Thursday, December 31, 2009


Be joyful always; pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.    I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today this popped up on my google desktop verse of the day. I remember when I was a college student studying the book of I Thess in Bible study, this was my theme verse. I think that it was my favorite from the book simply because it's so simple and good, yet difficult to really follow. I'm excited that it popped up today to be my reminder for this new year to come. I'm thinking about making it my theme for the new year.

It's easy to be joyful when life is going good, but being joyful even when things are crappy and not going as planned. Well this is when we must find joy not in our circumstances but in the only lasting joy we can find in Christ. Today, I was very thankful that I am not gluten intolerant. I made a gluten free cake for the wedding party goers that will not be able to enjoy my favorite chocolate cake because their bodies reject the goodness of gluten. So sad, but another moment for me to realize my simple blessings. That was an easy thanksgiving, but am I thankful when I still have no clue what I'm doing with my life and living with my parents? Not always.

Pray continuously. This command I struggle with the most. It doesn't have to be complicated; all I must do is acknowledge the presence of God with me at all moments and have a conversation. A simple conversation.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


As I think back over this month of Holiday celebration, I must say it has been very good. I love Christmas and all the gathering of people, making of much food, celebration of our Savior's birth, laughing with family and friends, and eating a lot. I'm going to go ahead and say that the shopping I did yesterday was not a boost to my previous nutrition educator's weight loss goals. Right after this wedding where I shall undoubtably eat at least two pieces of the best chocolate mocha cake I make, I will start caring about what I put in my body. Mayber right after I quit working in a bake lab will I go on the Atkins diet. Oh wait, I'm just starting work in the bake lab and I will never ever again go on the Atkins diet. (That was one very bad month in high school, all Mom's idea.)

I think that I finished my holiday traditions tonight after visiting my neighbor, whom I visit every year at Christmas to view her theme decorated tree. We had the neighborhood gathering, a new tradition. We brought out some FFA members for an officer party. And I had my high school friends out for some holiday catching up as well. This is definitely the party house and I'm actually thinking about being a party planner.

I hope that everybody as a fabulous New Year's Eve party without me. Sad I won't be able to break Aunt Carol's wooden spoons as I bang pots and pans, but I shall be right here sleeping so I can get up early and decorate me some wedding cake. I can hardly believe that my little Smurthie sister is getting married. The even more sad part, I mean exciting part is that in the next year, two more of my sisters shall become one with another. So crazy. Aren't the Mama and Papa Pookies supposed to get married first? Oh well, it is time to start celebrating!

The Lord is good and faithful and his plans are so much greater than mine. Lord, help me remember this.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009 Recap

Family and Friends,

I bring you a big cheerful hello and Season’s Greetings! This is such an exciting time of the year and one that brings me to this place of reflection. At this time my heart is abundant with thanksgiving. The Lord continues to bless me greatly and gives me many things to be thankful for. This past year has been a great year of new experiences, travel adventures, and learning opportunities. I feel like I have grown so much and gained a bit of insight into what brings me joy and fulfillment in this life. It really has become funny for me to think about how much I have changed in the past couple of years. However, I would not replace any of the experiences that have shaped me this way.

In September I finished a year of service as an AmeriCorps volunteer. I had spent September 2008 through August 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri serving as a Nutrition Educator at Harvesters - The Community Food Network. I was able to teach basic nutrition to groups of low income people in the community and then cook healthy meals with them. Groups I taught included youth and adults, many elderly groups. This was an amazing experience for me and a great way to spend my first year out of college. I will continually remember that my cultural diversity experiences prior to my year of service were next to nothing compared to my volunteer position and the neighborhood where I lived and commuted. I truly do believe that until we are put outside our comfort zones and social bubbles we are never really challenged. I learned such a great deal about life from the people that I worked with and will always have a heart for those less fortunate.

I have a huge passion for living in community and creating relationships with others. I believe we were created to share life together in this manner and while in Kansas City I had the opportunity to create great connections with several people. First, the McDowell family that I had the opportunity to live and share life with. They were such a blessing to me and will always have a special place in my heart. My little adopted nephew and niece, Liam and Winifred, are so adorable and draw me back to visit as often as possible.

While at Harvesters I was also blessed to work with an amazing group of ladies. Although we were coworkers we all bonded so well and spent a remarkable amount of time inside and outside of work together. Our once a week recipe testing days proved to be conducive to great conversations and fun moments all enjoyed over food. I enjoyed many happy hours and evening dinner cooking sessions with those great ladies. They are another group that I try to visit with while in the Kansas City area.

I have heard from several people that after moving to a new place it takes a couple of years to really establish social networks. However, I was blessed to get connected to several groups right off the bat. I really can only attribute my success to God for being so faithful and one special person that invited me into her life and social networks. I absolutely loved the book club that I joined. We had great conversations about sustainable food and ate a lot of scrumptious food together as well. I found a really great church in the area and enjoyed worship there as well as the small community group that I joined later in the year.

