Incredibly thankful…

I am beginning to really question the environmentalist viewpoint of replacing natural gas for electric for the purposes of heating homes.

I live north, a few hours from the Canadian border. High temperatures during the winter usually range from 25-40 degrees, dropping to between 20-30 degrees overnight. As everyone else in the United States, we also have been experiencing the Arctic Blast this last week. When we built our home, we went with an energy efficient electric ductless heat pump system. There is one exterior compressor and each room has a “head” in it. The heads can both heat and cool. Each room can have the heat or air set to a different temperature. They work great!

Until the temperature drops below about 20 degrees. They tend to build up condensation on the compressor unit outside. When that happens during the winter you get frost or ice build up. It then defrosts. During the defrost cycles, the units are not heating and the air they release into the house is cool. The colder the outside temperature, the more often a defrost cycle is required.

Fast forward to this week. Temperatures in our area have been between -6 and 6 degrees. Our compressor has been working overtime. I know because it sounds like a Diesel engine right outside my bedroom, and the bedroom feels cooler than the 61 degrees the head is set to. We keep the main room of the house set at 63 overnight, and it felt as cold as the bedroom. Fortunately, we have a gas fireplace in the main room, and cadet heaters in all the bathrooms (where cold air enters through our venting) and after a few hours, the thermometer on the remote control said it was 66 degrees. We have been using the fireplace to help take the lid off of the compressor unit. From what I have read, this is common, and it is recommended to have alternative sources of heat in colder climates. That would have been nice to know when we made the decision to install the system, we may have gone a different route.

In all my life of hearing with natural gas, I’ve never had a furnace struggle when the temperature drops. So my question for the environmentalists is this: while electric heat seems to be friendly to the environment, is it conducive to keeping people from freezing to death?


At peace…

Sometimes I drift away away from God. I don’t go off on a big sinning spree or anything extreme like that. I just get so busy, or have too much stress in my life to sit with him and listen for his voice. To still my brain. That’s where I’ve been for the last few months.

I’m a nutshell, in late October, I was rear ended with my two oldest grandchildren in the car with me. The next day my granddaughter and I were feeling the impact. Over the next two days, we hosted two weddings on our property. The first went smoothly due to the use of a wedding planner being on site. I merely had to show her where things were, then sit and enjoy the festivities. The next day was a different story. Since the bride was a friend, I wanted her day to be perfect. She had planned it well, but didn’t have a planner taking care of details. I ended up on my feet for close to 12 hours before bowing out. My neck was hurting, my ankle was swollen and in pain. I spent the next week off my feet nursing it with rest, heat and ice therapy and some Apis Mellifica to reduce the swelling.

The constant communication with both insurance companies, and regular chiropractic appointments started immediately. My company, The Hartford with AARP (yep, I’m old enough to be a member), was fabulous to deal with. They explained how things would work in easy to understand terms, and provided me with all the resources I needed. The other insurance company, which I will not name so as not to get a torte claim filed against me, was not, and has not been so fun or efficient to deal with.

Things settled down a bit until Thanksgiving. My son came down with strep throat a few days before. I had planned to watch his youngest (age 2) for a Grammi day the day before thanksgiving, then pickup his two oldest (age 12 and 15) from school and have a sleepover. the youngest had what seemed to be her normal sniffles, and the oldest coughed her way through our game of dominos. The little one sleeps better in my bed, and I found her snoring in my face due to a stuffy nose around 1:30. Just as she fell back to sleep at 2:00am, our granddaughter came into the rom to wake me up and tell me her throat was burning and she wanted to go home. Her dad came and got her, and after the other two woke up in the morning, I decided they also needed to head home. We were expecting a lot of family and friends for the day, and didn’t want to risk spreading strep. Mom picked them up, and I spent an hour spraying every hard surface they were near with Lysol. The two girls were diagnosed with strep the next day. Mercifully, God protected all of our guests from that.

Then influenza hit our sons pregnant wife, followed by extreme morning sickness. Constant vomiting and dehydration. While she had the flu, I had the kids for a few days in an effort to keep them healthy, which worked, but I don’t sleep well with the little one close by. I have to sleep with earplugs daily so I don’t hear cats playing, or my hubby who stays up later than I. I was exhausted.

