Tuesday, August 31, 2010

10 Things You May Not Know About David & Prophecy

This window is the oldest complete Tree of Jesse and is in the Chartres Cathedral, 1145

David was an unusual man for his times in so many ways, that I wonder if you understand the magnitude of his life. No king--before or after him--loved God as much...he was a man after God's own heart. And when he failed to please God and sinned, he was humble and contrite, begging forgiveness.

David was not only a king, warrior, and ruler, he was also a prophet. In II Samuel 22:23, as David was about to die, he spoke these words: "The spirit of the Lord hath spoken by me and His word by my tongue." You may learn more about the importance of David & his reign in these 10 facts about his prophecies.
1) David's prophecies are Messianic.
2) David's prophecies refer to the suffering of Christ.
3) David's prophecies refer to persecution of Christ.
4) David's prophecies refer to triumphant deliverance of Christ.
5) David's prophecies refer to the hereditary rights given Jesus by the Father.
6) David's prophecies were written 1,000 years before Christ, but many make reference to and foreshadow Him.
7) David was a king after God's own heart & his qualities are those of the Messiah.
8) Incidents in David's life are regarded as a foreshadowing of the life of Christ:
a) Bethlehem is the birthplace of David and Jesus
b) the shepherd life of David points to Jesus, the Good Shepherd
9) Both David and Christ were betrayed by friends and had to make a sad passage.
10) The Davidic Psalms are clearly typical of the future Messiah, of which David was a type.
In the Psalms, David speaks as a prophet, which his last words acknowledge. Many of the 100 direct references to Jesus in Messianic passages of the Psalms are quoted in the New Testament. They are used to explain the character and message of Jesus as Messiah and refer to all of the above. When we think of David, we should remember that he was a man after God's own heart, and a type of the Messiah.
I hope everyone is having a good week.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Entering a Doll Contest

It's getting late, but I wanted to share something with you today. I am simply going to tell you that this afternoon, I made a small kerchief for one of my dolls--Louisa--who is a beautiful doll from Ginger Brook Hollow. Anyone who is a member of this web site could take the small piece of fabric sent to them by Cheri and enter a contest by making something with it. Quinlyn has also entered, and we're hoping to win one of the 8 inch dolls named Susannah or Johannah, who are twins.
Cheri, the owner, is very generous in sending us things from Ginger Brook Hollow, and it's a lot of fun to be a part of her contests. I have other dolls that I will show you at some point, but for today, I'm just showing you Louisa.

Louisa is one of the seven orphan girls from the Ginger Brook Hollow story "Where Love's Circle Begins." She has an eye for beauty--china and lace--and baby animals. She also loves flowers and dreams of being in a garden or owning her own flower shop some day. You can be sure that if I win one of the dolls, I'll show her to you.
Jamie left today and it's lonesome without her. She's very special and I enjoyed her very much. Amazing how much one can learn from the younger generation!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Trusting in the Unseen: Riding in a Hot Air Balloon

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart." Proverbs 3:5
Hot air balloons are popular in this part of the country with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, an annual event that brings people from all over the world just to experience it. One morning, there is a mass ascension of 700 or more balloons going up into a bright blue sky within 1 1/2 hours. And it's quite amazing to watch. Would you like to climb into a basket and take a balloon ride?

That is the basis of F. LaGard Smith's 2nd chapter of Meeting God in Quiet Places: the Cotswold Parables. In this chapter, LaGard compares the trust a person must have to fly in a balloon--the ability to trust that someone will take you up and bring you down again safely--to trusting the invisible God with your life. We are sometimes willing to trust another person that we can actually see, but we aren't likely to trust an invisible power that we can't see. And isn't faith in the unseen what faith is all about?

His whole idea is apparent when comparing the way one may see the beautiful balloon drifting lazily through the air and think about how lovely it would be to ride in it, or even running after it and watching it float along. But the real question is: Would you climb into the basket and take a ride? The same is true of climbing into God's basket and trusting Him to control your life. And again, you may feel that being in God's basket is a bit confining, and that having to do things His way goes against the grain. But isn't that a normal human reaction?

Have you ever really given up control to God, been dependent on God, and felt how freeing it is?

LaGard says:
"Jesus talked about the kind of freedom that is really free. 'If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,' said Jesus. What makes us really free? In the words of Jesus 'the truth will set you free.' The truth that we are never in control even when we think we are. The truth that a life without God is the most fearful life anyone can live. The truth that the most fulfilled people in the world are those who have 'let go and let God'."

