Coffee Chat: Sweet November Done

Do come in....We'll likely have a few more coffee chats for a bit.  I'm worn slap out at the moment and despite decorating for Christmas and feeling inspired, I feel tired and that means inspiration thus far sputters.  Sputters do not start fires.  They just light up for a quick moment and then they are dead ash.  I was hoping for more, but considering all in all, I'll go in sputters for the time being.

How are YOU doing with the Thanksgiving leftovers?  I quelled mine and ended up with an impressive little bit of freezer meal magic for those super busy days ahead.  Butternut Soup (with a surprise addition) and a future filling for a turkey pot pie, and even a double portion of dressing and turkey with gravy for one of those days when we're less near gobbling.

I will do a quick share of our Thanksgivings.  I went to Sam and Bess' on Thursday for the DAY OF celebration.  Katie was too sick to come and that was fine.  It's a long drive when you feel quite well.  Sam decided to try frying his turkey and let me just tell you, I opened up my car door and could smell that bird cooking and it made me hungry right away.  And he'd just put it in!  It turned out absolutely delicious.  It takes far less time to fry a whole bird than it does to bake one.   John also had a fried turkey at his workplace and the other guys all brought in side dishes.  John contributed potato salad and macaroni salad and rolls.  He came home raving about his turkey, too.

The grandchildren were busy playing and had no time at all for acknowledging the presence of Gramma....though Josh did go stand at the window for a moment and he said wonderingly "It's Genny's car!"  He turned and saw me and smiled and that was it, the whole grand greeting of the Gramma.  That was fine.  It was obvious the children were having fun.

The Proverbial Woman Vs. 31

Proverbs 31:31  Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her words praise her in the gates.

Tav (Tahw) is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Numerically Tav represents renewal and restoration.   It's meaning is 'covenant, sign, seal' .  The Tav is said to have a foot to the left (remember Hebrew reads from right to left, just the opposite of how we read English) and because there is nothing to the left of that letter it is thought to be an indicator that there is something more to come, something unknown.  The pictograph for Tav is a cross...

T'nu-lah is our word here.  It relates to 'Give her...' but in the lexicon the word used is a more ancient root word, Nathan which also means 'give'.  It is not simply a handing over though, it means 'grant, recompense, appoint' so you see, it's an honorary sort of giving not just my handing over to you what is yours but it is more that something is being bestowed.

In My Home This Week: Sparkling and Shining Bright

In my home this week, I:
                          decorating my home for Christmas.  Of course, the photo above (and all the rest in this post are, as well) is from last year.  This year's will be....different!  Different from that one, at any rate.  I've had a few inspirations already.  I've only just started.  I've already figured out that I don't have all I thought I had...sigh.  lol  Oh well!  I love being creative and having fun, too.  For me, decorating or changing up a room feeds my creative urges and that leads me to think about things in a different sort of way which leads to inspiration in the kitchen, and in my wardrobe and on the blog.  Sort of a domino effect comes from it.  So I like to be creative and feed that muse.

Do you know what just amazes me?  People who not only decorate this weekend but already have their presents wrapped and under the tree!  Oh gee!  And I've only just this week begun doing my bit of shopping in earnest.  So far I've ordered two presents and then I have a bare handful of items for a few folks.  Not that we do a lot of shopping, but John seems to have fallen into the spirit of a little thing I wanted to do and keeps adding items in.  I'd promised to keep it to a certain spending and thus far he's the one whose bought and keeps suggesting still more things, lol. 

I had the worst foul mood come on me Friday evening.  No reason for it, none at all, and no idea why it even showed up but had you asked me for a recommendation for my husband, I'd have been hard pressed to give a decent one!  What did he do, you might ask?  Nothing.  He was dead tired from his 24 hour shift and he ate a big turkey dinner and did what most do after eating a heavy meal, he went right to sleep and that's what he did all afternoon long.  Which left me free to do whatever I pleased and apparently what I pleased was to sulk and feel resentful and snarky.  Ugh!  Glad the beast got tamed before she opened her mouth to let it all out.

The Proverbial Woman Vs. 30

Proverbs 31:30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Sin (sheen) is our next to last letter.  Sin is represented by a pictograph of a molar tooth, known for it's ability to crush or destroy.  It is a letter said to represent God (El Shaddai) and may be found on the cover of many mezuzahs.  Mezuzah are small boxes nailed to the doorposts of homes and contain a small scroll of scripture.

Because of it's shape it is said to represent a three fold cord: husband, wife, God.

Our word in this verse is Sheker and it means deceit or falsehood, lie.

Overall the verse and word seem very straightforward.  Looking further at the letter Sin and it's meanings however, I noted that one author wrote that the three prongs of the letter denoted man's attempts to bring God down to their own level by idolatry, just as the men in Moses camp demanded that Aaron make them a god to worship when Moses was gone more days than they thought he might be.  They did not understand the enormity of the God they were called to be the people of and so they attempted to create a god, rather than acknowledge that the Creator of All was indeed more than anything they might fashion on their own!

Frugal Friday: Holiday Daze

I have been trying for over a year to get my violets to bloom once more.  They were losing leaves left and right and just not doing well at all.  I stumbled upon a pin about African violets which suggested bright sunlight and watering every time that the soil even began to feel dry.  I thought they were getting plenty of light where they were but obviously not.  I moved them to the kitchen window and both now have buds forming.  Per the Pinterest post I should move them from the window as soon as they begin to bloom...I was soooo close to getting rid of them because I thought they were done, but apparently I was very wrong!

Saturday:  I have a slight cold.  Nothing major but just enough of something to aggravate me and slow me down.  Well today is a rest day anyway.  I slept in this morning, unusual for me but I did, until nearly 9am.  Nice to get the extra rest before the long day tomorrow.

Put a chicken in the oven to roast.  I had Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash that I added to the pan a bit later.  I also put the green beans in the oven to heat a little later, still.  Dinner ready and my prep was minimal since I did it all yesterday.

Gave myself a manicure.  I used some of the Jamberry wraps I bought earlier in the summer months.  I have given a lot of these to my girls, but I kept a few for myself.  Glad I did.  I really am enjoying a more durable manicure.

The Proverbial Woman vs. 29

Proverbs 31:29  Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

Resh (raysh) is the twentieth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  It has a pictograph of a head and the meaning of the word is 'head'.  It represents enlightenment.  Every letter prior is a letter of goodness, but Resh, which comes near the end of the alphabet, represents that factor in all of us which is sinful.  However, it is not to say that the wickedness is permanent.  There is always the ability to choose to repent, hence, enlightenment.

Our word in this verse is Rabat which means 'many'.

Here we have the words of the husband, "Many women have done excellently..." I don't suppose any wife, once she has been married many years,  would deny that she'd like to hear the praise for a job well done.  Here at the last of her life, this woman is hearing the praise of her husband.

Thanksgiving Week Coffee Chat: A Mild Panic

Oh hello...come on in and let's talk a bit, shall we? 

I'm tired, battle weary sort of tired, and I don't see an end to it anytime soon. I'm talking, of course, about the state of things in the U.S.  I make it a point not to ask anyone for whom they voted, nor to answer should they ask me.  I don't think it's any more of my business to know for whom you voted than it's any of my business to know what you have in your bank account, or how often you and your husband enjoy that more intimate relationship.  In other words, I think that some boundaries are necessary and good.

I was wary this whole past 18 months (gracious it's felt like YEARS).  I've had my feelings hurt by the things people and candidates have said, but I kept quiet.  I knew, in my heart, that I wasn't those things they claimed I was if I voted for candidate A or candidate B.  I also knew that neither candidate was all they might be, but I listened too to hear where they stood on issues near and dear to my heart and watched how they acted in public,  as well.  Frankly I thought neither of them acted nicely.  I prayed hard and  long and voted my conscience.  It was not the first election in which I've had to vote for what I felt was the lesser evil and I mean it just as I say it.

