Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Harmless Daily Addiction

Most of the time, I manage to come across as a fairly sane, balanced person.  Well, at least I like to think I do.  But every now and then, people look at me like I must have sprouted wings, horns, or some other bodily apparition.  A fairl high percentage of these instances happen to be when I am holding knitting needles.  So I'm guessing that a thirty-one year old doing knitting in public is considered a little unusual.  Granny would have been so proud.  I am, after all, quite proud of myself.  While I could never claim to be a gifted knitter, I am quite competent at squares.  I can knit nice neat, tidy squares, row after row after row...

And frankly, that's about all I am interested in doing.  I have a half-finished cardigan for Munchkin lurking around my house.  I will finish it before next winter, I promise.  It's just that I really hate having to decifer a pattern and THINK about my knitting while I knit.  For me, knitting is all about 'down time.'  Me time.  Thinking space.  Or not thinking space, depending on my mood.  So squares suit me.  Plus of course I love to give and this is one way I can give.

So this year, I delivered yet another multicoloured blanket to Operation Cover Up.  In exchange I was given a DVD Operation Mobilisation created about their work (including delivering the knitted blankets).  I was horrified at how little so many folks have living in countries like Moldova, the Ukraine, Albania, and Romania.  I couldn't imagine being in the position of not ever being able to save enough money to buy a jersey, or a new duvet.  I have a multitude of blankets and duvets, one for each occassion almost.  So I was, once again, impressed with how valuable this knitting is.  It might only change one person's life.  But what a difference it might make for them!

Here's the 2012 blanket being finished off.  With my expert lay-out helper, of course!

And finished.  With my critiquing committee giving it the seal of approval.



And delivered...plus the inspiring contributions of others.  My special delivery assistant was helping with this one.  Munchkin is going to think it is completely normal and natural to rock up to a room full of mostly retirees, blankets and jerseys once a year!



And of course, the day after I delivered it, I started the next blanket.  After all, I managed to wool on sale at Spotlight again, earlier in the year so I am all stocked up and ready to knit (and I seem to recall that there was a movie on tv, and I absolutely HATE having nothing to do in the ad breaks, grin!).


I've done quite a few squares lately.  It's been progressing quickly, as I've had mornings free lately!  Horray.  Sadly no longer so.  But they were rather nice, while they lasted.


I'm doing a random mix of squares again this year, but interspersed with narrower strips, first one seen here.  Haven't decided how many I will do yet.


Like my 'scarf?'
Amy



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Recent Happenings

There's been lots going on in our little corner of the world lately.  Nothing terribly earth-shattering mind you (if you don't count Boyo starting more-than-full-time work that is!).

Top of the list would have to be Munchkin's new "Big Bed."

We have actually bought him one of those 'cabin beds' that are a metre off the ground.  But then Mummy had reservations about how safe he would be in it...he is tall for sure (my son is A METRE tall already!!!!!), but he's still little, if you know what I mean.  As the cabin bed was Mummy's idea to start with, she had to come up with a solution.  Found.  $30 bed base from friend's garage sale.  Bonus?  The money spent is helping said friend wend his way to Cambodia on a short-term missions trip to a project we now support.  Thumbs up all round.  Bed base was duly installed in conservatory for preliminary investigations.  Much climbing, jumping (!!), and book reading ensued.  Bedtime stories had to be out in the conservatory, complete with blanket and pillow.  Our boy is a total blanket boy.  He just loves them.  The problem is that he sleeps HOT.  Just like his daddy (only Daddy isn't so crazed over blankets).  So I frequently find the Munchy baby sound asleep, covered in sweat, because he fell asleep right in under his blankets.

