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Friday, September 17, 2010

What I'm Reading - Somewhere Inside

A couple weeks ago I picked up the book "Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home." I normally don't read stuff like that, but every once in awhile I just need to read a "lighter" tome.

The subtitle of the book gives the plot of the book in a nutshell, and while the story did hold my attention, what I found most interesting was the mindset of the North Korean people. Apparently, they still think we are at war with them! This blew my mind. Most young people today have no idea what the Korean War was about or when it was fought. Good grief, I never even studied it in school. The only thing I can say for certain about it is that when I was in elementary school, my best friend's dad had fought in the Korean War. Hey, at least I knew there was such a war!

The people in North Korea live a life without luxuries, and in many cases, without the most basic of necessities. The government blames the United States for this. According to the North Korean people, "If America didn't have sanctions on us, we would be able to live much better. It's all because of America that we live like this."

While the author was a captive in North Korea, the North Korean government were running tests on their missles. So, let's take a country that thinks they are at war with us and not get upset when they work to gain nuclear weapons. Hmmm... I don't think that's so smart.

Anyway, the book was an okay read. I'd never read it again, but it was a good "escape" book when I needed one.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Difficulties


Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at: http://christianhomekeeper.org/blog/homekeepers-journal-difficulties-with-linky-love/

Sometimes I feel a bit of resentment when I … work hard on something for someone and they don't even say thanks.

Why is it so difficult for me to … get over things like that and let them go?

1 Chronicles 16:11 tells me to … continually seek the Lord and His strength.

1 Peter 5:8 warns me … to be on the alert because satan is looking for someone to devour. Verse 9 tells me to resist him by being firm in my faith.

I am going to pray and ask for strength to … keep my eyes focused on Him and not myself. When I focus on myself, I get off-track and in trouble!

The difficult thing that seems to constantly catch me off guard is … that I'll do pretty good for awhile, and then BLAM!!! I stumble again.

James 1:12 says … "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

I am determined to … be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that my labor is not in vain in the Lord. I need to remember for Whom I am laboring... the King of kings and Lord of lords! To God be the glory!

Home Keepers Journal - Nesting


Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at: http://christianhomekeeper.org/blog/the-homekeepers-journal-home-with-linky-love/

This week’s Homekeeper’s Journal is all about Nesting …….

Let’s define our terms …

Nest - a snug retreat or refuge; resting place; home.

Nesting - to build or have a nest

My kitchen would be more inviting if … I could keep the counters cleared off, but it seems there's always a project going on. Right now I have a bushel and a half of apples waiting to be made into applesauce.

My best tip for making a home seem more welcoming … is to keep at least one room "company ready." Then if someone stops by, we can sit in my clean room without being completely embarrassed. However, I must admit that I tend to be a bit of a neat freak, and our home doesn't get completely cluttered very often.

To give the feeling of warmth in my home I often … have a candle burning on the kitchen table. Since we heat with wood, there are times when it's cool in the house, but not really cold enough to go through the hassle of getting a fire going. On days like those a mug of hot chocolate or tea and a candle burning warms the house enough to be comfortable.

In the cooler months, it is essential for me to … make sure we're ready for winter. The window air conditioner needs to be packed away, the canning done, the plastic on the windows, wood brought in, groceries stocked up, and just generally ready in case a winter storm comes our way.

Some favorite Autumn/Winter recipes are … homemade bread, potato soup, apple crisp

A Quick Tip for making your house more inviting … is to keep the front porch clear. I'm not very good at this, and our front porch tends to collect a lot of stuff. But it's the first thing and the last thing that most people see. Guess I better put cleaning it on my to-do list!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Favorite Songs - Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone!)

If you haven't listened to this latest variation of the traditional "Amazing Grace," you are missing out. Take a listen. I think you'll like it.




Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) lyrics
Songwriters: Traditional; Giglio, Louie; Tomlin, Chris;

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone, I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

My chains are gone, I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

My chains are gone, I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine, will be forever mine
You are forever mine

Monday, September 6, 2010

The War in Afghanistan

One of my favorite speakers is Voddie Baucham. I somehow got a copy of one of his messages about six years ago, and Wayne and I really appreciated what he had to say. When we found out he was one of the main speakers at a conference we were thinking about attending, we signed up immediately! (That was two years ago.)

