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
watermelon.

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.

06 May 2015

Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped For (Speaking Spiritually)

Another title for this post could be: When God Says "No" or even "Not Now".

We are not far removed from a disappointing, disheartening week. I'm choosing not to provide the gory details at this time. In short, I thought I was going after something that was meant to be for my life. I was somewhat confident it would materialize, but it didn't.

I was rather heartbroken, and even shed a few tears. Something I'm not known for doing often. Truth be told, I don't yet know if the Father said "No" or "Not now." Time will surely tell.

Which brings me to the subjects of faith and hope. In my opinion, it's pretty tough to have one without the other.

Hope, as a verb, is defined as "to desire and consider possible." The consider possible part is where faith and hope connect.

I'll admit it took me a day or two to get out of a disappointed funk. When I came around, however, I was a bit embarrassed before God. I talk the talk, but am I walking the walk? I am not a perfect being, so I allowed myself the human reaction and got back to the business of being a child of God. Is He trying to teach me something? Show me something? Does He have something "bigger and better" in His plan for me? Each of these possibilities requires patience and faith. Remember the life verse I mentioned in a previous post? Jeremiah 33:3. Yep. Patience and faith.

I do, in fact, think my Father is using this situation to teach me something. I have a tendency, when praying and talking to God, to be a bit meek. I mean, He's God! Shouldn't we bow to Him? Well, yes, but we are also told to come boldly before the throne. And we should not be wishy washy about it, either. Here are a couple of verses I was led to:

"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that
wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and
tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any
thing of the Lord." -- James 1:6-7

Less than 24 hours later, I read this in Cindy Trimm's Commanding Your Morning Daily Devotional: "As a man thinks in his heart -- in the present active continuum -- he is building his life one brick at a time."

What is faith? The substance, or foundation (bricks!) of what we hope for.

If I'm being honest with myself, I have been a bit "wavereth." I don't mean in my belief that God is The Father. Nor do I mean in my trust in Him for my everyday needs. But I am a bit reticent when it comes to requests that I think align with His will. From now on, I vow to know in my heart and pray boldly!


Tuesdays with a Twist Featured

Shared at Coffee and Conversation, Wonderful Wednesday, Making a Home - Homemaking Linky, Teach Me Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist, and Homemade Mondays.


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.

05 May 2015

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Cake ~ Baked in a Toaster Oven

Life without an oven stinks. Especially when you love to bake. And since our beloved Destiny lacks the appliance, I haven't been able to bake in over two months! Well, I could stand for that no more. So we bought one.

A toaster oven, that is. ;-)

I had a bit of cash left on an Amazon gift card so, while it's not exactly high dollar, we were able to get a good one: a Black & Decker Countertop Convection Toaster Oven was delivered just a few days ago.

I was able to sample some recently received strawberries at work the day before yesterday. They were Delicious! I was actually surprised at how tasty they were, and made sure to buy some on the way out. I already had a couple of bananas at home, and had pinned the base recipe for this cake not long ago. It was a perfect storm, it seems.


You only need one bowl to mix this cake. A plus for those with limited space! The base recipe does not call for bananas, but I couldn't resist the combination. I simply folded in slices at the end of mixing the cake batter. And I think I made my dollops of strawberry jam a bit too big. Next time, I'll be more inclined to swirl it in to the top.


Here's proof I baked it in a toaster oven! :-)


And the yummy result. It's somewhat similar to the best strawberry bread ever I posted about here. Greek yogurt makes it super moist. Recipe follows.


Strawberry Banana Yogurt Cake

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Cake
Adapted from Betty Crocker recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 2 containers (5.3 oz each) Greek blended strawberry yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin organic coconut oil (can also use vegetable or canola)
  • 2 tsp vanilla (make your own!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 1 1/4 cups quartered fresh strawberries (grow your own!)
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 bananas, sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven (toaster or regular) to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13x9-inch (I used a 10X12-inch) pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, oil of choice, and vanilla until well combined. Mix in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Add flour and baking powder; beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Fold in sliced bananas, if using.
  3. Pour batter into pan, spreading evenly. Dollop strawberry jam on top of cake batter. Sprinkle with strawberries and remaining 2 tsp granulated sugar.
  4. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Mine took 45 minutes in the toaster oven.) Cool 20 - 30 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if so desired.
Yield: 12 servings

P.S. I hope you'll forgive me rocking the paper plates and foil pan. Not very crunchy or homestead-y, I know. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Ya know? I'll make up for it when we get moved, I promise. :-)


Shared at Making a Home - Homemaking Linky, Tasty Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Tickle My Tastebuds, Tuesdays with a Twist, and Homemade Mondays.


