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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Lazy Summer Day

I'm having a lazy summer day. I say that with guilt as I have many things that I need to get done. Not on my 'to do' list but still an accomplishment, I clipped this beautiful David Austen Heritage rose early this morning. Isn't she lovely?

Maybe that's where it started because as soon as I inhaled the sweet fruity fragrance of the rose, I became intoxicated with laziness. As the day began to warm, the crickets started to buzz, and the birds began to chatter, I just continued to fall deeper into my lazy stupor.

I can tell that this is going to be one of those days when the hour just before hubby comes home from work, will be one of my most productive hours of the day. There will be magazines to put away, dishes to load, vacuuming to be done, dinner to prepare...any sign of productivity gets thrown in during this time.

S t r e t c h...and that hour has arrived, so off I go.

Scenes From A Birthday

My mother treated Mr. Sweet Pea and I to a lovely lunch at the Gaylord Palms Resort for my birthday. This place is unbelievable. All situated under a huge glass dome, there are multiple restaurants, bars, shops, the world-renowned Canyon Ranch Spa, and lush tropical settings to explore. And of course there is the resort itself. Take a tour with me...

The herb garden just outside the restaurant we dined at.

The view up to the dome from where we sat.

Beautiful tropical setting.

A cute little cabin tucked among the vegetation where you could sit.

Under the wooden walkway.

Can you see the gators on the rock?

A tunnel to explore.

The dome. Unbelievable.

Beautiful rock formations.

The turret at the castle modeled after the one in St. Augustine FL.

Gorgeous driftwood nestled among the plants.

Look at this moss covered seating near the restaurant.

Enter Key West--one of the restaurants.

The boat where you can dine or just hang out and have a drink.

There's even a beach...

Progress in the Vegetable Garden

If you have been following this blog you will know we've been busy establishing our new square foot garden. Pictures of our square foot garden at our previous house can be found here and throughout the archives up to late June 2007 when we moved here. This garden has been 2 years in the making as we focused on clearing out a lot of overgrowth. The planned design is 4 - 4' x 10' raised beds and

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Our Little Lucy

This is Lucy. This is her all dressed up with a rose and a pearl necklace on our wedding day nearly five years ago.

We had a casual country wedding in a little white country church. There was no wedding party - just our little Lucy. She stood in as both bridesmaid and groomsman.

Hubby adopted Lucy about ten years ago from the animal shelter. She had been a stray. She was, and continues to be, much obliged for his open heart. So much so that she would follow him to the ends of the earth. She loves her Papa.

The ends of the earth being on the inside of the canoe of course. When hubby jumps off the bow of the canoe to go for a swim, she draws the line there...but only there.

Other important information to know about our little Lucy is that she loves her sock monkey, has the softest ears in town, doesn't bark, talks a lot (although I'm the only one who can hear her), is a good listener, loves to sleep, smiles often and makes friends easily.

She's our girl.

Growing Moss on Garden Pots

I've already written about my love for repurposing objects like bowls, pots and pans as plant containers. One way to integrate these finds into the garden is to encourage a natural layer of moss to grow on them. This always works best where you have a shady spot to keep the pot once it's sporting a nice mossy finish.Recipe for Adding Moss to Pots1/2 cup of garden moss (This acts like a seed

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Herbed Tilapia Recipe

This is a fast and easy summer dish. If you'd prefer, you can cook it on the grill instead of in the oven; just coat the fish with a little olive oil and butter, and clean/oil the grill.Baked Tilapia Ingredients6 Tilapia fillets1 tablespoon paprika1 tablespoon dried marjoram1/4 teaspoon red pepperJuice of 1/2 limeSaltBlack pepper2 tablespoon fresh chopped chivesFish Cold Sauce Ingredients1/3 cup

The Big 5~0 And I Don't Mean Hawaii Baby

So it's official... I am 50 today!! How did this happen?? And thanks AARP for rubbing it in. No really, just kidding! I feel the same at 50 as I did at 30 (in my head). And I decided a while back that I would look at this as a turning point to start living my life to its fullest potential~~push myself a little~~see where I can take myself~~get a discount at the drive thru. So cheers everyone, here's to being 50 and FABULOUS!!!!!