Voddie Baucham has written an interesting blog today that I think is worth mentioning here. In his blog he writes about the two wars that are being fought in Afghanistan. And since he has said it much better than I could, here is the link to his article: http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2010/9/2_The_Real_War_in_Afghanistan.html

May it open your eyes to the atrocities that are going on in Afghanistan. Islam and Christianity are two very different religions. We do not serve the same God. But we do need to pray for these people. They are living in a state of spiritual darkness, and they don't even know it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

GVSU Football!


Two days ago I got a phone call. The caller ID proclaimed the caller to be our local hardware store-- True Value. When they call it usually means that something Wayne has ordered is ready to be picked up. Imagine my surprise when they told me I had won four tickets to the "Best Seats in the House!"

Not sure exactly what I had signed up to win, I went to the website to find out a bit more. It proclaimed, "If the weather is hot, don't worry. We'll turn on the air. If the weather is cold, don't worry, we'll turn on the heat." Hmmm... I've sat through my share of football games, and air conditioning and heat weren't a part of them. Their website also talked about food. This was sounding better all the time!

So, we called some friends of ours and eagerly looked forward to our double date!

Last night was Grand Valley State University's first football game of the season. So, things weren't quite as polished as I'm sure they will be later in the season. The ticket takers directed us to the wrong area twice, but we eventually found where we were supposed to be-- directly behind the endzone, right on the ground!


True Value has a patio there and a gazebo that is indeed temperature controlled. When we got there they were grilling burgers, brats, and hot dogs. Add some chips and beverages and it was pretty good. It wasn't until later that they put a small cookie sheet on the grill and grilled cookies for us. I have never in my life had hot gooey cookies fresh off the grill, let alone while watching a football game! They were delicious!

The game was a good one. GVSU scored right away, but the ended up behind at half-time. They ended up winning, but it was close: 34-31. West Texas A&M gave them a run for their money!

We also had sideline passes. These permitted us to wander around on the track, just behind the players. Watching the game from that vantage point was definitely an experience! At one point one of the local sports reporters (FOX) asked us who had scored a touchdown. It was strange to be rubbing elbows with them.


Because the band was in the bleachers next to us, we got to enjoy their music and their antics. Being a former band geek, I enjoyed watching them almost as much as I did watching the football game!

The weather was perfect-- cool and breezy. Typical autumn weather in Michigan. We got back to the van just after midnight. Eight minutes later a big storm rolled through. What a perfect way to end a great night!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Kidlets


Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at: http://christianhomekeeper.org/blog/homekeepers-journal-children-with-linky-love/

I can directly influence my children by: loving and respecting God and loving and respecting my husband (their father).

Some specific ways that I see my influence in my children are … My children seem to be developing a personal relationship with Jesus. I often catch them reading their Bible without being told, or they will occassionally ask to pray together throughout the day. I like seeing their helpful spirit toward others, and I appreciate the way they help me around the house.

The biggest area needing improvement in how I see my children is … they need to be more diligent in their schoolwork.

My greatest joy in my children is … to see them walking with their Creator. I also appreciate watching them play and interact together. I'm proud of how they usually all pitch in to get a job done.

The best thing I ever did for my children was … keeping them home with me for learnin'.

One thing I want to be sure to impart to my children is … a faith that will endure the tests of time. This is not mine to impart. It comes from God. But I'd love for Him to use me in this area of their lives.

This needs great prayer and thought regarding my children … Their futures. How am I to best prepare them for what lies ahead? It's almost overwhelming: schools, spouses, jobs, careers, political tensions, etc. May they be found faithful to Jesus regardless of what the future holds.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Favorite Songs - Are You Washed in the Blood?

I'm not sure where I picked up the CD "Amazing Grace" by the Antrim Mennonite Choir, but I have fallen in love with their music! It's all a capela, and it's beautiful. No one voice stands out. They all mingle together perfectly. When I was recovering from my ankle surgery and couldn't sleep, I listened to this CD over and over again. "Are You Washed in the Blood?" is one of the songs from it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Autumn's Coming!


Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at: http://christianhomekeeper.org/blog/homekeepers-journal-nesting-time-with-linky-love/

Autumn in my kitchen means … canning jars, freezer bags, and using the oven again.

Autumn in my home brings … swapping out the clothes (sweaters for shorts!), putting out a few fall decorations, and baking.

I bring Autumn indoors by …
keeping the windows open when I can and bringing in lots of wood for our woodburner.

A few favorite Autumn activities for my family are … resuming our studies, "snow days" at the beach on those perfect Indian summer days when all the other kids are stuck in school, jumping in huge piles of leaves, sitting by the campfire with no mosquitoes, watching the stars come out, more hiking, and maybe a local football game.

Two favorite Autumn recipes are … hot apple cider and any soup that needs to simmer all day in the crockpot!

This Autumn I would like to … get a good start on Christmas gifts so I can enjoy December a bit more, pick apples with the family, go camping with the family in the UP, and learn how to make a good pie.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

♫ Isn't this fun?!? ♥

Yesterday I ran across a site that told me how to make fun symbols!

To do this, make sure your num lock is on. (Some laptops have a blue FN key that changes some of the letters to numbers.)

Then hit ALT with the appropriate number:

1 for ☺
2 for ☻
3 for ♥
4 for ♦
5 for ♣
6 for ♠
7 for •
8 for ◘
9 for ○
10 for ◙
11 for ♂
12 for ♀
13 for ♪
14 for ♫
15 for ☼
16 for ►
17 for ◄
18 for ↕
19 for ‼
20 for ¶
21 for §
22 for ▬
23 for ↨
24 for ↑
25 for ↓
26 for →
27 for ←
28 for ∟
29 for ↔
30 for ▲
31 for ▼

The numbers do keep going, but those are just for things you can make with the shift key. Have fun with this!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Timez Attack!

I think most kids struggle with learning math facts, and yet these math facts are vitally important. To get a good deal at the grocery store, a young mom needs to know which is a better deal, a six-pack of toilet paper for $3.50 or a 24 pack for $12.00. Basic math is vital. A young husband needs to know how to compute interest when purchasing a first home for his young bride. Again, basic math is vital.

That's why when our daughter was struggling with her multiplication facts and a friend steered me to Timez Attack, I took a close look, and I liked what I saw.

Timez Attack is a free game that teaches multiplication facts. (You can pay for the version that has more graphics, but we didn't.) In the game your character learns a new math fact. Once he's learned 2x6, for example, he must face the ogre. To defeat the ogre your child needs to correctly answer the problems that he has already learned. So, the first time is easy... it's 2x6 over and over. If your child gets it wrong, the ogre pokes him with his club, but it's not violent at all.

Timez Attack is a game that the kids enjoy playing. Now, I must confess that my kids don't play many computer games. All their games are educational ones. So, if your child is hooked on video games, they probably won't enjoy this one as much as my kids did, but it's still a fun way to learn the times tables.

You can play Timez Attack at http://www.bigbrainz.com/.

If, by any chance, you know of a similar game for addition facts, please feel free to pass that information along. Thanks much, and enjoy the game!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Favorite Songs - Speak, O Lord

As soon as I heard this song, I knew it would be an all-time favorite, and so it is! May the words of this song become the prayer of your heart as well.

Here are the words:

Speak, O Lord, as we come to you
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us,
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness.
That the light of Christ might be seen today,
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All your purposes, for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience
Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes,
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see,
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail,
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our mind,
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.
Truths unchanged since the dawn of time,
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till your Church is built,
And the earth is filled with Your glory.



Speak, O Lord
Written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend
© 2005 Thankyou Music

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Recipe - Honey Roasted Pretzels

I'm a fanatic for salty-sweet. And not only does this recipe hit the spot, but it's rather inexpensive to make as well.

1/4 C brown sugar
2 Tbs margarine
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs light corn syrup
1/8 tsp baking soda
12-ounce bag of pretzels

Combine brown sugar, margarine, honey, and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl. (It will boil up, so make sure the bowl is at least 2 cups.) Microwave on high for about a minute (stir it once at about 30 seconds) until it's boiling hard.

