Tuesday, October 31, 2017

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Halloween and Reformation

Here we are! October 31st! The last day of October! Today marks the the final day of Crystal Stine's Write 31 Days writing challenge, and this will be the final post in my 31 Days of the Joys of Autumn series

It is also Halloween. 

And it is also Reformation Day. In fact, today marks the
500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. It was
on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther nailed the 95
Thesis to the door of the church at Wittenberg, sparking the Reformation and forever changing the course of church history.

I grew up celebrating Halloween. My dad wasn't real keen on it and his mother, my grandmother, Maudie, was totally against it, but, my mother always interceded on my behalf and made sure that I didn't miss out on the fun of dressing up, attending Halloween parties, and going trick-or-treating with my friends. Halloween was one of my favorite holidays.

As a teenager, I would come up with elaborate costumes, attend more sophisticated Halloween parties, and tour haunted houses with friends.

When I was 18, being on the rebound from someone else, I met and married a satanic priest. I didn't know that he was a satanic priest when I married him, but I did find out shortly afterwards, and that's when the dark side of the spirit world became very real and very scary. That marriage didn't last long, but, with a little more caution than before (and being a lot more aware of the dark side of things than I was before), I still continued to choose to participate in and celebrate Halloween.

In fact, as a family, we celebrated Halloween whole-heartedly until 1988. That was the last year that we embraced and celebrated Halloween. By that point the Lord was really dealing with us about it and when, after the biggest and most elaborate Halloween party that we had ever had, when our children said, "Do we HAVE to do this???" That's when my husband and I knew that it was time to stop. We said, "No, we don't have to do this!" And we didn't from that time forward.

After that we went through a series of other things though. The truth is, we didn't know how to deal with October 31st at all. For the first two or three years out we focused on having a backyard autumn festival of sorts for the children with fun activities that didn't revolve around anything even remotely connected to Halloween. 

Later on, when my husband and I became active in our church, we decided to turn the front porch light on and use Halloween as an opportunity for ministry. We handed out gospel tracts, along with the candy that we gave to trick-or-treaters. We enjoyed doing this very much!

Then, we learned about the Protestant Reformation...which was a wonderful thing! Up to that point only the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was allowed to read and study the Holy Scriptures. Then they would interpret and relate it to the people however they chose (or chose not) to. The Protestant Reformation resulted in the Bible being translated into many languages and being put into the hands of the common people to read and study for themselves. What a wonderful, wonderful privilege it is to have the Bible...God's Holy Word...written in our own language...being able to hold it in our own hands...free to read and study it for ourselves. Can you imagine living in a time when that was not allowed? If caught doing so, the penalty was often death.

So...okay...we learned about the Reformation and off went the porch light again. Instead of spreading light on the darkest night of the year, we chose, instead, to turn in to ourselves and study the great reformers...which in and of itself is not a bad thing at all...but there was no balance. We would spend weeks learning about a specific reformer and, then, on October 31st, we would gather together with others to celebrate Reformation Day...which, again...is NOT a bad thing AT ALL! In fact, more Christians should take the time to study and learn about church history (it's soooo important!)...BUT...just because we were learning about the Reformation didn't mean that we had to ignore the opportunity to be a light in the darkness.

So...now...here we are...October 31, 2017. I can, in no way,  embrace or celebrate Halloween. I know way too much about it to do so in good conscience. BUT I can't ignore it, either. It's out there. And I'd be lying if I told you that it no longer had a pull on me, because it does. I have way too much Celtic (and most likely Druid) blood in me for it not to. But it's a great time to continue moving forward in overcoming the flesh and it's a great time to minister to and share with others, which is exactly how we plan to spend our evening.

And, despite the fact that we've gone from ditch-to-ditch (and every where in between) in trying to find the Lord's will in all of this, this time of year continues to be a personal challenge and one of the many joys of autumn for me, individually, and for us, as a family.

Until next time...

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5).

Recent posts that you might enjoy:

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Bonfires

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Native American Cuisine

Monday, October 30, 2017

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Bonfires


I know that bonfires have been mentioned in previous posts in this series, but tonight seemed to be the perfect night to focus on them.

I've looked forward to getting a fire-pit built and having a fire here at the new house since we moved in just over a year ago, but, thus far, it hadn't happened, and, as late as it was getting in the season, I had about given up on the idea again for this year.

Well, after returning home from a particularly long day today, my husband surprised me with the fact that he had gotten the fire-pit built while I was away, and that a cousin would probably be dropping off some firewood in a bit. I was finally going to get my long-awaited bonfire in my own backyard! I was tired, yes, but I was so excited! 

One of my cousin's and his sons did, indeed, deliver some firewood and, after supper, my husband went out and got everything set up. On the way out the door I grabbed the bag that I stash my dryer lint in and within just a few minutes we had a fire blazing in the backyard. 🔥

A couple of our neighbors ended up coming over and joining us around the fire-pit, as did our son and his family when they stopped in on their way home from visiting elsewhere.

Sitting around a warm fire on a chilly evening is definitely one of the joys of autumn and I'm so thankful that my husband surprised me with one tonight! 🔥

Until next time...

