Do you like homemade granola? I do, but I can’t seem to find time to make it. The bowls, the pans, the stirring, the oven…blah. Half the time I make a mess in the oven as granola spills when I try to stir it up. So now I make up a batch of quick granola, on the stove top, whenever I want it. It takes about five minutes, and I don’t measure any part of it.


First, I drop into my hot pan a heaping few tablespoons of coconut oil and then a glob of honey. After it’s all melted, I throw in a small bowl of rolled oats and whatever nuts I have on hand. I stir it up here and there, and when it gets as toasty as I want, I take it off the heat and put in whatever dried fruits I have on hand. Done.




The only real mess to clean up is the stove top, after the kids finish serving themselves up a topping for their yogurt.




I started to make some coffee this morning and I had to laugh. No time to make granola (“No time!” she says), but I make my coffee in probably the slowest way possible. Why? Well…I enjoy the process. It makes me putter when the clock is yelling at me to hurry. I tossed my wristwatch about 15 years ago because I wanted to arrange my days–my life–to follow my own tempo the best I could. So…some things I hurry along (like granola) and some things I make more difficult, in order to force me to slow down (like making coffee).


It takes me five minutes to stare out the window and grind the coffee. In the background, you can see my husband’s personal coffee-grinding tempo :)




In the cup goes a pat of unsalted butter and a spoonful of coconut oil. And then I make the coffee. We both love using our Aeropress Coffee maker. It’s inexpensive, really makes the most delicious coffee, and the only power required is your own hands.




While that’s steeping for a minute, I begin heating up some milk. I press my coffee, which melts the butter and oil, and then I whip up my milk. We both like the Aerolatte Milk Frother for that. I gently pour the milk into my coffee and top it all off with a sprinkle of vanilla powder.




I don’t feel like I need to rush the process. It’s about ten to fifteen minutes, depending on how often I need to stop for a child’s needs. But when it’s done, yum.




Any kind of handwork is a slow tempo. I haven’t even used my sewing machine at all for about a year, but I have gotten some embroidery and a quilt binding finished. I’m working to finish this lacey scarf before spring, and I have an apron with yet more embroidery to finish afterwards.




Using a camera is a way I slow down my tempo, to take the time to really look and see, but drawing and art journaling take me even longer. I find the process meditative. Sort of like grinding coffee. They are just little ways to slow my tempo to where I crave it to be.




How is your own life tempo? Are you traveling at a speed comfortable for you?



So you have failed? You cannot fail. 

You have not failed; you have gained experience. 


Saint Josemaria Escriva

One evening our family heard a talk that had in the midst of it the importance of naming your children at birth correctly. This was important because the name chosen sets into motion the vision for that child, and reminds that child for life who he or she is, and proclaims to the world that message as well.


When we got home, our children wanted to know why they had the names they did. Some had names from family members, but ultimately, our reason sounded rather limp: we…uh…we just happened to like the sound of your name…


At the time I felt poorly about it, and wished a do-over in which every name could carry more weight. Since then, I’ve realized that, yes, even men with the name of Jesus are rightly serving time in prisons, and furthermore, I didn’t share the convictions this speaker had regarding the proper way  to name a baby.


But initially I felt shamed, like fingers were pointed at me. But this is the thing: shame does not mean sin was involved. It is not the same as guilt. It does not need forgiveness or restitution. It is a feeling of being wrong, but is not based in actually having done so.


Shame is a feeling that something you’ve done, or are doing, or even who you are, is received with condemnation or dislike. Or you may not receive appreciation or acknowledgement. You’ve dip-dyed your hair and no one wants to sit next to you at potluck.


Guilt is the sense of having done something sinful, like stealing your friend’s favorite tea mug (that’s high treason in my book!).


How do you know the difference, and why does it matter?


Well, let’s begin with the many standards we as Christians, especially women, make. As you look over this list, think about how strongly you feel about each one.


drinking alcohol

smoking cigarettes

what type of doctor to see

pants or skirts

tattoos and nose rings

burial or cremation

sabbath keeping

toys for your children

TV and movies and ratings


organic eating

caring for environment



how many children to have




Bible version

parenting: attachment or scheduling

handmade or store-bought

raise your own or grocery shop

and of course…how you name your children


As you think through your feelings about each of these things, ask yourself:


  • Why do I think the way I do about that?
  • From where did I get that belief?
  • Would I in any circumstance at all ever consider the alternative of that belief?


