“Listen and hear My voice; pay attention to what I say.” Isaiah 28:23

Being profound or saying something of importance, is a hard thing to pull off. Especially for those of us who write and/or blog. Lots of us think we are arm-chair pundits or philosophers. Most of us fail miserably at it. But the overriding theme is that we just want to be heard. Everyone has an opinion, based on their learned experiences, personality, and outlook. Many of us base our responses and verbiage on our faith, and our interpretation of our faith. And there are many among us who spout off and say horrible things to one another, because of those experiences we have had, or perhaps a mental condition. There are many who are ill from a variety of reasons.

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me.

John 10:27

Trying to be Christ-like to others all the time is exhausting. I know we have all met people who seem to have an aura of peace around them. They are a pleasure to be around. Their presence lightens the room and our spirits feel filled. We also know those who drain the life out of us every moment spent in their presence. Quite often, just being in public where I am called upon to interact with others, can drain the life out of me. I love people and those who know me know I love to gab. As I have gotten older, and am alone more often than not, I have come to relish the solitude and quiet. And it takes a lot out of me to socialize.

And the crux of this post is experiencing the voices of others, and discerning import, and dross. And also, I do long for my couple of close girlfriends and our long chats at my table. I miss those days so much. Hubby works from home most of the time, so I try to leave him alone and not bother him. It makes for quiet days. And I understand why my dad, with his delusions, is so lonely for the voice of others, especially those he loves. I am not as angry or short-tempered with him as I once was. It was a steep learning curve! Being Christ-like can rip the energy out of me, but it also gives me profound peace. I love to imagine Christ smiling when I get along better with my dad, and others I have a hard time with. It is making me stretch as a person. So funny it’s taken 65 years! (No laughing).

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

James 1:19

Conversations these days are so guarded. We have to tip-toe around those who believe differently than we do because tempers seem to flare so easily. I have never understood why those who lean towards the left seem to be so angry. And there are so many self-righteous people who lean more conservatively, as well. It is a dance. Some days I just want to sit it out. Getting your voice into the miasma that is social media is not easy. I am happy to have made some internet friends who think more like I do than my own children, and who are “popular” or known in the conservative arena. They take the time to chat and reinforce my beliefs. It is like a safe kiddie pool to get into, rather than the raging seas of media exchanges. And even the times I miss with friends would not be repeatable these days because I am far more into all these odd theories than they are! I am sure they think I am a little nuts. And that is okay. We meander around the issues and stick to what we know – our kids, grandkids, recipes, gardening, husbands. LOL. The problem, as I see it (again, wanting to share my opinion and get my voice out there) is that the world is not getting better. We are going to have to pinch a lot of pennies to enjoy our upcoming camping trip – the gas alone is gonna kill us! It may turn out to be our only foray in our camper this year. The grocery bills are becoming daunting. Our savings are shrinking. And most of the pundits, even those on the left and even bankers, are warning us this is the lull before the big storm. What is a small voice like mine to do?

But whosoever listens to Me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.

Proverbs 1:33

I must put my cares upon the Lord. Only He knows what is best for me. And God wins. The war is won, although we are facing many battles ahead of us. With prayers on my lips, I can drown out the cacophony of noise that surrounds us these days. I can turn off media. I can listen only to Christian music, that will uplift me and give me courage. I can read only written works that speak to my spirit. I can rely on the many promises of God to protect his flock. In all of that, I can also put my hands to the plow and not look back, only forward, towards my Lord. (“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.'” Luke 9:62). We can each come out of this on the other side, better people than when these trials began.

