Worth Sharing: New Year Ponderings

I love this little paragraph from The Golden Journey by Agnes Sligh Turnbull...I often wish for an open fire to sit near but no fireplace in this mobile home and I'm quite all right with that! but just read this little bit with me:

"It's delightful to see a wood fire," he said aloud, somewhat at random. "So few have them nowadays. I wonder why?"

"Because," Anne said promptly, "they think only of the warmth which they don't need with modern heating. They forget all the other things that go with an open fire. Cheerfulness, for instance, and companionship Burning logs can carry on quite a conversation!"

"Oh can't they though! Have you ever heard apple wood talking? It's the most loquacious of all. You really can't get a word in edgeways.

John has often mentioned in prayer that he prays God will 'fill our reservoirs'. What is a reservoir? According to the dictionary it is a "supply or source of something" and is synonymous with 'store' or 'stockpile'. I've often prayed as well when we're setting money aside on payday for those reservoirs to be filled, be it a new savings account, a new sub-account category, etc. It's been my pleasure to share with John how prayer was answered.

This week on Frugal Measures blog this message was especially striking to me and I read it off to John...All I can say is that I do sincerely hope all my reservoirs are filled!

A friend shared that Dayspring has a quiz to help you choose a 'word of the year'. I had to give it a try, though I've never chosen a word before. My word is "BLOOM". I'm intrigued. Not only have I been thinking about flowers a lot lately but I've also been thinking that this next year is a new season...Blooming sounds like something suited to a new season doesn't it? Want to try and see what your word of the year might be?

Anyone else love clear glass Pyrex as much as I do? I've got a deep old casserole, the sort with the lid that may also be used as a pie dish, plus Grandmother's pie plates which were all Pyrex and of course, measuring cups that are Pyrex. I thought this article helpful in keeping safe while using it. Mostly its good common sense, but sometimes it helps to be reminded of the common sense parts of things too.

Lana shared in comments this past weekend that the Downton Abbey movie is on Amazon Prime. I checked the prices to rent or buy. Either option is less than movie tickets. I'd meant to go to the theatre to see it but it came out when I was super busy with Katie's appointments and such. Somehow the time slipped away and then it wasn't available in my area any longer. I'm looking forward to watching it in my own home!

A few weeks ago, someone mentioned narcissism in the comments. Truthfully I had no real idea what it was. I knew it wasn't 'nice', lol, but what it entailed, how it impacted another was just a blank area for me. This past week, a video about narcissim suddenly came up in my feed on YouTube. I listened in and began to see light dawn upon my life. I found my way to several more videos about parents specifically. I kept saying "Oh my gosh! That's my life. That's how I feel. That's what I felt as a child!" The burden that came off my shoulders was massive. I pray this is the next stage of letting go of a great deal in the year ahead.

I can't find the comment now but I want to thank you whoever you are for making mention of this. And let me encourage any of you who are continuing to struggle, lo these many years, even if your parents have passed away, to find out what you can about this. Know that you are not alone. You are not alone.

A friend mentioned that she'd bought herself a set of china for Christmas this year and the family had eaten off it for the holiday meal. She wants to make memories around those plates she said...It was easy enough to resolve I'd pull out my china and use it at least once a month this year. I've two sets, a pretty rose patterned six place set from the grocery store and a set of Royal Doulton Mandalay that were gifts for my first marriage. Both are lovely and both are unused sitting behind cabinet doors. I think I'm going to use the Mandalay pattern through these winter months. I'll seek out some pretty blue glasses to use with it in the future, but the pattern also has brown and I do have brown goblets.

And just to test myself, I'd said I'd use the china for holiday meals...Isn't New Year's Day a holiday? I pulled out two plates and two salad/dessert plates and USED my china. It's a simple matter to hand wash the china while rinsing the other dishes for the dishwasher. I made good on this first holiday...Now I must remember to use the dishes on Sabbaths as well.

Briefly I'll share some of my resolutions for this year ahead. Since one of Granny's pieces of advice was always to "Start out as you mean to go on." I've been sure to implement the first two, have a start on numbers 3 and 4 will work towards all the rest in the months to come.

#1. Use my china!

#2. Making it a point to don my apron.

#3. Read. I've loads of books here, not all upon shelves and so I've chosen three to begin this month off with. My goal is to read every day.

#4. Listen to music daily. Chopin is on my computer as I type this out. I've always thought he was rather heavy but really his music has a lovely lightness and beauty to it.

#5. Study pre-Algebra and refresh my knowledge and use of Gregg Shorthand. I never mastered Algebra in junior or high school and I'm determined to correct my lack of knowledge or at least to try. I used to be 99% in my shorthand skills, but let it drop and while it mightn't be in vogue, I think it would be useful to me just the same.

#6. Plant both annuals and perennials. I've got one flower bed finished from late last summer that I have started to till. It's all being done by hand but I plan for that bed to be an annuals bed. I want to plant, zinnia and cosmos among other things but for sure those two flowering plants this coming summer. I also want to add to the perennials. I'd like to buy quality plants and bushes and add them slowly to the yard.

