Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just like Great Grandpa

My mother cleared out all her bags of wool a few years ago now.
She used to buy a whole bag of unopened wool and knit, especially woollen jumpers for my Dad. (see in the pic in the post below). But as the years have gone by she has stopped knitting but still had  bags of wool. My mum is not one to walk past a "bargain". So when she was ready to give them away I asked if I could have them.
So I now have bags of unopened balls of wool but with grandchildren now I have plenty of projects to knit.
This is the latest. A little V necked jumper with a cable pattern up each side. Just like Great Grandpa wears. Even the pattern I used was old
- Fontana Raglan Pullovers No.344
3ply, 4ply and 6ply for 45-55cm.
However like a lot of things I do I have changed it slightly. I shifted the cables over by putting a panel of stocking stitch up the middle to separate the cables a bit.
The colour hasn't come out very well either as it is a lovely almost teal blue.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Honour Thy Father and Mother

Our Vicar preached from Galatians 4:1-7 in particular verse 6 how that we can not call God the Father “Abba” or “Daddy” unless the Spirit enables us.

Galatians 4:6 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

We also had a member of our parish, a lady whose husband and she help run the Fatherheart Ministries also speak from the same piece of scripture but from Galatians 3:26 – 4:7 . She talked about being Son’s of God and so when we call God the King of Kings then that makes us Princes and Princess’s. She recalled us to the garden of Eden where God first placed Adam and Eve and how they were free there and walked and talked with God their Father. Are we free to do this too? She challenged us to get rid of “the fig leaves” we now wear to hide from who we really are.

But a man in the congregation also bought a vision of the cross and our earthly father standing behind it wearing a crown. He is the king/lord of our families and we are to honour and reconnect with them.

On Thursday evening I had been to a Workshop at our church put on by Presbyterian Support Northern presented by Jude Simpson who had been a victim but it was not her father. She now has an amazing testimony and one of the things she shares is her quiet loving relationship with her father who died when she was quite young. It was part of that relationship that gave her a glimpse of Abba Father.

I was reminded of the blessing of the relationship I have with my parents especially my father and how I need to honour them more.

Here he is at Sarah’s wedding in 2006


And at his 80th in 2009

And with my Mum.

My father loves me almost the same as Abba Father. He has always been there and does not hold past wrongs against me. In fact he forgives with out even questioning and loves us in away that is like God. I know I am extremely fortunate to have an earthly Father like him as I have over the years discovered it is extremely rare. The way he loves me has been a gift that helped me to see how much God loves me he and I have both said we love each other, face to face and I know that is very precious.

Posting this here is to tell the world how much I honour him and my mother as God tells us to.

Deuteronomy 5:16
16 "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

All scripture is from (New International Version)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


There is something special about friendships, especially those that are distant and take keeping up with communication, to keep the bond strong. Those around you in the neighbourhood where you work, socialise or meet for exercise, community events or at church, don't require a lot of effort as you see them regularly and can chat or have a cuppa while doing other things.
But long distant whether at different ends of the country or over the seas are special as they are really only there if you work at keeping in touch.
I meet Wendy on a forum in early 2006 and we communicated off the forum too. We had things in common and were a support to each other.
In January 2008 I was very fortunate to meet Wendy in person when she came to New Zealand for a holiday with her husband and spent a day with hubby and me.
Our photo was actually used in the Notebook: magazine for a few months to promote the forum and how friendships can be made there.
The forum changed to a new link and over the years we had lost some of the regulars but Wendy and I were still there for each other.

Today I was blessed again with a visit from Wendy as she and some of her family are holidaying over here again. It was like only yesterday that we had last been together and there was so much to talk about but the time soon ran out. Three hours was not long enough but the time we spent together was as special as before and the memory will be part of our continued deep friendship.Our friendship is more special in that we both share our faith in God and this indeed is a gift.

A friend loves at all times Proverbs 17:17

A friend is someone we turn to when our spirits need a lift.
A friend is someone we treasure for our friendship is a gift.
A friend is someone who fills our lives with beauty, joy and grace.
And makes the whole world we live in a better and happier place.
-Jean Kyler McManus

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mumsey’s Munch Bar

Looking for something like a muesli bar and filling I found a few recipes that I experimented with and came up with this one.
I have also used mixed fruit instead of the sultanas and almonds instead of peanuts.
It is one of those quick easy recipes to make in the evening if you need something for school lunches, you really can't be bothered and the oven is still hot from something else.