On December 7th, my honey got slammed with something, and was in bed for four days, and exhausted for another five days. Which brings us back to my opening paragraph.

I wasn’t praying. I wasn’t reading my Bible. I wasn’t sitting in Gods presence and just being. Something came up with our new tenants in our shop and I found myself furious. I let loose on my honey that Friday morning when he woke up, knowing full well he didn’t feel well enough to talk about it. He dealt with me graciously, let me vent and didn’t respond. The next day, it was another tenant issue, and another outburst and attack, and more grace shown to me. I was so angry at my husband. I was allowing horrible thoughts into my head. “He doesn’t love me. He cares about others more than me. Why do I continue in this marriage? God has abandoned me, I must be doing something wrong”. And more. I realized I was in a really bad place.

I remembered (more likely, the Holy Spirit reminded me) a book I owned called The Power of the Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian. I began to read the preface, where she shares her testimony of living in a broken marriage, feeling unloved, and hopeless. The tears flowed as I read. The book has a list of things to learn to pray for our husbands, along with a prayer to speak for each one. These are to be used to teach us how to pray for them. The first prayer in the book was about changing us as wives. I prayed before speaking the prayer. I told God how angry I was, that I don’t want to pray for my husband, but knew it was the right thing to. I acknowledged that I knew this was an issue with me. I spoke the first two prayers about myself over a few times, until, i was able to pray from my heart, as opposed to just reading and speaking a prayer. I finally started feeling some peace in my heart. A little while later, something else came up that made the anger rise up again. I went upstairs to pray again, until the peace returned.

When my husband came in from shoveling snow, he told me he felt God had spoken to him how to deal with the situation I was angry about. As he shared what he heard, my mind was thanking God. For showing me he hears my prayers even when I am struggling and have been the one neglecting our relationship. For speaking to my husband. For showing me that He still loves me. I desolately needed to know that I was loved, even in my ugly hours.

I am taking the praying for my husband to heart. Each day I read a chapter of the book, and pray the prayer for my honey. And now, I am praying the same prayers for my honey, sons, daughters and all our grandchildren. And I still pray the prayer about changing me first, for myself, for our daughter and daughter in law, and our granddaughters.

No marriage is perfect. If you are struggling, try to remember why you fell in love with your honey, and make a decision to pray for them, to make working for your marriage worth the effort. If you seek God with all your heart, if you are honest with him, and willing to do whatever it takes to make things work, He WILL meet with you, He WILL hear your prayers. He WILL show you his love for you.

I pray that you can find peace for your heart when you are struggling.

Fresh flour…

I recently had a friend introduce me to the idea of using freshly ground flour for my baking. She told me to watch a lecture by a food scientist named Susan Becker.

After watching the presentation, I felt compelled to try for a while. I had been dealing with gluten and dairy intolerance for quite some time, sleep disturbances, and more. What could it hurt?

I decided to order the lower gluten ancient wheats named Einkorn and Sonora from a local farm. These are both unhybridized grains. The einkorn is a smaller, flat, brown kernel, and bakes up with a sweet flavor. However, it requires some recipe tweaking to get a decent rise of any sort. I would use this for sweets. The Sonora is a short, round kernel, which has a more buttery flavor. That would make great savory quick breads and pancakes.

I won’t try to recap all the health benefits, and the science behind the switch for you. That’s why I included a link to their website. I will say that after using fresh ground flour for a few months, I am seeing some health improvements. On the off chance that I eat something with standard glutenous flour, I don’t bloat up nearly as bad as I used to. My sleep disturbances have also started falling away, and I have more nights than not that I sleep for a full seven hours uninterrupted. That’s amazing in and of itself, seeing as I have met slept that well in the past 15 years.

We don’t eat tons of the stuff, but I have switched my breakfast from a bowl of oatmeal to a plate sized blueberry buttermilk pancake with butter and a teaspoon of brown sugar, and 8oz of raw, organic, vegan protein shake made with equal parts water and almond milk.

One note to anyone thinking about doing this: invest in a high quality electric grain mill. After taking a half hour to grind 2 cups of flour in my vitamix, my honey treated me to a grain mill. I can grind 2 cups in about 30 seconds now.