#7. Grow a few vegetables. I don't mean to have a big garden but I'd like to go back to having a few lettuce and peas and tomatoes that sort of thing. Enough to eat seasonally at the very least.

#8. Study more about narcissism. I need to free myself and knowing my enemy is the only way to go about it.

#9. Paint the inside of the house. I've been put off and put off about it but I'm just going to go for it and start. There might be a bit of a fuss going on over here but I'm going to do it just the same not as an act of rebellion but as an act of working through another's anxieties.

#10. Have fun. Plan picnics, go to parks, visit museums, make short daytrips. There's a good deal John and I might do to have fun and go on dates that aren't expensive. I want to plan some time out with him into each month of the coming year now that we have real time to spend together.

I may well think of other things to add to my resolutions for the year ahead but I think this is a pretty good start on a lovelier life, don't you?

I mentioned listening to Chopin on New Year's Day. I'd picked up an interest in him after hearing that piece on "The Crown" which floored me a couple of weeks ago. I like to read the brief bios available online about composers and actors and authors. So I'll share a few facts about Chopin.

Frederic Chopin was born in Warsaw which later became a part of Poland. He was a child prodigy, giving many concerts starting at the age of 7. He left Poland to live in Paris, France at age 20. He'd already composed several pieces of music by this age.

In France, he earned his living by giving piano lessons and selling compositions both of which were much in demand. He appeared in only 30 public performances of his music in his lifetime much preferring the more intimate atmosphere of salons where more private performances were the rule.

Most of Chopin's work is composed for solo piano, though he did write a few compositions for chamber music. He befriended Listz and Schumann among many other well known composers in Paris and became a French citizen, forever leaving Poland behind him.

Chopin's music is classified as "Romantic Era" which I think is very descriptive of his work. There is very much something romantic about his works.

The most famous of his love affairs was with the author George Sand, a pseudonym used by Amantine Dupin. It ended after ten years due in part to his poor health and Sand's dislike of his constant illness.

Chopin died at age 39 from a combination of periocarditis and tuberculosis.

All this week I've been pondering giving. I've written before about the importance of learning to RECEIVE what is given, but I've never talked about the reverse side of that, in which one gives. This article was shared by a friend. And it's made me mindful once again of my own thoughts about giving and why we should and how it ought to be done. But for now, read this and think upon it while I get started putting my thoughts down so that I can share a bit further with you.

New Year's Day I began reading the new Bible John gave me. I divided it into three portions, Old Testament, Prophets and New Testament. That meant I started reading Job that morning. I'd chosen a book from my bookshelves to begin my reading resolution with. This is what I read in the first chapter which so strongly reminded me of Job because the first words are straight from Job's wife, when she told Job to curse God and die. Who among us, when our lives are atumble, and the sunlight have been eclipsed by fear and misery hasn't at least thought, however briefly, of doing just that? Thank goodness for the sanity that faith hangs on to, by however slender a thread!

"I could curse God and die!"

"No, Mr. Kirkland, you will not do that. You are thinking small. We must never think small...Who of us little people can know what are his power's or his limitations? Perhaps the heart of the Eternal suffers with us..."
from Agnes Sligh Turnbull's The Golden Journey

I had to run into town the other night to take Katie to the local grocery before it closed. When I returned, I walked in the backdoor and was greeted by music playing loudly. Apparently when I'm away John likes to listen to music at concert volume.

I confess I like this group he was listening to myself. I've seen them on Larry's Country Diner, and on The Presley's when we were able to watch CBN. This group, The Cleverly's, has put a bluegrass spin on modern rock songs. Watch the videos because these guys are not only good they are really funny besides. Good clean humor.

Red Beans and Rice

I've always used canned red beans in this dish because I couldn't find them dry in the stores where I shop. Daddy taught me to make this for him in those few weeks I cared for him before he died. Each time I make it, I think of him and the sweet peace that came in those weeks after years of hurt and anger...

2 cans red beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans water
1 chicken bouillon cube or 1 tsp concentrated chicken stock
14 ounce Polska kielbasa or smoked sausage (or summer sausage, diced)
1 onion chopped find (about 1 cup)
1 green bell pepper diced (about 1 cup)
1cup diced celery
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
olive oil

1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 tsp butter
1 tsp salt

Cook rice according to directions. I use brown rice and it takes 45 minutes so I start this well ahead of the beans.

In a small Dutch oven, cook the onion, celery, and bell pepper in olive oil over medium heat until just tender. Add beans, water, chicken bouillon, and the sliced sausage. Add salt and dried pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes. Add liquid smoke if you are not using the smoked sausage. Serve over rice

This is very flavorful and satisfying and can be made meat free if you don't wish to have the meat in it. I think the sausage adds a lot to the flavor. Serve over rice with cornbread and coleslaw on the side.

(C) Terri Cheney