August 24, 2007

Bible Study or Divine Reading?

How do we read the Bible, when today most of us read for information and entertainment? Have we lost the art of spiritual reading? The Bible is very much alive! It is a nonfiction storybook of God’s interaction with humans. Instead of interpreting it, we need to let it interpret us.

I don’t want to simply read scripture to find out how to get God into my life, or acquire facts about God, or develop principles to live by—nor to gather information and cover territory. There is a time and place for reading God’s word informationally, but life transformation happens when God’s Word is read formationally, as one awake, with reverence and a vulnerable heart. I want to read to be formed and transformed—hoping to be nourished by the richness hidden in the words. I read with an open heart, awaiting God’s touch, desiring to sit in His lap. I read with my entire life—my heart’s response. Scripture becomes interior to my life, overflowing in ways of love.

Scripture is God-breathed—and has power to breathe God’s spirit into us. Though it’s done being written, it’s not done writing—“for we are a letter of Christ written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God” (II Cor 3:3). It writes its truths on our hearts, speaking its words into new situations and our current times. But listening is the key.

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).


A week ago Monte and me both turned over in bed at 2am and said, "skunk". It was so intense it woke us both up! Then I smelled whiffs of it yesterday when walking, and again last night just before bed (just like we're starting to get whiffs of elk coming into rut and in heat).

Monte says he doesn't think it's a skunk. Says bear and fox can smell like that too.

A bear did 'bear' the pain of the electric fence to get at the bird feeders again. It actually probably went under the bottom fence wire, and it's thick hide and fur on its back probably 'barely' felt a thing! So Monte added a lower third wire out back AND wrapped some bacon on it.

So the 'fragrance' was a close critter smelling the bacon. Last night? Just checking it out again.

I got all the feeders back up, but couldn't find the chain for the suet cage. I walked all around the meadow looking for it, and tracks, and any other evidence. Other than a huge 'poop' dump, no chain. It's probably hanging from it's hide (just like we see so many things caught in elk antlers, which is another fun story).

August 14, 2007

meteor shower

Did anyone watch the Perseid's Meteor shower? I did for a bit. I sat out on our 'shaker deck' around 11pm Sunday night. I was thinking I ought to get my glasses, but just sat there gazing at the night sky, enjoying the peace, and the beauty of the stars.

I was trying to find Mars, when I saw them -- about every few minutes there would be a streak through the sky. They were to get stronger into the wee hours of the morning and the 12th was their peak. But I couldn't stay awake much longer. I saw them and felt the awe and wonder.

I'm remembering that the next strong meteor showers are around early November. I have a 'remembrance' post on my calendar from 2001 for these showers (it's along the lines of the remembrance slip of paper in Descarte's hem of his jacket). I call it my "Wild Woman" morning.

August 12, 2007

Digging In

Digging In is a book I just finished, by Robert Benson. Rebecca Kolls's comment on the book front says, "This is what gardening is really about...not only getting your hands dirty, but the experiences and life lessons that grow from the garden. Touching, funny, and delightful." I agree.

Benson says within, "any patch of dirt, no matter how large or how small, if tended a little bit, holds within it the possibility of enough beauty to take your breath away. It can grow something that will catch your eye and touch your heart. It can give you something to look forward to when the days are dark and cold."

After winter I do look so forward to the garden season (though I extend it with a cold frame that I grow salad makings in over winter). Some people probably think me crazy when I say, "I can't wait to get my fingers AND toes in dirt"! And I have been in the dirt a lot this summer, and making great 'dirt' with a compost bin that's working great.

"After such a day my fingers are bleeding, knees tottering, back bent, dress muddy and soaking and shoes an offence...but I have attained the most profound inward peace." - Anna Lea Merrit

Now that I'm older, I so identify with the quote. I'm feeling it right now after spending a good part of the day in the vegetable garden weeding, planting more spinach, onions and radishes, and fertilizing.

From the book again - "Gardens are about waiting and about hope as much as they are about anything... You cannot hurry it along, not any of it. What it teaches you is to wait, to be patient, and to pay attention."

