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vintage remedies

2 June 2011

Vintage Remedies has launched a YouTube channel!  If you aren’t familiar with Vintage Remedies, please get familiar now!

{this moment}

6 May 2011

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the past week or something that has been on my mind.  If you’re inspired to do the same, please leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments.

Sugar Baby Watermelon

The cool and wet Pacific Northwest is not known for its watermelon but I wanted to take a stab at it anyway.  If any variety has a chance to thrive here, it’s this one.  The 8 inch, 10 pound Sugar Baby Watermelon has a relatively short growing season (75 days) which is all it will get…if it’s lucky.

{this moment}

28 January 2011

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the past week or something that has been on my mind.  If you’re inspired to do the same, please leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments.

Time to kick the Easter felting into high gear!  First market is just over two months away!

{this moment}

21 January 2011

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the past week or something that has been on my mind.  If you’re inspired to do the same, please leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments.

It’s hard to believe that you would have been 65 today.  Happy Birthday, Uncle Dan.

We miss you.

one step at a time

20 January 2011

I am as capable as the next person but I can be overwhelmed by seemingly monumental tasks – like painting the house, doing my own taxes, or getting in shape.  Someone else might be overwhelmed by starting their own garden, keeping chickens, or baking their own bread.  The point is, we all have to start somewhere, and the best way to reach our goals is to take things one step at a time.  My brother know this.  He implements this concept in his own life and has watched me apply it to many things I care about in mine.  I’ve never been successful, however, at applying “one step at a time” to my weight-loss and fitness goals.  I am always so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task, that I defeat myself before I begin.  Being in good health is really important to me, though, because I am the only parent that my beautiful daughter has, and it is my responsibility to raise her and be her mama for a good, long while.

About a week ago, I started receiving emails from my brother with an assignment for the day such as “walk on the front road for 35 minutes”  or “walk to the top of the neighboring hill, down to the mailbox, back to the top of the hill, and then home.”  Small but (usually) doable mini-goals that, strung together over a period of time, will help me reach my big goal.  Receiving these small directives in a daily format, allows me to gradually change my perspective and focus on one step at a time.  I am not overwhelmed by the thought of walking the front road for 35 minutes so I actually do it, which leaves me feeling as though I’ve accomplished something, energizing me to press on toward that which once seemed insurmountable.

What do you want for your life that seems unattainable?  Maybe you want to “go organic” but the cost of doing so is holding you back.  Going organic doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” venture.  Every little step helps!  Why not start with the Dirty Dozen – the 12 fruits and vegetables that retain the greatest amount of pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG)?  The EWG re-evaluates the pesticide levels in fruits and vegetables each year and creates a handy chart of “must do organic” but also includes a list of the Clean 15 (15 fruits and veggies with the lowest levels of pesticide residue) so that you know where to start:

If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck,  plant your own organic garden!  A small plot of land, or even a patio or balcony can be turned into a healthy, thriving garden that will significantly offset the cost of supermarket produce.  If that is not an option for you, please (please!) take the time to get to know your local farmers and become familiar with their farming practices.  Just because something isn’t labeled “organic” doesn’t mean it isn’t organic.  It may simply mean that it hasn’t gone through the certification process (and the cost associated with that process) to be labeled as such.  Establishing relationships with local farmers that you trust will allow you to buy better food (locally grown, nutrient-rich, seasonal produce) for your family without paying “organic” supermarket prices.

Each of us has a different mountain to climb.  Maybe a vegetable garden is something you’ve always wanted but you don’t have the time to get one started.  Start with some zucchini and a tomato plant.  Perhaps you’ve dreamt of being a backyard beekeeper?  Before dipping your hand in the honey pot, try keeping some friendly, hard-working, low-maintenance Mason bees.  You really wish you could bake everything from scratch like your grandmother did?  Start with one loaf of bread.  Pining for less materialism?  The next time you break a dish, instead of rushing to the store to buy a new piece or set, scour the local thrift shop for a replacement or look to your own home for a charming alternative.

You can (and will!) get to where you want to go if you just take it one step at a time.

{this moment}

14 January 2011

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the past week or something that has been on my mind.  If you’re inspired to do the same, please leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments.

