Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Take Every Thought Captive

I woke up this morning pondering a bit of fear I was feeling over potentially getting sick.  I think it is because of the quarantine and stay at home orders, and the way life has so quickly become 'dangerous.' 

I don't want to think this way, and I do limit my intake of news, but I am realizing I need to be even more limiting, even in conversations with other people, because their concerns and fears affect me.

 I was praying about it as I began my morning, and the verse about taking every thought captive came to mind.  A captive is one who is under the control of someone or something else.

I think this is a good practice during these unprecedented days.  I will work to take every thought captive to the truth.

The truth is that God is with us, He will never leave us or forsake us.  He already has numbered our days, He hides us in the shelter of His wings, He fights for us.

King David said in the Psalms - 

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.  (4:8)

And - 

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.   (3:3)

I want to walk in freedom from fear, so that I may be used by God to meet needs.

I hope you all are well.

Do you remember the little wee girl I had you pray for a few months back, maybe even in the late autumn?  This family has the virus, and with three medically fragile kids the mom was taking extra precautions.  However, the medically fragile kids have a mild case, the mom and the other kids who have it are okay, too.  The mom had the worst case, as she had pneumonia also.  *Update* one of the medically fragile kids has pneumonia know.  Please pray!

God is with them and He is with us, too.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Five

This Five is random things from my week.

1. We kept our granddaughters on Sunday, while their parents helped friends move.  The friends had to move and had hired movers.  The movers cancelled on them, so Nate and Kay helped them all day.  

2. I slow roasted a turkey the other night.  I used some of the meat to make Turkey Packets, and the rest went into the freezer.  Turkey Packets (usually made with chicken) are easy to make.  I put the cooked meat into a mixing bowl with an 8oz block of cream cheese. You can add some onion if you want.  Then take crescent rolls and put two together to make a square/rectangle. Place a scoop of the chicken mixture in the middle of the rectangle and draw the sides up over the chicken mixture.  Drizzle melted butter over them and cook at the temperature and time for the crescent rolls. They are delicious! We served them with a nice green salad.

3. I've been using my essential oils to clean and purify my home.  Plus it smells good!

4. The reality of what my kitchen counter can look like.  Basket for mail and business papers, my diffuser, a big bowl of Cara Cara naval oranges, coffee syrups from the bridal shower, the jar of coffee pods, a Keurig, tea pots, my flower seeds!

5.  My seeds are happy

The weather is warming up nicely here.  I'm going to have to repot some of these seeds or just get them into the ground - soon!

Happy Weekend, Friends!  I'm thinking of you and praying for all!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Finding Motivation

Lorrie, in a comment yesterday, mentioned that she was finding it hard to be motivated.  I totally understood.

It seems crazy because we are home full time right now, at least most of us, and we have lots of time on our hands!  We should be doing all the things we talk about doing if we had the time....

However, we are in an unprecedented time in history.  I can think of no other time when the whole world was taking similar measures to combat something, except perhaps during the Spanish Flu.

All around the world friends are at home, whether they are in Australia, or the UK, or Africa.

I think it's okay to what you need to do each day.  If it's being highly productive, then do it! If it's watching a movie, on the couch, or reading a book, or sitting in your garden, then do it!

There is no shame in feeling vulnerable and being concerned for the future. This doesn't mean we are letting fear control us, it means we are human.

Yesterday, I did school with Kyle (which is mostly overseeing him working independently), watched a movie with Rachel, and reorganized this bookcase.  I felt very accomplished.

 Today, I'm going to wash the fabric that I purchased to make baby quilts for a few grands.  This will be a step forward toward actually sewing the quilts. 

I'm also going to read a new book I bought recently, supervise school, and make dinner.

Today is rainy again.  Yesterday, it rained too, and the sun didn't peak out until I was in the middle of cooking dinner, so I didn't get outside to sit in the sunshine.  If you have sunshine where you are, take advantage of it!  It's good for our mental health!

I hope you are all well.  I read this morning that Prince Charles has the coronavirus but the Duchess of Cornwall does not.  He seems very healthy and I'm sure he'll come through it just fine.  The issue will be weather or not the Queen has been exposed.  At nearly 94 she is in a risk category, but she seems to be very healthy overall too.  