This place we live in, we have definitely dug ourselves in. Transplanted in 23 years ago and have put down deep roots. Lots of memories. The life to be lived here this day, the life in which we live and move and have our being, is right here. And it must be nurtured, watched over, and tended to.

August 11, 2007


I squashed the one Evergreen mosquito.

That's a joke. It's a statement we make every summer, because Evergreen has so few mosquitoes - which is very nice!

August 10, 2007

St Lawrence Day

Today is the calendar feast day remembering the story of Lawrence. He was keeper of sacred books in 258AD. The greedy emperor commanded, "According to your doctrine, 'Render unto Caeser what belongs to him...' give me the Church's treasures". Lawrence asked for three days to do so. In three days, gathered before the palace, were lepers, orphans, the blind, lame, and widows. "Here are the Church's treasures!"

The emperor was not impressed. He had Lawrence tortured and then roasted to death on a gridiron. Rumor has it that after a while Lawrence had said, "Turn me over, I'm done on this side."

He is the patron saint of barbecuers.

It's a great story I think of every August 10 (his death day, thus born into heaven) to remember what's of most value. So often in scripture God is sad because of the neglect of people in need. "Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto Me."

Iced Coffee

I just made myself a glass of iced coffee since it's so hot.

I read once about making coffee ice cubes. I thought that a great idea so my beverage doesn't get diluted by regular ice melting. So every summer, I keep ziplock bags of both decaf and regular coffee ice cubes in the freezer.

Just think of all the other possibilities of flavored cubes!

August 9, 2007

Radish Salsa

When I get a lot of radishes at one time in my garden, or if they are 'hot'. I make salsa out of them. Last year we called it "Salad on my Chip"! Since I just made it again, I thought I'd post my recipe.

In a food processor put -
A handful or two of radishes
1/2-1 jalepeno (I often used a canned one when I don't have one fresh. I always keep a jar of them, probably pickled, in the fridge.)
2 garlic cloves (I often put in more since we love garlic)
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp vinegar (I never use white, preferring brown rice, wine, apple cider, balsamic or as I used today, sherry vinegar)
1/3 cup loose cilantro
several fresh tomatoes or canned

process and taste. Enjoy!

I really think you could add any veggie. Like I'm tempted to add zucchini with all I'm getting from the garden. I'm always looking for new zucchini recipes!

August 8, 2007

The $64 Tomato

I've been reading The $64 Tomato for my 'before bed, get-my-brain-ready-for-bed' book. It's gotta be light and fun--usually 'story'. This is a fun book. I chuckled from the first paragraph, and beyond. I mentioned something funny from it in an earlier post.

This quote starts the chapter called "Cereal Killer" -

"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."
- Chiffon margarine commercial, circa 1972

I do try and fool Mother Nature. I was told when we moved here that "you can't grow this...or this...or do that..." and I usually listen yet ignore and try tricks. We all have mini-climates in our yards and I take this into consideration. So I do have some plants that the books and people say I can't grow.

I get tomatoes because the plants stay in walls-of-water all growing season. Since tomato flowers will not set fruit if nights get cooler than around 55 degrees, the radiating warmth of the plastic channels of water, and being against a south-facing wall, gives me tomatoes. Most of my vegetables have beds covered with 'floating row covers' which keeps the soil from drying out, and a protection from intense sun in our thin atmosphere, and hail, and insects (which we don't have a lot of).

I also said in another post that I have some "comic-book" stories in connection to my garden experiences. One story goes...Knowing my beans were ready for their first harvest, my mouth watered for fried chicken to go with them. So once the chicken was in the oven (my 'fried' version which does come out crispy) I went to pick the beans. That year I was playing with 'companion gardening' (plants that like each other and benefit one another). So the beans were scattered about the garden. Well...the elk had been in and eaten every bean plant, nothing else (that time)(Now we have a big fence and they can't get in!)

Once I had peas planted in a block, rather than a row. As I was looking at the peas that were up a few inches and looking good, one disappeared before my eyes, leaving a clean hole in the dirt! Like in a cartoon, some 'wabbit' (or pocket gopher) was underground having it's meal.