Weekend Thoughts

A few thoughts for this warm weekend.How to Treat Mosquito BitesMosquitoes are coming out in force around my house. To help reduce the irritation of a mosquito bite, rub any of these household, garden or medicine cabinet substances on the bite: aloe vera, baking soda, a piece of sliced onion, vinegar, salt, or witch hazel. I've heard that toothpaste and bleach work too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

At the Lake

This is our dog Lucy doing what she loves best...fetching a stick up at the lake.
Happy Weekend.

Iris verna

Iris vernaPictured is the Iris verna growing in one of our gardens. Iris verna is a beautiful, delicate looking wildflower that is hardy throughout Canada and the United States. It blooms in early spring. This clump forming iris is well behaved in the garden. Deer It reaches a maximum height of 12 inches at maturity making it an ideal border plant or as a statement plant. Iris verna grows

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'd Rather Be In Paris

After participating in the swap that Mary from VINTAGE PATINA recently hosted, I organized my own called I'd Rather Be In Paris (wouldn't we all?). Yesterday I received my package from my partner~the lovely Lauri~of 2CHIPPYS. Nestled among the shredded paper and bubble wrap were these goodies....

Not one but two brown transferware pitchers, and three brown transferware saucers (Lauri knows I love these), 2 linen towels with a pretty fleur de lis stamp on them, a fab cork covered journal, a black beaded rosary, and two adorable little fabric pictures of Frenchy mademoiselles.

Merci Lauri! I hope to post about the other participants swap goodies as they send me their links, so please check back.


Lime Balm Tea Recipe

Lime Balm makes a light refreshing tea that will settle your stomach and help you relax. With its natural lime aroma, it's tasty both hot and cold. Although you can find dried lemon balm at your local health food outlet, you might have to get your garden implements out and grow a supply of lime balm yourself. Don't worry. It's easy to grow both indoors and out, and it can be used in tea either

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So I discovered a blog this evening called FADED CHARM and KATHLEEN was lovely to include me in what she calls WHITE WEDNESDAY. What with the sun setting and all, the lighting was bad for pics, so I had to resort to the archives. Doubt that you'll be disappointed though~cause who does WHITE better than Marburger Farms dealers?










How to Grow Lime Balm

Lime balm (Melissa officinalis ''lime") is a perennial herb that shares many characteristics with its cousin lemon balm. It is as easy to grow but has a distinct limey fragrance.Growing Lime Balm in the GardenLime balm is a half-hardy perennial that can add the aroma of lime to your dishes without the citrus. It likes dappled light and moist, fertile soil. Like its cousin, mint, lime balm can

Midweek Thoughts

For a wonderful photo of St. Johns Wort, visit Earth and Tree. Hedgewitch has a delightful blog and makes clay jewelry too. Her clay impressions of herb leaves are stunning little gems. I own one myself.If you love to eat what you grow, head over to How Stuff and read their article about edible landscaping. If you've ever resented the amount of space your lawn takes up, this article

Studying Love - part one

Lately, some friends and I have been doing a study on the 1 Corinthians 13 passage about love. And BOY, has it been convicting!!!

There is so much of a richness about the choice *to* love once you really examine what it means. We treat "love" so lightly-- we "fall in" and "fall out" of it, we love those shoes, we love our children, we love that hilarious comedy on TV, we love the way so-and-so does such-and-such... but biblical love as presented here, in this brotherly, one-anothering kind of love... well, it's a real challenge.