What has hurt and wounded me most is that the outcome of the election has been so full of venom and awfulness.  It bothers me no end to hear a commentator on a news program state that she feels the rural areas have no business having a fair  number of electoral votes.  "I mean," she said "What business do farmers have to vote anyway?"    It bothers me to see videos of protestors being physically wounded.  It bothers me to see people sit and cry because they don't care for who won the election. It bothers me even more that many of those crying and protesting and now making public speeches, when pressed, will admit they didn't vote!   It bothers me to see public leaders at odds with the public.  It bothers me that no one seems to be aware that the newly elected President isn't going to not go into office just because there are unhappy people. You'd think it was the very first election in all these years that someone's party if we haven't been voting in this country for a good bit over 200 years now! 

The Proverbial Woman: Vs. 28

Proverbs 31: 29 Her children rise up and call her blessed;  her husband, also, and he praises her:

Kof (or Qoph) is our next letter. It is the nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  The pictograph of this letter is a circle with a line through it. It is said to represent a thread being pulled through a needle.  The letter literally means 'nape' and  this symbolizes that which is behind.  Kof also has a meaning of holiness (kadosh begins with the letter kof) and with a cycle of some sort: of the week from the first day to the Sabbath, or a season, or of a life.

Our word is kamu and in the lexicon it is transliterated to the more ancient root word "quwm" meaning 'to arise'.  The expanded meaning of the word here is that her children stand up and confirm, establish, or decree.  I do not know that this is vocalized as much as it is confirmed by how they act in their adulthood.  ...her husband, also...

When I first began working with this passage it was another of those which required some deep digging and deep thinking.  I struggled with it but focused on the pictograph of a threaded needle.  I saw the Proverbial Woman's life as a tapestry, a larger tapestry than any she crafted with her hands.  That vision of her was confirmed later when I began to find other sites to help explain what the letter kof stood for.  In a larger sense, her sphere of influence was far greater than just her home.  So I asked myself, 'Who were her children?'   The word used for children is 'ben' which translates immediately as 'son of' but has an expanded meaning of community and nation.  I realized that this woman's sphere of influence was large.  The people whom she touched with her daily life were her
community.  In the greater sense they were also her children. 

This Week In My Home: It's the Most Wonderful Time...

This week in my home, I...

...will likely arrive a little bit late.  I'm going to go down to Sam's to see him baptized.  I can't tell you all what this means to me. 

Both my girls gave their life to Christ in their early years, but not Samuel.  He didn't want to talk about it or hear about it.  He often went to church for long spells of time and was genuinely moved by the preaching but he just stubbornly refused to take that one necessary step of surrendering.  So to have him give his life to Christ finally, I can't miss seeing him baptized!

We're gearing up here in the States for the big holiday season.  We lead off with Thanksgiving this Thursday and from there it's work party, family gathering, invites here and there and Christmas and New Year's.  The next six weeks are pretty much a breathtaking ride to 2017.

Weekend Reading

I love looking at old homes and it doesn't bother me a bit to see them in their abandoned state.  I'd prefer to see every old building and home restored but I still love looking at the history of the site.  These were interesting to me for that reason.

These 2017 color predictions were far more interesting than any that Pantone has come up with in the last few years.  I could see myself choosing several of these.

Some of these sweet potato recipes  sound really good.  I've tried sweet potato biscuits and sweet potato pie crust myself and will attest they are delicious.  But my favorite way to eat a sweet potato?  Pulled piping hot, in the skin, right out of the oven, split open with a generous pat of butter melting inside it and eating it right away just like that.

Frugal Friday: UnFinished Projects Week

Saturday:  Dinner in the crockpot this morning so we can eat at midday.  I mixed a half pound of ground beef with some leftover brown rice to stretch it.  That made my filling for stuffed green peppers.  Green Peppers are loaded with vitamin C, as is tomato soup, which also went into the same crockpot.  John was a bit under the weather with something like a cold/allergy.  I was sure this would help boost his body back to good health.

Rinsed and stacked dishes.  The dishwasher upper rack is broken.  I knew when I loaded the dishes, the bottom rack would be filled to capacity...I washed a full load of dishes this evening and let them air dry.

Finished making John's work lunch for tomorrow.

Sunday:  Packed John's work lunch and made his breakfast.

It was cold out.  I sent him off to work with a cup of coffee in a to go cup which we've had on hand since last December.

The Proverbial Woman: vs. 27

Proverbs 31: 27  She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Tsade (tsah-dee) is the eighteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  The 'ts' in this word is pronounced the same way the 'ts' is in 'nuts'.  Tsade  got it's name from it's shape which replicates a fishing hook or a bird trap.  Tsade is from the root word, tzod, meaning "capture, hunt, catch".

The word in our verse is tsaphah and means "to look out, to keep watch".  It derives from a primitive root word that means "to lean forward, to look into the distance."

Here I think we get a far clearer understanding of our Proverbial Woman.  In simply reading as the words stand it is quite easy to see the Western understanding of this woman is that she is always busy.  But in studying the Hebrew, one gains a deeper perspective.

In the day and age in which she lived, the cities were protected by walls and gates.  Upon those walls were watchmen.  Their duty was to look constantly beyond the walls of the city, both near and far.  Watchmen paid attention to what was going on: who came into the city, who went out of the city, who was coming from the distance.  While on duty a watchmen was not sleeping.  He had to constantly be about his business of watching, aware of the present moment right up until the moment he was relieved of duty.

The Proverbial Woman vs. 26

Proverbs 31:26  She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Pey is our seventeenth letter.  The pictograph looks like a mouth.  This letter is a caution to watch our words.  Following as it does upon the heels of 'ayin it is a reminder to let the inner eye assess and determine the situation in full before speaking.  Some Jewish sages believe that what we speak becomes reality, so it is truly a caution to watch what is said.  As a Christian, I long ago began to believe that my words had power and felt my spirit cautioned to be careful of those things I might say, in peace, anger or even in jest. 

Indeed the Bible has many powerful references to this.  When I was looking for one particular verse (Proverbs 18:21), these other references came up as well.  Just look at this link to that one page!

Proverbs 18:21  The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat it's fruit.

Book Review: In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett

I've recently read In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett.

I loved watching the Carol Burnett Show when I was growing up.  I thought Ms. Burnett was personable and seemed very much a person anyone might easily get to know.  I was aware that she was a renowned comedic actress but she certainly seemed very approachable and that was in part because of her question and answer sessions at the beginning of her shows.  In this book, she explains how these sessions were meant to do just that: make her seem girl next door, approachable and real.

A Budget Balanced Meal

I've longed to make a certain recipe for a bit over a year now.  Last week I finally did.  It  came about as the result of a leftover makeover.  I thought about each ingredient as I put the recipe together: Broccoli.  I was using stems and a few florets that I steamed together.  I have been guilty many times of not using the stems as I've planned to do but this time, I did use forethought and steamed them while steaming the florets for a meal.  I had a few florets left and chopped the stems up with them.  There was the broccoli called for in the recipe and it was using up every bit of that food.  Not bad thus far.

Croutons was the next ingredient.  I make these using leftover slices of bread, those too small to make toast or a sandwich and the end pieces.  I generally put the cubed bread in the oven when I have it on to bake something else.  I remove the item that was cooking, set the pan of bread cubes in the oven and turn off the heat.  Generally within an hour or so I have a pan of croutons.  So this ingredient too was inexpensive.

I knew the recipe called for two different salad dressings:  Blue Cheese and Ranch.  I'd just made up a half recipe of  Ranch dressing over the weekend.  John prefers Blue Cheese or French.  The Ranch dressing wasn't  likely to be finished before spoiling.  No hardship to use it up to avoid waste.  The Blue Cheese dressing is more pricey.  I was cautious about using that ingredient.

