Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Blogging Sabbatical

Dear Friends,

Before the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, I wanted to pop in and confirm that I've moved from a blogging break to a blogging sabbatical!  I've been lately spending most of my free time with my nose in the Word and have been going through a spiritual growth spurt.  He has me learning some hard but fruitful lessons and so, though at times stretching (to say the least), it's been good.  I'm not sure exactly what the future holds for me in Blogland - don't know yet whether this is just a temporary break or a permanent one.  Either way, I wanted you to know that I'm still here living Life in Skunk Hollow and always happy to hear from you.  Please feel free to write me at thedrucks@netzero.com should you wish to catch up.  Here's wishing each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

With a grateful heart,

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Beauty in Bounty

Their house help, a.k.a. his nonlegally adopted daughter, was frying chicken, making potato salad with scallions, bacon, and sour cream, cooking fresh cranberries with ginger root and orange peel, simmering a pot of creamed corn, deviling eggs with homemade mayonnaise, and rolling out biscuits on the countertop.  A pitcher of sweet tea stood at the ready, covered with one end of a tea towel; his grandmother's heavy glass pitcher, filled with unsweetened tea, was covered by the other end.  A three-layer coconut cake, set square in the center of the kitchen island, reigned over the room next to a small vase of early, apple-green hydrangea blossoms. 

-- Jan Karon, In This Mountain

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thank You, LORD . . .

6584.) for French vanilla creamer
6585.) for warm bubble baths on cold mornings
6586.) for my 85-year-old grandmother's orange and black fingernails and a good visit with her
6587.) for nice 50 cent birthday cards at the dollar store
6588.) for chili in a crockpot with multi-grain chips for supper
6589.) for an invitation to a Christmas concert and a little culture in my life
6590.) that for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Eccl. 3:1)
6591.) that You have made everything beautiful in its time (Eccl. 3:11)
6592.) that You have put eternity into man's heart (Eccl. 3:11)
6593.) that whatever You do endures forever (Eccl. 3:14)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Children's Activities

It's great for children to learn and gain new experiences.  But one of the most important things they could possibly learn might surprise you.  It's developing a daily quiet time.

I have observed many well-meaning parents who live breathless, out-of-control lives because their children are enrolled in every available extracurricular program, in addition to being encouraged (or permitted) to be involved in a variety of hobbies and recreation, a constant whirlwind of social activities, and every youth group function.

Those parents seem to spend their lives running around with their children from one function to the next.  This can create in their children an "activity addiction" that decreases their ability to have a quiet heart and curbs their appetite for the Word of God and prayer.

Every once in a while, we need to evaluate the level of activity in our home.  If there's no time for you or your children to cultivate a relationship with God, it's a good sign that something needs to be cut from the schedule.

-- Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Daily Reflections, October 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thank You, LORD . . .

for the beauty of color and pattern and texture everywhere I look -
6562.) for the "revelations" You gave through Chuck Swindoll's message yesterday morning:
1.) for the example of Abraham's obedience in being willing to sacrifice Isaac - Abraham laid it all on the altar and didn't hold back his most precious promise.  He knew that You are enough., and 2.) for Psalm 16:11 which I studied and discovered that it literally means: "In Your face is everything I want."  You. are. enough.
6563.) for candy bars and mint tea and our weekly visit with Grandma and her caregiver
6564.) for incorporating intentional prayer into my devotion routine - though it's work, it's becoming a blessing - thank You for the lessons You're teaching
6565.) for a friend's call last evening - it's joy to hear her joy - and for the invite she offered to share in a ministry opportunity with her - considering and praying . . .
6566.) for time spent with Eli yesterday afternoon, feeding him his cues from the script for his upcoming play
6567.) for the peals of laughter on both ends of the phone during my morning call to Mom
6568.) for Jenna's note that my nephew is so excited about the bonfire tomorrow and has been asking the Lord to make the week go fast!
6569.) that You are my hiding place and my shield and that I hope in Your Word (Psalm 119:114)
6570.) that my eyes long for Your salvation and for the fulfillment of Your righteous promise (Psalm 119:123) - send Him soon, Abba
6571.) that You deal with Your servant according to Your steadfast love (Psalm 119:124)
6572.) for Christ Jesus, Who became for us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption (I Corinthians 1:30)
6573.) that my faith need not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (I Corinthians 2:5)
6574.) that we have received the Spirit from You that we might understand the things freely given us by You (I Corinthians 2:12)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Autumn in the Mountains

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. -- Psalm 90:2

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thought for the Day: Willing to Obey

Will is the whole man active.  I cannot give up my will; I must exercise it.  I must will to obey.  When God gives a command or a vision of truth, it is never a question of what He will do, but what we will do.  To be successful in God's work is to fall in line with His will and to do it His way.  All that is pleasing to Him is a success.

