Being Prepared

As of today, the first day of winter, some people are still without power here in New England, knocked out by gusty winds and ice during the “worst ever” storm on December 11th. I’m so thankful ours was restored a couple days ago because this weekends 24-inches of snow would have added even more difficult variables – driving on slick roads to continue supplying gas for the generator and refilling water storage containers for the humans and animals. In hindsight, we were only semi-prepared. We had a generator, sufficient to power the entire house, if needed. Our food storage – dehydrated organic vegetables – doesn’t require refrigeration or a freezer. I also had a small amount of water for several days, as long as nobody used it to flush toilets. One flush took 1 1/2 gallons – a ridiculous amount.


Destiny: Liberation

Psalm 139


The Real Story of Thanksgiving

With parents arguing over elementary Thanksgiving costumes, it’s clear the last several generations haven’t a clue as to the real history of America. Instead, their primary focus is one of being inoffensive, which only makes them all the more offensive.

The Indians, no doubt, got a bum rap on many land deals. On the other hand, the American Indian tribes needed a little spiffing up, no strangers to human sacrifices, warfare, and cannibalism, not exactly the makings of innocents. Europeans had a far superior culture due to their superior God. Unfortunately, visit the major historical centers such as Cape Cod and Plimoth Plantation (where I’m pictured, sweeping out a cabin), and you’ll hear a revisionist history being shared – one of corn-stealing Pilgrims and abused Indians. Given the politically-correct atmosphere gripping Amerika – a country soon not to be equated with freedom, I appreciate Rush Limbaugh’s telling of the authentic Thanksgiving story.


Countdown to Thanksgiving Dinner

Huge Turkey - Daniel giving thumb's up I’ve been looking forward to this week since….well…..since we had the same dinner last year. We have a real turkey farmer, in northern New Hampshire, who raises turkeys as naturally as possible, allowing them to free-range the way the Lord intended – running around sun, bug and grass-filled pastures all summer long. Unlike factory-farmers who claim “free-range”, but instead confine hundreds, if not thousands of birds to sunless crowded, buildings, our farmer only raises a couple dozen – enough to peacefully exist and co-exist on the acres he has available.

While I’ve always been attentive to food preparation, there’s a far deeper sense of gratitude and respect for the life that was given, when I know the care and effort that was put into raising our food. I know from talking with him, that “processing” the birds never gets easier, and each year he talks about it being his last. Yet, he also knows, if he doesn’t continue to raise his own food in this manner, instead buying it from the grocery store, he’ll be feeding his family an inferior food. So, like us, he gives thanks for the lives of those creatures that lost their lives in order that we might be sustained – a daily reflection and eternal perspective of the Cross.

For preparation of this year’s turkey, see my Turkey Brine entry from last July.


Justified for Evermore


s far as any eye could see
There was no green. But every tree
Was cinder black, and all the ground
Was gray with ash. The only sound
Was arid wind, like spirits’ ghosts,
gasping for some living hosts
In which to dwell as in the days
Of evil men, before the blaze
Of unimaginable fire
Had made the earth a flaming pyre
For God’s omnipotent display
Of holy rage.
The dreadful Day
Of God had come. The moon had turned
To blood. The sun no longer burned
Above, but, blazing with desire,
had flowed into a lake of fire.
The seas and oceans were no more,
And in their place a desert floor
Fell deep to meet the brazen skies,
And silence conquered distant cries.


Death, Justification & Cockatiels

Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eats, thereof you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17)

Today, I held the penalty of sin – death – in my hands. It struck down my 19-year-old Cockatiel, Minnie, her wings spread uselessly, breathing labored, face-down on the bottom of her cage. I’m thankful I found her in time, that I was with her when she took her final breath.

Even though the Lord, always generous with His mercy, prepared my heart weeks in advance, showing me what was to pass, I wasn’t ready. Instead of bowing my head in submission, saying, ‘Yes, Lord, I will be still”, I begged He’d spare her for just a little bit longer….

Nineteen years is the longest I’ve shared my life with any pet. In hindsight, our time together was but a blink of a star.


Traditions.....

It’s that time of year – birthday time – when my daughter asks only for one thing, that I make her favorite cake, Boston Cream Pie. There’s been one year in the last 13 that I’ve not made her birthday cake. That was what I call the “Coveting Year”, the year she discovered that some people have store-bought cakes for their birthdays.

Walking through the Costco bakery, always a child who was wonderful at memory games, she jumped excitedly at the Costco refrigerated sheetcake cooler, pointing at one particularly garish, “Happy Birthday” rainbow cake which had enough red #40 to cause behavioral disorders for the next 20 years. “That’s it! That’s it! That’s the cake Margret had for her birthday! And I want one just like it! No! No! There’s one with balloons! Oh, how I love balloons. Please?”

At that point, we still had 9 long weeks left before the Blessed Event. She became more obsessed with the notion, cutting decorated cake pictures out of magazines, chopping holes in the middle of the Costco magazine, transporting cakes from their pages to her persuasive letter-writing campaign sent to me. “Dear Mommy. In order to give you a break from all the cooking you do, I’d like a Costco cake.”


Wild Blueberry Hunting

Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing. Ezekiel 47:12

This summer’s wild berry crop has blessed us with abundant black raspberries and blackberries, their seeds deposited by creatures a few summers ago in our yard, along our rock retaining walls, and in a once-hoped-for garden stolen from me by a persistent and destructive woodchuck. When the last blackberry thorn extracted its blood price from my arm, its bounty tucked away in the freezer, my mind turned towards the next harvest – blueberries.

Unlike past summers, we won’t be journeying to northern Maine, exploring Bar Harbor and Acadia coastal beaches, enjoying whale-watch excursions, sailboat rides, lobster dinners around the campfire – a black tie and white linen affair back in Minnesota where I grew up – and my favorite activity, wild blueberry picking. It’s the blueberry picking I’ll miss the most, the daily ritual of rising first-light-of-dawn, heading out into fog-enshrouded seaside fields, steaming mug of coffee in one hand, berry bucket in the other, in search of fresh berries.


So Much Food, So Little Time.....

My husband researched restaurants ahead of time, discovering Penang had great reviews. We were on a mission, wanting Laksa, a Maylaysian soup for which there are hundreds of recipes and thousands of condiments from which one might choose to grace its surface creating variations as unique as individual taste.

Once seated, having a few sips of hot tea automatically delivered with the menus, we encountered our first problem of a long, lovely day. There were too many wonderful items on the menu. Malay cuisine is a wonderful mix, a “Best Of” including satay, nasi lemak, rendang, roti canai, murtabak, laksa – dishes from countries near ‘n far, influenced by ancient trade routes including China, north and south India, Thailand and even Portugal.


The Real Chicken Farmer Story

Well, the chicken is out of the bag. I’ve finally read the real story behind the “Chicken Farmer I Still Love You” rock, reported in a 1997 Yankee Magazine article, and reworked into a sermon by a Rev. Zucker.

I wasn’t let down, as my husband feared I might be, after having spent a homebound snowy winter speculating about the the possibilities behind the proclamation emblazoned across a rock we passed on our way to a weekend of camping. I found the true story to be a sweet tale of young love, albeit, I hope the mute young man found his “voice” in his life-beyond-the-rock phase. Love is worth finding courage. -Sharon