I'm adding this up top as I know that you all will willingly join me. Bess' mom had an accident Tuesday night. Please pray for her healing. She is not in ICU, praise God, but has had surgery to repair a badly broken ankle, and has other broken bones. It's going to be a long haul for her and for Bess, too, who is the nearest relative and will need to be there for her mom, etc. So lift Bess in pray as you pray for Jenny, please.
Winding Wool by Alfred Hamacher
Do any of you ever read Jenny of ELEFANTZ blog? Her posts are filled with worthwhile reminders of domestic life, creative tasks (she's a first class needlework designer by profession), and a gentle faith life that she shares in a wonderful way. I really enjoy her blog. These past few months she's also been sharing a book by Jane Brocket, Gentle Domesticity, and I've really enjoyed the snippets she's shared. Included in this past week's sharing was this poem, which just embodies a sweetly domestic task. I found the artwork above to go along with it.
"Winding Wool" by Robert Service (1874 - 1958)
This from Dame Helen Mirren:
"Try to find joy in your life wherever you can, and be optimistic as far as is possible...Because I think this wonderful thing called beauty...has many different forms, and only one form is the outward form of our physicality. There are many other ways of being and feeling beautiful."
From Christie Purifoy's essay on letting go:
There are some losses we have no call to mourn. Some losses are a kind of gain.
Of what must we let go in order to walk through each new door? What loss will transform itself before our eyes into something shimmering and golden?
…beyond every loss and every grief, is a good and green country. It is the land our tears have watered.
Christie Purifoy's essay was published at The Cultivating Project. It's a lovely site and has fresh content each month.
From lovely words to lovely things to create. I found these on Pinterest and followed the link to the lady's website, My Retired Life on the Prairie. She said a fat quarter is enough to make a pumpkin. Her's are of velvet and just lovely aren't they?
Love love love love! I have to grant this woman high scores on her skills as a stylist as well as her lovely handicrafts. Her photography is just beautiful and richly elegant yet when you break down the elements nothing is extraordinary except her ability to put them together and create such a lovely vignette.
The following recipe was a most delicious meal for our dinner on the day we went off to the market in Macon. I prepped this on Friday, and it sat in the fridge over the weekend and then was put into the crockpot. I think it's a lovely thing to walk through my own back door and smell a good dinner waiting upon me. I kept dinner simple that day since we ate later than usual, serving only with mashed potatoes. I didn't make a full recipe as it says it will make 24 rolls. I never use a whole head of cabbage but generally tear off as many outer leaves as I can reasonably get loose from the cabbage in it's natural state, including the green tougher leaves on the outside of the cabbage. In this case, I had about ten leaves, since I found my head of cabbage was tightly put together. The leaves became nice and tender.
I shall, however, copy off the recipe as it was written out. The seasonings are what makes this. Cinnamon is generally a 'sweet' spice but it works as a 'warming' spice in this recipe, and the raisins, too, become something different than you might think, so don't skip these two ingredients though they do sound odd.
Russian Cabbage Rolls
1 whole head cabbage, cored
1 cup cooked rice
1 pound ground beef
1/2 large onion, minced
3-4 tsps. minced garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder ( I increased to 1 tsp and I was very pleased with the results)
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1 quart beef stock
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup raisins
Boil cored cabbage 5-7 minutes. Carefully pull off outer leaves and drain. Place the leaves in the same water and boil for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well. When cool enough to touch, remove the tough spine. (I'd slice and dice the remaining cabbage and have it with the meal if you are using the whole head).
Mix rice, beef, and the seasonings.
Place a small amount of filling on each leaf, wrapping carefully, so all meat is covered. ( I found this step easy enough and would estimate each leaf held about 1/4 cup or so of meat mixture).
Heat the oil in a frying pan or dutch oven. Brown cabbage rolls, a few at a time, turning once. Pour in stock and tomatoes and raisins and then simmer for about 40 minutes.
my notes: I completed the recipe up through browning the rolls. When cooled, I put them in a Ziploc bag with the last few ingredients and let sit over the weekend. I had leftover meat mixture which I'd browned in the pan I sautéed the cabbage rolls in and put that in the bag with the cabbage rolls. I cooked in my slow cooker for about 5 hours on Low heat. John is iffy about new recipes I try on him but he has asked me to make these again and I will.