Letting go isn't all that easy, is it? You cling to your fears and stay on the ground. You cling to your fears and stay out of God's basket. What is preventing you from climbing into the basket and taking off with God? What is preventing others? You may decide to run after God--to seek a relationship with Him. But the running and the seeking are replacements for actually letting go of everything that is holding you back and knowing true freedom.

Compare the feeling of letting go of control when you take a ride in a hot air balloon to letting go of everything and letting God control your life. You can choose to experience the exhilaration and freedom that knows no bounds, just like floating in a big, colorful hot air balloon!
Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

10 Things You May Not Know About Poetry & Psalms

What is Mortality
But the things relating to the Body,
Which dies?
What is Immortality
But the things relating to the Spirit,
Which Lives Eternally?

William Blake 1757-1827

This poem is from a book by John Diamond, M.D., titled The Healing Power of Blake: A Distillation. Dr. Diamond has taken Blake's very long poems and made them readable in this book. He uses poetry to heal his patients, and he believes that Blake was one of the best at writing poetry that heals, especially when it is sung. Diamond suggests to his patients that they write poetry, and also read the poetry of the masters out loud and to sing the poems.

This suggestion reminds me again of David, who was a master of poetry writing, and who used his songs to heal King Saul's malady. Here are 10 things you may not know about poetry and psalms:

1) David gave us one of the most glorious collections of poetry ever written. We call it the Book of Psalms, and the Jews call it the Book of Praises. It is often called the Psalms of David.

2) David had a great talent for playing, singing, and writing poetry.

3) David's true character is revealed in his songs: his love of God, his care for people, his anguish at his own failings, and his trust and faith in God's forgiveness and deliverance.

4) David's poems serve as a journal of his life experiences and a history of his people.

5) David's love of God spills over in beautiful expressions of not only God's love and mercy, but His presence with him, His holiness, His power, and His faithfulness.

6) All of God's attributes can be found in the songs of David.

7) In the Psalms, we learn the value of knowing God, what it means to be righteous, as well as the vanity found in the way of the ungodly, and what their end will be.

8) David wrote 150 poems, which were written to be sung by a large choir accompanied by thousands of musicians.

9) David organized all the music for worship in Jerusalem.

10) The Psalms are read, chanted and sung every day of the year. No other book of hymns has been used for such a long period of time by so many people.

No wonder David is called "the sweet Psalmist of Israel." The Psalms have come down to us as a blessing--their healing power and influence is impossible to calculate. But even a cursory look at their depth and meaning would convince you that they are worth contemplating. Once again, we realize that we have been given great gifts from God. What will we do with them?

I hope all of you have a great weekend, including time when you remember God. I know some of you are having time with the family, and that's always a good idea.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to Kelly with a Psalm & a Recipe

Today my oldest granddaughter is 32 years old! So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to KELLY!!! The last time she visited me, we had a nice, soft rain one evening that came down for a long time. We sat outside the French doors of my bedroom and Kelly read Psalms out loud for 30 minutes or so to me and Donna. So it was about a year ago when Donna was here at the same time as Kelly. And a good time was had by all!

The beautiful 23rd Psalm has been a favorite of so many people for generations of time. Not only is it beautiful lyrically, but the meaning has lifted many of us in difficult times. So I'm going to repeat it here for Kelly's sake and for all of us who might need inspiration toward a brighter day.

23rd PSALM

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of
For His name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort
You prepare a table before me in the
presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall
follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the


What more can a shepherd do for his sheep? He gives them everything they need, just as God gives us our every need. He provides for us. And He comforts us with His protection and direction. We are anointed daily with blessings. And we are given hope with the promise of dwelling in His house and having fellowship with Him forever! I wish all of these spiritual blessings for Kelly and for all of you.

Now I want to give you a recipe for Olio Nuovo and Lemon Cookies. The recipe is from the McEvoy Ranch Cookbook. The Olio Nuovo is one of their limited edition olive oils, but you can use the olive oil of your choice. They also grow lemons and this is a recipe using fresh lemons. They may also be flavored with orange. Simply substitute navel orange zest, orange oil, and orange juice where appropriate. These cookies are reminiscent of Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes. If you don't want to bake all the cookies at one time, freeze the balls of dough on a cookie sheet and transfer to a plastic bag. They'll keep for about 3 months. The frozen cookies will go straight into the oven, but may need a few more minutes of cooking time.

