Winter is Coming… Preparing your Pantry

The purpose of home canning and meal prepping is to prepare for times when fruits and vegetables and meats are not as abundant naturally.  When an item is in season, it is more abundant and less expensive, this is the time to prepare for winter, especially when you live in the northern and Midwest areas.  Winter can be harsh.  We believe in canning what is in season, naturally, to help with budget costs, health benefits and being more ‘God sufficient’ than man sufficient.  The other side point to preparing and budgeting your food storage is to better understand what a REAL portion of food is.  America has gotten really bad at ‘super sizing’ and over convenience everything.  We’ve gotten into the mindset of “getting our money’s worth” instead of planning and looking at what our body needs.  The sugar and preservative addictions are just as bad as the “bad addictions”.  Look at the rise of obesity, health issues, enabling etc.  If we are stressed, we head strait for the candy jar, if a child is crying we hand them a sweet treat.  I could go on and on about this subject, because I myself suffer from stress eating and weight issues.  I come from a long line of Southern Cooks.  I love my butter, gravy and I melt with Shrimp and Grits.  Which is all fine, IN MODERATION.

But, back to preparing your pantry.  Each year it is essential to take stock of what your family will need for the upcoming year until the next season arrives with more goodies.  Also knowing crop rotation years help too.  One year may be a great corn year, the next nothing.

Now the big thing I want you to really take notice of is the PORTION of each item.  If we ate this way, I’m willing to bet, the weight loss programs out there would loose a lot of money and we would have more in our savings!

The Canner’s Pantry Planner:
Food Times/Week Serving Jars/Person Jars/Family(4)
Meats, Poultry, Fish 4x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 36 Pints 144 Pints
Soups 2x week, 36 weeks 1 cup 18 quarts 72 quarts
Jams, Jellies, Preserves 6x week, 52 weeks 2 tablespoons 40 1/2 pints 160 1/2 pints
Relishes 3x week, 52 weeks 1 tablespoon 5 pints 20 pints
Greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash 4x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 18 quarts 72 quarts
Pickled vegetables 2x week, 52 weeks 2 1/2 tablespoons 13 pints 52 pints
Juices and Tomatoes 7x week, 36 weeks 1 cup 63 quarts 252 quarts
All Other Fruits and Vegetables 14x week, 36 weeks 1/2 cup 76 quarts 304 quarts
Pickled Fruits, Pickled Eggs 2x week, 52 weeks 2 1/2 tablespoons/ 1 egg 13 quarts 52 quarts

Did you slightly freak out over the portions? Puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Here is the thing I have discovered, when you utilize the mentality of using what you have on hand, you waste less, you eat less, and you have that pride of providing. It’s amazing how the world’s perspectives dissolve when you start living like this.

There are other items to consider as well, the meat covers what you should have in your freezer as well as canning, but there are dry goods to consider:  Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda/powder, yeast, dried beans, rice, powders.  Then your wet goods such as honey, syrups, molasses.  Also your perishables, eggs & milk.  There is also cellar storage to consider, potatoes, sweet potatoes, hard squash, apples.  But all in all the portions stay the same.  Now my favorite:  Cheeses.  I love real cheese, love it!  But a portion is only 2 ounces.  That’s the size of 2 dice.

I credit the knowledge of this from my Grandma Inez and my go to book “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery.

So learn to enjoy and appreciate what you have and you will find that your body and your savings will thank you!

Enjoy and let me know of your thoughts.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

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Canning Basics

With the gardens being in full swing now that we reach the beginning of August, it is a very, very busy place here in the Rice household.  Nothing and I do mean NOTHING goes to waste.  God is truly blessing us this year with a bounty of fruits, berries and vegetables!

I have been receiving a lot of questions about times and what can be water bath canned and what has to be pressure canned.  So, I decided to lay it out simply here.  My two tried and true resources are my Grandma and Mom of course and my absolutely favorite resource book.  The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery.  When my husband and I first started to become close, we discovered we had the exact same book.  We truly are two peas in a pod.  But anyway, here are the outlines for Canning.

Water Bath Canning (think fruits and pickles) The times and sizes are for after reaching a full boil in your canner.

