Monday, September 25, 2017

Loving On Each Other

This post will be full simply of photos of family I've taken the last three days. This is for my parents and any other family who could not be here for Lorien's funeral. We held babies a lot, and we enjoyed the boys running around, and we loved being together.
Justice, Michael, Nathan, Peter, Shani, Aleya
Hannah and Katie

Arne, Adrian, Lane

Adrian, Suzy, Marshall, Kesse, Kyrie, Mark, Lane

Adrian, J.C., Kesse
Hannah, Peter

Anne, Winnie
Nathan, Winnie

Corran, Tom
Tom and baby


Peter and Shani
Michael and Hannah

Katie and Ilana
Kayren and Ilana

Kyrie and Ben and one of those babies

Marshall and baby
Mark and baby


They were looking at lots of photos of Lorien, choosing ones to be posted at her visitation.

Some went outside when the living room got full.
Lane, Kesse, Adam, Tom, Arne, Jathan

Mark, Marshall, Kesse, Alynn

Tom and Aleya

Leisa and I
Leisa and Sonya

Beorn with a chip bowl
bigger than he is.
Corran in a rare moment of calm.

Michael, Hannah,
Aleya, Beorn
Peter's curls

We returned home to a huge table full of flowers. So much love and support were poured on the family.
We have cooked no food for ourselves in many days because their church has brought food for all the meals for all extended family, including a meal for all who wanted to stay and eat after the graveside service.
We must first suffer and grieve before we can be comforted.
We must first die before we can be resurrected.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Jesus Lives, and So Shall I

I'm in Iowa right now, visiting family. My niece, Lorien, died on Tuesday, and many of us gathered here from very far distances to be together while we grieved and wept on each other, and then we laid her body into the earth, awaiting her resurrection. We do not grieve as if we have no hope. We believe in the resurrection of the body, of all bodies, Lorien's and ours -- that our deaths on this fallen earth, necessary and painful though they are, pale in comparison to our sure resurrection and eternal life in these very same bodies, made new by God who made them first. As Paul says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

Still, we grieve. As one family member told me yesterday after the funeral, he has never seen so much raw pain expressed as he did yesterday, and he's a pastor who's conducted over 30 funerals. Some deaths are harder to bear than others. Lorien, 22, had overcome difficulties in her teenage years and had reached a time of happiness in her life. She was, by all accounts from friends and family alike, a most sweet, generous, loving, serving young woman. She was a gifted pianist and loved music and making music with others. I only wish that I had known her better in later years, but we lived so far away. I knew her well when she was little. My parents have 26 grandchildren. Three have now passed on to be with Jesus. These grandchildren are very close. We all tried hard, when they were growing up, to get them together often for vacations and camp weeks. When I walked outside last night onto the front porch, a whole pack of them, maybe 12? were standing and sitting, relating in that way they have always done. They ranged in age from 17 to nearly 30. Events like Lorien's death only cement the bonds already there.

We sing in our family. So we have done some singing around the piano. I requested my favorite hymn about death and eternal life, and I give you the words now for your consideration. I find them so powerful, and they express exactly the fierce, courageous attitude I want to embrace regarding death, whether my own or another's:

Jesus Lives, and So Shall I

Jesus lives, and so shall I. Death! Thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die, lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust: Jesus is my hope and trust.

Jesus lives and reigns supreme; and, his kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with him, ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised; be it must: Jesus is my hope and trust.

Jesus lives, and by his grace, victory o'er my passions giving,
I will cleanse my heart and ways, ever to his glory living.
Me he raises from the dust: Jesus is my hope and trust.

Jesus lives! I know full well naught from him my heart can sever,
Life nor death nor power of hell, joy nor grief, henceforth forever.
None of all his saints is lost: Jesus is my hope and trust.

Jesus lives and death is now but my entrance into glory.
Courage, then my soul, for thou 
hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just: 
Jesus is the Christian's trust.
Lorien Alyse Robinson
Resting in Jesus

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

While the Hubby's Away ....

First off, let me say that some of your comments (sadly) are not coming through to me via email, as they used to do. So if I fail to email you a reply, I do apologize. Emailing is how I usually communicate with commenters; I rarely go back and read the comments on my actual blog post. Anywho, remember this fun pic of my chickens (alas, before Ruby's tragic demise)?
I decided to paint them for my Autumn Journal.
I'm trying to decide whether to outline them in black with a Sharpie thin-line.
When Beau is frustrated or grumpy, he nabs kleenex from the waste paper basket, and leaves it shredded on the floor. Here is an especially large example of this naughty behavior.
Adam is visiting his mother a bit, so I made dinner, which I rarely do. You know ... cook. I didn't bother with meat. The kale, the applesauce, and the tomatoes are all from our farm! The potatoes, no. Our potatoes are still in the ground.
If you care to read an exciting account of our encounter with a snake while the snake-slaying husband was away, please click here. I'll finish off the story soon. Or rather -- Ned will finish off the snake soon.
This morning the air was cool and blustery. Probably the result of hurricanes off the coast, but I prefer to say it is Lovely Autumn, coming to visit us. I opened the house -- front door, back door, and two windows -- to let that autumn wind blow through.
 I do love how our house, a little sharecropper house, is so airy, positioned to catch the breezes, high ceilings to lift the heat. It's very pleasant inside.
I'm making a new pot of chai. (Here's the recipe.) Adam says he loves how this makes the kitchen smell.
 I must get after my weaving today. I need to have more scarves to sell at the Ol' Front Music Festival, coming up in Oriental in 3 weeks.
 I've been passing the time with singing and playing my autoharp. I'm practicing "Forever I Will Love You, Lord" and the sweet "Hear My Cry, O Lord."
 But today's big job, aside from snake-hunting, is making another batch of soap. This time, these scents: Clove/Cedarwood, Balsam, Coconut Mango, and Linen. 
Now Beau says it's nap time, so we will nap during an episode of "Escape to the Country." Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Orange-Date Muffins

Yes-indeedy! This recipe is a keeper! Wow - what nice flavor and texture!
 You can click over to Granny Marigold's blog for the recipe, or you can read it here.