Olio Nuovo and Lemon Cookies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup olio nuovo (or your favorite olive oil)
1/8 teaspoon pure lemon oil (Boyajian brand recommended)
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking
sheets with baking parchment or silicone baking sheets.
2) Sift together the flour, sugar, and baking soda into a
medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the
olive oil, lemon oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add
the wet ingredients, then stir until the mixture comes
together into a uniform mass. Using your hands, roll
the dough into balls 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter, and
place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them
2 inches apart.
3) Bake the cookies 1 sheet at a time until cooked through
and very lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to
a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight
container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

I hope you'll try this lovely recipe and enjoy some taste you've probably never had before in a cookie. Let me know how you like them. And one more time:
Happy Birthday to Kelly! I love you very much!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Story of David & Goliath

IN A TIME long, long ago, in a little town called Bethlehem far, far away, there lived an Israelite of the tribe of Judah named Jesse, who had 8 sons. Three of his older sons--his firstborn Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah--were in the army of King Saul of Israel, but David, his youngest son, was watching his father's sheep. One day, Jesse gave David grain and bread for his brothers, and cheese for their captain, and sent him to find out if his brothers were doing well.

When David arrived in the camp of the armies of Israel, he saw before him two armies arrayed for battle: the Israelite armies stood one mountainside, while the Philistine armies stood on the opposite mountainside with a valley between them.

Suddenly, a giant Philistine came striding into the valley that lay between the two mountains. His name was Goliath. He was over 9 feet tall and dressed for battle. He wore a bronze helmet on his head, and bronze armor on his body and legs, and a coat of mail. He carried a bronze javelin between his shoulders and a heavy spear with an iron head. A shield bearer walked before him.

Goliath stopped and began to shout: "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us!" Twice a day for 40 days, Goliath had come out to challenge the armies of Israel.

The armies of Israel were so afraid of him that they stayed in their tents! But when David heard his challenge, it only made him angry, and he asked: Who does this Philistine think he is, defying the armies of the living God? And King Saul was told that David would fight Goliath. But King Saul spoke to David, saying, "You are not able to fight with this Philistine because you are still a youth, and Goliath has been a man of war from the time of his youth."

Then David told King Saul that he used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, he went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth. And when it attacked him, he caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Now David said to King Saul that God had delivered him from the paw of a lion and the paw of a bear, and He would also deliver him from this Philistine. So David, who had killed both a lion and a bear, said that he would also kill this Philistine, because he had defied the armies of the living God.

King Saul said to him, "Go and the Lord be with you!" Then King Saul gave his armor to David, but it was much too big for him. So David took his staff in one hand and his sling in the other to go out to meet Goliath. He stopped at a brook that flowed through the valley and picked up 5 smooth stones and put them in his shepherd's bag.

When Goliath saw the youthful David coming to fight him, he said: "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And he cursed David by his gods, threatening to feed him to the birds and the beasts.

Then David said to Goliath: "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." Then David said: "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all of this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands."

Then, as the Philistine walked toward David to fight and kill him, David hurried and ran toward the army of the Philistines to meet Goliath. He put his hand in his shepherd's bag and took out one of the smooth stones. He put the stone in his sling and quickly slung it. It struck the giant Philistine and sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. Then David ran and stood over Goliath, pulled the Philistine's sword out of its sheath, and cut his head off with it.

So David prevailed over the giant Goliath with a sling and a stone, which killed him. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they began running away, leaving their tents with all their belongings behind. And the men of Israel and Judah ran after them and chased them out of the valley, but returned and plundered their tents.

David loved God and believed that He would keep him safe. And so the Israelites overcame their enemies and all the earth knew that there was a God in Israel!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meeting God in Quiet Place DVD

Here is "Meeting God in Quiet Places," the DVD which F. LaGard Smith so generously sent to me this week. As you see on the cover, the scenery in these 7 short videos is the awe-inspiring beauty of the Cotswolds of England. I love these parables on film that share God's handiwork with us, the natural surroundings God uses to teach us about His love and care for everything He has made, including you.
These vignettes can be viewed separately or all at once, and I believe, would serve beautifully as the devotional centerpiece of your day. If you want your spirits lifted and your soul to soar, watch these videos with LaGard's fitting analogies. Is it possible that LaGard's delivery is more charming because of his location? The cover says: "Come on an exploration of faith in the beauty of the English countryside." And you get that beauty in every story. LaGard walks through the hills and villages close by his home in Buckland and lets nature puncuate the meaning of his parable. And what wonderful meaning there is!
Like the idea behind the "Walking Stick." What does a walking stick mean to a person who is walking? It's not only a support as a staff, but it comes to be a companion. And in the same way, God is our staff of support and protection, as well as our companion, as we walk through life. And LaGard reminds us that God not only wants to be our protector, but our friend...our FRIEND! Jesus made that possible when He came in the flesh. He knows our every weakness. Do you understand that whole concept? He knows our weaknesses and gives us grace. And because of Jesus' sacrifice, we can not only talk to our Father in heaven through Him, but we can be friends. That's amazing.
Another parable is called "Gates." Jesus is our gate to God and into heaven, where our mansion is prepared for us. And the good folks that have gone before us are waiting on the other side of that gate. In "Gravestones," LaGard makes the point that most of us aren't going to be remembered by those who come after us. But we can leave a legacy--something good that will give those who come after us both strength and courage. Shouldn't we all give this idea some deep thought? The vapor of our lives will disappear quickly, but not our good deeds and our good example.

