Friday, December 31, 2010

Keeping Warm

Before moving to California, I had believed it was a sunny and warm state. Little did I know, that wasn't totally true. My family and I live in North Eastern California which gets pretty cold. Last night my husband informed me it was six degrees at 11 p.m. and dropped to Zero during the early morning hours.

We have different methods to keep ourselves and our animals warm. Some ways are frugal and go along with our simple living, but others are not so frugal related to necessity.

On the frugal side for human warmth we have: long johns, sweatshirts, flannel shirts, warm drinks, (like hot chocolate and green tea), hot soup, and extra blankets. On the not so frugal side, we have an electric mattress cover we use occasionally.

For our animals, the dogs live inside (Max and Princess) and when outside, if above 35 degrees, they have a hay filled dog house and pen. The cat (Prince), lives on the back porch (he doesn't like being inside and has a full shaggy coat of fur). Knuckles, our rabbit, lives in a hutch full of hay and has a 2'x5'x3' dirt bin to tunnel in. The chickens and ducks have an insulated coop with hay and two red heat lamps.

The house is kept warm by a wood stove and three small electric heaters, which we turn on at night to keep pipes from freezing. We decided it was cheaper to pay a higher electric bill than to replace frozen damaged pipes.

January and February are the coldest months here. But, with all our various methods we stay snuggly warm. How do you keep warm in the winter?
Entrance to Dog house
Knuckle' Home. She is peeking out in the left bottom square 

#1 and Goldie getting warm under the red lights

Spot on the left and Maxine on the Right getting ready to snuggle in the hay

"What is that woman doing in here?"

Maxine going to bed down under nest boxes
Our wood stove. Small but heats well

We use 3.5 cords of wood a year. We bought 5 cords this year because it was cheaper

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Knee Update

I returned to the Orthopedic Doctor this past Wednesday for my monthly checkup. I shared with him I've been having increased pain on the outer aspect of my knee. I pointed to the area; he examined it and I grimaced in pain. He decided to do another X-ray to make sure the fracture had not shifted. If there was a shift it would result in surgery to repair. At present I have not heard back about the results. I am taking it as 'no news is good news.'

During the visit the doctor repeated previous instructions; the fractured bone is the second largest bone in the body and will take a minimum of four to six months to heal; stay off the left leg, and no returning back to work until at least April 1st. He also provided a signed application for a temporary handicapped parking placard.

To be able to get through my day I use different things to help me. I use a brace which keeps my knee mobilized for protection, crutches to walk or should I say "hobble" around, a wheelchair as needed to get around and elevate my leg if pain increases, a stool to sit and do dishes, and my husband chauffeuring. It has been a real loss of independence.

I do have a few exercises I do for my legs, which consist of: bending and flexing my left knee so it will not lock up, elevating my legs, holding them in place to the count of ten, ten times in different positions. These exercises will hopefully help me regain the muscle tone which I've lost in both legs, helping decrease therapy time in the future.

Healing a fracture is slow process but I am positive I will make progress each month, returning back to normal at God's appointed time.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Isaiah 9:6 NIV For to us a child is born, 
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I surrender

I met with my mentor on Monday for breakfast at a small local restaurant. We ate and talked about scripture and our walk with the Lord. One quoted scripture by her which stuck out was 1 Samuel 15: 22 "So Samuel said, 'Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.'" Wow! Powerful words.

God gives us direction throughout His word on how to live. He makes promises of help; He is faithful to keep. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 He will direct are paths if we acknowledge Him in all our ways. All we have to do is be obedient.

Obedience is self-sacrifice, giving up what we want for what God wants. I personally have found that giving up my desires and self centeredness is easier when I am reading God's Word daily. God tells us in His Word, Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, That you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

What can I say to a great God who only wants my obedience!