Microwave on high for another minute.

Stir baking soda into boiling mixture.

Place pretzels in a 2 or 3-quart microwave-safe bowl, and pour the syrup over the pretzels.

Microwave the coated pretzels on 50% power, uncovered for 3-4 minutes, stirring twice.

Spread onto cookie sheets or counter top to cool.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Simplicity


Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at: http://christianhomekeeper.org/blog/homekeepers-journal-with-linky-love-simplicity/

Simplicity means … Let's start with what it doesn't mean. It doesn't necessarily mean back to the basics because churning butter, milking cows, and doing laundry by hand may feel a bit rustic and pioneer-esque, but it would sure complicate my life at this point. To me, simplicity ultimately means keeping a clear schedule so I can spend time with our friends and family. This requires keeping daily commitments to a minimum and continually looking for ways to cut down on the time required to do things while still getting the jobs done.

I could probably simplify my kitchen by … coming up with a better way to organize my freezer space. I have my refrigerator's freezer and a chest freezer. Both are a mess. When I open the door of the first, stuff falls all over. ~sigh~ It needs more shelves, but how do you add shelves to a freezer?!?

My life needs simplifying in these areas … I'm doing too much outside the home. After this year I've dropped (or completed) two major time-consumers. I'm really looking forward to next summer because of this! Having these things behind me will really simplify my life.

I tend to go overboard with … to-do lists. There's always something else that needs to be done. But I know how forgetful I can be, too. So, I'm trying to find that balance between trying to accomplish too much in a day and enjoying time with the family.

My favorite simple dinner is … grilled cheese with a slice of tomato and basil, raw carrots, and sun tea in the summer. In the winter I prefer a a simmering pot of homemade spaghetti sauce with garlic bread.

My spiritual life needs simplifying especially in this area … I read too much. I will start a good spiritual growth book, and then put it down while I try to apply what I've learned. Because the application process takes time, I will pick up another book and start that one. I usually have half a dozen books that I'm reading at one time. I need to pick one (or maybe two) and stick with those until they're done.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Struggling


Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at: http://christianhomekeeper.org/blog/homekeepers-journal-with-linky-love-struggling/

I know. I'm a bit late with this one since it was posted last week. But we were camping then and I thought this was a good topic.

I struggle in my kitchen with … keeping healthy snacks available at all times.

Struggles of any kind have a tendency to make me …… a bit frustrated. But after I cool off a bit, I usually allow God to use them as His perfect teachable moments in my life. (At least that's my goal! ~wink~)

I struggle more when …… it's hot and humid. Ugh!

When it comes to people, I struggle … when they know the best thing but make poor choices and choose something second-rate (or even much worse). I want what's best for everyone involved, and I get frustrated when they don't seem to want the best for themselves or their children. For example, I struggle with people who spend their time living for themselves while their children are growing up to be spoiled brats because it's easier to throw money at them than to spend time with them and train them.

When it comes to struggles, I believe the Lord wants me to know …. that He is in control of all things at all times. He allows struggles into our lives to cause us to grow and to lean on Him. May I be faithful in allowing Him to mold and shape me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - This summer

The Homekeeper’s Journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts, in journal form, online. Normally, new topics are posted weekly, but since nothing was posted this week, I thought I'd pull from a prior week.

In my yard… This year we put in a square foot garden. I love it! We made our own dirt (as the book recommends) from compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. I love that combination! As a result of that, I have very little weeding to do in the garden. (I did use some regular topsoil for a strawberry bed, and I'm weeding that constantly.) We also put a nice chicken-wire-lined picket fence around it to ensure that we eat more of our garden's bounty than the local rabbits! I love going out to sit on the swing and watch the garden grow!

On my grill… This summer we're learning the art of making pizza on on the campfire. I've enjoyed that. It's not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. It makes for a relaxing dinner. We tend to sit around the campfire and chat while the pizzas cook. Good times!

With my children… The boys enjoyed their time at camp. Alicia is there now. We are all looking forward to church camp in a week or so. Always a good time. We've spent time swimming in the pool and riding bikes. The summer slips by way too quickly for me.

