Give Old Candles a New Beginning

All during the year, we burn lovely scented candles from several sources, and as each one grows too small to be safe, I dig out and save the last bit, in a zipper bag. For ages I did not know what to do with these candle bottoms, carefully removed from lovely jars and votive cups. They still smelled great and it seemed such a waste just to pitch them, although sometimes, I did.

Then I met a woman who knew what to do and my life changed. (And my candle hoard changed.) I began saving candle bottoms with a vengeance, even offering to clean up the jars and cups of friends, if I could have the remains.

Yes, I had more!

What do I do with them? I make one big candle and burn it to start off the year! Here is this year’s “starter” candle, made from last year’s candle bottoms, and sorry I’ve almost burned it all gone before this topic arose! Believe me, it almost overflowed with contents a few days ago:

Beginning again

Beginning again

So how do my friend and I do this? Simple!

  1. Anchor a dripless dinner candle in the bottom of a large candle jar, such as you see here. I do this by dropping a bit of melted wax into the center of the jar and pushing the candle down onto the melted drops. I hold it there until the melted drops set and will hold without me.
  2. Then I carefully set chunks, slices, shavings, and crumbles of old candle bottoms into the space between the center candle and the jar walls. I also use leftovers from tart warmers.
  3. Light the dinner candle and let it melt down, some, to hold the wax pieces in place when you move it around, and then let it cool. After that, you can let it burn as long as you like. It all will melt together and become one lovely, undefinable fragrance.

That’s all there is to it. It smells so lovely, reminiscent of all the fragrances I’ve loved in the past year. Mine are mostly outdoorsy scents such as pine, bayberry, or lavender. My friend calls hers “tuty fruity”.

But anyone can romance the last of last year by giving old candles a new beginning this way.

Have fun!

Mary and Martha and humble pie

Mary and Martha and Me

When I Was a Turkey

Several years ago our family tried a Thanksgiving experiment.

Instead of buying our Thanksgiving dinner, we only priced it and sent the amount to a mission.

We then asked God to give us a meal from His own hand that we could see was especially from Him. In our minds, it had to be cost-free, although this wasn’t a demand—we simply decided to see what He would do about our commitment. We were willing to take whatever He gave….

I know, I know, God gives us the strength, intellect, and grace to be able to earn the money, drive to the store, and so forth.

But we learned something from letting go of it like this: He can also sovereignly give us the actual food itself, just because we are waiting upon Him. This caused us to be thankful toward God as Jehovah Jireh (our provider), rather than wondering what in the world He has to do with our celebration.

The experiment became a kind of tradition for a few years. Each year was different; it was not always turkey and stuffing. We had chicken, duck, venison, and my favorite, the smoked turkey that appeared one day while we were gone.

Meat was always the test for me because I did not consider the free things from our garden as “too hard” for God.

See what I mean?

I needed this.

Everything about cooking Thanksgiving dinner this way was a big adventure. We had to improvise, learning as we went. We felt, indeed we were, exactly like pioneers.

We pretended Good-Old-Days, but they were, in reality, very good days.

We certainly were excited about all sorts of food and I think we ate better. The meat often was not processed. We had honey instead of sugar. And we were so thankful. We couldn’t help it—it just flowed from all that was happening.

Another unexpected result came of the experiment.

We questioned the entire “Thanksgiving Tradition”.

  • Sweet potatoes did not have to be candied, did they?
  • Whipped topping didn’t have to be fatty.
  • Crab applesauce was as good as cranberry.
  • The chestnuts off of our tree were excellent in stuffing.
  • Squash pie tasted just like pumpkin.

We learned to take our local blessings, instead of exotic imported foods, and spread them out into a feast that gave glory to the God Who provides for His own.

And more blessings! 

In our excitement, we also forgot to be harried. I, at least, emerged on the other side of the wall that separates us from gently rejoicing in God. He seemed so near. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Most of the United States was celebrating a day that, when it was established, in purpose and practice, was truly Christian. Thanksgiving has no questionable past. It has traditionally had no worldly festivities attached to it. It is simply a day set aside for our Christian nation, by its Christian leaders, to give thanks to God for all His blessings.

go-your-way-eat-the-fat-and-drink-the-sweet-and-send-portions-unto-them-for-whom-nothing-is-prepared-for-this-day-is-holy-unto-our-lord-nehemiah-8-10-1Into that quiet beauty, I had often inserted the bustle of a worldly attitude.