In fact, from here the recipe and my made up version were widely variant.  I did not want to use half a jar of that dressing in my recipe!  That would have increased the cost by $2.  The recipe also called for 6 eggs...Nope wasn't going to do that either.  That was another $.50 in cost.  8 ounces of shredded cheddar...Uhm nooooo...Cost $1.79.  This simple little recipe meant to use up a variety of things leftover was now escalating into the $4 range, a per serving cost of about $1 each serving.  No, I just failed to see the economy in that!

Now I've shared that I seldom know the cost per meal I serve or even the cost per serving of any recipe, but common sense helped me this time.  Had this been a main course, $1 per serving is not too far a reach, but it was meant to be a side dish.  I decided at this point expertise was going to have to come into play over recipe.  Eggs are generally meant for binding in a strata type recipe.  I knew from past experience at altering these types of recipes that 6 eggs are just not necessary.  I decreased the Blue Cheese Dressing by half and used milk in place of it.  A thinner liquid by all means but it worked just fine and I did have the egg for thickening the liquid.  I added 1 beaten egg, and half the cheese called for.  In the end, my Broccoli Strata total cost came in somewhere closer to  $1.80 for four servings.  Still a little high but far better than $1 per serving.  And this was a half recipe I was making, not a full recipe!  By the way, the Strata set up just fine and tasted awesome.  Even the leftovers were good.

As I planned menus last week, I looked at several recipes.  Many I'd have loved to try or make once more, but I couldn't...They weren't part of my budget balanced meal plan.   I found myself looking at recipes and meal plans overall differently... All because of  that  silly bit of leftover broccoli I wished to use!


The Proverbial Woman: vs. 25

Proverbs 31:25  Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the days to come.

'Ayin(ah-yeen) is our next letter. Like the letter aleph  the letter 'ayin is a silent letter, having no sound of it's own.  The pictograph for this letter is an eye.    The word 'ayin means 'eye' or 'to see' and has an expanded meaning of 'understand'  and 'obey'.  It might be said that this eye is an inner eye, representing the Holy Spirit vision and helps us determine between good and evil.   In other words, we live rightly we can easily distinquish between right and wrong and will make the right choices if we've allowed Holy Spirit to guide our thinking and control our heart.

22“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!Matthew 6:22-23 ESV

Our word here is 'Az meaning "strength".  It comes from an ancient root word which has a deeper meaning than physical strength.  It denotes spiritual strength.  There is a second word in this verse that begins with 'Ayin and that is 'acharown which means 'latter'

I referred to the  Proverial Woman in our previous verse as being spiritually prepared.  This verse, in analysis of the Hebrew, gives ample evidence of that.  Her 'clothing' here are truly her spiritual character.  The word that is translated as dignity also translates into 'excellence' and 'majestic',both words which gives an added depth of meaning.  That she 'laughs' represents her joy in  her own latter  days when she is standing before the throne of God.     

In My Home This Week: Autumn Lull

In my home this week:

I had a full week last week.  Guests, traveling, groceries, errands.  John is currently nursing something that appears to be more allergy than a cold but it's wanting to settle in his chest.  He's taking lots of Vitamin C and drinking plenty of fluids.  He's not running fever, so there is that...

The entertainment value alone of the bird bath outside the living room windows is awesome.  Right this minute there are two Blue jays and a Red headed Woodpecker squabbling over water rights.  I've seen Blue birds, Cardinals, Mockingbirds and Brown Threshers out there but the Jays are the most predominant.  I think I shall see if I can't set up water in other areas about the yard, and see about getting some bird feeders and seed set out as well.  I've noticed Misu stops by for a drink when she comes back from the fields by the way.  She never bothers the birds, but she will climb the steps and stretch out to drink from the bird bath before heading back to her home base on the front porch.

Something went on with my computer this past week and I lost every single item on my favorites lists.  All the bloggers I normally visit on Friday evening and Saturdays, all my saved posts to share with you readers for weekend reading, recipes,  research sites.  Wiped completely out.  No clue why either.  Oh well.  I normally would clear that out in December anyway and start fresh.  And I figured since I had a head start why not sort out Pinterest (deleted a good bit there) and then went on to my Home Notebook and pulled out all the budget sheets, calendars, goals listings and such that I'd accumulated over the past year.  It too is now ready for a fresh start to the New Year ahead.

I've been thinking about Christmas plans.  There's a family dinner the second weekend in December and we should have our gifts ready by then.  I haven't planned a menu of any sort for that nor for Christmas and New Year's.  I have not planned our treats for Chanukah. I have Christmas cards...and that seems to be my sole preparation for the holidays ahead thus far. 

Well obviously this coming week will be about planning and executing my plans.  As far as I know I'll have two days this week alone, and those are my primary working days.  I will spend a few hours with Mama, but am by no means spending all day long with her, so there will be things accomplished that day. 

Well, I seem to be ready to plan my work week, so I might as well get started!

...I plan my work week:

Holiday plans will be made: menus, décor, gifts, treats, baking. 

Address Christmas cards and have them ready for John to sign.  It might seem early but I prefer to send them after Thanksgiving and since I am traveling and have guests and am cooking a proper Thanksgiving Meal for John and I that week I'd like to have them done before the busy section of that week begins.

Baking for Thanksgiving started.  I can make pastry shells and cookies ahead.  I can make up cornbread and biscuits for dressing.  and sweetpotatoes are baked.

Make a small batch of Apple Jelly.

Plan autumn wardrobe.  It's finally here and I feel I am ill prepared for it.  My wardrobe is limited, more than I'd thought it might be despite the new additions so I really need to plan out what I can wear and how many outfits I can manage.

Make a pillow for the chair in my room.

Paint something.  Backdoor interior,  kitchen cabinets, armoire in kitchen...I have plenty to paint!  I have plenty of paint.  I just need to get busy. all but the two above the fridge

Hang the two new plaques I bought from Katie.

Retrieve a few items I am seriously missing that I think we stored in the shed.  Not a lot of stuff but little things I'd like to have indoors once more.

Pantry and freezer inventory.

Try to knock out more Proverbs 31 posts and hopefully finish up that series this month.

Finish the review book I'm reading and post a review.

Go through books and determine which will make good gifts for others.

An afternoon of list making: clothing needs, pantry needs, projects for next year, items wanted for home and garden...

...I plan meals:

Stuffed Peppers, Brussels Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes, Gingerbread Pear Trifle

on my own x 2

Chili Pineapple Chicken, Rice,  Snow Peas, Egg Rolls

Beef Pot Pie, Slaw, Baked Apples

Tamale Pie, Corn, Green Salad,  Pico de gallo

Kielbasa, Cabbage, Pierogi (homemade)

...I plan my leisure:

It's not really leisure but I do enjoy my Beauty Spa morning.  I haven't had one in a few weeks and look forward to doing this for myself this week.

Gather my study, Bible and devotional books for 2017.

Gather my Christmas books to read in December.

Put together a week or so worth of outfits.

Hook up the DVD player and see if I can't watch just one of my movies.

I am just longing for a good thrift store plunder.  I will try to get out to one or two of my favorite shops this week.

The Proverbial Woman Vs. 24

Proverbs 31:24  She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchants.

Samekh(sahm-keh) is the fifteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  The pictograph of this letter resembles a shield.  The ancient root work for Samekh means "to lean upon", "to uphold", "to support".  The sages say that samekh also represents the cyclical upward spiral of seasons.  It is also said to represent the sukkah,  a shelter that represented the omnipresence of God and his continual protection.

The Hebrew word here in this verse is samakh meaning "cloak, or linen garment" according to one translation of the Hebrew.  The lexicon word used is "cadiyn" which means 'to envelop' or 'wrap around'. 