Since leaving Kansas City, I have been on the adventure of a lifetime. Packing up my car in late September I headed north to Michigan to visit a dear friend in Kalamazoo before heading east to work on a farm. I made my first WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) stop at Three Roods Farm in Columbiaville, MI on a small organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. I spent three weeks there finishing the fall garden, preserving and preparing for winter, tending the sheep and chickens, participating in a tipi dedication, and cooking many great things. I also spent time at the Strawbale Studio working on Natural building projects. Michigan proved to hold many new experiences including composting toilets, thatching, planting garlic, hand cranking fresh apple cider, and sleeping in a tipi. After meeting up with my sister, Tara, for the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN I made it to Butternut Farms in Ohio. My second WWOOF experience brought time on a small farm with many different animals and several building projects. After Ohio I ventured to Philadelphia to visit my best friend for some time of rest and relaxation. I’ve never been much of a tourist person so I honestly spent a lot of time reading and enjoying quiet time while in Philly. Another great college friend flew out for some quality time of old roommates. The Lord has truly blessed me with great friendships that always seem to pick up so smoothly after time spent apart.

As I sit here in my childhood bedroom I am calling this Enterprise, Kansas address my home again. Mom and Dad have agreed to allow me to live here indefinitely as I figure out what is happening next. It is crazy how this adventure of life has led me back home and I am completely satisfied with that for now. As much as I enjoyed my city experience, I am a country girl at heart and have a great passion to live off the land. My adventures on farms have confirmed my desire to produce my own food, gather people together, and share life with others. Right now I am calling my immediate family my community living, but hope to someday in the future expand this community. Although how this future will pan out remains uncertain I do have short term plans to stay here for at least another season while I work in Manhattan on campus this coming semester.

My free time is usually spent in the kitchen. My passion for food and preparing it for others has not faded. A huge blessing has been the opportunity to prepare wedding cakes for special friends. This past year I made three wedding cakes, bringing my grand total to six with another due in January. I also love to bake bread and am slowly winning others over to the world of a bread snob and crusty bread. It’s fun to be back in my giant home kitchen and my goal for the year is to buy as little as possible. Everybody knows there is a giant stockpile here to go through!

The Lord is good and I’m praising Him for the birth of Jesus Christ this Christmas season. I am so very thankful for the many blessings in my life including relationships with all of you. Please let me know how I can be a blessing to you and feel free to knock on the door out here anytime. My plan is to have baked goods ready at every moment for special visitors like you.

Family Fun

Earlier this summer Tara had mentioned the thought of moving home so that she could save money for another trip to school. I think that I thought that humorous because we all know how much Tara and Dad are alike and how they can really only be together for so long before some kind of arguing occurs and usually Tara ends up leaving. Usually over not much, but they just both have such strong personalities that they collide sometimes. I have a personality more like Mom so I can usually tend to hide away and avoid conflict. I'm pretty sure I never thought it would actually happen, Tara likes her alone time. Well.....

This weekend we successfully moved Tara home. This time, being the eighth move?, I believe we had it pretty easy. God is so good and provided people to buy/take nearly all her furniture, so the move was really several trips to Goodwill, a few loads of clothes and random things, and then a bed and dresser. Not too bad. Tara and I agree that we are so super blessed to have parents, upon announcing our intentions of moving in for a while, maybe indefinitely, say okay. Luckily our house is big enough and the free land around here abundant enough for personal space at quick escape.

Although our family gatherings are small and usually just us, things are definitely never boring. This next semester with all four of us back in the house, things are bound to be interesting. My initial reaction upon finding out that Tara really was moving back home was to laugh. After I told Dad I thought it was hilarious and hearing his not so hilarious response, I decided that my response for the next 6 months or so adventure in this home would have to laughter. I mean laughter burns calories, it's good for everybody. I'm sure that there are bound to be a few family conferences that Tara and I hate to sit through, but we're family and we're experiencing community together. Sharing life, living and learning together. The family fun to be continued.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Neighborhood Gathering!

We had a really good time tonight. I think that Lynette had the most fun, at least judging by her facial expression. Or is it because her grandson is perhaps tickling her behind the knee or maybe trying to hide under the couch? But really we had a wonderful 1st Annual Lindahl Neighborhood Christmas Gathering. I'm really glad that I forced my parents into hosting the event. I'm super proud of all the neighbors for getting out of their warm houses on this snowy December evening to commune with others. It really made my heart smile to hear the older generations remark how glad they were to see other neighbors that they hadn't seen in 10 years. And we all within about 3 miles. I don't think the issue is we don't want to get together, but indeed life has gotten completely out of control busy we don't have time to sit down, share words and eat some food together. Tonight I'm once again thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a super family, a wonderful homestead to live on, a great rural neighborhood, and time to put together a neighborhood gathering. Everyday I gain a little better picture of what a true blessing it is to have time to do such things as plan parties and help my father cross things off his list.

I am reminded of Hebrews 10:24-25 -- And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Day is approaching my friends. Are you meeting together?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bread snob at work again

I'm a bread snob. It's true, I cannot lie. The clostest people of my life all know that I will choose crusty artisan bread any day over soft bread. If it came from the grocery store it's not real and I'd rather make my own. I'm pretty pumped about our upcoming, Sunday to be exact, neighborhood Christmas gathering! After parading around the country for two months, I decided that the one thing I wanted to accomplish upon returing home was hosting a gathering. Everything revolves around food in my world. My motto, food brings the world together. So great. I'm really excited and the neighbors by golly better be here. If not, I'm going to be eating a whole lot of bread and other goodies. But after today it looks like bread will be the main course.