On my mind… Working on writing the lessons for our church's Wednesday night program. I enjoy doing that, but sometimes I think it may be on my mind too much.

The book of the Bible I keep finding myself turning to lately… Acts. That's the book I've been studying all summer in preparation for writing the lessons for Step by Step. (We're finishing the NT this coming year.)

I am reading... Andrew Murray's "With Christ in the School of Prayer" and "Desiring God" by John Piper.

I am looking forward to… Having the Step by Step lessons all written. (Although that's awhile down the road yet!) And I'm hoping to be able to do some camping this fall with Wayne and the kids. I'd like to spend a week or so in the UP during color time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Women in the Outdoors!

I've spent much of today getting things ready for our up-coming Women in the Outdoors event. It will be held on September 18th at the West Walker Sportsman Club.

If you've never been to a WITO event, you'll definitely want to be there. And if you've been before, you know you'll want to be there! ~smile~

So, what is a WITO event?!? Well, in a nutshell, a bunch of woment get together and learn about different things that they can do outdoors. This year we will have classes on fishing (both regular and fly fishing), geocaching, archery, how to clean a fish, how to build a fire, self defense, hiking/backpacking, skeet/trap, grilling, kayaking, outdoor survival skills, plant identification, etc.

As you can see, there's something for everyone!

If it sounds like something in which you'd be interested, please go to http://gvwito.freeshell.org/ to learn more and to download a brochure for our 2010 event!

The cost of the entire day is $45, and that includes a delicious lunch and all the supplies and equipment you need. You don't need to bring anything!

The first time I heard about WITO, I called my girlfriend, and we decided to give it a try. Five years later, and we still enjoy learning new things and teaching what we love to other women!

Hope to see you on September 18!

Friday, July 30, 2010

What I'm Reading - God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life

Hmmm... I hesitate to even write the title of the book at the head of this blog. Why? Because it's a myth! The subtitle of this book is "The Myth of the Modern Message." For anyone familiar with the writings and/or teachings of Ray Comfort, his book will be a review. If you've never heard of Ray Comfort, your eyes may indeed be opened by this book.

Comfort teaches that when sharing Christ with others, we can't just tell them that Jesus loves them. Rather, they need to heart the bad news. They must see themselves as who they really are - sinners who will one day stand guilty before God. Sinners who deserve to spend an eternity of torment in Hell. Until they realize this truth, they will never be ready for the good news of God's grace.

To accomplish this, Comfort turns to the Law. He constantly takes people through some of the Ten Commandments. I mean, who hasn't told a lie? That makes a person a liar. Who hasn't stolen something, regardless of how big it was or the value of it? That makes a person a thief? Rare is the person who has not lusted after another individual. But according to Jesus, when you look at a person lustfully, it's the same as committing adultery. So, in the eyes of God, someone who "merely" lusts is an adulterer. (Matthew 5:27-28) The person who has used the name of God as a swear word is guilty of blasphemy.

So, the Law is vital in showing people that they are indeed guilty before God. Comfort bases his teaching on countless Bible verses. One of which is Galatians 3:24. It says, "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." The law was what brought people to Christ 2000 years ago, and the law is what will continue to bring people to Christ today.

Multitudes of people profess to be Christian, but their hearts are far from Him. They turned to Christ to find out what His wonderful plan was for them. They didn't repent. They didn't agree with Him that they deserve eternal torment in Hell. They didn't believe that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the only way to forgiveness and Heaven. They didn't flee to Jesus because they were fleeing the wrath that is yet to come. They don't realize that to sin against man-- to tell a lie, to steal, to have an affair-- isn't a sin against another human. It's a sin against a holy, a perfect, a righteous God!

According to Comfort, these people believe they are going to Heaven because they "prayed a prayer" a long time ago. But Jesus doesn't want a prayer prayed a long time ago. He wants your heart, broken from the weight of its sin. He wants your life. Are you ready to confess your sins against Him? Are you ready to submit yourself to His authority in your life? Are you ready to forsake all else in order to follow after Him?

