Recipe Friday: Comforting Oatmeal

RecipeFridayComfortingOatmeal

When I want a little comfort food, I like it to be healthy, especially when there are unpleasant bugs going around. I want to be careful not to compromise my immune system with sugar; however, comfort often means sweet (at least, a little).

Enter a traditional favorite: oatmeal.

I go heavy on the spices because they’re so good for the immune system, and they also lend a bit of sweetness. And don’t be afraid to throw in the butter. Good food includes plenty of healthy fats: fats are not only good for the body’s systems and your brain, they also carry the flavor.

Kathy’s Comforting Oatmeal

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients:

4 or 5 hours before, or the night before:

  • 2 cups oats (use whatever is on hand: rolled / old fashioned; quick; use only 1/2 cup if using steel cut oats)
  • Filtered water
  • 2 Tbs kefir or yogurt

When you make it:

  • 2 Tbs cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each of powdered spices: nutmeg, cloves, allspice
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • Several dashes Himalayan or mineral salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Optional ingredients:

  • Fresh or dried fruit, such as raisins, chopped dates, or fresh or frozen peaches
  • Sweetener (you may not need this with the fruit), such as pure maple syrup, sucanat, stevia, or coconut palm sugar
  • Dairy or non-dairy milk
  • Peanut butter (I know – weird – but I tried it once and I like it)

Directions:

  • Put the oats into a medium-size saucepan. Add enough water to cover the oats. (You’ll need extra water for steel cut oats: the ratio is 1:4, i.e., if you use ½ cup oats, then 2 cups water.) Add the kefir or yogurt, and stir. Allow to soak 4 or 5 hours, or overnight. (I discuss benefits of soaking grains here.)
  • When you are ready to prepare your oatmeal, put the oats on to a low simmer until cooked: 5 minutes for quick oats; 10 minutes for rolled / old fashioned oats; 15-20 minutes for steel cut oats.
  • Add the spices, butter, salt, and vanilla.
  • Add optional ingredients.
  • Stir together and heat it back up.
  • Serve hot.

Sometimes I make “Apple Raisin Stuff:” I chop up apples, add a little water and some raisins, and simmer until the apples are soft. I throw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice. I keep it in the ‘fridge or freezer to use in pies or to mix some into my oatmeal.

What do you like to put in your oatmeal?

Wardee Webclass Opportunity

From Wardee Harmon:

When you attend the free webclass, I’ll give you all the practical, frugal, and simple strategies I know, in hopes that you and your family will be able to weather this world’s current and future storms as best you can (always Lord willing).

If you follow the 17 tips, many of them you can implement IMMEDIATELY, you’ll be less dependent on the grocery store, you’ll be healthier and more able to ward off or heal from illness, and you can start now to build up your own real food pantry (on a budget) so you’re better prepared if and when hard times come again.

Please join me at the free webclass by clicking the link below to save your seat. (limited spots available)

God bless you and I’ll see you there!

https://traditionalcookingschool.com/lp/webclass-real-food-budget-free/.

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5 TIPS TO SURVIVE THESE DAYS

Here are sage and calm words from Brenda to help us through these unique times.

Becoming HIS Tapestry

Hey friends, how are you today? How was your week? Did you miss me? I missed you guys.I missed the encouragements and the happenings in your life.So, how are you? What’s been going on in your life? Have you or someone you know been affected by COVID’19?

We’ve made three trips to Ohio in just about atwo-week period. We picked up the girls for spring break, took them back to school, went a few days later, to pick them up again.This time, the universities and colleges were advised to close for at least two weeks due to the threat of the virus.So presently, they’re completing their classes at home, which surprisingly, they do not mind.I do not mind the change either, it’s almost like homeschooling all over, except I’m not responsible for their classes; a blessing for which I am very thankful.I am very grateful that they’re home with us…

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Supplications

Supplications

In my daily quiet time with God, I like to talk with Him. I read His Word and meditate on what I read. I praise Him and confess my sins. I also have prayer requests. In the Bible, these are called supplications (2 Chronicles 6.21; 1 Kings 8.54; 1 Timothy 2.1; Psalm 28.2; Daniel 9.3; Psalm 143.1).

Following are some of the supplications I pray regularly for myself, my husband, and our marriage. I post them in case they are of help to you. Most of these prayers are interchangeable, in that you can pray whatever for yourself / spouse / friend / parent, etc.

God bless you.

