Around the Garden Photo Story

German Chamomile looking very happy
Sweet little alium with a thunder cloud back drop
Our blackberry brambles are loaded with blossoms this year
Clover, purposely down and loved by pollinators
Orbs on a giant blue hosta

Big Changes Coming

A few years ago, I prayed to God to please guide me to the path He wants me to follow and I told Him I’d go there. I’d follow it. While I’m a pain in the ass – to which I’m sure God is nodding His head vigorously – I have tried hard to do this and to trust in Him.

This morning, I woke up and while I honestly didn’t feel like reading the Bible, I opened it anyway and read the first two chapters of Peter and afterward, it was like a light bulb went on in my spirit. I know where A Musing Mother is headed and I’m over-the-moon grateful.

img_2504As many of you know, I am passionate about nature, growing plants and food and children! I think God knows what He’s doing in these areas and we need only to follow His lead and we’ll be okay. Plants and vegetables don’t need man-made things or corporations to do well. What they need is for us to follow Nature’s way and to cultivate a space that is as close to nature as possible. I believe this concerning children and education as well. Schools are not needed for a solid, well-rounded education. Children simply need to be valued and respected and they need an environment that is as close to nature as possible, while encouraging their natural interests and talents.

That said, I have been praying so hard for guidance and I thought maybe it would be produce, but to be quite honest, growing food makes me anxious and it’s simply because while I have been a gardener for most of my adult life, I never really grew vegetables or fruit until last year. They did well, but I’m not confident in that. What I am confident in doing is growing herbs and flowers.

So, the super great news is: We are going to make herbs our focus here in the gardens of The Old Bromley House! This may not seem like amazing news to you and that’s okay. For me, though, it’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I’m super eager to get started.

Where we go from here, I have no idea and I’m not going to waste time worrying about it. I’m going to focus on this next step and I’m going to do the best of my ability to provide beautiful, healthy, and vigorous herbs for others.

Here’s the coolest part of the plan and the part I’m MOST excited about: 25% of all profits will go to charity.

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Ya’ll didn’t think I’d leave that out did you? C’mon! Like my husband always says, “My wife would give away all we have if I didn’t rein her back!” Ha! So, this is a great happy medium for us. I get to give, which is central to my heart and we also get to bring in some income AND we’ll have the currency to continue the work, which is vital.

More to come soon, as I share with you the progress, any challenges that arise, and finally: the day we’re able to open up for sales, deliveries, and shipments.

Please keep us in your prayers and ask that God bless this work so that we may bless others.

Xx

Resa

Ps…don’t worry, you’ll still see other content here as well. A Musing Mother will still be musing about life, love, and learning…always. xx

Have a listen to this song

Menopause – the age of empowerment?

It’s so strange, being a woman. We are celebrated for our youth, for our appearance – especially when slathered with too much makeup, for our children, our homes, and our ability to fill stomachs with edibles, and yet actually being a woman is mentioned in whispers.

Periods are kept quiet.

Menopause is kept quieter.

Even in today’s so-called modern society and the women’s lib and the feminism, women are still maintaining the status quo – doing what’s expected of them – trying to be like men, even to a point that we completely undermine ourselves and our Womanhood.

right human fist with ring

We use the word pussy to describe a weak person. How on earth did this ever happen? I don’t know about you, but a pussy is the strongest and most flexible thing I’ve ever come across. Now, a pair of testicles – the very thing strong people are supposed to have – they shrink away from a challenge every single time.

I’m not man-bashing, I’m just saying.

Why must we use this part of the female anatomy to put someone else down? When without it, we would all cease to exist?

It truly baffles me.

78067794-30d4-4ed3-976a-143ce46914d2I’m going through menopause and it is like wading into dark waters, because no one ever talks about it. I have no idea what to expect. I had no idea that it actually starts in the mid-thirties with peri-menopause. I had no idea I’d be drying off my legs after a shower and see that suddenly my thighs look different or that I’d have wrinkles on my knees. I had no idea I’d get grey hairs – down there. I had no idea it caused dry skin. I had no idea that it might include insomnia.

Yet here I am, at six o’clock in the morning, having been awake since three o’clock, writing all of this to you so that maybe you won’t feel so blind-sided as I have been with all this.

The worst part isn’t even the aging stuff. I’m okay with most of it, although my aging thighs do make me cringe. The worst part is waking up at three o’clock in the morning with past decisions on my mind. I wake up remembering something stupid I did in my twenties and it just snowballs into what a horrible person I am and ultimately the message I receive is this: YOU ARE NOT WORTHY.

We all battle with this. I know this because I see it all over the internet. Women everywhere feel like they’re not enough. Like me, you shrink away from your life. You bite your tongue and then you finish your argument in the shower each morning for the next ten years. You get cosmetic work done to keep a man, or get a man, or to “feel better” about yourself. You wax every bit of hair, except what’s on your head. You’re crying in the bathroom and concealing it with fake smiles and concealer. You’re drinking and binging away your feelings. Or you’re living up to expectations, real or imagined, and not letting your true voice be heard.