  • Apples  Pints 20 min.  Quarts 20 min.
  • Applesauce  Pints 20 min. Quarts 20 min.
  • Apricots   Pints 25 min.  Quarts 30 min.
  • Berries    Pints 15 min.    Quarts 20 min.
  • Cherries (pitted)  Pints 25 min.  Quarts 25 min.
  • Cranberries    Pints 15 min.   Quarts 15 min.
  • Currants         Pints 15 min.   Quarts 15 min.
  • Figs                  Pints 45 min.   Quarts 50 Min.
  • Fruit Juices    Pints 5 min.       Quarts 10 min.
  • Peaches          Pints 25 min.     Quarts 30 min.
  • Pears             Pints 25 min.     Quarts 30 min.
  • Plums            Pints 10 min.      Quarts 10 min.
  • Preserves      Pints 20 min.       Quarts 20 min.
  • Rhubarb        Pints  10 min.       Quarts 10 min.
  • Strawberries  Pints 15 min .       Quarts 15 min.  (Better frozen)
  • Tomatoes (yes tomatoes are a fruit) (you must add citric acid or lemon juice! To water bath tomatoes!!!!! More to come) Pints 35 min.   Quarts 45 min.
  • Tomato Juice Pints 35 min.      Quarts 40 Minutes.

These are the times for Ohio, if you live in a higher altitude location it can range from 5 – 15 minutes additional.  Check your local agriculture site.

Now comes the fun one!  PRESSURE CANNING.

Please learn how to use a Pressure Canner and maintenance and check it well before you use.  They can be dangerous.  You will be canning at 11 lbs of pressure but you want to check for the altitude adjustments for you area.The vegetables listed here are for NON PICKLED.  Canning pickles is another category for another time.

  • Meats        Pints 75 min        Quarts 90 min
  • Fish            Pints 100 min      Quarts 100 min
  • Asparagus Pints 30 min        Quarts 40 min
  • Beans (snap, wax, green, yellow, purple) Pints 20 min  Quarts 25 min
  • Beans, Lima   Pints 40 min     Quarts 50 minutes
  • Beets             Pints 30 min      Quarts 35 minutes
  • Broccoli        Pints 25 min      Quarts 40 min (better frozen)
  • Brussels Sprouts  Pints 45 min  Quarts 55 min (better frozen)
  • Cabbage         Pints 45 min    Quarts   55 min
  • Carrots        Pints 25 min         Quarts 30 min
  • Cauliflower   Pints 25 min        Quarts 40 min
  • Corn             Pints   55 min.         Quarts 85 min
  • Greens          Pints 70 min           Quarts 90 min
  • Hominy        Pints 60 min           Quarts 70 min
  • Mushrooms   Pints 45 min        QUARTS NO NO NO!
  • Okra             Pints 25 min            Quarts 40 min (Better frozen)
  • Onions         Pints 40 min              Quarts 40 min
  • Parsnips      Pints 20 min            Quarts 25 min
  • Peas              Pints 40 min            Quarts 40 min  (much better frozen)
  • Peppers, green  Pints 35 min     Quarts 35 min
  • Peppers, hot     Pints 35 min        Quarts 35 min
  • Potatoes NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
  • Pumpkin (in chunks not pureed)  Pints 55 min  Quarts 90 min.
  • Rutabagas    Pints 35 min         Quarts  35 min.
  • Squash, winter (in chunks not pureed)  Pints 55 min   Quarts 90 minutes.
  • Turnips      Pints 20 min.            Quarts 25 min.

So those are the times for the sizes of what I do most.  If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email and I will get back to you.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

 

Budgeting 101: An Honorable Responsibility

All members of a household hold a responsibility to be financially reliable.  But for a wife, it is crucial. One of my very favorite scriptures is Proverbs 31:10-31 and it lays it out very clear on what we are to do as the woman of the household.

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Proverbs 31:10-31New International Version (NIV)
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

What does this have to do with budgeting?  Well, it pretty much puts it right there in black and white, we are to manage our households.  Not by wasting, being lazy, nagging, passing blame or wasting away funds on frivolous things, or adorning ourselves in the latest of fashions.

