Friday, August 18, 2017

Bless our Home

Homemade Rolls - photo by HMMooreNiver

"Bless our home, and make it fit for Thee, Oh God.
Send your Holy Spirit into each nook and cranny.
Let the walls resound with love and laughter.
Let your birds sing on your trees outside
and your lilies flourish in your gardens.
Bless our kitchen and fill it with the warmth of shared bread.
Bless our family room and fill it with loving communication.
Bless our bedrooms and fill them with restful slumber .
Bless each room and each of us, dear God,
and make yourself at home with us."

~ Dolores Curran


I don't know when was the last time I bought bread or rolls, but maybe it was some specialty buns for a barbeque.  Anyway, I have been making all of our breads for years now.  My favourite recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from our late English cousin.  It is so good that I seldom use another.

Homemade Bread or Rolls
Three cups unbleached organic flour
A couple tablespoons of grassfed butter or organic olive oil 
One tablespoon natural sugar, honey or maple syrup
One teaspoon yeast
One teasoon salt
Water 
If making teacakes, add chopped dried fruit and a little more sugar if desired

I just put all the ingredients into my food processor, turn it on and drizzle hot water in while the machine is running.  Let rise.   When doubled, knead and let rise again.  Knead a second time and form into a loaf of bread or about a dozen rolls or teacakes.   I form the rolls or teacakes and place on a baking sheet.  Bake rolls about twenty minutes at 350 degrees or bread about  thirty-five minutes.  Wonderful with homemade preserves.  Our English cousins split and toast the tea cakes and to serve with butter and preserves for afternoon tea.    mmm  

Note:  you can put the rolls into a container to freeze, removing as many as needed.  Wonderful reheated in the oven.   My husband prefers these for sandwiches.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Forgive and Forget


Caerlaverock Castle (from "caer laverock", "lark castle") is a moated triangular castle first built in the 13th century. It is located on the southern coast of Scotland.   Caerlaverock was a stronghold of the Maxwells from the 13th century until the 17th century when the castle was abandoned. It was besieged by the English during the Wars of Independence, and underwent several partial demolitions and reconstructions over the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 17th century, the Maxwells were created Earls of Niethdale and built a new lodging within the walls, described as among "the most ambitious early classical domestic architecture in Scotland". In 1640 the castle was besieged for the last time and was subsequently abandoned. Although demolished and rebuilt several times, the castle retains the distinctive triangular plan first laid out in the 13th century. Caerlaverock Castle was built to control trade in early times.
Caerlaverock Castle is surprisingly cozy inside, especially the upper chambers with the fireplaces and balconies with gorgeous views.  I could easily imagine living here!  Little did I know at that time that one of my grandmothers of long ago actually did!  I was quite taken by this castle when we first visited it a few years ago, fascinated by the feuding it endured with the rival clan, the Johnstones, whose family stronghold now is barely discernible.  I did get pictures.  At the time, I thought it curious that although our ancestors, the Johnstones supposedly won the feud, the Maxwells retained their castle, sort of.   Thought-provoking indeed!

Feuds are destructive and sad.  It is not easy to forgive seventy times seven but that is what we are to do.   Forgive and forget.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A nice place to be alone!


When I am all alone
Envy me most,
Then my thoughts flutter round me
In a glimmering host;
Some dressed in silver,
Some dressed in white,
Each like a taper
Blossoming light;
Most of them merry,
Some of them grave,
Each of them lithe
As willows that wave;
Some bearing violets,
Some bearing bay,
One with a burning rose
Hidden away --
When I am all alone
Envy me then,
For I have better friends
Than women and men. 

~Sara Teasdale


Monday, August 14, 2017

Too late

(Photo:  Grandmother's wicker settee on the back porch - a favourite place to rest, consider, read, write and,  especially,  visit with dear ones)
"Do not, then, keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up until your friends are dead! Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving, cheering words while their ears can hear them. The things you mean to say when they are gone—say before they go!

The flowers you mean to send for their coffins—send to brighten and sweeten their homes before they leave them.If a sermon helps you, it will do the preacher good to tell him of it. If the editor writes an article that you like, he can write a still better one next week if you send him a note of thanks. If a book you read is helpful, do you not owe it to the author to write him a word of acknowledgment? If you know a weary or neglected one or one overworked, would it not be such work as God's angels love to do—to seek to put a little brightness and cheer into his life, to manifest true sympathy with him, and to put into his trembling hand—the cup filled with the wine of human love? I have always said—and I am sure I am speaking for thousands of weary, plodding toilers—that if my friends have vases laid away, filled with the perfumes of sympathy and affection, which they intend to break over my dead body—I would be glad if they would bring them out in some of my weary hours and open them, that I may be refreshed and cheered by them while I need them. I would rather have a coffin without a flower, and a funeral without a spoken eulogy—than a life without the sweetness of human tenderness and cheer! If we would fulfill our mission, we must anoint our friends beforehand for their burial. Post-mortem kindnesses does not cheer the burdened spirit. Tears falling on the icy brow—make poor and tardy atonement for coldness and neglect and cruel selfishness in long, struggling years. Appreciation when the heart is stilled in death—has no inspiration for the spirit. Justice comes too late—when it is only pronounced in the funeral eulogy. Flowers piled on the coffin—cast no fragrance backward over the weary days."
  ~ J. R. Miller, 1880

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Slow down . . . stop, and smell the flowers

