Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cultural Paradigm Shift


The equality of men.  That ideal was the hallmark of America.  It was spoken of in hushed tones across Europe and lured men from every corner of the world.  The promise of equality caused men to quit their meager comforts and embark on a journey that could easily cost them their lives.  To be considered an "equal", to own property, to help make laws, to be limited only by their own willingness to work hard - for such a life as this, men were willing to risk everything.  And they did. 

The people that built America came from all backgrounds and walks of life - but the majority had one thing in common - their lot in life.  They had a station and were unable to change it regardless of hard work or circumstances.  The people in positions of power ruled those beneath them, some kindly and some cruelly, but the separation between those in power and those without power was absolute and complete.  The peasant, the regular Joe, was at the mercy of his better.  There was no recourse, no redress.  America promised an evening of the playing field.  Here, you could be whatever you wanted to be - you were ruled by your peers, not your masters.  But it went even further than that.  In America, any man could become a lawmaker.  They could determine the law for their fellow man and then live under the laws they created.  The founders of our country created a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  Just the utterance of the word "America" brought hope to the masses.  The downtrodden sought equality and found it in the arms of America.

Slowly, insidiously, our culture has shifted.  Almost imperceptibly we have allowed ourselves to transfer power from the people to the state.  As we slept, cocooned in our comfort and safety, our self-government has slipped away and been replaced by an unforgiving master - The State.  No longer do we live in a land of equality, but a land of "Them" and "Us".

To illustrate a tiny microcosm of this paradigm shift, read the following excerpt from a local paper:

WSP trooper, pilot caught on tape
(Reported in the Spokesman-Review 10/12/14)

Excerpts from scanner recordings made by Bill Gillam, of Arlington, Washington, on U.S. Highway 2/97 between Cashmere and Wenatcheee, where the speed limit is 60 mph;

Patrol trooper:  "Yeah, it's another officer."
Patrol pilot in airplane: "That's a pretty good one."
Trooper:  "Yeah, I had, uh, 86 on that one."
Pilot:  There's a car doing 73, just pushed traffic out of the way so its got open road again inside a mile to you."
Trooper:  "That 75 ain't ours, Chris, looks like it had a light bar on it."
Pilot:  "Did I miss a memo today?"
Trooper:  "There's a DRE (drug recognition conference) conference in Chelan tody that starts at noon."
Pilot:  "Ahh, OK."
Pilot:  "I got a pair coming but I'm not super optimistic about 'em, if ya know what I mean.  I'll hold off on the speeds until you guys can check them out, just in case.  It's a white SUV, followed by a gray car."
Trooper: "Yes, they're going to the conference."
Pilot:  "All right."
Pilot:  "I don't know if it matter or not but all the ones I'm calling the speeds at have been over 80."
Trooper:  "They will make a little announcement at the conference."
Pilot: "Yeah, that'd be good.  I mean, I understand you don't want to be late but that's a little too much."
Trooper:  "Yeah."
Pilot:  "A motorcycle made an unsafe lane change."
Trooper:  "Seventy-two with an unsafe lane change.  He cut the black car off.  So 78 was the high.  You're not going to believe where the motorcycle's going."
Pilot:  "Let me guess - the DRE conference."
(At end of video)
Pilot:  "Sorry we couldn't get more."
Trooper:  (laughing)  "We got plenty."
Pilot:  "There will just be one more page in the reg manual.:
Wenatchee World

As I said, this is just a tiny illustration.  We have allowed so many usurpations of our rights as free men that it would be impossible to recapture them.  We have allowed a President to remain in office that doesn't agree with the Constitution, therefore he doesn't enforce it.  We have allowed our Representatives to implement a (mandated) health care system that they have exempted themselves from.  We have allowed law enforcement officers to disregard the law for themselves and only impose it on "civilians" (that means you and me).  We have replaced  the equality of a government of the people with a glorified caste system and now we are enjoying all of the accompanying atrocities.