Suddenly, His delightful indulgence was leading me away from my prideful ideas about meal preparation. How humbling it was to be learning at His feet, and yet, how glorious.

It doesn’t matter if you use the recipes you will find, on this site, for “your dinner”, or even if you go to someone else’s house for it. It doesn’t matter if you buy or raise the ingredients. But do learn to spend time before God. And truly thank Him. Every day.

______________________________

Katharine is a retired home educating mom who writes about all things “woman”, from a Godly viewpoint, here on this site, and at The Conquering Mom.  Her writing appeared in several magazines for 15 years, and she is currently working on several books. She loves to write, speak, teach, cook, garden, spoil her hennies, and watch old movies with popcorn.

Chocolate

Brush Your Teeth With Chocolate!

Okay, I know this is not dentist-approved, but let’s think about it a while. Has anyone out there ever tested it?

Thought not.

Well, I have. If I’ve just eaten, or if my mouth is less than satisfactory to me in any way, I love using chocolate for an emergency remedy. My teeth will feel cleaner, my breath will be far better than garlic, and I won’t get such a slump after eating.

Also, it is more pure, FAR less doctored with chemicals than most chewing gum.

Now, I don’t mean all the cruddy little desserts that claim to have a bit of chocolate in them. Most confections are pure sugar, another thing altogether from pure chocolate! I’ve been brought up in the United States, where it is possible actually to grow weary of sugar.

Chocolate is not sweet. You can find chocolate that has very few grams of sugar in it, like those pictured above. Mostly it is out of kid reach in the stores — it is adult chocolate, after all. To apply it, just break off or open one square, usually about 10 grams.  Chew it. Enjoy it to its fullest.

Most serious chocolate has lecithin and cocoa butter, which make the teeth slick. Germs do not cling for quite a while. Also, chocolate, itself, contains the following wonderful benefits: caffeine (which helps you be lively), theobromine (which lowers blood pressure, lessens edema, lowers rate of birth defects, and is patented for research in cancer prevention), and quite a few antioxidants. The germs don’t stand a chance.

The trick is in stopping at just one piece.

It’s worth a try, I say.

But use regular toothpaste, etc., just before bed, if at all possible.

Wrapped in Nothing But a Bedsheet?

Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery, o/t, ...The powers-that-be have just dragged her from the bed of a man to whom she is not married.

Perhaps all she is wearing is a bedsheet.

Perhaps he is one of the powers-that-be.

Nevertheless, there she stands, exposed, before her authorities. They do not care about her. They do not care about right or wrong. The have stalked her, captured her, and reduced her to the status of rubbish for one purpose: to trick a popular counselor of that day.

“The law demands this woman be stoned to death,” they announce. Then they wait. They are so sure. They have Him this time. The Man of Mercies will have to admit that mercy does not always win.

Or so they think.

He is unperturbed.

He stoops and writes in the dust. A list of their sins? Perhaps.

Do they look around themselves, worriedly, confused? Perhaps.

Meanwhile, the life of a woman hangs over eternity. Perhaps, thrown down to the ground, does she cower? Perhaps.

In a culture that forbids her uncovered state, in a land filled with huge stones, she waits, uncovered, for her stoning.

Finally the Man stands to speak. “And whoever is without sin should throw the first stone.” Then he resumes writing.

Beginning with the eldest–perhaps wisest–each man drops his gleeful attitude, drops his stone, drops his case.

Point taken.

The kind Counselor turns to ask the woman, “Where are they? Who is accusing you?”

The answer, from inside a bedsheet: “No one.”

“Neither do I condemn you.”

Notice He does not say she did not sin, but only that He does not condemn her.

She stands obviously guilty and shamed, but for her, there is now no condemnation.

Stoning is not prevalent in our society, but prostitution is. I want to ask you: How many of us have been there–a blackened past forgiven by the mercies of God?

How many of us throw away that forgiveness?

How many of us hug our sad past close and get it out to look at it and mourn over it, to relive it to its fullest?

How many of us labor with all our might to get out from under sin that no longer is over us?

How many of us, on stormy days, add to the bad past by letting it create for us bad choices, bad attitudes, bad excuses?

