Monday, November 30, 2009

So What Do You Do When You’re Living In Limbo?

Our current listing agreement for selling our house ends today. It has now been two years since we first put our home on the market and, like most things in life, I could not have foreseen it taking this long. (For those who are new here, we are selling our home to get out of debt, then to pursue a ministry opportunity in Israel.) It is a weird place of limbo we are in - trying to purge and downsize to be ready for a move, but still having to function in the life we are in now. I have regretted several things that have succumbed to our purging while other things bought for our new life are collecting dust. My home does not even look homey to me, as I have gotten rid of anything extra that I could, and it looks lonely and bare.

Our tax assessment lost $40K in this last year, tempting us to freak out because we will only purchase with cash from here on out. Assuming the selling price is affected, that $40K just cost us greatly. I said tempted because we have not freaked out yet, but you cannot trust that ol' flesh, you know. It simply means that we will end up living in the bus longer than planned and likely be able to afford only an earth bag house when all is said and done. Mr. Visionary and the children are thrilled about this option and go around calling us the Dirt Bag Family. Me? I flip-flop between terror and adventurous enthusiasm about living in the bus with eleven of us and I still cannot figure out how the earth bag house won't be full of mildew. (I don't get how wool diaper covers work, either, but I love them, so we'll see.)

Our future plans seem very far away and I spend a lot of time asking Father about what we should be doing now. It appears to be a season for preparation in some way, but in what way? We have the last of our cows sold or in the freezer, the goats and chickens have been gone for some time now and I cut off the electricity at the barn. Lots of closure.

Our home fellowship has all but disbanded, so we have our Shabbats free to spend praying and studying as a family, which is good and bad. The busyness of hosting the group kept us from having time to think about our future too much, but our newly quiet Shabbats have stirred the questions awake again.

Do we list the house again, or wait until Spring? Is YHWH limited to the "good season for selling"? Do we make it For Sale By Owner, or find another realtor? Our old realtor marketed it as a gentleman's estate, but we think it should be marketed as a home for a large family. (How else do you show a house with eleven people living in it?)

What do we do, Father?

How many, many times we have repented and grieved over ever getting a mortgage! We truly are in bondage - not free to go where He calls when He calls.  He will redeem even this situation to grow us and to bring glory to Himself, for sure...but the regret is painful. Praise YHWH that His mercies are new every morning.

I'm just sayin'...I don't have any answers for what to do while living in limbo, except to continue to seek His face and thank Him for this season. The While I'm Waiting song from Fireproof has been on our lips during this season, but even that is a partial answer. "I will worship while I'm waiting, I will serve You while I'm waiting"...can still be personalized into specific answers to specific questions, but I suspect that the answers to what we should do during this season will only be apparent after the season is over and we're looking back. Hindsight, you know.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making Lacto-Fermented Salsa (with Recipe!)

A few days back, Amy asked us to post our lacto-fermented salsa recipe. We use the basic outline of the recipe from Nourishing Traditions and tweak it a bit based on which fresh ingredients we have available at the time. Sometimes it has more bell peppers than other times, sometimes it has cilantro, sometimes not. We have found though, that a key to making it really yummy is to dice the veggies very small, so that you get a blending of all the flavors in each bite. The following recipe is for making one quart, but the process of skinning the tomatoes dirties a lot of dishes in our opinion, so we don't bother making less than a dozen quarts at a time. (More bang for the same amount of mess, you know.) The real key to deciding how much to make is how much refrigerator space you have, because that is where the salsa will live after fermenting, not in the pantry.

4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (you want about three cups worth)

2 small onions, finely chopped

finely chopped bell peppers of any color to taste (we use roughly 1/4 of a pepper per quart)

6-8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced

1/4  bunch cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 Tablespoon sea salt (Do not skimp here! This is the key to getting the bad bacteria to not grow while waiting for the lactic acid preservation to complete!)

4 Tablespoons whey (not powdered, use only the real stuff - you know, the watery stuff that is sometimes in yogurt) [Note: if you don't have this available, use an additional 1 Tablespoon of sea salt, for a total of 2 Tbsp. per quart]

filtered water

Optional: Finely chopped hot peppers to taste. We have used jalapenos, chilies, etc. Use what you have available, and go easy until you see how the peppers react to lacto-fermenting. Some seem to get spicier.