1 cup flour
1 cup sultanas
1 cup coconut
½ cup peanuts
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup crushed Weetbix (good for those crumbs at the end of a box)
¾ cup rolled oats
125 grams butter
1 cup sugar
1 ½ Tbsp golden syrup
1 egg

Mix the first seven (dry) ingredients in a bowl.
In a pot or in the microwave, melt the butter and golden syrup. Stir in the sugar and then beat in the egg with a fork
Add to dry ingredients and stir well.
Press mixture into a sponge roll tin (20 x 30 cms) and bake at 180ºC for 20 minutes.
Cut while hot.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Anxiety Adjustment Disorder

A friend who is a young mother has recently experienced extreme anxiety with panic attacks. I could relate to her completely as I suffered from Anxiety Adjustment Disorder a few years ago.
Each person who suffers from anxiety may be hit by it for a different reason but the reality of panic attacks is just as real and frightening.

For me it was a build up of issues with my husband.
March 1984 -  Brain Hemorrhage (Aneurism) - Surgery/recovery
1984-1987 -    Night Epilepsy (put down to recovery from the above)
1985 -             Periods of lowness/undiagnosed
Feb1991 -       First suicide attempt - overdose
April?1995 -    Second attempt of suicide. - gassing in car/ first admittance to Mental Hospital/Diagnosis of Depression
2001 -             Acute depression/thoughts of suicide
June 2004 -     Accident with Disc Grinder/ shredding wrist tendons and part of bone - Surgery and intensive Hand Therapy over 6 months
Oct 2004 -      Acute depression/thoughts of suicide/second admittance to Mental Health Hospital

In November 2004 when the reality of hubby's mental health really hit home for me I was stressed. We were living on a reduced income and there was no longer a job for hubby to go back to. I had been to the doctor and was put on antidepressants.

However at this time I was:
-  Looking after 3 children at home and my husband
-  I was the only one bringing in an income
-  Hubby had no job and other jobs were not working out
-  I was in charge of all finances (Hubby didn't want to do them)
-  I had other children not coping with their fathers illness/living away from home/needing constant contact and support with how they were coping
-  Mental Health system did not offer a lot of help

-  Extended family (my husbands)did not understand and they disowned us.

To top this off I developed a bladder infection and didn't even realise it.
One morning I woke late for work and answered a phone call from a friend encouraging me to get the children into counseling. I started to cry and could not stop and My body started to shut down. I could not walk, kept dropping off to sleep, curling up and crying.
I vaguely remember people coming and going and asking questions. My husband was near me crying at one stage saying he was so sorry. I was being carried to the toilet, dressed and put in a car and taken to the Mental Health Hospital.
This was frightening in itself as I had seen my husband admitted there and some of the patients but it was also a place where there was safety and people to help.
I was put on sleeping tablets, tranquilizers, antibiotics, pain relief as well as the antidepressants and a heart tablet.
I was really fortunate that while I was in there I was allowed to choose where I wanted to stay and stayed with close friends who were a minister and his wife who was a counselor.
I was away from home for 2 1/2 weeks recovering.
It took about 6 months to fully recover and 18 months to come off the last tablets which were the antidepressants.
The wife of the minister showed me I had Anxiety Adjustment disorder due to Hubby's illness and injury.
At times I found I did not know what to pray for any more. I knew God was there right beside me but even my thoughts were 'scrambled" as to what I needed. I even thought I had let God down by not coping as I was a Christian. I mean where was God in all this!
On the second day as I sat in the locked fenced courtyard waiting to see if I was allowed to stay with my friends I watched some sparrows having a dust bath and scratching in the grass for bugs. I thought I wish I was a sparrow, free to fly away and with no worries.
As plain as can be God told me to look up in Matthew 6:25 onwards.
Do Not Worry
 25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

the scripture of how He cares for the sparrow and how I was not to worry about a thing and how I was so valuable to Him. I was so happy and relaxed in just that short time I knew I was in God's hands even then and that my faith could never be taken away from me.
But for me through it all I had my faith and Jesus to keep me from "falling" completely and I never thought of killing myself or of leaving but I have learnt so much because of it.

I hope this explains things to some and perhaps encourages others to seek help.
Medications all have their purpose and with depression there becomes a time when you can not get better on your own so don't be afraid of the stigma and seek medial help.