And do not be fooled – the times we are in are just the beginning. We should all be prepared. We all should stock up on water and food, enough for months. We should start growing things to sustain us. We need to know where our food comes from – meet your local farmers. Get involved in food security groups. Plan ahead in case our freedoms are severely hampered or even compromised. Just like you plan with natural disasters – have safe places to meet up. Learn to communicate using radios and other methods. Be secure in your home. Know your neighbors. Be discreet in your preparations. But also prepare to help those who never thought bad things would happen.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age…

Titus 2:11-12

Living upright and godly lives in this present age…oh my word, this present age! I never thought we would have pride month where even mayonnaise gets a rebranding and spelling! Or children are encouraged to attend parades and be exposed to kink? Are you serious? We need to take this country back in so many, many arenas. We need God back in every aspect of our lives. We need strong men and women to take their families back and to just say no to the programming and interference in the raising of future generations. Not everyone deserves a trophy. Not everyone should go to college. Every child deserves to be safe, and loved, surrounded by family. The time to act is now. Grab those kids, get them into church, get them digging in the dirt and planting food, get them off the electronic gadgetry that plagues them, surround them with extended family and friends who feel the same way. Support other families like yours. Plan where your dollars go, especially as they are valued less and less. And teach your children to listen for that still, small voice of God in the every day of life.

The Lord said, ‘Go stand out on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake. but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’

1 Kings 19:11-13

We all expect big things from God. Enormous acts of fire and brimstone, ushering an age wherein the Glory of God will be shown. If you read Revelations with the end times in mind, you want to curl in a ball and hide. Those will be terrible times, to be sure. But we are living in pretty awful times as it is. I am not waiting for some Project Moonbeam holographic image in the sky from the deep state telling me it is the second coming of Christ. I will await that gentle whisper. Because God’s voice is unique – you will know when He speaks. His voice is what counts.

All the wicked of the earth You discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes.

Psalm 119:119

The rest of the noise is dross…the extra that comes from smelting or purifying metal. There is no dross, no imperfection in the Word of God. So discernment is key. Planning is important. Treating others the way God would treat you. These are the important things. And our voices will be added together to form choirs, praising God, even among the chaos.

I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.

Psalm 34:2-3

“…as God is my witness…”

“As God is my witness..”

I love that line from Gone with the Wind. Scarlett is at her wit’s end with everything happening in the war and she vows to “never go hungry again.” When taken in light of all the things going on in our world today, I would think this would be a good memory to bring to the surface once again. All war is ugly. And pretty much all wars are begun because someone wants something someone else has. Be it land, power, money, and in the old days, a woman…lots of reason to attack another tribe outside your own. In modern times it has been for control of worldwide money, the poppy fields (ever wonder why George Bush’s nickname was Poppy??) or the old fields, or Muammar Gadafi’s gold. Or all those records in the famous 9/11 towers. I know, you probably think I’m crazy – one of those conspiracy nuts. Well, I may well be. But I am learning all the time. And I have learned that I have been lied to – so very many times. By my teachers, my university, the television nightly news, politicians, my government, my church, the medical profession. Lies everywhere. It’s almost like they all follow a common narrative. Gee…wonder if they do?

To be comfy or to stretch??

Quite a number of years ago, in fact when the Twin Towers were destroyed, I was so thankful to God that George Bush was our President. I felt so safe with him at the helm. Photos of him at the site with the first responders and our flag brought tears to my eyes. Our country had been attacked and we were going to defend ourselves. It was actually sad and glorious at the same time. Back then, big media had it on blast 24/7. Our troops were assembled and sent on a mission to get those who attacked our people on our own land (because except for Pearl Harbor, it was an unknown thing to America!). And then it just stopped. We were told it was too traumatic for us to see it anymore. And that’s when I chose the red pill – the one that wakes you up, out of your everyday-ness slumber and acceptance pattern. I started to read more. I started to think, outside the MSM feed on my TV. I was raising teenagers at the time, so my life was full without the news cycle. But honestly, that red pill led me to my first “rabbit hole” and down it I descended. Been pretty much mucking around ever since, turning over stones and looking into crevices and being hurt, shocked, disappointed, and angry all at the same time. Sometimes the truth hurts. A lot.

Mark Twain – Spot on, again!