 Orange-Date Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop up one whole orange, including the peel. Put it in a blender with 2/3 cup of orange juice and pulse until only little bits of orange remain. Set aside.

In a mixer (or you could do these by hand if you like) with paddle attachment:
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 egg
1/2 scant cup sugar

I whipped these three at high speed to fluff the butter as much as possible. Granny Marigold had said that they don't rise much. I wanted to see if I could get a better rise from them.

Add the orange mixture to the butter mixture and mix just a little. You don't want to deflate that butter and egg. (I also wonder -- could you add a second egg and decrease the amount of orange juice?)

Add dry ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix only until all ingredients are incorporated. Gently crumble in 1/2 cup chopped dates. I bought the little box at the grocery, and it was a perfect amount. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 15 -18 minutes until just beginning to brown on the edges.

Okay -- I had some regular muffin liners and some "jumbo" ones. Interestingly, the muffins rose as high as the liners they were in, so you see the one on the left is taller and fluffier than the one on the right. I don't think I put more into the larger liners; I wanted the muffins to be the same size. So perhaps this batter will rise as long as it has something on the sides to "climb on"? Some cakes, I think, are that way also.
 A dab of butter on anything baked is always a good idea.
 Inside texture. And oh-my-word, the flavor is a deep, luscious orange, and the dates are soft.
I will be making this recipe again! Thank you, Granny Marigold!


About nine years ago, I suppose, my oldest child left home for college. It was rather a wrenching experience for me. Around the time of his high school graduation he made me a little CD of "Essential Classical" music to play in the car. We both love classical music, and I listened to that CD until every single track was jumping, and I couldn't listen to it anymore.
Track #4 was a sweet, simple song played on guitar. Since Philip didn't give me a play list for the CD, I had no clue what that song was called. I only knew that it broke my heart every time I heard it, and because it reminded me of his departure from home, it always made me cry.
For nine years I've wondered what that song was called. Because the CD is too old to play, I stopped listening to it, but sometimes I still think of it.
And just now, I was listening to my new Pandora station. (Don't you love Pandora?) I have a station with only classical guitar. And that song came on! I found it!! It's written by Stanley Myers, and called "Cavatina." John Williams plays it exquisitely.

Today I feel as if I've brought a little piece of my heart back home. I'm not the only person, apparently, who's brought to tears by this small song. Each time I hear it, all of me is reminded instantly of how overwhelmingly I love my son. Isn't music powerful?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Books, Soaps, Muffins, Etc.

As Lisa said, I have also been a bit remiss in posting lately. The weather's been cooler, and walking outside in the wind is such a thrill! I love autumn, and the chillier and windier it gets, the more I love it. Today I bought chicken feed, chicken grit, and some onion sets at the farm store. I put most of the onion sets in the ground in the garden. We live in a place where you can grow onions over the winter -- who knew?
Adam and I stopped in at Buckhorn Books here in our little town. I found four books.
 I began reading Julie and Julia right away. I did enjoy the movie, but the book is (sad to say) a bit more hard core. Julie Powell is not a nice girl. I'm tempted to put it away and pull out My Life in France, which I've read before. Julia Child is much more appealing that Julie Powell. Her book was only $1.
 The sweet little Jan Karon book was $1.50. The Strangers Gaze (isn't it odd that there's no apostrophe?) is an anthology of pieces spanning four centuries, all about County Clare, Ireland. The nice thing about an anthology is, if you don't like one writer's voice, there's always a new one a few pages over. People like William Penn, John Wesley, William Thackeray, and Thomas Carlyle all contribute. It cost $1.50
The travel book is by Elizabeth Shackleton. The fly leaf mentions her "author husband and his many travels," but I've yet to discover who this woman is. The book is set in 1925. She traveled with only a maid. A small hotel, per day, cost her only $1.75. How lovely! This book cost $2.98.
I did finish my homemade pot-pourri, and I'm very pleased. I sprinkled some clove and some cedarwood essential oils on the mix, and it smells fabulous. It's in a shallow decorative bowl in the dining room.
 I made soap last week. This is lavender, plus two bars of eucalyptus and one bar of clove.
 The ones with poppyseeds are balsam scented. The other four are a sandalwood blend.
 A lovely friend at church has begun making wreaths for our four church doors, changing them each season. She just hung the autumn ones. Aren't they pretty?
 Another childhood friend has started a facebook group for readers of Jan Karon's books. I read many of them years ago, but haven't read one in about 7 years, I guess? So it was fun to find this little one, very sweet. Today is my fasting day (for health purposes), so it was challenging to read about Esther Bolick's delicious orange marmalade cake!
Speaking of oranges, I'll be trying Granny Marigold's orange-date muffins, found on her blog here. I'm convinced that true, fabulous orange taste is obtained by using the whole orange. Can't wait! I also plan to make a little chocolate pudding this week, or perhaps a chocolate bread pudding. Doesn't that sound yummy? Bread pudding is a perfect autumn food. Well! Maybe I should add a few fall recipes to my Autumn Journal, yes? Orange-date muffins would fit that bill nicely too!
What are you baking lately?