Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Helper to My Imperfect Husband

But for Dave there was not found a helper comparable to him.
 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Dave, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 
 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from Dave, made he a woman, and brought her unto  Dave. 
And Dave said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Brenda, and she will be my helper.  
Therefore shall Dave leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto Brenda: and they shall be one flesh.

If you get your Bible out and read Genesis 2:20-24, you most certainly will not find the names Dave and Brenda!  And you will notice a few words dropped and few added in the above sentences.
You try it!  Insert you and your spouse's name.  Like how it sounds and feels?

As a little girl I heard those scriptures and as a grown woman I heard those scriptures, but I did not fully understand what they truly meant.  I have heard and read the story of Adam and Eve and created a picture in my mind of the "beginning."   How good and perfect everything was in the Garden of Eden! God took a rib from Adam's side (the only bone in our bodies that regenerate) and created a beautiful creature.  Why didn't God create Eve from the dust?  Instead He created her out of Adam's side to be equal with him, from under his arm to be protected, and from near his heart to be beloved.  He now felt complete. His missing part was found!  Just like the animals, he now had a companion, and a special one with a special purpose at that.

 We don't exactly know what happened in the days following the creation of that special person, but eventually Eve opened her lovely mouth and chomped into that juicy piece of fruit, which by the way, may not have been a red apple.  I wonder.... while standing there chewing, did she hound Adam to take a bite, too?  Did they argue back and forth, Adam knowing that he should not, Eve wondering why not, Adam wondering why Eve felt to take a bite in the first place, and Eve wondering why Adam will not just "listen" to her?  What really did go on beneath that tree and what were the events that led up to even going to that tree in the first place? 

  Did Eve get bored?  Did she grow discontent?  Was Adam just too busy to notice that his wife was growing a wee bit independent until the incident under the tree and then he didn't want to make waves by addressing it?  Did the communication between them break down and they assumed that they each knew what the other was thinking? Was she resenting being his helper and being told what to do and desired for herself to be more elevated?  Why didn't she offer the apple to Adam BEFORE she bite into it?  Did she resent his reluctance?  I guess it doesn't matter anymore because the deed was done LONG time ago, but I believe that was the beginning of what happens way too often in a marriage - miscommunication.   
It is so easy in this bone of bone, flesh of flesh relationship to be standing underneath "that" tree with her looking at him and him looking her, both with the knowledge that there has been a break down somewhere in their relationship.  Maybe it began with the misconception that the woman tends to have - thinking that her husband should know everything - like "you really should know what I am thinking" and "you really should know what I want to do or where I want to go and what would be the perfect gift for me."  "You mean you don't know how to figure that out?" "You don't understand that just bending at the waist and picking up your clothes only takes 2 seconds?" "Don't you realize that we need to spend more time just talking?" (that's a good one, isn't it?)  "You really should KNOW everything about everything, including how to figure me out!"  Come on, ladies!  Admit it!  Or am I the lone Eve in this garden of life?  Oh, we might not say anything out loud to him, or maybe we do.  Then we wonder why our Adam seems to find himself busy elsewhere, or he remains by our side physically, but emotionally becomes elsewhere. He does not know what to make of his Eve, who has this independent, resentful attitude that she carries around.  And he wonders why his Eve would even think that he would think of speaking to her about it, for really, he has no idea why she would bite his head off?
And that juicy piece of fruit?
It has a big chomp missing!
She is chewing away, all the while wondering why he is so needy!

The big realization finally hits her ... and hard! .... if her Adam would know everything and be able to do everything, he really wouldn't need her by his side and she may as well give back his rib!  It is just fine and dandy and wonderful that he is not a "know it all!"  He NEEDS a helper and she was chosen!

God in His wisdom had it all planned out that the joining of an imperfect man and an imperfect woman would make a perfect pair.
Being our husbands HELPER is NOT a position to be despised! 
It is NOT a lowly position, but one to be held in high esteem!
This place beside our husbands, protected under his arm and close to his heart 
 is a position to be desired, to be cherished. 
And the women's liberation has it all wrong!
 (Think I will receive some hate mail?)

Together we compliment each other.
 When we are by our husband's side, our strengths compensate for his weaknesses and his strengths compensate for our weaknesses.  We become strong and magnificent, both in our imperfections!

The picture in my mind of the "beginning" has become more beautiful! 

I am so thankful for my IMPERFECT husband!
And for the opportunity to be his helper!
And that tree can keep it's fruit!

Until next time...... 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Home Made Butter

No store bought butter beats home made butter!
Especially made with healthy grass based cream!

We are still milking just a few cows in the mornings - for the pigs, calves and our consumption.  Every few weeks, the boys will let the milk set for a day or two and then skim off the cream for us to make butter.  

I have discovered that blenders from yard sales or second hand shops work great for whipping cream.  Besides a blender, other necessary items are simply a spatula and strainer.  I allow the milk to sit out of the refrigerator for 10 -15 min. before whipping.
Fill the blender canister about half full (do NOT fill too full - the cream expands during the whipping).  

