Weeping Cherries

faith, family, food and frugality

Harvest October 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 5:33 pm

My hands are covered in a layer of rosemary sap so thick I could scrape it off.  Bits and pieces of dried herbs cover my floor, table and counters and my little two year olds are scampering around with little glass jars collecting the bits for their big sister to use in her “herb concoction”.  Dishes pile up and so does the laundry but lots and lots of home industry is taking place this day.

1400425_10151878326621855_390149130_o

Dried herbs are being blended and packaged for winter cabinets, honey is being infused on the stove top, and packages are being made for herbal tea orders.  To some it would appear chaotic. To let little ones join the family work usually looks that way but hearing my oldest daughter Ara, who is seven, remark that creating things with herbs is like living a dream makes it all worth it.

Last night I sat at my kitchen table, long after little heads were snoozing in their beds and even my husband’s rhythmic snore hummed from our bedroom.  It was a rare occasion where I let Ara stay up so late but she was working hard on an herbal creation and since I was up getting orders together I let her creative process continue.  As a result, right now there are lavender and mint leaves steeping in a covered bowl for a night time herbal bath treat this evening!
I sat there mixing tea leaves and listening to her babble, “There is no wrong way to mix an herbal creation, you know, you just take whatever herbs have the properties that you want and bruise them over and over again with your hands and they turn the water green.  Lavender will be so relaxing and the mint will be refreshing.  Is there anything better than wonderful herbs? I am basically living a dream…” … and on and on she went.  I think she was daydreaming that she was recording her own documentary.  It was wonderful.
Today, during the second cuttings of rosemary in the garden, Ruth and Anna toddled around behind me holding the bag as I snipped away and we quickly filled it to the top.  They would pull one out and smell it and proclaim, “MMMM!!! Rosemary” in tiny little hushed voices.  Then we would head into the kitchen to place them on the tray to dry with cries of “I’ll help you, I’ll help you, Mama.”
560855_2313102149033_1475632093_n 1185049_2313102229035_776447731_n
photo by my talented sister
Harvest time makes for a harried home but a happy heart.
happy heart

 

 

Messes and Mercy September 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 3:54 pm
Tags: ,

Image

 

Today is a day that I am thankful for God’s grace in my life and the life of my children. My house looks like a tornado blew through it, and it smells of an odd combination: cleaning products and poo. Tonight my family very well may eat packaged frozen gluten free chicken nuggets on paper plates and James spent most of the day playing leapfrog letters on the computer while I scrubbed before mentioned poo. There are days when I would feel like today was a massive failure. 

Image

My housekeeping would make me feel guilty; I would worry that my children would get cancer from the microwave zapped meal; and I would worry that my son would grow up to be a lazy 30 year old in my basement playing video games because of his computer time.

Image

 

Today; however, I am thankful that God has the power and mercy to redeem the time in ways I was unable to. He has taught my daughter through her independent schoolwork today; he calmed me to where I was mindful enough to cherish the time I had cuddling and feeding John, singing to him about his Savior; the kids begged for more chapters read aloud from 2 Samuel at lunch- no matter the nutritional contents of it~they were fed; and they learned that Mama is human and fails when I had to apologize for getting upset when they woke the baby as soon as I laid him down.

Image

 

I am reminded of a quote I read somewhere, “If you can’t have grace in the moment- Have grace in the turnaround.”

 

Introducing…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 3:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Image

JT.  Sweet John Thomas was born at the end of August and has filled our lives with so much more love!  Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

 

“Gratefulness” or “Why I Will Probably Never Write A Novel” June 27, 2013

Image

When I was a child, I used to write a lot of fiction: how the world became colorful; about the lady who lived in the old Victorian home on Weeping Cherry street; about the neighbors my brother and I spied on; and the missionary in Cambodia. I wrote poems and songs and day dreamed 100 stories for every one I put to paper.

I always imagined writing a great piece of fiction someday. I think a lot of people dream that- writing the great American novel. So, I often wondered why the dream died to some extent. Why all my current writing was of the non-fiction variety? They were simple stories about funny things the kids have done; writings about my home, the people in it and the garden we grow or the food that we share.

Image

I would sit and try to think of something imaginary to write about because I had such an enormous imagination when I was little. Do you outgrow an imagination? Do you become cynical with age or do you stop dreaming?