I'll share the biblical definitions (from the Greek & from biblical cross-references), and then I'll share with you the boiled-down, nitty-gritty "working" definition we've come up with for each of the attributes we've studies so far. The reason we are doing this is because we use many of these words in ways that are different from how the Bible uses & treats them, and we wanted to get clear on what, through 1 Corinthians, God is actually saying about love. The applicable and illuminating cross-references are listed at the end, in case you want to go deeper on any or all of these subjects.

Love is patient-- forbearing, slow to anger, enduring misfortune, not eager for punishment, overlooking offense
  • Working DEF of "patient"-- to endure & abound in Christlike grace towards even the most difficult people & situation

  • {Cross-refs: Eph 4:1-2, James 1:19-20, Prov 19:11, 1 Thess 5:14, 2 Pet 3:9, Exod 34:5-6, 1 Tim 1:15-16}
Love is kind-- pleasant, soft, tender, compassionate, tenderhearted, eager to show kindness... [opposites: bitter, harsh, sharp, hard]
  • Working DEF of "kind"-- treating others with a soft, tender awareness of our shared need for grace & forgiveness

  • {Cross-refs: Prov 15:1, Ps 133:1, Prov 16:24, Ps 64:3, Titus 2:5, Col 3:12-13, 2 Cor 6:3-10, Eph 4:31-32, Luke 6:27-36, Gal 5:22, Isa 30:18, Ps 103:9-14}
Love does not envy-- [envy: strongly desiring to possess the advantage enjoyed by another; hated by others, hating one another; rivalry]
  • Working DEF of "does not envy"-- contentedly rejoices in the life God has given me and rejoices with others in the life He's given them.

  • {Cross-refs: Job 5:2, Prov 14:20, Eccl 4:4, Titus 3:3, James 3:16, Gal 5:19-21, Gal 5:26, 1 Pet 2:1, 1 Cor 3:3, Rom 13:13-14}
Love does not boast-- [boast: like a vaulted ceiling; lifts itself; proud; haughty; arrogant about wisdom, might, riches, or the future]
  • Working DEF of "does not boast"-- lifts up Christ and His will, not self and my plans.

  • {Cross-refs: Ps 34:2, Jer 9:23-24, Prov 27:1, 1 Sam 2:3, Ps 10:2-5, Ps 5:5, James 4:16, Ps 12:3, 1 John 2:16}
Love is not arrogant-- [arrogant: self-exaltation]. Regarding arrogance, throughout the Bible we saw that "God hates", "God lays low", "He does not endure", and He "will repay". It is "an abomination". Again and again, we saw the attributes of humility-- humble in words, not full of pomp, abased, hoping in God rather than self, and that humility is looked on with favor and grace from the Lord.
  • Working DEF of "is not arrogant"-- one who actively roots out pride and approaches God, others, and life with humility.

  • {Cross-refs: Prov 8:13, James 4:16, 1 Sam 2:3, Is 13:11, Pr 16:5, Job 35:12, Ps 101:5, Isa 2:17, Ps 5:5, Ps 31:23, Is 2:11, Job 40:11-12, Pro 15:25, Pro 21:4, 2 Cor 12:7, 1 Tim 6:17, 1 John 2:16, 1 Pet 5:5}
Love is not rude-- [rude: unable to act with self control, interrupting, to act unbecomingly, seeking one's own advantage]
  • Working DEF of "is not rude"-- puts others first, seeks to benefit and please others before self

  • {Cross-refs: Prov 18:13, Romans 15:1, 1 Cor 9:23, Phil 2:21, 1 Cor 10:33, 1 Cor 10:24}
Love does not insist on its own way-- [does not insist on its own rights, never seeks its own to the hurt or neglect of others, lays aside selfish aims]
  • Working DEF of "does not insist on its own way"-- essentially, we couldn't boil it down any better than this, what the Scripture already specifically says. To me, the "does not insist on its own *rights*" definition was helpful, because our culture is so good at "standing up for", "demanding", and "expecting" our rights. So, for me, that was a helpful one.

