Out With The Old…….

 

Here we are already five days into the New Year. I decided to take down the Christmas tree and all the decorations that go with that wonderful time of the year.

Sigh. I hesitated. If you read my post O Christmas Tree then you know that we cut down a fresh tree. A VERY fresh tree. I hadn’t watered it but once since we first got it (the day after Thanksgiving). Very few needles had dropped and it was still fresh with sap.

Sadly, I decided to strip it of it’s magical lights and simple, nostalgic ornaments and send it on it’s way. We decided to stick it in the backyard where the birds can enjoy it and who knows, maybe saplings will pop up. Maybe not, since I have no idea how they come about.

But as I sat there, thinking about taking it down, all the ornaments piled on the coffee table before me, I got to thinking (a dangerous past time I know ; ). I got to thinking about the other reason I was hesitating. You see, I have a lot of thinking and hoping stock in this New Year. The last two and a half years have been a somewhat temporary situation. Mostly with our housing. It’s been alright for the most part, but having a landlord who just loves to save money any way he can has proven to be quite uncomfortable in many ways.

We are ready. We are so ready to find a better dwelling place. I don’t need large, I just need slighter bigger. I don’t need a dishwasher, but I do need central air. Just to name a couple. As a matter of fact, I want simple.

So back to the hesitation of taking down the decorations. That whole act speaks to me about moving forward. And I’ll be honest here, I hate moving forward IF there will be no change. That sounds silly to some, even to me a little, because the very act of moving forward implies there will be change.

Here enters that awful player called irrational fear. I hate him. He’s a bad actor and a liar. I cannot let him convince me he is good in any way. So there! The fear of things not changing is daunting. BUT, I am intentionally choosing to ignore that limelight stealer!  I am moving forward! Tally-Ho! and all that goes with it!

And I know I am not alone in this. So many of my friends are anticipating change, for the good. Good changes in health, life, jobs, homes. The list can go on and on! My prayers are that we all get there. And that we surrender our fears and stress to the One who can take us all the way through, no matter what the path is like.

Enjoy!

Cate B

Goodbye 2016

How was 2016 for you?

I can’t complain. The political stuff that filled my Facebook newsfeed was quite annoying and tiring. I really just want happiness on my newsfeed……live puppies safe at home, as opposed to lost puppies or abused puppies. I want flowers and birds, as opposed to dead rainforests and killing the bees posts. I want images of people enjoying the life they’ve been given as opposed to dead or bloodied bodies in war torn nations or children crying in the streets.

I know I sound like I want to avoid all conflict. I don’t and I can’t. BUT I just don’t want it on my Facebook page. The hate is real. The wars are real. The lost kids and dogs are real. I can find those reports on the news. I know there is stink in this world.

But what I also know is that exposing myself constantly to negativity makes me sad, can bring on depression and hopelessness, and even poor health.

So why do we do it? Why complain about your health, etc., and keep on filling your eyes and mind with the negatives??

Just words for you to ponder.  It’s a New Year upon us, 2017. Do you want to change? I do. I’m trying and it is not easy. Not for anyone. It takes hard work and concentration and deliberate actions to change our thinking, our eating, our exercising. But the results of the hard work will be amazing!

Here are some wise words to repeat often that will help:

Philippians 4:8-9The Message (MSG)

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Isn’t that beautiful? That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this last day of the year.

Now here are some photos I grabbed on an intentional, refreshing drive yesterday. Enjoy! And may you have a prosperous and healthy New Year!

Cate B

Dusty Dreams

There are about nineteen days left in 2016. I never make New Year resolutions, but I do always look forward to what may be in store for us/me in the upcoming new year.

Ever an adventurer……

My future at this point is rather swelling with fear  anticipation. Last Thursday was the last day of my son’s semester at University and that marked the last day of me caring for my three year old grand daughter. I have watched her pretty much full-time for the last three years and her sister, now in kindergarten, since shortly after she was born.

I have mixed emotions. More on the side of taking the dreams off the proverbial shelf and dusting them, throwing away some, creating new ones, OR curling up on the couch and watching NETFLIX for a while……. a long while.