It's time to make the State aware that we, the People are the true and rightful heirs.  This is OUR land - not theirs.  Stand up and be counted.  Our founders made sacrifices for this land, are you willing to do the same?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Slaves to the King


Reading the daily news headlines, I often wonder "How".  How did Americans become a people I hardly recognize?  How did we become a people willing to sacrifice our rugged independence for the unrealized (and quite frankly, impossible) promise of safety?  How did we become a subservient people, willing to comply with laws that rob of us the very freedom of our souls?  How did our once proud countrymen become willing slaves to a tyrannical "King".  How did these things come to pass?  In one word - Rebellion.  We have reaped what we have sown.  We have obtained the desires of our hearts.  The harvest is now ripe, and more abundant than we could have possibly imagined.

America has chosen to follow a "King" rather than God.  In our desire to conform to the standards set by other nations, we have sacrificed everything that made our country great.  And, had we had the eyes to see and the ears to hear, we would have known what was coming....

And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 
 
And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you:  He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 
 
And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, to instruments of his chariots.
 
And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
 
And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
 
And he will take the tenth of your seed, and  of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
 
And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
 
He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
 
And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
 
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
 
1 Samuel 8:10-19
 
 
Choose you this day what King you will serve!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Feathering the Nest


As most of you know, one of my great joys is preparing my home for the winter.  I love to pull things together for the winter and make everything cozy.  I dress the garage door with drop cloths and curtains, switch out the tablecloths and prepare the oil lanterns.  In short - I nest.  And here, my friends, is a little peek into the Shouse....

Until next time,

Enola

I use dry erase markers on an old window to write a new proverb every week

Master Hand Grenade and I cut galvanized metal and made a wall in the loft-
I LOVE IT!

We left a portion of the loft open - I hung another antique window
that had the panes painted in chalkboard paint, to add a bit
of privacy upstairs.  In the three panes I wrote
Grace
Hope
Charity

My favorite corner in our bedroom

Dressed for winter



I used an old tank cartridge box to create a centerpiece for the table (it's more red than pink)


Friday, October 10, 2014

A Little Bit of Fall


I can't believe it's October!  Why?  Because our days are warm and sunny and there isn't a hint of that nippy autumn air that I so love.  With such warm days I haven't felt compelled to do much baking but yesterday the girls and I wanted a little something to accompany our afternoon tea.  The pumpkin scone recipe I recently came across looked like it was just the thing, however, it only used 1/2 cup of pumpkin so I scoured my other recipes to see what I could bake with the rest of the pumpkin in the jar.  Oh, did I come up with something wonderful!  Texas pecan cake.  Umm.


If you are hankering for a taste of fall, these recipes will fill the bill.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Scones
2 1/2 C flour
6 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 C butter, cold, cut into chunks
1/2 C pumpkin puree (or other winter squash)
3 T heavy cream (or milk)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Thick Glaze
1 C powdered sugar
2 T milk

Pumpkin Spiced Glaze
1 C powdered sugar
2 T milk
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
pinch cloves
pinch ginger

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

For the Scones:  In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  Cut in butter (with a pastry cutter).  Add the pumpkin, cream, egg and vanilla.  Stir just until a soft dough forms.  Knead 4 or 5 times or until the dough comes together well.



Pat the dough until it is about 1 inch thick.  (I pat it in a circle).  Cut wedges in the size of your preference.

Place scones on a baking sheet and bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until done.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.

For the Glaze:  Stir the ingredients for the Thick Glaze together until smooth.  Spread over cooled scones and allow to set for about 10 minutes.  Stir together the ingredients for the spiced glaze and drizzle over cooled and frosted scones. 




Texas Pecan Cake
1 C butter, softened
2 C sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 C butternut squash, pureed (I used pumpkin)
3 tsp. vanilla extract
3 C flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 grated coconut
1/2 pecans, chopped

Glaze
1/4 C butter
1/2 C pecans, chopped
1 C brown sugar
1/4 C cream, plus a glug (about 1 T)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

For the Cake:  Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs beating well after each addition.  Add the squash (or pumpkin) and mix well.  Stir in the vanilla.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix well.  Fold in the coconut and pecans.  Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for 50 or 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes then turn out onto a cake platter.



For the Glaze:  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the pecans and stir for 1 minute.  Add the brown sugar and cream and bring to a boil.  After glaze comes to a roiling boil stir constantly for 2 minutes.  Take off heat.  Allow to cool then drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

NOTE:  I like this cake best without the glaze!  Just slice in small pieces and butter - out of this world!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Case for Mothers


As a mother, my job is always changing.  What my children need from me as infants changes when they are toddlers.  My toddlers needs are different from my little kids needs and my little kids needs are different from my teenagers.  What has surprised me the most are what my adult children need. 