To help with the recovery, I had counseling and also worked on understanding my illness and how to come through it, with an occupational nurse on the ward.
• I accepted my illness and that I was not superwoman.
• I accepted the need for medication and that it has its place in healing.
• I learnt about self-esteem and how the “external and internal messages interact to give an outcome of positive or negative self-esteem”. These messages are picked up all through life from family, parents, school, our religion and others views within this, TV, magazines etc, and peoples views and attitudes about themselves and others.
• I learnt that because of these messages I was placing my own expectations and others on myself to feel “complete”. Because of the added stress (Hubby's illness and injury) I was not keeping up with what I ‘believed’ needed doing so I forgot about myself.
• We are of no earthly good to anyone if we loose sight of reality and don’t look after ourselves first.
• I seriously looked at my needs and wants and set up a plan (see below) – with help of others to aid my recovery.
• I asked two friends to be accountable for me and who I could go to for help
• I also had to learn to breathe and relax.
Yes we take it for granted but when we are stressed things react in our body and don’t work so well. While in the ward I went to relaxation classes. At first I was a bit skeptical as I thought it all a bit ‘new agey’ but then I realized I wasn’t breathing right. The first day after half an hour of learning to relax and breathe I feel asleep – my body was so longing for this.
The symptoms of this are tension across the upper back, shoulders, neck and down the arms, pains in the chest especially when trying to take breaths; classic signs of a heart attack. Learning to relax all these areas and muscles, and taking long deep breaths was healing to my body. I was lucky to already have at home a CD of Celtic hymns with out words that I could play while I did this at home.
On my road of recovery (once back home again some days I could only be out of bed for an hour at a time) I read some books in particular to my illness.

Some examples of ‘plans’ I started for me:
* Spending ‘me’ time with God by reading my Bible, praying and listening to Christian music
* I discovered long hot baths and lavender; soap, oil, bubble bath, sachets in the pillow, fresh bunches in my room.
* Lady Grey tea and a ginger nut biscuit first thing in the morning before I got up
* A treat hidden away i.e. “Bounty Chocolate”
* I decluttered my house of magazines etc, ‘to be read’, stored cloths, broken/chipped kitchen things.
* Walking – just 5 minutes down the road and back to start with and built up to 30 – 45 minutes.
I hope that if someone reading this is struggling, that this will be of some help and I encourage you to seek help.

Books of interest:
Don’t Panic: Anxiety, Phobias and Tension – Your Four Step Program to Control Anxiety Disorder. by Andrew Page, 2004, Random House Australia.

Living With It. by Bev Aisbett, 1993, Harper Collins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd (this book is extremely easy to read with lots of cartoon pictures and captions)

Sharing the Load – What to do when someone you love is depressed. by Gwendoline Smith 1997 Hale & Iremonger Pty Ltd Australia.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Feijoa Loaf

1 cup sugar
50gr butter
2 cups peeled and sliced feijoas
2 Tbsp golden syrup
1 cup water
2 tsp ginger

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence

In a large pan combine first six ingredients.
Bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
Boil for 5 minutes then remove from the heat and cool.
Add the dry ingredients to cooled mixture with the vanilla.
Pour into a greased and lined 20 x10 cm loaf tin.
Bake at 180°C for 50-60 minutes until skewer comes out clean when tested.
Stand for 15 minutes before turning out.
This keeps well in an air tight container, and can also be served warm as a dessert with custard, cream or yogurt.

Feijoa Relish

1 ¼ cps (310ml/10fl oz) cider vinegar (or malt)
1 large onion
1 large apple
8 large feijoas
1 ½ cups sugar
1 Tbsp mixed spice
{1 ½ tsp salt }
{¼ tsp celery seed }
OR 1 ½ tsp celery salt (instead of the above two)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

In a large pot put the vinegar, and add each item to the pot as it is prepared.
Chop the onion and unpeeled apple finely.
Peel and cube the feijoas
Stir in the remaining ingredients as given.
Simmer all on low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
When fairly thick, ladle into sterilized jars.
Top with boiled metal lids or leave until cool, then top with screw on plastic lids and store in the fridge.

Pickles, chutneys and relishes are best left for a few weeks before tasting as the flavour improves with time. I use jars from other things like jams, pickles etc I have bought from the supper market and remove the labels. To sterilize the jars I wash them thoroughly and then warm them in the oven at about 120°C for half an hour.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Feijoa Muffins – The Best

I am sitting having cup of coffee and a feijoa muffin. It is one from Alison Holst’s muffin books but as usual I have changed it slightly to suit our tastes.