This is a pretty big responsibility over all, if you think about it.  The world tells us all these pretty little lies to get us to spend when in reality, we are to be mindful and manage wisely.  Our beauty comes from within and from honest work and care and wisdom.

Here are some things to be aware of and put into practice:

  • Think first, never impulsively.  Is the item a Want or is it a Need?
  • If it is a need, what is the priority?  Be honest, talk about it with your spouse or accountability partner.
  • Save that change.  I use an old coffee can that I throw my pennies and change in, it does add up!  (Plus I use it for weekly egg money to pick up our fresh eggs.)
  • Plan your meals!!!!  It really doesn’t take long, meal prepping will become a habit in no time.
    • Plan at least 2 weeks in advance work your way up to a month at a time.
    • Cut down on quick runs to the grocery store.
    • Meal Prep
  • Buy in bulk in season and learn to freeze, can and dry food.
  • USE COUPONS!  Now days it’s fairly easy to use apps on your phones.  My favorite is ibotta!
    • Go to https://ibotta.com/
    • Download the app for your phone.
    • Feel free to use my referral code: phjhroe
    • Earn cash that you can put in your account from coupons, and shopping you have to do.
  • Resale!  Whether buying or downsizing!  Use the MarketPlace app on Facebook or go to your local resale shop!
  • Plan a No Spend Month!  I will be writing more on this in the future.
  • Choose to fix meals at home instead of eating at restaurants or fast food.  Your body and your wallet will thank you!
  • You don’t need a gym!!! Find activities that keep you active that you enjoy! Walk, bike, fish, garden… you get the idea.
  • Buy Local and find your local farmer’s markets.  You are helping them, they are helping you.
  • Use your talents to bring in extra money.  I love etsy.com!  Do you cook? Crochet? Knit? Sew? Write? Garden?
  • Cut the cable cord!  There are many ways you can spend your time without the TV, but if you do need it, antennas and internet can fill that void.  In the meantime, enjoy a board game with your spouse and or kids.
  • Make it a goal to be “God Sufficient”.  Meaning, don’t put the priorities of the world before the priorities of the Lord.
  • Most of all, pass these down to your children and your children’s children.  Give them the wisdom of how to budget and be responsible to avoid the pitfalls of being foolish.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Tears…

Blessed-are-those-that-mourn-by-StudioJRU

I’m going to get very real and raw this evening.  I am going to open up and share the tears behind my smiles, the ones that I work so hard to hide.

My greatest joy(s) have been the only that brought me heart wrenching sorrows.    On January 1, 2016, my greatest heartbreak happened, my first born son committed suicide.  He would have been 30.

For all that I have been through in my life, nothing has devastated me as much as that phone call telling my that my son was found dead.  No parent should ever get that call.  No parent should ever have to bury their child.  I remember feeling so numb and even after over a year it still feels like it isn’t real.  But it is.  I cry a lot.

Without getting into deep personal details, I will say that the only thing that saved me from darkness was faith.  I know my son is in God’s loving arms and that is what gives me comfort.  I know in my heart he is not suffering anymore.

I’ve heard others say they become angry at God when a child is taken away, whether from illness, crime or accident.  I suppose I was too.  But if anything it drew me closer to God.  My faith has grown stronger from all of this.  But more than anything it has created a desire, so strong, to help others that I can’t ignore it.  To let others know that they are not alone.  God is with us always, he is a very loving Father and he cries with us when we hurt and bad things happen.   It’s also helped me to understand that this living world is not our final home and I know I will see my son again, someday.  But in the meantime, I need to be an instrument of change in this world, there is so much to do.

It really doesn’t take much to change someone’s day, week, month, year, maybe their life.  Maybe that sandwich you give to a homeless person on the street gave them the energy to get to a place where they can heal and get help to help someone else.  Maybe, that smile and happy greeting you give someone at work prevented them from ending their life.  Maybe, just maybe, that hug you gave a child, helped them see hope in their dark world.  You don’t know until you begin to do God’s work by just being you.