Unfortunately, too many people profess to be saved but lack those necessary steps. Are you one of them?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Favorite Songs - Soar

Wayne and I were introduced to the music of Buddy Davis two summers ago at an Answers in Genesis conference. And "Soar" is one of the songs with which we immediately fell in love!

I never knew that eagles didn't "hunker down and weather the storm." No. Rather, they fly above the storm. Oh, to mount up with wings as eagles when the storms in our lives arise! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Being a Christian


Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at: http://christianhomekeeper.org/blog/homekeepers-journal-july-27-with-linky-love/

The ways that being a Christian has made a difference in my life ….. There's a quote I have hanging by my desk, "God wants us to experience hunger so deep that it drives us to forsake physical, relational, and circumstantial fulfillment and finally find our satisfaction in Him." How true that is, and how neat it is to know God is at work doing that in my life! I am learning that He is the only One Who can satisfy. Oh, what contentment and peace that brings!

I believe that knowing Jesus and being a Christian has made me a better mother because ……. I try to follow the principles the Bible lays out in raising my children in the way they should go. I may not always be the most patient, but when Christ works through me, He accomplishes so much more than I ever could, whether that be in parenting or anything else.

I know that being a Christian has made me a better wife because ….. Knowing that divorce is not an option has forced Wayne and me to work out our differences. It's not always an easy road, but we agreed eighteen years ago that divorce is not an option. We're stuck with each other for life. And personally, I'd rather work on a relationship than feel "stuck" in that relationship. Also, as I submit to Christ's will for my life, that affects all areas of my life, marriage included. And so I can honestly say that yes, I am married to my best friend! ~smile~

The way I respond to others is affected by my relationship with God through Jesus and is obvious when …. I try to encourage people in love, even when encouraging them means confronting them. That's not always easy to do, but Christians are commanded to do so. Sometimes it'd be much easier just to let that person have it, but we are to respond in love, and that makes all the difference.

The way I respond to pain and/or bad things coming into my life is different from non-believers in these ways ….. Even in the worst of circumstances, I know He is still on the throne. I know He will always love and care about me no matter what. I know He will never leave me or forsake me. And I know that nothing can happen to me (or my loved ones) without His permission. So, when pain/bad things come into my life, I accept them as from His hand. I check to see if I'm in sin. If so, repentence is in order. If not, then I accept the situation as an opportunity to lean on Him and learn from Him.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recipe - Chocolate-filled Cupcakes

Alicia and I recently took a cake decorating class, and we fell in love with decorating cupcakes. To us a beautifully decorated cake is one thing, but a beautifully decorated cake that tastes good is another. Here's a recipe we stumbled across that definitely qualifies as "Tried and True!"

CHOCOLATE-FILLED CUPCAKES

3 C flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1/3 C baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C milk
1 C oil
1 C water
1 tsp vanilla

Combine the first five ingredients. Add the other ingredients. Beat until smooth. Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.


CREAM FILLING

1/4 butter or margarine, softened
1/4 shortening
2 C confectioners' sugar
3 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Combine all the ingredients for the filling. Beat until fluffy (about five minutes). Use a small tip (a bismark tip) to fill each cupcake. Frost tops of cupcakes as desired.

Monday, July 26, 2010

To-Do Lists, Tyranny of the Urgent, and What's Important

Sometimes it's easy to let the important things in life slip by us because they aren't urgent. While I will be accountible to God for how I raise my children, no one on earth is going to hold me accountible in the next twenty-four hours. So, it's easy to let a teachable moment pass us by because laundry needs to be done, a letter needs to be written, or a meal needs to be made.

This is when tyranny of the urgent usually trumps the important. And unfortunately it's all too common in our rushing American culture. The things that are truly important are put off because the oil needs to be changed in the van, the lawn needs to be mowed, or we have a softball game to go to.

Sound familiar?

Last night our Pastor said something that reminded me of all this. He said, "You are doing those things that you consider to be important."

Ouch!

Let me rephrase that. "By choosing to do something instead of another thing, you are giving the thing you chose to do more importance than the thing you chose not to do."

So, is spending time at the beach more important than fellowship with other believers in church?

Is watching TV in the evening more important than a good night's sleep?

Is checking email more important than a quiet time with your Creator?