75gr butter
1 packed cup chopped feijoas
2 Large eggs
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
1/3 cup of orange juice
¾ cup sugar
2 cups self raising flour

Cinnamon topping
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP brown sugar

Pre heat oven to 210ºC Heat the butter until it is liquid.
Peel and chop or half and scoop out, the flesh of feijoas and chop into 1 cm square, pieces.
Add to the melted butter along with the eggs and beat in with the orange rind and juice, with a fork.
Toss sugar and flour in a bowl and add the liquids. If still too dry add a little extra juice. (I use drinking juice if there is not enough from the orange)
Spoon into 12 medium muffin tins sprayed or greased. (I use margarine on a kitchen paper towel)
Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle on top (I keep this topping in a container and use it for lots of things.)
Bake at 210ºC for 10 -15 minutes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Called to be Holy

At church this morning our vicar preached from

Galatians 2:15-16
 15"We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. 

 He said we should not live by keeping the 'laws' as we will always break them. We should live under the anointing of God, the receiving of the Holy Spirit, so we are justified by God's grace. He went on to say that he admitted he had got it "wrong" when he put a 'law' into place that if someone was sinning continually they should not be part of our worship team. He said he was wrong to say if they break the law they should be 'ousted'.

He then challenged us not to take what any one person says as being correct not matter who it was, even him. It was like he challenged us to disagree.

 I do agree that as a Christian I am set free from the law by God's grace but I had felt uneasy with the first part of his sermon as I believe that the music team who lead the congregation into a time of worship should be Holy as God is Holy.

Leviticus 20:7 " 'Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God.

The tribe of Levi, the Levities were chosen to be holy and were the ones to lead the people in worship.
Deuteronomy 10:8 At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today.
1 Chronicles 9:33 Those who were musicians, heads of Levite families, stayed in the rooms of the temple and were exempt from other duties because they were responsible for the work day and night.

In 1 Chronicles 15 we read how David appointed Levites as musicians.

And in 1 Chronicles 25:6 All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the LORD, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king

As I am a musician I felt that to lead in worship I am to keep myself holy - separate - and so living in a way that is pleasing to God. This is not something I can do on my own. I need Gods forgiveness and enabling.
And then I kept getting the words to a song we sing.

Song Lyrics
I enter the holy of holies.
I enter through the blood of the lamb.
I enter to worship you only.
I enter to honor I am.

Lord, I worship you.
I worship you.

For your name is holy....holy....Lord.

And then the worship leader for today sung it and it had not been on the list of songs he had already chosen for the day as I had loaded them on to a power point presentation on Thursday.
I felt God was telling me that what I was thinking was what He wanted from me.

"For Your Name Is Holy" by Shalom's Praise & Dance Team

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Abundance of Feijoas - Poached Feijoas

When we first bought this section there were four feijoa trees down by the roadside fence.
Come May each year the grass below them would be a carpet of fallen feijoas and we would give them away by the supermarket bag fill. I would just leave them on peoples doorsteps, and even then there seemed to be too many.
A few years ago we cut two down and we still get a bumper crop that I find a challenge to deal with. Ours are not large fruit like some but they are just as nice.
The trees flower at Christmas time and they look similar to the New Zealand Christmas tree - The Pohutukawa.

The fruit is ripe when it falls from the tree and if you don't keep up with the daily gathering you end up with it looking like this!

Over the years I have collected many recipes to use them up and have even started inventing my own.
Tonight for desert we had one of these. A very simple desert of poached feijoas in orange juice.

Poached Feijoas 

Peel and slice feijoas lengthwise. Cover the base of a non-stick pan and pour enough orange juice (I use bottled orange drinking juice) to half cover the fruit - about 1 cm deep.
Sprinkle with a little sugar - about a heaped teaspoon.
Poach on a low heat stirring occasionally until the juice has thickened and almost evaporated and it looks like a syrup. Cool slightly and serve over vanilla ice cream. If you have it, grate a little dark chocolate over the top
I make enough for two nights and reheat the feijoas in the microwave.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Banana Surprise Muffins

I made up this recipe from some muffin recipes from the Alison Holst cookbooks. My son loves baking and he made some Ganache icing that went wrong so I used it for the "surprise".

