Smorgasbord thoughts of Storms: Smores: Shofars & Shabbat

Have you ever had one of those season's... where one storm finally yields to rest, but another is blowing into your horizon? Honestly, it can be hard on a heart and a family to endure one storm after another... true - some of those storms you may have agreed to. Chosen - possibly?

Others... well they are just part of the human journey, they prove the need for Redemption, they shape and alter the course of life's direction... and definition. They bring about a full body realization of what is really important.

I had originally started blogging to journal my family's life, a heart offering for my family. But some where in the documentation came platforms on trite, with a nice fluffy seat in comparison corner. I remember the hours I spent, trying to create the perfect blog look, the ideal post length, some trendy labels and titles... time - that will never be relived again. And for what?

My intent became mire... and at the same time human-NESS gave us - you better make sure that last breathe was deep enough, because it's going to be a while before you can exhale and bring back fresh air...

Years of family photo's were lost, life in posts were deleted... and the process relieved me of one blogging attempt after another. Interrupted. Stopped. I guess the best descriptive would be... we felt 'gut shot'. It's not a pretty term... and this was by no means pretty. Actually, for a short season I had tried to use blogging as an attempt to cope and deal... but really it just made more mire.

And as it wasn't just one event, but a series of events that happened over a short period of collective years that created the life stop. The effects of the stress, went easily ignored at first, but like anything caged... it wanted out. And let me just say that the physical effects of stress and I are very intimate.

We are... or were rather, on a first name basis. No, actually we had nick names for each other. Some of my thoughts on dealing with stress, show up here and there... but why am I sharing this now?

Or even at all?

I could say it's five a.m. and I can't sleep. Which is true, but it's not the full of my reason... you see, this evening my family and I went to the beach. We built a fire and made smores... my husband blew the shofar and we prayed. We watched the Father set his clock by the setting sun.

I took pictures... and exhaled.

My life isn't perfect. It doesn't look like the ideal... honestly, I am not sure what our family does look like, and I don't really care - in the sense of fitting a cookie cutter image. What I do care about is living my life with them, recording it for the generation behind me... should God see fit to ordain that.

To capture what I live, love and learn. To speak life... and to 'yada' with every cell of my body, the fullness of the Word of God and the power of my Messiah. My blog will never be perfectly formatted, my posts will vary in size and topic. My grammar and writing style will be critiqued, my photography attempts assessed and I won't make thousands off my marketing plan... because I don't have one.

I took pictures... and I gave myself permission to be me. To be a Redeemed, blood bought and spirit led me. I gave myself permission to start at the beginning, to let this blog simply be... a reflection of life. Lived.

And I gave permission to forgive myself of all my mistakes, my failures and my short comings. To submit to the designed order of my created being, to confirm and to conform to His way alone. I gave myself permission to let go of the things I can not control... and to rejoice in the things He does.

I took pictures... and created a living memory with my family. And as we were leaving, a verse from the Word came into my remembrance... "And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken". ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

~ Blessings!

P.S. the rest of the photos will go into our family Project Life book, and I am working to save money to purchase my blog2print books. :) Of course I try to back up my blog on a regular basis and now I am returning to the act of saving our family moments to a photo disk too.

Homegrown Healing: from seed to apothecary by Christine J. Dalziel

I must say that reading this book has been so inspiring to me, and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to review it. Already being a fan of Christine's blog, where she shares some wonderful posts on all kinds of topics related to an herbal, do it yourself, farmy kind of life. I knew the book had to be good... and I was not disappointed.

After I read the first chapter, My Story, I was in tears, and deeply touched. I know there are many wonderful herbal, gardening style books out there... you should see my Amazon wish list. But few lay open their stories to that degree. Few share the why they do-what they do, beyond personal interest or faith mission. Because of her courage to do that I liked it even more.

Christine does a great job sharing with you the basics, in a clear, knowledgeable way. Even if you are not interested in learning how to grow and use herbs, I still think you would glean something of value from this book. No matter the skill level.

Some of My Favorite Topics Were: as if I could choose

~ My Soil was Abused – bioremediation and phytoremediation
~ Five Herbs to Help Build Healthy Soil
~ Medicinal Herbs to Grow in your Garden
~ Increasing Herbal Potency – readers this is valuable
~ Thirty Herbs for Beginners to Grow and Use
~ Herbal Medicine Making Cheat Sheet & The Nutritional Value of Weeds Chart!
~ And the multiple How To Make and Recipes

As I mentioned before, reading this book has inspired me... greatly. And I like it when a book does that! This past week, I spent time journaling my herbal garden dreams, answering some of the questions Christine asks in her book on its paper. Drawing out my herb garden plans and creating a first list of my herbal must haves... we also spent time wildcrafting local botanicals.

Here are some herbals we used and identified:

I truly enjoyed Homegrown Healing: from seed to apothecary so much, that I would like to purchase the hard copy. Honestly, I am inclined to think I would be well equipped to purchase all of Christine's books. 

Did you know she is working on another book? Oh I can hardly wait!

~ Blessings!

* In full disclosure I received this book in return for my full and honest review, and I am so thankful I did! I would highly recommend it to every advanced or beginning herbalist and gardener alike. Thank you, Christine, for sharing yourself, your story and your love of herbalism with us... we are blessed by it.

Of Winnie, Milk and B'udder... an herbal balm recipe

Meet Winnie:

She is not my goat.

However, she and I are rather close these days. As I have the honor of milking her twice a day right now, as her owner just had a baby... oh my goodness, he is so handsome. He was born right at home, with mama, papa, and midwife. But this post is not supposed to be about the little man... its supposed to be about Winnie... and um - her udder b'udder.

real live action blurry goat picture

Winnie is the first goat I have had the privilege to milk, and again I am divinely blessed with the personality of hooves for this milking adventure. By that I mean she is very well trained, doesn't show too much apprehension for a new full-time milker and gives me a consistent volume in quarts.

And just for her, I created this lovely natural and nurturing b'udder balm. It's simple in ingredients and easy to whip up in a hurry... that is if you have everything on hand already.

The Recipe: this is really adjustable for personal size requirements, and right now I am making it in small batches for the job at hand. However I am thinking I might refine the recipe for my Esty Shop...

1/4 cup plantain & dandelion infused olive oil
1/2 cup shea butter
8 drops of melaleuca essential oil
8 drops of lavender essential oil

To Make: simply add the ingredients to an appropriate sized bowl and whip with a hand mixer. Once the b'udder has reached your desired consistency, package and label.

To Use: apply a quarter sized amount of b'udder to the udder after each milking, then gently massage over the entire surface area. Personally, I rub it all over my hands, then apply it the udder.

Shared W/: Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth/Home-making Mondays

~ Enjoy & Blessings!

Please Note: if you would like to know which essential oil brands I use and recommend please feel free to contact me. :)