-- Dr. Henrietta Mears, founder of Gospel Light Publications

A thought came to mind upon reflecting on the above quote:  "Thy will be done." - Will I choose to make His will be done in my life by being obedient to His Word?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Autumn on the Farm

Photo credit to Eli Druck Photography

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thank You, LORD . . .

for eyes to see the beauty You've made -
6494.) for Saturday afternoon tea with my sister and her friend who adores the farm - I relish her delight and it makes me ever more thankful to You for this place to share
6495.) for the candy leaf-garnished buttercreams that Jenna brought me as a hostess gift - so good
6496.) for Saturday night supper out with all the boys and M.'s parents at our favorite cheesesteak shop with sandwiches, wings and old-fashioned flavored sodas
6497.) that Jan Karon's character of Father Tim from the Mitford series never fails to inspire me 
6498.) that with both the girls in church, our family took up a whole pew - love, love, love that our family is growing - thank You for Your provision and grace in my sons' lives
6499.) for the fun and laughter over a lasagna dinner we all enjoyed after church
6500.) for the long 3-mile walk that M. and I took along the river yesterday afternoon on a beautiful October day
6501.) that he and I have begun our cold-weather-Sunday-afternoon Bible study again - this year on Job
6502.) that the death of one that belongs to You is precious in Your sight (Psalm 116:15)
6503.) that You are my strong tower (Proverbs 18:10)
6504.) that our crown will never be destroyed (I Corinthians 9:25)
6505.) that You are decorated with glory & beauty and dressed in honor & greatness (Job 40:10)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Homemaking Articles Binder

Several yeas ago I began keeping a Homemaking Articles binder.  Having so often received homemaking inspiration and spiritual insight from various blog posts and e-newsletters I'd read, I wanted a more easily accessible and permanent way to maintain that information.  So I began printing out posts and articles that I knew I would want to refer back to from time to time.  Each article was placed back-to-back with another and slid into plastic sleeves.  Side labels were added to separate the articles that specifically pertained to seasons and more general, year-round posts were placed in the front of the binder.  The two pockets in the front and back contain a few small inspiring catalogs and booklets that I didn't want to separate.

Below is a list of several websites/blogs from which I've printed some of the articles in my Homemaking Articles binder.  Just maybe you'll find some writings to encourage and inspire you to create your very own . . .

By Sun and Candlelight

Home Living with Lady Lydia

Lanier's Books

Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth

Pleasantview Schoolhouse

Living, Loving and Learning Simply

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Bread

This moist recipe makes 3 loaves - perfect for giving one away, tucking another in the freezer and eating one fresh.  Seasonally delicious . . .

Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Bread

3 1/2 C. flour
3 C. sugar (next time I plan to cut this as the chips make up for extra sweetness)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
4 eggs
1 - 15 oz. can of pumpkin
3/4 C. oil
2/3 C. water
12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, oil and water.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour into three 8x4" loaf pans that have been well-greased.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Are You Making Excuses?

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. -- Romans 12:21

Many of us see things about ourselves that we wish were different or we know aren't pleasing to God.  But rather than accept personal responsibility for our own choices, attitudes, and behavior, we have 101 reasons for why we are the way we are.

* "Our house is so tiny, everything gets on my nerves."

* "My job is stressful.  I can't help being irritable with my family when I get home."

* "I'm so exhausted, I just can't function."

* "My parents never affirmed me, and I've never been able to feel loved."

But God doesn't call us to make excuses.  Instead, here's what He does call us to:

Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord . . . Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  (Rom. 12:10-17).

You can make excuses for your actions, or you can rely on God's power and obey Him.  Which will you choose today?

-- Nancy Leigh DeMoss, October 2014 Daily Reflections

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thank You, LORD . . .

for autumn colors -
6444.) for sweet autumn air and exercise as E. and I tied up cauliflower plants yesterday afternoon
6445.) for fresh cauliflower for supper
6446.) that all my boys were home for an evening
6447.) for the satisfaction in putting the house in order after the weekend
6448.) for sweatshirts and blankets and hot cups of tea and spiced apple cider
6449.) for warm peanut butter apple crisp before bed
6450.) that Jesus is at Your right hand, waiting for The Day when You will put all things under His feet - and in the meantime, is interceding on my behalf (Psalm 110:1)
6451.) that there is a measure of protection in doing what is right (Proverbs 13:6)
6452.) for II Corinthians 4:16-18: So we do not give up.  Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day.  We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.  We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see.  What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever.
6453.) for Your thundering power - we hear only a small whisper of it (Job 26:14)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Oh, October

