The Magical Month of May has arrived! The grass is thick and green beneath my feet, the apple blossoms are like clouds tethered to the earth, the birds are all twitterpated - to steal a term from Bambi - and most of us are sticking close enough to our homes that we can enjoy all this (or whatever miracles of the month happening in your corner of the world) in ways that in perhaps in busier times, we might overlook.
The spring has found me cozied up with 8 family members in a 1000 sq.ft. house - but thankfully many many acres to experience outside! Having temporarily relocated to hubby Paul's remote ranch in order to maintain responsible social distancing practices, it feels like we've all gone on a camping trip that's lasted several months now. Thankfully there is work, work, work, to keep us occupied during the day and physical exhaustion sure aids a good nights rest!
Papa Paul is an adept rancher and super self-sufficient, but very pragmatic in his approach to living. I, on the other hand, like PRETTY things!
So while we plant "pee-tatoes" (BaePaul's pronunciation) and corn, and dozens of other food crops, I'm also caught up in a campaign for garden glory. Gladiolas, and Shasta daisies, chrysanthemums, and marigolds are too being made a priority here, along with cute carrot fencing and other homey touches.
Are you doing any planting? New at it? Try some strawberries - planted now, they'll yield some beautiful red, tasty fruit by June! How 'bout some easy-peasys? Plant, water, watch grow, and enjoy! Haven't ever grown a thing? Put some nasturtium seeds in the ground or a pot. This viney garden grandmother is a showy edible delight. The big round leaves are a peppery addition to a garden salad and the blossoms, ranging from bright yellow to deep scarlet can be eaten too! Get your grow on!
Our lives have certainly changed these past few months, but I strive to find the benefits of being closer than ever to those I care about the most to (often failing), knowing them on deeper levels than I thought possible, and recognizing the amazing gift to the world each of them embodies.
May Book Club | Her Mother's Hope & Her Daughter's Dream
by Francine Rivers
For the month of May (the month we celebrate Mothers!) I have a special treat for my book club readers, a hefty pair of well-researched stories, rich in history and content, tracing four generations of women.
Born in Switzerland at the turn of the century, matriarch Marta Schneider Waltert is strong, capable, and fiercely independent (perhaps to her detriment at times). Her story begins at the hearthside of her family of origin with a kind, but sickly and subservient mother, a handsome older brother, and a beautiful but incapable younger sister. The lion’s share of work—as well as the scorn and abuse of her domineering and drunken father—often falls to middle child, plain Marta.
You’ll want to come along on the journey that takes Marta from several European countries before an ocean voyage deposits her as a lone female emigrant on Canada’s shores just before the first World War. Then, as she, her husband, and three small children, travel to the farming epicenter of California’s Central Valley where this band of outsiders build their forever lives. Her struggles help to shape her into a wise and resilient woman, but no one would describe her as a tender mother.
From the publisher: This is a story about the foundational and often-challenging relationships between mothers, daughters, and grandchildren, and the best gifts we hope to leave behind. It is a story that will resonate across generations of readers who will likely recognize a piece of themselves in one of the four women. Marta's legacy is one of faith and love passed down by a woman who heard from her own mother about God's good plans for her future.
Her story—and one that also becomes her daughter’s, granddaughter’s, and great-granddaughter’s—is a legacy of resilience: of moving past physical and emotional abuse, of overcoming loss and achieving prosperity, and of surviving in the face of war and cultural upheaval. It is an encouragement to mothers and daughters to never give up on the effort to love each other. It is also about the tenacious love of family and the hope that God can be trusted with our lives in every generation.
Many of us have a little more time on our hands than usual these days, and I wasn’t exaggerating when I said these are hefty books. They are not a light or simple read, but hearty in prose and not lacking in meaningful details and descriptions so exquisite, it’s easy to close your eyes for a moment and be transported to the Swiss Alps, the Royal Kew Gardens, the boughs of an almond tree in full bloom . . .
Take a long and lovely journey without ever leaving your home in Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream; perfect Mother’s Day gifts as well!
Order Both Today!
Recipe | Sourdough Starter
My mother ALWAYS kept a sourdough starter in the back of our fridge - I can easily see it in my mind's eye; a little brown crock with a wire tension clasp that I'm pretty sure was originally a Hickory Farms cheese crock... Mom wasn't much of a bread-baker, that was HER mother's specialty, but she used the starter to make my dad's favorite breakfast - sourdough pancakes!
After my niece, Laurel, posted about her (VERY SUCCESSFUL) attempt at making a starter and baking the most beautiful sourdough loaves - as she and her brand new hubby experience more alone-time than they thought possible during the first 6 months of marriage - I became enamoured once again with this living treasure.
My friend Marta sent me some starter and saved me from the exercise in patience Laurel went through to get hers so I could go right to the fun part, baking! Because I'm working with an unfamiliar stove, the first few loaves were a little doughy in the center, but practice makes perfect, and that's what's coming out of the oven now - perfect sourdough bread!
If you don't have a friend that can share some of their own starter, click over to my Food Blog where I've provided the recipe Laurel's had great luck with.
Podcast | Jewel: No More Tears
My engineers worked overtime getting me set up with temporary recording capabilities here at the ranch, but could do nothing about the limited phone service into the area. For that reason, I haven't been able to record any new podcasts.
Fortunately, I had an AMAZING conversation with the über talented artist, activist, philanthropist, author, thinker, do-er, be-er, earth mama, Jewel, before making the move to this remote locale.
Jewel has some new music out as well as a movie she produced about homeless youths in America, and a book on the benefits of neural plasticity to manage anxiety and depression. She's already developed a series of mindfulness management techniques that is available on her web site and works tirelessly to help our vulnerable community members.
Our time together was so insightful, we created a Part 1 and Part 2 episodes as a result. The first is a shorter introduction and the second really gets into the meat of the matter!
Listen in, and check out all the other terrific episodes of LOVE SOMEONE with Delilah!
National Council For Adoption | 40th Anniversary Gala
On April 30th, I was to be the "Mistress of Ceremonies" for a very special gathering, the National Council for Adoption's 40th Anniversary Gala, Families For All: A Celebration of Adoption, at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. I am saddened that we were unable to gather this year to recognize this special milestone of an incredible organization who serves children, birth parents, and adoptive families.
"The National Council For Adoption remains the premier adoption advocacy nonprofit in the United States, promoting a culture of adoption through education, research, legislative action, and collaboration. Because of NCFA, more children are adopted out of foster care, women facing unintended pregnancy receive comprehensive information on the positive option of adoption, and intercountry adoption remains a viable, ethical option for building families."
If you're interested in learning more about the National Council For Adoption, and how you might support their efforts of providing loving, permanent families for all children, visit https://www.adoptioncouncil.org.
I have great hopes for the May. I hope my April seed plantings thrive, I hope the number of coronavirus infections drops precipitously across our nation and throughout the world. I hope many folks currently out of work can get back to their jobs, and I hope that we can resume at least SOME of the activities that have been curtailed these last several weeks.
I hope that on Sunday, May 10, you honor mothers. Birth mothers, adoptive mothers, step-mothers, bonus mothers, grand-mothers, and all the special women in your life; aunties, friends mothers, teachers, neighbors... you get the picture. Breakfast in bed with a pretty blossom, a latte delivered with appropriate social distancing, face time, a phone call, or even a text. Every little effort counts and will make someone's day. Thank you for honoring those who impacted your life with their love and support.
My most fervent hope is for your good health and well-being my friends. Continue to use good judgement, limit your exposure, wash your hands and wear your face masks!
In faith and love,