Monday, June 22, 2009

Poetry by Alea Hunsucker ~ Age 9

On a dark night
you help me see the light
in the depths of the sea
through sights of blue and green
through it all
Your grace helps me
and now I see
it wasn't all me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just For from the garden.

We are suddenly blessed with vegetables from the garden. I was planning on doing a bit of canning and freezing this year, but did not expect to still be limited to a camper sized refrigerator and freezer. So we are having to eat as we pick and give away the rest. Kasi is a huge fan of zucchini, but both girls claim to not like yellow squash...or red peppers. So I decided to shred everything together into a sauce. I told them that that way they will get all the yummy flavors mixed together instead of isolated. I shredded yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, onions, garlic, red pepper, and mushrooms (leaving a few mushrooms to be sliced ~ Kasi loves her mushrooms).

After sauteing with EVOO, I added a jar of organic spaghetti sauce. I simmered that for awhile, and just before serving added some fresh thyme, oregano, and sweet basil. Yummy!

Instead of being chunky, the sauce cooks up nice and thick! I'm getting hungry again just looking at the pictures.

Mix it in with some fabulously flavorful whole wheat pasta, and add a salad made of fresh cucumbers, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. It was a fresh and inexpensive and delicious!

Enjoy your garden!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Moving Right Along On Community

Well, it looks like things are moving right along. We finally got all our paperwork in order and submitted for our construction loan. It wasn't us holding it up. It appeared like everyone was dropping the ball along the way. The lender had our paperwork for a couple of weeks before he had an opportunity to even look it over. Then it has been a few more weeks to get it all together and get it submitted. But the appraisal has been ordered!

I had a moment of depression when he told us that because of the low interest rates, the system was swamped with people refinancing their houses. He told us that there was a six week wait on appraisals and that it was taking about 90 days to close on a loan. But I didn't cry. At least not in his office. I mean, in one more week it will have been seven months of living in this camper, hauling water. We have been patient, but we are ready to move along. We want to at least get to the point where we can dig a well.

He did assure us that he would do everything he could to speed things up for us. He is going to try to get us to close on the loan by the end of the month. Early last week the appraiser came out and took a picture of the home site. So it appears that things are really moving right along.

I have found that the more time we spend in this camper the less cramped it seems. It is still hard to find a place for things, but really, we are adjusting to it. We are learning to see things differently. I remember when I was a girl and we moved to Israel. Everything seemed so odd when I returned. Some of the things the other kids talked about just seemed so senseless. The way I viewed things was different. That is how I feel now. I feel like I have left the country and returned, and found that things are just so different here than I remembered.

I have found that our reasons for wanting to move along and get in a house are not the same as they were at the beginning of this journey. We no longer desire comfort as much as simplicity. Hauling water in and heating it up in a pot on the stove to wash my face no longer seems like a chore. It actually makes more sense than to run the faucet for minutes to warm up water and wet a washcloth. But not being able to store food or wash clothes or shower here adds quite a bit of complicated time management to our daily schedules. It keeps us rushed. And we are ready to remove all the rush from our lives. We want simplicity.

We have gotten so much done around here. I will have to post some more pictures. This place is changing all the time. We fenced a pasture for horses near where the house is going to be. We had to rush and get it completed in four days since the folks we were getting one mare from were going on vacation and wanted to bring her before they left. But we have two mares out there now, and they are the best of buds, eating grass to their hearts content. I am going to try to get my tack cleaned up this week and work with the eight year old to see if I'm ready to put the girls on her yet.

Our goats are content in a new pasture we have fenced for them. They have plenty of shade, and plenty of grass as well. We have only to put up an electric wire to keep them from scratching on the fence, and so we can put Sweet Pea, the pet pig, out there with them. Every day now we walk outside expecting to see some new baby goats, and looking to see if Meeka, one of our cats, has had her kittens.

The garden is doing incredible. We have had our fill of radishes. Suddenly, we have been getting yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. Pumpkins are growing EVERYWHERE. Tomatoes, peppers, and cantaloupe are beginning to take off. Green beans, eggplant, and watermelon are not far behind. Broccoli, carrots, celery, and corn are continuing to grow rapidly. I don't know about the cabbage though. I made a garlic spray for an organic pesticide. I may not have gotten rid of insects soon enough for them though.

I have an herb garden that is doing fantastic. I planted a rhubarb in it as well. For those of you that have grown rhubarb, I have a question. Mine has grown HUGE. The stalks are just breaking off of it, they become so heavy. But everything I have read says not to harvest stalks the first year. So, what do I do? Do I cut them off and discard them? Do I go ahead and harvest them? Or do I just let them break off? Help me here.

That's it. We always have something to do around here. There is always work to be done. But we are loving it more every day. We are loving the opportunities for working on things together. We are loving the opportunity to rely on God. We are truly blessed. And things are moving right along. Who knows what exciting news I will have to share next week.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

.....a Thought Weighing Heavily on My Mind

Something has been weighing heavily on my mind this week. I just have to share so it stops bumping around in this empty head of mine. If we want to show people Jesus, we have to make ourselves invisible.

That's it! It all goes back to the scripture about not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6). I cannot let that thought go. It is so easy to get caught up in the execution of doing some amazing things. It is even easier to get carried away and start immediately thinking about how we can move on from doing small amazing acts to doing something bigger and better...something spectacular! But what I have noticed is that the more spectacular something I am a part of is....the more people recognize me for what is being done instead of the Jesus I am trying to show them.