Big Bed is now in bedroom.  It has been for a few weeks, it has just taken me this long to catch up with all my photo sorting and editing!  Munchkin really likes it.  It does help that Mummy found him a very cool plane duvet cover on sale for his double feather duvet (he has a likewise cool star one from Mamma and Poppa for his single winter duvet).  Mummy did of course underestimate how hot this boy sleeps, so the feather duvet (which she thinks is just right for sleeping under now!), is way, way, way too hot for Munchy.  Have added 'very light, very thin cotton duvet inner' to list.  In meantime (read: this summer as things are a bit tight), using assortment of small blankets and such from cot.  Munchy does not care.  We just fold the plane duvet back each sleep time, and pop the assorted blankets on top of the cupboard when not in use.  Big Bed will be replaced with 'Big BIG Bed' in due course.  Not sure when.  We want the storage it supplies the smaller bedroom, but will wait till we think Munchkin can get in, out, and stay put safely in it!


Munchkin has been a little, ah, volatile since being in his Big Bed.  Some days he goes straight to sleep.  Others there is a Jack-in-the-Box appearing act from the bedroom multiple times before he finally sucumbs.  Does not help that he can open doors.  Are considering a latch for outside of bedroom door (no, we are not terrible parents, just a bit desperate!  Only for use when he refuses to sleep so he is restricted to playing in his room for at least long enough for Mummy to eat lunch...this we figure is preferable to having a yelling match).  Incidentally, recently had landlord install locks on bathroom and toilet doors.  Yay!  And considering one for inside of our bedroom door (there being a few times you just don't want to be interrupted unannounced by your toddler - he can be surprisingly quiet and we get lured into thinking he went to sleep only to have him emerge with a collection of books, a soft toy and various other objects purloined from his bedroom - are now tying toy cupboard shut with scarf each sleep time but there's still a few things left to play with!).  He always emerges looking so very chuffed with himself!  Till we tell him to go back to bed, which is usually when the tears start.  Or the protestations that he needs the toilet (again!).

Other recent happenings include Munchkin having an 'outside bath' as he called it.  It was morning, and sunny for the first time in ages.  It started with a bucket of water, then we decided to get out his bath tub and swimming gear.  Great fun!  And yes, this is actually his bath tub.  We don't have a bath, so this sits in the wet-area shower.


We also made pikelets a couple of weeks ago.  Scrummy!  My dad taught me when I was young, so naturally this is something I need to pass on to my son.  It was really funny, as I let Munchkin put the jam on himself.  He's never done that before, and I think knife-holding and buttering skills are going to take a bit of time.  A bit of frustration over trying to cut a pikelet in half.  But otherwise a rip-roaring success.  Keeps asking for pikelets at any rate!



And then there was the tent.  I was reminded by Elizabeth's post of the virtues of a good tent so promptly made one the following day.  It was enjoyed, though it didn't come with cars so therefore was discarded after awhile for the car mat in the conservatory!



Then there's the lion we made at Kids Church when I looked after the little tots a few weeks back (Daniel in the lion's den - Munchkin really liked his).

A BBQ with friends - complete with toasting marshmellows and a ride behind a quad bike.



Organsing the making of over 80 Christmas cards.  There is now a large pile of cards on my desk, ready to be posted out to Cambodia tomorrow!  Lots of cutting, glueing, emailing makers and writers, checking names off lists, and praying that these cards will encourage and bless the families they are going to!

And finally the Cherry Choc slice I made for the card-making night.  Recipe courtesy of my mother-in-law who has some fabulous easy-peasy baking things.  This is her personal variation for a Christmassy theme with green peppermint icing and glaze cherries on top.  Really quite more-ish.

What have you been up to lately?
Amy


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Drink Your Greens

We’ve all been told to eat our greens at one point or another. Everyone knows that leafy green vegetables are one of the foods we are meant to eat more of. But why is it that the foods we are ‘meant’ to eat just aren’t particularly appealing. I mean, have you ever heard someone yearning after a bowlful of lentils, beans, or spinach??? Nup. Just chocolate, sugar, fat, or practically anything else that is actually rather bad for our poor bodies.  It sucks.  Sigh.

So how do we do it? How can we include more greens in our diet without feeling like we’re on some self-sacrificing distasteful purge of a diet?