And you know what, when you start doing things for others, your own clouds disappear. You heal.  Your heart may always feel “broken” but the funny thing is that we are continuously filled when we have cracks, because we always have more room to be filled up with better things.

I see my son in the eyes of others.  I never want them to feel alone, because they aren’t.

Just something to think of in today’s busy world.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Snapping Beans…

grandma (2)

Here lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Well, more like remembering, cherishing, embracing. I’m not really sure what you would call it exactly.

Between my Bible Groups and discussions at home and watching the world around me, I find myself thinking about my Grandma Inez & my Momma Kathy more and more every day. I find myself looking backwards with the thoughts about my forwards. I realize how blessed I am for all the skills they both taught me, but none more important that being happy with what I have and making good use of what I have.

As this world spins around us it has taken on such a fake and distant personality. Everything seems to be money driven and causing us to work harder and longer and never finding “happiness”. We leave everything that really matters behind us to only focus on what the world says we need and must have. In reality, we need very little and most of us actually have much more than we need. We tell ourselves that we deserve things, luxuries and all other things to try and justify embracing what the world tells us.

This is what I believe we need. Above all else, we NEED God and have an active relationship with him. We NEED shelter, food and clothing. We NEED to be safe and loved. We NEED our family and true friends. All the rest is just pretty much pretty little lies.

When I was a very young girl I spent as much time as I could with my Grandma and Grandpa on a dairy farm on Route 2 in Monroe County, Ohio. Some of my favorite memories are of helping Grandpa in the garden and in the barns and with my Grandma in the kitchen in the farmhouse. In the hot summer I loved riding on the wagon as my Mom helped with bringing in hay. I even found and helped save a nest of baby bats one hay season in the top of the barn, but that’s another story for another time. I loved baking bread with my grandma, it was because of her and my mom that I won a state blue ribbon on my breads when I was in Junior High for 4-H. I absolutely loved learning to preserve foods and listen to my Grandma sing in the kitchen. My mom taught me how to make pickles and sauerkraut. My mom also made some of the best cookies in town, just ask my husband. Where am I going with all of this? In short, very few people takes the time to enjoy these simple pleasures anymore. Everyone is too busy running around chasing other things. I miss those days. I miss snapping beans with my grandma on the front porch and I miss running barefoot in the grass in the yard catching fireflies and putting them in a mason jar.

More and more every day I find myself wanting to unplug and return to that life. Oh I know I can’t go back. My Grandma and Grandpa have long since left this world and gone home to be in Heaven. So perhaps I should rephrase that; more and more every day I find myself wanting to unplug and GO to that life again. Or at least slow down and enjoy this life on this planet. Perhaps passing down my knowledge to those who want to learn the old fashioned life skills. I want to sit on the front porch and look at the world the way God made it and snap beans and tell stories to those who want to hear them and learn something so they can pass a few things down.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

But I thought…

Written by: Bob Rice  (aka: 1eyedbob) 2/4/2017

Most of this is reprinted from a conversation I had with another forum member. It is all my account of my last week of deer season, here in Ohio. Please take into consideration that not only am I new to deer hunting in general but also new to crossbows. I’ve thrown a little humor spin to my story to make it enjoyable, but that’s who I am. Sit back and enjoy, as your own pictures of past hunts and memories fill the void that we like to think is filled with nothing but knowledge.

I’m finally back at home, sitting comfortably in front the fireplace. Yes, it’s gas and I only have to throw a switch on the wall, but I live in the city. Some modern luxuries are nice, but a little smoke and the smell of burning hardwood, would be nice.

This past Monday I drove out to my buddie’s farm in Southeastern Ohio, in a small town I went to school in during the late seventies and eighties. After I had pulled into his driveway, he came out and was on his way to work. We chatted for a bit and he took off. He did ask how the road condition was coming in because he didn’t want to chain up, as it had been snowing and there are some steep hills.

I grabbed my backpack that held a few things I always carry while hunting and retrieved my crossbow from its case. My wife had heard me talk about wanting a case for protecting my bow when travelling, so she ordered me a nice camouflage, soft style for Christmas. I had my sights set on a hard case for more protection but she didn’t know that. I am very loved, what can I say.

