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.

07 May 2015

Thyme Oil Testimonial (and an Invitation!)

I know the value of essential oils, but I'm still learning all they can do for me and my family. Reading how others use them helps me with learning specific uses for each oil, as well as gives me ideas of what to use when a specific need arises. It is in this vein that I am writing here about my experience with Thyme 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil.

I had an issue in my mouth. It wasn't a toothache, nor a sore. It was some sort of an infection that caused some swelling and tenderness around the gum line at the base of one of my teeth. I wasn't overly concerned about it, but I hate the dentist and didn't want it to grow into something that required an antibiotic, so I looked to my essential oils.

Lavender, Lemongrass, and Thyme are three that I had on hand that, after doing a bit of reading, I decided were good ones to use in this instance.

Lavender is one of the most useful essential oils for therapeutic purposes. It's commonly associated with the healing of the skin.

Lemongrass is known for its antiseptic and astringent properties.

Thyme is considered to have very powerful and penetrating antiseptic properties.

I continued reading and discovered Thyme Oil contains Thymol, which is used as a germ-killer in mouthwash and helps prevent tooth decay.

Needless to say, I went with the Thyme Essential Oil. I could have mixed a few drops with a carrier oil, but went a bit simpler. I took one drop. Literally! One. Drop. Put it on my finger and dabbed the sore spot. The heat was amazing and felt powerful (if that makes sense). The relief from soreness was immediate. And the swelling went down quickly enough that I felt no need for a second application. The single annoyance was my saliva glands went into overdrive.

Even though I know their strength, essential oils continue to impress me. I don't pretend that this was some miraculous cure of a horrible condition. But if one drop of Thyme oil prevents a dental and / or doctor visit, I am all for it!

OK. There's my thyme oil testimonial. And don't forget about how I used it in my wonderful, comfortable to wear, homemade bug repellent!

On to the invitation! I would like to cordially encourage you to attend the Essential Oils Revolution summit. It's free and brand-neutral! [No debates about whose oils are "best!"]

Why Attend?

With 31 presentations containing relevant evidence and practical advice from the experts, The Essential Oils Revolution will help you use essential oils effectively and confidently. This event is the first-ever, online, brand-generic event to include experts from every field, including aromatherapy, direct sales, medicine and research.

You can register (it's free!) by clicking here.

Important Things You’ll Learn About Essential Oils:

- Understand what essential oils are and why they are popular today
- Why essential oils are nature’s BEST medicine
- How to use essential oils safely and effectively
- Tips for regaining control of your health with essential oils
- Pain and stress remedies using essential oils
- Culinary uses for essential oils
- How to use essential oils for high performance health
- Essential oils for animal aromatherapy
- And so much more!

If you register today, you'll receive 5 free gifts. That's in addition to all the free information you can glean from the summit presenters May 11-18.

I hope to see you there!

Shared at HomeAcre Hop, Thrifty Thursday, Fluster's Creative Muster, Wake Up Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, 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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