Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Monday, March 31, 2014


Practical Homemaking 

Guess what?  I'm itching.  I have the gardening itch.   I can see big spots of beautiful brown mud and I am so excited! The snow is melting, which means that Spring is here, and that means gardening is just around the corner!

So why start a garden?

I love gardening.  My mom has gardened ever since I can remember.  It's part of my childhood and brings a lot of sweet memories.  Not only is gardening a part of my past but gardening has been around for ages, it's part of our heritage.  It's definitely a rewarding, worthwhile endeavor.  Not only can it mean a food security, but it's also a great way to keep heirloom seeds in existence and it's a healthy yummy alternative to "store food". 

Almost anyone can grow a garden.  All it takes is a little planning, some seeds, and a little plot of dirt.  (Or even a little box of dirt!).  

How to start a Garden

Before gardening season begins I make a list of what I'd like to grow. (I love lists!). This year I am doing veggies I KNOW grow well here in our cold zone 4.  Knowing what your zone is really helps.  I am going to grow potatoes, turnips, lettuce, peas, green beans, and beets.  As well as herbs that I know grow well here...  
Then I write down sowing and planting requirements next to each crop I intend to grow. (I look back at this later when I have purchased all of my seeds.  That way I'm not overwhelmed.)

Then comes the graph.  I map out our garden on graph paper.  This helps me visualize what will actually fit into my garden area. (Or what size you will need to make your garden if you are just starting.).  

During the gardening season it's nice to keep a journal and take notes.  This really helps me remember and improve for next year.

How big to make your Garden

Bigger is not always better.  :)  In making a map or graph you will need to decide how much of a particular plant you want to grow.  
Things to consider:
a. How many people are you feeding?  How big is your family and are you planning on sharing?
b. How big is your growing area?  Do you have acreage, a small yard, a raised bed, or are you planting in pots?  I have seen the cutest window gardens!  And when my mom lived in a small apartment she grew tomatoes and strawberries in pots going up the steps.  The amount of space you have may determine what crops you grow but it can't stop you from growing something!  
c.How much time and energy do you have to devote to gardening?  (That's why bigger isn't always better!)
d.  Where to put your garden.  Is it shaded or in full sun?
e. When planning our your garden area, include space for paths on your graph.  If you are planning a larger garden, design paths wide enough to bring a wheelbarrow through.  (You'll be glad you have the space for bringing in compost, maneuvering hoses and bringing in your harvest.)

Gathering Information

I like to keep all my gardening notes, lists and graphs in one place for easy access.  There is a lot of information in seed catalogs on how to grow plants from seed.  Look for companies which sell organic and heirloom seeds.  You can find many online and ask for a free catalog.  

The Library also is a great resource for finding gardening books.  We only spend money on books we really want to have on the shelf. 

Ask your neighbor!  Neighbor gardeners/farmers are a great source of information since they already have the experience about what grows well in your climate and they might even share some seeds with you.  We have a neighbor who exchanges seeds and sprouts with us every gardening season.  

The Climate  

Identify average last spring and first fall dates.  This is the "growing season".  For my family in northern Idaho our last frost date is May 29th.  This is the date we will put out our transplants and begin direct sowing.  

What to do with all those seed packs!

Refer back to the list.  Review how long the seedlings need to grow indoors and when to transplant outside or whether they are to be directly sown outside after the last spring frost.  
Group packets according to this time table.  For example:  Seeds that need to be sown indoors eight weeks before transplanting into the garden on your last frost date -- stack together.  Get your calender out and count back from the last frost date.  Say it is May 29th.  Then mark your calendar on April 3rd, eight weeks earlier.  This is when you will start this stack of seeds indoors.  Do the same for you seeds that you will directly sow in the garden.  Stack them together and put aside until May 29th or June 1st.  Whenever you plan to plant them.  

A garden's benefits 

Harvesting is really the best part of gardening.  You can share with neighbors, church family or even the food bank.  It's a great way to make a little extra money at flea markets.  You could even start or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

Gardening can lead to may other hobbies.

Herbology -- learn to use the herbs you grow medicianlly to help your family
Seed saving -- save your own seeds and save money.  This leads to sustainable gardening and a self-        sustaining lifestyle.
Organic gardening -- learn to garden without chemicles and improve enviroment.  You can learn how to companion plant.
Root cellaring -- learn how to keep your family in fresh food all winter and extend your harvest.
Canning -- another great way to extend your harvest.  Canned fruit and veggies make great gifts too!
Dehydrating -- make healthy snacks for your family!