Prayers to Consider:

For Self:

  • Instill in me a love for Your Word
  • Show me how you value me, that I may find my worth, my self-esteem, in You
  • Be strong in me, that I may let Your strength be my strength, and that I may not be a slave to my own fears or selfishness, that I may go forth and do Your will
  • Fill me with Your Holy Spirit
  • Show me new and wonderful things from Your Word:
    • How I may obey You
    • Promises You have for me
    • Insights into the way I should live and serve
    • Your wisdom, Your love
  • I put my flesh to death, that You might live through me
  • Give me gratefulness, mold my heart to be more grateful
  • Work in me so that my desire to do right is more, and becomes stronger, than my desire to be right
  • Thank You for the health You have given me. I pray I would not abuse that blessing, but that I would be a good caretaker of Your gifts. I pray specifically about my eating habits. I pray You would be strong in me when I want to eat too much or eat the wrong thing; make me weak so that I may be strong in You.
  • Teach me contentment in every circumstance
  • Teach me to be humble; give me a teachable spirit
  • Give me Your vision, Lord, I pray; give me Your wisdom and love
  • Lord, change my desires so that they perfectly correspond to Your will for me
  • Lord, guide me through my lifestyle choices
  • Give me discernment as to my daily schedule
  • Open doors to those things that are Your will for me: home, family, work, community, relationships
  • Reveal my sin to me, and lead me to repentance
  • Teach me how to be a people-person as You were: how to remember names and faces and circumstances, how to cherish people
  • May I always be sensitive and obedient to Your leading, Your correction, Your presence
  • Teach me how to surrender to You, and how good it is
  • Being wrong ≠ shameful
  • When I see sin in my husband, show me how to handle it according to Your Word; I pray Your Spirit guide me in my words, facial expressions, actions, and attitudes
  • Teach me how to forgive according to Your will
  • Show me Your intentions for our marriage: I am to be his helpmeet
  • Help me to adjust my expectations to fit Your vision
  • Give me eyes to see Your blessings, and appreciate them

For Husband:

  • I pray You will build up my husband so that no matter what trials come, he will be able to stand strong in You through them
  • I pray You would make my husband a man of integrity, according to Your standards. Make him a man who lives by Your truth; help him to walk with Your Spirit of Truth at all times. Be with him to bear witness to Your Truth. Do not let him be deceived in any way, do not let him live a lie in any way.
  • Show me how to love my husband so that he never feels like he’s “going it alone.” I pray he would so know You that he would know he is never alone, but that You always love him, cherish him, and are looking out for his best interests.
  • Reveal his sin to him, and lead him to repentance
  • Teach him how to surrender to You, and how good it is
  • I pray his eyes and heart are ever with You
  • May he have an obedient heart toward You
  • Give my husband eyes and heart for me; give him understanding for who I am, and respect for what he sees.
  • Reveal to my husband your direction for his daily and long-term life. Show him how to lead his household. Give him eyes to see You. Give him a heart to receive You.
  • Give my husband wisdom in decision-making for our family. Provide wise counsel for him.
  • Instill in him a gnawing hunger for Your Word. May he delight in reading it, may it be sweet to his taste.
  • Fill him with Your Holy Spirit

For Marriage:

  • Show us how to love each other in the way we need, in the way You want us to meet each other’s needs
  • Intervene in our communication so that our words express truth in love; and give us ears to really hear each other
  • Show me how You see my husband, how You love him
  • Help me help my husband through his struggle(s) with sin; show me what You need me to be for him
  • I see much greatness and potential for greatness in my husband. I pray You will grow my respect for him as I am obedient to You in this, that I may honor and encourage that greatness
  • I am to respect my husband. I die to self in this, and submit my will to the leading of Your perfect Spirit.
  • May my countenance be pleasing or edifying to my husband.
  • Pr 24.3, 4 May we build our house through Your wisdom, establish it by Your understanding, and fill the chambers with all pleasant and precious riches by Your knowledge
  • I pray You would remove temptation from our lives. I pray Your hedge of protection around each and both of us. Give us eyes and wisdom to discern and flee from evil.
  • I pray Your protection from any accidents, diseases, dangers, and evil influences
  • I pray our schedules would mesh
  • I pray You bring us good friends, Godly people who love You, in whom we can confide and trust and share and comfort. I pray for Godly friends in couples and for each of us. When our friends are not Godly, not Christian, I pray You lead the words of their mouths and ours, and that You would work through us in them.
  • We each have our own pasts, Lord, and lies and truths we believe because of how we were raised and our experiences. I pray You give us the grace and wisdom to put the past behind us; that You would overcome our lies and strongholds; that You would fill those places with Your light and truth and love.
  • Teach us and lead us to avoid and put away evil in our lives: media influences, music, items in our houses, people
  • Show us how you desire us to handle the resources You have given us to handle: money, food, time, family (close and extended), home, relationships
  • Reveal our sin to us, and lead us to repentance
  • Teach us how to surrender to You, and how good it is
  • May we pray deeply together, regularly; teach us to pray
  • Teach us to live as though we are healed, because You heal us
  • Pr 19.23 Teach us to live in the fear of the Lord
  • Teach us to always forgive each other
  • We stand in need of Your grace, direction, mercy, and moving of Your Holy Spirit within us, of Your light and truth. I pray for ears to hear and eyes to see You and each other.