This is one of those recipes that is inexpensive and incredibly delicious in a homey sort of way which always makes a wonderful combination for a budget meal. It's hard to believe it's an economy meal when it's this tasty.
I had the boys one afternoon for a little while on my own. I was out of the things they really like to eat and wasn't keen on another pancake dinner, though Josh does love them mighty well. I decided we'd have pizza and this time I let the boys make their own.
From @sarahwanders on Instagram: "Loving a child well seems to me to center a great deal on the discipline of hospitality. Motherhood is an extended act of welcoming Lilian, not just into my home, but into my time and space, my attention, my habits, my joys."
I must admit, I had never before looked at my openness to anyone, husband, child, or stranger as an act of hospitality but the essential truth of this statement resonated deeply within me. We might even go further and relate it to our willingly opening up to God.
I watched a lovely movie the afternoon after the boys went home. It's not exactly the 'happy ending' sort but it was pleasant. No nudity, little profanity and lots of lovely scenery. One of the final scenes actually featured one of the author's books. I plan to look for more of her novels.
There was a really lovely scene that was sweet and gentle and reminded me of a short passage in my own life.
When I worked at the nursing home, I met a patient I'll call simply "J". Gracious he was a sort of odd fellow. He'd spent his life living rather hard. He'd been in airplane crashes and car accidents and fights and had been badly burned in a housefire. Despite his rough physical appearance, he was always nicely dressed. He had a certain pride of self that was attractive. J was also intelligent, well traveled, well read and sociable. He was courtly and polite, forever holding doors open for us females, complimenting us sincerely. Over time I came to know him quite well. He was a terminal patient but the cancer that was his enemy was slow.
He made it his habit to come into my office near the end of my work day and we'd talk as I cleared my desk before I left for the day. I came to see him as a friend and genuinely enjoyed our daily talks.
On this particular day I was struggling with so many things and at the root of it all was my great fear that I'd never be loved nor in a loving relationship. Perhaps J picked up on that feeling. We were often attuned to one another's thoughts. And it was this day that J very sweetly and gently told me that he wished with all his heart that he was 15 years younger and that I was 15 years older. "We," he said quietly, "could have really had a wonderful life together. I'd have been a better man with you in my life. One day, there will be a man who will show you your true value. How I envy him!" Tears trickled down my face. "Thank you. I've never had anything so lovely said to me. I will forever hold it dear." He clasped my hand in his and with that he rolled his wheelchair from the room.
J had spoken to the woman's soul in me. I needed exactly that sort of chaste and lovely romance he'd offered me. I think every woman needs a man who looks at her with rose colored glasses, who appreciates her as an intelligent creature and as a woman, too. Someone who is convinced she is altogether the very essence of a woman who'd make a good life companion. He hadn't long to live and he wanted to speak the things on his mind and heart.
The lovely thing about J was that once he'd shared his feelings, he never again mentioned them. He'd spoken his heart and that was enough. He continued to visit me each afternoon until he was no longer able. At that time, I went to him at the beginning and end of each work day. I'd take his hand in mine and we'd gently squeeze one another's hand, very often saying nothing at all. And then one morning, I went into his room and found it empty, which is a peculiar heartache you know is coming when you work in a nursing home. It's always a matter of coming to love someone and then losing them...But I will confess that J's death hit me rather hard. I walked into my office, laid my head upon my desk and wept.
J gave me the gift of hope. I'd remember his words about my future, my one day. And when John came along, I was ready to accept that being well loved and treated well was not impossible but something I had already known and deserved to find once again.
And here I shall end for another week. Have a lovely weekend!
From an October 1943 Elsa Conners column in Woman's Day magazine:
A woman can accomplish almost anything she wants to accomplish if she proceeds with persistence and good humor as well as wisdom.