While NZ health guidelines suggest 5 servings of fruit and vege a day as a minimum, ideally we should be consuming AT LEAST 2-3 CUPS of fresh, leafy green veges every single day, preferably raw. That’s not including fruit or root vegetables, or anything that comes from a tin!  I don’t know about you, but I heard that and felt my heart plummet. How was I EVER to manage that? I struggle to eat quarter of a cup each day, in summer salads.
Green smoothies!
I went to a workshop about green smoothies a few months back and am hooked!  I now own two books on Green Smoothies, and make them every week.  This post is for my mother-in-law who requested the recipe.  Here you are, Maxine!  Hope you enjoy.

I love Green Smoothies. So easy, and so tasty. Seriously good stuff.

Green Smoothies are both healthy and easy.
They have highly accessible nutrients as blending is almost like a specialised pre-chewing mechanism
They are full of fibre too, which is where juicing can let us down (we need fibre to help pick up free radicals and toxins in our bodies)
As for easy, you simply throw everything in a blender, then enjoy the results! You can store unused smoothie in the fridge for up to three days and it’s nutrition level keeps really well (just stir before serving as it can separate and discolour a bit on top). I am now sending Boyo off to work with one of those portable thermos tea cups full of smoothie each day! Smoothies are versatile eating. They can be swallowed on the run or sipped with friends at a tea party. And if you get bored of one flavour, you simply choose another mix of fruit to try something new.

Now you are probably feeling a little bit worried about eating something that tastes like grass. I was. But I’ve managed to come up with a slightly ‘toned down’ recipe that still means we eat greens, but really enjoy the experience. My husband and son both eat them. Munchkin slurps and slurps and slurps. Boyo will happily have one a day. We certainly aren’t anywhere near our 2-3 cups of greens a day each, but we are eating much more than we ever did before, and feeling better for it. Now we haven’t suddenly become specimens of amazing health. But we do seem more healthy than before, so we’re happy with that. I’m sure we all want good health, but for most of us that still has to fit within the bounds of work, children, budget, likes and dislikes, and so on, so Green Smoothies is one part of our diet that helps. I’m blending them up about five days out of seven and we each have as big a glass as we want for morning or afternoon tea. We went away recently, and after five days away I really, really wanted a Green Smoothie. Seriously wanted one. I bought a fruit smoothie, but it just wasn’t the same. I got home, bought some fruit, found some weeds and blended away. Bliss.


How to make a Green Smoothie:
You need a blender, some water, some soft fruit, and some leafy greens
To make 1.5litres (which nearly fills my Sunbeam blender) use the following recipe (halve it for less):
2 cups water
2 cups loose leafy green veges, rinsed and cut into small pieces (i.e. 3-5cm – remove chunky stems)
2 bananas, peeled and cut into two pieces
2-4 other pieces of fruit or 2cups of berries

A Green Smoothie in process earlier this week.

Prepare everything first. Put water and greens in blender (remember the lid!). Blend. Once the greens look pulverised, gradually add the fruit while it continues to blend, starting with the hardest first (i.e. frozen berries). You can stop and start your blender, but it will slosh all over the lid each time you restart it, so I usually keep mine going. Once you can’t see or hear any bits of fruit sloshing round, turn it off and serve or chill.

A not-so-green-looking one!
Optional extras:
A little freshly grated root ginger
A sprig of herbs from your garden, such as mint or lemon balm
1 Tablespoon of Chia seed (soak it in your 2 cups of water overnight then tip it all in the blender) – this beautiful speckled grey seed is an ancient grain having a renaissance. Incredibly high in protein and omega three (the highest plant form of it in fact!). Grown by the Aztecs and Mayans it was nearly lost to us as the Spanish sought to wipe out every association to their culture. Gluten free, high in antioxidants, iron, calcium, and potassium, chia seeds really do pack a serious punch! You can sprinkle them over foods, add them to baking, or into a smoothie. The best way to use them is to soak them overnight in some water, then add the seedy gel to food the following day. I get mine at the bulk bins at our local Pak N Save.
Chia seed!
You don’t need yoghurt, eggs, or anything other than greens, fruit and water. This is a really good combination for our digestion, so I haven’t messed with it at all. When I want a protein boost, I add chia seed.
There are many different plants you can use for your smoothies and the more variety we have on a seasonal basis, the better our nutrition as each plant will give us different nutrients. Heck, even different coloured lettuce varieties have different nutrient spectrums.