Digging thru the lexicon meanings of each of the words in this verse, I get a sense of a much, much deeper meaning.  For one thing, the garments she makes are described as sheets or a sort of gown worn next to the bare skin. The sashes are described in the lexicon as a  'girdle'.  If you read about Jewish funerary traditions, the traditional burial clothing includes the sheets or shroud which envelops the body as well as a sort of belt that is tied about the waist.  The garments meant for death also are meant to represent the priestly clothing worn by the priests.  Tradition was that only very pious women made the garments worn by the Jewish dead.

Two things I note in the study of this verse.  First, we've already established that this woman has a strong spiritual character, is known for her devotion to God.  Hence she is making funeral garments for the dead.  As befits Jewish tradition she is seen as a pious woman in her community.

Second I note that while we've studied throughout these verses her impact upon the living in her community, she also has an impact upon those who've died.  Funeral laws and services were sacred and strongly adhered to.  A funeral would be postponed if proper funeral garments were not available for some reason.  It was considered an honor to be in attendance in the rituals of preparing a body to meet God. 

Her preparations on the behalf of others though is not all there is to this verse.  I think this verse also refers to her own state of spirituality being such that at any time she is ready to meet the Creator.  She has no unfinished business, she has no reparations to make, no tangles to continue to work out.  She has reached a state of spiritual preparedness. 

Frugal Friday: My Best Efforts

Friday: Packed John's work lunch and made him breakfast before he headed out to work this morning.

I was planning my day when my guest's  changed plans and announced he was arriving five hours earlier.  Boy did that throw me into overdrive.  Plans got tossed, new plans were made and some things just didn't get done.  We'll do our best to manage without those things.

Made a pan of Gingerbread and a pan of Brownies.  I hope that will see me through the company weekend but I'm not convinced it will...

The weather man promised cooler weather this afternoon but it hasn't happened yet.  Nor the heavy winds supposed to blow in that cold front.  Phooey!

Having the doors opened and shut a hundred times in a half hour made Gramma give a mandate:  Stay inside!  After all the AC was running and both doors were wide open.  I convinced them the gnats belonged outdoors.

Prepped food ahead earlier today for the two big weekend meals. 

I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

Read a saved pin on a sure fire way to care for African violets.  One step I can't manage exactly but I'm going to attempt a variation on it.  The other things I CAN do.  When NOT blooming the plants apparently like more direct sunlight.  When blooming they should get slightly less.  I swear they look happier already just having spent the day in the kitchen window.

From past experience I've learned the best time to work up my bills and write out my checks is when I am ALONE.  That means undistracted.  That means I can concentrate and have clarity about what I'm doing.  It meant that today when I was balancing my checkbook and getting ready to write out my check for house insurance I was able to clearly and accurately access just what I could pay (the needed amount) and couldn't (the extended amount I'd thought I could)...I realized that I would be two payments ahead, which means over the holiday season when things seem to be thinner than usual, I have a payment set aside.  And in January, when I'm trying to adjust to a new annual and first quater budget, I have that payment set aside.  Perhaps I can pay it off early.  Perhaps next year I can pay it in full, but there are blessings in having a little extra set aside right now to pave the way to a smoother finish for this year.

Saturday:  It turned off a bit cooler this morning, though the big blow in of cold weather promised failed to show up at all.  Phooey on weathermen!  However, it meant the AC only came on a few times this afternoon and not very often at that, even with the kids leaving the interior doors open most all afternoon.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner...Oh boy!  Meals were easy enough today.  I employed paper plates for two meals and the children each had a disposable cup that I used a permanent chalk pen to mark with their initials.  Snacks weren't asked for and weren't given which seems easy enough when you think about it.  The kids cleaned their plates and had dessert after two meals and that two seemed easy enough.  It was a sign of how good and hungry they were!  I have a few brownies left and half a Gingerbread and that's despite making just an 8x8 pan of each. I put out a bowl of fruit with the lunch sandwiches and allowed them each to eat a piece of fruit each before setting out a tiny portion of dessert each which suited them all just fine. 

My shoulder roast was rather substantial.  We'll eat roast and roast beef sandwiches this next week.

I poured off a quart of rich beefy broth from the roast before I made gravy.  That was set aside to use as soup base this week.

John washed a full load of clothes this evening.  We used the dryer so our son could go ahead and pack them up to take back home.  We 'saved' the load of towels and cloths for a separate load tomorrow and those we will hang out to dry on the line.

I washed a full load of dishes this evening.

I drained the water from the peas (no salt) I steamed before salting and buttering the peas.  That pea water went over the hydrangea which is putting out some new growth now that it's getting watered a little more regularly.

I cut up an apple to put in the salad today.  I put it to soak in lemon and water.  That was a bad move with this variety of apple (Cortland).  It got soft and mushy.  They are delicious for eating out hand but rapidly turn brown when exposed to air.  I think these would be a great pie or cake apple, too.

Sunday:  The one nice thing about daylight savings time is getting up at 7am and finding the sun shining.  I'd already gotten rather tired of getting up at 7am and until 7:45am until the sun rose. 

Made homemade waffles for the hungry horde who needed to polish off the doughnuts to get really full...

Fed cat and dog plate scrapings from yesterday.  There wasn't much, mind, but it was a nice addition to their foodbowls.

John washed a full load of clothes and hung to dry.  He commented that it looked like we'd used every single towel in the house.  I told him "No, there's one clean one in our bath and one you missed washing in the other bath."  lol.  He was amazed at how many towels 6 guests can use, even if they just use one a piece.

Dug down in my freezer and discovered that we had another full multipack of  sausage patties.

I was quite surprised at the children's appetites.  They do not snack, but at meal time they EAT.  I promise you they ate every bite I ate at all meals.  I was impressed.  No, they are not overweight but they are quite active as you'd expect.

What a joy to watch the children scuffle through the leaves in the back yard.  True it's so dry and dusty they stirred a bit of dust doing it but I well recall scuffling through a pile of leaves with Josie twelve years ago when she was but two and the sound it makes is quintessentially autumn, as is the aroma of the dry leaves.

I put out a variety of sandwiches for lunch.  There were a few leftover luncheon meat sandwich halves from yesterday, peanut butter and jelly and toasted cheese.

We went through the house three times separately, us three adults, trying to insure nothing of import was left behind.  The children had brought along toys but were forewarned if anything got left behind it would not be shipped home, it would just stay here until next visit.  Past experience on our's pricey to mail and nine times out of ten they are no longer interested in the item when it arrives.

Leftovers for supper were from our pot roast meal.  There's enough left yet to make a hash meal sometime in the week ahead.

Monday:  Can I tell you what I didn't do today?  I didn't go buy bread or stock up on milk and eggs nor purchase a generator, etc.  Frankly I will tell you that there are good reasons to be prepared but an election seems the least of our worries in this nation.  I made a facebook post about this election business this evening and it's the only post there will be from me.  I'm about sick of it all and I mean it. Bullying, scare tactics, threats and such just don't appeal to me in the least.

What I did do:  Made a batch of banana bread using very ripe bananas.

Made a leftover makeover (no photos, alas) with some leftover broccoli.  All of our noon meal was leftovers.  I transformed two of those items.

We went down to pick up John's check.  On our way we picked up mail, took off trash, went by the bank, dropped off outgoing mail, and on our way home we deposited the electric bill.

We went to the DIY stores again.  I finished purchasing the blocks needed to complete the last flower bed I'd made up.  I also bought a half dozen snapdragons and a flat of nine kale.  It's a start on my fall plantings. I paid for the blocks and snapdragons from my pocket money.