I do love changes. They actually wake me up and make me feel more alive. But know, Dear Reader, that I am extremely human (as opposed to being simply human ??) and I am terrified of what I am to do.

I see this change in life as another adjustment. As a loss in some ways. The girls are only just over an hour up the road. I have already FaceTimed them twice. But I shall let this minor grieving time have it’s way in me and I know that I will see my future, my new roads and dreams more clearly as the days go by and as I finish up a series in NETFLIX.

Have a Great Holiday Season!

Cate B

 

Sit Down For A Cuppa

Welcome New Year – 2016.  Welcome Friends.

Come and sit with me and let me pour you a cup of coffee.  I didn’t make a double chocolate chai pie with real whipped cream for you today……perhaps next time.

Today, I have lovely slices of homemade bread.  Warm.  With butter and/or some local Amish Blackberry Jam.  Help your self.  Eat as much as you want.

As we sit here together let’s chat. I want to tell you how excited I am over the arrival of a new year. I’ve made no resolutions, never do, but I have decided to make my own bread as opposed to buying well-preserved breads in the stores.

I have also decided to get busy.  As some of your know, I care for my grand girls five days a week while my son and his wife attend University.  I’ve done this for about two plus years.  I would do it again in a heartbeat, but it has been a sacrifice in many ways. But I see no greater gift that I could give than to be a part of raising these girls. They have taught me so much and my heart has grown in love.

This year, I decided to write more.  Even help my husband to write the books he needs to along with the one I need to finish. I need to play my ukulele more often – it brings me such joy.

There are other creative and practical things I need to do that will come out along the way.  One thing I know is that I need to do the things that were planted in my heart to do by my best Friend, Jesus.

You see, Life is short.  We’ve all heard that before. But we truly do not know our days. I’ve said goodbye to a dear friend just after Thanksgiving.  I see the news rattling off numbers of deaths in various world events.  All ages.  The anniversary of the loss of our dear daughter is coming up.  You can’t help but reflect on your own life.  The things I’ve put off and just refused to do.  The dreams that I have forgotten.

Here, have another slice of bread and a warm up your coffee……

You see, some dreams may change over the years or even be put on a shelf for a while. Some may be lost on the shelves or in a box in the attack or basement. How about we take them down and dust them off.  How about we search out those that were lost and thought forgotten.

Let’s take them and sit with our God and our friends who believe in us and look them over, shine them up, tweak them here and there and most of all…… Pursue them!   Yes.  Let’s do it.

And that is what my new year is looking like. Pursuit.  How about yours?  Those dreams and ideas are still there.  Those ideas for a business are still there.  Find friends who only encourage and love you enough to help you go forward. Find others who need your encouragement and help in finding and going for their dreams.

I’m cheering for you. Maybe next time I will make that chocolate chai pie for you.

Thanks for stopping by.  In case you want it, here is the bread recipe:

I mixed mine in a Kitchen Aid mixer with dough hook.

Multi-Grain Bread

1 pkg. active dry yeast – or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup butter – cut up

1/4 cup organic raw cane sugar

1/4 cup Molasses

2 tsp. salt

2 cups boiling water

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour – 1 cup Cornmeal – 1 cup Oats

Enough Unbleached Flour to make a sticky dough – approx. 4 cups

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.

In a smaller bowl I put the butter, sugar, molasses and salt with the boiling water.  Let butter melt and let it cool down so as not to be too hot for the yeast.  I test that by holding my finger in it for a few seconds – if I have to yank my finger out then it is too hot.

Add liquid to yeast along with the WW Flour, cornmeal and oats.  Then mix in White Flour and use that dough hook until all is incorporated.  A good 3-4 minutes of mixing is good.  If dough is too sticky – meaning you cannot pick it up in one ball – then slowly beat in more white flour until right consistency.

Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean cloth for about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Punch dough down and form into any shapes you like.  Pace on greased baking sheet or greased loaf pans. I chose this:

1003243_10153131639452820_3797718183456318986_n I cut slices in them with kitchen shears.

Cover these with the cloth again and let rise for about 40-45 minutes.

Bake  in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 40-50 minutes.  Cool out of the pan and you better cut an end off while hot and smother it with butter and eat it!