Possible greens from the garden:
Lettuce (but not iceberg – not really many nutrients in there)
Spinach
Silverbeet
Kale
Mizuna/Tatsoi/Pak Choy (and other Asian greens)
Miners Lettuce
Corn Salad
Celery

Buckwheat and Rye/Oats/Wheat (a green manure in our garden at present that I figured I may as well eat too!)
Pink Russian Kale (milder than you might think)

Weeds you might have hanging around:
Puha
Dandelion
Chickweed
Clover

Fruit:
Soft is best. Ripe fruit will make your smoothie sweeter so try to get it ripe before you need to use it (I’ve noticed crunchy pears do work but aren’t as tasty as soft ones)
Berries are brilliant, especially if you don’t want the kids (or hubby) to notice there are green things in there!
Kiwifruit, pear, banana, mangoes, apricots, etc. You can also include oranges and lemons, but we’ve found the smoothie doesn’t taste good the following day – use it straight away.
You don't have to peel and core, but we do as our fruit isn't organic and our blender not high powered.


Hints for successful Green Smoothie enjoyment:
Try a SMALL amount of any new green to start with – some weeds have really strong flavours, others are mild. Chickweed is really mild. I’ve decided I don’t really like puha or dandelion smoothies. A few leaves in with another green is okay, but on their own they pack a powerful punch and I can’t stomach the flavour. As I make smoothies as a way to ENJOY eating greens, taste is a valid consideration! Don’t pick from anywhere that might get herbicide spray (I only pick from the garden of people I know, however tempting the weeds down in the reserve might look!). Pick what you know. Don’t eat what you don’t. Weed out any inedible weeds from your garden, and always double check your stash before you pop it in the blender.
The other great advice for Green Smoothies is variety. Variety really is the spice of life, at least in the leafy green world. The thing is, all greens have very tiny amounts of toxins in them (called alkoloids). This is to stop animals grazing the entire plant (otherwise greens would become extinct, you know!). A little bit of one here, a little bit of another here, and the immune system is built up by their amazing mineral and vitamin base. A large amount of one green over a week or more and you might not feel quite the thing. The alkaloids build up in our bodies over time if we eat the same plants every day. So have spinach for only up to three days, then try lettuce or chickweed for a couple. Then you can go back to spinach again if you want.

Pearadice - my favourite!
I do hope you can get past the ‘green’ of it all, and have a go!  You might be surprised.



Amy

ps - some basic recipes for you if you are the 'give me a proper recipe' person, grin!

Pearadice
1T chia soaked in 2 c water
2 c chickweed
2 ripe pears
2 ripe gold or green kiwifruit
2 bananas

Winter Green
2 c water
2 c raw spinach
small piece root ginger (peeled & grated)
2 c boysenberries
Victoria Boutenko - Green Smoothie Revolution


Blueberry Zing
2c water
2c fresh parsley
1c blueberries
1 orange
Victoria Boutenko - Green Smoothie Revolution

Raspberry Red
2c water
2c kale (cut it up a bit)
2c raspberries (frozen or fresh)
1 ripe pear or apple
2 ripe bananas



Saturday, November 24, 2012

A New Era

Seasons come and go. I like the changing of the seasons, knowing that they are not permanent. I can rely on the fact that even if I HATE the cold of winter, spring is just around the corner. It will come. Sometimes in an early rush, sometimes a gradual awakening after weeks of grinding rain. But spring will come.

Life is made of seasons. Every year has four. And our lives are separated into seasons too. But the thing with life’s seasons is they are not nearly as predictable as those of summer, autumn, spring, and winter. For while every year must have four seasons and only four, a person’s life can have many. Some may be short, lasting just a few weeks. Others long, lasting years and years and years.