Recent posts that you might enjoy:

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Native American Cuisine

Happy Homemaker Monday - October 30, 2017

Good Monday Morning, Sweet Ladies! 

How is everyone? I trust that you had a great week last week and are fired up and ready to face whatever challenges come your way this week head on! 

Despite the fact that I've been battling a head cold and chest congestion the entire time, this past week has been a good one. I ended up not going out of town on Wednesday as planned, so that resulted in me having TWO days off in a row with nothing in particular planned...which was wonderful! It's been a long time since anything like that has happened! I spent those days doing stuff with family and working around the house and I enjoyed it very much! I look forward to more of the same as we move into November. 🦃

The weather...

Temperatures have been near or below freezing the past couple nights, but the temperature right now is 49 degrees. The week ahead doesn't look bad at all with daytime temps most days in the 60's and 70's and nighttime temps in the mid-50's.

Frost Flower

Speaking of weather (and weather phenomena) be sure and check out my post on frost flowers. They've been out in droves the past couple of mornings and they are so beautiful! 💗

Right now I am...

Enjoying a pumpkin spice English muffin, a Triple Zero Vanilla Yogurt, and a steaming cup of hot tea. I've got a lovely Farm Apple Pumpkin candle flickering nearby and am listening to the washing machine hum as it spins out the first load of laundry for the day. 

On my reading pile... 

How You Can Be Led by the Spirit of God
by Kenneth E. Hagin
A Woman After God's Own Heart
by Elizabeth George

I've read this book many times over the years, but it's been several years since reading it last, so I decided to revisit it now...and it's wonderful! It's like visiting an old and very dear friend! This truly is my all-time favorite book ever!

On the menu this week....

- Monday - leftovers from the weekend
- Tuesday - Chicken Parmy, sauteed zucchini, and green fries
- Wednesday - Cabb and Saus Skillet
- Thursday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas
- Friday - 
Crispy Salmon Siesta, sauteed zucchini
- Saturday - Vegetable beef soup
- Sunday - leftovers

On my to do list....

- Monday - Weekly "home blessing", laundry, take a friend grocery shopping in Carthage
- Tuesday - T
racts and treats to trick-or-treaters, write final 31 Day post
- Wednesday - Go over planner, make lists, figure November bills and budget, fall cleaning 
(deep clean bedroom, bathroom, and hallway)
- Thursday - Fall cleaning (deep clean livingroom, wash curtains)
- Friday - Pay bills, work, make bison chili for National Bison Day event
- Saturday - Work (National Bison Day celebration and event)
- Sunday - Church

In the craft basket...

Nothing at the moment, but am in search of wild turkey craft ideas to use with upcoming preschool and homeschool programs at work. If anyone has any feel free to comment.

Looking forward to this week...

Starting fall cleaning before the holidays and MAYBE going camping with my husband over the weekend if time and weather permit.

From the camera...

This is my favorite bison at Prairie State Park. It is a bull named Joseph (short for Chief Joseph...a.k.a. #28). There is a long and on-going story behind my love for this powerful, majestic, and extremely beautiful animal and, someday, I will share it here. In the meantime, a picture of my boy will have to suffice. This photo of Joseph was taken last week when the bison had their annual vet checks. As you can see, Chief Joseph wasn't too happy when he came out of the squeeze shoot, but praise God, when it was all over, he was still free to roam his beautiful tall-grass prairie home!

Scripture Passage...

"Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God" (Psalm 84:5-7).

Well, Ladies, that's it for this week. I pray that each and every one of you have a wonderful week ahead and that the Lord's blessings in your life are many. 

Until next time...

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and all the sweet ladies of Happy Homemaking Monday!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Native American Cuisine

Last week my cousin joined us for supper and, after promising him for almost a year to do it, I finally got around to fixing the long-awaited Native American supper that he's looked forward to for so long. It was worth the wait. He loved it! 

I've shared these recipes before, but they are definitely worth repeating as they are, indeed, one of the many joys of autumn! And, please, note that these pictures aren't that great, but this food is absolutely delicious!!!
Ojibwa Baked Pumpkin and Indian Fry Bread


1 small pumpkin
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter
Place whole pumpkin in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cut hole in top and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Set seeds aside for later eating. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour into pumpkin; bake for 35 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Corn Chowder


1 medium onion, chopped
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 cup diced potatoes, cooked until tender
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

In a large saucepan brown onions, cooking over low heat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for a few minutes.


3 cups flour
palm of baking powder
palm of salt
enough milk to make dough

Mix. Tear off small amounts of dough and flatten. Deep fry in hot oil until both sides are golden brown. Serve plain or with butter as part of the meal or rolled in powdered sugar as a dessert. 

Until next time...

Recent posts that you might enjoy:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Frost Flowers

Frost Flower 
I'm known, locally, as "the frost flower queen." 😄 The fascination with frost flowers started when we moved to southwest Missouri over 20 years ago. As far as I can remember I had never heard of them before that. I was first introduced to them by the, then, naturalist at Prairie State Park. Her name was Cyndi. 