12400506_10153131639472820_6126526402291979353_n

Enjoy!

Cate B

TaDa! A New Year!

Here we go.  Another year is ending and a new one beginning.  Do you like that or dislike that?

I always like it.  Even though I feel old and my life is flying by, I still welcome a New Year.  I like the idea of changes to come and new adventures and old ones closing, perhaps.

I have very little idea of what is to come for Cate B.  I will still be caring for my lovely grand-girls this New Year.  But those days are numbered.  Last year at this time I was dreading the girl watching to end and them moving on.  I was ready to pack up and run with them dragging husband and dogs with me.  But now, a year later I feel  differently.

I feel that I should start dreaming again.  Dreaming of things that I desire and that the Lord has instilled in me long ago.  It’s still a bit fuzzy and foggy.  I do believe the fog will lift and I will see again.

Sometimes I visualize a tug o’ war going on in my spirit.  Little lies of “you’re too old” against great truths of “you’re never too old”.  I am on the side of truth, even though, somedays it is a battle to believe.  Especially when you say goodbye to a friend who died too young and you see headlines the day after Christmas of deadly storms sweeping the nation.

One of my favorite verses in the bible that tells of great advice for all is:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

I want to be worked into God’s most excellent harmonies!  There’s  a dream for the New Year and my life!  I think I’ll start there.

So here goes, Dear Readers, may these last few days of the old year be joyful and fulfilling for you and even more, may the New Year greet you with more Joy and Dreams coming to pass.  May you be able to choose the truth and dwell on it. And may you be found in His most excellent harmony!

And because I cannot resist silliness………….       10530886_797526963601794_8208936784582723757_n

Enjoy!

Cate B

Blogging Bliss

It is the day before Christmas, here, in The Middle.  The beauty of difference is that we can all celebrate, or not celebrate, our holidays as we please.

Our family celebrates Christmas.  The true meaning of celebrating the birth of Christ is a big deal to us.  Also, I was raised in Christmas.  Christ may not have been the center, he appeared here and there in songs and cards and such, but the Spirit of Christmas was there.

To me, the Spirit of Christmas is Hope, Love and Giving.  You can feel it in the air in our country.  There are sad times for so many but songs of Hope are everywhere and this is when you hear stories of loving, giving people.  I long to have a day when most of our news stations report, at least equally, on good stories of love and hope and giving.  They could do it.  It would be a challenge to them, but the stories are out there.

Here, on wordpress.com, there stories of all kinds.  People share their hearts and talents and minds.  I want to thank my WordPress followers and readers for making my writing more enjoyable.

How, you say?  You encourage me by viewing my posts and hitting that like button.  Some of you have become good friends.  So much that I know if we were to find ourselves in each others town or country we could meet for coffee and some of you FOOD and hugs.

All this to say Thank you, dear Friends!  You are encouraging and yes, we are all on this writing journey together!

I pray for you all to find your dreams and live them this season and the coming years.  I pray your writing journey to be fulfilling, not just to you, but to many.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year to you all.

Enjoy!

cate b

http://youtu.be/cYGq-5DbCfk

2014 – A Hope-Filled Year

The hours are ticking by and soon we will welcome in 2014 in the USA.  This was a good year in the blogging realm for me.  I have met a lot of awesome bloggers and people from all over the world!  Some of us are becoming good friends.  Thank you to all who follow me and who read this blog of mine.  I appreciate you very much.  Thank you to those who hit the like button, you encourage me.  And those who actually comment – I love you!

This new year hold promises of Hope to all of us.  We all experience dark times and sometimes we find no good reason to feel down.  But they still hit us.  Look up and remember there is a Hope there for us all.

dontlosehope

And there is ALWAYS light at the end of the tunnel.

hope in darkness

One of my biggest passions in this life is to bring Hope to others.  I love to see the potential we each hold and I love to help others go for that potential – in their dreams, their talents, their gifts.  We all are important and we all have something to offer this world.

Here is a story from a friend of mine.  He has a deep passion to bring Hope to everyone and he has walked a rough road to get there.  May you enjoy his story and may it impact your heart as it did mine.

http://bobhartley.org/hope-videos/

Happy 2014!

Enjoy!

cate b