I'm praying for all those who are working in the medical field, those who are sick, and those who are well.  We might be self quarantined but nothing can stop prayer!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
                Romans 15:13

Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord
                              Psalm 31:24

Be of good cheer friends, and don't give into fear.  Let's all do our part to not overwhelm the healthcare system.  Many of us will get sick, but most care can be done at home like we would for a typical virus.  

If we can keep from becoming contagious, and we stay home, we can keep from passing the virus to those who are vulnerable and at risk to have serious complications from it.

The "flattening the curve" aspect means that the virus would hang around in society longer, but it would keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, because people would not be sick all at the same time.

So, don't be afraid, find things to do that bring you joy.  A few months ago I bought some water color paints, paper, and brushes, and I intend to try my hand at being creative with them!  The weather will be mild today, so I will sit on my deck for awhile and if the sun pokes its head out I'll soak up some Vitamin D.

There is a lot to read, things to watch, people to text.  I also have begun to write cards to send in the mail, though I'm thinking about whether people will welcome that at this time.

Let me know what you've been up to during this time of social distancing, and quarantines.  As people have been saying, "We're all in this together...separately!" {grin}

Monday, March 23, 2020

Garden:Seed Update

You may remember that I started flower seeds, for my cottage garden, last Tuesday.  I bought one of these inexpensive 'greenhouse' containers this year.  I've only watered them right after I planted them, so it's doing great to help them stay hydrated.

Imagine my surprise the other day when one of the kids said "Hey! The seeds are coming up!"  And indeed some of them are!

It's going to be so interesting to see how they grow, which ones do the best, if any of the older seeds grow.

How was your weekend?  Ours was good.  This was supposed to be the weekend for the Beauty and The Beast performances.  Sigh.  We had church as a family yesterday morning.  I've only been out from home once in just over a week.  That was to pick up Sarah from work.  Tell you what, people are still loving their CFA!  That drive through was packed!

I'm sure we all have our own opinions about whether anyone should be out and about, and I just have to say that in our family, those who work away from home, are thankful to be able to still be bringing in an income.

We had our three local granddaughters all day yesterday, as Nate and Kay were helping their friends move.  Somethings just still must be done, and this couple needed to be out of their apartment and the moving company cancelled on them.  Otherwise Nate, has been off work.  That is going to hurt them financially, as it will so many others.

We are praying for the virus to end, for the curve to flatten, and for everyone who is ill.  I know we are all in agreement with this!

Friday, March 20, 2020


It seems that everyday there is something new.

Last night our Governor put out more work shut downs.  Thankfully Tim is still able to work, and so is Sarah.  Rachel will work her office job three days a week, but she's not needed right now to nanny as the mom is home.

Our sweet friend Luisa's plans have been changed.  She was to be here until the end of the month, but with the new changes in New York State, Word of Life has gone to all online classes through the end of the school year.

We thought this would mean she would be with us for a few months. However, WOL has decided to take all their WOL missionary kids, of which she is one, and have them stay altogether at the Florida campus.  This is being done to give their parents peace of mind about their kids who are in different parts of the world.  So she leaves us tomorrow morning.

At dinner last night, Tim prayed for those having to make hard decisions, for those who are without work, and for those who are sick.

We want this quarantine and self isolating to work!  We're doing what we can to be part of ''flattening the curve.''

Lastly, I want to leave you with a link to "A Liturgy For Those Flooded By Too Much Information," by Douglas McKelvey. You can find the liturgy, and several others {here}.  

I'm going to share a snippet with you here - 

"In a world so wired and interconnected, our anxious hearts are pummeled by an endless barrage of troubling news. We are daily aware of more grief, O Lord, than we can rightly consider, of more suffering and scandal than we can respond to, of more hostility, hatred, horror, and injustice than we can engage with compassion."

I hope you all are well. I'm praying for you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Garden:Starting Seeds

I decided to try to grow some cottage style flowers to add to my English Cottage Garden. I use this garden as a cutting garden, and it makes me so happy.

I've started three kinds of Hollyhocks, English Poppies, Snapdragon, Calendula, two kinds of Cosmos, three kinds of Zinnia, German Chamomile, two kinds of Lavender, Painted Daisies, and Nasturtum Alaska Blend.