~Madame Chiang Kai-Shek
On a whim Sunday I was trolling a blog and the author mentioned that a website offered an inside view of Coco Chanel's Parisian apartment. I've been a fan of Chanel's classic style for years, courtesy vintage fashion magazines I once owned, so naturally I was curious to see her apartment. I didn't find that particular feature on the site, but I stumbled upon the fall/winter 2019 fashion show. Then I clicked a second box. Oh.My. So intricate and lovely! I'll never wear anything like this in my lifetime. It's impractical and my mind boggles at how one goes about laundering delicate and lovely things which are so beautifully made but something in me is very satisfied as I watch the seamstresses do the handwork. Have a look here and click on the photo with the sequins.
The necklace in the photo below, is proving to be a wise economy. I bought this necklace about three (?four?) years ago and I've worn it only occasionally but this year it seems it's lending itself quite well to my fall wardrobe. When a piece is worn more often it becomes something of a signature piece in the wardrobe. I think this necklace is going to be one of my signature pieces this fall.
Here I'm wearing it with a navy lace shirt. The contrast of the light rust and gold with the navy is quite pretty. I've also paired it for autumn wear with black, oatmeal and rust colored tops. It would contrast well with both olive and hunter greens, and might even be rather pretty with an eggplant or maroon. That is one combination I've yet to try.
I often buy costume jewelry pieces (yes and scarves, too, but that's another subject) on clearance when they catch my eye, even if I'm not sure just what I'll wear them with at the time of purchase. This is a prime example of why. I may hold onto a piece several years without wearing it very often but because I tend to buy pieces that aren't trendy and have a more classic look to them, they are well worth holding onto. I tend to forgo any pieces that are all metal, as they often tarnish or lose their finish, unless they are brass or copper, which do wear well. Colored glass rather than plastic beads which have been painted are another sign of a better quality piece, also. Now and then you'll find plastic beads that are not glazed but the plastic actually is colored through and those beads hold up well.
And here I must share a funny little story about an evening find this week. I saw a lovely scarf on Pinterest and clicked through to price it. I thought it likely it was far more than any I've bought to date (my silk scarves are generally about $3 at thrift stores) and mentally guessed at the price. Well...The actual price of the thing made me gasp and then laugh out loud. "Gracious! I have great taste but I just can't afford myself!" I told John. I'd guessed the scarf cost about $50. It went for $555 and that didn't include shipping...I still get the vapors just thinking about it, lol.
Here is a wonderful guide to seasonal squash I received in an email. John doesn't care for acorn squash at all, but he does like butternut and spaghetti squash. I hope with this guide we might expand our enjoyment of winter squash season. There are recipes included on the page that look worth trying, too.
I noted in one of our very local store ads that buttercup squash was offered. I haven't heard of that squash before. I didn't see buttercup squash on the link above so found information about it, just click on the link.
Last week I shared something I'd read on Instagram @sarahwanders. I am a newcomer to the Clarkson family though I know that they're well known among the Christian circles. However, this week I signed up for Sarah's newsletter which was just lovely. Click the link to sign up if you're interested. It was thru her newsletter that I was introduced to her sister Joy's podcasts which I've been listening to with rapt attention. I noted that mother Sally has a podcast as well and there's a musician brother Joel, as well. Such a talented family. More mind and soul expansion. Check out her sister Joy's podcast, Speaking with Joy. Well worth listening to.
I continue reading slowly through Concerning the Inner Life by Evelyn Underhill, which is fast becoming nearly as well marked as my Bible:
Only when our souls are filled to the brim can we presume to offer spiritual gifts to other men...
and also this:
The remedy for that sense of impotence, that desperate spiritual exhaustion which religious workers too often know, is, I am sure, an inner life governed not by petition but by adoring prayer.
I found this item on Pinterest. It's written by Aurorasa Coaching:
9 Types of rest:
1. Time away
2. Permission to not be helpful (!Here I really struggle with myself!)
3. Doing something unproductive
4. Connection to art and nature
5. Solitude to recharge
6. A break from responsibility (!Another struggle)
7. Stillness to decompress
8. Safe Space
9. Alone time @ home
Before I send this out this afternoon, I would like to share another wise economy.
