Sunday, August 29, 2010

On my mind, in my heart

God is so good
God is so good
God is so good, he's so good to me.
He answers prayer
He answers prayer
He answers prayer, he's so good to me.
I love him so
I love him so
I love him so, he's so good to me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pantry Makeover

When considering our budget and our health the immediate thought most of us have goes to food. What is being spent, what is being eaten. For a very long time we (I) spent loads of money on food. Grant it, organic and free range is expensive but I always seemed to have so much excess in the fridge and cupboards. I shutter to think about the amount of produce that has gone to the (gasp) garbage, compost, chickens or rabbits. Plan of attack? Purchase enough for only a week. I'm still working on that end of it but doing much better. Next plan of attack. Increase whole grains and legumes while decreasing meat consumption. This is a difficult idea for me. Most of my life I have been over weight. Eating "carbs" tends to help me keep the weight on. I've spent so much time being frustrated over the problem that then I give in, buy meat (regular factory farmed) and then feel guilty about the animals and the way they lived their lives and the way in which their life ended. Please don't misunderstand me. We are a meat eating family but we gave up factory farmed meats a while back and then in order to loose weight I went back to factory farmed food for roughly a month. I can't do it. I feel guilty. How can I loose weight while eating grains and legumes? Easy. Portion size! As an American and a lover of vintage and antique goodies, I've become aware through the purchase of kitchen goodies that our portion sizes have increased dramatically over the last 50 years. Ouch! I have a cooking set for my Westinghouse roaster that is supposed to feed a family of 4. When I first saw it, I couldn't believe it. It seemed so teeny tiny.
My 3rd decision for making over the pantry was to no longer buy processed stuff. I can make bread. Why don't I? Laziness or a lack of being prepared. Oh my. I love convenience. The kids have been on a bagel kick lately. Do I really need to buy bagels? Nope. Besides, the store bought goodies have so many more ingredients than what is needed.
Lastly, we've pretty much given up on eating out. Sure, we have our "weak" moments but overall they are becoming fewer.
I'm hoping that with the changes that we have made and will continue to make that not only will our waistlines continue to shrink, but that our contentment in simple foods continue to grow and debt will be paid down and eventually off. Once we've been completely transformed and no longer have our weak moments, I believe our family could have upwards of $300 a month to use towards debt. That's upwards of $3600 a year towards debt! Imagine the interest that will be saved. Just the idea excites me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Growing through change

First off, I am SO glad that I can import my old blog over here. The wonders of technology. :-) Over the years I have changed blog names and addresses several times. Occasionally I'd end up deleting blogs all together only later to regret it. I still miss my first blog Mamma's Quiet Time but life goes on. When I started The Porcelain Desk I disliked the name but the nothing else came to me. Whispering Oak Acres is the name the Mister and I gave to our dream over the last couple of years. Currently the name resides only in our hearts, on a red folder full of ideas and now here.
Whispering Oak Acres is located somewhere in the foothills of the Great Smokies. A land that beckons us back to her. A place where autumn is a canvas of color, a lush blanket of bright colors turning to a rich green in the spring and a summer filled with the scent of wild honeysuckle, plentiful gardens and lightening bugs dancing to the concert of katydids and crickets at dusk. It's a place where our children can run and explore, we'll grow most of the foods we eat whether it be plant or animal and a place to learn. A place to love.
Right now Whispering Oak Acres is only a dream. A place, a vision, we're working towards. At times it feels as though we're not moving any closer. Never backwards, just never closer. At other times it feels as though we much be progressing.
I've become passionate about blooming where we are planted; doing what I can do to make changes in our lives to help us reach goals and dreams. Truth be told, Whispering Oak Acres is changing from a dream to a goal. Sometimes I fall while trying to work towards the goal and other times I succeed. The times I fail I am reminded that I still have a lot of personal change that is needed but I cling to the awareness that through the change, there will be growth.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Squash flowers seem to hold a special beauty. I love the way this one looks with droplets of water still holding on after this mornings watering.
I was up before the rest of the house this morning which seems to be happening more frequently. Honestly I seem to prefer my days to start out that way. Nothing seems more peaceful to me than to start the pot of coffee and then snuggle into the rocking chair with a blanket over my lap and the Bible in my hands. Right now I'm going through Ecclesiastes and seeing it in a way that I never have. It seems to hold more conviction and questions than it has in the past. This morning Eccl. 6:9 stood out and I've spent the morning pondering it. "It is better to be content with what the eyes can see than for one's heart to always crave more. This continual longing is futile-like chasing the wind." I've wondered if this is what I do. Those who are close to the Mister and I know that we long to be back in TN. Those same people also know that we would like to have more land. We're simplistic in what we would like. We're not longing after 10 acres or a big house. I've grown quite content and thankful for the small (under 1250sq ft for the last 2) homes that we have had. I believe that when we first moved back to WA and for the following 2 years I did continually crave more. Yes, I still long for more but the attitude is different. I've always wanted more for the same reasons. To grow more of our own. To be able to raise our own meat. To be more "self" sustainable. Problem. "Self". I'm reliant on or supposed to be reliant on God. I'm God sustained. He alone has chosen to bless us with this larger city lot whether it's right where we'd truly like to be or not. While the heart would like to get out of the city, I am content with what we have. Out of contentment comes labor. I want to use what God has blessed us with. Not let it just sit. This year has seen thorn-less blackberries planted along the fence line, cleaning up of the area between the back fence and back deck which now contains beautiful flowers and herbs (a pleasant view from the kitchen window for sure), several chickens for fresh eggs (some have made their way into the freezer) and we have the addition of 4 new veggie bed's in a wasted space of the front yard. This weekend will hopefully see the area (between the last bed and the red car) for 6 raspberry plants turned over, amended and the berries planted. I truly believe that because I've become content with what my eye sees, the house and land that we do have, I have been able to see possibilities. Through our acceptance and thankfulness we have been blessed more. Come along with me as I take my usual morning path around our yard.
It may not look like much but the Mister and I are tickled (okay, maybe only females get tickled) with how it looks after only being 2 weeks old. I am amazed at the amount of people who stop and talk with me or stop during their walk/bike rides and take the garden in.
Chili rellenos anyone?
Our favorite future canned good!
I have NEVER been able to grow enough of these to last us the whole year through.
Can you spot her? I always try hard to garden organically (I gave up corn...couldn't seem to make it work without pesticides). Ne em oil has been a favorite. Earlier this week I received a rebate from Freddy's and decided to buy some lady bugs with the unexpected rebate. I am giddy beyond belief that these little girls/guys have virtually eliminated the aphids from my garden! Did you know that 1 ladybug can eat up to 80 aphids in a day? They are most welcome around our yard.

What little bugger is eating the sweet pea leaves as soon as they emerge?

Every day this sight brings the children as well as myself a bit of joy and thankfulness.

She who remains to be named

Henrietta is so called because she looks like a he to me. She and Clara are the most mild tempered, quiet birds out of the lot of them.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Happy # 7 Mr. B. Daily I thank God for the blessing of you!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I did not hold myself back from getting whatever I wanted,
I did not deny myself anything that would bring me pleasure.
So all my accomplishments gave me joy, this was my reward for all my effort.
Yet when I reflected on everything I had accomplished
and on all the effort that I had expended to accomplish it,
I concluded: "All these achievements and possessions are ultimately profitless -
like chasing the wind!
There is nothing gained from them on earth.
Ecclesiastes 2:10-11