Tonight, for Father’s Day (yes, it took me a while to get this post up) my husband and I munched on popcorn and watched a movie called “The Magic of Belle Isle”. In the movie the main character, an author, stops writing after the death of his wife until a little 9 year old girl wants him to teach her how to imagine a story. She and her family inspire him to dream all new dreams again and he begins to write. Watching, I wondered again to myself, “why don’t I write a story?” Always followed by the question, “but what would I write about?”.

This time, I realized something.

 I write little bits about my life and the craziness and wonderfulness that goes with it instead of spending my nights writing out of a dream world because my reality far surpasses my imagination. How many people can say that? I am amazingly blessed just thinking about it.

894648_10151462710756855_1684379946_o

I found a journal some months back that contained my dreams and prayers and thoughts dating to when I was just 17 years old. As I read over those prayers, it overwhelmed me to realize that I am currently living them (well, all except the big old farmhouse or Victorian restoration home). From little things like my garden and bookshelves full of books, to big things like my husband and a house full of children. Things that God didn’t need to bless me with to bring glory to Himself or even satisfaction in my life and yet He did.

Which makes me smile… and makes me want to write about them and tell everyone… and makes me want to pinch myself some days to see if it is real… and makes me want to document it for all time for those days when things are really hard and I forget.   

It is the reason I can sit in front of a blank word processing screen thinking about making up some story and then before I can begin, tales of the day begin filling the pages instead because real life is so much better than any dream or hope or plan that I could have for myself.

quote

That said, I still dream. I dream about my children’s lives. I don’t write these down because I have learned that what God has in store for them will meet or exceed every dream I may have for them. I wouldn’t want my children to read the dreams that I have for them some day and be limited by them or somehow think that Mama’s plan is God’s plan. However, there is one dream for my children that fills most of the pages of my journals. It is one that I want them to know that their Mama always prayed for them and their lives. If I could dream one thing for my children and look back on it one day when I am old and gray (if God should choose to give me breath until that day)- it would be that my children would be called by Him and saved and walking in faith.

mama love

print by: Ron DiCianni

I dream of the day that I can look back at my young, 30 year old self’s journal and see the pages covered with that prayer and swinging on my front porch swing (maybe even on the porch of an old farmhouse or Victorian restoration) become overwhelmed by the reality that my children have been blessed with everything I have dreamed for them. I understand the scripture, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4) It would be my greatest joy.

May my children realize that in this culture of virtual reality and even in the wonderful world of books, the best story is the real one God is working out in their lives each day.

~Jen

 

Applemint Tea May 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 6:51 pm
Tags: , ,

Several people have asked for my recipe for applemint tea so I figured posting it here and sending the link would be easier than separately messaging everyone.  Without further ado, Applemint Tea.

Method One (Hot Steep)

Gather up a bowl full of applemint sprigs.

Image

Fill a pan with about 2 quarts of water and bring it to a boil.  Bruise and rip the leaves and stems.  Turn off the heat and add the applemint.  Steep until the water turns a beautiful light greenish tan.

Image

Before straining if you would like to sweeten the tea, add your desired sweetener.  Depending on who I am fixing it for, I usually use stevia or honey and just sweeten to taste.  You want to add the sweetener before it chills over ice because you want the sugar particles or honey or whatever to dissolve well.  While the tea is steeping, I prepare two quart mason jars by filling them with ice cubes and placing a filter over the mouth of the jar. I use cheese cloth or even cone coffee filters depending on what I have on hand.  Then I tighten the jar band to hold it in place and pour the tea through to strain out any leaves and stems.Image

Cap it, shake it up and enjoy!

Method Two (Cold Water Steeping)

Sorry, I don’t have any pictures for this one but I did find a you tube link to the video where I first learned about applemint tea and how to cold steep it.  This method is fun to do with children but I do think the hot steeping method provides a stronger flavor!  In this video, the recipe starts at 20 minutes and 3 seconds in so you can skip to that section if you like but the whole video is great fun!

I hope you grow to love the summer tradition of applemint tea as much as I do!

IMAG0580

 

A Mother’s Reflection April 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 10:05 pm
Tags: , ,

Image

I don’t get a chance to post on here very often, I know.  I appreciate those of you readers who still hang in there with me :).  Since my last post, to quickly update you- we are expecting a little boy in September!  My baby girls are 1 1/2 and the stories about twins working together to create mischief is oh-so-very true.  They are just a crazy bunch of joy!  My little man is 3 and a crazy bunch of energy!  He keeps me on my toes and my face in smiles.  And now, to what brought me here to type to you all tonight- my daughter.

My sweet Aralyn Elizabeth turns 7 tomorrow. 