The world is in a downward spiral. I see it all around me, every, single day. The news I allow into my head confirms it. Don’t forget, we can control what information we are fed and by whom. And, you don’t have to accept a single word said to you by anyone. Due diligence requires us to question everything. I am not an infant needing to be spoon-fed. I am a rational, thinking, capable adult. What a concept! I am allowed to question the narrative anyone spews at me – left, right, and anywhere in between. Unfortunately, so few do question the narrative. I have said this to countless people, but I really believe technology has made our brains lazy. We accept the post-it-note, headline grabbing, Clift-notes version of reality – and we don’t question it. “It must be real, it’s on the internet” or “It must be real, it was on CNN”!! Laughable. Wikipedia is a prime example. No experts write that site’s information. It is put together by anyone and everyone who wants to add information. Is it vetted? C’mon, man! Today was a good example. Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times. They printed false information connecting her name to gun violence. They retracted it within the next 2 days on Twitter, and other social media, including their web site, but they did not pull that edition. Today’s coverage of her appearing in court was laughable. The articles I read (I read at least 4 versions) stated that, although she was unvaccinated, she was seen without a mask, at local NY venues. Two weeks ago she tested positive for covid and was still brassy enough to appear in public! They went on about her vaccine status and covid status for paragraphs and finally got to why she was in court in the first place, and in NY no less, at the very end. The by-lines and titles were salacious and slanderous, focusing on her health and not on the court case. They used to call them “rags” or “gossip sheets” in the old days, but these were mainstream news outlets. Our “news” and our information is so slanted and with such an obvious narrative, we rarely get to the meat of the information, let alone the truth. So why bother?

Canadian Truckers

Unless you are totally unplugged, or only listen to CNN, you must have heard about the truckers in Canada protesting the vaccine mandates. They are peaceful. They are supported by the citizens of Canada all along the route. Videos show people handing out sandwiches. One business moved its pizza ovens to a tent to bake pizzas for the truckers. Many more citizens are standing in the Canadian winter’s cold with signs and music and applause, supporting this movement. There are people who are vaccinated and those who are not, standing shoulder to shoulder, both claiming mandates are not the way to go – they are claiming “personal autonomy.” Much like the pro-abortion folks claim, “My body-my choice,” but do not extend that to mandatory chemical injections for the flu. (Sorry – I had it so bad in October/November that I was hospitalized and am now still suffering the aftermath, and I still believe it is just another SARS infection – a version of a flu). The truckers in Canada have been joined by those in 5 or 6 European countries, South American countries, the continents of Africa and Australia. They are even trying in NZ. And now, there is a convoy in the USA. It starts in CA and goes through TX and up to DC. They are going to try and disrupt the Super Bowl. You just never know what people will do after two years of lockdowns and “two weeks to flatten the curve.” Enough is enough.

Conspiracy theorists…

Surrounding this trucker thing is a myriad of theories that are off to the side, but grabbed my interest for a hot minute or two. There are links that go from some big names in Canada back to the Soros organizations. Apparently there were permits or something required for these truckers and the organization/person who facilitated and helped fund much of this is part of the Soros machinery. And that by stopping truckers from delivering much needed food and supplies, Soros is managing to corrupt the economies of regions and countries, while emptying shelves and bringing production of goods and services to a grinding halt. Here in Alaska, we rely on trucking for a huge percentage of all our food and supplies. We produce 5% of our needs. Not good odds. (Which is a good reason for prepping as a way of life). We have roughly 3 days of food on our shelves. We have about 3 days of fuel at our gas stations. We have one main port here in the southwest, Anchorage, and that port is aging and could shut down in a moment’s notice. And when the trucks don’t run, the trains don’t arrive, and the barges don’t come, we feel the pinch right away. Being at the end of the food supply train is no joke, my friends.

Anchorage, Alaska

I have been increasingly aware of the dire state of affairs, looking from my safe space here in the Last Frontier. When I see some of what is happening, I am ever-so-grateful I live away from the glare of mainstream USA, or what we lovingly refer to as “the lower 48.” I am separated by Canada. You have to drive through an entire country, or take a long ferry ride, or fly quite a few hours to get here. And I like that buffer most of the time. However, it is more costly to live here because everything is shipped (which is why Amazon Prime loves us) and that also makes us more vulnerable. We already have empty shelves. Prices have gone way up. Now we are told there is a shortage of motor oil. Of all things.