Here's what you do:

Peel the tomatoes. (Google instructions if you have never done it before.) Chop all the veggies, then mix all veggies into a large bowl along with the lemon juice. We then fill each jar with the veggie and lemon juice mixture, leaving a full 1.5 inch headspace above the tops of the veggies. Smush the veggies down lightly with something non-metal  (your fingers, a wooden spoon, a plastic spatula, etc.). On the top of the veggie mixture, add your sea salt, whey (remember: extra salt if you don't have this), and filtered water to bring the total volume up to 1 inch below the top of your jar. (Tip: Often you will not need to add any water; the volume will already be high enough.) Cover the jar tightly and shake until the sea salt is dissolved and thouhroughly incorporated into the jar contents. Set them on the counter, and leave at room temperature for about 48 hours. When the time is up, transfer jars to cold storage(i.e. your fridge). Try them after they are cool! The flavors will blend more, and mature after more time in cold storage, but this salsa is also delicious immediately!

Now, go get some Green Mountain Gringo chips (or make your own if you are ambitious) and dig in!

Also, I just came across this other recipe for Lacto-Fermented Salsa last week.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Twin Pictures Finally!

It seems I have chosen the most counter-intuitive moment to post pictures of the babies. I am swamped with preparations to get to our homeschool convention tomorrow: finishing my shopping lists, getting the house and meals ready for the sabbath, getting the big kids ready for an outing with Grandma while I am doing convention, and packing the equivalent of twelve suitcases worth of diapers and clothes changes into the diaper bag for the twins' doing convention. But, I know that coming home with billions of new school books and lessons to prepare will not leave me any extra time, and knowing that I can pack the diaper bag while the pictures upload means now is the time, intuitive or not.

My template does not like words and pictures intermingled, so I will list the captions here:

1) Sweetie, formerly known as 'Baby A'. Six teeth and a smidge of curly hair. 22 1/2 lbs of pure bulldog. We call her 'Truck', as she isn't concerned with obstacles - even if the obstacle is her sister.

2) Honey, formerly known as 'Baby B'. Two teeth with just a sprinkling of peach fuzz. 22 lbs and a good fake fusser. We call her the Drama Queen.

3) Sisterly affection.

4) Morning cuteness.

5) Camera Schmamera. Can you put that thing down and help me, please? (He really is much happier in real life than he ever looks in pictures.)

P.S. I forgot to tell you that the girls are 9 months old now!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

So She Comes Back…

I never intended to stop blogging. I just never could seem to get back to it. Life kept going. Little People needed loving, Big People needed it too, and there were always mouths to feed, faces to wash, chores to do...the details of life to see to. The thing about blogging, is that thankfully, the blog does not holler if you forget to feed it. The new fish in our house does not, either, which is why I suspect his days are numbered.

I actually never did stop blogging totally. I just never wrote it down. I often blog in my head as I go through the days. I silently mull over what things I would say to no one in particular if there were ever an arena to articulate them.  Most of the time what I would say is just complaining anyway, so I skip the leaving evidence writing it down part on purpose. I also  struggled with the question of audience in blogging. Who exactly is reading this and who exactly am I writing this for? The less I know about who is reading, the better off I imagine myself to be, that way I am not worrying who I will offend or what So-And-So will think of what I write. Regarding who it is for...well, while I would like to say very assuredly that I am writing this for 'the Lord', I suspect that it is really just for me. I usually feel better after writing things down, and for now, I am OK with that being the only reason.

A few months ago, after I was once again lamenting that I can never get everything done, a friend lectured exhorted me that there is always ample time in the day to everything 'that the Lord really wants (me) to do'. Ever eager (unfortunately) to latch on to a dose of condemnation and guilt, I saw this advice and raised it a bit. My self-imposed rules for what needed to be done before I could ____ (blog, paint my toenails, sit still and quiet for five minutes, etc.) never left any room for anything fun whatsoever. After finally (why did I not think of this sooner?) consulting Mr. Visionary about the question of blogging, we discussed how the To-Do List never ends and that my work could conceivably never be done. His advice? Blog anyway.

The truth is, there really are a few folks whom I really do like to have read here. Our schedule is so hectic, and I see Mr. Visionary so little four days out of the week, that I really like it when he catches up on my blog sometimes and then wants to discuss something I wrote. A post Holly put up a few days ago reminded me of the other audience I especially love - my children. I thought about how wonderful it will be for her children to look back at that video (and that post). The things you want to say do not always get said in the hustle and bustle of normal days in a large family. I want my children to be able to look at this (online now, but on paper years from now) and see what my thoughts were toward them. I suspect that there are parts of our life now -especially my thoughts toward them- that they just will not fully understand until they are Mommas and Daddies themselves.

So, without further long, drawn-out explanation, I'm back. I hope to be able to pop in more often now. And I'll be sure to give you an update on the family, the happenings, and  all the luscious baby chub around here!

It is perfectly alright to say, "Well I was wondering where you were!" And if you're reading this on Bloglines, I updated the sidebar finally - come see.