And I really identify with "Dreamhouse." LaGard makes a tour of a beautiful house that is for sale. He says that it's his dreamhouse, but admits that it's way out of his price range. Then he reflects on the fact that the beautiful cottage he lives in was once his dreamhouse. Of course, the analogy is that human beings are rarely content: those who have prosperity want more of it, and those who have wealth never have enough. Sooo...shouldn't we all look to those things which last forever and be content? Don't most of us in the United States have plenty of stuff? And not only do we have physical blessings beyond imagining, but we also have many spiritual blessings in this country.
I think my favorite analogy is called "Snowfall." Those of you who know me won't be surprised at this confession. I comfort myself with the fact that most of us are the same--choosing a wrong path when the right one was clearly visible. Looking back, we may wonder how we could have been so blind, but as the saying goes: it seemed like a good idea at the time. The prospect of having my sins covered feels delightfully magical. With a "snowfall," our sins can be covered, hidden from view and made white as snow--gone from our sight and from God's.
So don't look behind you...look ahead and see what is possible for you. See your past as a snow-covered field, and your future as a brightly lit opening--a gate to go through to reach your highest and best. That is what we all really want, isn't it? God can lift you out of your present state and into a fresh beginning with His love--if you'll LET Him.
I hope my thoughts on this DVD have helped you to know what it contains. I'm sure I haven't done it justice, but keep on looking for a summary of each chapter of the book each Sunday. I'll do my best to give you part of its message. I recommend that you read the complete chapers yourself. And if you do, I hope you'll share your thoughts as you grasp the rich meaning of each parable. And thanks to Quinlyn for taking the picture of the DVD cover.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More Books About Olive Trees & Recipes~

Carol Drinkwater wasn't satisfied just to grow olive trees and make olive oil. She began wondering about the location of the very first olive tree. You may remember that a dove brought an olive branch to Noah in the ark, telling us that the olive tree's been around since the beginning of time.

But where did man first cultivate the olive tree and use its precious fruit for oil and food? There is a record of olive oil use in Syria in 6,000 BC. In her next book, Carol has decided to make a trip through the eastern Mediterranean area to find out about the site of the original olive tree. She sets out from the Bay of Marseille on her journey through Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Malta, Tunisia, Libya, Greece, Crete, and finally Israel. This journey is recorded in The Olive Route. Not only will you learn about the olive tree, but about the cultures surrounding its cultivation and use.

Carol's next journey to find out the place of the original olive tree is recorded in The Olive Tree, a personal journey through Mediterranean olive groves. Her quest takes her south to Spain--now the home of more olive trees than anywhere else on earth--through Morocco, Algeria, and then Italy. Algeria is a dangerous area for her and she is helped by a network of beekeepers to navigate it. Not only does Carol learn more about the olive tree, but about the lack of management both of land and water.

Without attention to the needs of this great tree, it may begin to vanish as it once did when the leaders in Crete destroyed the well-producing trees to make way for a more lucrative crop--cotton. At the end of this journey, Carol meets with other olive growers who have a vision of the future. This is a remarkable and fascinating journey (at this point, I want to say saga) for this remarkable and fascinating woman!

It isn't often that we are allowed into the mind and heart of an explorer. And that's really what Carol Drinkwater is in relation to the olive tree. And when a quest transforms our own awareness, and creates possibility for other peoples in the world, it's quite amazing. Having furthered her knowledge of what the olive groves need to survive, Carol goes home and fights for her bee population because they are being destroyed by pesticides.

Do you see how each of us can find a purpose for which we are best suited--or at least are most interested in--and help the world become a better place? What we do in America affects the world whether we like it or not. We have the capacity to do good things, but we must be awake and we must care!

Now that I've told you about these two books, I'll also say that Carol has written another book Return to the Olive Farm that has come out in England, but I don't see that it's available here in the States--probably available soon. Meanwhile you have her other books to read.