Each season comes with its own delights and difficulties. I like snuggling in under my big, thick duvet in winter. But I hate cold fingers and toes. Really hate that (especially the chilblains!). Boyo, on the other hand, just loves the cold. He lives for winter. He waits for it, anticipates it, and heartily enjoys the frosty mornings and crisp air. Boyo wants to move to Queenstown. Ugh. I can’t think of anything worse than living somewhere where it snows. Except living somewhere that has snow all year round. Like Antarctica.

I’ve been thinking about seasons this week, as a season in our lives has just ended and another is now beginning.


Boyo has a job. A full time, 40hours a week job! It came out of the blue, an amazing, incredible, astounding answer to prayer. I laughed and cried for joy, all at once (and in the middle of cleaning someone’s house, no less)! It’s not permanent yet, but we are hoping it will become so. Either way, it’s a great step in the right direction. But with the new job comes some changes, not all of which are easy. Have you ever noticed how an answer to prayer can be a blessing or a trial, and frequently a mix of both at the same time?!? I’m not quite sure how that works, but it does seem to happen an awful lot in my life. The things I really want, I get them and discover that they aren’t quite as straight forward as I thought. Like being married. Having a child. Studying. Starting a ministry.

In case you’ve been wondering what I was up to those months I wasn’t blogging, I was starting a ministry at my church. And working. A lot. And looking after the boy while his daddy studied. The year has flown past. I still can’t believe that it is nearly December! But then I did spend the first half of the year working over sixteen hours a week, plus looking after Munchkin while Boyo studied. Between us, we either worked or had Polytech six days a week. Things were hectic, shall we say (understatement of the century!). The last half of the year has been a breeze in comparison (I honestly, truly have to credit God with getting me through the first half of this year – I was very close to emotional and physical collapse at least twice – very grateful I made it through and my violin sold which paid for the rest of our trip to my brother’s wedding).

This job of Boyo’s means I am no longer working. I’ve gone from 16+hrs earlier this year, to 8-10hrs/wk a couple of weeks ago, to this week just 2. That in itself is a huge blessing and I’m still trying to get my head around it. It’s surreal! It also presents some new challenges. I get to rest. Finally. I really need it. Study starts 4th of February next year, and I’ve been praying for a break from work before I start study again. Yay! I am enrolled and looking forward to starting again (but not how demanding it is going to be). But while not working is so good, spending a whole week with Munchkin is ah, interesting. Let’s just say he can talk you almost to death. Grin. Boyo commented on it today (Boyo having a majorly tired day today he really noticed the constant chatter). My response? Well, we both come from families of chatterboxes, and we are both talkers ourselves, so what else can we expect?!

Cleaning for two hours with a two and a half year old is a somewhat daunting task. I can’t say that I recommend it. Even if it is his grandmother’s house. I swear, he took every single book out of their bookshelf. There might have been three left. It’s just a shame he didn’t read every single one as it did keep him well occupied. I have learnt though, that it is perfectly acceptable in Munchkin’s world to be strapped into his little highchair at the table with a stash of cars while Mummy cleans. And to allow at least 15 minutes afterwards to read all the books I’ve been begged into promising to read once the cleaning is done!

Friday’s are going to be the hardest. But that is probably because it isn’t just Friday. I will have Michael from 7am Friday till about midday Saturday. You see, Boyo is starting out on a low wage. So he’s keeping his supermarket job to keep the finances afloat. That means he will be out at work from around 7am till 5:45pm Monday to Thursday. Then on Friday he works the morning at his new job, comes home for lunch, and heads to his second job to then work 3pm to 5am. Yes, you did read that right. It is a fifteen hour shift. Our theory is that this is better than working it over two nights as he has been doing, and having to go to his new job on very little sleep on Fridays (as we’ve been waiting three and a half years for this job, we are determined to give it everything we’ve got!). It means that Boyo goes to bed as Munchkin and I get up on Saturday so that also means we don’t get a disturbed night sleep (wahoo – after three years of disturbed sleep from Boyo’s nightfill job I am SO GLAD!!!).