We did read about putting a hose down a hole with the other end on a vehicle's exhaust pipe, to remove critters from underground runs. We tried it. Besides watching worms literally leap out of the ground, all we got was a hole in our vacuum hose! We've tried chewing gum, smoke bombs, water...but not a solar ground vibrator yet. Monte has followed the gopher hole underground like a dog by digging along it with his hands, but the resulting major excavation destroys the garden and when he gets to the end of the hole he is afraid we will get bitten by a cornered gopher. The one time it worked he punched the gopher, but my poor garden was never the same again that year. As with other pests too, so many wives tales haven't worked. (Or the check-out-man at the grocery store, telling me to have my husband go out and pee on the plants. I'd never talked to the guy before!)...soap...human hair...

When we want what we want we tend to get it, no matter the pain...We'll see about that!

August 6, 2007

The spirituality of fences

"My instinct is always to enclose myself, like a hibernating animal."
- Anne Scott-James

In some settings, fences are needed for privacy (I wouldn't like people seeing me in my nightgown or scantily dressed). Fences can be for keeping tools, and furniture from sprouting legs and walking off. (The ambience of a candlelight dinner in the yard would be something less than congenial if everything was tied together with a series of chains to a tree.) Then there's fences for keeping animals in, or in our case, animals out.

Fences can define areas. I look at yards and landscaping and ask myself what I like about the settings or pictures I'm attracted to. Is it just the color/s, or design, or is it nostalgia?

Picket fences have a nostalgia about them. I don't know what exactly it is. Maybe it's some era of the past I imagine as an attractive lifestyle. Would putting a picket fence around our yard create that lifestyle?

Rambling rock walls evoke nice emotions in me too. Am I imagining a pastoral scene of peace with nice green grass, a few scattered white fluffy sheep with black faces, and cottage gardens?

I've always been attracted to split-rail fences too. In the west we have more arid landscapes with lots of wide open spaces. We've done versions of western fences with dead lodgepole pines around us, but over time they all rot and break. We're now ready for official cedar split-rail.

I've evaluated fencing on a spiritual level too. We internally tend to build fences for privacy and a sense of security. We want to feel safe. Defining boundaries is a good thing. In scripture the imagery of sheep and shepherd is often used. Sheep pens are fenced boundaries of safety and the shepherd leads them in and out. Sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd.

I've pondered that 'knowing the voice of my shepherd'. Why, if I just desire privacy, security and safety, would I want to leave my fence pen? Why would I need a shepherd? Is that all I desire for life? Wouldn't I want to leave the pen and wander where there's fresh water, food and scenery? Don't I want real life better than I could imagine?!

Life outside of fences is adventurous, messy, and scary. Outside of fences I need to, I want to, know the voice of my shepherd and follow.

August 5, 2007

City Girl

There are people who live in the country that experience what I've written on so far and think, 'big deal! why write on it'? And though it might seem we're in the country (or mountains--actually the foothills, considering Colorado has 50 peaks over 14,000') we're actually a 'bedroom' community of Denver with most people commuting to work. So most people who live here do not garden vegetables and attempt small-scale farm-type living.

And I grew up a city girl. I have a Grandma that always grew some veggies amongst her flower beds. But I had no gardening knowledge when I got married, nor really knew how to cook. But I wanted to know how things were done prior to store-bought everything, and cream-of-chicken soup cans and instant Jello. (I even looked up how marshmallows are made.)

We may have more photos of elk than kids, yet nature, out of the city and zoos, is still a wonder (though I want to protect my nurtured environments I so enjoy).

"Oh Boy"

Just watched the bear coming, going from window to window, to see what it would do. It's a beautiful bear. Brown back and black underneath and legs. Sometimes it would just sit and then lay. It was lazy and slow, seemingly undecided about what it wanted to do...Go behind the house to the birdfeeders? Or check out the front of the house.

Friday night the bear didn't come, but I woke to a metal sound, but it wasn't the bird feeder like before, but a rusty old wheelbarrow in the front yard. There were two beautiful bull elk with 6x racks eating grass. I found out later they had already been up to the perennial bed and eaten some flowers!!! ugh!

Friday the electric fencing I ordered came, delivered in a cute box with Mr McGreggor's picture and his fence and lots of Peter Rabbits looking in on his garden. I think I want to keep the box!

After getting home Saturday from picking Monte up at the airport, we sat on the porch looking at all the parts and he got the fence up. Just as evening was dawning (dusking) I was out in a beginning drizzle putting aluminum foil flags along the wires, and trying to put peanut butter on the foil without getting it all over me. (I just smelled my hands to see if I still smelled peanut butter. Luckily not!)

I'm convinced by the bear's indecision that he attempted to do his usual of emptying the feeders and got zapped last night. Instead, in anger, he went around the house and found the garage door opened. Dawson had friends over and they'd just gotten bread and drinks out of the garage and were playing a game.

How the bear got the dog food, in a RubberMaid container, out of the garage, carrying it around both freezers and out by the barking dogs in their kennel, is beyond me. The garage is packed with stuff and the freezers pulled out from the wall since we're about to insulate and drywall it and the above future Monte's office. It doesn't seem he dragged it, as all the electrical chord's show no evidence of being pulled.

Because we heard the dogs, he didn't get far in eating the food. But Dawson shone a flashlight on it, scaring it away. I found the bin opened, tipped on it's side out there this morning, uneaten, so he didn't return (nor a fox or raccoon).

We often try and read signs, trying to figure out a story many mornings. Looking for prints and what might have been gotten into or what done? Of course winter snow always has sign we like to look for. (That's one of the many weird things of this past winter storms that were abnormal. With the amount of snow we kept getting and the wall banks of snow, our meadow stayed free of prints most of the winter.)

Well, Monte's home and I don't have to be aware of the dog's barking in the night and losing sleep. And with the fence, we may not have to worry about the elk and deer either.

August 2, 2007


A bear came early this morning. I heard a noise, which ended up being one of my bird feeders that tends to collapse with a metal 'ping'. The bear did not trip my sons 'alarm' chord, but simply walked over it. So luckily I was awake enough to hear something and opened the window and yelled at it. It ran away.

I do bring in each night now, 2 of the feeders. One is more expensive and bears like to cart it away to break it and lick everything clean. The other is suet. He/she's (our neighbor saw a mother with cubs the other night) not tried to get to the hummingbird feeder yet. And I hate to have nothing out there when they're wanting it earlier then I'm wanting to wake up.

It's cooler today and supposed to rain later, so I'm off to weed and rearrange and plant more perennials. I keep trying to fill in color gaps throughout the seasons.

I have drawings of my garden spaces that go back for years. Each year I take stock and often write in another color ink what's still there or died. And write notes and dreams. I write what I've bought and where I've planted--added onto the older drawings.

I keep thinking I ought to make a nice garden journal. But for now, many years' notes are all on a clipboard. It works.

I did read something very funny last night that we ought to try. I have a book from the library called The $64 Tomato. A chapter opened with a "letter to Harriet" that talked about putting one of those motion-sensor singing fish plaques on a post, that scared deer away. We used to have one of those. It would scare me to death when I walked by it in my son's room. It's a great idea--and hilarious!

August 1, 2007


This is my first "blog" posting for my new web site that is still under construction.

My blogging will be a variety--from recipes, to what I'm currently doing, reading, pondering, and excited about! I have a published (back to self-publishing and selling) cookbook I did in 1996 called "Hearth&Home - recipes for life." I've been wanting to edit it, but people keep requesting it, so I'm just keeping it in print pretty much as is since 1996.

I have several other books ready to write I've spoken on and have demands for. So someday...I'm hoping this website will help me get into the process.

I'm currently in the thick of gardening--from a large vegetable garden and other perennial gardens along with herbs. I live at 8,000 feet (having moved from the Arizona desert) gardening has never been easy for me or 'by the book'. I experiment and have had some great successes and then alot of failures, or just plain 'comic book' story potentials! On top of the altitude, I have deer, elk, lots of voles and other underground critters. Currently I'm dealing with a bear that's liking my birdfeeders. So, after 23 years, we're considering electric fencing.
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