I set the seeds outside for a while yesterday, and when the plants come up, I will slowly harden them off.

Some of my seeds are several years old, and some are new, so I'm interested to see just what actually grows.  I've heard that perennials, in particular, are hard to grow from seed.  The Impatient Gardener says that she buys plants to put into her garden.

Do you know the Impatient Gardener?  I found her on YouTube and have enjoyed her videos, especially her garden tours.  She gardens in Wisconsin and I like her practical approach to gardening.

I also like to watch Gardener's World on Britbox.  I like gardeners who show you the good, the bad and the ugly in their gardens!  It makes not lose heart when a plant has a bad year, etc...It happens to everyone!

It's very spring like here but Monday and Tuesday the forecast is saying a chance of a wintry mix or snow showers.  We'll see.  The temps are to be in the mid 40-50's.

I hope you are well, and finding peace in the slower pace of life that we are all living in. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sharing Some Beauty In The Midst Of Uncertainty

Everyday something new is announced.  Yesterday it was that our governor has chosen to close all non essential stores, restaurants (other than take-out), bars, and other businesses.  Our bank is closed until the end of the month, too.

Tim still is busy with inspections, Rachel is working, and so is Sarah.  They are taking precautions with hand washing and sanitizing.

Our sweet friend Luisa, who is here to spend a week of her spring break with us, will now be here until the end of the month.  We are delighted to have her here, and since her parents are Peruvian and work in Bolivia, I'm happy to provide a safe, loving place for her to shelter.  

 We have never seen such closures ever here in the states, let alone around the world.  We've never closed everything down for the flu, or even other corona family of viruses.  So I think many of us are wondering why? 

We are set for the next few weeks for food, and we have a decent supply of toilet paper for 6 people.

 Our daily lives haven't changed so much, but bigger events having been cancelled leave us with our evenings free.  We've been reading, and watching movies.  Kyle is still doing is school work.  I'm still cooking.

 My parent's are well prepared too, and don't need to go out for anything.  They just will need fresh veggies and fruit.  Lindsay and Joseph live in the apartment at my parents' house, so they are there to help with anything my parents might need, and Tim and Rachel are often in my parents area while on their way to work.

I spent time video texting with my daughter in the Nashville area yesterday, and today I'm going to be in touch with my sister in laws.  Just to check in on everyone.  Modern technology makes it so easy, doesn't it?

I'd like to pray for specific needs or concerns you may have, so if you feel comfortable doing so you can leave a comment here.  Also, since I moderate my comments you can let me know and tell me not to publish the comments.

We have a lovely, caring community here and I want this to be a place of encouragement for you.

Several times this week I've been reminded of Psalm 4:8 - "I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure."

We can trust our lives to God and trust Him to be with us, to provide for our needs, and to be our true shelter.

Much love and peace to you!

ps- the flowers were purchased at Whole Foods for Rachel's shower on Sunday.  I'm cheered by their beauty!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Bridal Shower

Rachel's bridal shower on Sunday afternoon was really fun and we had a great gathering of family and friends.  Five of the grooms' aunts, and his sister in law came, and it was delightful to meet them!

On Saturday afternoon we had a call that the church, where Rachel's shower was being hosted, had cancelled everything for at least two weeks.  This included Rachel's shower!

We cried some tears, then we got busy.  We texted, emailed and made a few calls.  The shower would now be at our home, BUT, with a project list for outdoors for early April before the wedding, and a deep cleaning needed for the living room/ kitchen, we had to get busy quick!

Sarah wrote a list as I thought of the things we could practically do, with Tim and Kyle out of town for the weekend.  With that list written, Rachel and I headed out to do the errands that had been planned for Saturday afternoon, and Sarah and our friend Luisa got busy.

When we arrived back home, nearly everything had been done.  Weston was here doing some outdoor work, and we finished up cleaning in the house.  

 By Sunday afternoon, everything was ready, and guests started to arrive.  I took these photos during people arriving and then didn't get anymore.

Rachel was gifted so many lovely things for herself and her home.  We are grateful to God for the love and support of family and friends.

We now are becoming concerned about the likely changes to large group gatherings and a potential quarantine situation like Italy.  There will still be a wedding, but it may look very different than we planned. 

Still, God knows, and we are resting in His goodness.  What an amazing time in world history.