Growing up sooooo fast.

a cheerful giver

13 January 2011

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  2 Corinthians 9:7

A friend of mine thinks we are born with little regard for anyone but ourselves.  “Have you ever watched two babies play together…grabbing things from one another, hitting each other, crying when they don’t get their way?” he asks.  “They were born sinful.”  Perhaps…but only slightly so.  Far more often, I’ve observed babies being compassionate and eager to help without motive or regard for themselves in the slightest.

Babies and young children are much closer to God than you or I, I suspect.  Maybe it’s just that they haven’t been apart from Him for as long but it appears to me that they have a more innocent, altruistic spirit than the rest of us, until the world slowly, but surely, robs them of it.  We cannot shield our children from the world, at least not as much as we’d like.   We can parent with intention though, and be mentally and emotionally present when we’re with them.  And if we’re lucky enough to notice that beautiful, giving spirit within them, it is our duty, as parents, to foster it.  We offer them a better chance to emerge, from childhood, charitable and kind…cheerful givers to the core of who they are.

Which leads me to compulsory giving.  Compulsory giving is the opposite of cheerful giving.  In fact, compulsory giving is not really giving at all.  Some might say that it’s actually taking or maybe even stealing…depending on who is making you “give” and why.  Giving is a choice.  When you have to give, doesn’t the “have” actually negate the “give?”  Some politicians would have you believe otherwise but their efforts to “redistribute wealth” and increase the size of government (not to mention creating even more useless social programs) should, at best, be considered compulsory “giving”…you’re not giving, they’re taking.  What we have left leaves many of us without enough to properly care for our families (creating dependency on the government??), let alone the resources or desire to be charitable and kind to those outside our immediate circle, whether they have legitimate needs or not.  Furthermore, taking the hard-earned money of some and giving it to those without legitimate needs, is unfair and creates resentment, as well as a dependency cycle that is not effective or sustainable in the long run.  It is past time to reign in our out-of-control governments and reclaim our families and teach our children (or learn from them?) about REAL benevolence – giving because we see people in genuine need and we are compelled, beyond reason, to help.  We were designed to be givers and we were commissioned to take care of one another.  That commission does not come from our governments, it comes from our Creator.  The manifestation of that commission begins in our hearts.  If we each begin there, I guarantee that spirit will fill our homes and trickle down into our communities, and our nations.

My three year old daughter is teaching me a lot about being a cheerful giver.  We have a rule in our house that she is only allowed the amount of toys that will fit comfortably in her toy/art cabinet.  To make room for new toys at Christmastime or her birthday, she systematically goes through her cabinet and decides which things to pass on to other kids who may not be as fortunate as she.  I’ve noticed lately, though, that she has taken to passing things on to others, even when she has nothing to gain.  “I have two bunnies, Mom…maybe we should give one to a little girl who doesn’t have a bunny.  I think that will be a great idea, Mom!  She will be so happy to have a bunny!”

[I could learn a lesson here.]

In our house, we know that we are blessed…we don’t have a lot but we have enough.  We’re happy and we’re healthy and we love each other.  Some children do not get to enjoy good health, though, and many have to endure hellish efforts to try to get well.  We’ve been talking to my daughter about children who suffer from cancer and the treatments they have to go through that cause their hair to fall out.  She was genetically blessed with a fast-growing, thick head of hair.  She has seen pictures of bald kids after chemotherapy and I told her about Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that takes hair donations to make wigs for children who have lost their hair due to medical conditions or treatments.  I wanted her to know that she could donate her hair, if she wanted to, and they would use her hair to make a wig for a little girl who didn’t have hair.  It was important to me that she not feel coerced, though…that she wouldn’t give “reluctantly or under compulsion.”  Up to this day, however, I hadn’t asked – point blank – if she wanted to because (here’s the kicker)…I wasn’t sure if I wanted her to give away her beautiful locks and I was afraid of what her answer would be.

Fresh from the bath this afternoon, the timing was perfect, her hair was clean…I asked:

Her answer?  A resounding “Yes!”  Her enthusiasm was contagious.  The picture perfect definition of a cheerful giver.

[I could learn a lesson here.]

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