I checked my refrigerator for 'forgotten foods'. What prompted this was the sudden realization last night as I lay awake for a portion of time that I had 1 single zucchini in the drawer that really ought to be used if it wasn't already too late.
I found the zucchini this morning, still fresh enough to use, thankfully. So glad I remembered to go over the entire fridge, as I'd taken a pound of ground beef out to thaw early in the week and had placed it right in the fridge frozen solid and I'd completely forgotten it! I also found leftover cooked rice.
It's late to be sitting about chatting but hopefully there are others among you, like myself, who aren't quite ready for sleep just yet and who would like a little company. Do come in...I can offer you cocoa, something which won't keep you awake all night. Or perhaps some of my special Sleepy Time milk would be in order? A little vanilla and honey added to milk and heated.
It's a new month, October today...but still more, with Rosh Hashanah just past. Rosh Hashanah translates as Head of the Year which is why so many call it a New Year, because it is a time of beginning afresh, of starting over once again, of setting the past behind and moving ahead without the burdens that had come to encumber us. I could do with a new start just now. My prayers have been fervent: Let a new season come. Let me have learned my lessons and accepted your disciplines, Oh Lord. Let me move from this place, please. Let me see the harvest of years spent standing on your word, though I did shake fiercely as I stood. Yes, my prayers are fervent and fearful, too. What if the new season is more difficult? What if I find the new season sees me here still, in this same spot, unable to move? I can only trust in Him.
Rosh Hashanah started Sunday evening. I had plans. I put out fresh candles and there was an apple and local honey to celebrate that first evening. I set the table up and even put out the matches so I could light candles at sunset...and then I forgot all about it. At 10:30, just as we shut off the tv to go to bed, I looked at John and said "I forgot..." and he knew immediately what I meant and said "So did I..." Contrite, we went to say our prayers but it seemed silly to light candles so late and so we didn't.
But Rosh Hashanah is two nights and we did remember to light our candles last night. It was so lovely...
The candlelight enriched the colors in the centerpiece and played off the blue and white jar. Then there was John praying over me. I don't know that I'll ever become accustomed to the sweetness of having someone pray over me the way that he does, with such love and care, with insights that make me aware that only love could see what he sees in me. I couldn't stop myself smiling even as tears trickled down my cheeks. And the colors in the arrangement were so vibrant, more so because of my tears. Yes, I know prayers mean our eyes should be closed but somehow that beauty before me, the beauty surrounding me, was too much to close my eyes against.
Did you notice the new description here on the blog? I felt it was time to refocus and redirect. Not foregoing the idea of thriftiness but expanding it to include my real goal. After writing out a half dozen or so new ideas, I was inspired by a line I read this week to write this:
"Practicing wise economy while pursuing beauty, loveliness and grace."
I'm not 'back' yet...but I am, if you know what I mean.
Your heartfelt words touched me deeply. I am greatly appreciative of your kindness and your encouragement and your prayers most of all.
I had not realized how tired I had gotten in these weeks past. I sometimes forget that emotional exhaustion exacts a deeper toll than hard work does. It seemed that so many things were being tossed at me and they lit like screeching monkeys upon my back. It is equally telling that the monkeys themselves were also the hold-up in each situation I was expected to attend to, but there you are. Monkeys are not known for their reliability nor their acceptance of responsibility either. However, last week three major things were accomplished and a fourth task was at least started. Three monkeys off my back entirely and one calmed down, seems like progress...My to do list is barely shorter but it's shorter by those things.
Hello dears! Come in and let's share a glass of iced tea. I'd love to say we'd have coffee but it's hot, nearly 100F today and though John says coffee is cooling, I like something with ice in it. One day perhaps I'll figure out how to make Iced Coffee that tastes good. Until then I like a tall glass of iced tea on a hot afternoon. I take mine unsweetened and like it just fine, provided it's a good brand of tea. Like coffee, not all teas are created equal and so I seek out a brand that really tastes good to me. Come to think of it, there's fewer calories in my iced tea, so maybe I'd better stick with it and leave off the iced coffee except as a treat.
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