I received an interesting email this morning. And it sort of started me thinking in this vein, or theme of this post. It spoke to the immense oil find that our President knew about in 2006. Who would that be you ask? Yep; George Bush. Oil family man. Connected to lots of interesting people. And this oil is valued at trillions of dollars and is trillions of barrels. It would make us energy independent for 2,041 years or more. It would fund the entire economy. It is called the Bakken and Three Forks formations in Montana and North Dakota, up through to Canada. The government has known about this since 2006 – through Bush, Obama, and Trump. And look at what Biden is doing with our oil these days? Pumped gas lately??? To be fair, Bush ordered extraction to begin in August of 2005. The original report was written in 1995 and this 2006 report was just an “update.” The government, because it was presented to the legislature, has known about this for DECADES. Since good old Bill Clinton was President. Do you feel lied to, just a little bit??

“That” Vaccine

I haven’t really gone down the “rabbit hole” of the entire Covid narrative, let alone what a debacle the vaccine is, nor the mandates. The entire lockdown thing – “two weeks to flatten the curve” and “masks for everyone” and “social distancing.” The issue of children being unable to see faces and how this has affected their reading, their language acquisition, their psychological development, and so much more. There are so many documents that prove the harm these things cause. There are countries abandoning the entire narrative. Do you know why?? Lawsuits who name names and charges like “crimes against humanity,” “assisted suicide,” and “second degree murder” – the elites are running scared, and the narrative is crumbling.

Cognitive Dissonance

Once these narratives begin to crumble all around us, and more and more people choose that red pill of truth, there are going to be massive numbers of people who are depressed and angry and suicidal. I know; I was there. And often I still find myself not wanting to leave my house, I am so angry at the world and all the lies and manipulations. I could give you lists of things to research but the list is massive. Try Operation Mockingbird or Operation Paperclip. Those were big for me. Why did Donald Rumsfeld declare on September 10th that there were $2.3 trillion missing from the Department of Defense and the following day, why did the exact office containing all the data referring to that missing money have a rocket detonate into it (You still don’t believe it was a plane that skidded on the ground do you? Look up videos!) as part of the staged 9/11 attack? Why did he resign later in 2006? Things that make you go…”hmmmmm”?!

God Wins!

In all these issues, God wins. Truly. But it is up to us to dig in and realize our future is in our hands. We can go with the flow, or we can be that stick in the river, standing against the tide. We can simply just not comply with the narrative. If enough people just say “no” and plant their gardens and prepare to hunker down, violence is unnecessary. The world would come to a standstill and the only activity would be the elite, scrambling to safety. Stand your ground. Say no. Stop being a pawn in the game of the elites. Be true to who you are – a child of God.

Stand Up! Spoil their game!

Remember – the elites only have the power we allow them to have. This is all a game of slight of hand and tricks. We are only free when we exert our freedom upon them. The governments are created “for the people” and when they no longer serve the people, they need to go. That swamp? It is so wide and vast and deep. But it can be drained. So when someone thinks they cannot make a change because they are helpless and become hopeless, remind them we have an army behind us. God’s army. God wins. Period. But please, wake up. Look around. Then join the peaceful people who are just trying to say “no” and “enough is enough.” And when you look derisively at a “conspiracy theorist,” know that they are trying to help you, to share with you an alternate route to information. Question everyone and everything. Research for the truth. Listen to alternative sources. Then discern and pray. And never forget, as the narratives around you continue to crumble, there are like-minded people, and God’s entire army, standing alongside you.

So help me God…!!!

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” John Muir

The photo above is of Mt. Susitna, or “Sleeping Lady.” It is here, in Alaska. And the story about her is one of my favorite traditional folk tales from the Alaska native peoples.