  • {Cross-refs: Phil 2:1-7, Isa 56:10-12, 1 Cor 9:19-23, 1 Cor 10:32-33, Prov 18: 1-2, Romans 12:10, Gal 5:19-21, James 3:13-15, Matt 4:8, John 6:38, 2 Cor 8:9, James 2:8, Romans 15:1-3, Luke 9:23; 2 Tim 2:1, 3-4, 10; Romans 14:1, 4, 7-8, 10, 13, & 19}

This entire study has been only of the Word itself (not through a book, DVD series, etc.), and it has been so powerful. So many things have been much more illuminated and made clear in our hearts and minds as we've combed through what the whole counsel of God's Word has to say on each of these subjects. Each word piles up on top of the others to present a beautiful challenge of what Christ's love lived out in us can look like.

As I've looked at each of the specific definitions, I am challenged again and again by what God needs to do in my heart and life for me to really be living out love to the people around me. The description of "love" here is one that is not easily met. It is very easy to say "I love you"... but much harder to live in a kind, patient, selfless, content way-- the actions and attitude of love. I hope that sharing this will be helpful for someone else too.

Click here to see the remaining portion of this study (Studying Love-part two).

Make Organic Herbal Shampoo

Making your own organic herbal shampoo is simple and inexpensive. Best of all, you can tailor it to meet your own needs and tastes.Organic Herbal Shampoo RecipeTwo cups of distilled water1 1/2 tsp. Soapwort root*30 drops of essential oilDecorative bottleDirections for Organic Herbal ShampooBring water to a boilAdd soapwort root, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.Remove from heat and cool for

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Green Orchards

Among the thousands upon thousands of orchard rows in this valley, I've come back to this one quite often. It's the orchard next to the flower farm I go to. I often pause and look down this corridor of green and always feel this temptation to run ecstatically through the canopy of branches, bright with smile and giddy laughter.

I don't.

Not yet anyway ; )

Happy Summer.

Make Lemon Furniture Polish

Smarten up your kitchen cabinets or wood furniture with baby oil. Just wipe it on, leave it for a few minutes, and then wipe off the residue. Make it part of a maintenance program by prepping your cabinets with a wood cleaning product like Murphy's Oil Soap first.

Because I'm a dedicated herber, I make my own polish using a cup of baby oil and lemon balm, lemon verbena, or lemon eucalyptus.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Disciple-Making, World-Changing, Heart-Molding Role of Mother

If you are one who loves Christ, who desires to see people come and know Him, and longs to find her purpose in the world, let me commend to you the role of mother.

If you are a young woman who has been told all the horrors and sob stories of colic and tantrums and have somehow missed hearing about the joy of raising up interesting, unique individual men and women who will know and serve God, let me commend to you the role of mother.

If you are a gal of my generation, who was told you could "be anything you wanted to be" without ever even having it be hinted that that "anything" might include being "everything" to some little people, let me commend to you the role of mother.

If you are a lady who wants to change the world and make it a better place, let me commend to you the role of mother.

If you are someone who desires to impact people in a huge way, help others to overcome difficulties and find their strengths and God-given abilities, so that they might in turn serve God & contribute to this glorious world in a more weighty manner, let me commend to you the role of mother.