John had a list of things he wanted/needed to do projects.  He'd priced items online.  We found alternate items that saved a few dollars.  We also didn't get a couple of items that we could not find nor could we find reasonable substitutes for. Nevertheless there's a 'setpoint' total we seem to keep coming to with our spending.

Although we were just blocks from Aldi, it was end of the day rush hour traffic.  Too hectic paced to even think of fighting our way down through several traffic lights to do the shopping.  We'll just do the extra trip over a little later in the week.

We opted to come home for supper where we finished off the last of several items.

In the mail, I received a gift card for $10 off a purchase from Ulta.  I needed primer and this was a wonderful 'bonus'.  I was able to get primer and a couple of other items for $7 out of pocket, less than I'd have paid for the same brand at stores 40 miles away. 

John washed and hung to dry two loads of  bed clothes.

No AC today.  We left home before it got stuffy indoors.  When we came in it was nearly dark and rapidly cooling down outdoors, so I simply turned on the whole house fan until the temperature dropped a few degrees.

Tuesday:  We were in no hurry to leave home today though we had plans to shop for groceries.  It happens this way when John has a full week of time off.  We slow down. A lot.

Shopped at Aldi first.  I did just what I said I'd do.  I bought only what we needed NOW for the two weeks ahead.  With the exception of cheese.  John pointed out two very good prices on cheese, both cheddar and cream.  He couldn't believe I didn't want to stock up.  I doubled my original plan and left it at that.  We also bought our Thanksgiving turkey breast this day because in two weeks I will have to shop during Thanksgiving week which is NEVER fun.  As well it will be our short pay period.  Not a good time to need to buy a pricier item.  I came in at exactly the amount I wanted to spend today, despite stopping off at CVS.  Then a stop at Publix where I picked up exactly what was on my list and nothing more.  I felt good about this shopping trip. 

We stopped at the local diner and got our midday meal.  John paid from his pocket money.

When I'd put away groceries, I pared four pears we'd had left from last pay period.  When they get spotty looking, John won't touch them and I admit I find them less appetizing looking.  I was surprised to find they were still fairly firm and juicy.  Nevertheless, I sliced them and cooked them with some sugar and a bit of water.  I couldn't find my powdered ginger (sitting on the counter last time I saw it...) so I dropped in a couple of slices of ginger root and a splash of lemon juice.  Letting it cook down until all the liquid was evaporated made a nice half pint of Pear Butter.

I had leftover roast, broth, green beans, gravy and green peas in the fridge.  I chopped the roast, mixed all the ingredients with a half can of tomatoes and half a can of tomato sauce (also leftover) and half a can of canned potatoes diced.  I cooked this most of the afternoon until it became a thick savory stew.  It was super good for supper on this chilly fall evening for supper.

Gathered items meant to go to Katie's.  I had new bath rugs I'd purchased over the summer that I'd decided I didn't want to use in our bathroom now the cabinets are white. 

I also carried a new blouse that was too snug in the hip area for me.

True to our word, John and I watched movies all evening long.  Not even a peek at Facebook, news feeds nor news channels.  Regardless of outcome we voted for the candidate that came nearer our personal convictions. 

Wednesday:  I did not sleep well last night.  I let a silly thing worry me and it went round and round and round in my brain until I very nearly felt crazy. Reason finally reigned.  And what was all this worry about?  That stupid house insurance bill, the very one I'd saved money to pay.  How unreasonable was my worry?  I didn't want to have the bank balance drop once I'd paid the bill!  Lordy the way I will let stupid fear get hold of me at times!

John woke me at 5am this morning to tell me who'd won the election.  Awake anyway, I figured I might as well work on Swagbucks.  Glad I did.  I managed to get a survey!

Normally, we stop for breakfast on our way to Katie's.  Since we were up so early this morning, John made me a beautiful breakfast plate with fruit and eggs and toast.  Lovely way to start an autumn morning with good things packed into it to look forward to.

We stopped to pick up dinner to take to Katie's.  I had John get extra for their supper.  It seemed unfair to have her husband miss our visit and a special dinner, too. Nothing fancy but a meal we all consider a treat.

Pleased I carried along the rugs.   Katie loved them for her kitchen.  She also loved the blouse.  And then she surprised me with a blouse she'd culled from a friend's donate/giveaway pile.  I loved it!

No apples found at roadside stands...or even open roadside stands either.

We drove home and made toasted cheese sandwiches here for our dinner.

Thursday:   We had a relatively quiet day at home today.

I was unloading the dishwasher this morning when my upper dish rack slipped  out of place.  This has been ongoing for 20 years and was no great surprise.  The roller assembly broke in two pieces this time however.  We found another set on EBay for $7.50 and ordered the set.  I told John that's none too shabby for a 20 year old dishwasher to need only one repair in all these years.  It's a GE by the way and I think it's long usage without a bit of trouble certainly is a great recommendation for the brand.

Although the lettuce from Saturday's leftover green salad looked a bit brown about the edge, the lettuce was still quite good.  I am so determined these days to let little go to waste that I picked out the brownest and put the rest in a bowl.

Katie sent us home with two dozen lovely ripe (or almost) roma tomatoes.  Her bushes decided to have a second life.  They were still loaded with green tomatoes and fresh blooms yesterday.

So much for the no waste mandate.  I found a tablespoon each of pimento cheese and egg salads at the back of the drawer.

Saw bluebirds at the bird bath this afternoon...That's a nice addition to the blue jays, cardinals, and  mocking birds.  I refilled the bath this afternoon.  It was bone dry.  I used some of the water I took out to water the plants I just bought.

Although the dishwasher might well be without a top rack I filled the bottom rack and washed as full a load of dishes as I could.

We hung jeans to dry on the line.  I hung our bath towels and mat out to dry and freshen after our showers.

Friday:  Made oatmeal for breakfast.  It is truly one of our favorite cold weather breakfasts and I can't beat the low price, even with adding an egg to the dish.

Stretched a half pound of ground beef with a bit of Italian turkey sausage (1 link) and rice to make stuffed bell peppers for tomorrow's dinner.  I set the other half pound of ground beef aside to use in another entrée for the first part of next week.

Made a half recipe of a new recipe.  I've been doing this often lately partly because I have no need of a recipe that serves 6-8 and partly to extend the meats we have on hand.  The recipe was delicious if a little more saucy than we would eat at one sitting.  I used the leftovers and the extra pasta cooked to set aside an entrée for myself for Sunday.

Planted all the flowering kale and snapdragons.

Packed up John's lunch for Sunday.  Because his sandwiches tend to dry out if left in the refrigerator over the weekend I put them in a zippered bag to keep fresher.

I used bottled water from my stored supply to water some of plants.

Turned off all unnecessary lights during the day all week long.

Keeping the heat down to 68f.

I'm calling this a week.  What did you do to save this week?


The Proverbial Woman vs 23

Proverbs 31:23  Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.

Nun(noon)  is the fourteenth letter of the alphabet.  The pictograph for Nun looks something like a sprouted seed.  The sages say this letter represents both the faithful and the rewards of faith.  It means 'fish' and represents life.  Joshua was the son of Nun and on his succession to Moses as he entered the Promised Land was called "the Son of Life".

I find it interesting that the letter Mem means water and the letter Nun represents fish.  What is a fish without water?!

Noda is our first word in this verse.  The lexicon does not have any word which begins with Nun, but another translation of this verse says that her husband sits with distinction.  I am thinking noda  may well be an adverb that describes how he sits in the gates.   If he is sitting with 'distinction' he has not only the right to sit there but is respected among the elders of the city.  Young men might go to the gate but it was the seat of wisdom, a place of judgement and settlements in the ancient city.  It was a place for business deals where reputable witnesses were party to contracts and agreements.  In other words, it was a valuable part of any city.  To 'sit in the gates' one had to have displayed many respectable and admirable traits. 