There is a vast difference between convictions (which should be few) and preferences (which are many). A conviction leads someone to die at the stake. A preference allows for unique circumstances, abilities, temperaments, and experiences.


We often take on someone else’s convictions or preferences and measure them against our unique situations. This isn’t always a bad thing. We see those messengers as loving, well-intentioned, educated, passionate, and even helpful. We read their blogs and books, listen to their lectures and pay for their conferences. It is good to hold up what they are proclaiming into the light and see if they can enrich our lives. Often they do.


Decisions that are made from them, however, ought to be made carefully. Here are some helpful questions:


  • Do you fear any sort of fallout if you don’t do whatever they are teaching or doing?
  • Are you afraid others will see you differently or not as well if you do or don’t do these things?
  • Are you fearful of failure?
  • Are you feeling condemned or disapproved of?
  • Does disagreeing make you want to hide under a bushel?


If so, please see that your underlying motivation is FEAR and avoiding SHAME. Is this you? Friend, making decisions out of a sense of shame does not lead to peace. If you are not sure you are feeling shame or if it is righteous guilt, please take a minute to ask yourself (chapter and verse) what sin you committed. And then ask yourself–if it IS a sin–if that sin has been atoned for already.


If you are a Christian, perhaps your biggest fear (gnawing gnat that it is) has been in disappointing God, because you love Him. Now we know we don’t purposefully go abiding in what we know is sin with “liberty” as an excuse, but we also make room for others in their preferences. Those differences may not be sin at all, despite how serious your shuddering in thinking of wearing a head covering (or not!).  After all, God’s standards were only a list of ten.


Also, if you are a Christian, you already know you’ve broken those standards. Furthermore, you have already repented of them, were cleansed by the blood of Christ and forgiven. And so where does your GUILT lie? At the foot of the cross of course, in the depths of the sea, as far as the east is from the west. This, as you may surmise, is my CONVICTION.


Therefore, there is no more condemnation for you. EVEN if you make a decision now that you later regret or change your mind over. EVEN if…dare I say…you FAIL and (dum dum dummmmm) Make The Wrong Decision. Or change your mind. Or (God forbid) you start wearing pants, get a part-time job, and pierce your nose.


And IF there is no condemnation or guilt….where is the shame? From whom does it come? Certainly not from the Lord. And not from a blogger (I personally don’t really care if you wear jeans, work at WalMart or have a nose piercing), speaker or anyone else.


You really can live in peace, making decisions from your own convictions and not from a foundation of shame. Don’t let shame keep you fearful. Understand the sovereignty of God. Bless the Lord for your uniqueness and appreciate it. Know you will be in His will and that all things work together for your good. Because the Bible says you will make mistakes. You will feel you failed. You will sin and others will sin against you. But as the quote at the head of this post goes, you haven’t really failed but gained experience. And at this point there is nowhere else to go but forward.


So go forward. Hear and read new ideas, thoughts and the convictions and passions of others. Feel free to change how you think or do things, but do so out of hope and not shame. And may the peace of the Lord in His love and acceptance of you because of HIS broken hands (and not what your hands have done or will do) go with you.




Downsizing Our Home, Upsizing Our Family Part 5

January 5, 2015

Podcast: Play in new window | Download The big willow that broke and came down.   It was a big mess.   Thankful for friends with chainsaws. Join us for our last installment of this series on downsizing our home and upsizing our family (at the same time!).   This is the book that I […]

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Merry Christmas

December 25, 2014

  John 3:16   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, love divine; Love was born at Christmas, Star and angels gave the sign. May your joy be full!