As I walked up and across the field that morning, I could hear an owl hooting off in the distance. This was going to be a great day, I could just feel it. There was a slight breeze blowing out of the West as usual, and I was thankful to have an enclosure waiting for me to sit in. Now these aren’t just any deer blinds, no sir. These have swivel chairs and a propane heater. An offer I couldn’t refuse.

As I came upon the first blind, I decided to walk on to the second blind. The second one has tags on each tree with the distance written on them. No need for a range finder. And I thought city folk had it easy. I began running through my mental checklist and procedure for entering the blind. That’s when it hit me. CRAP! I left my quiver in that fancy new case since it has its own compartment for arrows.

After cussing myself for not having any arrows, I turned around to hike back uphill to my car. Now I could feel the snow blowing into my face and thought how nice a heated blind would be. I had packed my toe warmer heat packs and fleece pants, but intentionally left those at my mom’s house to hunt the unheated tree stand that was there.

After retrieving the quiver and attaching it to its rightful position, I began the trek back to the blind. The wind had picked a little as had the snow, and for a brief moment I thought about just using the first blind since it was closer. But I’ve seen deer from the other blind and am stubborn at times, so I continued on. It was about then that I began to notice the sweat forming on my back and chest and was becoming more thankful for the awaiting heater and chair, in the confines of an enclosure.

As I approached the feeder station and blind, my heart warmed up a bit, just knowing I was there. I climbed the ladder up to the top of the double stacked scaffolding that the blind sits on, and remembered not to open the door too far or it would make an awfully loud, SQUEAK! I did not want to announce my presence to every deer in the county so I cautiously snuck in and closed the door.

While taking off my backpack and hanging my bow up, remember high class blind here boys, I began to get my bearings again. That’s when I realized that something was terribly wrong. I had my bow, arrows with broad-heads, skinning knife, pee bottle, even my Hotseat cushion, but where’s the heater? I turned on my cellphone’s light and scoured the floor under and around the chair. Hard to hide a heater and propane tanks in a 4’x4′ blind.

What?! You’ve got to be kidding me! How could my friend neglect to mention that he had removed the heater for the season? He ALWAYS made it a point to say, “Don’t overdress when you come out to hunt at my place, I’ll spoil you”.

Well it didn’t take too long for the chill to take over. What do I do, tough it out or bail? I’m wearing my 600 gram Rocky’s with two pair of wool socks and wool underwear, so I decided to sit it out for a bit. I think I started steaming a little, but that was because it was starting to eat at me. Anyhow, nine-o-clock rolled around and the feeder started whirring. Usually scares the crap out of me, but not this time, I was ready. Bring on the deer! I could picture deer running in for a meal like it was last call at a packed bar. But the problem was, there wasn’t hardly any corn coming out of the feeder. What?!! How long had this been going on? Maybe for days and the deer wouldn’t be coming in at all. I could feel my shoulders sink in a little as my day continued to look rather bleak.

I managed to wait and watch the wind and snow come in harder, which began to add to my shivering. At about 10:30 I got a text from my buddy asking if I had seen anything yet and that he was home from work early. Bad weather has a tendency to do that in construction. I told him no and mentioned that the feeder wasn’t really feeding anything. I expected him to follow up with something like, “I’ll be out to hunt the other blind”, or, “I forgot to tell you I took out the heaters”, but no.

Well, I’d had enough. I grabbed my pack and my crossbow, yes with the quiver attached, and headed back. It didn’t take long to see how fierce the wind was blowing across the open field, as my footprints had already filled in and some slight drifting was occurring. No more picturesque visions of rolling green pastures or the ominous hooting of a distant owl.

After trudging back to my car, discharging my crossbow, and putting my stuff in the back, I started the car and waited for the engine to warm up so that I could begin the process of thawing out. As I waited, I sent my buddy a text instead of actually walking in to talk to him, because I knew that my emotions would be easily seen. I let him know that I’d had enough of the cold and was heading out. Being a man of few words at times, he replied, Ok. Again, no mention or apology for not having a heater! Upon thawing out on the ride back to my mom’s, I had to laugh at myself for taking it so personal that I had expected things to be the way I had envisioned them to be. Boy isn’t that just like life at times.