Image

 

When I was expecting with her, I was told by other mothers that having a child was like having a piece of your heart walking around outside your body.  I have found this to be true with each of my children and they are all small pieces of my heart- living, breathing, flesh of my own.  

Each of my children is special to me for different reasons.  Ordained by God to be a perfect fit for our family.  I have names for each of them that are just special ones Mama calls them.  James is my Sunshine boy.  He brings so much joy and fun to my heart.

Ruth is my Songbird.  She is my spunky, fiery sparkler who is always humming something and singing sweet as can be.

Anna is my Grace.  When she was born, she was could not breath or eat on her own.  She had to be revived and survived on a breathing tube and was fed through her belly for a day or so until she started fighting and it was as if God breathed new life into her body and every day I feel His grace when I think of her.  She is also the sweetest thing you will ever meet and so far, my only calm one of the bunch :)

But Ara.  Oh my Ara.  She is Mama’s heart.  I have called her my heart from the beginning because every bit of who God created me in my innermost self, the essence of who I am- my heart- I see in my daughter.  When I read of David and how God called him a man after His own heart, I think of Ara.

I can’t really even put into words the connection that we have.  The feelings that we share.  The love that we both feel for people and the deep joy we feel at the same portions of scripture or beauty of creation. So much so that I will stop trying.

Image

My sister took these pictures.  In them, I think you will see just how special this little one is to me.  She is her Mama’s girl.  She is my heart.  

I love you Aralyn Elizabeth.  Happy Birthday!

Image

Image

Image

 

ImageImage

 

Mother’s Day (a realization) May 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 8:47 am

My mother’s day was full of ups and downs.  The morning started sweetly as my 6 year old brought me a present- her favorite necklace, wrapped in a sock and tied with a ribbon.  Then we got ready for church and I wanted just one picture of me with my children before heading out where inevitably their outfits would be pooped on, spilled on, etc…  This is what we got.  Yep, this one picture sums up the day so well.

I had a wonderful time with my husband’s Mom and family after church spoiled by a great meal that Papa Jim made and brought over for us to all eat. (The good)

Then they left and my children fell apart.  More than likely the result of delayed naps and worn out from all their play, I had three screaming little ones and my head started reeling. (The bad)

Then things got ugly.  Because of me and my misplaced expectations.  For some reason, every time Mother’s Day rolls around I get the bee in my bonnet thinking that it will be a day of rest and relaxation.  The reality is, I am still a Mom- even on Mother’s Day.  I realize for some of you this is a pretty obvious revelation but this has been a process for me in seeing my own sin and tendency towards selfishness.  I heard nasty words coming out of my mouth to my husband as I expressed “just for one day, I want to be selfish and go upstairs and take a nap!”  Yes, I said that.  I’m not proud of it.  I needed God’s gentle correction, which I received in the following thought.

Not audibly, mind you but just as clear, “Jen look around you.  Look at what you have, not what you don’t have.  You may not be taking a nap right now but don’t dwell on that.  Dwell on the deeply compassionate heart I put in your daughter that blesses you everyday.  Dwell on the joyful spirit of James that lifts your heart.  Dwell on my generosity in pouring down a double blessing on you with Ruth and Anna.  Dwell on these things and truly celebrate what motherhood is.  A wonderfully messy, sanctifying, challenging, joy-filled, grace-filled blessing.”

The good, the bad, the ugly.  Its all made beautiful in Christ.

I am not a perfect mother.  Mother’s day isn’t about that, thankfully.  It also isn’t a free pass to cease all motherly duties.  In fact, we don’t see a Mother’s day celebration at all in scripture.  This is not to say that celebrating mothers is unbiblical.  I believe God has a special place in his heart for mothers.  I see this in the relationship Jesus had with his earthly mother Mary and His desire to see her cared for when He left this Earth.  This is simply to say that I don’t find anywhere, “One day a year, thou shalt be selfish and it be justified”  It’s still sin.  Even on Mother’s Day.

It just like that picture I wanted.  I wanted my children all smiling looking at the camera, clothes spotless, glad to have their picture taking for Mama.  But what I wanted wouldn’t reflect the reality of our life.  Which is better, because it is real.

On Mother’s Day I wanted a picture perfect day.  Kids smiling, serving me, obeying each command, glad to celebrate their Mama.  But that isn’t our life, and God knows better because that isn’t what I needed yesterday.  I needed to be taught a lesson which is actually a great gift.  Not wrapped in pretty trimmings but just as special as a ribbon tied sock.  :)

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 234 other followers