22 January 2016

Trying to Surrender. And it's Hard.

We are supposed to be living the homestead dream in the mountains right now.  But we're not.

I know I haven't posted in quite some time.  Initially, the lack was due to a combination of work, holidays, and preparation for the move. But then it became a lack of desire due to frustration and a case of the downers. Here's what happened:

In middle November the transmission went out in the car. Thankfully, the money was there to pay for it. We took a calculated risk and purchased a used transmission elsewhere for a local shop to swap out for us. We have gone this route once before and got 7 years and 60,000+ miles out of the deal. So we figured we might have to stay an extra month to recoup some of the savings before making the move. I took that knock pretty easily.

The calculated risk proved to be a bad move. Seriously bad. The transmission didn't even last a week. Though it never went out completely, I was terrified to drive it 20 miles one way to work. Now we're in mid December and back to square one. And we're out $1,400.

My heart sank to the depths. Everyone who is in the know kept telling me God's decision is "not at this time." I, on the other hand, believe it was the enemy trying to demoralize. I'm sorry to say it worked.

I had a panic reaction and thought we needed to buy a new(er) car. I was in tears because I knew that meant we would not be moving anytime soon. How could I quit my job with a car payment and a RV payment? Thankfully, I came to my senses. We decided to repair the car with a rebuilt transmission. This would require more money, but would not put us in a monthly payment that would delay the move by possibly years.

Then. A miracle. My father called up and offered $1,000 to help us get back on the road sooner. Said he would put a check in the mail. This was a week before Christmas. He called that Saturday to let me know the check was indeed on its way, with an added bonus. After a conversation with his sister, she asked him to add another $1,000 from her. I was shaking. And speechless. And blessed. And in awe. Not only of their generosity, but in God's provision.

I also felt a bit of validation. I know this path is in alignment with God's will. I know it. So deep within my soul, do I know it.

It took two weeks for us to get the car in the most reputable shop in town. It took another week plus for them to work on it, but we finally got the car back yesterday.

And it's still. not. right.

The same jerking that was so bad in the other transmission is in this one, though not quite as violent. We weren't even going to bring the car home since the problem reared its head within minutes of us leaving the shop. But the (very nice gentleman) mechanic who test drove it after we returned said it didn't happen to him and asked us to drive it a couple more days. And if the jerking continues to bring it back the beginning of next week. Needless to say, it's going back. The jerking hasn't subsided.

So the move is on hold. Again.

I know these problems might sound trivial to some. But if you've ever tried to make a bold move in your life, you might know of what I type. A bold move that you honestly believe is a task given to you by the Creator to help further the kingdom. A bold move that is so out of your comfort zone.

I am of the opinion there is battle between good and evil playing out around me. The enemy makes a move. And My Father counteracts with a miracle-like blessing.

Where I'm afraid I'm falling short in this whole scenario is in attitude. I am seriously frustrated and somewhat depressed. I can't shake the thoughts and feelings of "why is this happening?"

I was out walking the dogs earlier in the evening. A light rain was coming down as we walked along a path in the woods. I suddenly felt this almost uncontrollable urge to get on my knees. I did so (much to the surprise of two rat terriers) and repeated "I surrender" over and over. I don't know how many times, but it was several.

I wish I could say a peaceful, easy feeling came over me (RIP Don Henley). But it didn't. I don't for a second think my prayer was in vain. I just think it's going to require work on my part. It's already proving to be a difficult task, but I'll make it. I'll stand back and let My Father push the enemy out of my way. And I'll do it, by the grace of God, with a thankful heart.

Tuesdays with a Twist Featured

Shared at Faith Filled Friday, Freedom Fridays, Thought Provoking Thursday, Coffee and Conversation, Wonderful Wednesday, Word Filled Wednesday, Making a Home, Tuesdays with a Twist, UNITE, and The Art of Home-Making Mondays.

06 November 2015

Reconnect with Your Food!