I hope you are well, and have everything you need to self isolate.

We're praying, and I know you are, too.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Let's Chat About The Virus

It's been an interesting week, hasn't it?

The panic and buying out of water and tp is disturbing.  This virus is very contagious but most people have a mild case, like a typical winter virus and recover well.

I've seen people act like everyone who gets this virus will be on ventilators.  Sigh.

Sadly, there are people who will die from this virus.  Their bodies are already in an illness compromised situation, or perhaps are like Tim's mom and is 98 years old.  She lives in her own home and doesn't go out at all anymore, so she might be just fine during this pandemic as long as her caregiver, my sister in law and niece stay healthy.

We've been practicing our typical winter cold/flu season behaviors.  Be careful to not put your hands in your mouth, nose, ears or eyes when out and about, until you've washed your hands.  And if you have a cold when you're out and about, cough into your elbow.  

We don't like to bring illness into our home, if we can avoid it, so we've taught our children these practices since they were very young.  I've been surprised at the amount of people who seem to see these practices as a "new" system to stay well. Makes me even more thankful that we've practiced these things for years!

I also am a cart handle wiper at stores! 

Local stores are all sold out of TP on a regular basis.  I have a friend who works at Costco and she showed the new shipment of toilet paper and someone mentioned it was gone in like 5 minutes.  I think some people are buying to resell online.  That makes me sad, too.  Taking advantage of people who are panicking is wrong.

Image result for empty shelves coronavirus

Water is another thing people have been buying.  It's not like a storm that is coming and you may be without power.  The water supply is not compromised!

I am in agreement about taking a few weeks to lay low and try to nip the spread of this virus.  I don't think that is necessarily panic.  I think that there is the possibility that the US can cut its potential cases by doing these things.  

However, it can, and will, and has already affected businesses, especially small businesses.  I saw someone mention about trying to shop locally, and help out our neighbors.

I wish us all strong immune systems, and mild cases of Covid-19 if we do get the virus!

The main thing is that we know the ONE who holds us all in His loving hands.  He knows the number of our days, and we can trust Him to walk this path with us.

I'm praying, and I know you all are, too!

This weekend, I may start seeds, I'm going to read, I'm going to think on those things which are true, worthy of respect, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy.  If we have sunshine, I'm going to go out and get some vitamin D.  

This photo from Longwood Gardens is on my list of lovely and praise worthy things to think about!

Image result for longwood gardens pa

We can change our mindset from fear, to trust, and let's help others do this, too.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Recipe: Low Carb/Gluten Free/Keto Blueberry Muffins


The bridesmaids are having a Coffee Cafe theme for Rachel's bridal shower.  Scones, muffins, and donuts are being served at the event which starts at 3:00pm.

Some of the guests are gluten free and I'm trying to eat low carb so I found this recipe on Pinterest.

The source link below the photo above takes you to Wholesome Yum's website and you can find the recipe there.  But like all food bloggers now, you have to read FOREVER to get to the recipe, so I'm sharing it here - 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with 10 or 12 silicone or parchment paper muffin liners. (Use 12 for lower calories/carbs, or 10 for larger muffin tops.)
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the almond flour, erythritol, baking powder and sea salt.
  3. Mix in the melted coconut oil, almond milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Fold in the blueberries.
  4. Distribute the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

I'm going to give these a try for our co-op on Thursday, and see how everyone likes them.  If they are a winner, I'll make them for the shower!

Do you have a good gluten free/low carb/keto recipe for muffins or scones?  I'd love to have it if you do!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Home Keeping: Homemade Cleaning Products

For many years now I’ve been making window cleaner, counter sprays, and hand sanitizer.  Several of you asked me on Friday to share my recipes, and I’m happy to share!

For my hand sanitizer I use half witch hazel/half rubbing alcohol and about 20 drops of essential oils. I use lemon most often as it is a scent I love, as well as having antiseptic properties as one of its many uses.  I sometimes combine essential oils in my hand sanitizer and this last batch I did lemon and tea tree oil.  The oils mix well with the witch hazel and the rubbing alcohol helps the mixture to dry quickly.

I use this on cart handles year round, if a store doesn’t offer cart wipes. I like to avoid viruses of all sorts.  I clean my hands well after leaving a store, too.