100 grms milk or dark chocolate buttons
1/4 cup cream

2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 caster sugar
100 grms butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp vamilla essence
2 large bananas, the older and mushier the better

To make the chocolate surprise, place the chocolate buttons and the cream in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until melted and smooth. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally so it thickens to a fudge consistency.

To make the muffins:
Preheat the oven to 220C and have the rack one rim above the centre of the oven. Spray/grease or line some muffin tins.
Mix together the flour and sugar.
Melt the butter, then remove from the heat and add the milk and egg and beat with a fork.
Add the vanilla and mashed bananas and then tip this mixture into the dry ingredients.
Fold together about 14 stirs until just about all the flour is wet.
Spoon some mixture carefully into the base of each muffin tin to fill about a third of the way up.
Put a teaspoon of the chocolate mixture in so it just rests in the middle then top with the rest of the muffin mixture trying to hide the chocolate. Do not over mix the muffin mixture as this will destroy the light texture.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they are golden and just spring back when pressed.
Allow to cool for ten minutes then bang tins and tip out.

Best eaten warm so the chocolate filling is gooey..

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Homemade Cleaners

For cleaners in the home I like to go "green" if I can, so I use ecostore products which I buy when they are on special at the supermarket.

However over the years I have started to make my own cleaners too so I know exactly what is in them and to save a lot of money. I like to think that I am also contributing in my own little way to help save the environment.

I noticed yesterday that my furniture polish was getting low so in making up a new batch I thought I would put up the recipes and ingredients for some of them.

This may look like a lot of products but they are used very sparingly in my cleaners so they will last a good few years. Most are available from large supermarkets except the boiled linseed oil which is from a hardware store and you have to use the "boiled" type and be careful as it can be inflammable. It is fine in the recipe I list but just store it safely.

Timber Furniture Polish

Combine equal parts of : -
Linseed oil, [I found this in a large hardware store (Mitre 10 Mega) in the paints section]
Brown vinegar,
Methylated Spirits.

Make up and store in spray bottle. Shake well before use and either use sparingly on a lint free cloth or spray lightly over surface and rub in.
You can add a few drops or lemon essence, eucalyptus oil or lavender oil for a pleasing fragrance as this polish does stink a bit – so my cherubs say – but I don’t mind and it soon disappears.

All-purpose Liquid Cleanser

Combine: -
1 litre of hot water
1 Tblsp of cloudy ammonia,
1 Tblsp white vinegar
¼ cup bicarbonate of soda (baking Soda)
Shake all well together until the bicarbonate of soda has dissolved, then store for future use. I use an empty spray bottle of a cleaner I used to use, what’s more, no-one realizes it is home made.

Wool Wash

700gr box of soap (Lux) flakes
35mls eucalyptus oil
292 mls (1 & 1/6 cups) Methylated spirits (this is a funny amount because I had to change it as the size of the box of soap flakes changed from when I started making it years ago)

Mix all up in a bucket and store in plastic lidded glass containers. I use two large preserving jars.

Use one good tablespoonful to a bucket of water. I dissolve it in a bit of hot water first and then add cold water until I get the water to hand warm temperature.
Squeeze woollens through and soak a little then squeeze through again.
Hang to dry.
No rinsing needed.

I know it is full of soap suds but as the garments dry they just disappear.
Best hung on the line on a windy day but I have rolled up baby clothes in towels to dry them and it still works.

It is really quite simple and I have used it for over 20 years.
No shrinkage of favourite jumpers etc.
It is a recipe for blanket wash in my book of handy hints so good for that too

Edited to add: 

Glass Cleaner

1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp detergent
2 cups water

Shake together.
Keep in spray bottle.

1 cup of Methylated spirits or white vinegar
Add to a litre of water.
Keep in a spray bottle and shake before use.

I have an empty 175 ml spray glass cleaner bottle, for using so I make up half this mixture.
I apply it, rub it in and dry it with a cloth. I use old flannelette sheets or pyjamas for cleaning cloths. The old cloth nappies are good too. You might have to look in second hand shops for them these days!!
Don't use newspaper like we used to do because the ink is rubber-based and leaves a smear.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I started knitting this for my second grandchild when my third daughter was pregnant. When our granddaughter arrived her mother didn’t really want this set so I have finished it and put it away for another grandchild and knitted something else for our grand baby girl.