Turn on high and within a very short time (about less than a minute), you will have whipped cream.

Now the tricky part.... the cream needs to be fed down into the beaters and this is done VERY carefully....or you end up with this.... (revision 12/9/13 - at this point add approx. 1 c. of COLD water and the "feeding of the cream into beaters" is almost eliminated)

After another short time, the cream will separate into buttermilk and butter solids...

(from starting time til butter solids are formed it usually takes about 3 minutes)

Drain off the buttermilk - which may be saved for baking or drinking, however, it is not cultured like boughten buttermilk so it won't work to use in cheese recipes.  After we drain, we pour COLD water in canister and blend again.  This "washing" process speeds the removal of the buttermilk from the solids.  We "wash" the butter twice.  (Removing as much buttermilk from the butter solids as possible is important to prevent spoilage.)

Butter is then dumped into a strainer to await it's massage appointment.

After all the beatings the poor butter goes through up to this point, it now deserves to be massaged.  This is done by taking an amount and massaging it back and forth between fingers til the liquid is removed.

We then put the butter into a bowl and add salt to taste and sometimes herbs, like parsley, dill, and oregano.

1 cup amounts are measured out and shaped into balls and put into freezer.

The 3 musketeers usually help with this project and it can be interesting!  Usually some kicking and butter slinging takes place, mixed with a bit of complaining and then of course greasy hands, equipment, table, sink and floor.  On this day, we quickly started this project before the kitchen was actually cleaned up from breakfast!  Talk about a mess!  We had it!  And as soon as this mess was cleaned up, we had 3 laundry baskets of broccoli to do!  Crazy, but rewarding day!  And the boys had home-economics!  :)

Grammom and Grampop showed up to deliver some firewood right when we finished up with this butter making process.  The boys realized that they could be dismissed to help Grampop unload the truck and Oliver breathes a sigh of relief and said, "finally, something manly to do!"

So, if it is such a mess, why do we make our own butter?  I do ask myself that same question sometimes (actually many times, especially when I go to the grocery store and know how easy it would be to buy it), but when I taste that creamy yellow butter and know exactly where it came from, I know that we will do this again - in fact in about 2 weeks.

Until next time......

Friday, October 4, 2013

Our Romantic Anniversary

Today marked our 27th anniversary.

We were trying to decide what we wanted to do, for a date night has become a rare happening for us.  Not because we don't want to go on a date together, it is just that life seems to whiz by before our eyes - zoom! there goes a day - zoom zoom another day - another day - and before you know it, we seem to be living together - me the maid - him the provider - friends in the passing.

We thought it would be fun to go to a restaurant and then catch a movie - no!  
Didn't care for movie selections

How 'bout go to a restaurant and then play minature golf - no!
Neither of us wanted to play minature golf

Ok, go to a restaurant and then find a little romantic nook somewhere - no!
Didn't know where to find that romantic nook - without staying overnight, that is.

I know, we really do need to get out more!  And expand our minds, for sure!  We have just become a pair of old fogies!  Boring old fogies trying to agree on something exciting!

Well, we knew we definitely were going to go out to eat!
So we decided to go to an old favorite - Hoss'.

By the time we arrived, I was entering in a hypoglycemic fit.  I knew I needed to eat, but when I did I felt so sick on my stomach.  So, there we were - on our supposedly romantic date - and I end up in tears of frustration.  I slowly recovered and we left the restaurant and went to a decided little romantic rendezvous - Ollies!  And then onto Staples, next to the Dollar General and lastly - Giant! 
At least when we get home, we will watch a movie together while the boys go to bed.  We heard good reviews of Les'Miserables, so that is what we'll watch.  Needless to say, after 10 minutes, we both decided that this is just not the kind of movie either of us want to watch.   

A romantic date?  Not exactly.  Am I complaining?  NO WAY!
Would I take an evening like that again?  YES WAY!  (except for the hypoglycemic fit)
We had a wonderful evening together - romantic or not!
We were together - secure in our love for each other.
Sometimes it really isn't about romance at all! 
It is about dedication, commitment, trust and self-denial.
Romance is a side benefit.

I certainly am looking forward to many more years with this man, who is my friend, lover, and lord.  In the meantime, I think I better start thinking where on earth, especially near Berks Co.,  we can go on our next date.  Maybe fishing.......

Until next time.......

Thursday, October 3, 2013

4, 15, and 23

Oakley Paige turns 4 today

She informed me last evening that when she grows up she is going to be a princess!
Yes, indeed!  
It is amazing how different 2 siblings can be.
Oakley is real studious and loves to do books.
Morgan would rather wrestle the boys.
They are so fun!

Great job on the cake, Kelsey!

Sept. 12th, Kelsey turned 23 yrs old and on the 16th George turned 15.  Neither of them cared to have a party, but I was able to get them to pose for a picture at least! 

Happy Birthday to the everyone!

Until next time.....