Earlier in Proverbs we see this:  Proverbs 8:1-3  Wisdom is calling!  Understanding is raising her voice!  On the heights along the road, where the paths meet, she is standing; by the gates leading into the city, at the entrances...

A man was appointed to sit in the gates.  He didn't just decide that was where he belonged. 
Deut. 16:18  You are to appoint judges and officers for all your gates [in the cities] Adonai your God is giving you, tribe by tribe; they are to judge the people with righteous judgement.

The reputation of a wife could absolve that of a bad husband.  Remember Abigail and Nabal?  When David and his men were hiding from Saul, they watched over the sheep and shepherds, making sure that no harm came to Nabal's property in the wild fields they roamed.  David's men were sent to Nabal and requested provisions, Nabal refused.  Abigail, hearing of how rudely her husband behaved ordered the servants to load up provisions and take to David and his men.  Later, when Nabal died, David remembered this remarkable woman and sent for her to become one of his wives.  (I Samuel 25).   What might Nabal have been had he realized the value of Abigail's wisdom? 

No doubt this husband is sitting in the gates as well because his wife is such an exemplary woman.  She has rightly seen that she is a reflection of her husband and his reputation is something she values as much as her own.   I believe again it's her example, not just of her work ethic but of her spiritual wisdom, her compassion to those less fortunate, which elevates herself and her husband in their community. 

Coffee Chat: Sweet November

Hello dear.  Do come in and have a cup of coffee with me.  There are those lovely spice cookies to go with our cups, or the little Danish butter cookies.  We have an abundance of sweets this week.  It's both my desire to have a little something and my thought of more impending company though I can't tell you anyone whose meant to be here until two weeks from now.  Yes, indeed, the guest room has been booked once again.   We'll take coffee to the living room and sit by the window so we can watch the birds at the birdbath.  It's warmer by the window with the sun coming in. Less  smoky than outdoors.   And isn't it lovely to at last have cool weather and find our hot drink such a comfort?

I was just sitting here smiling over a post I made many years ago on Facebook, one of those 'shared memories'.  In it I proclaimed that henceforth November should be my favorite month of the year and I see no reason to change my opinion.  Monday night I sat there across the room and watched the sun set.  I don't know just when the trees on the horizon went bare...but there the branches were etched black against that lovely panoramic view of the sky highlighted by the beautiful blue and purple and coral of the setting sun.  I don't know why God allots us such beauty at the day's end and beginning but He does and I for one appreciate it.  A day can only seem more lovely when you see the rising sun and the glory of it and no matter how awful it's been, beauty at the end is soothing and reassuring somehow.  It's something too to see you through those long dark hours in between when it's sandwiched between glories.

 Over the past weekend, we saw our oldest son and his three children.  We so seldom get to see them these days but I did enjoy them.  I watched them scuffle their feet through the fallen leaves and John and I stood smiling at the kitchen window watching the twins stroll slowly back up the driveway as they chatted. Five and Seven are vastly different than Four and Six.  They are more independent in their play which is a blessing.  It meant I could sit by and listen though I appeared to be busy on my own.  I love listening to the imaginings of children as they play.  They were satisfied still with the same toys we've had here since their own infancy.  And they loved the freedom of being able to head outdoors when they wanted and run downhill and back up again.    I was grateful once again for what I was able to pass along to another generation of children, the same joy I'd had visiting here while I was growing up.  I think it's important children have a place to be free and safe at the same time.  How fortunate I am to have that here.  It's a sort of living legacy of Granny's to have bought this place for her children and have wanted her children's children to have it.  Now it's my children's children...This place has been a generational blessing thus far.

It was a good visit.  I planned and prepared well and so there was no exhaustive work to do on top of the visit.  The children ate every bite put before them and nary a complaint nor whine over what they didn't like.  Our only squabble was a constant request for juice.  We had juice and we had chocolate milk but just one serving of each and then we also had plenty of good well water. 

We don't get to see these children often any more and it's hard for us and them, too.  But it is the way things are.  I guess now they are older they've been thinking and talking about it.  Daniel asked me quietly one evening as he played on the floor near my chair, " you miss us?"  "All of the time..." I replied.  "We think about you and talk about you and we look forward to when we can see you again."

Later while I was brushing out Hailey's hair she said "I love you, Gramma...I miss you.  I think about you a lot."  "I miss you, too, Hailey.  I think of you, too.  And the next time you're thinking about me, you just remember that I'm thinking of you.  We're together in our thinking of one another.  And when you remember that I'm thinking of you, you remember that I love you very much." 

It's a lot for a five year old to miss Daddy for six months at a time and to miss grandparents, too.  It's a lot for a seven year old.  There's not much that can be done about it except trust one another's love.

I've had time to think about this business of missing grandchildren and grandparents, too.  I shared with you about how seldom we got to spend time with Grandaddy and Grandmama.  Yet, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that they loved us.  It was plain in the way they smiled when they saw us, in the way little things we each favored was remembered.

We saw the three children then we spent the day with Katie and Taylor.  We could only visit mid-week this month with all the comings and goings and work schedule.  We missed seeing Matt, but we did get to watch Zoey the 100 pound German Shepherd, lay herself in adoration at John's feet and roll over to expose her belly.  She's a lap dog for all she's 100 pounds.  A very sweet natured doggy and so gentle with Taylor.  Taylor has learned that Zoey's paw pads are sensitive and ticklish, so she'll gently poke at them and laugh out loud as Zoey snatches her feet back out of the way.  Zoey in her turn will give a ticklish swipe of the tongue to Taylor's toes and make Taylor snatch her feet away.  At one point, when Zoey was sleeping on the floor, Taylor lay down with her head resting on the thigh of Zoey's leg and played with a book while she rested against her dog.

This will be  a rare month for me.  I'll see Josh next weekend when I go down to see his daddy baptized.  Now there's an answer to years of prayer!  Sam was the one child who has never had a desire to admit he needed salvation.  For whatever reason he truly believed it was enough to be a good person and do good things.  It's hard to explain surrender to someone who sees themselves as strong and able and decent.  And in the end, it's something one must experience for oneself.  It's that personal relationship with God thing I am forever going on about. 

I'll see Josh that weekend and on Thanksgiving Day, for the first time in years, I shall spend the day with my three of my children and their children.  Rare indeed!  John shall have to work and will miss it but this is as near together as we've all been on Thanksgiving in nearly 10 years I think.

I've thought of Granny a lot these past two days.  For one thing, it's her birth month and that date is drawing near.  For another, I recall a November day when I was off work, when we'd been here just a year, and Granny came up the back steps (no deck or porch then) and knocked on the door.  It was a glorious day.  The trees were bare, the sedge grass in the fields golden as ripe wheat, the skies bluest of blues above and the air brisk.  I had all the windows open and was letting the house 'breathe' as we say it when we're giving the house a good airing.  I'd been busy all morning and had just sat down. 

When Granny knocked on the door I wasn't in the least surprised to see her.  "Come with me." she said and we walked the place from front to back.  Not such a lot of walking really but interesting walking with sights to admire and fresh air to blow the cobwebs from our mind and hawks and geese overhead and crows cawing across the fields.  I don't recall a word of conversation.  I recall feeling happy and as though every single thing was right with the world.  I am sure we did talk.  Talking was something we always did with Granny, she was that sort.  The sort that inspired confidences and deep heart to heart talks and soul searching. 

I don't recall the conversation but I recall the peace of that day and it's stayed with me in some depth ever since.  Granny had a way about her that made you feel peaceful and at rest somehow.  Shalom peace is what she had.

