The Quintessential Quiet Place

In returning and rest, you have deliverance, and with quietness and confidence you have strength. But you refuse. ~ Isaiah 30:15

Skipping the Fast Tip Friday post last week, and probably this Friday too, I decided to share a bit about “quiet places” instead ~ something that’s been more of a focus for us lately.

But first, and related to the subject, a flower and hammock garden is just about finished here (it just needs the sign inscribed over the entrance).  It used to be a scrubby corner lot, but with some items we had on hand, labor, and help from a couple of neighboring young men, it was transformed into something beautiful and peaceful that can be enjoyed as a “quiet place.”

If interested, here is a quick walk-through video on YouTube (which will open in a separate window)…. 

Quiet places aren’t necessarily pretty places, however, or that require a lot of work.  Vinny made a little spot in the woods to retreat to that is much less elaborate.  He says he likes it that way, and that’s fine!  What makes a quiet place isn’t beauty or comfort – it’s more about simplicity and stillness.  It’s a place, but mostly an attitude, where it’s time to listen, and time to adjust, to a divine dance leading to a more abundant life.

When you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door to the ears and eyes of others who can praise you, and pray to your Father who is in there in this secret place When you come forth from this kind of prayer – you will bear a great reward.  ~Matthew 6:6


I’ve noticed that sometimes quiet places open to us without any planning.  Like being confined to a bed because of an illness. Or an abundance of time because of a job loss. It’s not easy of course, but difficult places that come from unexpected pain or loss can be incredible seasons of growth and enlightenment, if embraced with a yielding and inquiring heart.

But most of the time a quiet place must be sought after, or intentionally created.  Especially when everything around us seems to be so against it.

  • By answering the call to pull away from the constant noise of social media and entertainment. Too much information, particularly when we didn’t ask for it or need it, weakens the mind and is wholly disquieting to our ability to clearly hear God.
  • By resisting the desire to do something – in exchange for the very difficult task of doing nothing.
  • By going somewhere that you physically set apart.  This might be as simple as a porch swing where you have your morning coffee or tea, and leave the phone inside.  Or a desk that you clear of all clutter in order to read and journal your thoughts.  Sometimes even, it may be a location you have to travel to and stay awhile.


The point is – to seek out places where your heart can go heavenward, and go there often.  For there is an inner voice in all of us that calls us to, ‘come away before we come apart.’  

It’s nothing less than the voice of wisdom that calls us to a more abundant life.  

A voice that we can refuse ~ or embrace.




FAST TIP FRIDAY ~ How We Now Use Pet Food Cans

Last week’s “Fast Tip Friday” was a little more serious, but this week it is something fun and crafty – about how to use pet food cans!

Admittedly, at first we thought it was “CAT-astrophic” to suddenly have a cat, and still do (seriously, “Micky Mouth” is an almost non-stop chatterbox), but now every time he gets fed, I, (at least) feel a little bit better.  There are actually some cool things to do with the cans! :-)

Plant Markers (from the lid tops)

Now I don’t know how long these will last in the weather yet, but they are so easy.  Just use a permanent marker to write the plant name, bend back the tab (assuming you are using pull-tab cans), and put a stick through it. (even a branch works) Or you can stick it directly in the dirt if it’s not the pull-tab type.

Slug Pools

Well, not exactly for swimming, but for uh… you know; helping slugs go to sleepy-by.  Insert cans flush with the dirt around your garden plants, and fill 3/4 with beer.  Do you think they go happy?  (True, there’s no picture to show here. Drunk slugs are not a pretty sight!)

Tree Faces

Meet “Asher the Ash Tree.”  Asher in Jewish history is the 8th son of patriarch Jacob and means, “Happy & Blessed.”  He is also one of several tree personalities you may meet here someday if you visit! :-)

For Asher’s face I simply pinched the cat food cans together into shapes, and attached with small nails.  For the eyes: permanent marker on cracked egg shells.

That’s it for today.  I hope you enjoyed today’s “Friday Fast Tip.”  :-)

Until next time…


P.S. I wonder what Asher will see in the days ahead.  If it’s anything like what this tree sees… Wow:

[click arrow, or here, to play video]



Fast Tip Friday #1

The blog readership here has increased a lot recently, which is great (Welcome everyone!) But at the same time this is a time of year that is really busy for us on the homestead, and I’ve also been wanting to spend more meditating and praying, emailing one-on-one with people, and just generally not worrying about what to write here.

But I think one thing I could at least do consistently is a weekly “tip” post.  Something short and simple, sharing something that me or Vinny have found helpful, practical, or inspirational in our every day lives.  Friday’s seems as good as any for such a post.

So with that brief introduction, here goes the first one!

De-Clutter Your Life by Shipping a Box of Unwanted Donation Items for FREE with postage-paid labels from 

Living in a tiny house has its advantages, if you tend to hoard things.  You can’t.  As a general rule, when I buy a new clothing item, I get rid of at least 2 (yes, in theory I should eventually get down to a single piece of clothing, LOL, but for some reason I’m still far from that.)

But if you are like me, I drive around with a bag of donation clothing for weeks until I finally remember to stop at a drop-box.

Not anymore.

I simply find a box (or usually just use a box that I get from Amazon, etc.) and pack in all my unwanted clothes, household items, books, etc., and then print a postage paid label from:  (Actually I lied – I didn’t have a printer set up at the time, so I emailed for a label, and they sent me a dozen.)  Honestly it’s a mystery to me how it works, but basically they are a charitable “middle-man” service that arranges it all, and gets the box to a GoodWill Distribution center.

It’s really great, too, that you don’t have to weigh the box, and, there’s a variety of ways to mail it.  I think it easiest to just give it to your UPS man when he delivers a package to you.  Or you can just leave it on your porch, for example, if that is where they normally drop packages off to you.