I personally find the olive to be an interesting and health-promoting food. You can make up your own mind about whether you want to use it, but I hope you'll give it a chance. This isn't just another "politically correct" thing to do...it's an excellent food that has been put aside because of our own way of life. And I love butter as much as the next person and use it, but I can have both in my kitchen without compromising taste or health!

I want to give you some recipes using olives, and if you use them, I'd like to hear whether you like the recipe or not. These are simple and easy ones that come from the cookbooks I bought when I first read Carol's books.

Here are recipes from
 Avner Laskin's cookbook: Olives: More than 70 Delicious & Healthy Recipes.
Fried Rice with Green Olives
Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 carrots cut into 1/8 inch wide & 1 inch long strips
2 celery stalks thinly sliced
1 clove garlic chopped
2 cups steamed rice
1/2 cup pitted green olives cut in half
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1) Heat a large skillet over high heat.
Place olive oil and onion in skillet and saute until onion is translucent.
2) Add the carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring.
3) Add the rice, olives, salt and pepper. Cook while stirring for 6 minutes.
4) Add the lemon juice and stir well. Remove from heat and put on plates. Serve.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Black Olives
Serve this chicken dish with wide noodles and a fresh green salad.Serves 4

12 chicken thighs
5 medium potatoes quartered
1/3 cup pitted black
3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2) Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
3) Transfer to a deep baking dish and cover.
4) Cook for 40 minutes.
5) Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes.
6) Chicken and potatoes should be golden brown.
If not, return to oven for 5 more minutes.
7) Serve hot or store in airtight container for up to 2 days.

There is another cookbook I want to tell you about: The Olive Harvest Cookbook: Olive Oil Lore and Recipes from the McEvoy Ranch. This ranch is an olive farm in California which brought the olive trees of Italy to America. It's another fascinating story of a woman with fortitude and a vision, which you can read on their web site. It was their olive oil, olives, and olives poster which I bought after reading Carol's books! And although I'd love to give you many recipes from their cookbook, I'm only going to give you a dinner dish.

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic, and Olive Oil
Serves 5 as a main course, 8 as a first course
Note: Don't be put off by the amount of garlic, as the slow warming in olive oil mellows the flavor.

2 s
mall heads garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil1 pound high-quality imported Italian spaghetti
1 1/2 pounds assorted vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes (red, orange, yellow, striped)
cut into 3/8 inch dice
1/2 pound assorted vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Leaves from 1/2 bunch (1/2 cup) of fresh basil, cut in chiffonade (strips)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Optional: Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or basil strips

1) In a small saute pan, combine the garlic and 1/2 cup of the
oil over very low heat and warm for 10 minutes. The garlic should
not sizzle.
2) Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of salted, boiling water until
al dente, 8 t0 12 minutes, or according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, finish preparing the sauce.
3) In a large, warmed bowl, combine the garlic mixture, tomatoes,
basil, salt, pepper, and the remaining 1/4 cup oil and mix well.
4) When the pasta is ready, drain it, add it to the sauce, and toss to
coat well. Divide among warmed individual bowls. Garnish with the
cheese and/or basil, if desired.

Now it's up to you to try the recipes! And for now, I'm through serving up my thoughts on Carol Drinkwater's books and the olive. I will probably return to this favorite subject later. And as Julia Child would say: Bon Appetit!


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Olive Tree Trilogy~

Remember that song "Monday, Monday" sung by the Mamas and the Papas? If you don't, you missed a really good one. It runs in my head occasionally with the vibrancy of Mama Cass's voice coming through. On this Monday, I thought you might enjoy the buoyancy of the Olive Tree Trilogy by Carol Drinkwater which I read about a year or so ago. I sent my copies to my sister, Miriam, and she's enjoying the second one right now.

The trilogy consists of The Olive Farm, The Olive Season, and The Olive Harvest to begin Carol's long journey with the olive tree. Her journey with olive trees began after she left the television series All Creatures Great and Small, which is where I first saw her. Carol's personality is what I would call infectious, and I always had the feeling that there was more to her than we saw onscreen. Boy, was I right!

When Carol left the show, she went to the South of France to find a house on the Mediterranean Sea, but they were all too expensive for her. She had met a friend, Michel, who had asked her to marry him on their very first outing. He was more than willing to help her look for a place around the Mediterranean. He, as a TV producer, and Carol, as an actress, had both visited the nearby town of Cannes for the annual Cannes Film Festival. Realizing that the houses on the Mediterranean were out of her price range, he suggested searching for a ruin, which would be cheaper and have the possibility of refurbishment. When they came upon the overgrown Appassionata (a musical term meaning "with passion"), they both fell in love with it.