Are We Listening? Are We Ready?

niacaraw brings up some crucial points to meditate upon; please read:

FREE

The past few days have been a whirlwind. We have been bombarded with news about the deadly Coronavirus. Schools have closed and made preparations to take instruction online. There is a shortage of toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, and bottled water. People are wearing masks and gloves. It reminds me of some of the scary movies I’ve seen where a mysterious virus has plagued the earth and wiped out its inhabitants. There is a state of urgency and hysteria. People are in a frenzy to prepare. I can remember the same thing happening when the year 2000 came. People were preparing like it was the end of the world. As I was praying for God’s peace, grace, and protection, the Lord dropped something in my spirit. He asked, “What if people prepared for my coming like they are preparing for the Coronavirus?” Today, I want us to ponder this question for…

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Isaiah 54: 7 and 8

Isaiah54 7and8

For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. Isaiah 54.7, 8

Isaiah 54.7

For a brief
קָטֹ֖ן (qā·ṭōn) Small, young, unimportant

moment
בְּרֶ֥גַע (bə·re·ḡa‘) A wink, a very short space of time

I forsook you,
עֲזַבְתִּ֑יךְ (‘ă·zaḇ·tîḵ)  To loosen, relinquish, permit

but with great
גְּדֹלִ֖ים (gə·ḏō·lîm)  Great, older, insolent

compassion
וּבְרַחֲמִ֥ים (ū·ḇə·ra·ḥă·mîm)  Compassion, the womb, a maiden

I will bring you back.
אֲקַבְּצֵֽךְ׃ (’ă·qab·bə·ṣêḵ)  To gather, collect

 

Isaiah 54.8

In a surge
בְּשֶׁ֣צֶף (bə·še·ṣep̄) An outburst

of anger
קֶ֗צֶף (qe·ṣep̄) A splinter, rage, strife

I hid
הִסְתַּ֨רְתִּי (his·tar·tî)  To hide, conceal

My face
פָנַ֥י (p̄ā·nay)  The face

from you
מִמֵּ֔ךְ (mim·mêḵ)  A part of, from, out of

for a moment,
רֶ֙גַע֙ (re·ḡa‘) A wink, a very short space of time

but with everlasting
עוֹלָ֖ם (‘ō·w·lām)  Concealed, eternity, frequentatively, always

kindness
וּבְחֶ֥סֶד (ū·ḇə·ḥe·seḏ)  Kindness, piety, reproof, beauty

I will have compassion on you,”
רִֽחַמְתִּ֑יךְ (ri·ḥam·tîḵ)  To fondle, to love, to compassionate

says
אָמַ֥ר (’ā·mar)  To utter, say

the LORD
יְהוָֽה׃ (Yah·weh)  LORD — the proper name of the God of Israel

your Redeemer.
גֹּאֲלֵ֖ךְ (gō·’ă·lêḵ)  To redeem, act as kinsman

In my devotions this morning, I came upon Isaiah 54.8. I wondered what it meant for God to hide His face from us, even for a moment. Jesus cried out, wondering why God had forsaken Him. But God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (first in Joshua 1.5, and again in Hebrews 13.5).

As I studied in the original language, I see that each word has differing renditions in English, as all translations do. But what I see is this:

God never leaves us, never forsakes us. It is not in His nature to do so, therefore He can’t. The translation tells me that, in His love and in His perfect (and highly justified) anger, God loosened us (v7) to go our own way. He hid His face from us.

When we speak of hiding one’s face from another, in colloquial terms it means to turn away from; in so doing we can’t see each other’s eyes. It doesn’t work that way with God. He can hide His face from us (we can’t see Him), but He still sees us, He’s still right there – He’s ALWAYS there, He NEVER leaves us. I think it means that He is shielding Himself from our eyes, that we can’t see Him for a moment. He is showing us what things might look like if He was out of our view.

And it is rightly terrifying. When we can’t see God, when we think He is nowhere to be found, our very knees shake and buckle.

And that’s when we fall on our faces before Him. In that moment / wink / short space of time, we realize our need for Him. When we bow before Him, we are able to see Him again. We can see His kindness and compassion. He will bring us back.

I want God to bring us back.

Healthy / Immune Boosting Articles

I get a lot of good, healthy information in several e-newsletters.

One of my newsletters is from Dr Josh Axe. I recommend signing up for anything he puts out; or, visit his site often. 😊 This article presents 8 herbs that have proven worth in keeping your immune system working well. I would add elderberry to it (because elderberry research shows it is effective at preventing the replication of viruses), and I have a recipe for making your own elderberry syrup here. In his article, Dr Axe describes what a virus is, and provides good advice on how to treat them with anti-viral herbs: https://draxe.com/nutrition/antiviral-herbs/.

In another article, Dr Axe extols the benefits of mullein: https://draxe.com/nutrition/mullein/.

Another of my go-to sources for natural health is Dr Eric Zelinski, and his wife, Sabrina (aka Dr Z and Mama Z). In this article, they specifically address the coronavirus: prep tips, myths, and self-care: https://naturallivingfamily.com/coronavirus-myths/.

And, because sugar is one of the top killers of your immune system, I post this webinar opportunity again, the Get off Your Sugar Summit: https://getoffsugarsummit.com/.

Recipe Friday: Calendula Oil

RecipeFridayCalendulaOil2

Ah, calendula (aka marigold)! It is known to be a soothing remedy for skin.

According to Sade Musa at https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/calendula-oil/ :

This powerful medicinal plant is beloved around the world, finding its way into countless home remedies and commercial skin care products, especially on account of its skin-restorative abilities. Calendula is a premier skin support herb with broad medicinal use. Applied externally, Calendula is a powerful wound healer: soothing traumatized, inflamed tissue and stimulating rapid growth of healthy skin cells.1 Calendula not only helps wounds heal quicker, it reduces their risk of becoming infected and scarred.2 The astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties of the herb grant its ability to not only treat, but prevent, sunburns3 – while its moistening nature hydrates dry, itchy skin. Calendula also has an affinity for the lymphatic system: addressing fluid stagnation, supporting the elimination of toxins, and relieving conditions such as varicose veins, bruises, and sore muscles. Massaging Calendula oil into your skin daily can help to achieve healthy, toned skin.


Text from https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/calendula-oil/
Copyright © 2020 LearningHerbs.

Another good site: https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/making-herbal-oils

Please go to either of the above-listed websites to learn more about this calming, beneficial herb and how to prepare it for home use.

You can infuse calendula into a carrier oil, and then use that infused oil on your skin as-is, or as an ingredient in salves and ointments.

Please be sure to use organic calendula flowers and organic oil, so you’re not mixing unwanted chemicals in with your precious oil.

If you infuse calendula in oil, make sure to dry the flowers first, as the moisture in the flowers may cause the infusion to go rancid.

You may put the dried flowers into a blender first, to grind them slightly. This provides more surface area for the oil to absorb the good properties.

The basic recipe is to fill a glass container about ½ full with the dried flowers. Then fill the container almost full with your preferred carrier oil: I use jojoba most of the time, but other possibilities are olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil.

Many recipes I see call for soaking the dried flowers in the oil in a warm spot (i.e., sunny window) for 4-6 weeks. Make sure the oil completely covers the flowers by a good margin to prevent air reaching the flowers and causing mold. Put a lid on it. Cover with a paper bag to protect from damaging UV rays. Shake the container once a day.

A faster method (anywhere from 4 to 24 hours):

  • Use a heat-proof glass container, such as a Pyrex measuring cup or Mason jar. Do not put a lid on it.
  • Use a low heat source such as a crock pot, yogurt maker, or oven; temp should be 250 – 300 degrees. Alternatively, you can use a warm-water bath: Create a double-boiler by placing a canning ring in the pan. Put the flower/oil container in the pan, and fill the pan with warm water (careful not to spill any water into the oil). Put the pan on the stove and turn the heat to lowest setting. Turn the burner off and on occasionally to maintain a temperature between 250 and 300 degrees.
  • Continue heating for 4 – 6 hours, or until the oil takes on the deep color of the flower. If your temperature is low, it may take up to 24 hours.
  • When the oil is ready, take it off the heat and allow to cool.
  • Strain the oil through a potato ricer or fine mesh sieve.
  • For more filtering, strain through a coffee filter.
  • The calendula flowers can be composted.
  • Store in a tightly covered glass container. Dark glass is preferred.
  • If you store the oil in a cool, dark place, it should last 1 – 2 years. Or, keep the oil refrigerated until ready to use. When you use it as an ingredient in an ointment or salve or cream, etc., use that product within a few months.