  • ... have the opportunity to impact lives, day-in, day out-for 18+ years, more time than any professor or doctor or preacher or counselor will ever be able to have in the lives of the people they seek to impact.
  • ... have the privilege to study and know their children so that they can train, counsel, and encourage them as they grow towards adulthood
  • ... are given the blessing and responsibility of connecting deeply and wonderfully with their children in ways that are virtually impossible with the world at large.
  • ... have the opportunity to love and be loved in a way that is entirely distinct from any other sort of relationship.
  • ... are able to change the world through a mastery of various fields and talents that they themselves do not possess, as they spur on and encourage their children to find their God-given place of service.
  • ... are able to teach and train and sharpen and shape and guide and gear their children in ways that will forever alter human history.
  • ... have the privilege of praying with intimate understanding for the hearts and lives of people from the very beginning of their existence.
  • ... have a purposeful career designed by God Himself, with His assistance and leadership guaranteed throughout.
  • ... have the unique experience of watching the man they love grow into a man who loves in ways that were unseen and unknown before he became a father.
  • ... have a God-given life with sanctification built-in by the requirements of hard work, selflessness, disappointment, perseverance, patience, grace, self-control, and a continual seeking of wisdom from above.
  • ... have the unique opportunity to work hand-in-hand with God Almighty and the husband He has given to mold future adults.
I am not saying this is the only way-- but I am absolutely saying that it is an awesome way, and a God-designed way, for women to yield to their Maker by welcoming with joy and with great sober responsibility the blessing and gracious gift of children into their hearts, lives, and wombs.

God continues to do amazing things in my heart and life and draw me closer to Himself through this role of mother, and I would be a foolish woman indeed if I did not speak highly to you of this beautiful means of sanctification that God has given to women: the disciple-making, world-changing, heart-molding role of mother.

The Summer Solstice and Other Sundry Sunday Fare

I hope you enjoyed this morning's Summer Solstice. It was early, so the possums probably beat you to it! Today will be the longest day and shortest night of the year. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the Winter Solstice, an interesting factoid associated with living on a sphere.If you enjoy camping, take a look at this humorous piece at the National Parks Traveler site about naked

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Plant Your Own Saffron Spice

Growing your own saffron (Crocus Sativus) is easier than you think and can add some spicy and refined taste to your dishes. Pound for pound, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.Don't confuse it with Indian saffron, an inexpensive substitute, the red threads and distinctive yellow saffron flavoring you can extract from them is a subtle and unique flavor that you'll develop a taste

Organic Gardening

Organic Farming and Compostingcartoon courtesy of SeppoHappy Gardening!Garden Gnome©2006-2009

Three Must-Reads

Catherine R. wrote a moving post a little more than a year ago about her own experience with abortion... and then one day she up and deleted her whole blog in a moment of exasperation. Last week, she wrote her thoughts out once again, and I highly recommend you read her honest account and thoughts laid out here:

My friend Kelly faithfully writes, day after day, to encourage married women in the area of intimacy & love. This week, she wrote a post that (from what people write here @ MH, & say in e-mails) I think that many, many women need to read:

This week, two families that we know brought home their adoptive children-- one family, after waiting for nearly 3 years for the sibling group they adopted from Haiti, and another couple, after facing infertility for many years, and unexpectedly getting a call while they were on vacation. Every time-- and I mean EVERY time-- I hear an adoption story, it touches my heart in a place that few things do. Just today I found myself daydreaming about volunteering in an orphanage or children's home... and at least a couple times each year, Doug & I find ourselves having the "should we adopt now?" discussion, which has (so far) been held off. Perhaps one day.

But for anyone who is even remotely interested, even in just helping another family to be able to adopt, this post is monumentally helpful and important. With the main blogpost written as an awesome testimony to how God has provided for several adoptions in her family, plus over 60 (so far) comments thrown in by others with their stories & tips, this is a rich resource full of ideas for how to afford adoption:

Many blessings, all, and happy reading!

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Raised Beds Layout

Over the past weekend we worked on two new raised garden beds (more here). The beds are being created while we are continuing to rip out existing vegetation so the new beds were not planned using Garden Manager software mainly because the beds were going in late spring. I would have to reboot in Windows as well since this software is not Mac compatible. I've been using the combined with

It Feels Like...

...forever since hubby and I have had a weekend to play, laze around, or linger with abandon. That's because we've been on this final push to get three big projects completed before summer officially begins - the outdoor dining patio, two sets of stairs (patio and front porch) and our picket fence (fence pickets shown above).

Who ever said that building a fence was easy? Oh, no one? The above photo shows my work station for the past week. I haven't actually been working at it the whole week, but having it set up makes me somehow feel like it's getting done.