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.

20 April 2015

Good For You Chocolate Pudding with Gallberry Honey

I had the weekend off! [She pauses, for effect.] It is such a rare occurrence, as I average only 6 of them a year. So you understand why I must savor the moment.

The word for my rare weekend off was...Rain. I know. Lucky me. I didn't let it stop me from going to the local farmers' market, though.  I was on a mission, searching for some real honey. Not the pasteurized, take-all-the-good-stuff-out kind you often find in the store. I wanted Raw. Unprocessed. Honey. And, praise the Lord, a beekeeper braved the rain and brought his sweet wares to town.

I decided to purchase a pound of Gallberry honey. My other choices were Wildflower and Cotton Blossom. The flavor of the Gallberry (a member of the Holly family) is unique, and oh. so. smooth. I drizzled and slathered and slobbered over some on a piece of french bread as soon as I got it home.

In a way, the rain helped prompt my experimentation with the recipe I'm about to share by ensuring an indoor activity. I saw this good-for-you chocolate pudding some time ago on MarthaStewart.com, and it's been on the to-do list hanging out in the back of my mind for a while.


The base of the pudding is... Avocado! This high protein fruit is super easy to work with, and in this instance especially, provides a quick creaminess for the pudding.

Let me interrupt with a quick note: you can see in the photo I used my NutriBullet to mix this pudding. We are short on space, and chose this small appliance to do double duty in addition to it's original purpose of annihilating fruits and vegetables into wonderful, healthy, drinkable treats. However! I do not recommend you using it for this like I did. There's just not enough liquid to make it easy. I would stick with a food processor, instead.


The recipe also calls for vanilla extract. Are you making yours, yet?

I love that all you have to do for this recipe is throw all the ingredients into your food processor and, well, process! I thought the amount of cocoa powder made a rich pudding, but wouldn't change it in the future. I will admit I added more honey than what the directions called for. Please don't judge. ;-) I have a long way to go in my goal of breaking my addiction to sugar.


One final note before the recipe: this good-for-you dessert is best served chilled.

Ingredients:

- 3 avocados, pitted and scooped out of skins
- 6 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup real honey (I probably added another 1/8 cup)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (make your own!)

1. Put all ingredients in food processor and let it whirl until nice and creamy. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Serves 4.


Shared at Teach Me Tuesday, Tickle My Tastebuds, and Tuesdays with a Twist.


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.

19 April 2015

Life is Good! -- So What am I Afraid Of?

Ever been going along in your day-to-day life and think, "Wow. Life is pretty good right now!"

I'll bet, if you're like me and so many others, your very next thought is, "I wonder what's going to come along and ruin it?"

Or maybe you don't necessarily have those specific thoughts course through your mind. You just have a sense of something's coming. Life is too good right now.

I think you know what I mean. We rarely feel pure, unadulterated joy. Once we realize we're happy, we follow said realization up with wondering when the happiness is going to end.

It seems I've lately been doing that a lot. I know I'm on the right path in God's will for my life. Is everything perfect? Um. No. But I walk outside, look up at the trees, and smile. I'm happy...Then a "Why Me?" thought pops in my head.

I've struggled for so long to find this space, this peace, this wisdom. I feel it -- almost tangibly -- in my hands. Who am I to deserve this?

I'm a child of the most high God. That's who.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. - James 1:17

God is good. His gifts are good. And He's not gonna change. Nor are His gifts.

Charles Stanley mentions this notion of unworthiness in his book Handle with Prayer:
...the basis of all God's answered prayer is His love for us...According to His love, we are worthy of the greatest gift He had to give -- His Son. After that, anything else we ask for is secondary.

Why do we have so much trouble believing God for the minor things in life? It is [the enemy] who says, "Who do you think you are,...?

To this question there is only one answer: "I am a child of the King. I am so worthy in the eyes of God, He sent His only begotten Son to die for me...
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed,
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. - Psalms 126:6

There's a time for sowing, and there's a time for reaping. When it's reapin' time, rejoice!