Because it was still too much money for Carol, they put their resources together and bought it. But it wasn't a quick sale...besides reading about the problems with the owner's being in Belgium and the red tape of French laws, you will read a love story. Overlooking the sea from a distance, the estate was 10 acres of land with a crumbling house and outbuildings. When the overgrowth of trees, grass, weeds, and other plants were pulled up, cut away and taken off, 63 olive trees emerged! This is the story of Carol and Michel's determination to learn everything about producing olives and how they set about to do it. Not so fast! Their arduous task takes a while.

Carol herself says this about her search for a special place: "All my life, I have dreamed of acquiring a crumbling, shabby-chic house overlooking the sea...a corner of paradise where friends can gather to swim, relax, debate, eat fresh fruits picked directly from the garden and great steaming plates of food served from an al fresco kitchen and dished up on a candelit table." If that doesn't grab you, you may not find these books as interesting or as much fun as I have. Carol's energy and sheer determination, not only for buying the place, but for getting it in shape and getting the olive oil flowing, is not just the reading of a book, but is entry into her life.

AND not only is Carol's personality infectious, but her passion for olives as well. After reading the trilogy, I did what I could to make olives a part of my life too: I bought some good olives, some good olive oil, an olives poster, and some cooking with olives cookbooks. I got a signed copy of The Olive Tree from Blaeberry Books in Scotland (eBay). Lisa gave me some very nice coasters with olives on them, and I am still searching for china of some kind with olives on it. So typical of me to go all out! Carol has made the olive come alive with all its history and influence on life all over the world, especially the Old World, which most of us find unfamiliar territory. It is the world of the Bible and the area where Jesus lived his life on earth.Tomorrow I'll talk more about Carol's life and books, tell you more about the olive and its good properties, and maybe even give you some olive recipes. Meanwhile, you can look at her web site or search for her books on amazon.com to get a taste of the woman herself...videos and all.Hope this cheered you as you moved through your Monday!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spiritual Perception

"Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." Romans 8:5

I promised you a look at F. LaGard Smith's book Meeting God in Quiet Places: The Cotswold Parables. I encourage you to get your own copy of the book. LaGard is allowing me to summarize the chapters and is sending me a copy of the DVD. I think that is very generous!

The point of the book is to take something in the natural realm and compare it to something in the spiritual realm--parables surrounding us in everyday life. In the first chapter, LaGard helps us understand our spiritual perception by looking at the natural hearing perception of animals.
Does the length of a rabbit's ears help it hear? Dogs don't have long ears and they have acute hearing. Watching rabbits reminds us that rabbits are doing what rabbits do, but they are also being what rabbits are--animals. God tells us as His children to DO and BE a person that pleases Him.

Now I want to quote LaGard directly: "In much the same way (as the electronic sound waves that create what you listen to on the radio or television), there is also a spiritual dimension which surrounds and permeates our material world. Think of it as the realm in which angels exist--and Satan. It is in this unseen world that the Holy Spirit moves and in which spiritual warfare is taking place. The spiritual dimension is the arena of prayers and miracles. It's the world of the supernatural, the transcendent--a trysting place between the human and divine."

And now I hear you saying, WHAT?!!! Because you probably hadn't realized that the angels of God and the angels of Satan are fighting for your soul every moment of every day! The choices you make are not only choosing what you'll wear and where you'll go, but whose side you're on: God's or Satan's!
In some ways, it is to Satan's advantage to be moving in a material world, appealing to the lust of the eyes--what we see, the lust of the flesh--what we touch and feel, and the pride of life--what we own and what we do. But most of us have learned that these things are disappointing in the end and do not fill us with what we most crave: love, peace, and happiness. Making choices out of our own wisdom is often choosing short term, when knowing what God wants us to be, and choosing on that basis is long term and fulfilling.

Going back to LaGard's analogy of the rabbits who use their ears as an "early warning system," did your "ears" go up when I mentioned that Satan is out to claim your soul? You have been given ears to hear and a heart to understand, but you must take time to be aware of the spiritual dimension around you in order to save your soul!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday's Thoughts

In searching for books which may touch your heart and change your life as they have mine, I have pulled Meeting God in Quiet Places: The Cotswold Parables off the bookshelf. It was written by F. LaGard Smith, one of my favorite writers. In each chapter, he is making connections between nature's wonders and a relationship with God. It's a devotional book which will move you closer to your Creator than you may have thought possible.
Because LaGard lives in England half the year, he has become familiar with the many beautiful scenes that the countryside has to offer, and being a spiritual man, he automatically connects those pictures with his God. He writes in parables, pointing out the spiritual significance of the life before him.