I hope you enjoy trying this little experiment.


During the winter months I store some potted plants in my greenhouse to overwinter them. This year I have a few African daisy plants, several purple fountain grasses, basil, lavender and three pepper plants.

Last Sunday when I went to water and check on them, I noticed dirt around the base of one of my pepper pots. They are the black plastic nursery pots with holes for drainage. This summer we had an issue with some potted trees being destroyed by voles getting into the pots through the drainage holes and eating the roots. I figured that might be what was happening, so I set a snappy mouse trap with a piece of snickers bar for bait. I learned years ago while working in the basement of an old home that rodents love snickers bars.

When I went to check it Wednesday, the trap had been sprung, the bait was gone, but trap was empty. I decided to resort to glue traps. I usually don’t like them, as they are less humane, but they can be more effective for smaller or larger mice. I put it together, baited it and set it in place.

Here we are Sunday morning. Out I went for the bi-weekly greenhouse check. The pepper plant now has a huge tunnel in it from the top to the base of the pot, and there are roots pulled out and half eared. I checked the trap.

Eeewwww!!! There was a blob of fur in the trap, but I could not identify the creature as it was half eaten! I will spare you the details of what I saw. I am guessing that it was a vole, due to the tunnel in the dirt, and I have to guess that there is another one in there that cannibalized it? My husband asked if it tried to chew a leg off to get free. I told him I couldn’t see a head… yuck. So, another glue trap has been set. And they will keep being set until there is nothing more to catch.

Yuck. Ewww. Gross. Shudder.

Chaotic weeks…

Oct 20: I got rear ended. I have to order police reports, answer question after question from both insurance companies involved, make arrangements for my car to be fixed, find a personal injury attorney, go to the chiropractor, make sure my grands get to the chiropractor and more. All that on top of everything else that is going on in life. I am thankful to God that I woke up this morning.

Oct 30: I suffered a vitreous detachment in my right eye. I was walking through my lamp lit bedroom at night when I began seeing white lightning streaks in my right eye vision. If you Google specific symptoms for just about anything, you can usually come away knowing that you are getting ready to die, get your affairs in order. It seems they always have worst case scenarios at the top of the search. I also saw things like retinal detachment, which can damage sight. I made an appointment the next morning with an ophthalmologist. Multiple tests, eyes dilated, with a final diagnosis of the common, not sight threatening condition of vitreous detachment. The symptoms (white streaks and increases floaters during the day) should disappear within two weeks to six months. I am thankful to God that I can still see.

Nov 4: our son and daughter in law share the joyous news that they are expecting another child! and I took the burden of worry on myself wondering how they would afford a fourth child, where would they live? They have are currently in an apartment and their 2 year old sleeps in their bedroom due to lack of space. I am thankful to God that that is not my problem to fix, that HeE cares about them more than I do, and he will provide for them. I don’t have to.

Nov. 5: After a windstorm we have more roofing damage to take care of and found a malnourished, pretty beat up cat under our patio furniture. if he lives, we will name him/her Storm. I thank God that we still have a roof over our head, and that he will provide the money for the repairs.

My emotional cup is overflowing. So many things I want to fix, and can’t seem to. So much in my life seems out of my control. Cleansing tears erupt over and over. Again, I thank God that he is in control. I don’t understand his ways, but I want to go back to childlike faith.

Healing time…

I recently wrote about my bad ankle tendon. Since that post, we hosted two beautiful weddings on our property. Since I only knew a real active of the first bride, I was able to distance myself, and head back to our house when I could tel my ankle had had enough for the day. The story wasn’t the same for the second wedding.

Since the second bride and her beau wer friends, I wanted her day to be perfect. If I see a gap in planning, I step in to fill it. Take getting ready pictures? I’m on it, even though that meant several trips up and down a long stair case. Fix a table arrangement issue? Got it! No one assigned to prepare the coffee urns and turn them on. Done! The photographer is running late? I’ll get pics of the bride and her father exiting the building. Only the bride was there to put decor on tables? Didn’t even think twice. It was a nice time of visiting! I answered caterer and live band questions, showed everyone where they could find what they may have forgotten. Clean up crew? Doesn’t seem to be one… I think you get the picture.