"Oh my Heavenly Father God, before heaven and earth I give You my all. I surrender my will to Yours to serve You as your obedient daughter and servant. I praise You for the privilege to wait upon You for direction of Your perfect will. I give up my selfish desires and bend my will to follow You. Your love and mercy is greater then any I have ever known. I can't even begin to thank You enough for Your life giving sacrifice of Your son Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord of my life. Praise and Glory be to Your name God Almighty. Amen"

Princess's example of Surrender 

Snowy Days

The last five days has brought 18 inches of snow and we are expecting more. Most of the snow melts during the day and freezes at night. The majority of the animals are not bothered by the snow. My ducks especially like to be out in it.
Backyard snow
Maxine Cooling her feathers
Maxine says"here Kitty, Kitty"
Spot and Maxine had enough of the snow. Back to the Coop
Rockett is the only one who doesn't like the snow and stays in the coop and eats all day

Help comes from the Lord

I have been unable to perform my routine house cleaning with my injured leg for the last three months. I'm still limited by the Doctor's orders and my own leg strength. An unkept house is really frustrating for me. And the Lord knows it.

The Lord graciously laid it on a lady's heart, who attends my church, to perform house cleaning as a ministry. I was her first recipient. She, her children and my mentor came to my house and cleaned for three hours. What a blessing! I'm extremely thankful for the help which came from the Lord.

NKJV Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up my eyes to the hills-From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made Heaven and Earth

Thursday, December 9, 2010


 I have to confess, I am a 'clutter-bug'. I have a habit of obtaining and saving items I believe will be used in the future: quilts, books, 'Important papers', coupons, recipes and pictures to name a few. I have valid reasons for keeping some of the clutter but not all of it.

I have decided I need to deal with my clutter. We have a small 900 square foot house and two 8x12 storage sheds full of stuff. I have approximately four more months before I can return to work. I need to use my time wisely and organize accordingly.

Shed #1
I have read numerous blog posts and books on organizing. Most have the same recommendations. The suggestions I plan on using are;

1) To decide what I really want to keep and actually use. If I have not used it in over a year, I need to ask myself; What purpose does it serve? Do I really even like the item? If it is clothing, does it fit and is it in style? What value does it add to my life?

 2) Sort items into categories: recycle, reuse, yard sale, give away and toss.  Items such as glass jars, computer monitors and magazines can be recycled. T-shirts and jeans can be reused for craft projects. Dishes, decorations and good clothing can be sold in a yard sale or given to a family or charity in need. Broken items beyond repair, stained or torn need to be trashed. 
Previous De-cluttering. Overwhelming
3) Items kept for use on a regular basis need to be placed in cabinets or drawers according to their purpose. This will make it easier to find them when needed and ensure their use.

4) Items which have sentimental value or might be passed onto my son will be put into storage bins and labeled.

5) Seasonal decorations will be put in bins and labeled. Christmas decorations will be placed in boxes according to type, sentimental value and function. Christmas lights will need to be wrapped to prevent tangling.

6) Seasonal clothes will be sorted and packed in bins for future appropriate seasons.

7) Important papers should be kept in labeled file folders and placed in labeled document boxes.

Trying to find things
To keep on track with this project and not get overwhelmed, I will need to set limits (such as one hour a day and one section at a time). Alas, clutter-free!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


 I recently joined a women's mentoring program at the church I attend. It is a six month program which was developed to assist in meeting the needs of women in our church. It helps with growth in our spiritual walk with the Lord and female friendships. It requires members to be accountable to meet with their mentor/menttee on a regular basis, to participate in an activity which supports spiritual growth and to pray for one another.

The recent session began on a Saturday morning with an informational breakfast. Upon arrival the coordinators took our picture and provided us with a card to fill out with our name, contact information and what we were looking for in the mentoring relationship. I wrote my personal information and shared I was looking for growth in the Lord and a strong Christian mentor to learn from. I turned my card in, no qualms. 

Then realization set in, I was making a six month commitment of time, energy and vulnerability. Fears began welling up inside me. I felt I didn't take time to pray about the decision to join and it may not be the Lord's will for my life. I thought what if I stick my foot in my mouth, as I so often do, and offend or insult my matched mentor. But, the biggest fear of all was being vulnerable to another human being.  

Being vulnerable is not one of my best character traits. The fear of rejection is so strong in me. It is so much easier to be quiet, make small talk and not let myself be known. I have opened up at times to a small degree, but I knew the bar was going to be raised during this six month period. The Lord wants me to learn vulnerability to Him and to others. 