All of this says: I’m not enough. I am not worthy. I’m sorry for who I am.

black and white black and white depressed depression

I’ve done many of these things and more, and this morning, as I lay awake in bed, with my lifetime of bad decisions rolling through my head, I realized I’ve had enough. I said, Look. You’re going through menopause. Menopause. You’re practically invisible in today’s world, with its youth obsession, so if you cannot live your life now, you’re never going to and it’s no one’s fault but your own.

I do not want to get to my grave and regret never living my life.

Maybe for many of us, menopause is the wake up call to life, rather than an alert to the end of it. We’re not on the wrong side of any age. We’re on the right side of a revolution that says, I am woman and I’m not fucking sorry about it. I’m not talking about feminism and changing the world and hating The Man. I’m talking about a personal revolution that  empowers us to live our lives, on our terms, without apology.

Dammit.

Xx

Apple Cinnamon Bread

I’ve always enjoyed baking breads and cooking up yummy things in my kitchen, but the quarantine has provided the perfect opportunity to hone my skills.

There is just something about delicious bread that I can’t get enough of and this apple cinnamon bread is no exception. Because I’m one who usually skips the story to get to the recipe, I’ll not spend time explaining why my family devours this loaf in a day and go ahead and let you judge for yourself.

Note: You’ll want to save this one.

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

4 medium apples, peeled, cored, diced

2 TBSP butter

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

4 tsp softened butter

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

For glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp milk

1. Cook apples and cinnamon with 2 tbsp butter in skillet until tender. Set aside.

2. In small bowl, sift together all dry ingredients.

3. In large bowl, mix eggs, milk, vanilla, milk and mix until blended.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.

5. Add 1/2 of the batter to loaf pan. Add 1/2 of the apple mixture. Add remaining batter. Add remaining apple mixture. Press into batter slightly.

6. Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack about 10 minutes.

7. In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk until well blended. Drizzle over loaf and allow to set about 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Xx

Dear Covid-19

Dear Covid-19,

While it would be easy to complain about things you’ve taken away from our day-to-day lives, I want to take the time to say thank you.

img_1146Thank you for giving me time to do a little painting of my house. It may very well look like a high school art project, but it’s mine. I’ve wanted to do it since we moved here and never made time. Thank you for providing the time for that.

Thank you for giving me time to bake bread. I have fed sourdough starters in the past and only ever made pancakes from the discard. You provided the quiet time to actually bake some bread and to my surprise, it was delicious.

Thank you for reminding me what’s most important to me: family. That’s the one thing I miss in all of this and I have set a goal to have big family dinners when this is all finished. In the meantime, I’m using this restful time to explore and create new recipes worth sharing and handing down to my children. It’s been fun.

img_1800-1Thank you for giving me time to quilt and meditate. It’s been time well spent and I’ve enjoyed every single second.

Thank you for the opportunity to take online classes to better hone my writing skills. I’m learning new things, connecting with other writers, and even more important: getting over the fear and insecurity of sharing my writing. It’s been HUGE.

Thank you for the time freedom to write. The words seem to pour out these days and for that I’m grateful.

2a71bc17-65ee-4f15-8804-7be2600ed029Thank you for giving me the opportunity to find my personal style again. It feels good to ditch the Insta-fashion and embrace my own quirky style.

Covid-19, you’ve shaken things up, but I’m glad God has allowed you in the world. I know there are many losses and I mourn for people who have lost loved ones and I mourn with family and friends who have lost loved ones. It’s traumatic and painful and life-changing, but I am set on finding the good in all of this, because there is always good in it, if only we look.

So thank you, Covid-19, for shedding a light on what is very good in this life and for pointing out what is most important, and reminding me that I need very little to live a full and happy life.

You can go away now.

xoxo

Resa

God Keeps Promises

I went on a bit of a sabbatical – a personal break from social media. I was feeling slightly overwhelmed with all the noise and in the past, when this occurred, I felt the need to fly away completely, which led to my deleting accounts and ultimately shutting off the service to my phone completely. This time, I decided to lean into the need for rest and inner quiet. Instead of running away from it all, I decided to do like most normal people do and simply log out and just take a little break.

It all started when I felt nudged by God to fast. You see, my husband and I have a lot going on and a lot coming into our lives right now – good things, but still. I felt like I couldn’t hear God through it all and while I continue I pray for guidance and I continue to hold to the idea that I will follow Him wherever He wants me to go, I felt like I couldn’t hear Him at all. All I kept feeling was the need to fast & pray.

So one day, I decided I’d fast and I don’t know about you, but food was my first thought. Okay, God, I’ll fast. So that day I didn’t eat and I prayed and I meditated and all the while I swear, I could feel the Holy Spirit saying, “No, girl. You missed the mark. This is not what you need.” I ended the day feeling like I had failed.