Utqiagvik

My son is heading to Barrow for at least a week for work. It is the northernmost city populated year round, and within the USA. The city has changed its name back to its original name, Utqiaġvik. It is pronounced, “oot — kay-ahg — vik.” Up there is where they have total darkness for the winter part of the year, and total sunshine for the summer part of the year. Life there, for the original native population, is not one many of us could have survived, back in ancient times. Even today, life there is much harder than the normal suburban housewife could handle. Prices for simple things like milk and cereal are insane. A gallon of milk is $10 and a box of Fruit Loops is $9.73. It’s almost impossible to imagine those sorts of prices. But the people survive. And it is what I look to when I want to see an example of strength and the ability to survive. History has not shared the full tale, but I know it is magnificent, if just known by its folklore. I cannot wait to hear my son’s stories when he gets back home. I am so excited he gets to see and stay in such a remarkable place.

Mt. Denali

I have been noticing that I am drawn more and more to the simple, the quiet, the serene, the natural. I would much prefer a mountain vista with a lake or stream than a high rise and traffic. I have no desire to uproot myself from the heaven-on-earth I live in to explore elsewhere. One of the reasons is because I have allowed myself to find my comfort zone, and to be comfortable there.

When we first relocated here, almost 10 years ago now, I was incessantly trying to get my friends from the lower 48 to see what I saw. To enjoy what I enjoy. Most everyone who has not taken to where I choose to live, have pretty much the same list of their reasons why not to live here:

  1. Too cold
  2. Too remote
  3. Too expensive
  4. Too rural
  5. Too frontier and not civilized enough

And you know what? I can see that. I really can. I was more than ready for summer after a pretty cold winter. This summer is not impressing me – we are having a few sunny days but most are overcast and in the 50s. This entire week we expect rain and 50s daily. I want sun! And this week is my grandson’s All Star tournament – every day – baseball in rain. Fun.

So I understand the objections. I was born and raised in Southern California. I know hot. And I know beach (born in Santa Monica). I know crowds, smog, and traffic, too. High taxes. Insane real estate prices. Yeah. I know SoCal. I miss my family and friends, but not the place. And I realized that my comfort zone does not include hot weather. I’d rather put on a jacket to get warmer than suffer in sweltering heat, relying on my A/C in the house or the car. And learning to get comfortable with who you are is such a hard step to take. I don’t much care for what others think of me anymore. I am here to please (1) my God, (2) my husband, and (3) my family. Friends are the flowers we carry through life. They are the extras we are blessed with to enjoy this journey.

Three Ladies in the Rain

I am blessed with some friends who I have had for decades. We shared marrying, and birthing and raising our kids, soccer, baseball, pizza parties, vacations and holidays, losing our parents, date nights, card playing, shopping, and tea times. We have gone through a lot together, holding each other’s hands when we needed to and celebrating when we were able to. And those friends will be with me until my last breath. And I am a blessed woman.

When we moved here, making connections was more difficult. People who choose to live here are a different bunch. They are hard-scrabble, as my grandma would say. I have met some friends here who have challenged me and who have changed me. For the better, I think. I am not as dependent in some ways, and more so in others. I have learned the importance of my community. I have learned more about infrastructure and supply chain dynamics than I thought I needed to know. And it has informed my conscious and has made both my husband and I change things in our daily lives. And realizing the things I thought I needed, I have no real need of. I can go all day without turning on the TV. I love walking through my garden, barefooted, battling weeds and swatting at mosquitoes. I love hanging out with my husband and he and I planning and enjoying our plans come to life. It is a good life. I am content. I am happy. I am where I am supposed to be. And I am making connections along the way. It is good.