Trust-Not Fear
Through vulnerability I believe God will teach me about trust. God desires for all to trust in Him. Psalm 33:4 NKJV tells us,  "For the work of the Lord is right, And all His work is done in truth." God is truth and He is righteous. He will not lie to us or lead us down the wrong path. Even when I feel alone and far away from God, I can open His word and find Him. He promises in Hebrews 13:5,  He will never leave us. Having been hurt in the past, makes it hard to trust and believe in others. I put up guards to keep God and others at bay because of my past experiences. God has an answer for my self-made protection and worldly thoughts. In Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV God tells us, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths."

Marriage-Ultimate Mentoring Relationship

 The second thing I believe God wants me to learn about; is Him, His word, and how to live. I can learn about God by going to church services, reading His word and interacting with others.  Proverbs 27:17 NKJV. "As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."  When you have a one-on-one relationship in mentoring, you become vulnerable and accountable to another. You learn from each other's knowledge and experiences. It wasn't an easy decision to be vulnerable to others, so I have chosen to trust God to make me and my mentoring relationship all He wants it to be.

Spot meeting Prince's  need
Lastly, in my mentoring relationship I believe God is going to allow me to learn to accept support and offer support. I always had the attitude I could take care of myself. I didn't need anyone's help. My attitude has definitely changed due to my fractured knee and being limited in what I can do. My mentor has seen my limitations and provides support by offering to help. Today she met a need by making me a cup of tea and bringing donuts to satisfy my sweet tooth. She was a perfect example of Galatians 6:2 NKJV,  "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." I personally have found that not only does it feel good for me to receive help but also to help others.

It has only been a month since I started my new mentoring friendship and I have so much to look forward to, as we both grow together in our faith. I know it will not always be easy, but my desire to know my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, far outweighs my fear of vulnerability. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Simple Micro Farming

I am finding there are many aspects to simple living to explore and try. One area I have been exploring and expanding on for about two and a half years is Micro-Farming. For me Micro-Farming involves growing and canning my own food, having chickens for eggs, and owning other animals for manure and/or companionship.
1st Batch of Chicks
I have found many reasons to begin my farming adventure. I started by growing my own food and having chickens. This allowed me to know what I was actually feeding my family. When I moved to California four years ago I took a job in a government public health agency. I was amazed at the numerous food recalls related to contamination of food and the subsequent illnesses being reported.

Dinner Time!
After I started growing food and watching my fluffy chicks grow up I found out how much fun it was.  I had seen baby chicks and full grown chickens before but never had the chance to watch the process of them growing. I was amazed at how my baby chickens developed their own personalities! I never realized chickens could be curious, aloof, friendly, feisty, fearful, or "talkative" while following me around. All the chickens I had seen before steered clear of humans. Maybe my chickens consider me the "chicken whisperer". 

My home grown food and fresh eggs are fun, safer and taste better. and Financially, they are a frugal option for living a simpler life.

Spot and Maxine Ducks in the garden

Monday, November 22, 2010

Simple Life and Priorities

It is still strange to me how much my life has changed over the last two months. How something that I believed insignificant, (a fall with an unknown fractured knee, that I was able to walk away from) could change my life. I didn't realize at the time that it was a gift from God.  A chance to begin living a simpler, slower life and to align my priorities with God's priorities. God tells us in Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" NKJV.

I am finding that as I adjust to God's priorities life is just plain simpler. So many things that I believed  mattered are not as important now. God's priorities are relationship based. With the first and most important  relationship being with God. God wants us to put Him as number one in our life. Exodus 20:3 "you shall have no other gods before Me" NKJV. Anything that stands in the way of us having a relationship with God is idolatry i.e. choosing another item, person, activity or anything we make more important than God.