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Bedroom Tour

December 24, 2014

We’ve been settling in with Baby after getting permission to remove her from supplemental oxygen, and I’ve been resting a great deal. I’m happy to report that this has not been a hurried Christmas season but a rather relaxed and enjoyable one. I’m thankful for internet shopping   But I’d had enough of resting in a […]

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Reality and Rest

November 21, 2014

After five days, we were given the option of taking Poppy home on a supplemental oxygen unit and decided we could do that. What a blessing! We had stayed in the hospital with Ruby for ten days waiting for her to wean off the oxygen. For Poppy, no waiting, just the opportunity to go home. […]

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Ruby Has a Pal for Life

November 15, 2014

If you want the ending of the matter immediately: all is currently well. If you want the story: keep reading. We had a wonderful home birth three days ago, despite being eleven days past the due date. Overall, I think that despite the insanity of the past year with downsizing our home (are you listening […]

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Past Due Date

November 6, 2014

Well, it’s no surprise to anyone, least of all to me, that I am past my due date to have Baby. When I started blogging in 2006, it was while I was awaiting another baby, past his due date as well. I ended up waiting for him 18 days. I hope not to have a […]

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Downsizing Our Home, Upsizing Our Family, Part 4

October 29, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download The adventures continue! This is half of the very large willow tree that gave our front yard such ample shade this last summer. It came down during the night during a wind storm, and we were all very, very thankful it didn’t fall upon the house. It did […]

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Settling In

October 9, 2014

I still feel like I’m running, but now it feels more like running out of time. I’m a few weeks away from babyhood showing up and I am still working on schoolwork deadlines (I’ll share more about that later). Meanwhile, we closed on our old house, which to be truthful felt a little disorienting but […]

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Not in the Way You Might Desire

September 18, 2014

We’ve been talking as a family about how God always answers our prayers, but sometimes it’s “not in the way you might desire.” For example, a gentleman might pray for more time to spend with his family…and the Lord might allow him to face an injury that keeps him from going to work. In our […]

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Downsized Dining Tour

September 9, 2014

First of all, thank you for not only the comments, but for the ones for my eyes only, and for the emails, and for snail mail. Sometimes I am really slow in responding, but, Lord willing, I will get there.   I’m not in the “nesting” stage yet but I sense it coming. I’m still […]

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Downsized Kitchen Tour

September 1, 2014

Welcome to my new, downsized home. Not everything is in place, not every box is unpacked, and certainly not every room is finished (or even able to be moved into yet). But I thought I’d share with you the progress we’ve made, and how we’re living at the moment.   Would you like to see […]

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Downsizing Our Home, Upsizing Our Family: Part 3

August 19, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Well, so much for my pretty scene at the pond! Tom and I heard the *crack crack….craaaaack…..* and then, enormous branches came crashing down, smashing the little maple I was so looking forward to watching blaze with autumnal colors. Other branches around the property have come down, too. […]

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On Waiting…

July 31, 2014

A month in, and I’m finally to the point of settling into the bottom portion of the house. The upstairs is still in progress, but it’s a slow process. Little by little, as my neighbor reminds us.   I’m finally back into my art journal, and enjoying seeing all of my art supplies at hand […]

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On Being Present

July 22, 2014

I just had to share this video. How much do we depend on social media or the internet to connect or build a relationship with someone?     Most of the time, it seems using social media to build relationships is not really about building relationships at all. It’s simply a way to get out […]

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Sneak Downsizing Peeks #2

July 22, 2014

Slowly, slowly…slowly…it is coming together. Boxes are moving out of the house, and shelves are going up. I’m going to spare you the corners that still have stuff all over the floor waiting for more shelving and hooks, and share some more peeks with you. Oh, and the entire upstairs hasn’t even begun to get […]

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Sneak Downsizing Peeks

July 11, 2014

Discovering fruit already here on the land (cherries!)…   And harvesting foods grown here naturally…   Finding ways to make do with less counter space…   And choosing when and how to use our resources…   Creating vertical and horizontal places for storage…   And finally taking some time to rest…   Blessed.

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Downsizing Our Home…Upsizing Our Family…Part 2

July 9, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Good-bye Big House Over a week later, I *finally* have internet. I must say, though, the world didn’t come to an end without a connection. This past week has been STRESSFUL..I suppose I will be glad I didn’t have the internet distraction to make it worse. Lots and […]

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Downsizing Our Home…Upsizing Our Family

June 30, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Well, today’s the big MOVE! The big yellow rental van will be here in about two hours, along with a group of friends. Last night my husband and I recorded our last podcast in the primo studio, and talked about what we’re doing, and why. Hopefully you’ll get […]

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What If…(on Downsizing)