When my children were little my job as mother was all consuming.  They needed me for everything.  I fed them, I taught them and I discipled them.  I read stories to them and prayed with them and tucked them into bed.  I thought they would be little forever and that I would spend the rest of my days wiping noses and drying tears.  Suddenly, they were big. As their world began to expand, I became their touchstone, their sounding board.  Their questions began to get "bigger" and their observations more discerning.  They didn't need my constant physical attention, however they needed much more of my emotional energy.  They needed me to see them and hear them - not what they seemed to be on the outside, but who they really were, on the inside.  They needed me to encourage them and to chastise them.  They needed me to constantly turn their hearts back to the Way.

And now I have grown children.  Maid Elizabeth and I are close - we talk about everything - hopes, dreams, disappointments.  We share our laughter as easily as we share our tears.  Master Hand Grenade, however, has taken me by surprise.  He has taught me so much about  being a mother.  Master Hand Grenade has taught me that young men need a woman in their life.  He seeks me out to talk about life's challenges and disappointments.  He wants my opinion about the qualities to look for in a wife.  He wants to know what I think about the music that he likes and the movies he watches.  Sometimes, he doesn't want my opinion at all - he just wants to talk, to vent, to connect.

And Master Hand Grenade is not alone.  Most of the young men I know, whether the sons of friends or the checkers at the grocery store, want the input, the encouragement of a woman.  A few weeks ago as Miss Serenity and I were checking out at the grocery store, the young checker (he was about 24) began talking.  He told me that this is not were he thought he would be at this point in his life.  He said that he had gone to school and had hoped he would be a mechanic somewhere but he hadn't been able to get a job.  He said he had talked to the manager at the mechanics shop across the road, but he hadn't gotten back to him.  I asked him if he has a resume (which he didn't) and encouraged him to make one.  I told him to visit the shop about once a week and enquire about a job (that would let them know that he was serious).  I told him to make sure that he did the best job he could while working at the grocery store so that his employers could give him the very best recommendation.   That young man spent about 15 minutes talking - about his life, his future, his dreams. 

Miss Serenity was a little put out.  "You are my Mom, not his!"  She stated rather vehemently.  "He can't have you!".  In that moment, I understood Master Hand Grenade a little bit better.  As a young man, he needed feminine input, counsel - just as the checker in the grocery store had.  He needed a mother. I've found that my job doesn't stop when my children are grown - it's just getting started.

As I pondered the relationship between young adult men and their mothers, I thought of King Lemuel and the prophecy of his mother.  When King Lemuel was young (probably about Master Hand Grenade's age) his mother spoke into his life.  She gave of her wisdom to encourage and direct her son.  Mothers, let us continue in our feminine duty and strengthen and encourage all of the men God has given us.

This is how I will instruct my son - as King Lemuel's mother instructed him....

The words of King Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and please the cause of the poor and needy.
Who can find a virtuous woman?  for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good:  her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
 
Proverbs 31

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Solar Panels, Outhouses & Canned Meat


September marked the 14th anniversary of our family's move to "Little Shouse on the Prairie".  A lifetime has been lived in these last 14 years. 

When we moved here, I was 31 years old.  Sir Knight and I had three children - Maid Elizabeth, 11, Master Hand Grenade, 4, and Miss Serenity, 1.  Never would I have guessed that by the time I was 45 we would still be living in a shop in the middle of a prairie.  I couldn't have known that our family would swell to 7 and that our children's fondest memories would be of oil lamps, generators, solar panels, outhouses, canned meat and afternoon tea in front of the wood cookstove.

When Sir Knight and I embarked on this great adventure, we had visions of a huge garden, a barn full of stock and a cozy house keeping the prairie winds at bay.  That vision never materialized.  Instead, life happened.  When we weren't looking, Maid Elizabeth grew up.  Master Hand Grenade became a man and Miss Serenity became my right hand and an accomplished young woman. Princess Dragon Snack was a gift that added mirth and joy to our family and Master Calvin brought with him blessings untold.  Our adventure is beautiful - but it is not at all like the vision that I thought was our future.