The second priority that I believe God has for me is the relationships I have with my family, my husband and son. In the book of Ephesians God provides us direction on how to treat our spouses 5:22-23 "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord, For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church and He is the Savior of the body." 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" NKJV. Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward" NKJV. As I read God's word I am so amazed at the blessings my husband and son are. When I was running my fast paced life I didn't have time to be with my husband or even give him a chance to be the head of our home as Christ is the head of the church. This of course led to a lot of conflict between us and a relationship that was lacking in the closeness we both desired. As for my son, I overflow with joy at the thoughts of him. He is a true reward to me.

The next priority from God I believe is the responsibility of employment and our relationship with our employer. I view employment as a form of commitment.  I believe God wants us to work and be productive whether at home or at a job. If at home we are working for our families to assist with meeting their needs. If we work outside the home we are working for another to meet their needs and to support our families financially. I Thessalonians 4: 11"that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands" NKJV.  Psalm 31:13 "she seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands" NKJV. The quoted scriptures basically reveal to us how we are to present ourselves as an employee, to be willing to do our job and to mind our own business.

The last priority I believe is service to the church body and community. I know no other way quicker to get over feeling depressed or having self pity then to serve another. When serving someone else I find that I don't focus on myself or my situation but I am providing for someone else's need. Usually someone who has needs greater than mine. Romans 15: 1-2 "We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification" NKJV.

As I walk on this journey I am in awe of what God is teaching me, leading me toward and providing me.  By learning more of His priorities and learning to live them, my life has become so full of love, joy and closeness to my God and family. I can't even begin to express my gratitude to the Lord for the changes in my simple life.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Culprits

Water dog Max. He was on a fishing trip with his boy Chris at Eagle Lake

Princess looking everything over to make sure it is up to her satisfaction. Can't have a grass blade out of place. 
After writing my first post I realized I had neglected to introduce you to "the culprits" who assisted with my fall and my fractured knee. I love animals and have several. Max and Princess both were rescues from the local dog shelter. Max was obtained for my son Chris and the 2 are in-separable. Princess was to be a playmate for Max and a companion for me. Even after the accident I still adore these dogs. Max is extra loving, mild mannered and loves to run. Princess is high strung, independent and tries to be the boss. Yes both dogs are black. I didn't plan it this way. Honest.

Beginning My Journey

I can't even remember when I first started desiring a simple life. All I truly remember is most of my adult life feeling rushed and overwhelmed with my busy life style. Not having time for the priorities of my heart. Or should I say the priorities God spells out for us in His word.

All that changed when I had an accident hiking on a trail near our home. It was September 22nd and I  just had my 2nd mammogram. A previous one earlier in the month revealed an "increase in density" in my right breast. Needless to say I was pretty scared and stressed out for a few weeks. Thankfully the 2nd mammogram came back negative for cancer and changes.

After the x-ray I chose to take my dogs, Max and Princess on a hike. I was in prayer to God trying to de-stress when my pups came out of a high grass area bounding my way. I wasn't paying attention to them because the trail was familiar to us, we have walked it so many times before and I never thought they would run into me. But that is exactly what happened. The dogs came up from behind and knocked me down sideways on my left leg.

The next morning at about 1:30 A.M the pain was so severe and my left knee swollen to the size of a cantaloupe I had to go to the local emergency room. By myself I may add because my son and husband were out of town for a guys night out in a nearby city. I went through the routine things at the hospital and did all the follow up doctor appointments and x-rays and found out I actually have a horizontal  fracture in my knee. This particular type of fracture will usually take 6 months to heal if not longer and can't have any weight on it.

My fast paced, rushed life of work, housekeeping, extra activities to care for my family, caring for multiple animals, frequent shopping trips and traveling out of town was over. Temporarily I now use crutches, walker or wheelchair to be mobile. Talk about a slow pace life. If I go out shopping or to the post office I need some one with me for help, gives new meaning to "family time".

The most important thing through this all is God is revealing His priorities for my life. When I was working full time and traveling 3 hours a day to get back and forth to work it was absolutely draining me, I didn't get to see my family or be the wife and mother I needed to be. Nor did I spend time with God as I should.

 Through this blog I will be sharing over time of my healing; spiritually, relationally, and physically and things I am learning to do to change to a simple life. Please join me on my journey. 
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