June 27, 2014

I have a large slice of chocolate cake and a glass of milk next to my computer. I picked up the cake this afternoon from one of our local cafes, after I picked up the easy (read: conventional store-bought) meals to feed my family for the next few days. I’m sitting at the bar in […]

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Downsizing into the Bungalow

June 25, 2014

Work continues in the little 1951 bungalow. Tools are everywhere, dust is abundant, paint splotches are spotted on the floors and lots of people are using their time and tools to help us make the transition. It’s not a small thing, *just* time and tools. Most folks have to travel as we do, 45 minutes […]

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Downsizing Progress

June 14, 2014

What’s going on at the house(s)? Well, quite a bit.   Today in our current house, we were blessed with eight friends that showed up to form teams and cleaned all of the hundred-and-fifty-whatever windows we have. I made a taco lunch for everyone, and wished more than once I could grab a camera. But […]

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Look Up

June 12, 2014

In my mind, I am writing many blogs, updating progress as we go. In my mind, I am taking photographs, uploading and sharing them with you. In reality, however, I am burning out, rarely home, and very tired. I miss my routines, my quiet, my time to write and work on handwork. In the midst […]

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More Downsizing the Kitchen…and Closet

June 5, 2014

After spending some time yesterday in my new kitchen, I decided that what I had to do was come up with a plan. I did the same thing when we were building our current house, and I even labeled (on paper drawings) drawers and cabinets with *exactly* what was going to go where. Last night […]

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Downsizing the Kitchen

June 3, 2014

As many of you know, we are downsizing our living space from 3800 square feet (not including the basement and attic) to under 1700 (no basement nor attic). We’ve been wanting to podcast some of the craziness going on, but honestly we are falling asleep practically at supper time. Today we spent the day at […]

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What I’m Learning from Our Caterpillar Infestation

June 2, 2014

  It’s a caterpillar year here. That means there are caterpillars everywhere. On fruit trees. On alder trees. On porches. Climbing up screened windows. Hitching rides onto people. Crawling about indoors.   I can’t help but think of the frog infestation of the Old Testament. In gardens. In homes. In beds, ovens and–truly more so–everywhere. […]

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Leather Journals, Basketry, Weaving and More Beginner Art Journaling

May 26, 2014

Well, the vast majority of the packing is finished and boxes are piled into the garage. The basement is crazy overflowing with garage sale goods and now I am just waiting on other people: painters, window washers, carpet cleaners… There is nothing for me to do now but to wait during this lull before listing […]

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May 19, 2014

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 How’s your Bible reading going?   Seventeen years ago I was saved, and for the past fourteen I’ve been in my Bible pretty much daily. I credit the few years I spent […]

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Seeking Balance in Downsizing

May 12, 2014

Proverbs 30:8-9   Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.  That was the verse I attached to the photograph […]

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Why I Blog

May 8, 2014

  I once saw a t-shirt for writers that had written upon it, “Be nice to me or I’ll put you in my next book.” As funny as that is, the truth of the matter is that writers do use–among other things–their experiences and worldviews, and yes, that means interactions with other people, to create […]

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Packing, Packing, Packing…

April 29, 2014

I am already tired of packing. And the more I pack, the more I wonder how I will ever fit it all into our smaller house, even as the garage sale pile grows ever higher. At this point, it’s going to take me hours just to get that sale pile out of my house! I […]

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Hard Marriages and Silent Wives

April 24, 2014

Another friend of mine is divorcing. It makes me sad. And it makes me sad when I go to weddings, too. I want to warn the couple: the chances are very, very (very) good that there will be a “for worse.”   But I’m also sad at how our faith community handles family breakdowns as […]

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Trying to Maintain Normalcy While Downsizing

April 21, 2014

I am decluttering and downsizing and packing away my belongings. One box, one room, one area at a time. Even as the garage sale pile grows bigger, even as the trips to send off donations gain frequency, I am still bewildered about how I am going to make this downsize work. I’ve taken measurements of […]

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Rehydrating Dehydrated Sourdough Starter

April 16, 2014

Well, so much for “zero doubts” in getting my dehydrated starter perky and going again. I said as much on my post on dehydrating the starter, and I figured after almost a year, it was time to raise the starter. I wasn’t successful.   This is what I began with, an airtight mason jar of […]