We are blessed with five children - Theresa, Jennifer, Sarah, Daniel and Katrina. Two have already married and so grandchildren are bound to be numerous even if not all have children. However I hold on to the words from the bible

Proverbs 17:6
Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

Psalm 128 A song of ascents.

1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.  
4 Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.
5 May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel.

These are our first grandchildren, Ryan and Evelyn, who we love dearly.

All scripture is from (New International Version)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bearing Fruit for God

I was catching up on some Bible study today and even though what I was reading was from an April study it so seemed to fit for me now, as often is the case. It was from The Word for Today from Rhema Broadcasting Group 
It was titled "Are You Bearing Fruit" and started with the scripture from Genesis 1:28
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 
God said be fruitful. Jesus says the same thing in John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
part of the study said... should be focusing on your character, your eternal rewards and the building of God's kingdom, not your own short-lived agenda...whether you've fallen into the dirt or just settled for living beneath your potential, God won't throw you away. He will lift you, cleanse you and help you to flourish again.
I believe that I have a purpose in God's eyes to be an example and encouragement to woman and mothers to be confident and sure in who they are as a woman, wife and mother. I often share with those around me and have brought my daughters up with examples of these things and I have often been complemented on the way my girls are building their homes in what some would call the "old fashioned way".
At times I have wondered how else I can extend what I know to other woman. Starting this blog to give somewhere my daughters could come to find one of my recipes or other things, I realised I was opening it to anyone else. I thought, 'this is a way I can share to all who check in.' It has developed into a modern way of uplifting, encouraging and witnessing to the world of my faith, God's love and the role of motherhood and being an obedient wife in God's eyes. Its not just for me because even when I have gone it will still be here.

The study then went on to say
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.- John 15:1-3
Without periodic pruning a vine will only produce a fraction of its potential harvest. Vineyards have only one purpose: to produce grapes. Energy spent on anything else is wasted...To make room for the kind of abundance Christ redeemed you for, He will cut away the parts of your life that are draining precious time and energy from what's truly important to Him...He will even risk you misunderstanding His methods. His purpose for your life requires the cutting away of bad habits and attitudes, wrong relationships, lesser priorities, and anything that distracts you from your highest calling. 

I have found over the last year I spent far too much time on facebook playing the games and other silly computer things, then I wonder why I don't have enough time in the day. Often I will on the computer until late and then tired the next day. Some of my past friends have often been very demanding asking me to call round and then the time turns in to gossip sessions. These are stealer's of time and a lessor calling. I realise God wants to prune them away and I look forward to the blessing he will give in their place.

I pray that you will be encouraged by reading this and know your importance to God

All scripture is from (New International Version)

We've Had a Bereavement

When my hubby's father died, over ten years ago, we took his four brown hens home with us. They have long since gone to the hen heaven but we have always acquired other peoples hens, they couldn't keep for one reason or another. Some never lay while others have happily (well I think so) provided us with fresh home raised eggs which taste and look so different to shop bought ones.
They also scratch around in their "run" which later becomes a stretch of garden, re-fertilised for our vegetables, when the hen house and run are moved across to a new patch.
This is a picture taken about three years ago. Here you can see my spring garden with the hen house and its' run, extended over two of our four vegetable patches, plus the extra patch ready to be dug for the new season potato planting.
You can also see some of the hens we were given after the first brown hens died. We raised these from month old chicks.
Two of them died earlier this year and although the other two didn't lay very often, we have always been reluctant to dispose of them, one way or another, as they sort of become friends.
And besides they may not give us many eggs but they keep the gardens to be used, scratched over scratching the food scraps, grass clippings, other garden clippings, weeds and wood ash into the soil along with their own 'chooky poo'.

Recently we collected three more hens from a family that were moving to the South Island of New Zealand and they couldn't take the hens with them.
A mother (the white one with dark grey feather around her neck) we called Gloria and her two grown chicks; the white one called Snow White and the black one, my son has named Queenie, as she is a breed that has a feathered crown on her head.
Ginge, (on the left) our grey hen with flecks of ginger feathers around her neck and orange legs, is now our only old hen left.

This evening when I went out to feed them all their laying pellets and wheat I noticed Henny Penny (out worrier) - the grey hen on the right in the front of this photo - didn't come to be fed.
Looking around the 'run' I thought maybe she has decided to be a bit of a sitter, so I checked the nesting box. As I didn't see her there I double checked the run and then around the garden, as they do love to be out and scratch away in the vegetable garden for insects and tender vege shoots!!!
However there was still no sign of her so I rechecked the hen house and there she was - curled up and dead - as if she had just gone in there to die.

