A Raven’s Message

In the middle of a very dense forest far from the view of any mankind there sat a small wood-framed cottage. No paint had graced its walls nor added luster to the inside or the outside. It’s rustic appearance blended well with all the tall pine trees, huge oak trees, round evergreen shrubs and brown fallen leaves. It’s natural appearance had not been planned but with little money on which to live Paudelora became more concerned with getting by day after day than she did the beauty of the cottage.

She had lived alone since her mother’s early death. Her father had not chosen to stay but chose instead to travel the world. He wanted to see what the remainder of the world looked like and he could not do this with extra baggage. Staying in one place was too boring and responsibility was not one of his strong points. He wanted nothing from life but to enjoy it to the fullest and he could not do this with a wife and a child.

Paudelora was the exact picture of her mother. She was a petite lady with simple taste. Not so much by choice but more by the lack of the things most people take for granted on a daily basis. Her rugged life had caused seeds of bitterness and hate to take root and grow. This became a deadly weapon for her enemies.

Paudelora learned of the black raven from her mother. She loved to look at its shiny feathers and the glimmer in its coal-black eyes. She watched the patient way her mother used to call them and then wait for them to trust her. It took years to train one bird to carry a vial attached to its leg to a certain person or place. It took even longer for them to learn to speak. It was difficult but not impossible at all. Cleo was her mother’s first raven and Cleo was one of many that became loyal servants to Pandelora’s mother and then to her. Most folk thought Paudelora was the exact replica of her mother. They both had dark brown hair that swung past their petite waistlines. They both had deep dark eyes and spoke in short quick words. It didn’t take long for Paudelora to train Reao and it didn’t take very long for him to learn to mimic her words. He sat on a perch in the cottage and he watched and listened to her every word. Occasionally he would blurt out something like “To be sure it will” or “The deed is done!” He even learned to sing a tune that went something like this: “Oh Lord won’t you send down your angels to watch over me. My eyes are so tired they can hardly see.” He sang the lines exactly like she sang it even in the same key.

As it happened Paudelora’s mother had known herbs very well and used them for them both since they had no money to visit medical doctors. She had taught all of her skills to her daughter knowing that she would need them at some point in her life. Paudelora had been born in the shanty and had never been seen by a medical doctor. Yet she was uncommonly healthy for her twenty-five years of age. Her skin was as white as freshly poured milk and her lips as red as if she had painted them so.

The shanty smelled of Patcholi and Lavender for those were her favorite body fragrances.She made creams and oils to use on her blemish free skin. Sandalwood, Bergamot, Wild Magnolia and Honeysuckle bottles sat stately upon her old-fashioned dresser. Huge pots of aloe vera grew outside as did wild poppies, Echinacea, garlic and a variety of other herbal plants. She used them to make her potions. Some were for good and some not so good.

A huge thick book lay on the hand-made table. It was a family recipe book of sorts.It had belonged to her grandmother and her mother before her. No one knew exactly how old the book was but its pages were yellow and stained from all the fingers that had turned its pages over the generations. It had recipes for just about anything one might need or use. She left it in the center of the table because she loved to try out new things. Its pages were so tattered they did not need to be moved often. The towns’ folk who were kind to her were given herbs for good health but those who looked upon her with contempt were sent other potions by “Reao” the black raven.

It happened one winter’s day as Paudelora was visiting a few shops in town. A tall burly man who was quite drunk made an unkindly gesture along with some unladylike comments. Paudelora was very embarrassed and her feelings were hurt by the man’s comments. She quickly left the store and headed home with fewer supplies than intended. She was astonished that a man would approach her and say sexually implicit words to her. Her eyes kept seeing his face and his words kept repeating themselves in her ears.By the time she reached the shanty her spirit was in a rage. She had been bitterly hurt by the old man’s cruel words.