Gardening is such a great outlet for being creative, making memories and sharing with others.  I hope this inspired you to start gardening. Are you itching?  :)   

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Quote of the Day

"'Abide in Me'.  That means staying with Him, not leaving, living continuously with Him.  It means a continued separation from anything that would separate from Him.  And this means fullness of life coming from Himself into us as we draw all our life from Himself, a rich ripeness, a rounded maturity, a depth of life...It's only Himself in us, only as much of Himself as is in us, that will be helpful to any one else...He is the only magnet to draw men away from the old life up to Himself."  -- S.D. Gordon Quiet Talks, 60

Friday, March 28, 2014

Toni's Gluten-Free Spring Sugar Cookies

Practical Homemaking 

Spring is officially here....and here in northern Idaho, Spring is almost here weather-wise.  My Dad came home from work desperate for cookies.  So desperate in fact, that he was about to eat the puppy treats that mom happened to store in a cookie jar!  He was so disappointed to realize they were dog treats that I thought I had better bake some cookies.  I decided on sugar cookies in flower shapes for Spring.  But then I remembered!  Mom would smell them....she would be disappointed if she couldn't eat them. (Mom is gluten-free like myself). So I had to make some gluten-free.  And they turned out terrific. Perfect for a wet Idaho spring day. (I can guarantee they tasted better than our puppy's treats.)  I thought I would share with all of you.   

Toni's Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

¾ cup olive oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon (or more!) lemon zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups Mama's Almond Blend Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon organic xanthum gum
pinch of fine ground sea salt
splash of raw milk

Mix well oil, sugar, eggs, zest and vanilla. Blend in dry ingredients. Add enough milk to create dough. Roll ¼ inch thick on floured board. Cut with 3” cookie cutter. Place on lightly brushed (olive oil) cookie sheet.

Bake 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes at least two dozen depending on how much cookie dough you ate in the process! :)  

For more yummy recipes please look under "Practical Homemaking"

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Be this our rule in action, 'not what I will, but what Thou'; this, in suffering; 'not what I, but what Thou'. This shall hallow our hopes; this shall hush our fears; this shall ward off disquiet; this shall preserve our peace; this shall calm anxieties; this (if so it must be) shall soothe our heart-aches; this shall give repose to our weariness; this, the deeper our trouble, shall be the deeper foretaste of everlasting peace and rest." (By E.B. Pusey in the book "Joy and Strength" p. 87)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

"There are often bound to us, in the closest intimacy of social or family ties, natures hard and ungenial, with whom sympathy is impossible, and whose daily presence necessitates a constant conflict with an adverse influence.  ...Our Lord, going before us in this hard way, showed us how we should walk.  ...Can we in silent offices of love wash their feet as our Master washed the feet of Judas?  And, if we have no real enemies, are there any bound to us in the relations of life whose habits and ways are annoying and distatseful to us?  Can we bear with them in love?  Can we avoid harsh judgements, and harsh sppech, and the making known to others our annoyance?  The examination will probably teach us to feel the infinite distance between us and our divine Ideal, and change censoriousness of others into prayer..."
-- Harriet Beecher Stowe Joy and Strength, 86

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Three Beads Every Day

Political Issues 

Did you know that there have been over 9, 600,000 world-wide  induced abortions in the year 2014 alone?

Did you know that approximately 3,000 people lost their lives on 9-11 when the World Trade Center towers were destroyed?  And that every day in America over 3,000 babies are executed through abortion?

As Christians who view life as a precious gift bestowed by God, these facts are disturbing.  I recently watched a video that brought these deaths into a visual perspective and was amazed. I thought I would share it with you.  

Watch Video

So yes, this is disturbing and horrific, but what can we do about it?  
For one, being ignorant of these issues helps no-one, so becoming knowledgeable on these topics is one step in the right direction.  
Speaking with our votes, informing others, The Choice , joining or helping our local Crisis Pregnancy Centers, , participating in protests, and praying for these woman faced in such circumstances, are ways that I have sought to take an active role in protesting against induced abortions.  Will these small efforts change our sin-sick culture?  Probably not.  May it make a difference in one life?  Maybe!  Isn't it worth trying?  Our silence condones at best, and our tenuous efforts have the chance of influencing others in the least.  Life is worth defending.  Let's not forget.     

Quote of the Day

"He only asks thee to yield thyself to Him, that He may work in thee to will and to do by His own mighty power.  Thy part is to yield thyself, His part is to work; and never, never will He give thee any command which is not accompanied by ample power to obey it.  Take no thought for the morrow in this...abandon thyself with generous trust to thy loving Lord, who has promised never to call His own sheep into any path without Himself going before them to make the way easy and safe..." 
 -- Hannah Whitall Smith, Joy and Strength, 83

Monday, March 24, 2014

Quote of the Day

"We ought to become holy in the state in which Providence has placed us, instead of making projects of goodness in the future; and we need the greatest faithfulness to God in the smallest things. That state of life to which God has called us is safe for us, if we fulfill all our duties there in.... Let us do what we know He requires of us, and, as soon as we know His will, let us not spare ourselves, but be very faithful to Him....The smallest things become great when God requires them of us; they are small only in themselves; they are always great when they are done for God, and when they serve to unite us with Him eternally."

(By Francois De Salignac De La Mothe Fenelon- 1700s) Taken from the book "Joy and Strength"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gallbladder Study

Health and Beauty
. why am I hurting?  It's my gallbladder?   Where is my gallbladder?  What does the gallbladder do?  Why does it hurt?  What are gallstones?  Is there a natural way to heal my gallbladder?
These were only a few questions I had when recently I began to have health issues, including pain "under my ribs".  After realizing that my pain might be associated with my gallbladder I decided to research it.
This is what I found.

Gallbladder Study

What is the Gallbladder?
Your gallbladder is an organ (part of the biliary system) which stores bile and helps digest fats. After we eat, bile is released by the gallbladder and the small intestine secrets the hormone cholecystokinin. Then the bile flows into the small intestine to break down the fats.

Where Is the Gallbladder?
The gallbladder is located on the right side, just below your liver. It is only 4 inches long and is attached to the liver.

What Are Gallstones?
Gallstones are hardened bile and cholesterol or calcium salts. Gallstones are bad news because they block bile from being released from your gallbladder, which interferes with the small intestine's job, and therefore our digestion.

What is a Gallbladder Attack?

The most common causes of stones are the result of diet (lowfat diets, overeating, industrial foods, commercial salt, dehydration), pharmaceutical use (particularly hormone therapy and birth control pills, cholesterol-lowering drugs), fluoride ingestion, sleep disruptions (ignoring natural sleep/wake cycles) and emotional stress.


  • Pain accompanied with nausea and/or anxiety.
  • Pain that is triggered by eating fatty foods.
  • Pain and tenderness under the ribs on the right side, sometimes with a fever.
  • Pain that gets worse with coughing.
  • Jaundice: yellowing of the eyes and skin.
  • Bloating and gas
  • Pain in the abdomen or right shoulder
  • belching or burping

What's actually happening:

So, gallbladder problems start from what we eat, causing a weak unhealthy liver. Like the gallbladder, the liver is a biliary organ that plays a major part in our digestion and removing toxins.. During digestion, the liver secretes bile into the gallbladder to be stored. Later the gallbladder releases this bile into the small intestine. This bile is important. It regulates the level of friendly bacteria, destroys dangerous ones, and helps digest fats. Gallstones block this process. The pain we experience can come from the stone traveling down the bilary duct toward the small untestine. Or even back up of bile in the gallbladder (which can become toxic and lead to leaky gut or causes the gallbladder swell).

Who is affected?
Forty, Fat and Fertile. Those are the three “F's” most often quoted. Although I don't match any of them. Really, gallbladder issues can effect make and female, old and young. But, here are the most common candidates for gallbladder issues:

  • Age. People over the age of 40 often have gall bladder disease.
  • Obesity. People who are obese have bile that is saturated with cholesterol, making them more likely to develop gallstones.
  • Gender. Overweight women over the age of forty are the population that has gall bladder surgery most frequently
  • Hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen stimulates the production of gallstones, so women on hormone replacement therapy or those who have taken birth control pills for many years sometimes have gall bladder disease.
  • Diet. There is a generally recognized link between a diet high in poor-quality fats and sugar and gall bladder disease. This is the diet that most Americans eat today.
  • Slow transit time and constipationConstipation and slow intestinal transit time are linked to the formation of gallstones.

How do I prevent attacks, and cure them? 
With only recently dealing with gallbladder issues I cannot perfectly answer this question. But so far, it would seem that the gallbladder issues are connected with an unhealthy liver. Once the liver is flushed and the right diet introduced the gut now has a chance to heal. So far this is the information that seemed most helpful to me. I am planning on trying the liver flush and will keep you updated.

Short list of good foods:
Vinegars (Cider and white)
Tomatoes - ripe
salmon, trout
Lemons (lemon juice in the morning with hot water helps to clean the liver)
Grapes and fresh organic grape juice
apples, berries, papaya, pears
Omega 3 oils:
coconut oil, butter or ghee from grass-fed cows, extra virgin olive oil, palm oil and rendered animal fats such as tallow and lard. And small amounts of cold-pressed oils such as sesame or flax. For more on healthy fats

Vegetable juices - Beet and cucumber are especially helpful to gallbladder. You can add other green vegetables like tender baby greens, swiss chard, dandelion greens, beet greens, celery, carrots, ginger)

Freshly pressed juice of apples, berries, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lemons, melons, oranges and pears. (commercial juice should be avoided)

List of "Bad" Foods

Omega 6 fats,
processed and/or fatty foods, and dairy.