Sweet Peas started from seed collected from Grandma's garden
Slow down . . .
You are not responsible for doing it all yourself, right now.
Remember a happy, peaceful time in your past.
Rest there.
Each moment has richness that takes a lifetime to savor.
Set your own pace.
When someone is pushing you, it's OK to tell them they're pushing.
Take nothing for granted:
watch water flow,
the corn grow,
the leaves blow,
your neighbor mow.
Taste your food.
God gives it to delight as well as to nourish.
Notice the sun and the moon as they rise and set.
They are remarkable for their steady pattern of movement, not their speed.
Quit planning how you're going to use what you know, learn, or possess.
God's gifts just are; be grateful and their purpose will be clear.
When you talk with someone, don't think about what you'll say next.
Thoughts will spring up naturally if you let them.
Talk and play with children.
It will bring out the unhurried little person inside you.
Create a place in your home . . .
at your work . . .
in your heart . . .
where you can go for quiet and recollection.
You deserve it.
Allow yourself time to be lazy and unproductive.
Rest isn't luxury; it's a necessity.
Listen to the wind blow.
It carries a message of yesterday, tomorrow and now.
NOW counts.
Rest on your laurels.
They bring comfort whatever their size, age, or condition.
Talk slower.
Talk less.
Don't talk.
Communication isn't measured by words.
Give yourself permission to be late sometimes.
Life is for living, not scheduling.
Listen to the song of a bird; the complete song.
Music and nature are gifts, but only if you are willing to receive them.
Take time just to think.
Action is good and necessary, but it's fruitful only if we muse, ponder, and mull.
Make time for play - the things you like to do.
Whatever your age, your inner child needs re-creation.
Watch and listen to the night sky.
It speaks.
Listen to the words you speak, especially in prayer.
Learn to stand back and let others take their turn as leaders.
There will always be new opportunities
for you to step out in front again.
Divide big jobs into little jobs.
If God took six days to create the universe,
can you hope to do any better?
When you find yourself rushing & anxious, stop.
Ask yourself "WHY?"you are rushing and anxious.
The reasons may improve your self-understanding.
Take time to read.
Thoughtful reading is enriching reading.
Direct your life with purposeful choices, not with speed and efficiency.
The best musician is one who plays with expression and meaning,
not the one who finishes first.
Take a day off alone; make a retreat.
You can learn from monks and hermits without becoming one.
Pet a furry friend.
You will give and get the gift of now.
Work with your hands.
It frees the mind.
Take time to wonder.
Without wonder, life is merely existence.
Sit in the dark.
It will teach you to see and hear,
taste and smell.
Once in a while, turn down the lights, the volume, the throttle, the invitations.
Less really can be more.\
Let go.
Nothing is usually the hardest thing to do but often it is the best.
Take a walk-but don't go anywhere.
If you walk just to get somewhere,
you sacrifice the walking.
Count your friends.
If you have one, you are lucky.
If you have more, you are blessed.
Bless them in return.
Count your blessings - one at a time and slowly.

~author unknown

Friday, August 11, 2017

Summer is drifting away


"As lightly as a rose petal
upon the shimmering surface of a stream,
summer was drifting away."
~Myrtle Reed

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

If Only . . .


Could we but draw back the curtain,
That surrounds each others lives,
See the naked heart and spirit;
Know what spur the action gives;
Often we would find it better,
Purer then we think we would.
We would love each other better,
If we only understood.
Unknown It is a sweet thing,
Friendship, a dear balm,
A happy and auspicious bird of calm...
P. B. Shelly


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In School Days

Grass Lake Schoolhouse - now used to store hay
My stepdad and his ten siblings walked to this little schoolhouse so many years ago.  As you can see, it is now quite overgrown although seemingly used as a barn.  Don't you wish the walls could talk?  Oh, the stories they could tell!  I am reminded of this poem by

John Greenleaf Whittier

Still sits the schoolhouse by the road,
A ragged beggar, sleeping;
Around it still the sumachs grow,
And blackberry vines are creeping.
Within, the master's desk is seen,
Deep-scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,
The jack-knife's carved initial;
The charcoal frescoes on its wall;
Its door's worn sill, betraying
The feet that, creeping slow to school,
Went storming out to playing!
Long years ago a winter sun
Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window-panes,
And low eaves' icy fretting.
It touched the tangled golden curls
And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps delayed
When all the school was leaving.
For near it stood the little boy
Her childish favor singled,
His cap pulled low upon a face
Where pride and shame were mingled.
Pushing with restless feet the snow
To right and left, he lingered; --
As restlessly her tiny hands
The blue-checked apron fingered.
He saw her lift her eyes, he felt
The soft hand's light caressing,
And heard the tremble of her voice,
As if a fault, confessing.
"I'm sorry that I spelt the word.
I hate to go above you.
Because,"-- the brown eyes lower fell, --
 "Because, you see, I love you!"
Still memory to a gray-haired man
That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! The grasses on her grave
Have forty years been growing!
He lives to learn, in life's hard school,
How few who pass above him
Lament their triumph and his loss,
 Like her, because they love him.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Home from the Fields


"Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home."  So true.  And this back porch is what sold me on this old house which now fortuitously is furnished with great grandmother's wicker which, at the time, we didn't know existed. 

But going for a walk in the fields is such a peaceful, inspiring way "to get away from it all", even better than this idyllic scene.  Spurgeon has some insightful thoughts on this:

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide. . .
--Genesis 24:63

"Very admirable was his occupation. If those who spend so many hours in idle company, light reading, and useless pastimes, could learn wisdom, they would find more profitable society and more interesting engagements in meditation than in the vanities which now have such charms for them. We should all know more, live nearer to God, and grow in grace, if we were more alone. Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutriment from the mental food gathered elsewhere. When Jesus is the theme, meditation is sweet indeed. Isaac found Rebecca while engaged in private musings; many others have found their best beloved there.

Very admirable was the choice of place. In the field we have a study hung round with texts for thought. From the cedar to the hyssop, from the soaring eagle down to the chirping grasshopper, from the blue expanse of heaven to a drop of dew, all things are full of teaching, and when the eye is divinely opened, that teaching flashes upon the mind far more vividly than from written books. Our little rooms are neither so healthy, so suggestive, so agreeable, or so inspiring as the fields. Let us count nothing common or unclean, but feel that all created things point to their Maker, and the field will at once be hallowed.

Very admirable was the season. The season of sunset as it draws a veil over the day, befits that repose of the soul when earthborn cares yield to the joys of heavenly communion. The glory of the setting sun excites our wonder, and the solemnity of approaching night awakens our awe. If the business of this day will permit it, it will be well, dear reader, if you can spare an hour to walk in the field at eventide, but if not, the Lord is in the town too, and will meet with thee in thy chamber or in the crowded street. Let thy heart go forth to meet Him."

~Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, August 6, 2017

These Things


These things I'm thankful for;

God's gifts on earth that we share.