Without further thought she headed straight to the herb cabinet and began mixing powders. When she had finished, she carefully tied it in a little cloth and attached it to Raeo’s leg. “Go and do the deed. Drop the deadly seed. Old man Whitford will be no more when this potion enters his door!” She chanted loudly. “Head straight to Whitford’s house and drop the bag where his head will lie.” She ordered as she released the raven.”Go and do the deadly deed. To old man Frank Whitford’s quickly speed!”

Now all the raven had to do was to pull the ribbon with his beak when he reached the exact spot in Whitford’s bedroom and release her potion. The deed would be done! He would pay dearly for his uncouth behavior! As Paudelora planned, the deadly curse was put into motion. About an hour later Raeo returned and flew to his perch. “The deed is done!” He cawed loudly repeating the line of words he had heard Paudelora say so many times before. Paudelora handed him a special seed stick and returned to her kitchen duties.

Paudelora sat at the table quietly allowing memories of her childhood to bleed through her mind. Oh how she would love to be a child again. Oh how she would love to see her mother again.

“Paudelora! You had better be a good little girl or the devil will visit your tonight and he will bring along his big pitchfork!” Her father scolded as he displayed an evil look upon his wrinkled face. “He loves little dirty girls and you have not had a bath today!” He smirked. Those words had sent chills through her tiny body for years. Few people knew who her father really was or what had happened to him but the ravens knew.

The howling sound of the cold north wind broke the trance quickly reminding Paudelora of the need for more fire wood. She would feel the chill coming through the cracks in the walls and around the aged window panes. The winter months were horribly cold. Snow and ice visited nearly everyday. Wood had to be cut and brought inside for the fireplace. It was her only form of heat and there was on one to lend a hand. Food became scarce but warmth was always Paudelora’s main concern.

Whispers came within days that old man Whitford was ill and by the end of the week his funeral had been announced over the small radio.

“People must be accountable for their words and their behavior in this life or they will be snatched away to another life as quick as a wink.” Paudelora mumbled out loud as she refilled her bottles of powdered herbs and spices.

The rabbit traps made of odd pieces of wood helped provide meat and fur for her pillows as did all the other wildlife in the forest. The wood in the fireplace crackled and popped as the flames added heat to the shanty. Paudelora hung a big black pot over the coals to cook a stew for dinner. It would make several good meals for her and warm her from the inside. The red-hot coals reminded her of the burning desire to have a sense of peace in her soul and love to fill her heart. She had not felt love at all since her beloved mother had passed away. She longed for a man to hold her in his arms as only man could do. After all, she wasn’t such a bad person or was she?

Day after day she scribbled notes to herself on paper. She asked God to send someone into her life to change things and to forgive her for her wrongs. She asked for her loneliness to be removed and her heart to be filled with peace, joy and love. She watched as her fingers wrote the words “I need the love of a righteous man.” Silently she hoped that writing it down might be more effective than just reminding God in her prayers. Over and over she scribbled her secret desires and earnest wishes. Then suddenly feeling disgust, she quickly swept all the papers off the table and onto the floor. Leaving them there, she stepped into the kitchen to prepare herself a cup of chamomile tea. Perhaps it would calm her nerves and help her to sleep.

She did not see Raeo take a strip of the paper in his beak nor did she see him leave the window with it. Was Raeo seeking love for his master? Did God speak to Raeo?

Early the next morning a bank president heard a rat-a-tap rat-a-tapping on his window. Upon investigating he noticed a black bird with a paper in his mouth. Slowly he made his way to the window lifting it gently to see what the bird would do. Raeo flew immediately inside and deposited the paper on the desk. As president Harriston moved towards the desk, Raeo flew out of the window and was gone. Stunned, Mr. Harriston sat down to look at the paper deposited on his desk. Somewhat bewildered by what he had just witnessed, he began to read the handwritten note before him.

Weeks passed before Mr. Harriston finally found and met Paudelora. They were two people from very different walks of life and they had been introduced by one of God’s small winged messengers. Paudelora found the love she so desperately wanted but continues to live in the midst of the huge forest. The only difference is that now she is living in a big white colonial home with the man who had taken to time to read her note and seek her out.

Raeo continues to live with Paudelora and serve those in the community with herbal medicines. He gives to the rich and the poor, especially the poor!