Negotiating car access is interesting. Boyo has been told frequently throughout this year in no uncertain terms that when he got a day job he would not have the car every day. He doesn’t have the toddler, so he doesn’t get the car. We share. Of course, this was assuming he could GET to and from work without a car. Fortunately he can. His (almost unused) bike has been brought out of retirement, oiled, pumped, dusted off, and had lights affixed. The spider webs and praying mantis egg sack were removed from the helmet. Boyo now has a rather sore bottom. And this from one ride to and from work. He was to ride three days a week, but we have renegotiated next week so he only has to ride twice. So I felt sorry for him, okay!

The interesting thing about all this is that I actually feel some regret at the end of our two-student household season. Am I sad that we might finally have some stable income again (no having to find work each summer)? Heck, no! But I am sorry that Munchkin no longer gets his Daddy days each week. He will really miss hanging out with Daddy while I work. And I will miss the solitude of vacuuming alone. Grin. Boyo says he will miss his freedom.

We are poised on the verge of some very exciting opportunities. Looking back and feeling grateful to have made it thus far. Looking forward and wondering how this is all going to pan out.



Amy









Friday, November 23, 2012

Simply Inspiring

I am a very visual person.

I love to look at nice things, arrranged in nice ways.  You probably would have NO IDEA of this if you were to visit my house.  But I am trying to change this.  I've come to realise more and more lately that I actually feel less stressed and more contented and peaceful if the area I am in is visually tidy and appealing.  Huh.  The thing is that keeping things both tidy and pretty takes time.  And money.  Both of which are in fairly short supply round here.  Plus I've realised I've never really developed my own 'tastes'.  I was sick within 9 months of getting married and then spent four years fighting illness.  Plus we've had only one decently good financial year in the almost 9 we have been married.  So prettiness has not been high on the priority list.  But I'm now working on it.  I like to have fresh flowers on my dining table.  And no junk mail. Sigh.  There is currently a bit of a pile up happening...

I went to my baby brother's wedding recently (ok, so he's never really been 'the baby!') and was really inspired by some of the simple ideas they had to decorate and pretty things up.  The wedding and reception were both amazing from a visual point of view, and a whole lot of time and attention had gone into making them so (my new sis-in-law is very creative and dedicated!).  While I don't want to spend that many hours decorating for a tea party with friends, I really loved some of the ideas and thought they'd be great to stash away for a tea party!

Gypsophila, hung in bunches upside down, tied with string.  Plus you can decorate with them later, seeing as they dry nicely.





Flowers arranged in glass jars of varying sizes and shapes, tied with string or ribbon.  A mix of poppies, stock, daisys, roses, all country garden flowers that cut well and look great and are fairly simple to arrange.



Beautiful strips of different textured fabrics knotted round a nice stick, sitting across the 'signing of the register' table.  I lOVE THIS IDEA!  So easy, and so gorgeous.  I am envisaging one done with organza ribbons (I LOVE organza ribbons)!


An archway decorated with real ivy but combined with fake flowers that wouldn't wilt during a day in the hot sunshine.


At the reception, a long display of candles with flowers up behind the bridal table (with bunting underneath showing the bride and groom's names - very cute!).


And on the reception tables, as well as bunches of flowers, stacks of old books tied with string.


And there were paper cranes, idea maybe borrowed from my other brother's wedding a couple of years back (these photos are of his wedding - the cranes were so beautiful hung from an arch in front of the water). 



We managed to miss taking photos of the afternoon tea this time, or the reception last time!  Both had gorgeous displays of little eating delights, on tiered cake plates.  The wedding a couple of years back also had lollies in big jars, sitting on the steps of an old wooden ladder...it looked incredible!

Now I wonder if it would be a little extravagant to have gypsophila hanging from my windows this Christmas???

How about you, are you a visual person?  Do you have a 'style' or colour range you decorate your house with, or is it more eclectic than that?  I've got a red polarfleece blanket over one chair, and a striped red on over the couch...it is quite by accident that they actually look good with our soft pinky coloured couches, but I always feel the lounge is missing something now if that striped blanket gets moved!  So I guess I am slowly developing a style of my own after all.