The majesty of His handiwork;

Esteemed beyond compare.


Frail words cannot express,

Nor lowly anthems exclaim

Thy great omnipotence, freely giv'n.

We are humbled before Your name.


I pray for the will to live by Thy Word.

With grateful and penitent heart.

And with my mouth I shall sing Thy praises:

"My God How Great Thou Art!"


These things I'm thankful for;

The gift of Jesus on earth.

Our souls redeemed through His living Word,

And the miracle of His birth.


I lay my burdens down

And rest my wearisome load.

God takes my hand as He beckons me

Within His safe abode.


And in His arms I pour,

My strength, my life and my all.

With calm assurance, He bears me up.

God's love will not let me fall.


Upon the Solid Rock I stand,

Relieved and refreshed within.

My life, I willingly dedicate,

As He takes away my sin.


And so with grateful heart,

I count my blessings o'er.

God's strength and grace, His unfailing love;

These things I am thankful for.

~Deb Spaulding 8/09

(Used with permission)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Home Sweet Home


Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest.

~Henry Van Dyke

Friday, August 4, 2017

Now summer



 


"Now summer is in flower and natures hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done
Wi' glittering dance and reeling in the sun
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee
Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun."
 
- John Clare, June

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Purrrr-fect Peace


"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

 "Unless the heart is kept quiet and peaceable--the life will not be happy. If calm does not reign over that inner lake within the soul which feeds the rivers of our life--the rivers themselves will always be in storm. Our outward acts will always manifest that they were born in tempests--by being tempestuous themselves. We all desire to lead a peaceful and joyous life; the bright eye and the elastic foot are things which each of us desire; to carry about a contented mind is that to which most people are continually aspiring. Let us remember that the only way to keep our life peaceful and happy--is to keep the heart at rest--for come poverty, come wealth, come honor, come shame, come plenty, or come scarcity--if the heart is quiet, there will be peace and happiness manifested in the life! But no matter how bright the sun shines outside--if the heart is troubled--the whole life must be troubled too!" You will keep in perfect peace--all whose thoughts are fixed on You--because he trusts in You!" Isaiah 26:3"

 ~Charles Spurgeon, "Gleanings among the Sheaves"

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Phlox


 Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.
Part Two: Nature LXIII

A SOMETHING in a summer’s day,
As slow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.

A something in a summer’s noon,—
An azure depth, a wordless tune, 5
Transcending ecstasy.

And still within a summer’s night
A something so transporting bright,
I clap my hands to see;

Then veil my too inspecting face,
10
Lest such a subtle, shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me.

The wizard-fingers never rest,
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes its narrow bed; 15

Still rears the East her amber flag,
Guides still the sun along the crag
His caravan of red,

Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize 20
Awaited their low brows;

Or bees, that thought the summer’s name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;

Or Arctic creature, dimly stirred
25
By tropic hint,—some travelled bird
Imported to the wood;

Or wind’s bright signal to the ear,
Making that homely and severe,
Contented, known, before 30

The heaven unexpected came,
To lives that thought their worshipping
A too presumptuous psalm.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Looking for Rainbows


My cousin took this photo many years ago from his uncle's house looking toward the farm where I grew up.  The rainbow (and pot of gold?) seems to end right by the silo!  Interesting and thought-provoking, indeed.

Have you ever looked for rainbows other than outside after a rain? It is thrilling and assuring to discover them in the most unexpected places!  Even more rewarding is to find them in the events of our lives!

"The Lord reigneth!" Psalm 93:1
No rainbow of promise in the "dark and cloudy day" shines more radiantly than this. God, my God, the God who gave Jesus--orders all events, and overrules all for my good!
"When I," says He, "send clouds over the earth." He has no wish to conceal the hand which shadows for a time, earth's brightest prospects. It is He alike who "brings the cloud," who brings us into it, and in mercy leads us through it! His kingdom rules over all.
"The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord."
He puts the burden on, and keeps it on, and at His own time will remove it!
Beware of brooding over second causes. It is the worst form of atheism! When our most fondly cherished gourds are smitten; our fairest flowers lie withered in our bosom; this is the silencer of all reflections,"The Lord prepared the worm!" When the temple of the soul is smitten with lightning, and its pillars rent: "The Lord is in His holy temple!" Accident, chance, fate, destiny, have no place in the Christian's creed. He is no unpiloted vessel left to the mercy of the storm. "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters!" There is but one explanation of all that befalls him: "I will be mute, I will open not my mouth, because You O Lord, did it.
"Death seems to the human spectator, the most capricious and severe of all events. But not so. The keys of death and Hades are in the hands of this same reigning God! Look at the parable of the fig-tree. Its prolonged existence, or its doom as a cumberer, forms matter of conversation in Heaven; the axe cannot be laid at its root--until God gives the warrant!
How much more will this be the case regarding every "Tree of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord?" It will be watched over by Him, "Lest anyone hurt it." Every trembling fiber--He will care for; and if made early to succumb to the inevitable stroke, "Who knows not in all these things, that the hand of the Lord has wrought this." Be it mine to merge my own will in His; not to cavil at His ways, or to seek to have one jot or tittle of His will altered; but to lie passive in His hands; to take the bitter as well as the sweet, knowing that the bitter cup is mingled by One who loves me too well to add one ingredient that might have been spared!
Who can wonder that the sweet Psalmist of Israel should seek, as he sees the rainbow spanning the lower heavens, to fix the arrested gaze of a whole world on the softened tints of this Rainbow of Comfort,"The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice!"

~John MacDuff, "The Rainbow in the Clouds"

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Considering the Lilies



 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not;
and yet I say unto you,
that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Luke 12:27

I have a special fondness for the lilies strewn as they will through my gardens for that was Grandma's name. I think about her a lot and believe she had a profound influence on my life. She would be quite surprised, I am sure, for she was a quiet lady who kept a beautiful home. Grandma worked hard along with my handsome Scottish grandfather, also the strong, silent type though with a quiet, delightful wit.

I often consider the lilies and how they grow and am mindful of the many lessons I can learn from them as I maintain our earthly home:

"Let us aim to model and to mold our earthly homes after our heavenly home. There righteousness dwells, holiness sanctifies, love reigns, perfect confidence and sympathy and concord exist. Why should not the earthly homes of the righteous be types of this?