Most of us are so disconnected from the food we eat. We have no idea where it comes from, or how far it traveled to get to the store we "pick" it from. And don't get me started about what's in it, or what it's really made of. I'm proud of the strides I have made in the opposite direction, yet I still have much to learn and work to do. Imagine! Just two generations ago, and I dare say that applies for most of us, our families were completely connected to what they put in their bodies for sustenance.

Just take a look at these adorable photos of my father and his grandparents. He was about three years old in the mid 1950s. I'll bet those chickens were not filled with hormones, and that raw milk was not considered taboo!

Learn where your food comes from!

Shared at Simply Natural Saturdays and Weekend Linkup.

04 November 2015

How I've Made Money vs. How I Want to Make Money

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn't have some grandiose idea about changing the world through the justice system, though. I just loved to debate argue. Really. That's it. Which is probably why I never became a lawyer.  There really was never any passion there.

Fast forward to high school. Fortunately, it came easy to me. I managed to earn some college credits and graduate with honors while barely cracking open a textbook. But by the time I got to college I hated school. But! I think that's because, if I'm brutally honest here, I had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I half-heartedly stayed with the "I want to be a lawyer" line for a while, but didn't really feel it. Again, no passion.

I was raised by two hard working parents. My father was in the U.S. Air Force. Mom stayed home when I was real young, but was working outside the home by the time my younger brother was school age. And neither of them ever missed work. Ever. E-ver. You had to be on your death bed to miss work. At least that's how I was raised. So as you might imagine, my work ethic is strong. I've been with the same company for 13 years, and have only missed one day of work.

There are certain parts of my current job I enjoy. I'm a baker, and at it's simplest form, I find it to be fun. I can even have a good night when the production list is two miles long. I've been doing it long enough to have developed a rhythmic pace that feels very comfortable. Unfortunately, I seemed to wake up several years ago to discover I hate my job. I'm sure it was more gradual than that. I've seen many changes in my business over the last (almost) 25 years. I would not describe the majority of them as positive.

Once I realized the disdain I carried for my job, though, I felt trapped. It's a "good" job. Above average, I would say. I don't make a ton of money, and truthfully live paycheck to paycheck, but am able to live fairly comfortably under the right circumstances. You know, as long as I don't try to live above my means and nothing catastophic happens. A pay cut, however (I thought), was out of the question. I wouldn't be able to pay the bills I was accustomed to having.

So I've been sitting in this job far longer than I probably should have. But what could I do? I even told myself, for a time, before every shift, "You are working for the Lord. And that is a worthy task, so do your best with a smile." I also tried to take on an attitude of service. These mind shifts worked for a time.

[Wow. Just now. Il Divo's "Amazing Grace" has come up on my iPod playlist. Coincidence? Probably not.]

After a while, though, these pep talks quit working. I went into a bit of a depression for a while. I even felt like a bit of a weak person. Even a weak follower of Christ. Why can't I do this, be thankful, and even be happy?

What I've learned is that my pep talks were actually working. Sounds crazy, right? Over the past year and a half or so, my desires to serve the Lord have increased exponentially. I want to do so much more for Him and in His name. He has shown me how He wants me to live. And even though I don't know exactly how I will make a living in the near future, I know by faith that He will show me the way. I have many ideas running through my head already. Just not sure down which path He will lead me.

One of my favorite verses right now is 1 Thessalonians 4:11 ~

And I'm excited! I'm filled with passion! Do I expect every day to be a piece of cake? Do I think all my bills will magically disappear without a struggle? Do I expect the future to be smooth sailing? Do I expect the Lord to provide without any sweat of my brow?

Of course not.

But I do know His plan is bigger than anything I can dream. I have seen Him work supernaturally in my life already. I know I am in His favor. And I do know He does provide. According to His riches, not mine.

We are less than two months away from the big move! Keep following this space to see what happens on the journey.

Shared at Coffee and Conversation, Thought Provoking Thursday, UNITE Linky, Word Filled Wednesday, The {Not Just} Homemaking Party, Wake Up Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop, and Weekend Linkup.