My task at hand is to sand each picket. I've created this task for myself because I have this disorder (some would say) of 'attention to detail.' You see, some of the pickets we got from the only fence store I could find within a 100-mile radius, are a bit rough. And one thing I like is consistency so I'm sanding each one with a palm-sander to give them all a smoother finish. That's 320 pickets in case you're wondering.

Why am I not out there right now? Well, I made a discovery last weekend. After making a bunch of horrible noise, I discovered a Robin's nest perched up in the eave of this barn. Two baby Robins were huddled together in their nest, compelling me to stop all production immediately!

The work station will have to be relocated of course...until then, I've been turning my attention to the yard where I've planted seven new hydrangeas. Note: this is in no way related to our three big projects that we're pushing to get done before summer officially (June 21st) begins.

What is Distilled Water?

Distilled water is water that has been evaporated and then cooled back to a liquid. During the process of transforming into a gas, chemicals and microorganisms are left behind and the final product is clean and pure. Distilled water typically has a neutral pH (7.0) because most solids in water are heavier than a water molecule and won't piggyback onto the vapor.In herbal recipes, distilled

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How to Fry Zucchini Blossoms

For a taste of the subtle pleasures of a spring garden, try fried zucchini blossoms. You won't find these in the grocery store. They're a special reward for the vegetable gardener. So enjoy one of those unique payoffs for all your hard work.

Fried Zucchini Flower Recipe

6 Zucchini blossoms
1/2 C flour
Pinch Salt
Pinch Pepper
1/4 C Olive oil
2 Pats butter
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Water

Directions for

Dealing with the Unexpected in Gardening

Gardening is one of those activities that come with a lot of risk. You plant your seeds and seedlings then with a bit of tending you hope for the best. Many a gardener has woke to find their carefully planted garden destroyed by hungry rabbits or deer. Gardens are often raided by marauding four legged and two legged thieves. As if that is bad enough the gardener is faced with adverse weather

Our Simple (and Inexpensive) Wedding

Today, Crunchy Con ran a piece about simple weddings coming back en vogue, and asked people to share about their wedding if they somehow managed to avoid the extravagant $25,000+ affairs that seem to be the "norm" in the east coast.

Well, we avoided that kind of crazy price by a long shot (I think our total wedding costs may have totaled something like $2000)... so I decided to share about it here. Sadly, I don't have access to most of our wedding pictures (they're back in storage in the States)-- but I've taken some semi-fuzzy digital shots of the prints that we have here. I'll bold our money-saving ideas... I'm sure you can find more elsewhere, but this is how we pulled off an inexpensive wedding that was beautiful, intimate, and that we still look back on with delight.

For invitations, I waited to find a good deal and we chose simple, classic invitations from a company that was offering much less expensive rates. We bought some silver-inked pens and some friends and I took an afternoon to address the envelopes ourselves. We limited the amount of invitations we purchased, and nearly all the invitations were sent to people we really hoped would come-- not every Tom, Dick, and Harry we and our parents ever knew. The invitations were sent in a normal rectangular-shaped envelope, so that it did not require additional stamps.

I went into Microsoft Word & designed the wedding program myself, and had it printed on a custom-sized parchment-style paper at the local printshop. Little details like this could have really added up, but by doing them ourselves, we saved a lot of money in ways that really weren't noticeable, and in the long run, don't matter a hill of beans.

We got married in our college chapel... a quaint building with ethereal light drifting in the opague windows. In that chapel, I'd worshipped, poured my heart out before the Lord, repented of sins big and small, shared words of encouragement, and led fellow students in songs of praise. Because we were students, we made a deposit and received it back in full, so the location cost us nothing.

Like every bride, I scoured the bridal magazines and saw dresses that were gorgeous, but found one in a magazine photo that was right up my alley. Of course, as they always are, it would have cost thousands of dollars. But at a friendly neighborhood David's Bridal, I found an almost identical dress for a few hundred dollars. The bridesmaids dresses were on sale at David's. I've since heard from friends who got even better deals at David's by being more open to anything and hitting the sales racks there.