I realized this week that it's been five years since she passed on.  I...  I can't say I miss her.  I do in many ways...but I wouldn't be her granddaughter if I didn't have the gumption to move on with my life.  She did it over and over again.  She lost children and a husband and a grandson.  She lost her parents and a sibling or two.  She went on.  Missing is something you just carry with you, aware there's not a thing you can do to change it.  Missing and remembering and appreciating the time that was. Missing and using every bit of knowledge and wisdom ever imparted.   Missing and knowing that one day we'll meet again.

I said no projects for these two months except to finish those we've started.  I bought enough landscape block to finish off the one flower bed this week.  The truth is I'm bored.  I've grown accustomed to being busy. There is still painting to be done.  There are plants, a start for those pretty pots of winter blooms I hope to have.  I promise myself I shall not do any more big projects until the New Year.  There are holidays ahead and taxes and insurance just paid so money needs to be built up once more.  There's plenty of little household tasks that need to be seen to.  There's a holiday this month and I could do a little preparation for that.  There's a full shelf of never before read books and the DVD player Sam gave us this past summer that I keep meaning to get connected to the TV and there are movies to watch.  There's loads of things to do!  And yet I do none of those things and I think ahead to new projects.

Speaking of books, I've just finished House of Memory by Richard Collier.  Not a new book but an older one that was on my bookshelf of unread books.  It was really a nice read, a book about the home he grew up in as a boy.  There are not just memories of his life but memories of an era, that space between the end of the Edwardian era and the start of the roaring twenties. The loveliest description in the book involved a normal day for his mother.  The book is a keeper I think, at least for now.

Are any of you feeling as world weary as I am at the moment?  I had hoped with the election over and done that we'd move away somewhat from the rants and raves and outcries, but apparently no.  No, there are protests and marches and outrages.   I don't recall an election year that was ever as horrid as this one...I don't want one word from anyone about their candidate winning or losing or dire predictions.  I have been through many a year here on this blog without protesting choices made in elections.    I might well squawk over a law passed that adversely affected my income overall  but I could see the blessing in having income enough to adjust things accordingly. 

And do you know, I can't help but feel that we owe a certain loyalty to whomever is in office.  I won't
say I agree with every single thing done by any president, but it's my country and the person at the helm should be supported.   Change is never easy but change we must if we're to be a proper nation.  So let's all just hush up and get busy with the work we all should do to be our very best!  And remember this: triumph and tragedy, the world goes right on.  Meals to prepare and clothes to mend, people to come home to at day's end and sunrise and sunset will go right on occurring. 

I think I mentioned that my insurance coverage is being discontinued after this year.  Fortunately I found a replacement policy that will be about the same amount each month.   At least so says the website.  However, not everyone is as fortunate.  I am referring to Patsy whom many of you know through her blog, A Working Pantry.  Their costs rose so very much that it's going to create a real hardship for tem.  I wanted to suggest, if you all don't mind, that she and other bloggers like her (I'm thinking of Brenda at Coffee Tea Books and Me now and Brandy at Prudent Homemaker) should be supported through their Amazon affiliate links.  I believe I'm correct when I say that if you click on an item they've featured you can go on through to whatever you yourself might need to purchase it will still give them Amazon credit.   As well, if they have a 'support this site' button, then please make a donation.  Even a dollar or two is a help to these bloggers.  If a blogger has Google ad sense take a moment and click through on an ad.  It takes a moment and yet it earns that blogger a cent or two for their time.  I'm talking about giving a helping hand to your favorite bloggers, supporting them in small ways that can cost you little time or effort, just a moment or two of thought.  I often order through Amazon but I only seldom think to use an affiliate link.  Hadn't we ought to try to help?

Well, I think I shall wander outdoors and refill the bird bath.  I think it's getting low, because the birds keep picking up leaves and tossing over the edge.  I've had such a nice visit with you and with them (oh look!  bluebirds!).  Come back soon! 

The Proverbial Woman vs. 22

Proverbs 31:22  She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Mem is our next letter.  It is the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  In pictograph this letter looks like a wave of water.  In Hebrew the letter means 'waters' and represents wisdom. 

Proverbs 18:4  The words a man speaks are deep water, a flowing stream, a fountain of wisdom.

There are other meanings of the word: waters, people, languages, nations. 

The form of this letter, with one side open as seen here,  is said to represent the hidden truth of God, revealed.

In the lexicon, the word used is Marbad. It is marvadim in the Hebrew version I'm using.  (Since Veronika kindly pointed out that the last two words I was struggling with did in fact have the same meaning as the lexicon words used, I will proceed with using them.  I so appreciate that help!!)  Marbad  is translated as spread or coverlet

A few translations in English use the word 'tapestry' and indeed the primitive root word from which marbad  is derived is rabad and it means tapestry or covering as well.  Tapestry is a very intricate bit of weaving, and  is usually quite heavy almost like a carpet or rug. This would have been a very luxurious bit of weaving for her bed.  While some translations have used the term 'bedspread', I am not aware enough of the history of tapestry or the times in which our woman lived to know if it truly was a bedspread or if rugs were spread for a bed at that time. I reference this to the story of Jael:  Sisera came to Jael's tent to seek refuge; she gave him milk and rolled him in a rug to hide him...He fell asleep and she took that opportunity to kill him. Judges 4:21.

If you read about tapestry making and the intricacy of the work done, how finely woven it is with a pattern worked atop that, then you'll understand that this work required costly threads and meticulous work, as well as a great deal of time.  That she made these coverings for her own bed bespeaks the value of her marriage bed.

But there's more...aren't we finding that there always is with this woman?

It is her bedroom that she chooses to make lovely with these coverings.  Her bedroom would be a place exclusively for her husband and herself, nost likely an interior room.  It is a place of intimacy.  Surely this is representative of her own relationship with God and the depth of her inner spiritual life. 

..her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Woman or not, these are priestly colors!  The word used for 'fine linen' is "shash"(shaysh)It literally translates to 'white'.  It is interesting to me to note that the Hebrew word for shash is represented by two shin, another letter of the alphabet, and they look like two crowns side by side.  Purple was a royal and priestly color as well.   The color was acquired by crushing the shells of a certain shellfish from the Mediterranean Sea.  References to the white and the purple are scattered throughout Exodus chapters from chapter 25-28.  These colors were used for both the curtains that surrounded the Holy of Holies and the priests garments worn for duty in the tabernacle.

In light of the previous verse it is not hard to believe that she would wear the garments of a priest. It most surely is spiritual clothiing as much as physical clothing and further evidence of the strong role she plays in her home as an example and guide.   

In My Home This Week: Whew!

In my home this week...

...I don't know just what this coming week will hold. I only expected half of this past week, lol.  Sam and Bess stayed the night one night in the middle of the week on their way to the northern part of the state (that was unexpected). I babysat a sick Josh while they tried to do an errand in the city that night and the next morning their first stop was Urgent care with the boy.  He did not feel well, poor baby.
Friday I was trying to order my thoughts towards the arrival of my older son and grandchildren, only to get a text message moments into my planning session  that he was going to arrive FIVE hours early!  Oh dear!  That restful easy pace I'd been thinking would be mine had to go into overdrive and several ideas of things I'd meant to do were tossed away completely.

It was a rollicking visit.  Thankfully the weather was slightly cooler, the kids happily roamed and ran and roared about outdoors and then came indoors for quieter (relatively) play.  They cleaned their plates at every meal eating every bit as much as any adult, and pretty much went top speed from morning until Gramma slyly sent them all to bed a half hour early (hey they can't read clocks yet!) and were asleep by 9pm.  It was wonderful, every bit of it.  But 9pm was almost blissful and that's no lie. 

