Dec 27, 2013

Finding God's Provision

This Christmas, I have learned, perhaps, the most valuable lesson of the year.  "What lesson?" You ask.  I have learned to recognize God's Provision.  We can do this by stopping, observing, and looking at what is in front of us instead of dwelling on what is not.  He meets our needs everyday but we miss it in the moment, only in hindsight do we see.  

My family determined this year, we were not going to make Christmas a consumption fest.  We were not going to run ourselves ragged or go broke buying gifts.  We kept that promise and the blessings of the Season were amazing.  By looking to the things He already had given us, we bagged all of our presents with last year's bags and tissue paper.  By praying for his provision, we had a bottle of wine when we needed to bring something to a friend's party, we had the ingredients for cookies and cake so we could bring some food.  When our son brought a friend home for dinner, unexpectedly, we cut the chicken breasts in half and shared the food we had on the table.  The next morning when there was four eggs and three slices of bacon, I made 5 omelets and toast and everyone went away full and satisfied.  As I am looking for wood chips, compost, and mulch for my new Back to Eden Garden, neighbors bag their leafs up and leave them on the side of the road, tree services deliver wood chips, and the neighbors who keep chickens say I can have as much manure as I want.  I've desired a compost bin for a while and I now have free pallets to use to make one.  Since the birth of my Sister's first baby in 2007, I have purchased special ornaments for each child.  This year, the $80 ornament was just not in the budget, I was sad about this and rationalized that I would buy it next year and he would never know the difference.  I got a promotional email and for a limited time the ornament was 50% off!  It was still the most expensive present I bought this year but I was so proud of it.  I was so thankful to the Lord that I was not embarrassed over my lack of funds and I was so blessed to be able to keep the tradition.  Looking back over this year, these are just a scant few examples, but I think you get the gist. 

In all of the above small situations, I could have looked at what I did not have, I could have bought what I wanted on credit, I could have tried to provide for myself but I would have failed.  Instead, I made a choice to appreciate what I did have and the experience was so much richer.  I felt blessed, I felt as if I was a good steward, and the excitement of Christmas has returned to my heart.

So dear friends, I implore you to make a paradigm shift in your thought life and learn to appreciate what God has given you.  It will take some creativity, it will take a humbleness, and it will give you back more than you can ever imagine.

Dec 23, 2013

Back To Eden Approach

Abigail and Dolley readers I have had a very interesting year, to be sure.  Personally and professionally, the ups and downs of 2013 have changed me, again.  I've learned to trust the Lord in a new way, it's an exercise, something I have to practice but it is there never the less.  As we approach Christmas, people will ask you what you want and in spite of three years of lack, I find that the Lord has supplied all of my needs.  When my husband asked me if I would like for him to build me a new vegetable garden, my eyes light up, well... like Christmas!

Some of my regular readers will know that I have seasons of "The Mad Gardener" in me.  Over the years, I have written often about the escapades in gardening and it is one of the activities I truly enjoy, sometimes....  I say sometimes because frankly it is often back breaking toil in the brutal heat.  I haven't been terribly healthy this year and I AM (horror) getting older.  Thus, I am looking for a simpler and less labor intensive method.

I am a beacon for mosquitoes.  This year, I could barely step outside without being attacked.  I would spray down with Deet for long afternoons in the garden but who wants to spray that stuff to take a simply mosey?  Merely stepping outside would bring a hoard of the blood suckers which result in painful fifty cent piece knots that itch for hours.

So, the garden, while weeded, trimmed, and freshly pine needled has not gotten my passionate attention or care.  It has been several years since the Kitchen Table Scholar in me set my mind to horticulture and in the intervening years I have come to embrace the organic lifestyle.  Hence, it was time to brush up and learn as much as I could about doing this chemical free.

Rabbit trailing around, I found the Back to Eden Garden Film which combines love of the Lord with gardening.  Hello!  You have my attention.  I was blessed beyond measure and have in the intervening weeks watched the film three times.  We are finishing another yard project in the coming days and after Christmas will begin the process of laying down our own Back to Eden Garden,  I promise to document the steps and the results along the way.  For your own enjoyment, please watch the film,

Dec 1, 2013

Peacock Christmas Tree

Abigail and Dolley readers I adore Christmas and look forward every year to creating a wonderful tree.  Here is this year's Peacock Inspired Tree.