The infamous sars virus that invaded our lives made us change, too. Smaller circle of friends, more prepared for disasters. Disappointed in how our local and state and federal government handled this. And deeply disappointed in how the Church handled it (so much for trusting in God over some man-made disease). Our faith has become more personal, and I actually think that is a bonus we can take from all this. And we have taken a look at how we live in relationship to the services we can use from local agencies. One of the changes we are in the midst of making is changing from a pretty, flick-a-switch-on-the-wall gas fireplace to a real, honest-to-goodness, cast-iron wood stove. My only requirement? It had to be pretty. And boy, is it gorgeous. I cannot wait for the construction to be over and to be able to light it up! We are also surrounding it with fossil rock. As an anthropology major, getting the opportunity to have real fossils, from Alaska, on my fireplace walls, is beyond exciting. The stove is brown-enameled cast iron and it is shiny and pretty and I am so excited. And I can take the pretty top off and cook on it, if I need to! Pretty and practical – I’d call that a win-win!

Cast Iron Humidifier

My stove will look like the cute humidifier I got for it. Gorgeous brown enamel. You fill it with water and set it on the stove and it humidifies the house! So simple and so elegant looking, at the same time. So far all I do with it is dust it! Soon it will have its home on our wood stove – and it is a perfect match!

Why would we pull out a gas fireplace? Well, when we had the big earthquake a couple of years ago, we lost power. We could actually get the fireplace to start, but the electric blowers did not work. The heat stayed right by the fireplace. We had no lights and no way to run our appliances. We were not bad off in comparison to others, but it made us think. We also rushed to the store that day and even though things were all over the floors, the store was open, workers were there, and water was selling out. It made us realize we needed to be more independent of stores, electric and gas companies, and water suppliers. We have since looked at where our food comes from. We now buy local – we try to source everything we can locally. Keeping our small economy running.

One of our raised beds

We also started to take care of our own food supply. There are so many ways we can all be more independent. This is one way. Control your own food. Plant only what you like to eat, that will grow where you live. You can grow enough at a townhouse or apartment, if you want to. Container gardening is almost easier than a full-on acre garden like we have. We also have a greenhouse with our tomatoes, peppers, and dill, keeping them nice and warm.

If a disaster should strike, and food becomes scarce, where will you find enough to eat? You can store canned and freeze-dried food (but you need water to eat freeze dried) and you can also store water. About 1/2 gallon per person, per day. You need about a week’s worth of supplies, at least. If power grids fail, if gas lines rupture, if water pipes burst…what are you going to do? If violence erupts and stores close, are you supplied? What if there is another lockdown? Do you have what you need? What if the computer system crashes and we can’t use ATMs or our debit cards at places like gas stations and grocery stores? What will you have to trade or bargain with? Cash on hand? Politics control most of our lives and the powers-that-be are moving into our food supply (artificial shortages). Have you priced simple lumber these days? Artificial shortage. Research it. The government mandating farmers not farm? Research it.

Sleeping Lady

And all this leads me to why I wrote about the mountains – and for me, that is Alaska. I fled the chaos for the serenity of a quieter life; a life closer to most of my kids (there’s one who is moving even further away, but at least he’ll be out of CA); a more purposeful life…and a life near mountains. All around me in Alaska are mountains. I get all 4 seasons. (I do get more winter than fall, more summer than spring, but they all appear). I am now exerting myself into more control of my life, rather than relying on the system. Living “closer to the dirt,” as the saying goes. Off grid? Not hardly. But I know people who live that way and I sort of envy them. (I am spoiled in that I require running water, and a water heater). I’m not that brave. But I can strive for more than who I was and what I was capable of doing.

And so I have decided to get another tattoo…this one will be of Sleeping Lady, much like what is above. I love the mountains, they truly call me, and I love the story of Sleeping Lady.

For a brief overview, the Sleeping Lady story is about a race of giants. It is about a girl named Susitna and boy named Nekatla. They were deeply in love. It is about war and faith, community and life, and remaining steadfast. All of the story is filled with honorable traits of having a good character. The story says that when there is peace again on the earth, Susitna will awaken. It inspires me (look up the full folk tale for yourself – it is beautiful). And it fulfills my love of ancient cultures, and the mountains. And one day I hope the truth of the history of these ancient peoples comes to light. Perhaps then, Susitna will awaken.