Typical  of November, we're seeing a bit more color on the trees now.  Last week it felt rather odd to have the AC running most of the afternoon (and into the early evening hours) and to watch leaves drift from the trees at the same time.  There was definitely something wrong with that picture!  Cooler weather blew back in over the weekend, but truly it's not cool in my opinion.  It's 'about right' but it's not cool.  Cool weather to me necessitates a sweater or light jacket and allows me to be quite content to keep them on!   However, the weather man insists upon calling it 'cooler' and even 'cold' (sheesh and he's supposed to be from Nebraska or something...) and so I shall refer to it as 'cool' as well, just to differentiate between pleasant and the stinking hot we've had for what feels like endless months now.

There are now chipmunks out back...if Maddie has left any of them alive.  I think chipmunks are cute, far more so than squirrels who tend to be a bit too destructive in their ways however acrobatic and funny they might be.  I was so pleased to see my first chipmunk on the place but at least twice now I've found Maddie feasting.  I have a strong suspicion that in her mind they are just so many more baby rabbits, which she seems to consider a great delicacy.  Sigh...It is her sole indiscretion.  She typically chases birds from tree to tree, or plays tag with the bees.  She admires adult rabbits from a distance.  Any other feasting she does is the result of thievery, because Misu is the huntress in this household.  And no doubt that is how Maddie came to know there were chipmunks about. 

The blue jays still are loving the bird bath under the pecan tree.  I've been checking it for water levels every day and refilling when needed.  There's one rather persistent mocking bird who is brazen enough to chase away the jays.  And when no other birds are lurking a smaller bird shows up.  I haven't gotten a good look at him just yet, so I don't know what type of bird he is.

I have a confession to make:  I've never allowed myself to like blue jays.  Granny disliked them so you see, and told me they had the habit of pushing out other's birds eggs from a nest and leaving their own to be hatched and raised (as does the cuckoo and a few others).  And too, the Blue Jay's cry is persistently 'Thief!  Thief!' which I feel is so hypocritical given their way of foisting off their children on others.  But here in the winters the jays and the red birds are the lively bits of color in an otherwise brown and  grey landscape. And this autumn I've come to appreciate how their blue and gray and white coloring complements the tobacco gold of the pecan leaves.  I don't know that I can quite forget their nature, but I suppose they are just as God made them, and so I will do my best to appreciate the finer things about long as they don't scream 'Thief' at me too often!

...I plan my work week:

 I didn't get to a thing on my list of work for last week...So I'll just transfer it to this week's list.  Now that I'm officially slowing down for a little bit it's all copasetic.  No worries.  I expect things will get done during the month. 

It's Harvest week.  Bills, groceries, running errands and all that sort of thing.  I'm trying to plan ahead for the holidays since the next check is the short one and so Thanksgiving dinner must be pretty much purchased this week.  Lots of thinking carefully and at the same time being careful not to stock the pantry but just 'buy what we need'.  It shall be a struggle of sorts but I'll get it done!

Paint the kitchen cabinets (finish the last wall).

Get guest room cleaned up and ready for the next guests.  I don't know who or when but they're coming, I'm sure of that!

John has a long week off this week with no work days so I'll be at the mercy (and fun) of his spontaneous choices.  I'll leave the work plans where they are.

...I plan meals:

Pot Roast with Mashed potatoes, Green Peas and Salad, Gingerbread

Leftovers of roast dinner

Polska Kielbasa, Cabbage, Pierogi (or potatoes au gratin if I can't catch the sale at the store on piergoi)

deli takeout

Tamale Pie, Pineapple Salad

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Tenderloin (leftover makeover) Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Butternut Squash

Vegetable Beef Soup, Corn Muffins,  Apple and Pomegranite salad, Snickerdoodles 

...I plan my leisure:

I hope we can maybe visit Katie this week.  We haven't discussed days or anything yet.  (Katie, don't panic I hope by the time you read this we've talked.  We won't just pop in.)  I would love to get some good Winesap apples and see some fall color if we do go northward.

Weekend Reading

I had links set up for last weekend and simply never got time to post them.  Now I have a long list after two weeks of reading newsfeed and such.  So I thought it best to go ahead and give you all a nice list for this weekend.  It's varied enough I think to interest you.  Enjoy!

I love to shop for antiques even though I seldom purchase very many.   This list has the 'best' antique stores in small towns state by state (just one per state) but for goodness sake make sure you go visit those near you in your own states.  I can't name the number of times I've meant to pay a visit and found when I finally broke down and did it that the place had closed up just a month or two before.  It always pains me to think of what I missed seeing.

I was surprised at who owns some of my favorite brands...Big corporations have sure taken over a lot of companies.  Great for those small businesses that hopefully made a profit for their product but sometimes if you've noticed a change in a favored  brand a takeover might be why.

For those of you who enjoy The Royal Family, I thought this short video and article about the Queen of England was fun.

John mentioned the movie, "The Station Agent" to me one morning on our way to do errands.  We stumbled upon later that week and stayed up until midnight watching it.  That's a long way past our bedtime!  It's a good film and I thought I'd suggest you to those of you who have Netflix or get the Audience channel on cable. 

I was not at all surprised to find St. Augustine on this list of the 'best' small towns in America

The Proverbial Woman: Vs. 21

Proverbs 31:21  She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

is the twelvth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  In pictograph it is a shepherd's hook or goad.  It is considered the 'heart' of the alphabet.  The original meaning of lamed is 'to prick, sting, incite, goad'  as a shepherd might goad cattle into movement or action.  The Hebrew name of the letter itself means to teach or to learn and refers to the Torah.    

is our word in this verse.  It means 'to clothe' but the primitive root word means "to wrap around".

On the surface of things this woman uses common sense and knows that there are seasons.  She has prepared her family for the season of snow.  We don't have snow often in Georgia, but I would think in an area where there was deep snow that red would most surely stand out.  It is unlikely that anyone wearing red would be 'lost' in snow.

Interestingly, when the Hebrew meanings of the words are studied in depth we learn that the scarlet dye was obtained by grinding the dried body of an insect.  It is only the female which produces this color.  I thought this spoke volumes about how our Proverbial Woman has sacrificed herself, in a sense, for her family.

As well we cannot forget that it was by blood that the Israelites were saved during that horrible (and wonderful!) night in Egypt when the Israelites were finally able to walk out of the slavery of generations.  And that was a foreshadowing of the blood of the Lamb of God slain for our sins in years to come.

Frugal Fridays: Making Changes

One of the pair of tables Mama gifted me this week.  They were purchased from one of her new neighbors whose wife wanted to replace them with square tables.  I am pleased as punch with this gift ad thrilled at the quality of the tables.  Mama got them at a bargain price.

Saturday:  Not the sorts of changes we've been making in our home but switching up some of our financial things.  I'll post about it early this week.

My first task today was fighting a pile of ants that came in from an unknown spot and got into the two biscuits I meant to put in the freezer to save for stuffing.  No savings there!  I had to throw them outdoors and spent the first 30 minutes of morning spraying, wiping and sweeping up dead ants.  Yuck.

Made roast beef hash for dinner.  I cut up extra potatoes so we'd have some for potato soup after church tomorrow.

Chopped extra onions to go into sloppy joes and potato soup.

Stacked dishes.  I never meant to be cooking today but we went out yesterday afternoon and that threw me off my work plans.

Made chicken salad and egg salad for sandwich fillings this week.

Bess's mom, Jenny, sent me two big pill cases, the sort that hold a week's worth of pills.  I have one for morning meds and one for evening.  I used a chalk pen to write "a" for am on the one box and "p" for the evening ones so I'd not mix them up.  I don't trust myself to remember which color is meant for which part of the day!  I am very grateful  for  this kind and thoughtful gift.  It bothered Bess that I set up dosages in two paper cups each day.  I explained that I hadn't found a pill box big enough to hold all of my pills.  Jenny is a nurse and knew just where to source what was needed.  Wasn't that thoughtful?

Diary for July: Week Two

July 7, Shabat Saturday:   So very much I want to chatter over today and perhaps I will...I don't typically write on Shabat, having al...