30 August 2015

Community Supported Agriculture and a Few Meal Ideas

I've been reading about Community Supported Agriculture for some time. If you've never heard the phrase before, here's a quick rundown from LocalHarvest.org:
...a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
As I was saying, each time I read an article about a CSA, I would lament to myself how shameful it was there was not one local to me. Well, for about two years now, I've. Been. Wrong. Can you believe it? One was started in my area in 2013. The drop-off point closest to me didn't come about until more recently, but still.

I don't know if the CSA in my area is similar or different from others, to be quite honest, since this is my first. "The Dirt Farmers" are a network of farms. (From the dirt, to your door is their motto -- love it!) I'm allowed to purchase a share that can be customized each week from the offerings of all the farms in the network. I also have the option of a "farmers choice." In that instance, the share will be picked for me. For our first order, we chose the following: 1 lb. butter beans, 1 Country Italian loaf bread, 1 head of cabbage, 5 assorted honey straws, 1 Sun Jewel melon, 1 bag of mint (spearmint), 1 lb. okra, 1 lb. poblano peppers, 1 bag mixed greens, 1 butternut squash, 2 spaghetti squash, 1 bag roma tomatoes, and 1 yellow watermelon.

Just look at this beautiful bounty --

A little concern I had with getting all this great produce was what to do with it! I didn't want any of it to go bad, of course. I'm happy to say I *think* we have plans for all of it. In case you're interested, here are a few ideas:

Spaghetti squash with homemade tomato sauce, mixed
greens and roma tomatoes, and Country Italian garlic bread.

Fresh butter beans and ham, fried fresh okra, and
homemade cheddar biscuits.

French toast made with Country Italian bread and yellow

We also plan to make some corn and poblano pepper lasagna, then have another veggie night with a warm cabbage slaw, roasted butternut squash, and the rest of the okra.  I mainly use fresh mint to flavor my water, and am drying what I haven't used so far as I type.  The honey sticks are my new favorite "candy" -- they will surely be gone in short order! That should only leave one other spaghetti squash, and I think B already has plans for it as well.

Take it from me, if you think there is no Community Supported Agriculture in your area...look again! And don't be afraid to give it a shot, especially if there is a trial offer. In that case, you've got nothing to lose. And don't stress about knowing what to do with it. Go with what you are familiar with at first. Then branch out a bit... That reminds me of the Sun Jewel melon. We had never had one of those before. It is said to be like a honeydew with a bit of cucumber and pear flavors. I agree with the honeydew and cucumber, but I didn't get much pear. B, on the other hand, said he tasted pear. We chopped it up with the yellow watermelon and ate it as a snack or dessert. Tasty stuff!

Shout out to TheDirtFarmers.com!

Shared at Homemade Mondays, The Art of Home-Making Mondays, The {Not Just} Homemaking Party, Making a Home - Homemaking Linky, Teach Me Tuesday, and Tuesdays with a Twist.

21 July 2015

Feeling Overwhelmed? Make Your Own Mouthwash!

It happened again. It crept up on me, but still. It happened. That feeling of being overwhelmed. It overtook me. Had me almost paralyzed!

There's so much to do. And so much I want to do, but can't yet afford, whether it be for lack of time or money. But it's all still in the forefront of my brain.

And it doesn't help to be planning a move around the first of the year. Because there are some things that are just not feasible to be doing right now. But that doesn't take the project(s) off my to-do list, necessarily.

I've tried making separate lists. Dividing things up into different time-frames. The problem is the "master" list remains in my head.

When I get that feeling of being overwhelmed, I tend to turn to information. Books, blogs, YouTube videos. I rationalize that I am researching and learning -- and that is a valid truth -- but for me it's just procrastinating. Because I don't know where to begin. Or maybe because I don't know exactly how I should approach a certain project. An overwhelmed perfectionist rarely accomplishes anything, I say. And that would be me of late.

Then I came across something that helped me a lot. It got me off my butt. I read it on the Art of Simple blog. (Which proves researching and learning from books, blogs, and YouTube is worthwhile, but I digress.)