Trayer Wilderness

Shared at April 2015 Chain "Linky" Climb, Freedom Fridays, Friday Favorites, Front Porch Friday, Faith Filled Friday, and Simple Life Sunday.


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 and following Stephlin's Mountain.

07 April 2015

Make Your Own Bug Repellent with Essential Oils

I'm not a fan of summer. Well, that might be a little harsh. Breaking it down a bit, I'm really not a fan of weather above 80°, and I'm not a fan of bugs. Wasps scare the bejeezus out of me. Gnats and mosquitoes annoy me to seemingly no end. Even if I try to enjoy the milder warmth of early morning or late evening, they are there to ruin it for me.

My solution to this? Stay inside. Right by the air conditioner. Ever heard of cabin fever? For me it's more applicable in the summer!

Yet this summer is a bit different. Since space is limited, being perfectly fine with staying inside ALL the time is just a silly pipe dream.

Which leads me to insect repellent. Can't stand the chemical-laden stuff "off the shelf". Not only are the chemicals harsh for us and our skin (to put it mildly), but the stuff stinks to high heaven and is often incredibly sticky. I always feel as though I need a shower after using it.

Enter essential oils. Though not my first time using them, this is my first time using them in this manner. Would the right combination really repel insects?

In a word, YES!

I based the recipe I used on one found at GreenBootLiving. There are a ton of recipes out there! If you already have an arsenal of essential oils, check around to see if there is a recipe using the ones you have on hand. I'm always up for minimizing cost.

I purchased my essential oils for this purpose from Edens Garden via Amazon. The prices are great and there are no additives or fillers added to the oils. And free shipping at the $35 threshold is nice, as well.

I did make one addition to the original recipe I went with by mixing in Rose Geranium. I've read it's a great tick repellent.

Since this was my first (trial) recipe, I made a fairly small amount -- less than 4 oz. To replicate that amount, here's what you'll need:

[Disclosure: Links are of the affiliate variety.]

· 4 oz. spray bottle
· 5 tbsp water (I used filtered)
· 1 tbsp witch hazel (I used a generic comparable to this from my local grocery store.)
· 1 drop 100% pure thyme oil
· 2 drops 100% pure lemongrass oil
· 1 drop 100% pure lavender oil
· 1 drop 100% pure peppermint oil
· 1 drop 100% pure rose geranium oil

Mix all ingredients in the spray bottle. Apply to exposed skin when going to the bug-infested outdoors!

Shared at Thrifty Thursday at the Thrifty Couple, Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less, Coffee and Conversation, Fluster's Creative Muster, The {Not Just} Homemaking Party, Wake Up Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, and Simple Life Sunday.




Standard medical disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and statements here have not been evaluated -- nor approved -- by the FDA. This post is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Please conduct your own research and make your own decisions regarding the use of essential oils.


04 April 2015

Happy Easter, Y'all


Yep, that's me. It's one of those pictures with no information, though. I cannot remember my age or the place. Were we in Germany? Oh well. It appears I was quite the colorist! :-)

24 March 2015

Speaking Spiritually: I Finally Found My Life Verse

If you've been following this blog, you know there have been a lot of changes in my life of late. We have been in the camper "full-time" for a month, and I think I'm finally settling in to somewhat of a routine. Our kitchen facilities have greatly diminished with this move, and one of my goals is to ramp those types of posts back up in the near future -- laying out alternatives and new ideas when faced with such a small space and few appliances.

The goal of lowering television viewing has been surprisingly simple to achieve, and I find I don't miss it much at all. I'm a sucker for sports, though. So I must admit March Madness has been in my recent purview. (Go Duke!) -- I'm proud to say I've increased my reading in lieu of tv.

Slowing down and taking in my surroundings has been a top priority, as well, and I'm happy with the progress there. (I'm sure to expound on that with other posts.)

That still lives priority numero uno: strengthening my walk with God. While I consider that to be a constant, ongoing goal, I wanted to take this specific time to put in some work. I have been more consistently reading my Bible and teachings in book form.

Are you familiar with the term "life verse"? Until fairly recently, I had never even heard this term. According to What Christians Want to Know, "a life verse is a verse from the Bible (or a small passage) that you choose to be your most favorite verse; it is the one that you commit to memory to share with others."