Sometimes we don't even recognize how this taints our thoughts and actions. Our motives are still pure, but if we really focus, we begin to recognize the difference in our speech patterns. Where we would use phrasing such as "Jesus is leading me to....God is blessing me with....Jesus is using me to.....", we are now using phrases like "I am doing__for Jesus". I start feeling good about what 'I' am doing. People are starting to recognize 'us' for the amazing things 'we' are doing for Christ. That is an easy trap into which to fall. We don't even notice that we have transitioned from the invisible stagehand to the leading role.

I have had several people, when they find out our living conditions and our goals, comment that we should be admired for what we are doing. I don't even know how to respond to such comments. They make me nervous. We are merely being obedient. Obedience is not to be admired, but expected. A soldier is expected to be obedient to his superior officer. A citizen is expected to be obedient to their government. More so, we are expected to be obedient to our God.

We don't want recognition. We don't want admiration. We want to fly under the radar. We want people not to see us, but see Christ through all we do. We want to be invisible.

So it should be for any good deeds we do for others. We do things to show love for others because Jesus told us to not only love our family and our neighbor, but our enemy as well.

In Matthew 5:16, Jesus tells us to "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.: The light of the Holy Spirit! Not us. Him.

So remember that this week. Let these words bounce around in your head as well. If we want to show others Jesus, we have to make ourselves invisible. Have a fabulous love filled week.

Romans 12:10 ~Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

John 13:35 ~By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another

Monday, June 8, 2009

Time and Training in The Desert

A few months into our stay on this land I was really starting to lose focus. Most of my focus was on suffering. It hasn't been bad, but it has been hard. And I was ready to move along. Move along to obtaining water....move along to getting a road....move along to having a house....move along to having a shower....and a washing machine...and a comfortable bed. I was tired of hauling five gallon buckets around to water animals, and gallon jugs to cook and wash dishes. I was tired of the mud. I was tired of packing a shower bag, and hauling it and laundry across town. It took too much time. I was tired of my back hurting, and wondered how it was ever going to get better while I was hauling buckets of water, and sleeping on that springy bed. I was whiny!

But most of all I was surprised. After all, doesn't God want us all to prosper? Doesn't He want only the best for his children? Surely we missed the mark, because there is no way He would have sent us out here to suffer. Right?

But I was led to read about the temptation of Jesus. Remember when Jesus was sent out to the desert to be tempted by Satan? Ever wonder why he was sent out to the desert with no food or water? No comfortable bed to sleep in? Or friends to help him in his battle? Just him and Satan. And Jesus, though a God, was also a man. He was a hungry, thirsty, tired, lonely man. And he was sent into the enemy's camp.

Where was his focus? Initially, it may have been on himself. It would be hard to start out such a journey and not be focused on hunger, thirst, or discomfort. Jesus looked around and there was no one there to cover his back in his battles against Satan. Or was there?

Jesus was not only sent out to be tempted by Satan and learn to rely on God. Jesus was sent out to the desert for a battle of the minds with Satan. Without the distractions of comfort, he had no difficulty hearing the voice of Satan. Satan's voice was constant...taunting him....trying to lure him away from fulfilling his purpose. See, it was through personal suffering and resisting the temptations to serve himself (food, power, glory) that Jesus learns to deny himself for our sake.

One of the first things that you learn about Christianity is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and asked us to take up our own cross to follow him. It is a great story. We claim to believe it. But do we live like we believe it? Do we live our life burdened with the weight of our cross on our shoulders? Are we willing to die for our enemies? Are we willing to truly go without so that others may have? Do we serve others first? Or do we serve others after we serve our own needs and desires?

Living and thinking along such lines doesn't occur naturally. We naturally lean toward self preservation. We naturally meet our own needs and help others with what is left. We naturally help others if it can occur without harm to ourselves. But Jesus didn't. He gave it all.

There have been other great people through history who gave it all for others. Mother Teresa is often cited as someone who lived her life according to the Sermon on the Mount. But do you think she was born someone who loved to sacrifice for others? No. It took years of training. She spent time in the desert, training to resist the temptations of Satan. She learned how to see the world through the cross. Then she took up her cross and followed Jesus...every day of her life. I read that someone near her stated that her feet were crippled because when shoes were donated she gave all the best to others. Yet she hobbled along serving the least of these with a smile. To her it wasn't a sacrifice. That takes training.

Even Jesus had to undergo training to change the way he saw the world. For that training his time in the desert was necessary. It is necessary for any of us if we are to see the world through the cross, and take up our own cross and follow him. It is necessary to dislodge our automatic instinct to serve and preserve ourselves before others. It takes training to see serving as a gift instead of a sacrifice.

So, after all this contemplation, I have arrived at the conclusion that we are in the desert. We are being trained to go without so that others may have, and to see it as an incredible opportunity instead of as a sacrifice. We are being trained to follow the leading of God even if it results in our own discomfort. We are being trained to see the world through the cross. I assure you it is beginning to look quite different. We are being fitted for our crosses.

Matthew 4:1-11
1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
" 'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"

7Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Mark 8:34
34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 10:38
38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

History Lesson

We asked the previous land owner about the strange series of walls heading down the hill toward the creek, and the stone walls along one side of the creek. He said that they were build by German POWs after WWII. He told us that there was some sort of wetland and farmland preservation organization that used POWs as laborers. He couldn't recall the name of the organization. Anyone ever heard of it?

His grandfather used to tell him stories about when they came out here. They not only build the walls, but were responsible for terracing the land, as well. Maybe that is the reason for the unusual soil. Maybe they really did haul it in in order to build the terraces.

Has anyone ever heard of such a program? I tried to Google various things, and found quite a bit about POWs building walls and terracing. But I never found a name of an organization, or any work being done in Lexington, NC. Please help!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How Do I Look?

It was time for a change. What do you think of the new look for Koinonia Community? Love it? Hate it? Don't care?