And oh – if you want one, they’ll even send you a tax exempt receipt.

I hope you enjoyed this Friday Fast Tip!

Until Next Time….


Some Wild Eating Ideas

I give you EVERY seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and EVERY tree that has fruit with seed in it as well. They are ALL yours for food and medicine. ~ Genesis 1:29

This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in today’s post I thought I’d share a few crazy “foodie” things that Vinny and I discovered on our property, and how we are using them.

The “Bad Boy” Trees

When I first saw all the black locust trees we had up near the front of the property, I was disappointed.  Even though they also go by another, more sweeter name, “Acacia,” the word on the street about these plain looking trees with thorny branches is that they are bad.  “Invasive” is the more exact word. Popping up quickly after you cut them down, shooting up baby trees from their roots.  Well, while that’s true, for those who need a source of fast, renewable firewood – they are a DREAM tree! :-D  And, black locust is one of the best wood to burn because of how long-lasting it is, too.  What a gift is planted right here for us.

But that’s not all.  The flowers are incredibly fragrant and delicious!  They smell like grape candy, and taste like a sweet pea.  We’ve been eating them raw in our salads and mixed in oatmeal.  Apparently they make awesome fritters, jelly, and even wine.  We haven’t tried those yet, but we did make a delightful cold soup with the flowers, blending them up with yogurt, almond milk, cattails (or cucumber) and some lemon juice & dill.

The yummy recipe:

And this oh-so-sweet article (among many others on the subject):

Unfortunately the flowers only last a week or two – so it’s a season in life you have to grab a hold of.  Next year we may just have to throw an Acacia celebration here!  (Perhaps we were always meant to eat, and celebrate, around many of these seasonal ‘gifts’ of nature?)

Cats Cats Cats!

I actually put that that three times in the title above for a reason.  Because very recently we:

  1. Inherited my Mom’s *very* chatty indoor CAT. (Yay, us!) Such a perfect thing for tiny house people to have. :-o
  2. Caught & ate our first little CATfish from our pond.  It was so delicious!!
  3. Pulled up and ate CATtail shoots.  Also delicious!

Cattails are one of the best wild foods there is.  Edible and useful during it’s many stages of life – there are tons of resources online about them.  For one thing, the green tops (before they turn fuzzy), I have found excellent cooked and enjoyed like corn on the cob.  And recently we plucked some out of the water (it is a clean water source where we have them), and peeled the leaves off the bottom section to get to the tender white “pith” shoot in the center.  It is very refreshing raw – like a tender and seedless cucumber.

By the way, Vinny wants to make weaved baskets and mats with their long leaves, like the Native American’s did. When he someday sits in a rocker and has nothing else to do. ;-)

The Age of Valerian?

I find it strange that all the years I’ve been observing and studying wild edibles, I never noticed this plant before.  But out here, and right now, it’s profusely everywhere – it’s very tall, skinny flowers stretching high for the sky. (Some have white flowers while some light pink)  They are along the roadsides, in the hedgerows, and there’s even a whole field of it nearby!

I wonder if there’s a Divine-induced reason for it’s ubiquity right now?

Anyway, Valerian is a well-documented plant that has been, since ancient times, used primarily as a sleep inducer, and to soothe anxiety and even pain. (Interesting that these are big problems in our society now).  We’ll have to wait until the late fall (when roots have the highest storehouse of benefits) to try and tincture the roots for this purpose.  Meanwhile the leaves and flowers are said to give a similar, but much less potent affect when steeped as a tea.

While currently we don’t have any sleep or anxiety problems – I think it’s wise to dry the leaves soon, to at least have on hand.

But I’ll try to hide it from my cat though.  When I brought the plant in and showed him the leaves – he went ballistic!  I thought it odd – but then later read that Valerian has an opposite affect on cats!  It reacts to them like catnip.

And rats too. Supposedly in the original story of the Pied Piper, he actually had valerian root in his pocket!

I guess I’ll try to avoid doing that, as I don’t want to attract rats.

Or zany cats.

But meanwhile, we are enjoying the discovery of wild, amazing, and useful plants in “Our Little Eden.”

I’m sure I’ll be back with more!


P.S. Because Valerian stems are stiff and hollow, they make fun party straws, too! :-O



Let There Be a Vegetable Garden! Hmmm, Not So Fast…

In the book of Genesis, the Creator is said to have spoke many things into existence. “Let there be light…Let there be seed-bearing plants”, etc…  Ultimately, whether one believes in evolution or not, people generally believe there was a big “kick-in-the-butt” somehow, and at sometime, to jump start us into such an amazing existence.  I believe it’s all a divine love story, myself, that we were given the earth to take care of.  Kind of like a wedding gift to much-loved kids from some awesome parents.

But I digress. :-)  We now have a garden on our property – one that wasn’t here shortly ago this Spring.  It wasn’t spoken into existence, however, but it did come from a vision – and then some long days of manual labor.  The good news, however, is that we utilized a no-till “Back to Eden” method that should mean less work year after year – as nature takes over and does what she was intended to do.

If you haven’t watched the free Back to Eden documentary yet, check out the link(s) provided HERE.

Meanwhile, we’d like to share a video of the garden we have put together so far.  It’s still a work in progress, especially for us newbies, but, “Lord willing and if the pond don’t rise,” next year’s plot should be even more humus-y.  :-)

Here is the video:
(Note:If you are reading this by email, you may have to click on the email link to watch it on the actual blog):

P.S. Keep in mind as you watch it, that we welcome your thoughts, ideas, and/or questions. Working with nature is a never-ending adventure of learning and adapting, and we are very much beginners at it..



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