Heart Choices: 2013-05-26 -->

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Simple Farm Living but Please Don't Feed the Goats

The Simple Farm
What a fun Thursday morning my friends and I had visiting The Simple Farm.  It's located in the midst of a beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona neighborhood.  Every Thursday Michael and Lylah Ledner host a farmer's market from 8:30 until noon.  That's when the locals get to shop for fresh organic vegetables and herbs grown right there on the farm.  If you've not read Part 1 about my visit to The Simple Farm, you might consider reading that one first.

The goats on the farm produce milk.  I have to admit I've never tasted goat milk but I understand it's very good.  I can definitely vouch for the caramels that are made from the goat's milk though. I've tasted them and oh my; they actually melt in your mouth.  Did I mention you can order them online?

Heidi is checking out the fridge to see what's inside for sale. Everything is so fresh.  I wasn't going home right away so I didn't want to buy any perishables.

Vicki got right into the swing of things as she weighed out her potatoes and onions.  I think Theresa liked the caramels.  I bought some amazing caramel sauce and heaped a tablespoon on top of my single bon-bon after dinner.  Could that be why I'm not losing weight as fast as I'd like? :)

Laurie was deciding which jelly she preferred.  I purchased a lemon verdana jelly that was homemade on the farm.  Yum, yum.

Let me tell you about the best whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread I've ever tasted.  Carol (on the right) posed with my friend Barcia. Carol is a baker and has a brand called Grano de Vida.  I first met her when I went on Arcadia's Edible Garden Tour last month.  She offered samples of her breads and bagels and ...I loved them.  She's the nicest person and someone I know I could be friends with.  We have that heart connection through our faith.

Michael and Lylah are Christians.  It's interesting how they have returned to working the land.  I noticed a Scripture on Michael's Facebook page from 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12:

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."

Wise advice from the Apostle Paul and one we could all learn from, I believe.
I think Michael and Lylah are taking the Good Book to heart and they're doing a great job.  Take a look at the basil that grows abundantly at the farm.  I did a double take when I noticed the beautiful artichokes.  I didn't know they flowered like that, did you?  

When I posted this picture of Lylah in part one of my visit to The Simple Farm, I failed to mention that she was handing each one of us sorrel, an herb.  She had us taste it.  I can't say that I remember ever eating an herb like this but it was good.  That's Lylah.  Listen but apply.  Try new things.  Experiment with cooking.  Use fresh herbs.  I love that about her.  Going from a designer label gal to a farmer has been quite an adventure but she seems very content.

It's a bit contagious.  I'm working on my own garden and getting lots of great ideas.  I already have a basil plant and I use it when I'm cooking.

So if you live in Arizona, you must stop by and visit The Simple Farm one Thursday to see for yourself.  I would suggest checking out Lylah's blog for updates and events they host.  I know that I will be returning for sure.

Blessings and love,


My First Visit to The Simple Farm

The Simple Farm is located in the middle of a beautiful neighborhood in Scottsdale, Arizona.  If you're not looking, you just might miss it. I had my eyes peeled for the small sign.  I was excited as I turned in to the dirt drive to park my car loaded with friends.  I wanted to visit the farm for several years now and ...I'd finally arrived.

Lylah and Michael Ledner made a decision to change their lives and become farmers. About three or four years ago, Lylah and I connected through our blogs.  Back and forth messages ensued and we discovered a unique connection.  Michael and I both grew up in Lindenhurst, a village on Long Island in New York.  He graduated one year ahead of me.  I remembered his brother Bob.  The brothers were members of a band that used to play at our high school dances.  Ah memories ...

The Simple Farm hosts a farmer's market every Thursday morning from 8:30-12.  Typically, I'm working during those hours so I've never had the opportunity to visit.  I've told many people about the farm, including Venous.  She's the mom to three of our students at school.  She's become so passionate about The Simple Farm's message that she volunteers every Thursday and is the official greeter.  Venous is the perfect ambassador for the farm.  With her beautiful smile, she has a way of making everyone feel welcome.

Venous even invited me to a special tea she hosted in honor of her mother at the Ritz Carlton last month.  Check out her aqua nails that I captured in this photo.  Venous arranged for Lylah and me to finally meet in person.  What a joy to wrap my arms around this gal, listen to her voice and see her lovely face.