When we moved into Little Shouse on the Prairie, we became pioneers.  We did everything the hard way.  We had no running water, no electricity and no bathroom facilities.  The first night we spent in the shop was sobering.  We had made our move on a wish and a prayer and now the reality of our lives came into sharp focus.  It was 17 degrees and we had no heat (we hadn't run our stove pipe through the roof yet), no way to cook, a cow to milk and a baby to care for - along with a four year old that had a hard time walking and an eleven year old that wanted to help but wasn't prepared for pioneer life.  I cried - a lot.

After three weeks of feeling sorry for myself, I had a heart to heart talk with God.  He reminded me that His mercies were new every morning and that I came from good pioneer stock.  As long as I kept my eyes on Him, He would give me all of the strength that I needed.  I straightened my back, squared my shoulders and went to work. 

First things first. We came up with a system for household water.  Filling a 7 gallon barrel with water from the neighbor  (I made sure to use the one that Sir Knight had fitted with a spigot), we hefted it on to the industrial racking in my kitchen.  Instantly, with the flip of the spigot, I had running water in my kitchen.  The next order of business was creating a somewhat functional bathroom.  Although we had plumbing in place for a toilet, we had no running water or a septic system.  Our short-term facilities consisted of a camp toilet that used plastic bags for waste, strategically placed behind a few barrels in our shed.  The camp toilet was rickety and the shed did little to lessen the forceful blasts of wind sweeping across the prairie.  I didn't like using the bathroom, so potty training was definitely out of the question!  Surveying our options, I decided on the closest thing to indoor plumbing I could come up with - a real toilet.  Throwing away the camp toilet base and securing the seat (plastic bags and all) to our "real" toilet (currently sitting on our bathroom floor) we had makeshift indoor facilities.  I positioned the toilet behind a screen room divider and suddenly we had at least a modicum of privacy, and non-breezy privacy at that!

Due to the early cold weather, my dad cleared his schedule and came up to help Sir Knight install stove pipe so that we could hook up our wood cookstove to heat our shouse (and our water and our food!).  As winter closed in we drew close, knowing one another as only quiet conversation and complete silence will allow.  While the wind howled outside (shaking our very roof), we sipped hot cocoa and read aloud by oil lamp.  Our kitchen became the center of our home. Heated by the cookstove, it embodied everything a home should be - warm, embracing, welcoming.  In that small room our pioneer family braved our first non-electric winter.  We knew nothing but the gentle hiss of Coleman lanterns, the joyful singing of the tea kettle and the simple pleasures of hearth and home.



In our 14 years on this windy prairie our lives have changed drastically.  We now have electric lights (from our solar panels and battery bank), running water and a washing machine.  We have indoor plumbing, a refrigerator and a propane cookstove.  Although we don't live in a "regular" house, we have all the comforts of home.

Our pioneer life has become less rustic and more modern with each passing year.  Although I still cook on our wood cookstove, use the outhouse regularly and home can most of our food, our children long for the simple life of pioneer living.  Not too long ago, Princess Dragon Snack came up to me and said, "Mom, do you think we can turn all the lights off, light the oil lamps and pretend to be off-grid?".  I grinned and said, "Let me get the hot cocoa".

Our lives have not turned out the way I had expected.  Our adventures have taken us on the road less traveled.  We have made mistakes, we have had bad attitudes and we have almost called it quits.  But we have persevered and learned more than any smooth road could have possibly taught us.   We have learned that real life happens when you're not looking.  That your darkest days are your best memories.  And that "someday" is right now.

The days that we are living now are my children's best memories.  They won't remember what they got for Christmas or how many times they were told to do the dishes, but they will remember oil lamps, generators, solar panels, outhouses, canned meat and afternoon tea in front of the wood cookstove. 

If you are like our family and your reality is different than your dream, don't let your reality slip through your fingers while trying to grasp your dream.  Make your reality beautiful.  These are our "good ol' days".

Friday, October 3, 2014

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

Watch this video.  You'll get angry - keep watching.  You'll think "I knew it!" - keep watching.  Your heart will soften - keep watching.  Watch and witness the transforming power of Christ!  In Him, there is always hope.....

If the video doesn't load, click here.