“…Do not let your hearts be troubled…”

winterroad

Oh do we have snow! Not as much as they have been warning us about (although it’s not over, yet) but everything is white. You see the world in whites and grays in this winter wonderland. The light from the sun weaves its ambient presence among us and the world is much more quiet and serene. Even the local dump is pretty, covered in beautiful layers of snowy goodness! As we wander into the last days of this incredibly wild year, I have pondered what my next days will be filled with. I am not good with “resolutions” and even the word sounds so final. I rarely keep them. I intend to, which is the main thing, but my follow-through for an entire year is usually weak. And since I know that about myself, and am “of an age” where I can readily express that with no embarrassment, I do! Ha-Ha!

2017

I do wish everyone a blessed and happy New Year. I pray that 2017 is a year of profound peace and prosperity, in whatever ways mean that to you. For me, I am seeking a return to what I somehow laid aside. I am anxious for inner peace – moreover, an inner contentment. It has somehow escaped me and I spend many nights tossing and turning, many days exhausted from a lack of good sleep, and an overall feeling of impending doom. That is no way to go through life. I am working on my health and my supplements! I know I need more vitamin D! I am working on that. We had a very successful experience trying the Whole30 elimination diet and we did so for 49 days, until Thanksgiving. Since then, we have both seen our overall health tank. The old aches and pains are back, some new ones cropped up, and we have an overall feeling of just plain, well, “yuck.” So in 3 days we will back at this Whole30 experience. You can google it, if you are unaware of what it is, and you can also look back at some earlier posts, when I explained in more detail what we are up to.

This year, we met a lot of new people and I can honestly say, our lives are the better for it. Our perspectives have broadened, and we have found areas that we want to grow in. It is wonderful, too, to find a group of like-minded individuals. While many of them have younger families, we have found a group where we are among our peers. And we both love being with people our age and life experiences. It is fun. And so in the coming year, we hope to strengthen these relationships, make many of these people close friends, and grow and learn many new skills. Living where we do, we are deeply intrenched in the seasons of the earth. Right now, in deep winter, we are all hunkered down and only occasionally getting together. I cannot wait for spring and summer – more opportunities to mingle, lots of new things to experience, and more people to get to know. And, we get to try our hand at a better garden this year!

windowsnowcoffeenoborder

One of the things I have learned this past year is that social media, while it can be a good thing, can suck you dry. It can pull you in, because perhaps you are lonely. It can take over your day. You can be so caught up in checking Facebook and emails, tweets and pins, that you forget to be present to those around you. You forget to live this life in the here and now. I do believe our computers aid us (I am typing this on my gorgeous, and purple, MacBook) but I also think that the ease with which they purport to make our lives, also complicates them. I can’t recall the last time I went days without checking things on either my computer or my phone. I deleted a bunch of apps off my phone the last few days. I decided it was just too much. Facebook Messenger was insane. Ugh. My phone beeps and tweets and sings to me all day long. Even when I turn off my notifications, something beeps at me. And I came to the realization that I sit far too long, looking at the activities of other people, and not having enough of my own. How silly is that?

So I am trying to keep a sort of “resolution,” in that I have deleted apps from both my phone and computer, and I am simplifying. I mean, for instance, I am down to 1 Angry Bird app. Period. And I am down to 1 solitaire game across all media platforms.  That is progress my friends! I am seriously thinking of deleting my aquarium app, as I have 6 tanks and if I don’t feed those darn fish…well, you know. (Gross). But seriously. I am 60 years old. And I play Angry Birds. What is up with that?? I feed make-believe fish in make-believe aquariums. I think I knew I was going off the rails when I started breeding sharks in amongst the angel fish. I mean, how sick is that?? And what am I NOT doing whilst feeding imaginary fish and  defeating imaginary pigs? I am not praying. I am not reading. I am not becoming a better me. Does Angry Birds help me get closer to God? Uhm, no. I think He is probably shaking His head at my silliness.