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Part Two: Upsize

April 15, 2014

In the midst of downsizing our living quarters, we’ll be upsizing our family. Yes, we are expecting baby #8.   I appreciated rereading Matthew 27 this past week. Jesus, the most innocent man ever, stood with dignified silence in the midst of false accusations, mocking, insults, and wrong assumptions. It gave me courage to relay […]

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Part One: Downsize

April 14, 2014

Well, I promised to share some news, so here goes. We are moving. Actually, downsizing. Actually, almost micro sizing, compared to where we’ve been. My current house is a with boxes everywhere and things collecting for garage sales, Goodwill, and Craig’s List.     This is very bittersweet for us. Bitter in that we […]

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First, You Take a Deep Breath…

April 5, 2014

…and that’s what I’m going to do for this week. Take a deep breath. Because before I share with you all the absolute craziness happening around here, I’m going to take a week off the net and hang out with a friend in the city. We plan to take a lot of art classes and […]

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Natural Face Care

April 1, 2014

My post on homemade face cream continues to be a favorite among my readers. Ironically, I very rarely make that face cream. Mostly, because I’m lazy   That’s not to say that I buy fancy facial products though. I just can’t spend that much for it, nor do I want all of the *interesting* ingredients […]

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An Alternative to Obamacare

March 30, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download   Rather than join the chorus to rant about Obamacare, I thought it might be more helpful to hear about an alternative. Join us as we talk with Jamie Pyles about Samaritan’s Ministries and hopefully answer any questions you may have about this organization.     If you decide […]

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Do You Know Affliction?

March 24, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download It’s great to get behind the microphones with my husband again! In this episode, I share about my new book, Present, coming out soon, and offer to you some encouragement regarding affliction. We’re not spared affliction in our lives, but in Christ, we are never alone within in […]

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Spring Planting

March 21, 2014

Well, it’s the first day of spring and I finally closed my eyes to the mess indoors and went outside. I’ve had starts by my kitchen windows, and because I’m getting tired of working around them, decided some of them could go outside. I put a bunch of kale seedlings out, and topped it with […]

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Tying Up Loose Ends

March 20, 2014

Tightening up and tying off the ends of my first woven silk scarf. It drapes beautifully, but I am ready to get out the cottons and make a good dozen (and non-finicky) kitchen towels.     My husband meets with the “potential house” owner this weekend. I suppose that will be another loose end to […]

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Retreat and Reboot

March 18, 2014

Six of my girlfriends and I went up to the mountains and spent a couple of nights in a log cabin. It was a nice retreat, a chance to spend time with one another and rest. We each brought an offering to share for a devotional, and then took turns praying for each other’s needs during […]

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Mission: Un-Organize My Home

March 5, 2014

There’s nothing quite like considering a massive downsize to make you rethink each and every thing you own. Many of us know the quote by William Morris, “…Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Well. Yes. Except that it all was useful and beautiful at one time. And some of […]

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Why I’ve Been Quiet

March 3, 2014

Oh, where oh where to begin…. This is going to be equal to about a dozen blog posts, but I’m going to just dump them all here. You can attend to the subtitles and read to your interest(s). MARRIAGE: Twenty-two years later, we’re still in the ebb and flow of relationship. That happens, doesn’t it? […]

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Marriage and the Art of Compromise

February 22, 2014

I was in the kitchen grinding some coffee recently and took a longer glance at my little set up. Hand grinder, coffee beans, electric grinder.     I prefer the hand grinder. It’s slow. It’s quiet. It grinds very fine and of course I think the flavor is better, too. It is something that forces […]

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More Sewn Bible Covers

February 12, 2014

It looks like we finally got a little bit of winter here in the Pacific Northwest, at least enough to snow us in and make a good excuse to spend extra time in the kitchen making pumpkin doughnuts. We live at the end of a long gravel road and without a spiffy 4×4 (we dream […]

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On Savoring the Things of God

January 29, 2014

Matthew 16:23   But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.   I’ve been parked in the book of Matthew for a bit, mainly because of Bible Study Fellowship. If […]

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“I Need to Go to the Store”

January 21, 2014

I say those words far, far too often. In my case, it’s about twice a week, which may or may not sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me. But for as many years as I’ve worked towards decreasing my dependence on the supermarket, here I still am. I find it not only […]

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