A quote from Christian missionary, author, and speaker Elisabeth Elliot:

I read the quote and thought, "Wow. That simple idea makes so much sense."

While still pondering the quote, I walked into the bathroom and (eventually) opened a cabinet to stare at an empty mouthwash bottle. Something I've been meaning to make for myself for a time. But instead of adding the task to a mental to-do list, it became the thing in front of me. So I did it. (I know you're proud, but no applause is necessary.)

How simple and sweet is that? I knocked something off my to-do list, and made chemical free mouthwash for pennies.

It took such little time and only three ingredients.  The recipe I used came from Frugally Sustainable. (Score another one for blogs.) She had a few to choose from, and this was a basic: One cup filtered water, one teaspoon baking soda, and 3 drops organic peppermint essential oil. Throw it all in a half-pint mason jar, apply lid, and give it a shake. Thirty minutes after swishing some around my mouth, I still feel fresh.

Think you might want to give it a try? Well, "do the thing in front of you"...or pin it for later! ;-)

P.S. I did not know of Elisabeth Elliot before reading the quote attributed to her. I have since learned she passed away a little over a month ago, at the age of 88. May she rest in peace.

Shared at The {Not Just} Homemaking Party, Making a Home - Homemaking Linky, Big Family Frugal Weekend Link-Up, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simple Life Sunday, and Simply Natural Saturday.

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click the link and buy something. This helps support my mountain homestead dream as well as my blogging activities, and the price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! :-) Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

08 June 2015

From That to This

Where do I begin? Well, how about with this: two weeks to the day after my Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped For post, our new (to us) rv was delivered. In less than a year, and less than three months into our "full-timer" life, we went from that -

...to this !

I must say:  God. Is. Good. Great!  We now have separate spaces! We have a kitchen space, a living space, a dining space, a shower and toilet space, and a sleeping space.  It's awesome! We have vented heating and air conditioning.  And we have the ability to be as self-contained as we want.  And we have an awning! Need I say more? :-)

We looked into tiny houses months ago.  And while this is not exactly the same thing, we see this as our very own tiny home. Some years from now, we hope to make another step into an ever. so. slightly. (slightly!) larger model -- but this is "it" for us. This is how we are meant to homestead. The goal is still to have a small piece of land where there is more room for gardening and small animal raising. That will surely come in God's good timing. [Pray boldly, people!]

As far as living arrangements are concerned, we are ready. And though the move is still some months away... Mountains, here we come!

Shared at Homemade Mondays.

10 May 2015

Essential Oils Revolution Starts Tomorrow!

I meant to post this much earlier in the day, but Mother's Day festivities held over longer than expected. I hope you were able to spend time and show appreciation to the mothers in your life. I don't have children, and I lost my paternal grandmother last year. I was blessed, however, to be able to spend the day with my mother and her mother. Not to mention the mother of my niece and nephew, as well as an aunt who has taken on a maternal role for the family more than once in my life. It was a good, family filled day.

So are you ready for tomorrow? At 10:00 am eastern time (U.S.), the *Free* Essential Oils Revolution will be live! Here are the speakers and topics for day one:

I'm especially interested in "Biblically-Based Essential Oil Uses" and "Empowering Emotions with Essential Oils."

If you sign up for the free summit, you'll receive a link to a page for each day's presentations. They will be available to you, on demand, for 24 hours -- starting at 10am (eastern) and ending at 9:59 am the next day.

It's important to note this is a brand-neutral essential oils summit. If you read my post series, Dipping My Toe into the Pool of Essential Oils, you know how happy I am with that. More than one company is represented in my essential oil stash!

Click here, or on the image above, to register for the free essential oils revolution. If you find this post after it goes live, you can still join in!

If you are interested in owning all 31 presentations without the 24-hour time restraints for each day, click here. You can also visit through the image in this blog's sidebar.

See you at the summit!

Shared at Simple Life Sunday and Simply Natural Saturdays.

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click the link and buy something. This helps support my mountain homestead dream as well as my blogging activities, and the price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! :-) Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

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