Lives are changed daily by the actions of one person. Are you that one person?

Money Saving Secrets to Save on Groceries Now!

If you are ready to save real money on your grocery bill and put that money to better use; if you want a surplus of groceries and products for your family to enjoy that stays well within your budget, then this will set you in the right direction. Saving on groceries has become a passion that has been not only helpful in our personal family finances, but also a lot of fun! I do not know about you, but I love it when I get a whole lot more for a whole lot less.

You will be able to use these money saving tips to begin saving today!

Stay-at-home mom = Work!

As a stay-at-home mom, one thing that I know is that anyone who says, “Oh, so you don’t work…” does not have a clue! Staying home with your kids can be a huge blessing, but it is definitely work.

I started coupon shopping several years ago so I could do more to help our finances without sacrificing the choices we made to home school our children and keep our family a priority.

I found a way to help with our finances and still stay at home for my family

Now you might say, everyone knows about coupons. I use coupons. They have been around for years. I know… because I have heard it and I used to even say it myself! I would hear about people saving all this money with coupons, so I would look and find a few that I might use, but it just never seemed to amount to much or to really make much of a difference. I would even tell people, ” I just go to WalMart or whatever discount store and buy the generic store brand. It’s always less than it would be if I use the coupon for the higher priced brand.” So I finally gave up on coupons for the most part. My routine would be to plan a week of meals, make a grocery list for only the items that I needed, and not let myself be swayed from off my list because I knew from experience that all that did was make my grocery bill skyrocket!

I worked very hard at meal planning and having well balanced and economic meals, but it seemed like the cupboards and ‘fridge were not ever very exciting to look at. Then there were always those dreaded non-food items. I always thought, “Yeah, that toilet paper might be soft and oh so gentle, but it costs $1.97 more than this one!” Needless to say, grocery shopping was not on my Top 10 list of fun things to do.

Couponing 101

Then something happened that peaked my curiosity. My son would come home from his friend’s house talking about the smorgasbord of delectable treats he devoured from their overflowing fridge and pantry. He would tell me how his friend’s mom shops with coupons and hardly spends any money. He would tell me that I had to talk to his friend’s mom! Well, I did just that, and my eyes were opened to a totally new way of grocery shopping. No more would I be keeping meager supplies just to cover that week’s meals, but now I would be maintaining a surplus of stocked goods that makes me smile every time I open my pantry. I found out that it is not just about the coupons, but matching them with an already great deal at the store that week. When you shop the deals WITH the coupons, then you have the surplus. And that is just the beginning.

Wow! Free Groceries!

I was genuinely amazed at my immediate savings. Not only that, but instead of only occasionally patronizing those really nice, clean, expensive stores with the fresh, green, pretty produce displayed so pristinely, now those stores are my regular destination. The best part… at the checkout when the cashier hands me my receipt and says, “Wow! You have a savings of $48.63!” And I only spent about $40.00. It’s still a regular occurrence on the way home from grocery shopping to call a friend and tell them about the 10 bags of free cat food and 4 boxes of cereal I got for 2 bucks! We have been so blessed and excited with an overabundance that it is common for us to help needy families with enough dry goods, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. to last them at least 4 months! And most of it was free or cost us very little.

How to have a happy pocketbook

This whole adventure did more for my family than save money. I was able to finally relax and not worry so much about how much I was spending. I am able to buy enough food for my ravenous teenage sons and their hungry friends and not be terrorized by the grocery bill. There are even weeks when I do not even need to buy groceries. If I know there are things I can get for free or ridiculously cheap then I will go, but I know if I miss the bargains that week, I still have my coupons for the next one. It has been really nice to go ahead and buy those nice steaks to slap on the grill and know that with my savings in other areas, it will not affect my checkbook.