Amy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It Begins

It has already started.  The pitting of Mummy and Daddy against each other thing that kids seem so skilled at.  Munchkin is almost two and a half and seems to already have this skill down pat.  And I am left wondering, are kids BORN with it?

The other day, I was at work and Daddy was on duty.  It was time for afternoon sleep.  Munchkin and Daddy read a book (as per usual).  Then Munchkin asks, "Daddy read sing?" (interpret: Daddy please read and sing for Munchkin)  Daddy's response, "No Munchkin, Daddy already read one book.  I said we would read only one book.  Time for sleep now."  Munchkin: "Mummy read sing" (in a slightly accusing and pleading voice - interpret: Mummy reads and sings for me so you know you really should too!).  The thing is, I don't read and sing for Munchkin before day time naps...I only read.  I sing and read at night time bedtime, and he does know that.  But of course it doesn't stop him asking almost every day for Mummy to 'sing song.'  Or, apparently, stop him trying to convince his daddy that he should either!

Amy

Monday, November 12, 2012

One of Those Days

It's been one of those days.  Nothing seems to be working well today.  That might, just maybe, have something to do with how tired I am.  Maybe (read: most likely!).  And how stressed.  But whatever the cause, today has not been going my way.

But anyhow, on a day like today, it was really nice to see these photos. 



I was sorting, for when my email gets fixed (yup, that's been a 'one of those week' issues).  These were taken a few weeks back during a visit to the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens. 


I just love the colours and the gentle reminder that even on blah days, there is still beauty if I will stop and find it.



Amy

Monday, November 5, 2012

Green Pastures

I first wrote this post back in August (oh my, I can't believe it was that long ago!).  It is still applicable today.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.


When I was reading Psalm 23 this morning, I noticed that it does not say, “I shall not want.” Wanting is my choice. I choose to want this or that, or the other thing. Being IN want, however, is a little different. Being in want makes me think of insufficiency, lack, perhaps even need. Because Jesus is my Good Shepherd, I will not be in need. It’s kind of like He is saying here that taking care of my needs is part of his job description.

I don’t imagine sheep stand around and plot how they are going to find their next meal. Nope, I think they just eat. They are pretty simple animals really. A bit thick. Not really the animal I’d choose to be likened to, but there you have it. I am a bit like a sheep. Stubborn. Blind to the obvious. All too easily led by common opinion. Definitely in need of a strong-minded, kind-hearted, clued-up Shepherd. Someone who understands sheep.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.

The thing with green pastures is that not all pastures are green. They have to be found. That’s what the shepherd’s job is, finding green pastures. That, along with fighting off bears, tending cut feet, carrying tired lambs, and much more. A good shepherd is really very versatile, don’t you think?

A shepherd knows how to find the best grass. Sheep don’t. Sheep just wander here and there.

Just now it feels a bit like we are trecking through some less-than-spectacular pastures. Brown. Crispy. Dried up and not very palatable. Edible, yes. I’m certainly not starving. I’m really doing okay. But it’s just not very exciting, or pleasant, or restful right now. Life is hard work and I’m tired. But we’re heading for that nice green valley my Shepherd loves. He knows it’s there, and I just have to keep believing, keep trudging along behind.

We had a special travelling law when I was growing up. We were not allowed to ask, “Are we there yet?” or even how much longer till we were. NEVER. This was on a ten hour car journey. Needless to say I learned the order of all major towns between Wellington and Thames at a young age…and how to read signposts! Grin. But seriously, I know that life is not about the destination. Life is all about the journey. But I’m tired. I just want to know…”Are we there yet?” I could really do with a safe, sunny green pasture right about now. I sure could use a rest. If life could be easy, even for just a week that would be so-oooo nice.

But even when we’re trekking through some pretty rough terrain, my Shepherd does have a knack for finding a tasty bit of brush to eat, or a cool shady rock to rest beside. Please excuse me a moment while I nap in its shade.

Amy