There are heavy frosts at night, and though most of the days are bright and warm, some of them hot, the light perfumes of summer are gone and the smell of blackened vines sweeps in from the planted pieces mingled only with that of burning potato tops.  The cornstalks stand in stacks like wigwams, ready to be brought to the barns for use as bedding for cattle and horses.  Nothing remains in the fields but the cornstalks, the cabbages, parsnips which will be left there until spring, and wandering, wondering cows.  Stoves have been set up in chambers and sitting rooms.  Men drive to woodlots lately stripped and haul home cartloads of sawdust for banking houses.  Woodpiles in the yards are growing smaller and the sheds are filling up as wheelbarrows trundle between, loaded high going in, empty going out.  Chimney soot has been swept down.  Women are cutting patchwork to make new comforters and mend old ones.  The barn lofts are full of hay, the long, deep chests of whole corn, cracked corn, and oats, each in its compartment, the cellar of potatoes, squashes, pumpkins, apples, carrots, beets, and other fruits and vegetables in jars, pickles in crocks; or as full as they will ever be.  Herbs and popping corn swing from the rafters in the shed chamber.  The children gather hickory and hazel nuts after the first hard frost opened their burrs, and those hang in baskets among the corn and herbs.  The life of the year has moved inside the buildings and seems to swell their sides. 

-- Gladys Hasty Carroll, Only Fifty Years Ago

Friday, October 3, 2014

Autumn Decorations on the Farm

(And in case you'd like an autumn decoration for your stomach, run to your nearest Olive Garden and order a [gigantic!] slice of their Pumpkin Cheesecake with caramel topping and whipped cream and gingersnap crumbles. Oh. my.)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October's Idea Board

Thoughts and ideas to meditate on in October:

* Pride is the villain with a thousand faces. -- Kevin deYoung

* Kids are heavenly sandpaper that God uses to rub off our rough edges. -- Kevin deYoung

* My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted until I discovered the interruptions were my work. -- Henri Nouwen

* They exchanged their glorious God for a statue of a bull that eats grass. (Psalm 106:20) - A stab to the heart: How often do I exchange You for a lesser thing to worship?

* Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking.  (Colossians 3:15a)

* She had learned to detect in everything - the calendula growing bright orange in the hedgerow, the tiny gooseberries, the garlic mustard in her porridge - the presence of God.  It was a quality of listening, a way of paying attention.  In this way, life had begun and would end in love.
-- Amy Frykholm, Julian of Norwich

* Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day.  Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually: "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped.  He is not only with me but in me and I in him." -- St. Francis de Sales

* Here then is our guidebook, our textbook the Word.  If I utter a syllable that is not justified by Scripture, don't believe me.  The Bible is the only rule.  Walk by it and it alone. -- D. L. Moody

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Biographies & Spiritual Development

Over the past twenty years I have devoted much time to studying the lives of Christians.  Reading biographies and autobiographies of nineteenth- and twentieth-century saints has shaped my spirituality, encouraged me in my walk with God, and caused me to ponder anew the role of books in the process of spiritual formation.  One striking lesson learned from spending time with pilgrims from bygone eras is that next to disciplined daily time in prayer and the Scriptures, the reading of devotional literature and biographies ranks extremely high among formative influences.  Indeed, many Christians who have made significant contributions to the church testify to the profound impact of books - especially biographies - on the spiritual development.

-- Lyle W. Dorsett, excerpt from the foreword of A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter by Miriam Huffman Rockness

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Autumn Gratitude Gifts


The two photos below are layouts from a magazine I picked up a few months ago at a yard sale – Phyllis Hoffman’s Celebrate Autumn: Gatherings from Fall 2012.  (At the yard sale price of a quarter, it was a steal!!)  The article is called The Gift of Giving and features six simple but classy ideas for little gifts to share with others as a token of gratitude during this autumn season.

The first three ideas are cellophane bags of trail mix or granola nestled in wooden berry baskets; whole coffee beans in small plastic decorated containers; and scented pillar candles tied up in a mesh/burlap bag.

The second set of ideas features pretty, egg shaped soaps garnished with a seasonal ribbon; a package of plain napkins with an appropriate rubber stamp to embellish the napkins; and cute, corked jars of honey with a honey dipper attached.  I love that any one of these items would make a special little treat for someone whether as a hostess gift, a present for a neighbor or a just-because gift for a friend.