So Henny Penny 
is no more and will be buried in the garden 
where she will continue to give to the circle of seasons 
in our vegetable garden.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beef Chow Mein

This recipe serves four people (our family) but you can add more or less of the vegetables and/or meat to suit tastes and servings. You can change the vegetables around to suit what is in season or even add leftovers at the end. Try to keep it colourful with reds, greens and yellows. The males in our family don’t tend to like eating vegetables and I find this is a great way to get more into them than they realize. Its great warmed up for lunch the next day too. If you want more “zing” try adding some crushed chilies as well or instead of the garlic, to the marinade.

Beef Chow Mein
3 slices of Beef Schnitzel (about 300grs but how ever much you like)
1 onion sliced into thin segments
1 large carrot sliced in half lengthways then on the diagonal into thin pieces
1 cup of thinly sliced marrow (I cut thick slices about 3cm thick;
cut off the hard skin; de-seed then cut into thin slices.)
1 chunk of cabbage (about 1 cup in volume) shredded
1 red capsicum cut into small pieces
2 tomatoes cut in half then in slices
1 dstsp Beef stock
140g pack of ready to Eat Crispy Noodles.

1 Tblsp Soya sauce1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
I clove of crushed garlic. (I didn’t have any this time for I used
garlic granules)
Mix all together and add meat.

Slice the schnitzel into thin strips and marinate while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Heat 1 tblsp of oil in a wok or very large frying pan.
Sauté the onion for a few minutes and then add the carrot and marrow.
Add ½ cup of water and stock and cook for 7-10 minutes until tender.
Add the cabbage in the last 3 minutes.
Drain vegetables through a sieve keeping the water/stock.
Re-heat the wok and add the beef (in two loads) and stir-fry until just cooked.
Add capsicum and tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the cooked vegetables and stir through.
Make the left over water up with equal amount of cornflour into a smooth ‘paste’ and stir into the chow mein. Cook for a few minutes then add the noodles to heat through.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tomato Ketchup

Be warned this is fun but messy to make, you really just need time...

4 kg red tomatoes, chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp pickling spice
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cups wine vinegar
4 cups sugar
3 Tbsp plain salt

Chop tomatoes roughly into a large saucepan, adding the finely chopped onions and garlic.

Tie the spice, seeds and herbs loosely in muslin (or clean pantyhose foot part) and tie to handle so it hangs into the tomato mixture.

Add half the vinegar and boil uncovered, for an hour stirring every so often so it doesn’t catch and burn.

Push through holes of a sieve, discarding skins or seeds. (or do as I do and that is cool it for a few minutes and then whiz in the kitchen whiz for a few seconds - in a couple of batches. This way you still have more solids and isn't half as messy )

Return to pan adding remaining vinegar, sugar and salt and boil for 15 minutes longer.

Pour hot sauce into clean hot bottles or jars and screw on boiled tops tightly. When cold, dip tops in melted wax if they haven’t sealed.

Refrigerate after opening.

I use this as ketchup on its own or add as a pasta sauce or a topping for a pizza base. Keeping it thicker by whizzing it makes it great for the pasta.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Loving Him

I have just read the book Loving Him by Kate O'Riordan and what an interesting twist. I thought it was going to be a romance like others I have read but the ending caught me by surprise.

Connie and Matt Wilson, once childhood sweethearts, have worked hard to achieve their dreams - their lovely London home, their three beloved sons and a stable, trusting marriage.
When they go to Rome for a romantic weekend break, they have a wonderful time exploring, eating, drinking and making love. On their last day, Matt announces to Connie that he is not coming back to England with her. She returns to London - and their three boys - alone.
LOVING HIM is the story of what happens when the love of your life bumps into the love of his life… the one before you, the one he never really got over. It describes the consequences of a random, chance encounter and how it can set off a chain of events that turns a woman's existence from banal, but blissful, domesticity to dangerous obsession.
Kate O'Riordan has fashioned a tightly weaved, intense and dramatically paced tale of a family, a marriage and how you can never quite escape the power of the past.