For all the typically expensive stuff, we found some friends who had hobbies in the areas of our need... we knew a young married guy who had connections in the flower business & knew where to get large amounts of flowers for much less money, so we hired him to do all our flowers-- all white daisies (my favorite). I bought glass fishbowl-like glassware (and probably some ribbon too) at a Hobby Lobby sort of store for a fraction of what it would have cost from a florist, and that friend did all the arranging.

For the rehearsal dinner, we used a dietetics major who was beginning a catering business, and it was delicious-- she worked with us to custom-make the menu and Doug's mom made a favorite family recipe for the dessert. As gifts for the bridal party, I kept my eye out for good deals and bought matching jewelry for the bridesmaids, and we ordered a set of fun-colored swiss army knives off of eBay for the groomsmen.

One of our friends was a campus photographer with a great eye, so we asked him if he'd be willing to do our wedding. He'd never shot a wedding before, so I made a list for him, in order (to go along with the service order), of the basic photos I wanted. I starred the ones that were most important for me, so that if he had to miss a shot, it wouldn't be one that was super-important for us to have, and he came to the rehearsal dinner to practice and get a feel for where he'd stand, where the light would be, etc. He did formal color pictures for all the normal shots, and informal, more artistic black-and-white shots for all the post-wedding & reception shots. He developed a set of prints and handed the film over to us. He did an excellent job, and for payment, my husband painted a Ruth/Boaz themed painting (the "where you go, I will go" passage was a centerpiece of our wedding vows) and traded him the painting for his photography services.

If I had it to do over again, I probably would not have paid the money for a video of our wedding. However, a close friend that sang in our wedding died suddenly only a few years later, and so I'm thankful that I have the video for that one reason. But the cost of the video (perhaps a hundred dollars? can't remember...), compared to the few times we've ever watched it, probably was not worth it.

There was a place on campus with a wall of windows that looked out over the nearby river... we opted to have our reception there, and again, it cost (if anything) very little.

We found a comparably inexpensive local baker who did a beautiful basketweave buttercream tiered cake, and ordered from her, with fresh daisies and an antique Wilton cake topper I'd bought off eBay as decorations. She was most excited about doing the groom's cake-- a chocolate sheet cake frosted with the image of a Rothko painting on top. My husband, Doug, was a painting major, and Rothko was his favorite artist at that time. :)

For food & decor, we hired a family friend with an on-the-side catering business. She made all the reception foods, worked with the floral guy for decorations, and arranged for all the linens, etc. It was simple, as we had an afternoon wedding, with a good assortment of finger foods, desserts, and drink options. For music, we asked a close friend who played classical guitar (Thanks again, John & Julie!) to play whatever he wanted. It was beautiful accompaniment for a low-key and enjoyable reception.

Not everyone has friends in every area necessary for pulling off a wedding, and I understand that... but really, local colleges and young businesspeople are really great resources for doing a wedding, if you're willing to work with them and help them to succeed. Asking around in your "circle" for different people who may have connections with florists, the desire to do catering jobs, or with special skills (like web design, photography, or musical abilities) can really save a bundle of money. Doing as much yourself as possible will save money, and can be done without stress if you plan well. We cut corners on almost everything, but the wedding was absolutely enjoyable and suited us perfectly.

My hope is that this post will encourage young women who may read it to be freed from feeling the burden of pulling off some "perfect" event, and instead opt for something that will be enjoyable and suit your personality without breaking the bank.