RecipeFridayCalendulaOilPhoto from https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/calendula-oil/

Whiling Away the Airport

I don’t travel by air often, but when I do, I like to imagine what might happen when I’m whiling away the time at an airport. Sometimes I imagine desperate renegades (of course, I’m the hero), or interactions with other of the waiting passengers. I discovered one of my fictional pieces today, and I share it:

On my way home from Michigan, I had a 2-hour layover in Chicago. My flight arrived early and, if all went according to schedule, I had two hours and forty-five minutes to use up before I could board my next flight.

I had already grabbed a bite to eat and wandered around enough to work my cramps out. I figured it was time to make my way to the boarding area and read my book for the remainder of the wait time. As I neared the gate, I was surprised and dismayed to discover how crowded it was. After an in-depth perusal I discovered that there were, in fact, only four seats available. I didn’t usually like sitting next to unknown persons; I would have enough of that, after all, during the next flight. I was ready to take a load off, though, so I chose a seat near a frazzled looking young woman holding a newborn. She also had a three-year-old who kept trying to escape. The three-year-old had her own chair. I looked at the woman and pointed to the empty seat next to the little girl’s.

“May I take this seat?”

She looked up at me and all but rolled her eyes. She sighed and reached for the little girl and started prodding her to remove her hands from the seat I was eyeing. “Come on, Tanya. Move this way.”

Little Tanya was compliant, but active. Fortunately, the newborn was sleeping; however, I guessed that a sleeping baby now meant a crying baby during the flight, and hoped that my airline seat was far from this little family’s.

I took my seat and found myself the target of a small pair of inquiring eyes. Tanya was standing quite still and staring at me, in that blatant way that kids have. I was intrigued by the sharp intelligence I sensed in the light of those eyes. I squeezed my lips together to make fish lips and puckered at her. The eyes remained intense. I relaxed my lips and wiggled my nose. The fluff of her eyebrows went up. I worked my lips again, and watched as the tiny pink bow of Tanya’s lips pursed and moved, as though she was remembering how to suckle. As I wiggled my nose, her lips and nose waxed and waned in an attempt to copy my movements.

I glanced at the mother. Noting her sentry eye on Tanya, I held her gaze as she looked at me.

“I’m a retired teacher,” I said. “I’m wondering if little Tanya knows any sign language, or if she might like to learn a song.”

The woman shrugged. “I guess.”

I started singing softly, and moved my hands to sign the words to You are My Sunshine. Tanya watched me intently, eyes darting from my face to my hands.

At the end of the chorus, I said to her, “Now you help me sing. You can move your hands, too.”

“You are my sunshine,” I sang and signed slowly. I was careful not to reach out to Tanya to assist her hand movements, as it would scare her mother, and kept my signing hands close. “ooo, you’re good!” I exclaimed between lines, and I gave her an encouraging smile.

I was amazed and taken aback at the dazzling smile Tanya gave me in return. A pretty child to begin with, she was transformed into a cherubic beauty of fairytale features. I gasped and stared, transfixed. Again, I glanced at the mother. “She’s beautiful!” I exclaimed.

Mom’s face softened and she smiled. “Yes, she is. She doesn’t usually smile for strangers, but it looks like you’ve really tagged her.”

We continued chatting and singing and signing until the flight was called. We didn’t end up sitting near each other, but Tanya and her mom waved and smiled to me as they passed.

 

The Children’s Memorial Garden with Jesus

We recently returned from visiting my folks in the Black Hills of South Dakota. (It’s a beautiful place, by the way, and I recommend a visit – SO much to see and do!)

It’s always a beautiful thing to hike in the Black Hills. There is one hike I particularly endorse.

My parents live across from the St Martin monastery, housing the Benedictine sisters. They have, on their property, a beautiful, paved walk named The Via Dolorosa. The fourteen Stations of the Cross are depicted along the way. At the end of the walk there exists an amazing group of statues called The Children’s Memorial Garden.

Walk with me as we explore this touching rendition of Our Savior, face aglow with love, welcoming the little ones to their eternal home with Him. We can only imagine the joy when we, too, join them all.

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