Well, I have a lot of favorite verses! Yet somehow I felt like I was lacking a life verse. "How can that be?" I briefly wondered. Then I put it out of my mind.

About a week ago, I downloaded Charles Stanley's Handle with Prayer: Unwrap the Source of God's Strength for Living. I'm on chapter 3, and was blown away from the start. (Partly, I'm sure, because my prayer life needs a huge makeover.)

I talk to God every day. All day. That part I have down. I'm confident God hears and answers my prayers. The area I feel in my soul needs improvement is listening. I know I receive guidance from the Holy Spirit, but it's highly doubtful I "get it" the first time around. Know what I mean?

The part of the journey I'm on now, for example. The idea of making a change and taking my life in a different direction has been on my heart for years. Yep, I said years. But I was likely listening to my own understanding so hard, I failed to hear God's perfect plan. The one that would have gotten me on the right, bright path sooner.

The title of the first chapter of Handle with Prayer is "Unveiling the Hidden". I want to know everything God has in store for me. Don't you want that for yourself? Well, that would require listening. Some patience and waiting. And listening.

To apply this more directly to my everyday life: I want to know how to use everything God put on this earth for good. What does that insect do to improve my life? How can that weed improve my health? How can I spread the word and widen the movement? How can I save the resources He provided for future generations?

Yes, there are resources (many! and good ones!) that I can use online and off to facilitate answers to a few of those questions. But the passionate, all-encompassing answers? I believe they come from Him. The one who knows all. The one who knows His plan better than any. The one who put those resources there in the first place!

And that's where I found my life verse. It's not just a new favorite verse. It's a verse that I will recite to myself constantly. Write it on the walls of my heart. I know where to go to get my questions answered.

So sayeth Jeremiah 33:3 --


Do you have a life verse? Share it in the comments below! Do you remember how it came to be the one?

Tuesdays with a Twist Featured

Shared at Making a Home - Homemaking Linky and Tuesdays with a Twist.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, 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 and following Stephlin's Mountain.

18 March 2015

Light Your Entryway with Solar Power (Pimp Your Pop-Up #3)

OK. This one is short, sweet, simple -- and cheap! As in, less than $2 cheap.

Some campers have a "porch light" by the entryway, but mine does not. So I went to Wal-Mart and bought two solar lights at 97¢ a piece. Once we got home, I placed one on each side of our step into the camper and let the sun go to work. Each light comes attached to a stake, so putting them in the ground was a cinch.

Here they are.


An added bonus is you don't have to remember to flip a switch!


That's all for this series, at the moment. If we do any more improvements, I'll be sure to share. Feel free to comment with any camper upgrades you'd like to offer. I'd love some inspiration! :-)

15 March 2015

Sweeten the Sleep Space in Your Camper with Thermal Blackout Curtains (How to Pimp Your Pop-Up #2)

Too much light when trying to sleep. That's a conundrum. And it applies in my current situation of living full-time (albeit temporarily) in a RV. I cannot complain about our lot in the park. When the sun goes down, it's pretty difficult to see your hand in front of your face. But! My work schedule requires me to sleep some during the daylight hours. And the number of those hours increases with the coming of long summer days.

Just today, I took a nap from 2 - 3:30 p.m. in full 80° sun. No worries, though. I was in comfortably cool semi-darkness. (We were having highs in the fifties just a couple of days ago. Is this not the weirdest transition into spring ever?)

My solution? Thermal blackout curtains. To be more specific, a set of these solid thermal insulated blackout curtains in navy. Each panel is 84 inches long and 52 inches wide -- a perfect fit for each side of the queen-size bunk end of the camper.

Here's a before pic of one side:


And here are a couple with the thermal blackout curtains up. (Taken before the back was covered to compare and show how no light is getting through the curtain.)


Please forgive the mismatched pillows and such in this one! I won't be winning any prizes for interior decorating anytime soon.


The best thing about this idea is it's not permanent. We tucked one end of each panel behind the bunk end braces, and the other ends were simply clipped in place with 2 in. spring clamps like these, described as having "strong gripping, spring-action jaws".


I got the curtains at more than 50% off retail, and the clips I already had. Minimal expense for a sweeter sleep space!





Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, 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 and following Stephlin's Mountain.

Shared at The {Not Just} Homemaking Party, the Making a Home - Homemaking Linky, Teach Me Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist, and some of these fine hops.

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