Is reading the newspaper more important than playing catch in the backyard with the kids?

Is surfing the internet more important than getting some exercise?

You get the idea... Those things we choose to do are more important to us than the things we choose not to do.

Perhaps one way to combat this is to add those "most important" things to our to-do lists. I love my to-do list. I love the feeling of being able to cross something off. It's a feeling of accomplishment, even if I only pulled fifty weeds! I set out to meet a goal, and I did! Perhaps we would be better off if these "most important" items were on our to-do lists. It's sad to think that "playing catch in the backyard with the kids" might have to go on a list to actually get done, but if that's what it takes, then so be it!

May this be a wake-up call to all of us to choose to spend our time doing the things that are indeed more important.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bike Riding with a Six Year Old

Yesterday morning before all the rain started, I took Alicia and Justin for a bike ride to the library. (Carl is at summer camp this week.) We had some books we needed to return, and of course, we wanted to look for some new ones!

It was on the way there that I remembered how much of a hoot Justin can be!

Justin: "Oh, Mom!!! Look out!!! You were almost hit by anti-aircraft fire!"

ME: "Hmmm..."

Justin: "Mom!!! There's a lot of flack up ahead! Be on the alert!"

ME: "What do you mean, Justin?"

Justin: "Well, the filled-in potholes are flack. If you run over them with your bike, you're wounded. The potholes that are still holes, are the anti-aircraft fire. If you hit one of those on your bike, you're done for. Approaching vehicles are snipers. They can come at us from in front or from behind. And they can be off to the side as well. If a dump truck or a cement mixer passes us, they are a B52."

ME: (Thinking to myself) So many rules for a simple bike ride to the library.

But as I joined in his play and warned him of approaching snipers (which as a Mom, I'm going to warn him about anyway), I was reminded that you get out of life what you put into it. If you put a joyful, fun attitude into a bike ride, you're certainly much more likely to enjoy your ride!

So, the next time you take a kidlet for a bike ride, watch out for the snipers, the flack, and the anti-aircraft fire. And trust me, in Michigan, we have a lot of anti-aircraft fire!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Favorite Songs - Amazing Grace

Many of us know the song "Amazing Grace." And many of us know a bit of the history of this song. John Newton wrote it. He ran a slave ship, hauling slaves from Africa. Well, this version will open your eyes a bit more to the likely origin of the music to that song. Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Beginnings


Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at: http://christianhomekeeper.org/blog/homekeepers-journal-july-20-with-linky-love/


This week’s Journal is all about ……… Beginnings!

Something new I would like to attempt in my kitchen ……….. It's not really in my kitchen, rather it would be outside, but it has to do with cooking! ~smile~ A few years ago I bought a cast iron pot with a lid and legs. It's for cooking over a fire. I seasoned it, and it's all ready to go. (Or it would be once I wiped the dust off it!) But I lack the confidence to actually take it to backyard and give it a try. We've been working on our cooking over the fire on a tripod skills, and we're getting better there. But I would like to try the Dutch oven cooking, too!

When the newness wears off a relationship you find ………. out if the friendship will stand the test of time.

The new school year starts around here on ……. Well, we don't really have a date. I ease the kids into the schoolyear by starting math one week, and the next week we add writing. The next week we'll add science, etc. We've been working on geography for a couple weeks. Nothing intense. Just going over states and capitals as we work on the puzzle of the United States.

I need to start …….. Exercising more, especially riding my bike! I wanted to ride my bike 500 miles this summer, and I'm not even at 100 miles yet! ~yikes!~ Needless to say, if I'm going to meet that goal, I've got to get pedalling!

I also need to start working on lessons for Step by Step more fervently. I've got them started (barely!), but I'd like to be at least half-done by the time we start in September. ~sigh~

God’s mercies are new every morning so ……….. every morning I have something for which to be very thankful! I'm so grateful that my God is merciful. Thank You, Jesus!

What I'm Reading - With Christ in the School of Prayer

I was at the used book sale at the Home School Building a month or so ago when I stumbled across the book "With Christ in the School of Prayer" by Andrew Murray. I'd heard of the author before, and so I gave the book a second glance.