My next day was not any better in the weather department of hunting. The ladder stand I was to use sits on a North facing slope that gets about one hour of sun at about two-o-clock in the afternoon.  The weather forecast called for flurries and light rain drizzle throughout the morning. Well, they pretty much nailed the forecast and I was wetter than yesterday and even more cold. Winds were gusting to 30 mph, which I was protected from on the shaded side of the mountain. Nothing was moving except the trees, my teeth on occasion, and the creek I had to cross to get to this little piece of paradise. Did I mention that the creek was up? I did my best to sit in the stand until I had to pee so bad that I might as well leave. Let me tell you, that right after having to expose just enough of myself to my frozen fingers that, well you get the picture.

Day two was a valiant effort, but even the deer were hunkered down. So I remained in the house plotting out my strategy for Wednesday. My wife had blessed me with the opportunity to hunt the last week of archery deer season and by golly I was intent on taking it. She also got a chuckle of out of my day’s events.

Wednesday brought about a change in the weather, and it was for the better. A beautiful forecast for the day and I had dispersed some cut apple and corn upon leaving the woods the two days prior. I finished my sausage and egg sandwich that I had made, and washed it down with the last sip of coffee. I dressed for the day, applied my, “deer cologne”, as my mom calls it, grabbed my bow with the quiver attached, and headed out.

I could tell that the creek was down a little because I had my little key chain light clenched in my teeth. It was still flowing enough to feel the force of it and the rock bottom was slippery. Once on the other side, I began my climb up into the woods. As I neared the stand, I broadcast more cut apple and could see that the deer had readily accepted my offerings from the day before. I began to get a good feeling.

I climbed into my perch and awaited that magic moment of daybreak. You know it is about to happen as the Chickadees begin flitting about and you catch the movement of squirrels from their nighttime hideaways. Soon the woodpeckers will be sounding out and the crows will be calling as they fly overhead.

At around 8:00 I caught movement from the pines, coming towards my area of observation. Of course, I knew it was my apples and deer cologne that had his attention. At least that was what I had hoped. As the deer got closer I could see that it was a six-point Buck, that’s a 3×3 for you Westerners. When he got to a point where he was hidden from me, I raised my crossbow to be ready. He continued to come in and I felt myself tighten up a little. Upon doing so, the cold metal stand made a slight metallic sound. I froze, but the Buck was aware of something out of place.

He continued to come in for the sweetness of the apples, but very cautious. I then had a dilemma. He was at 28 yards, a distance I am extremely confident of making a deadly shot from, but was slightly facing towards me. Although I consider myself a novice, I knew this was not the best presentation for a kill shot. As hard as it was, I had to let temptation give way to ethics. I think he sensed my struggle when he saw me blink and then bolted off. I can tell you that I slept well that night knowing I didn’t just wound him.

About two hours later I watched a doe and a late fawn come in to feed as well. Really? Am I being presented with another test of morals and ethics? Talk about soul searching. But I thought it would be different. You know, cut and dry. There’s a deer, shoot it. I never thought about being put in the position making a call to shoot or not, but I’m glad it happened so early in my new-found passion.

My last two days were uneventful as far as seeing any deer. The wind blew more and it never got even close to thirty degrees. The fact that I had taken a five-point Buck earlier in the season with my crossbow, not to mention my first deer ever, and a large doe in Michigan with a rifle, made it easier to draw my week to a close.

I consider myself a spiritual man and these experiences bring me closer to God. I’ve always loved the woods, even as a kid growing up in Amish country. My friends and I would spend countless hours in and around them. Climbing trees, building forts, making fires, cooking Sassafras tea, camping out, you name it. Oh yeah, and I always had a slingshot. Homemade out of a tree branch and a bike tube or one of those fancy store bought ones that actually came with steel shot. Boy those were the times.