The home is a most marvelous and benevolent appointment of God, and is designed, among other ends, to unite, strengthen, and sanctify the different relations of life, and thus secure and promote the mutual happiness and well being of each and all. But, alas! how has sin perverted this! What places of misery are some homes on earth, even where religion is supposed to have found a place! Discord, where there should be harmony; suspicion, where there should be confidence; jealousy, where there should be delight; coldness, distance, and alienation, where there should be the warmest, closest and most endearing communion; harsh, abrupt expressions, where there should be nothing but pleasant words; indifference and neglect, where there should be the profoundest interest and sympathy; in a word, hatred, where there should be love.

But, beloved in the Lord, this should not be so with you! And with you it is an individual matter; for our homes are just what the individual members of the family make them. One unhappy temper, one unbending will, one unloving, unsympathizing heart may becloud and embitter the sunniest sweetest home on earth. Oh, cultivate the affections, the sympathies, and the communion you hope to perpetuate in heaven! By mutual forbearance, gentleness, confidence and love; by deeds of kindness, delicate attention, and graceful demeanor seek to transfer as much of the purity, love, and sunshine of your Father's House above as you can, to your Father's house below."

(from Octavius Winslow's "Our Father's House")

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cheerfulness

Echinacea~
More often known as Cone Flower~

This plant is a favourite in the garden, not only of the gardener but of butterflies and bees as well. Its' medicinal uses far outweigh its beauty. (I like to add the dark green leaves to tea or a salad.) While it is said to ward off colds and flu as well as hasten recovery by strengthening the immune system, some believe the leaves will help one resist the uncomfortable affects of Poison Ivy. 

It isn't a remedy for everything but well-worth inclusion in the perennial garden as well as the herb garden just for its stunning yet simple beauty which is enough to give a lift to the downcast spirit!

Newcomb writes of a better remedy for everything than Echinacea:
"It is a mistake often made--to associate piety with a downcast look, a sad countenance, and an aching heart. But there is nothing in true piety inconsistent with habitual cheerfulness.

There is a difference between cheerfulness and levity. Cheerfulness is serene and peaceful. Levity is light and trifling. Cheerfulness promotes evenness of temper and equanimity of enjoyment. Levity drowns sorrow and pain for a short time, only to have it return again with redoubled power.

I do not deny that there are certain kinds of sinful pleasures which piety spoils; but then it first removes the taste and desire for them--so their loss is nothing to be lamented.

The Christian hope, and the promises and consolations of God's Word, furnish the only true ground of cheerfulness. Who should be cheerful and happy, if not one who is delivered from the terrors of hell and the fear of death--who is raised to the dignity of a child of God--who has the hope of eternal life--the prospect of dwelling forever in the presence of God, and in the enjoyment of perfect felicity?

But no one would associate these things with that frivolity, levity and mirth, which are the delight of the pleasure-loving world. The gospel of Jesus Christ has a remedy for everything in life that is calculated to make us gloomy and sad. It offers the pardon of sin to the penitent and believing; the aid of grace to those who struggle against an evil disposition; and help against temptation. It promises to relieve the believer from fear, and affords consolation in affliction.

There is no reason why a true Christian should not be cheerful. There are, indeed, many things, which he sees, within and without, that must give him pain. But there is that in his Christian hope, and in the considerations brought to his mind from the Word of God, which is able to bear him high above them all.

~Harvey Newcomb, "The Young Man's Guide to the Harmonious Development of Christian Character, 1847

Friday, July 28, 2017

Front garden


"Who can estimate the elevating and refining influences and moral value of flowers with all their graceful forms, bewitching shades and combinations of colors and exquisitely varied perfumes?  These silent influences are unconsciously felt even by those who do not appreciate them consciously and thus with better and still better fruits, nuts, grains, vegetables and flowers, will the earth be transformed, man's thought refined, and turned from the base destructive forces into nobler production.  One which will lift him to high planes of action toward the happy day when the Creator of all this beautiful work is more acknowledged and loved, and where man shall offer his brother man, not bullets and bayonets, but richer grains, better fruit and fairer flowers from the bounty of this earth."

-  Father George Schoener (1864 -1941) 
   The Importance and Fundamental Principles of Plant Breeding   

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Idleness

This iron cat, dubbed "Rastus spends his days here doin' nothin' on the front porch

Pr 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
¶ He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread:
but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
Proverbs 12:11
A morning talk show host recently passed the remark that he was going to take his boys to a currently popular movie for, if nothing else, it would be a good way to relax and "kill some time"! The comment struck me as one that is very common, rather sad and worthy of some pondering, even introspection.
Then I happened upon (I see God at work here . . .) the following quote which surely gave me pause:
Only fools idle away their time. Idleness is a complicated vice. Yes, I say VICE! First it is a most wasteful vice. It wastes time, which is more precious than rubies; it wastes a man's mental faculties; it wastes property. Idleness is a disgraceful vice. How reproachful is it in a being made to be active, to spend life in doing nothing, and to throw away his mental powers in sloth. Idleness is a criminal vice. God has commanded us to be active, and will call us to account for the sin of killing time. Idleness is a dangerous vice. Doing nothing is next to doing evil--and is sure to lead to it. From its very inaction it ultimately becomes the active cause of all evil.
"The Devil tempts all men; but the idle man tempts the Devil."
Idleness is a wretched vice. An idle man is the most miserable of all God's creatures. Woe be to the man who is doomed to bear the pain and penalties of a slothful disposition. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle.
¶ But of the times and the seasons,
brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
1 Thessalonians 5:1
~The sin of killing time (J. A. James, "The Young Man's Friend and Guide Through Life to Immortality")"

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Finer Things in Life



“I wish I knew half what the flock of them know
Of where all the berries and other things grow,
Cranberries in bogs and raspberries on top
Of the boulder-strewn mountain,
and when they will crop . . .”
Robert Frost (1874–1963), . “Blueberries.”