Frost Flower 

After learning about frost flowers it became an annual tradition for our family to head out to Prairie State Park early in the morning on the first frosty day of the season to view frost flowers in all their beauty.

Frost Flower 

Over the years, what started out as a fascination, has now grown into a downright obsession. I can barely wait for those first, frosty days of autumn to come, so as to make the frost flowers appear.

Frost Flower 

What is a "frost flower," you may ask? Well...it's neither frost, nor flower. How about that???

Frost Flower 

Only a few plants in Missouri form what is known as a "frost flower." The predominate plant in our area that does this is called the White Crownbeard.

White Crownbeard
Photo Credit
What happens is, when the ground is still warm enough to pump sap up through the plant's stem, but the outside air temperature drops below freezing, the sap in the plant's stem freezes, splitting the stem, and shooting the frozen sap out into delicate ribbons of ice, forming the fragile sculptures that we call "frost flowers." 

Frost Flower 

Like I said, my fascination with frost flowers has grown into an obsession, and I've anxiously been awaiting that first good cold snap...one that would allow me the chance of viewing the first beautiful frost flower of the season. Well...today was that day!

Frost Flower 

I wasn't sure that temperatures would be cold enough and, in most areas they weren't, but, it just so happens that there was an area of Prairie that had recently been brush-hogged and, laying open without any protection, the stem of every White Crownbeard plant that had been in that area of ground was producing a frost flower. There was a virtual sea of them! It was amazing!

Frost Flower 

I got to share this experience with a friend from work. It was her first time ever of seeing a frost flower. What an amazing thing it was to behold!

Frost Flower 

And the season is just beginning! There will be plenty more opportunities to get out into nature and experience this absolute beauty and wonder of God's handiwork. 

Frost Flower 

For me...frost flowers are definitely one of the joys of autumn, and it ranks about as high as it can get on the list! 

Until next time...

To find out how you and your family can learn more about frost flowers click HERE.

Recent posts that you might enjoy:

Friday, October 27, 2017

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Chili

Rebecca's Chili

I had salmon on the menu this evening, but when I got home from work, with the colder temperatures pushing through and all, my husband and I both decided that we'd rather have chili. My recipe is simple and it doesn't take long to put together. I thought I'd share the recipe here.

Rebecca's Chili

- 1 pound of ground meat (you can use 2 pounds if you like it meatier; we prefer ground turkey, but you can use beef, pork, bison, or venison...any ground meat will work)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 4 cans mild chili beans
- 2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
- 6 6-oz. cans water (or more if you like it saucier)
- 1 tablespoon sugar 
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- chili powder to taste (we like a LOT)

In a dutch oven cook ground meat, crumble and drain if necessary (I cook the turkey in water to retain juices); add onions and cook a bit longer. Add tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, water, sugar, garlic powder, and chili powder. Cook until hot and bubbly (the longer it simmers the better). 

This dish can be served in a bowl as is, over a baked potato, or over a hot dog on a bun (a.k.a. a chili dog). It can be served with crackers or cornbread, with or without cheese, and with or without extra extra onion. My husband likes to put ketchup in his.

Chili is one of our all-time favorite cold-weather foods. It is definitely one of the joys of autumn in our home! 

Until next time...

Recent posts that you might enjoy:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

31 Days of the Joys of Autumn - Preparing For Winter

Fresh Basil
With promised temperatures falling below freezing tomorrow night, we've moved the big pot of fresh basil in to the back porch/greenhouse, and the houseplants back to their place on the shelf next to the sunny, south-facing, livingroom window. I have two trays of fresh basil drying in the oven and my husband is out tiding up the yard and weatherizing the house before the cold front arrives. 

This week we've checked the percentage of gas in the propane tank and cleaned the heating stove. Summer clothes have been packed away and the winter garments are clean and ready to be worn whenever needed. We've stocked up on canned chili beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste, as well as a few other staple food stuffs. The only thing left to do in that department is to plan a trip to the Amish store to stock up on bulk goods and winter spices.
Chili Beans and Diced Tomatoes
Since our electricity is notorious for going out in winter storms we've laid in a fresh supply of lamp oil, candles, matches, flashlight batteries, and Sterno for the Sterno stove. In addition to the gas heating stove and four solar-powered lights, these items will provide additional heat, light, and a source of hot food (and water for hot tea!) in the event of a power outage.
Winter Supplies of Heat and Light
All this might seem a bit early or extreme to some, but I've always found that, in the event of an emergency, it is wiser to have a few supplies on hand than none at all.

I don't know that preparing for winter can really be classified as "one of the joys of autumn", but I do know that in the event of an ice storm, power outage, or some other winter weather-related emergency, it sure makes you a whole lot better off than if you hadn't prepared at all. I suppose the joy then would come in the middle of the emergency because of the preparations you had made in autumn, so, yes...it counts. 😄

How do you and your family prepare for winter where you live?

Until next time...

"She is not afraid of the snow for her household; For all her household is clothed with scarlet" (Proverbs 31:21)

Recent posts that you might enjoy: