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

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