For window spray I do a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water, and you can easily add oils to this mixture, too.  We usually use our Norwex cloths on windows now,  but if I didn’t have a Norwex cloth, I’d certainly use my spray. I found the mixture that I made did not leaves streaks.

Counters can easily be sprayed with a mixture of water and Castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s.  Christmas Tree Shops sells a brand that is equal to Dr. Bronner’s but is less expensive. 

 I also use a 60/40 mixture of water to Castile soap for our hand soap pumps in the bathroom.  We have foaming pumps and this mixture cleans and rises well.  It also does not dry your skin! I have several kids who used to get super dry skin on their hands n the winter and they do not anymore.  The only thing I do differently is make our hand soap. Oh, and I usually use scented Castile soap but if you didn’t you could certainly add essential oils to your soaps.

I haverecently purchased Thieves laundry detergent through my daughter, to deal with an odor issue we are having with our laundry.  I used to make our own detergent, but we felt that it wasn't really working on my husbands work clothes.  So I buy a good eco friendly brand, that is good for our septic system as well, but there is still often a smell to some of the laundry that I don't like.  It should come this week and I'll let you know what I think.  It's pricey, but highly concentrated so we'll see.

Here is a Thieves blend that I've used in the diffuser when we've had a lot of sickness.

These homemade cleaners are cost effective ways to clean your home, and they are easy to make.  When Kyle was younger he liked to clean the windows (mostly he loved spraying the cleaner on the windows) and I was happy to let him, because I knew he wasn't using anything that would be toxic to his system.  I also liked knowing that I wasn't using anything that would harm me either!

I hope this helps you to start making your own cleaners, and while all the people are panicking over buying hand sanitizers at the store, you can calmly pick up a few basics - rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, and castile soap - and know you will be able to effectively clean you home and kill germs.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Friday Five (Four)

I only have four photos for you today.  I also wanted to share an column I wrote for our state homeschool magazine that is now only online. I wrote it before all the fear regarding the coronavirus, but it's very applicable. You can find it {here}.

1. I bought a new set of glass bottles from Amazon.  I make my own hand sanitizer and cleaning sprays. 

2. I bought a maidenhair fern yesterday when I went to the garden center for my seed starting materials.  So cute!

3. Real life in the kitchen...

4. My ficus tree is thriving in its winter spot by the sliding door to the deck.  Lots of natural light makes it very happy.  It will move outside once the temperatures are warmer.

 I think these days we must learn to be wise, but not fearful.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Cottage Garden: Seeds

I'm getting excited to begin growing.  Our weather has been really mild, and the ladies who work in the garden shop that Lindsay is working at say that we could probably put our gardens in now.  

So this week I'm going to getting my seed starter soil and get some of these seed started.

Perennials are difficult to grow from seed and many garden centers buy their perennials from growers!  But I'm going to give it a shot because some of these varieties cannot be found in my area! 

What are your garden plans?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Tea On Tuesday

Today I want to share how I make chicken salad.  Notice I didn't say recipe, because I don't have specific amounts of anything.

I start by cooking a whole chicken.  I boil it but you could roast it. When it cools, I take all the meat off the bones (you can then use the carcass to make stock), add sour cream (you can also add some mayo), salt, pepper, curry powder to taste, and grapes.

I put it in my Kitchen Aide bowl and then use the paddle attachment to mix it all together.  That's all I do.  It's so easy and makes delicious sandwiches for tea, or just as a salad on some greens.

Easy to do.  The chicken salad I made yesterday will be used for lunches this week.  We all love this chicken salad. Rachel told me yesterday its her favorite chicken salad, and she doesn't even like the kind I buy at Aldi sometimes.

Nashville had a tornado in the early morning hours, and more storms happening today.  The tornado was not near where our daughter and her family live, but it was a good reminder to pray, and that our lives are truly in His hands.  He will be with us in every circumstance.

I have a prayer request also.  My friend, whom you all prayed through her serious heart valve replacement surgery, is in the hospital with pneumonia.  She'll be there several days. She couldn't shake a cough so went to the doctor to be checked and her oxygen levels were so low they took her to the hospital by ambulance.

Pray for healing for her, and encouragement.  It's been a rough year.  She knows that God has been with her.


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...