There is a pattern to grocery store sales and the coupons the manufacturers run. There are stores that will double and triple your coupons and matching sales with available coupons is a gold mine! The discount stores do habitually offer lower prices on most items, but the sales at the other stores along with your coupons makes the item you purchase rock bottom and quite often, free! The stores aren’t surprised about what coupons come out. A lot of times when there is a really good sale, certain items will be gone before you have a chance to shop. But even if you get to the store and they are all out of the item that was on sale, you can get a “rain check” and pay the sale price when you go back next week or the week after when the shelves are restocked! I literally have not had to buy dishwasher soap for 9 months, and when I did get it, it was free! And I am not talking the cheapy stuff you get at the dollar store either. It is the nice Powerball tabs and pre-measured packets you just pull out of the box and put in the door of the dishwasher. Pay a dollar for Softsoap? Not when I can get it for free!!”

Coupon shopping has really been a fun adventure. I cannot imagine doing it any other way now that I know what I know. I wonder how I ever managed before! The manufacturers want you to use their products. The stores want you to buy from them. Coupon shopping will oblige them both, make it more than worth your while and a whole lot of fun. You can turn your shopping into an exciting exploit that leaves your kids shouting, “Mom! Can I help you with the groceries?!”

Destination for Today: Silverthorne, Colorado

The Town of Silverthorne is the most populous town in Summit County, Colorado. To get to Silverthorne, you must take the first exit on I-70 westbound after exiting the Eisenhour Tunnel, passing through the Continental Divide. Usually vacation goers who visit Summit County’s amazing ski areas make this town their second home because of the cheap Colorado vacation condos that are present in the area. But what most people don’t know is that Silverthorne is more than just a stop-over… Let this article serve as your guide to the things this quiet town in Colorado has to offer.

Where to go…

  • Rainbow Park – If you brought along kids, then Rainbow Park is the place to take them. The park offers lots of awesome things to climb on that your little ones would absolutely enjoy. It’s also right next to a soccer field so there is lots of space to run around and play.
  • Raven at Three Peaks Golf Club – The Raven at Three Peaks is considered as one of the top golf courses in the US, and probably the best mountain course in the whole of Colorado. The Tom Lehman/Fry golf course design features lush rolling fairways and magnificent greens surrounded by towering stands of pine and aspen, snow capped 13,000 foot peaks, crystal clear creeks and trout filled lakes. If you enjoy golf, then you’ll love it at the Raven.
  • The Lily Pad Lake Trail – The trail starts with a short climb and then levels out for a path with mild ups and downs. Once you’ve reached the water tower, you’ll be transported to a dense, well-shaded forest that displays Summit County’s most beautiful foliage, flora, and fauna. On the way, you’ll cross log bridges, pass by waterfalls and streams until you reach the trail’s end. At the end of the hike, you’ll reach two high alpine lakes – one of which is covered with beautiful lily pads which is truly a magnificent sight to behold.

Where to dine…

  • Fiesta Jalisco – Fiesta Jalisco is probably one of the best Mexican Restaurants in the area. The restaurant offers a good selection of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, margaritas and salsas that gringos will surely enjoy. The food at Jalisco’s is also fair-priced; service – fast, friendly and good.
  • Sunshine Café – If you’re a breakfast fan, then this Café is the best place to have breakfast. Be ready to pick your brain because choosing between unusual combinations and alternatives can be a bit difficult.
  • JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant – JJ’s may look a bit mediocre at first glance, but once you taste the food, you’d say that this is the best Chinese place in Summit County. Aside from the great service and cheap food, the restaurant features an exceptional array of dishes. Fill yourself with perfectly cooked vegetables with deep complex flavors, Home Style Tofu with rich savory sauce and more.

Where to shop…

  • Outlets at Silverthorne – Right in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Outlets offers a great shopping experience with its dramatic view of the surroundings. It makes you feel as though you’re one with nature while, of course, shopping! Anglers often leave their wives and kids shopping while they aim for a catch at the freshwater stream running across the property. A shuttle service also provides shoppers easy access to the three different outlet villages throughout Silverthorne. Shop for J. Crew Factory, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Calvin Klein, Coach Factory Store and more. If you do get hungry, there are lots of restaurants along the outlet villages to dine in.