We are all called to be His children. We are all called to share the Word of God with those around us. We are all called to help our fellow man. Angry Birds does not do any of that. I spent an afternoon canning with some new friends this fall. In a very out-of-the-way place (where there was not even navigation in my car or phone reception, and yes, I got momentarily lost as I journeyed home) with some wonderful new people in my life. The conversation was great. We shared stories and we laughed. The skills acquired were really a re-introduction to canning, as I had not done it in years. But the skills shared, the wisdom in that cabin, has stayed with me. And I hunger for more of the same. These were some real people and I felt so welcome and so “at home.” We shared, with one another, the gist of who we are in the simple tasks of washing black currants, and boiling water, of making coffee, and slicing and blanching carrots. What a simple joy that afternoon was. And it profoundly struck me. That is what I want more of.

Do you know I have only been shopping in our one, large mall here 1 time? Guess what? I have no desire to go there. At all. I’ve never been a shopper, and I am really growing to hate crowds of people. But you know what I am anxious for? What I want to do? What I am excited for? Getting together to cook and  make some scrumptious recipes with some of my new friends. We’ve been teasing each other with recipes! I am looking forward to some shooting lessons. I desperately want to feel more confident in my basic skills in regards to being prepared for our next “snowmaggedon” or our new volcanic eruption, or the next big earthquake. Learning to freeze foods; learning to dehydrate foods. Canning, in all its glory. Planting a well-thought-out garden. These things excite me.

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As we age, our dreams change. I no longer foresee a house in a development, or master-planned community. I envision a place with space around it. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s home; it doesn’t have to please anyone else. But I would like it to to be simple, serene, and away from the “maddening crowd.” I dream of a log cabin, although I am aware of how much adjusting and upkeep they require. I don’t need my own lake or river, but it would be nice to have one close by so my dear husband can grab his fishing gear and walk down to the water, and relax while challenging the salmon. I would love to have space so he can hunt if he wants to, without having to drive miles upon miles to do it. And I want a space where others feel welcome and want to come and hang out. Even if it is simply for some card games and coffee. I would like my forever home. Because I am so very tired of moving. I want my roots in this land to go deep. I want a home where my grandkids will someday say, “Remember grandma and grandpa’s house in the woods where we got to fish and run around?” I want to make those memories with my grandchildren, and with my children, and my husband. I want inner serenity. I want peace and contentment. I certainly don’t want millions of dollars and all that it requires to take care of it. I want to be safe and comfortable, in a space where I can host others, and share some peace and laughter with them.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give 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

And so for 2017, I wish for you the same. The peace the world cannot offer; the peace of Christ. I wish for all of us, to have fear leave us and for contentment to find us. I pray the world will calm down and we can each find this peace in our own little corner of it. For some, it will be an apartment in the middle of a vast city, driving to and from on complicated highways and byways. For others, it will be on farms and rural homes. Still others in suburban hideaways, where they can escape the madness of their commutes. But at least once a week, I pray we can all find our way to kneel before the One Who created us, to give thanks, to be humbled, and to enjoin with Him Who gave us life and breath, and hearts to love. “Our thoughts determine our lives” (Elder Thaddeus) is something I try to live by. If we all have thoughts of peace and we share them, peace will emanate from us and fill those around us. One way to find peace is to seek the quiet and serenity wherever, and whenever, we can. For me, I think I will slowly unplug from the rat race. I may still play a round or two of Angry Birds, but I am trying to rein that in, too. I know that waking early, spending some time reading the Word of God and having a chat with Him, starts my day off right. I also love to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee, and a little time with my husband before he is off to his day. These good habits that ground us are often hard to come by, and hard won. But they give us peace and prepare us as we enter into the work the Lord has given us for this day. And for me, I will take these “resolutions” and tackle each day, one at a time, as I resolve to find peace, contentment, and work on all these new things and new people in our lives. “…Do not let your hearts be troubled…”

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God’s blessings on you and yours as we wade into this new year – 2017.