So my bread creations today:
(Might I add that nothing was baked today, simply dough produced and put in the fridge for fresh baking action on Sunday.)
  • Whole Wheat Rustic Sourdough Bread - This recipe makes two loaves of bread. Since I am kinda trying to make as many different bread choices as possible, I divided the dough and added raisins and walnuts to one loaf. Afterall, My all time favorite WheatFields bread is Wheat Walnut Raisin. This Sourdough recipe I'm making for the second time after finding it in a new cookbook Mom recently bought. I think it's pretty great. I would love to share if you happen to have a sourdough to use.
  • Soft Rye Sandwich Bread - I must say I stared at about five different rye bread recipes. Did I want the rye cracker bread, the Swedish Limpa like, the dark rye, light rye. I ended up going with this one because it seemed to be a nice combo. Complete with carroway seeds and all. I've never been a big rye bread fan, but we'll see. This did also have a rye levain added - even a small amount of levain makes it artisan in my book.
  • French bread - I thought a nice basic white bread might be necessary for those people that haven't caught on to the whole grains is better philosophy. Although this is white bread it is not lame, and definitely not lacking flavor. I plan to make an epi bread, which is the baguette form of bread cut to resemble wheat. Once again I divided the dough and added rosemary to the other part just to add a bit of different flavor.
Tomorrow will bring cookies to bake, cheese balls to form, vegetables to cut up, and whatever other party favors Mom and I can whip up. Should be another great day in the Lindahl kitchen!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Today I experienced another one of those thankful moments. I know that we should be thankful always, see I Thessalonians 5:18, but today was one of the moments of remembering past experiences and being very thankful I had them. Growing up Tara and I were shipped off to Grandma's house for two weeks during the summer. This was to fill many purposes: spending time with the grandparents, alone time for Mom and Dad, vacation time for everyone, and sewing time with Grandma. Most of our 4-H sewing projects didn't start until the weeks spent with Grandma. What didn't get finished with Grandma was probably not going to get finished right before fair time. If it wasn't grandma's teaching then it was Aunt Ziba's sewing instruction and persisitance that we do it with precision that taught me my sewing skills. Sewing skills that I definitely did not think were very cool back then, but today I am very glad that they taught me.

Today was the day that I remembered how handy it is to have knowledge and skill to use a sewing machine. In such a day as this it is simply ridiculous to buy new clothes everytime something gets a hole, loses its cool fashion style, or doesn't fit anymore. My good friend Miss Jamie got me started on the alterations during Thanksgiving when she brought over some pants to be taken in. Today I worked on four different pairs of jeans and now I kind of feel like I have a whole new wardrobe. One pair needed some patches put in the crotch area where the good ole legs rubbed the denim a little too thin. Last month I bought a pair of jeans at a thrift store that needed to be hemed, done. I have been wanting to create some skinny jeans to put more smoothly into my boots, so today I took my pair of flare leg pants and made then skinny leg! The final project I am super excited about. After retrieving a pair of jeans from a give away pile that were much too big for me, I thought to myself, "Surely I can just sew these in and make them smaller." Sure enough, my free pair of jeans just became my size, tailored to fit me. This really is refreshing!

Thanks to all the home economists in my life that shared their knowledge so I can alter, update, and prolong the life of my closet. If anybody has any sewing needs, you just come on over. We happen to have two sewing machines in this house.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Homemade Joys!

Tonight I had a realization. Looking out my window I'm noticing that the moon is so big and bright. The full moon must be coming soon. In my previous life I would have cared less about the dates of the full moon and probably not noticed much except the big glowing ball of light in the sky. However, after reading The Red Tent, I feel much more interested in monitoring the full moon and how it affects everyday life. After doing a quick google search to see when the next full moon is I learned it is tomorrow. Tomorrow, December 2nd, is the next full moon. "Holy cow!" This is where I realized that today is December 1st. The first day of December and I enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and breeze with only a long sleeve shirt on. This is really hard to believe. I know that 3 days ago I helped my mom put up the Christmas tree but seriously, it's December 1st? I haven't even gotten out my winter coat yet.

Alas. December 1st brought a first for me today as well. I like to remember the first time I accomplish things. A quick correction to the number of states that I recently visited. That would be nine states, not eight. And four new states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia that have felt my presence. I'm proud. Anyway, my first today was......making my very own homemade Christmas wreath. Today I managed to forage the great wild forest of the Lindahl farmstead and find greenery for free just hanging out on a couple of pine and cedar trees. I added to it a few pinecones and some red berries from some other bush and I think I did a pretty marvelous job. Now if only it didn't take 2 hour to forage and construct I might be able to say I saved a whole bunch of money from buying those cheap $15 wreaths at Lowe's. But then again, time is money. Hey, I had fun doing it and now I can add it to my tricks of the trade. Add that to the resume.