It is full of descriptions of the thoughts of the different characters which gives a good insight in to them. I enjoyed this book and am now keen to read some of Kate's others to see what they are like.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The First Day of The Rest of My Life

This morning I was woken by the phone. The walk around phone wasn't beside the bed and neither was my husband so I thought he would answer it. He didn't and after a little doze it rung again. I rushed to the living area to answer it and realised it was 9.30am. What a sleep in!! I needed it.

But I seemed to waste the rest of the morning and I felt a sense of lowness and depression on me. Living with mental illness around you can bring you down too.
Catching sight of myself in the mirror after I had showered, I was shocked at what looked back at me. I am now the heaviest I have ever been [75kg] and my hands and feet are swelling. I can't bend down to put on my shoes. I comfort eat and haven't walked or done any exercise in months.
"Oh Lord" I cried' "This is enough. I need your help"

The words from a song came to mind.
This is the day, This is the day,
That the Lord has made,
That the Lord has made
I will rejoice,
I will rejoice and be glad in it,
and be glad in it.
This is the day that Lord has made,
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day, this is the day
that the Lord has made.

I made a commitment to myself - 'This is the first day of the rest of my life' - and with God on my side I will
return to who He has made me to be.
Where to start? A few changes and getting back to routines.

• stop the junk food and sweet comfort eating
• drink more water
• go for a daily walk
• re-start my flylady routines

That was enough for one week - I don't want to make the list unachievable.
Breakfast was 1/4 cup of canned fruit salad with a small handful of sultanas, pumpkin seeds and a sliced banana.
I filled my water bottle and started my daily routine adapted from Flylady
• Get out of bed and make it
• Shower, weigh, get dressed to shoes fixing make up, hair and jewellery
• Swish and wipe the bathroom and toilet
• Start a load of washing
• Get meat out for tea
• Check calendar for appointments
• Have breakfast
• Take tablets
• Fill water bottle
• Empty dishwasher
• Clear hot spots
• Feed animals.

Looking at this photo taken this morning makes me feel awful bit it also makes me determined to love myself and be well.
As much as I love my new purple slippers, wearing clean shoes inside gives you a sense of purpose; lipstick, perfume and jewellery makes me feel good.
I made the bed making the room feel relaxing and welcoming.
The list of basic chores gets the house in order ready for what ever else needs doing.
Just completing this routine gives a great sense of satisfaction.
I went for two walks today and didn't eat any junk food or cakes.

I will see how I feel after a week.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Peace From God

I shared in the blog post below this, Gods working in my life. On the Sunday I shared it in church. We have a part in the service where people can share things to encourage and lift up the body of the church.
However people in the Leadership team did not think I should talk about my husband and his mental illness. On Friday I was told not to do this again because it was private and what if my husband was to come into church and face people who would know all about him. I feel it would be such a testimony if he did because they would all know the place he has come from to be there.
For a few days I have been battling with emotions; anger - that I have been told off; sadness - that people don't seem to want to know, accept or understand Mental Illness; confused - that others can share about members of their families who have heart disease, diabetes or other illness's, but not me; isolation - once again living with someone with a Mental Illness is often like living in a cage with it.

I had felt at the time last Sunday an odd feeling of being pushed to say something. As I held back in my stubbornness not to share, I got more and more awkward feelings and I knew from the past that this is the Holy Spirit of God telling me to go forward and share. In obedience to God I did go forward and shared, but it was not what I thought I would say but what God seemed to speak through me. I had people come to me later that day and through the week, saying thank you to me for sharing and how encouraged they were by what I said.
In my battle of emotions I was ready to give up on this church and go somewhere else which would also mean finding another job as I work in the office.
But this morning our vicar gave a sermon from Acts 1:1-8 and I knew it was God saying it is all well. It is just the people who have problems with what I share - not God. I felt at peace with God.

The vicar asked "do we resist or hear from the Holy Spirit?" In verse 2 it says,  
   "...until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen."  
Jesus speaks through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the 'head' of the body - us, the church. He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit so it makes Gods direction more clear. He tells us to wait for the Holy Spirit to receive instruction.
   (Verse 4 "On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about." )
In verse 8 it says  
   "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
because the Spirit of God pours power upon us.
   Acts 2:17+18 " 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy."

I know that for some I encourage them and for all who read my blog I pray that God will speak to you through what you have read and that is enough for me.
At the end of he service some people spoke out scripture from the Bible and I felt God was speaking to me through one of them.
Zephaniah 3:17 - "The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

All scripture is from (New International Version)