LaGard says in his Introduction "In Quiet Places": "The Scriptures tell us that Enoch 'walked with God,' as also did Noah. It's the way of the righteous to walk each day with God. As the prophet Micah saw it, walking with God leads us to the very heart of our purpose for living: 'He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.' How could we not be humble, knowing that our Maker has invited us to share each day with him, whether we are literally taking a walk or perhaps unable to walk at all?"  He ends by saying that it is his hope that you will "experience new depths of love and new heights of faith in your daily walk with God." I echo that hope.

The life which includes quiet villages and tranquil hills is going to teach you about yourself and your purpose for living. You do have a purpose, you know! Are you fulfilling your purpose? If you can't answer yes to that question, take some time to ask yourself, why not? I believe that many of us live a life that is stuck in survival mode. We feel lucky to get through a day, much less think about its purpose. You are the only one who can change that mode of operation. Only you can decide to make your life more meaningful and worthwhile.

I must warn you that once you make that decision, Satan will send his legions to make it very difficult for you to take that first step. Without your desire to stand firm in the strength of your conviction--that at this point in your life, you want to live a better life, and a happier and more satisfying life--it will not happen!
There are some things you can do to get yourself started if you can outsmart the voice of your ego. You'll hear this voice immediately upon deciding to change something. It will spread doubt and fear all over everything. It will also perpetrate a fatigue and mental malaise which you may never have experienced in such large quantities before. You have the advantage because you are expecting it, but you may not be expecting the tirelessness of your opponent.
It may take some time for you to get the upper hand, and you must become the Captain of your own soul in order to defeat such a force. Don't let that scare you...you must know by now that Satan is always strong at first and wins quickly or not at all. But you have God on your side!
To fake out your ego, you can go slowly. Do something mundane, like putting a note to yourself on the refrigerator reminding you to read or listen to some Bible verses, or even just to give your mother a call, or a friend--you get the idea, I think.
I found wonderful recordings of the Bible called the Word of Promise. Actors read the scripture while appropriate music and sounds are in the background. I got my set at a Family Christian Store. You can buy the sets separately. And they have sales. All of you who work every day can still have a part of your day devoted to hearing God's word. I promise you that it will change your life for the better.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Rachel's Tomb: Memorialized Over 3,000 Years

Rachel's Tomb is behind these walls today. There is a school for women in there among other rooms.

Why am I choosing to talk about Rachel's tomb? When I  discovered that Rachel's tomb had been enlarged to what it is today, and had been fought over by Israelis and Muslims, and that it has been honored by both for over 3,000 years--closer to 3,500 years--it was an amazing fact to me and I wanted to share it. The second picture is of Rachel's tomb in 1910.

 Because Rachel was childless and Leah was having many sons, Rachel prayed to God and was given two sons: Joseph and Benjamin. What can our prayers accomplish? Rachel was desperate when she prayed to God after having said to her husband: "Give me children, or else I die!"
About 2 years ago, I was writing a lesson about Jacob and his wives--Leah and Rachel. The story goes that after Rachel had Joseph, Jacob decided to return to his homeland. Rachel was expecting their second child, and on the way back went into labor. Just after having Benjamin, Rachel died, and "She was buried there with a stone marker that still stands today." For some reason, the idea that her marker was still there was compelling, and I searched for "Rachel's Tomb" online with a picture in my mind of a deserted area far out in the country and a small stone on her grave.

The images that I saw online were stunning, and so different from what was in my own mind that I laughed out loud. It was a WOW factor that I haven't forgotten, and I asked you to look it up to see if you would have the same reaction. Rachel died over 3,000 years ago and she has been honored ever since! The original 13 stones, each representing Jacob and the 12 tribes of Israel were there for hundreds of years.

And throughout the centuries people have gone there to visit the grave and pray. The original stones have been added to and extended so that on the present site, there is a compound surrounding the original tomb and a school that is enclosed with walls. The tomb is on a rather busy street in the city of Bethlehem. All in all, an amazing development in so many ways. But to me, it demonstrates in a dramatic way the power of faith--not in ourselves, not in another person, or another creature of some kind, but in God!