Well, we know! When we found our home, the property was completely overgrown with brambles and brush, but amongst the thorns and thistles we found a bounty . . . raspberries, thimbleberries, blackcaps and more. We have since cleared much of the brush, leaving plenty which probably accounts for the abundant wildlife. We have established several rows of berries, plenty for the critters and for our freezer. Raspberry shortcake, raspberry steamed puddings, homemade granola with fresh raspberries, raspberries and ice cream, raspberry pie, cobblers, upside down cakes, raspberries with sugar, raspberry preserves, raspberries by the handful . . . Life IS good!

Walt Whitman quite obviously appreciated the finer things in life:
"June 21.—HERE I am, on the west bank of the Hudson, 80 miles north of New York, near Esopus, at the handsome, roomy, honeysuckly-and-rose-embower’d cottage of John Burroughs. The place, the perfect June days and nights, (leaning toward crisp and cool,) the hospitality of J. and Mrs. B., the air, the fruit, (especially my favorite dish, currants and raspberries, mixed, sugar’d, fresh and ripe from the bushes—I pick ’em myself)—the room I occupy at night, the perfect bed, the window giving an ample view of the Hudson and the opposite shores, so wonderful toward sunset, and the rolling music of the RR. trains, far over there—the peaceful rest—the early Venus-heralded dawn—the noiseless splash of sunrise, the light and warmth indescribably glorious, in which, (soon as the sun is well up,) I have a capital rubbing and rasping with the flesh-brush—with an extra scour on the back by Al. J., who is here with us—all inspiriting my invalid frame with new life, for the day. Then, after some whiffs of morning air, the delicious coffee of Mrs. B., with the cream, strawberries, and many substantials, for breakfast."

~ Walt Whitman (a819-1892)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Love is a Verb

"I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometime"
 Yes, that is correct.  Love is a verb.  It is something you do, even when you don't feel like it.  
 
Seems everywhere we look, we see people who are either enduring an unhappy relationship or resorting to divorce, thinking that is the only answer.  Does it have to be that way?  Is there something one can do about a failing marriage?  I am reminded of a quote by Stephen Covey, where he eloquently describes what he answered someone who asked him about his failing marriage:
“My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other that we used to have. I guess I don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”
“The feeling isn’t there anymore?” I inquired.
“That’s right” he reaffirmed. “And we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”
“Love her.” I replied.
“I told you, the feeling of love just isn’t there anymore.”
“Love her.”
“You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”
“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there that’s a good reason to love her.”
“But how do you love when you don’t love?”
“My friend, love is a verb. Love -- the feeling -- is a fruit of love -- the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”
“But if you get to the point where you don’t love anymore, isn’t it just too late?”
If love is a verb, it's never too late.
That's the point Stephen Covey is trying to make.  If love is a verb, there’s no 'too late.' It’s a constant choice. If you don’t feel the love anymore, that is exactly the indication that we need to choose to act the love and see what happens.

Scripture tells us that we are expected to love our fellow, to love God -- if love was just a feeling, how could this be a commandment? Obviously, there is an act that we can choose to do and this act should bring about the feeling of love.

A first inclination is often  to point out all the giving, sacrificing and time investment that we naturally put into our marriages just by virtue of the housework. If loving is synonymous with giving, then how about all those loads of laundry, dinners,  hosting, serving, dishwashing, taking care of our children, shopping I’ve been doing for years? Surely, I do things like this every day, many times. Shouldn’t that all count for something?
It should and it does.

According to Rabbi Dessler in his book “Strive for Truth,” this explains why it seems parents love their children more than children love their parents:
“We usually think it is love which causes giving because we observe that a person showers gifts and favors on the one he loves. But there is another side to the argument. Giving may bring about love for the same reason that a person loves what he himself has created or nurtured; he recognizes in it a part of himself.”
So the more we give, the more we will automatically feel more attached and invested in the relationship and therefore more loving of the object of our affections.  Most of the giving we do in order to upkeep our home isn't done specifically and solely for a spuse and usually not with the conscious thought that I am choosing to express my love for my husband in this act.

So if love really is a choice, do I really choose to love every day? The answer is often not an automatic yes.
We often tend to have a subconscious wish list of how we’d like our marriages to be: more time spent talking, more sharing of feelings, more compliments, no criticism, more affection, less judging. But to whom is this wish list addressed? Usually, our spouse! How many of us go around thinking: if only I could be more loving, more affectionate, more complimentary and warm toward my spouse?

So we are essentially hoping to receive rather than to give!

Perhaps this is why love starts fading when we each start wondering how we can get more out of our marriage, thinking about our expectations, how our spouse can give us more and what we are lacking. Instead of investing and giving, we are starting the taking cycle. The choice to dwell on our expectations of our spouse, then, might be the choice to actively allow the love to stagnate and fade away.

“I always tell couples on their wedding day: be careful, dear ones, to always seek to give pleasure to each other the same way you do right now, and know, that the moment you start having demands of each other, your happiness is on it’s way out.” (Rabbi Dessler, Strive for Truth, Hebrew version, Vol. 1, pg. 39)

Why do we not choose to love the one who is most important in our earthly life?

Taking our spouse for granted:
This is a rather common human failing: we take those constant relationships in our lives for granted and stop investing so much hard work in to them because we figure they’ll always be there. Instead, we can spend our time and energy on others who may not be so generous and accepting. If I forget to call my friend, she may think I don’t care, may not call me for a few days, and things may escalate and cause real damage to the friendship. But my marriage? After so many years, will this kind of slight be a big deal? Of course not.
Invest the time and effort to make one conscious loving choice a day.
But then again, it doesn’t create loving feelings and closeness either.
Remember the excitement and love we felt the first few years of our marriage? Well, it might just have something to do with the fact that when a relationship is new, both partners are trying hard to give to each other and build intimacy. They are not yet taking anything for granted.

Want to recapture that starry-eyed intensity? Invest the time and effort to make one conscious loving choice a day. Don’t take your marriage for granted.