Our best memories from the day are seeing each other, visiting with the people we love, and receiving spoken and prayed blessings from our family & friends. And of course, the most important thing of all was that we marked the beginning our lives together before God and others as man and wife. The rest is just details.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First of the New Square Foot Gardening Beds

New SFG BedsJune 16, 2009Little did we know when we moved here 2 years ago we would be spending a good portion of our gardening time ripping out vegetation overgrowth. Our property had been over planted in a willy nilly fashion without regards as to growing conditions in certain parts or how the plants would mature or what problems some plants would create. It was so over grown we could not see

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How To Make Rose Wine

Making your own rose wine can be a hoot. It takes a while, but like making beer, especially if you like to experiment with the recipe like I do, you never know quite what you're going to end up with.The nice thing about rose and dandelion wines, as well as other seasonal wines and liqueurs, is that they distill a season. In winter, when you're shivering your way to the mailbox, you can think

Mom, Now I Know

I'm not even 30 yet, Mom, and there are so many things that I see now that I could not have (or would not have) seen before... and I want to honor and thank you publicly.

Mom, now I know why you laughed when we made comments about things that happened when you were a kid being "old". Because I certainly don't feel old, but today, the boys were talking about a show, and I told them it was from when I was a kid. They both agreed, "yeah, that's old." I laughed. Now I realize that you didn't feel old either (and weren't!), and that's why you laughed back then.

Mom, now I know why, when I was young, you let me come in quietly and brush your hair on Saturday mornings so you could sleep a little longer. Life with little ones is exhausting, and even a smidge more sleep is worth a lot. I, too, joyfully accept every extra wink I can snag.

Mom, now I know why you said your knees hurt, and how you felt like you sounded just like your mother. You weren't complaining... they really do hurt! And now I sound just like you, and every time I do, I think of you.

Mom, now I know why you were exhausted at the end of your days. Life with little ones can be so tiring. And when we were older, you worked too. And served in church. And made time for gardening and taco nights. Now I understand... at least some.

Mom, now I know how little I really know. I can't imagine having a little girl who I'd scrimped and saved so that she could go to a weekend enrichment camp squander it by staying up late and getting kicked out. I can't imagine having a teenager who I'd loved and cherished and given up my life for say the things I said to you, or make such horrible choices. I can't imagine seeing that daughter say and do the foolish things I did.

Mom, now I know that your example of steadfast love and continual extending of grace was costly. I treated it like it was cheap, but I know it must have nearly cost you your soul. I can only pray that I will be one-tenth of the gracious and loving mom to my kids that you were to me. In my heart, I greedily want to ask that my kids won't need the crazy amount of grace that I required... but I know they are human and, like me, God may allow them to experience sanctification and challenges in their lives in ways that would not be the ones I'd custom-pick.

Mom, now I know that I've had a rich example of love-- real love-- right in front of me my whole life, and I know that my kids are going to need it. I find myself praying now that I can love-- with unfailing patience, kindness, and forbearance-- like you.

Thank you, Mom. I love you more with each passing year. It kind of stinks that it takes all this living to really see what someone else did for you, but there it is. I'm sorry I didn't see it before, but now I know.


For the Love of Ladybugs

This is hubby with a handful of Ladybugs. I love , love, love Ladybugs. Every time I come across one, my day is always better. So you can imagine how overjoyed I was to release hundreds of them last night when we sprinkled them over all of our hedge roses.

Our local nursery sells them for natural pest control...those darn sweet Ladybugs will eat up all of those nasty little aphids, which I've had my fair share of this spring. The Ladybugs come in a perforated little bag, and as you can see above, hubby is shaking the last of them out on to the rose bush.

This isn't our first Ladybug release. I guess we're about on our fifth - this spring. You see, Ladybug lovers have a very hard time paying for their flowers while there are bags of Ladybugs sitting next to the cash register, just singing to come home with you. Oh, it's very difficult and I've tried to avoid eye contact (yes, with the Ladybugs) but it just breaks my heart to leave them behind when they could happily come home with me.

And I have to say, as I lay in bed at night thinking of all the Ladybugs living here on our little farm, a smile overcomes me as I drift off to sleep.

I love you Ladybug.

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