The next morning, the urge hit again and it dawned on me that I needed to fast from the thing that takes up more time in my day – social media. It’s the thing I turn to when I’m resting, when I want connection, when I want to share something from my day. I tried to keep it positive and even began sharing part of my daily gratitude practice there and started a Bible Chat group & all of that felt great, but the fact was, I spent too much time there & God was trying to speak to me and I was too busy with all the other connections that I couldn’t hear a thing he was trying to tell me: Cleave to me.

It wasn’t easy. For some reason, I feel obligated to post on social media. I have some strange sense that I’ll hurt feelings if I’m not interacting with others online each day. I don’t know exactly where this comes from, but it’s how I feel. With the Covid-19 stuff happening, I feel like the need for online connection increase for myself and others as well. Yet I felt like God wanted my attention. He didn’t want to share it with my social media pals. So, I let some of my folks know what I was doing and let them know I’d be back, and then I turned off push notifications, logged out, and deleted my apps.

I only took a four day break, but I think the difference in this break and a normal break from social media was my focus. I truly wanted to focus more on God and trying to live in a state of meditation and prayer. The interesting thing about it was during those four days, I heard and to be quite honest felt nothing. As I made bread and worked in my garden, and read my Bible, and listened to worship music, and did all the things, I felt more alone than I have in a very long time. Confused, I prayed even harder. I thought about Jesus in the wilderness for forty days and how after that – all that time and suffering, Satan tempted him. What a total jerk Satan is. I also thought about Job and how as he was suffering, He constantly talked to God, but felt like he had been forsaken by the Lord.

Yet he continued to pray and he continued to hold to his faith.

While I thought of these two situations in the Bible, I also criticized myself for comparing my loneliness and what felt to be distance from God with true, actual suffering of Jesus and Job. I know that what I experienced was not even in the realm of all that, but loneliness has a way of seeping into our lives, doesn’t it? It’s a very real human condition and it’s a powerful one. During my four days, I kept having terrible thoughts: God hasn’t really been talking to you. You’re not special. You’re just delusional. This is just another of your stupid obsessions and nothing more. Give yourself another month and you’ll move on to the next obsession.

If that doesn’t sound like Satan talk, I don’t know what does. Many times during my four days, I said to my negativity, “Get away from me, Satan. You have no power here. He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.” It sounds cheesy, I know. I honestly don’t even know if I believe in Satan as a red dude with a pitchfork and fire and brimstone, but I do know the very real power of our thoughts. By saying that, I held those thoughts captive and I gave power back to God. I think that was the point.

Well, today, I ended my fast from social media and I read Proverbs 17 and it is all about how God tests hearts. I also looked back on the other verses I was given to read during that time, many from Romans that discuss tribulations and how our tribulations teach us patience and hope.

Romans Chapter 5: 3-8

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worth patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. God commander his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, christ died fro us.

Is that not beautiful? It dawned on me that God was testing me and while I had times when I felt alone and cried out to God, “What am I doing wrong?! Why are you not here with me?!” God was there and in His way, he was testing my heart to see if I’d stick with Him. I’m happy that I did stick with him.

And afterward, He shined a light on all that He was trying to tell me during those four days. From here, I have decided that once a week, I’m going to have a social media free day to really focus on Him, because my spirit needs it. Also, it was nice to get quiet and spend those days in constant active prayer and meditation.

God is good.

God keeps his promises.

God is always with us.

Xx

Safe & Happy at Home

I’ve not felt inspired to share here lately. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the idea of having more time with my family at home during this quarantine. Maybe it’s my focus in the garden. Maybe it’s my focus on reading. I’m still here. I’m still homeschooling my daughter every day. I’m still creating. I’m still writing, except I’m writing for clients and working on my book.

A pair of chickadees moved in the day after we hung this house.

While I’m praying hard for the people I know who are sick and in critic condition, I’m trying to see the goodness in all of this, because there is always goodness. I’m enjoying the quiet time. I’ve found myself thanking God for the quarantine, because through it, I’m learning about connection. I’m learning how to turn off the noise and focus on what matters. I’m learning to let go of the need to go all the time and I’m learning to live with less.

We taught her to play four square.
We discovered a baby bunny while I was cleaning out the front bed.

We’re cooking at home a lot and it’s nice, really. My husband grills and I make sides. Today, we had homemade red skin potato salad with pork chops. I am baking more than usual. This week: bread (half of which we shared with the neighbors), oatmeal cookies, and brownies. Oh my! Thank God I’m still keeping up with my workouts on Beachbody On Demand, or I might come out of this a bit heavier. Ha!

Largest loaf of bread ever, but it was amazing!
My helper. She loves kneading dough.

I miss my sons and my grand babies. I miss my friends and I know my daughter misses her homeschool friends and our daily outings. We’ll be happy to get back to them, but in the meantime, I want to soak up all of the goodness of being home. There is a lot from this that I want to carry forward into my every day life:

Wheelbarrow rides, tea on the patio at sunset, eating together, eating out less, no alcohol (day 45 alcohol free!), connecting with the neighbors, phone calls, checking in on my sons more, spending less, not going to Target and Starbucks every week, and so much more. I feel peaceful in my spirit and it feels nice.

 

Xx