Fear of vulnerability:
Another reason is the hesitation to take the first step. We keep thinking the other one should be the first one to show affection, appreciation and acceptance. We have fears of being vulnerable. What if my feelings are not reciprocated? What if I just end up giving and giving and he remains the same ungrateful and taking spouse? If I stop criticizing, she’ll think it's alright to behave this way, and continue forever!
We have to realize that all these thoughts and fears are just distractions and rationalizations for not making difficult choices and moving forward:
A great marriage requires making constant choices.
Our excuses and fears are not realities unless we attribute power to them. If we remind ourselves that our thoughts are just words in our head sent there by our desire to avoid pain at all costs and our urge for comfort and convenience, we will then be free to see reality as it is: no pain no gain. In order to have a wonderful, vibrant, loving marriage, someone has to take the first step, and whoever does will inevitably benefit as a result, as an individual who has made a choice to grow.

As we approach the start of a new year, we have to take stock of our lives and set goals for the future. Achievement in any field requires choice and effort.

We all want to have the perfect marriage of harmony and love, growth and friendship. To have a great marriage, constant choices must be made -- the choice to love, to exert ourselves in the cause of spiritual growth. Nothing happens on its own. In fact, left on their own, things tend to fall apart and disintegrate, including love, admiration and respect. Without awareness and conscious effort, a once great marriage may just become an okay one.

But when loving choices are made consistently, almost any relationship can be transformed in to a great marriage.

 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  John 13:34

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Blessed are the Beloved

This lily is probably my favourite with it's unique strap petals and sunny disposition.  It is not one you see often.  It caught my eye in a northcountry garden that is now closed and in shambles.  It is very hardy in the bitterly cold mountains and thrives in my slightly warmer zone four garden, thrilling my heart with every glimpse.

Yes, it is a bitter world — and how few there are who love us! Sometimes we meet one whom we feel 'twere bliss to live for — to die for! a look from whose eye is joy; a tender word from whose lips is Heaven; and yet a careless word, an idle jest uttered in a merry mood, a little mistake — has power to part us!
How few there are who love us! So few that we cannot spare one from out the number! It is said that "blessings brighten as they take their flight;" and so with friendships, so with loves — we prize them most as they leave us.
When such a treasure, which has almost become a part of our being, goes from us, how sad! It is like the losing of a queen's crown diamonds; like missing the rarest jewels from a necklace; like the shattering of an exquisite vase, which can never be replaced.
There can be no greater grief, than to be shut out from the shelter of a beloved one's heart; a Hagar thrust out into the wilderness; an outcast sent forth to wander in the wide, wide outer world! And then, when the bitter words have been spoken; when affection has been turned to coolness; when we sit down alone, enwrapped in the mantle of pride and scorn, with the dead ashes lying scattered upon the desolate hearthstones of our hearts — oh! it is like dying!
Oh! you who love and are beloved, clasp close your treasures! Allow nothing, envy, malice, the whispers of slanderers, the voice of Fame, the love of gold, or anything else, to part you! Life is, by far, too short to waste in bickerings; the world is cold enough, without our adding to its desolation. Love is too precious, to be lost lightly! Rather bear and forbear; forgive and forget; cast from you the evil, and only gather up the good — than lose one jot of affection!
"It is better to have loved and lost,
 Than never to have loved at all!"
There must come partings for all! The grave must lie between! Some day, the earth will fall heavily upon the coffin wherein you have buried your heart; the sods will press down the dear head which has lain upon your bosom; the daisy and violet will bloom above the lips which have so often met your own, and then could you bear to think that you had wronged your trust, slighted their love and cast it from your heart — or that pride, or the love of gold, or fame, had parted you?
Ah, no, no! It were far better then to be able to say, "I loved him always!" "I never gave him a harsh word!" — than to bind the mocking wreath of Fame around an aching brow, or clasp dazzling jewels over a desolated heart.
Yes, Love is "the only treasure!" Neither power, Fame, gold, gems, nor the applause of a world can satisfy the heart. They may indeed charm and cheat for a season — but at last, like the apples of Sodom, they turn to ashes in our grasp.
There is no truer earthly bliss, than the priceless blessing of Love. Happy they who win it! Thrice blessed are the beloved!
  Timothy Shay Arthur, 1856

Saturday, July 22, 2017

To Everything there is a Season

The Pergola with daisies, lilies and a few roses in bloom


 "To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."  At that thought, a familiar song likely comes to mind reminding us of spring, summer, fall and winter and the world around us.  But there is so much more to the seasons of our life . . . SO much more. 
"We are always coming to the end of something; nothing earthly is long-lived. Many things last but for a day; many, for only a moment. You look at the sunset-clouds, and there is a glory in them which thrills your soul; you turn to call a friend to behold the splendor with you—and it has vanished, and a new splendor—as wondrous, though altogether different—is in its place. You cross a field on an early summer morning, and every leaf and every blade of grass is covered with dewdrops, which sparkle like millions of diamonds as the first sunbeams fall on them; but a few moments later you return, and not a dewdrop is to be seen! You walk through your garden one summer morning, and note its wondrous variety of flowers in bloom, with their marvelous tints and their exquisite loveliness; tomorrow you walk again along the same paths, and there is just as great variety and as rich beauty—but all is changed. Many of yesterday's flowers are gone—and many new ones have bloomed out.

We come also to the end of trials and sorrows. Every night has a morning, and, however dark it may be, we have only to wait a little while for the sun to rise, when light will chase away the gloom. Every black cloud that gathers in the sky, and blots out the blue, or hides the stars—passes away before long; and when it is gone there is no stain left on the blue, and not a star's beam is quenched or even dimmed. The longest winter that destroys all life and beauty in field, forest and garden—is sure to come to an end, giving place to the glad springtime which re-clothes the earth in verdure as beautiful as that which perished.. . .
So it is with life's pains and troubles. Sickness gives place to health. Grief, however bitter, is comforted by the tender comfort of divine love. Sorrow, even the sorest, passes away—and joy comes again, not one glad note hushed, its music even enriched by its experience of sadness.

Thus in a Christian life—no shadow lingers long. Then it will be but a little time until all shadows shall flee away before heaven's glorious light—when forever life will go on without a pain or a sorrow! There is another ending: we shall come to the end of life itself. We shall come to the close of our last day; we shall do our last piece of work, and take our last walk, and write our last letter, and sing our last song, and speak our last "Goodnight". Then tomorrow we shall be gone, and the places that have known us—shall know us no more. Whatever other experiences we may miss—we shall not miss dying. Every human path, through whatever scenes it may wander, must bend at last into the Valley of Shadows.

Yet we ought not to think of death as calamity or disaster; if we are Christians, it will be the brightest day of our whole life—when we are called to go away from earth—to heaven. Work will then be finished, conflict will be over, sorrow will be past, death itself will be left behind, and life in its full, true, rich meaning will only really begin! The fragility and transitoriness of life, should lead us to be always ready for death. Though we are plainly taught by our Lord, not to worry about anything that the future may have in store for us; we are as plainly taught to live so as to be prepared for any event which may occur. Indeed, the only way to eliminate worry from our present—is to be ready for any possible future. Death is not merely a possible event—but is an inevitable event in everyone's future; we can live untroubled by dread of it—only by being ever ready for it. Preparation for death—is made by living a true Christian life. If we are in Christ by faith, and then follow Christ, doing his will day by day—we are prepared for death, and it can never surprise us unready.

True preparation for death is made, when we close each day as if it were the last. We are never sure of tomorrow; we should leave nothing incomplete any night. Each single separate little day—should be a miniature life, complete in itself, with nothing of duty left over. God gives us life by days, and with each day—he gives its own allotment of duty—a portion of his plan to be wrought out, a fragment of his purpose to be accomplished by us. Our mission is to find that bit of divine will—and do it. Well-lived days make completed years, and the years well lived as they come—make a life beautiful and full. In such a life no special preparation of any kind is needed; he who lives thus—is always ready. Each day prepares for the next, and the last day prepares for glory.

If we thus live, coming to the end of life need have no terror for us. Dying does not interrupt life for a moment. Death is not a wall cutting off the path—but a gate through which passing out of this world of shadows and unrealities—we shall find ourselves in the immediate presence of the Lord and in the midst of the glories of the eternal home!

We need have only one care—that we live well our one short life as we go on, that we love God and our neighbor, that we believe on Christ and obey his commandments, that we do each duty as it comes to our hand, and do it well. Then no sudden coming of the end will ever surprise us unprepared. Then, while glad to live as long as it may be God's will to leave us here—we shall welcome the gentle angel who comes with the golden joy to lead us to rest and home!"
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 
 Eccl 3:1 

Coming to the End by  J. R. Miller, 1888

Friday, July 21, 2017

Maidenhood

Grandma EML

It is intriguing to look back at the people who are very much a part of our lives even though we never knew them.  Their influence lives on, and we would do well to learn from our history.  We don't know why some things happen as they do, but we can know that our Heavenly Father always knows what is best.  Someday, perhaps we will too.

My grandfather's first wife, a beautiful French girl, died when she was very young following an abortion for she did not wish a second child, at least then. His second wife,  according to my aunt who was still a child when she passed, "was admired for her lovely smile . . . Erma was a kind, gentle, patient person. She taught the young people's Sunday School Class and was President of the Ladies Aid . . . She was tall and had long red hair and brown eyes."  Grandma died just 26 days after their last son, was born. She'd had a sinus infection. After a healthy birth at home, everything seemed to be going fine, until she mentioned to her husband that something had "burst" in her head. Apparently this was due to the sinus infection which caused her to die shortly thereafter of septicemia.

The above photo was taken shortly before Grandma and Grandpa married in about 1919, probably at the nearby creek where my brother and I would later spend many a blissful Saturday afternoon fishing with dad's long bamboo poles, having ridden with them on our bicycles to the old fishing hole. I didn't know much about Grandma then for my own father died when I was in Kindergarten and life went on. 

I never knew this Grandmother whose life ended when my father was still very small. Grandpa never remarried. My father's older sister, a very dear aunt, perhaps so very much like her beloved mother, showed me the braid of hair she treasures, cut when she was so sick in hopes of saving her strength.  I never knew my grandfather very well either for it was heartbreaking for him to lose his not only two young, dear and lovely wives but then his son who had so much promise and potential in yet another tragedy.

She also gave me this precious photograph of her mother possibly developed herself and taken with the old Brownie camera which my aunt still has.

It is thought-provoking for me to note that I would not be writing this if Grandpa's first wife had not died nor would I have had two more dear sisters if my own father had not passed away.

I often look in the mirror of life with wonder . . .

 Maidenhood

MAIDEN! with the meek, brown eyes,
In whose orbs a shadow lies
Like the dusk in evening skies!
Thou whose locks outshine the sun,
Golden tresses, wreathed in one,
As the braided streamlets run!

Standing, with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet!
Gazing, with a timid glance,
1On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse!
Deep and still, that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem,
As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields Elysian?

Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hearest thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar?

Oh, thou child of many prayers!
 Life hath quicksands, Life hath snares!
Care and age come unawares!
Like the swell of some sweet tune
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.
Childhood is the bough, where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many numbered;
Age, that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather, then, each flower that grows,
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.

Bear a lily in thy hand;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.
Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.

O, that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds, that cannot heal
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;
And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.

~author unknown

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Weaving Thoughts


Handwoven silk boucle shawl created on my LeClerk Loom

My life is but a weaving, between the Lord and me,

I may not choose the colors,

He knows what they should be;

For he can view the pattern upon the upper side

While I can see it only on this, the under side.

Sometimes He weaveth sorrow, which seemeth strange to me;

But I will trust His judgment, and work on faithfully;'

Tis He who fills the shuttle, and He knows what is best,

So I shall weave in earnest, leaving to Him the rest.

Not till the loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly

Shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why--

The Dark threads are as needed in the Weaver's skillful hand

As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.

--Author Unknown

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I meant to . . .


I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
(author unknown)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Max

Maximillian ~ our resident guard cat
Max, as you may recall from an earlier post, came howling at our back door one bitterly cold December eve. He has since adopted us and we became his beloved family.. Even my husband who doesn't care for cats has been befriended by the persistent Max who never ceases to amaze as skillful hunter and faithful companion.

A garden without cats,
it will be generally agreed,
can scarcely deserve
to be called a garden at all.-
Beverly Nichols, Garden Open Tomorrow, 1968

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Perfect Time


How many stanzas in the springtime breeze?
How plenty the raindrops?
As He doth please.
There is no meter and there is no rhyme,
Yet God's poems always read in perfect time.
~Astrid Alauda, "Poems on Nature"

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Essentials :-)

2008-09-22T12:02:20.063-04:00
My  Herb Garden in July

I have often mentioned using essential oils and herbs. Just came across this article by Taylor Miller which will provide some very helpful insights:

"Essential Oils, or EO’s, have infinite purposes. Here are 19 tried and true practices for the beginning user. Believe it or not, this list is by no means exhaustive, but it was somewhat exhausting to write!

Lots of mixing to ensue.
An Essential oil will release its powerful fragrance if cleverly placed . . . 

1. Put a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil on a napkin, and rub over a lightbulb. When you switch it on, the bulb will heat and release a beautiful minty scent. But please use only on tungstens, not compact fluorescents. If you are more environmentally friendly, a stove top, when warmed, creates a similar effect.
2. I always put a few drops of essential oil on my new furnace filters. When the air blows through the vent, it circulates the beautiful scent throughout your house (much cheaper and healthier than those room-to-room evanescent fresheners!) If you use a disinfecting oil, like Lavender or Tea Tree, you can stop some nasties before they invade or to cut back on dust mites, use Eucalyptus. Every week or so, add a few more drops for continued enjoyment.
3. If the night lights in said “fresheners” (Tip 2) are just too irresistible to give up, refill the reservoir with a few drops of Essential Oil and water for an easy-peasy, CHEAP, solution.
4. Harvest and dry some of your summer flowers, your spike speedwells and roses, your lavenders and mums. Dry them by hanging them upside down, and then cut ‘em into small pieces. Mix in a few drops of your favorite smelling EO, wrap in a tissue or thin cloth and BAM, instant potpourri.
5. For an air freshener that lasts, mix 10 parts vodka with 1 part of your favorite EO (maybe Bergamont or Cedar) in a spray bottle. But just don’t drink it, kapeesh?
6. And why not mix in some EO with a bucket of paint (might I suggest lemon)? Essential oils aren’t fatty, so oil spots shouldn’t be a problem. But if you’re a worry-wort (like me), experiment on a small patch of wall and let dry.
7. ¡Amor, amorĂ©! Scent love letters by stretching a half cotton ball, doused with a couple drops of Jasmine EO and seal in an envelope. Caution: Jasmine is an aphrodisiac. Well, that may not be so much of a caution, really as just a … a head’s up.
Many essential oils are concentrated enough, they disinfect!
8. Vinegar is a super-effective cleaner but smells egregiously bad. And anti-bacterial sprays do only that, kill bacteria. But fungal spores are a growing problem (literally), and EO’s can save the day. In a large spray bottle, mix Tea Tree or Lavender oil (and be generous) with a cup of vinegar. It’s an instant multi-surface cleaner, so use it.
9. For caked on gunk (in the bath or kitch), mix in a bowl some baking soda and lemon juice until you have a paste, then add an EO for extra scent and as an antiseptic. The baking soda is used as a mild-abrasive, and the citric acid in the lemon juice cuts through the grease and grime. Basically, Lemon juice + EO = Love.
10. Brush a TEENSY bit of EO onto your microfibre or brand name duster to super-scent your daily dust-bust.
11. Last night I dropped a couple drops of Peppermint EO in the dishwasher with the detergent, and as the dishes heated, the aroma warmed my home.
12. For a home-made carpet deodorizer, mix some EO with baking soda in a large bowl. Let the oil dry for several hours (or you’ll have oil spots), then stick in a mason jar and punch holes in the lid. Shake-it-like-a-salt-shaker on your carpets, let it breathe for 4 hours, and vacuum away!
And surely you’re aware of the health benefits …
13. The EO vs. the Dust Mite. Ah, how I hate the dust mite (See the post: Attack of the Killer Tea Bag). All my friends have allergies, and I’ve been trying to find effective solutions to make them more comfortable visitors. I read a study on the USDA Web site that says, in small quantities, Eucalyptus oil, when added to the wash, kills dust mites on fabric (which is tough to do, because most can survive washing AND drying). Don’t put too many drops of EEO on fabrics or you could potentially damage your washer. Like they say, a lil’ dab’ll do ya.
14. After you’ve applied tip 13 in the wash, put a few drops of Lavender EO on a damp cloth and throw it in the dryer with your bed sheets. Bugs hate it (see tip 15), and studies have shown Lavender to be an effective sleep aid. Don’t let the bed bugs bite! You can use the same trick for towels, because it won’t reduce static like fabric softener or dryer sheets (so your towels will still absorb water).
15. Eucalyptus oil can be your one stop shop for essential health: Put a drop on your toothbrush to wake up your gums. Rub a bit under your stuffy nose to clear your nasal passages. Sit a bottle on your desk at work, and inhale every so often to keep you awake. Mix with a bit of baby oil and massage on achy joints or muscles. Mix one teaspoon with some Epsom salts and soak your worked-out feet. And mix a few drops of Eucalyptus oil with your shampoo to stimulate blood flow to the scalp (baldness-be-gone).
Bugs vs. Essential Oils, a one-sided war …
16. My grandma has this beautiful trunk that reeks of moth balls, gross. There’s a better solution: Lavender, Rosemary and Sweet Basil all contain a chemical compound known as camphor, which is the effective ingredient in moth balls. Camphor has a distinctive smell that moths hate, and most of the aforementioned essential oils have retained some camphor in the oil process, but smell good. Mix it with a Cedar EO in potpourri and wrap them in a tissue or thin fabric to put in drawers, chests or trunks. BEWARE: Moth balls, when consumed or inhaled, can be fatal!
17. Put Citronella oil on a rag and wipe buggy or spidery walls. Insects hate it, and if there are no bugs, there are no spiders.
18. Put a dab of Eucalyptus oil between the shoulder blades of your dog (where they can’t lick it off) to discourage ticks.
19. 2 cups of water + 1 TSP of Eucalyptus Oil + ½ TSP of Dishwashing Fluid = bug repellent spray for plants."
--Notes from tmiller@ogdenpubs.com of Herb Companion Magazine, one of my favorite publications