But back to The Simple Farm.  This picture speaks to me.  A juxtaposition of a quiet retreat and yet the convenience of a car. How often I long to go back to a simpler time and way of living.  And yet I do love some modern conveniences.  :)

We began with a personal tour conducted by Michelle Spiller.  She explained how the vegetables and herbs were grown and cared for. We checked out the goats.  Their milk is used to create the most amazing caramels that melt in your mouth.  I know because I've eaten many of them.

Lylah was busy working but stopped to spend some time with our group.  She drew us around her under a shade tree and began to share.

 There's something so appealing about a passionate person.  Lylah shared her vision of community.  On a trip to France, she had an epiphany of sorts.  She was enjoying the more leisurely lifestyle.

  • Families preparing food together. 
  • Families sitting down to meals together.  
  • Families spending time sharing during the meals.  
How far we've deviated in America as we pursue a fast paced life of convenience.  We've lost that sense of truly listening to one another.

How often do your dinners consist of take out consumed in front of the television? Oh and did I forget the constant texting?    

Well our group had fun at The Simple Farm and we learned much.

Since I've so much more to share with you about our visit, I decided to do a part two.  I know how people don't like to read long blog posts after all.  So be sure to come back for Part 2.

Blessings and love,


The Blessing of Freedom

Memorial Day is a day to remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  So many sacrificed their lives for the freedom we can all too easily take for granted.  

I love to see American flags flying in the breeze in remembrance of their sacrifice.

I look at the sweet faces of the little children I get to work with each day at our school.  Many of their parents came to America from other lands.  How thankful I am to live in a country that permits freedom to all people.  We aren't dictated as to how to worship.  It is a free choice.  Our school is not a Christian school so there are many faiths represented.  But as I look at each face, I see them with eyes of love.  No matter what their skin color, no matter where their parents came from ...they were created by God.  And I'm so thankful that I get to have even a small impact on their lives.

At the end of the school year, we have a party with the parents.  And we end the time with water slide fun.  The kids were excited to wear their bathing suits under their clothes.  When I started to take their photos, Heidi quickly yelled out to them to cover their faces.  She knew Miss Debbie could then use the photo for her blog.  Thank you Heidi!  

Even with covered faces, I think you can still see their cuteness.  :)

And fun they had on the water slide!  If only you could hear their screams and laughter as they climbed up the stairs and then slid down into the water.  What fun!

I thank God for the opportunity I've been given to spend time with these children.  Although it was sad for me to say goodbye, I look forward to the next class that will begin in August.  

I'm continuing to count those every day blessings:

#838 Freedom to live out my faith
#839 Grateful to those who died defending our freedom
#840 Thankful to be able to fly our American flag proudly
#841 To be able to teach and love these precious children
#842 To see the growth the children have made this year
#843 To spend time with their parents
#844 To be able to photograph each step of our school year
#845 To see how the children have physically grown over the year
#846 To have a day of remembrance

I'm linking up with Ann of A Holy Experience for Multitudes on Mondays.

Blessings and love,


Rest for the Weary

Rest for the weary.  This scene looks so inviting.  A time of peace and quiet and ...rest.

Our school year is completed.  Summer recess has begun.  But life continues with things to do and people to see.  The still unpacked boxes on the back patio of our condo are beckoning me.  And it's already been a year since we moved.  The front garden isn't completed.  And that book I'm writing is about 80% completed but still needs work.  

At times I feel like the children at the end of the school year.  I'm tired!

I'm also working this summer teaching Pre-K 3 & Pre-K 4 children. Although it will be more relaxed than the normal school year, there are still lessons to be planned.

So how do I rest and find peace and quiet for my soul?

Matthew 11:28-30 says:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

This morning I was reading this Scripture.  I memorized it many years ago.  I want this kind of rest.

I'm also rereading Andrew Murray's Abide in Christ book.  Here are a few tidbits that spoke to my heart:
  • "...entire surrender to Jesus is the secret of perfect rest."
  • The promise of rest is conditional on abiding in Christ
  • Don't resist the yoke as this is what causes difficulty (struggle with control)
  • Rest in His arms of everlasting love
It always seems to come back to surrender.  And it's interesting that SURRENDER is the one word I chose for 2013.

A full surrender is to obey as well as to trust, to trust as well as obey.  Hmm ...trust and obey.  I'm now singing that song in my head.  :)

So when I can't go on a vacation to the beach to get away from it all, I know what to do.  I'm learning to rest and abide in Jesus.  So even when life is hard and uncertain, I'm resting in His promise to always be with me.

How about you?  Are you weary?  How do you live in soul rest when your life is everything but restful?

I'm linking up with Charlotte for Spiritual Sundays.

Blessings and love,

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