The Season of Giving

The Season of Giving

 

 

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about the subject of ‘giving’ lately.  It started with an observation of our fast paced world, which moved to people “watching” and their interactions with others.  Observations moved on to journaling and praying, and then this morning on the radio I heard a commercial “It is now the season of giving!” A joyful voice rang out.  That was when the bell that went off in my head.  The emphasis is on the word SEASON.  Seasons are short periods during the year that separate moments in time, the seasons of life, the seasons of the year, etc.  Why does there need to be a “Season” of giving?  Shouldn’t that be a daily thing not a “season”?

The push to give money for every cause you can think of ramps up under the umbrella of this so called season.  This makes me very sad, for many reasons.  The biggest is why do we have to be reminded to “give” during one time of the year?  Why is it that all of a sudden everyone wants money, specifically.

First and foremost I am a huge believer, especially when it comes to organizations of any kind, that they should be budgeting and forecasting for times of greater need.  Just as we as families should be doing.  I have no sympathy for any organization that does not budget the funds they have and utilize talents and capabilities of raising their funds to help with giving.  Let me explain.  Growing up in the Ohio Valley of SE Ohio it was very common for schools, churches, groups to utilize talents to raise money for things they needed and things to give to others.  Bake sales, craft shows, talent shows, cooking competitions were some of just many ideas that were embraced and widely utilized.  And the prices were very low so everyone could afford the items.  My mom always made and sold her chocolate chip cookies at PTA bake sales for a nickel a piece.  I know many a kid in our school that had smiles because of her cookies!   Auctions and community garage sales were another big draw.  It wasn’t just about giving some money and forgetting about the cause, but instead, having an input and a passion for a cause which everyone could get on-board with.  There was also much less waste involved.  How many of us have saved toilet paper rolls, cardboard, used crayons and scraps of paper, cloth and felt so that groups can work with kids on crafts?  Now days it seems easier to just throw money on the newest craft supplies and not even bat an eye to it or to buy some new equipment because the old one isn’t the newest thing there is.

Personally, I miss bake sales, craft shows, raffles and auctions.  It’s not just about raising cash to do things and give more; it’s about the social interaction and finding out the talents of others.

But you know what?  Giving is not just in giving money.  It’s about giving of yourself and your time to do one simple thing: To make someone smile.  I truly believe every single one of us on the face of this earth has one primary mission;  To make this world a much better place by spreading smiles.  Giving is not just in money.  Giving is carrying books for a coworker, classmate or someone you don’t even know.  Giving is getting the coffee going first thing in the morning for someone other than yourself.  Giving is baking and sharing with others.  Giving could be as simple as a hug to someone who is having a bad day or giving your lunch to someone who does not have one.   Giving should be for the what it does for others, not to grandstand yourself or to meet quotas or to take part in a competition.  It should be straight from the heart and the soul of a person to make the world a better place.  There should never be guilt or pressure to take part in any giving campaign.

Just something to think about when you hear that this is the “Season of giving”, you see, the real Season of Giving starts when we are born and continues every single day until we go home to the Lord.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

The Daily Delay…

I have a confession to make.  I am a control freak.  Yup, there I said it.  I’m sure my kids are rolling their eyes and saying ‘DUH!’.  When I say that I am a control freak, I mean it in a good way, I like order vs chaos.  But sometimes it can get out of hand.  I tend to believe everyone should think or do things the way I think they should be done and in my time frame.  I have learned, finally over time, to step back break and say a little prayer to get myself in check.  When I feel like I am not in control, I get nervous, anxious and a tad cranky.  When I feel like something is not happening on the timeline that I want, I get anxious and pushy.

Here lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking on things on this line.  Why is it that I think that God should part the waters for me whenever I think they need parted?  Why is it that I become discouraged when God does not open the door that is locked in front of me?  The answer is simple, he knows more than I do.  Many times I need to be humbled and after pulling and tugging and slamming against said locked door, it will open.  Not usually in a good way and definitely not with the results I had in mind.

Patience.  Because this world does not run on my clock and calendar.  It runs on God’s design.  He built it, he knows the plans we (I) need to step back and enjoy and yes, even suffer at times, through those plans.

So when you are feeling impatient and wondering why you are stalled, delayed or not moving, consider it a blessing and sit and listen.  You are being delayed because God knows there is a storm waiting on the path you are insisting on choosing.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice