Flannel Jammies Farm

...praising God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Let me tell you

Come and listen, all you who fear God,

and I will tell you what he did for me.

Psalm 66:16 

when I am happy, my God has given me reason to rejoice
when I am sad, my God comforts me
when I am with friends, my God is in the midst
when I am lonely, my God is by my side
when I am traveling, my God keeps me safe
when I am at home, my God gives me quiet peace
when I am well, my God gives me work for my hands
when I am ill, my God bids me to come aside for a while to heal

These have been the days of my life.  A God of faithfulness always by my side.  Psalm 66:16 is a verse I have unwittingly used so many times.  After surgeries, to amazed doctors and nurses, I have said, "You don't know the numbers of people praying for me.  Let me tell you how good my God is!"  When new friends learn of some challenge I have faced and overcome, I have said, "My God saved me!"  As loved ones have hurt and cried out, I've said, "I have been there.  God was there, too, and He's here for you!  Here's how He showed me His love!"

Tell your story...  tell of His goodness and love... someone is waiting to hear what your God has done for you. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Strawberry Jalapeno Jam

Maybe taking my grown daughter with me to pick local, organic strawberries was overkill.  I mean, what was I going to do with all those berries?  I made the family favorite: Strawberry Lemon Marmalade.  We ate some of the berries.  I put some berries in a yummy spinach salad.  Hhmmmm...

I'd been hearing the slightest murmurings on blogs and posts about something exotic and mysterious:
 Strawberry Jalapeno Jam

What were they thinking???  How could this be good?  Might as well give it a try!

I found this recipe on Food.com and got to work.  All went perfectly... except it didn't set... ever.  I read this in the recipe ingredient list:
     "1 (1 3/4 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin 
      (Sure-Jell Premium yellow box I prefer using 1 1/2 packages 
      because strawberries are runnier)"
but I was using a different powdered pectin which I prefer and it was from a jar, not a package.  I did the calculation and measured the correct amount EXCEPT that I did not allow for the additional 1/2 more the recipe author suggested.  So I ended up with runny Strawberry Jalapeno Sauce.  *sigh*

This sad 'sauce' sat on my counter for many days while the world turned upside down around me.  A treasured friend was in need... a kind word, a gentle presence, one to tarry nearby.  

When things settled down, I researched how to "fix" jam, and found these instructions from Food In Jars.  Seemed all I had to do was dump ALL THE JAM OUT OF THE SEALED JARS (!!!), reheat, add more pectin, cook vigorously, check the set, and add the fixed jam BACK INTO CLEANED AND STERILIZED JARS.  *sigh*

It worked.  It really worked.  I now have the most gorgeous and delicious jam ever!  It's sweet with a definite kick without being too hot.  I took the recipe author's advice and left all the jalapeno seeds and membranes in, and I'm so glad I did!  It was the hit of our church's Strawberry Festival, served over cream cheese with table water crackers.
So, be brave.  Try that crazy-sounding recipe.  Savor a new flavor.  Don't be discouraged by detours.  And remember to always share kind words and jam with friends!

Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Adventures in Skin Care

I'm home from work today... been to see the doctor, feeling kinda yucky.  Normal folks?  They'd rest, take it easy, eat some soup.  Me?  I decided to concoct some facial cream!

I have very sensitive, very reactive, old and oily skin.  YUCK!  I've been doing some research on the oil cleansing method for skin, reading here and here.  Now, it seemed counter-intuitive to wash my old, oily face with oil.  But I'd reached the end of my rope after years of trying to find just the right products and considering a veil to hide the chaos that had become my face, so I gave it a try.  After a couple of weeks, my face is happier, much less upset and angry with the outside world, and seems to have found peace.  aahhhhh....

Next step.  Years ago, I scooped up an interesting book at our library's used book store.  I thought, I'll put this away for some far off time when life is slower and I'll have more time to explore these delights.  HA!

Anyway, I pulled out this gem and found a nice recipe to try:  Lemony Whip Cleansing Cream.  Let's see... recommended for oily skin, good for daily use, can also be used as moisturizer.  Here's what the author says, "I use this as a cleanser and a moisturizer when the weather is warm and humid and my skin is pumping out a bit too much of its natural oil... it is absorbed quickly without leaving an oily residue."  Perfect for a Hampton Roads summer!  Went to the Heritage Natural Market, purchased all the ingredients, and was ready to cook.

Let's see... heat the base oils, beeswax, and lanolin until the wax was is just melted... ok.

Pour the mixture into the blender to cool until it just begins to thicken and becomes opaque... got it.
after 1 minute
after 10 minutes

Drizzle in water, add drops of essential oils and Vitamin E.  Blend completely.

(Ok, so I didn't take any photographs of the last 5 seconds of this process when my blender started spewing the mixture all over my kitchen.  Seems there was a malfunction with how the blender was reassembled following its last cleaning... ahem, family?  Nor did I photograph the blobs of cream that landed on me and the floor when I picked the blender up from its base.  Nor did I display the fact that half of my delightful cream never made it into a jar, but rather is busy cleansing and moisturizing my cabinets, stove, and floor.  Nor did I photograph the positions I had to contort my body into to find all the far-flung bits of cream about the room.  Let's just say this is the "ADVENTURE" part of this post and let your imagination do the rest!)

Package and cool.  I had this lovely jar on hand and poured the mixture inside.  The cream is smooth and kissed with a buttery-yellow color and the brightest hint of lemony scent.  I can't wait to use it!!!

Now, I'm ready for rest and a bowl of that soup...

Monday, May 7, 2012

The gift of friendship...

My life is richly blessed by friends.  Some I haven't seen in years.  Some I see nearly every day.  Some are 'church friends'.  Some are friends from different jobs I've had. 

But one friend has seen me at my very worst.  He and his wife have loved me through numerous illnesses, through the deaths of both of my parents, through the days when I should be where other people are not.  He held me up when I was weak and hugged me when I was lonely.  He guided me in grace when I wanted to judge. 

These last few days have been spent saying goodbye to this treasured friend.  It has been a great gift and a true joy to be with him and his family during these days. 

Dennis, you are loved and you will be missed. 
Drink long and deep the living waters, my friend...
Dennis Stanberry