You and I can have what is called "the butterfly effect," if you remember that each thought and each act moves through the universe endlessly. You can learn to reflect on our days and determine if you are becoming a better person or adding to the misery of the human race. You can decide this very moment to be a better person by being kinder, by behaving better, by having a loving attitude, and by creating a more meaningful relationship with God every day.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Recipe & A Challenge

I want to thank everyone for their comments about my blog site. It is encouraging to hear from so many friends and family!
Today I want to share a recipe for breakfast from the French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook written by Mireille Guiliano. Mireille loves yogurt and says it is her secret weapon. She makes her own (as I do), and so there are many recipes using yogurt in her new cookbook. However, the one I've been eating for a couple of weeks now is a favorite, and I want to give it to you.
Mireille says it's a slow, but sure way to lose ten pounds effortlessly in a summer. It will also help to drop pounds if you eat a normal, but modest lunch and dinner (soup or salad, fish, two vegetables, and fruit). Cutting out two offenders (like bread and desserts) could add up to substantial weight loss in a reasonable time. You tell me how well it works!

The recipe is called MAGICAL BREAKFAST CREAM (without cream). For 1 serving:

1/2 cup of yogurt (or ricotta, cottage cheese)
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil (or sesame oil, safflower oil)
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (or orange juice, grapefruit juice)
1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup--adjusting to your taste)
2 tablespoons finely ground cereal (such as shredded wheat, buckwheat, barley, oatmeal, or any cereal that contains no sugar, a key in this recipe)
2 teaspoons finely ground walnuts (or hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, pine nuts or any you like)

Mirelle's directions:

1. Put the yogurt in a bowl and add the oil. Mix well. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Add the honey and mix well. This makes a homogeneous preparation.
2. Finely grind the cereal and walnuts in a small food processor. Add to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Serve at once.

I use an organic instant oatmeal that I put in a bowl and pour lemon or orange juice over first to "cook" it. Then I add all the other ingredients. I usually add fruit as well.

I hope some of you will try this recipe and let me know how you like it.

Now for the CHALLENGE! I am asking all of you who will, to Google the term: "Rachel's Tomb." There will be pictures and information, both of which you should look at and read.

I would like to hear your responses to what you see and find out. Tomorrow I will tell you my story about finding this site and talk about Rachel's tomb.

Jamie, one of my granddaughters, is here visiting and we're enjoying being together.
Blessings to all of you!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Introduction to my Blog

I'm beginning this blog to share a lifetime of experiences and what I hope is "wisdom." I have a large family that includes women of all ages who are moving through their lives much as I did years ago, and it is to all these women that I dedicate this blog.

I began married life (so I thought) as a pretty good wife, housekeeper, mother and Christian. But it wasn't long before I was lost in a sea of overwhelming demands and duties which kept me from being anywhere close to the "woman I wanted to be." So I began a search for what Sarah Ban Breathnach calls the authentic self: I wanted to be the best wife, the best housekeeper, the best mother and the best Christian I could be. If that sounds easy--it hasn't been!

I was going along with a husband, Richard, and three daughters--Paula, Lisa, and Donna-- when I experienced extreme pain in my back. There was a year of doctors and hospital stays to determine the cause, but to no avail. My husband saw my depression and decided that I needed something to divert my attention. He talked me into going to college. I absolutely loved learning, but it was a miserable time for me and my family; however, we got through it. My success was mainly due to my husband and his unflagging support and care throughout those years. The cause of my pain was discovered six years after it began. And so we entered another phase of our lives.

I am explaining all of this to create a background for much of what I will be expressing in my blogs: that while we're planning our lives, LIFE gets in the way and takes us on a path we never expected. While moving through my own life, I added some new ways of becoming a better person: I wanted to be the best writer, the best artist, and the best person in every way that I could become. I have read many books and listened to many talks on changing my life. Sadly, my husband died in 1996, so I'm a widow who views life differently for many reasons.

Where am I now? I'm still moving toward my goal: being the woman I want to be. That still includes being a good mother and now a good grandmother and a good great-grandmother, but it also includes--most importantly--being the best Christian I can be. Toward that goal, I am writing Bible lessons for my brother's website. These lessons are being written mainly for people in foreign countries who don't have much access to Bible teaching. I take the words on the page and put them into my own words, making the message easier to understand. This may sound easy peasy, but it is hard work!

I pray that my thoughts on living in a world of chaos, while doing my best to be a good person, may help you move further in that direction. I have just had my 70th birthday; I'm hoping to make the next 10 years of my life the very best years of my life! And I hope you'll help me with that goal.

Also, along the way, I have improved on my cooking and sewing and housekeeping skills, so I want to share those moments which make me happy to be alive and thankful that I kept on struggling with that recipe, or that zipper, or that paragraph I was writing. I try to remember that everything I'm seeking is out there somewhere and I just have to find it. How to go about that is a subject for another blog!

Love and blessings to everyone who reads my story.

P.S. Because I had requests to separate my regular/personal blog from my religious writing, I started a new blog: http://biblememosfrommimi.blogspot.com/.