Saturday, September 26, 2020

A Cup of Tea

"You can't get a cup of tea large enough
or a book long enough to suit me."

· C.S. Lewis

This tea-cup which holds more than a pint of tea
is keeping me company as I try to work through 
some piled-up computer tasks. And when away 
from the computer, a book (27 hours of audio!) 
is keeping Elsa and me company during long
hours and days of extra chronic pain and fatigue.

We love autumn! But it doesn't do us well these
years. It is sad to have to seal up the house as 
harvest dusts and molds and wildfire smoke make 
our pain and inflammation skyrocket. 

Oh, for a breath of fresh, clean air again!
But, as C.S. Lewis also said:

"It must be good for my soul when there are things 
I really like for dinner and I mustn't have them!"

I can echo that regarding food allergies (which also
get worse as the body is fighting harder at this 
season), and I can pray it becomes true regarding 
all involved in this season of extra suffering.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Come Through the Gloom of Clouded Skies

"Come through the gloom of clouded skies,
The slow dim rain and fog athwart;
Through east winds keen, and wrong and lies
Come and make strong my hopeless heart.

"Come through the sickness and the pain,
The sore unrest that tosses still;
The aching dark that hides the gain
Come and arouse my fainting will.

"Through all the fears that spirits bow
Of what hath been, or may befall,
Come down and talk with me, for Thou
Canst tell me all about them all.

"Come, Lord of life; here is Thy seat,
Heart of all joy, below, above!
One minute let me kiss Thy feet,
And name the names of those I love!"

Poem by George MacDonald as found in his biography by Michael Phillips 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

September Harvest 2020

Along with many quarts of canned and frozen 
tomatoes, we spent two afternoons this month 
getting purple fingers from elderberries.

The frozen berries are now ready for another year 
of snacks for Elsa - the only one in the family who 
has developed a taste for this health-packed berry.

To add variety to our beet preparation (usually steamed 
in cubes or baked whole), I started peeling, cubing, 
and roasting them tossed with olive oil and salt. 
Fresh beets take over an hour at 400 degrees 
to roast to our liking.

Applesauce and baked apples have already fed 
us well from just the windfalls of our Red Baron tree.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Lemon and Chamomile Recipes

Whether blended as a homegrown tea...

...or diffused from essential oils...

These make a lovely combination!

Herbal Tea:
1 part chamomile flowers
2 parts lemon balm, dried and crumbled

Essential Oil Diffuser Blend:
5-7 drops Lemon EO
1 drop Chamomile EO

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Looking Up

After years of blogging I can't remember things like 
"have I used this favorite quote before?" That makes 
the search feature in my blog-writing dashboard so 
helpful! Many times a quick search turns into an 
encouragement as well - as I once again read what 
was blessing me in the past.

There is not currently strength to keep up with new 
posts, so why not repost something I needed to hear 
again today?! Even if you read it back in 2016, 
I hope it can bless you again too.


As we traveled more than 5 hours to the doctor 
again recently there was plenty of time to listen 
wonderful production of C.S. Lewis' series of 
allegorical fantasy, The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Magician's Nephew tells the beginning of 
the story - including the creation of Narnia. There 
are insightful parallels to Genesis here, but what 
struck me most this time was a comment about 
the Jesus-character: a lion named Aslan.

To give a little background, an English boy named 
Digory arrived just in time to watch Aslan create a 
perfect new world. This powerful Lion could surely 
heal his dying mother back in London, Digory realized!

Alas, an evil character had accidentally arrived in 
Narnia along with Digory - brought by him 
(not without fault) from another world. When he 
approached Aslan about healing his mother there 
were other things that had to be taken care of first.

"But please, please - won't you - can't you give me 
something that will cure Mother?" Up till then he 
had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the 
huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he 
looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him 
as much as anything in his whole life. For 
the tawny face was bent down near his own and 
(wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood 
in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears 
compared with Digory's own that for a moment 
he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about 
his Mother than he was himself.

"My son, my son," said Aslan. "I know. Grief is great... 
Let us be good to one another. But I have to think of 
hundreds of years in the life of Narnia..." (chapter 12)

As this part of Aslan's (actually, Jesus's) character played 
out on the CD, the tears came to my eyes as well. Here 
Elsa and I were after two full years of intense doctoring 
and treatments - riding down to yet more appointments.

I have always known that God is powerful. He could 
heal us instantly if He chose. Yet as I have waited and 
entered one new trial after another, too often I find myself 
just looking down at His great powerful "feet" and "claws." 

Suddenly on this drive I looked up with Digory and saw 
God's tears. For a moment I realized He really is sorrier 
about my pain than even I could be. He created this 
world to be perfect. He wanted to give me a perfect body 
to live in a perfect world - in perfect communion 
with Himself. But evil and sin entered to mar it all.

But we are not left without hope. Aslan told his new 
creatures that evil would come, but 
"I will see to it that the worst falls upon myself." 
And Jesus did just that on the cross.

And yet, we are still ill. We ask God for His healing. 
And we still have to wait.

Digory also had to wait; not knowing if Aslan 
ever heal his mother. And Digory had to act - to fulfill 
a challenging assignment to help protect Narnia from 
the evil one. He had to pluck a special apple from a 
certain tree far away and bring it back to plant in Narnia.

Once successfully planted, the tree that grew was 
to keep the evil character away from Narnia. 
Since she also had traveled to the original tree 
and had stolen an apple for herself, Aslan explained, 
"...that is why all the rest are now a horror to her. 
That is what happens to those who pluck and eat 
fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. 
The fruit is good, but they loathe it ever after."

Oh, how glad Digory then was that he had resisted 
the strong temptation to eat one himself, or even 
to sneak back to his mother with it instead of 
bringing the fruit back to Aslan!

But what about his mother? Did the waiting ever 
come to an end? Did Aslan really care about one or two 
hurting people in particular? For those answers, 
I'll let you read (or listen to) the story for yourself. :-)

And what about my illness? 
And what about your pain, loneliness, loss...?

Let's keep trusting and obeying, knowing that God 
hurts over it even more than we do. 
And we'll know the rest of the story... one day.

(Photos from the HarperCollinsPublishers hardcover edition of The Magician's Nephew)

Monday, August 31, 2020

Seeing the World in Color

Elsa has always been the one to notice the subtleties of color, whereas I am just learning to look more closely. It was helpful (and fun!) to recently try all the 2-color combinations of 14 colors in my watercolor palette.

That chart came in handy when trying, though rather unsuccessfully, to paint some coleus leaves that keep stopping me in my tracks on the front steps.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Clouds are the Dust of His Feet

[The LORD's] way is in whirlwind and storm, 
and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 
Nahum 1:3