I left the party before it ended, after being on my feet for 12 hours, the last six of which became progressively more painful with each passing hour. After removing my brace and grabbing the ice pack, I plopped into a chair and put my surprisingly swollen ankle up on the arm to ice it.

I thought the brace would keep my ankle from getting worse. Although that may technically be it’s purpose, my ankle was worse and I could barely walk. After a decent night sleep, I could only cry and beat myself up for not taking care of myself. The pain was worse than it had ever been, and I could not walk without holding furniture. Monday became a stay off my feet and take care of myself day. I put some doTERRA Deep Blue rub on the ankle and heated it for 15 minutes, then iced it for 15 minutes. Then I sat at the table with my foot up and wrote some of the thanksgiving cards we would be sending out to my hubby’s clients soon. Each time I did the heat/ice combo my ankle became less stiff and painful, but the swelling remained. I thought to take a homeopathic remedy called Apis Melfica. I had a friend use it for edema and it worked. That’s the sweet thing about homeopathy. You prescribe based on the symptom, not what caused it. Swelling due to injury or heart disease both can respond to it. Three heat/ice treatments during the day, and I could limp around the house a bit. I doctored my ankle with comfrey ointment and castor oil covered by a wool sock and went to bed.

Wow! My ankle is still swollen, but I could almost walk normal this morning! Thank you God for showing mercy to me! It may feel better, but I have come to the conclusion that it is the time off my feet that is helpful. So today, I am doing the minimum on my feet once again. I have to see the chiropractor, I have to take my car into the auto body shop for a repairs estimate. I am sitting in the coffee shop next door to the chiropractor waiting for my turn. It’s a walk in clinic. When I get home, I will do my second heat/ice treatment for the day and probably drop off for a snooze in that comfy stair after. Work on some more cards, fix dinner, watch a show with my honey while I do my third treatment, take my Apis, then wrap the ankle for bed. I am hoping if I can do this for a few weeks, my ankle will begin to heal. If the weather hadn’t turned wintery, I would still have yard work to deal with, so the timing is good to be home off my feet.

I hope I have learned my lesson. If I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of others. I really don’t want to go around this mountain again. And I want to avoid needing surgery. I am asking God to fill me with his Holy Spirit to remind me of this daily. I don’t pretend to know the workings of God. The Bible quotes God as saying “My ways are higher than your ways, my thoughts than your thoughts.” But I do know deep inside that he cares. About my eternal soul first and foremost, but also about the vessel it rides through this life in. I will continue to turn away from doing stupid things, I will continue to ask for his mercy, and thank him for each breath I breathe.

Rear ended…

Yesterday was a busy day to begin with. My honey asked me to help him clean the outside of our shop so it would look nice for two weddings we are hosting this weekend. My schedule was already extraordinarily light for the day, mainly detail work in preparation, and getting to top it off with a grandkids ice cream date after school. I ended up washing all four sliding glass doors as well as four windows and all their screens.

A tent was delivered, and I took pictures of its installation for both brides. Weeds were pulled, a greenhouse spider mite infestation dealt with, wild cat was played with. A bride brought “stuff” over to put in the upper room to await the big day. I’m not a professional photographer, but I love taking “before the wedding” pictures! I offered to help take “getting ready” pictures. The wedding was being run by a wedding coordinator who was doing it for free for this family. She does that once a year as a ministry. Since she was paying for a photographer, she needed help.

I took a few pictures of the dress and two floral bouquets, signed rental delivery documents and scurried off to the school to pick up our fourteen year old granddaughter and our twelve year old grandson to take them for ice cream. A regular date time with them that I hope continues for a while longer.

About a mile away from the school, the right hand turning traffic began to slow drivers, so I began to slow, as I dropped to between 15-20 mph, I glanced in my rear view mirror just in time to see a guy barreling towards me. I had just enough time to think he’s going to hit me, when he did. Hard. he was going between 35-45. We had just passed the school when the speed limit drops from 45-35, and many people don’t slow down. So, who knows.

