breeze.

Deep breath. Exhale.

My bucket is full.
And my burdens are easy.

There are still some weeds.
I still have some burdens.
But with the weeds away the plants can focus on their purpose! To grow and thrive and be beautiful and be fruitful.

My own weeds have been traded in for thankfulness.

My bucket is full.

Poland… the Beautiful, the Hospitable 

Poland.

Our western history colors this land with sadness. Oppressive leadship and communist influence are the first impressions, at least from the American perspective.

However, happily, my business trip over 2 weeks and 3 cities is pulling back the shroud and educating me on a lively and colorful people who are hospitable and hard working. 


I think, it’s possible, the people here don’t mind the rest of the world thinking they are grey and have little to offer. When, in fact, they are thriving and the cities are pulsing with art, music, and industry. 


I predict this country won’t be hidden for much longer. There is too much happening for them to be ignored!

Honest, Necessary, Chocolate Chip Cookies

When life is a little more than I can handle… or I’m feeling “whelmed” (you know, neither under now or just… meh.)

Or as in this case, my co-worker does me a huge favor, so, as a thank you, I asked him what kind of cookies he wanted. His response, “Chocolate chip!”

 

 

I am MORE than happy to oblige.

I turn to my favorite, and most used, chocolate chip cookie recipe in the Rothsay Minnesota Cookbook. This book is a life essential for me… seriously HOW do you survive without one!? GO! Add it to your eBay search.

Your life will be better, happier, and when you are out marching, protesting, or scanning social media to see which of your friends need some cookies after hanging out at the airport late at night, or maybe they just need a reminder that TODAY has more than a few reasons to smile… not the LEAST of which is THIS cookie recipe… THEN… YOU TOO can go to THIS RECIPE!!!

img_7770-1

God bless you, Mrs. Harley Nord! You have made my life better.

*Note: My recipe change for you inter web viewers

Recipe Adjustments

  • 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup coconut oil instead of shortening
  • “No nuts” is ALWAYS an option… use more flour and chocolate chips or replace with another grain for flavor and texture.
  • Weather & elevation pending… you will need another 1/2 – 1 cup flour! (That is the science behind great baking.) My house is around 250 feet above see level and in the rainy Seattle winter I need around 3/4 to get the right consistency.

While the first batch is in the oven be sure to put the coffee on! Enjoy!

Cookie

 

 

 

Answered Prayers… My Prayer Box Part 2

Denby the Shire Cat was curled up on his blue fleece blanket. Pandora was streaming just the right music. A small candle cast a lovely glow across my vintage sowing machine desk. My space was set with a perfectly warm and pensive mood. With tea in hand, I began to read.

One by one…

I read and reflected.

Hundreds of little prayers written on 2 inch slips of paper.

Folded, dated, and oft forgotten.

The year from my heart unfolded in front of me… heartache, tragedy, death, and loneliness was balanced by the joys and delights of healing, forgiveness, strength, patience, provisions, and much more!

I was AMAZED at how much God cares for the little things in life. I prayed: big and small, asking for provision for someone, healing for another, encouragement there, conviction here… and God answered! His gifts of peace, healing, work, encouragement, inspiration, and hope. The answers came in ways I I couldn’t have thought of filled up and filled the calendar in front of me. In His Mercy, things often didn’t go the way I would’ve chosen… for His Glory and my good. Sometimes, He said a straight up, “No. That is not the road I’m taking you.” In a several situations, it was months later that I was shown a hint of why the Lord chose certain things.

This made me stronger.

Not every prayer was answered. For many of those, I don’t know if I’ll ever know how a situation resolved, but many of them I added the date and dropped back in the box, knowing that those situations are still on my heart and I am excited to see how and when God will answer them.

He took my pain, loneliness, and concerns and gave me hope, peace, and direction. Throughout this time of reflection my faith was watered and bloomed! I wait with renewed hope and anticipation over all that He is going to do this next year… I might even need a bigger box!

May Jesus show you His handiwork in, through, and around you!

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Happy New Year!

My Prayer Box

I have a box standing ready at all hours of the day or night… waiting to receive.


It is my Divine Post Office. Several times a week throughout 2016, I would stop by and drop in prayers. Sometimes with tears and a troubled spirit, I would struggle to write the little prayer on the scrap of paper. Other times with joy and delight, I would drop by to post a note of thanks or celebration. 

Whenever my heart was overwhelmed or overjoyed, I came knowing the Lord would be listening. With determination and trust, I would date and drop the little paper into the box, slip the latch in place, and be on my way, more often than not lighter and strengthened to face the trials and triumphs of the day. 

Between today and tomorrow, I get to go back and read through the full box of papers and reflect on all that God has done with my heart and life. 

I’ll let you know how it goes…

Today for Yesterday… Never.


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.” 


Pacific Northwest Hobbit Life

  • 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.

 

Rainy Day Chocolate Chip Cookies

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…
    •  add
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 1 tsp soda

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!

Cookie

 

 

Annie Mae’s Current Reading List

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
LEngle BESBright Evening Star: Mystery of the Incarnation, Madeline L’Engle

 

 

 

 

December – January
Light in My Darkness, Catherine Marshall

Marshall LIMD

 

 

January – February
The Mercy Watson Series, Kate

Mercy Watson

 

 

 

 

January
Epic, John Eldridge

Elderige E

 

 

 

 

 
(September)-February
A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside, Susan BranchBranch AFR

 

 

 

 

 

February-March

A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken

Vanauken ASM

 

 

 
April
Peter and the Star Catchers, Dave Berry & Ridley Pearson

Peter

 

 

 

 

 

 

April – May Currently Reading
Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. LewisReflections on the Psalms

The Mystery of God’s Will, Charles S. Swindoll

Swindoll MOGW

 

 

 

 

 

Next up-
Isle of Dreams, Susan Branch

Branch IOD

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s on YOUR Reading List?