A bad present? Even a bad future?

Jesus asked only one thing from that woman, that day, and asks it of us, too: “Go, and sin no more.”

________________

Image via Wikipedia

September 28th

Poison ivy produces urushiol to protect the pl...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I repost this, now and then. Today’s the day….

Today would have been my mom’s birthday. She would have been 84.

Life was hard when my mom was a kid. People had very little in the way of excess. She told us of having only three outfits: one for church, one for school, and one for choring. When a mom went to the trouble and expense of making a dress for a daughter, she would be sure to make it larger and take up that slack by making the seams deeper or thicker. Then as the owner of the dress grew, the seams could be let out. Same goes for deep hems.

My mom never was allergic to poison ivy. I’ve inherited this tendency from her, although I do get a bump or two if I am in it a long time. It is wonderful, though, to do all the weeding, including pulling up poison ivy, and not worry. My mom used to stand in poison ivy that was waist-high and pick wild grapes for jelly.

Because my mom could tolerate exposure to poison ivy, she was the gate person for their entire family. The gate had poison ivy growing on it and when the family left for an excursion, her job was to climb out of their vehicle and open the gate.

my mother

my mother

She also was the tornado warning person. If the skies looked threatening, it was her job to stand sentry and keep a lookout for tornadoes. Everyone was very sober and stern about this job of hers, so she diligently looked and looked for tornadoes during haying times. Only one trouble was that she did not know what a tornado was and imagined every sort of boogy except a cloud. Had a tornado come, she would not have known it.

She did encounter one, one day, though, and I am glad I had her on my side then.

Here’s to one good mom.

My Dad

My Dad, a Veteran of the Korean Conflict

My Dad, a Veteran of the Korean Conflict

He served in the Army, bought a house on the G.I. Bill, raised five kids, worked hard at Kuhlman’s Plastics to provide you with laundry baskets and us with something to eat, gave us airplane rides on his feet, built three rooms and a basement onto our house when we grew too large for what we had, taught me how to back a bent nail out of a 2×4, mowed our two-acre yard with a walk-behind mower, sang a beautiful bass in the church choir, planted a big garden every spring and kept it pretty-well weeded, and lived to see his children’s children.

More about my dad.

My dad’s eggshell collection.

What a Rush!

Author: Anonymous Date: 1893 Source: http://fa...

Young Einstein

3/14/14 – Reposting this to honor the man.

This is not about speed.

It’s about that rush I get when I teach.

Sometimes I say my bones are aching and it helps if I teach. Ever feel that way?

I think it’s maybe being part of the Creation process. When I see the lightbulb coming on in someone else’s understanding, it moves me, thrills me to the bone.

I love teaching, helping understanding to exist where it never did before. It’s not exactly creating, but like a potter with clay, I can mold someone’s mind to fit around new material, new cognizance, or even completely new thoughts that no one has ever realized before.

Research also thrills me. Discovering small things about big events or important people makes me want to teach some more. For instance: Did you know that as a child, Albert Einstein absolutely loved Euclid’s geometry and called it “that holy little algebra book” or that at age 5, he wondered what frozen light would look like? Who ever thinks of THE genius as a small child with wonderment inside his soul? Or that some adult fed him books over most children’s heads, just for the joy of watching that light come on?

See, I just taught you something and opened your thinking more. What a rush!

Sometimes I tutor. One young girl is learning so much about writing, she has developed an enjoyment for the writing process. Seeing the difference in her output this  year gives me such excitement. I think of the joy she will bring to her family as her skills increase and she cements them through practice.

I tutor a couple of legal immigrants in their new language, English, and we have fun exchanging culture, too. I explained our local phrase regarding appetites for all foods, as we say, “eat everything that is not nailed to the table.” They laughed enormously at that and now use the saying (in their own language, which is fine with me.) Then they confessed their tiredness of pizza and their longing for cultural dishes they cannot yet prepare.  I taught them to say, “I am tired of pizza, but it is better than nothing,” and as they remember their old country and having nothing to eat, they sober and regain resolve to find a way to afford gas for their stove.

And though it is a small spark, I love seeing that light.

The most exciting teaching I do is from the Bible. So much light there. So many people don’t get it, cannot see it. Or don’t want to.

But when I see that light come on, what a rush!