I pulled over a few feet to the shoulder, and thankfully, so did the other driver. I asked the kids if they were ok, both said yes. I got out to exchange insurance information. He had his in his hand, and asked if we were ok. I asked the same. I took some pictures, wondering if I should call the police for a repost. I almost let him leave after that, but thought I should call my insurance company first. Since I got an automated system, I did decide to call the police. Oddly, the other driver was fine with that, even though he would get cited. It didn’t seem like a big deal to him. He even laughed when he said his car (an old Monte Carlo, a beast) would probably be totaled. I wondered if he might be stoned. The damage to my hatch was significant also. I texted my honey and the kids parents to let them know that we were ok, but had been rear ended. The sheriff came, pictures were taken, I was interviewed, the kids were asked if they were ok. I told him we would be visiting a chiropractor, just in case. I know whiplash can be a sneaky thing, sometimes the results don’t show up for months.

We skipped ice cream, and I took them back to school to meet up with dad. He’s a teacher there and hadn’t left yet. I told him I would try to get appointments with a chiropractor for each of us. Once I arrived home I called my insurance company, but bypassed the claims department. They recommended I go get checked by a doctor. I had vaguely remember t that some companies don’t pay for medical unless you are immediately checked out. I met our son at the local urgent care and we did our due diligence.

The next morning found my shoulder area sore and I could feel my pelvis was out of place. I texted our son to ask about the kids. Our fourteen year old granddaughter was very sore in the neck and shoulders, and it was worse when she lifted her arms. She skipped volleyball practice. Our twelve year old grandson said he felt fine. We were able to find a walk in clinic, and walked in. We were placed with a non neck twisting chiropractor, as per my request, who was very thorough and used a gentle technique I was unfamiliar with. Chiropractic is my main source of medical care. After he adjusted our granddaughter and had her walk across the room and back, when she turned to come back she had the biggest smile on her face and said I feel so good!! It was my turn next. He said my pelvis was twisted, probably due to bracing for impact and pushing hard on the brake. And my shoulders, neck were pretty tight, probably the whiplash. After the adjustment I had a similar response.

I purchased a two month package of adjustments, four each month, for less than the standard price of two appointments. My insurance was easy to deal with and said send the bills as they arrive and we will reimburse you as they arrive. my insurance company is the Hartford through AARP. I’ll let them go after the other insurance company to recoup costs.

I took everyone out to lunch after the chiropractor visit in place of ice cream,

Although our grandson still seems to be unfazed, I am going to also get him in this week, just to deal with it, even though there are currently no symptoms.

It was a long Friday, when I added in filing claims and getting appointments for colossi on repair estimates and doctors for everyone to my already busy prepping for two weddings. But… I am grateful that God protected us. I am grateful that I was wearing my ankle brace (on my driving foot) at the time of impact. I am grateful the other driver didn’t run. I am grateful for my girlfriend who called to check on me when I texted her about my accident. I am grateful for so much.

What are you grateful for?


I hate it when people use acronyms when talking. And here I am doing the same.

PTTD stands for Posterior Tibialis Tendon Disfunction. Apparently when you have been flat footed all your life, like I have been, you might develop this. It basically is when the tendon that runs along the inside of your ankle and holds up your arch becomes overly stretched and damaged. Most of my pain was in the morning, after the tendon had time to contract during sleep. My first dozen steps were excruciating as the tendon was stretched out again. At first there wasn’t much pain other than that. Then the pain after a few hours on my feet began. I started limping and limiting my walking.

After seeing my father’s limp (bad knee) improve dramatically with some physical therapy, I decided to go that route also. My therapist was amazingly patient with me, encouraging and gentle. After several weeks of treatment and faithfully doing the exercises, I was feeling much better. Until…

Five hours on my feet, in a small kitchen, bailing out the mother of a bride who got married in our barn. The ankle swelled, pain increased tremendously all day, and the exercises hurt. My physical therapist recommended I see a doctor for the injury. I had never seen an MD for the issue. A podiatrist recently told me I needed new orthotics, which only he knew how to make properly. An orthopedic guy told me to get different orthotics and stretch my calf muscles. Another guy said it was just a matter of time before I would need surgery. I made an appointment to see the doctor she recommended.

Two days later, I had the most thorough exam of my foot in my lifetime. My condition was explained to me in terms I could easily understand, I was shown my X-rays and they were compared to my healthy ankle. Wow. I so appreciated that doctor. He recommended I get and AFO, or Ankle Foot Orthosis. It’s basically a plastic, removable cast that immobilizes the ankle in hopes that the tendon can heal. Thankfully, he recommended I see the same person who worked on the current orthotics I was wearing. A compassionate, encouraging person. I already had an appointment that same day for an orthotic adjustment. Half hour later, I was casted for fit, and the process began. They even asked me if I wanted a pattern or flowers or something. I sent a picture I liked and told them anything in those colored or style would make wearing it a happy experience.

The AFO turned out adorable! His co-worker told him it was the cutest one he’d made in 20 years! It was the exact picture I sent him!! I have worn it for 12 days now, and I can tell it is helping. Along with some home heat/cold therapy I started doing daily. Which I currently doing, thus the time to blog. I still have to be careful not to overdo it on my feet. I am learning to say “No, I can’t help.” That’s hard for someone who’s love language is acts of service. But, if I want to heal, I need to learn.

I am praying that it heals well, and that using it for heavy “on my feet days” will keep me from re-injuring it. I have hope again. I hope that you have hope in your heart for tomorrow.

Abiding trust…

Rainbows always remind me of Gods promise to Noah. That promise brings peace to my heart each time I hear it. However, it also reminds me that although Noah had an ark, he and his family still had to endure the flood. I wonder if he felt fear. If he worried about his food supplies lasting. How bad did the ark smell with all those animals on board? Did he get seasick? Did the animals get seasick?

Now, here I am in a storm. Probably not life threatening, but a storm in my eyes anyhow. He has prepared an ark for me to ride out the storm in. And although I am safe under the shadow of his wings, like a baby bird, I still have to ride out the storm. I may get a little seasick. I may feel fear, I may feel frustrated, but I can still trust in his protection.

I don’t always abide in that place. Sometimes when things get ugly in life, I immediately try to fix the situation in my own power. That so rarely works out or brings peace. Eventually I realize, it’s not in my hands. I can relax. Hopefully, someday, I will just walk in that peace all the time, and not stress myself out.

I don’t pretend to understand everything about God. How he works, how he has plans for us, but we have free will. How prayer changes things, even though he is in control. I just know he loves me. I want to remember what my faith was like as a child, before I was taught doctrines, and principles. When I was afraid and would cry out, and he came and rescued me in my bad dream. When I would pray for all the sick people in the world. Simple, child like faith.

I want to go back to that. and I think that’s ok.


Today is Sabbath. The local U-Pick community is putting on a huge harvest festival, every weekend until the end of October. There is a corn maze, tractor train, kids events, live music, hot pumpkin donuts and apple cider, vendors, and lots of fresh produce available to purchase.

This is the kind of event I have always wanted to do with my kids and grands. My older grands are only with my son every M-Th (school days/nights) and every fourth/fifth weekend of the month. It makes doing fun things with them on weekends very difficult. This is a good weekend to go. They are with our son and his wife, the weather is good, we have no plans today to go to a small group. I made plans to meet them there for a few hours, and our good friends are coming too, since they consider our kids/grands as theirs also. Sounds like a great day. So what is my struggle?

Today is sabbath. Our sons family and our friends observe Sunday as their day of worship. They attend church, and then Sunday is getting ready for work the next day. I always feel bad asking them to give up their Sunday to try to do these types of things. We’ve bumped heads about it in the past. But now, I feel like I have chosen a family day, outside the home, buying from people who are working to make a living over spending the day with my creator. What I will be doing I feel goes against God’s instructions for Sabbath. I want my father to be pleased with my behavior, not grieved. I want to walk in the blessings of obedience, not the curses of walking in my own ways. I know there is mercy and grace, but I also know about reaping what I sow. In the past, there has been conversation about no one being willing to give up their day off, their sabbath. So, do I resign myself to not getting to do fun family things because no one will give in? Or do I resign myself to doing something uncomfortable to have a family day?

I guess it all comes down to where my priorities are. Family or Yah? It seems like such an easy decision, and yet, it isn’t. It seems I haven’t made God the priority I thought I had. May he show mercy to me as I struggle with my weakness.