Skimming through the first chapter, I noted that the book was certainly "readable." Sometimes a book sounds good, but when I get it home and crack it open, I find that the language just doesn't resonate with me. It's a struggle to comprehend just because of the way the author writes. Not so with this book.

The problem was that the book was $3. That's quite a bit to shell out for a used book, but it was in excellent condition. It doesn't even look like anyone's read it. So, I handed the lady my money and tucked the book into my big bag with all my other "treasures."

Fast forward a month...

That was the best $3 I've spent in a long time, and I'm not half-way through the book!

Why do I like this book so much?
For one thing, the chapters are very short. Usually about 5-6 pages. And the author states that he really doesn't want you to read more than one chapter in a sitting. He wants you to take the time to apply what you have learned. Obviously, some chapters need less application than others, depending on where an individual is in their walk with Jesus. But I can sit down with this book, and in just a few minutes have some great "meat" to chew on throughout the day.

For another thing, every chapter that I've read so far has been eye-opening. Even chapters that I thought, "Oh, I already know about this." have taught me things that I didn't know. I like that in a book.

For example, in the chapter about God being our Father, I thought I wouldn't learn anything new, but the following sentence opened my eyes to what the disciples must have felt when Jesus taught them to pray, "Our Father,..." Here's the sentence: "To appreciate this word of adoration aright, I must remember that none of the saints had in Scripture ever ventured to address God as their Father. The invoation places us at once in the centre of the wonderful revelation the Son came to make of His Father as our Father too."

So, yes, this book has been worth the $3 I paid for it. And in fact, if something happened to my copy, it'd probably be one of the books I'd replace at full cost! (And that says a lot!) So, if you get a chance to read it, take the opportunity to do so. It will open your eyes for sure, and the Spirit may even use it to change your life!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Recipe - Sun Tea

Ah... I look out on my back porch and see a glass gallon jug of tea brewing in the sun! I make a gallon of tea almost every day in the summer. We drink a lot of it.

I found the gallon jug that we use at a thrift shop for a dollar. I like it because it doesn't have a spigot on it. I find that those are hard to keep clean. I've also heard that a glass gallon pickle jar could be used, but I wondered about getting the pickle smell in the tea. Ugh! So, I was pleased to find my jug. I didn't need to worry about pickle tea!

I fill my jug with water. As it's filling, I put in six regular tea bags and one "flavored" tea bag. I like to try different teas, and some of them aren't the greatest as hot teas. But they work fine lightly flavoring a gallon of sun tea. So, it's a good way to use them up!

Then I just sit the gallon on the back porch. Before I go to bed, I'll bring it inside, put the tea bags in the compost bin, dump the tea into our plastic gallon jug that's good for pouring, and add about a half cup of sugar. That makes it just slightly sweet. Into the refrigerator it goes, and by morning it's nice and cool.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Day at the Beach with Family


Yesterday we took a break from our normal Sunday routine to spend some time with Wayne's sister (and her family) and Wayne's cousin (and his family) who were in town from North Carolina. We decided to venture out to the state park in Holland, Michigan for some swimming, some eating, and some chatting! What we weren't planning on was the rain!

It started pouring as soon as we got to the water's edge. We figured that since we were getting wet anyway, we might as well go swimming! The water temp was 78 degrees! It's never that warm! The waves were perfect! The pelting rain, not so perfect! But after about twenty minutes it stopped raining, the sun came out, and the crowds had thinned considerably! (Imagine that!)

The above picture is of "Big Red." That's the landmark at the park.

This next picture is of Carl and Justin anticipating the next big wave!




Here's Carl and his "cousins" Adam and Nathan. They enjoyed getting to know each other and are hoping that their parents are planning vacations to North Carolina and Michigan, respectively!


Here's Alicia with her cousin Victoria. They don't see much of each other, but you'd never know it by the way they played together!



And here's Justin playing with his new "friends," too! It must be a boy thing to enjoy digging in the sand. When they weren't jumping waves, they were digging. When they weren't digging, they were jumping waves. (With a couple potty breaks and hot dogs thrown in for good measure!)


We all had a great time, and in spite of the initial downpour, the weather was beautiful! We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Wayne's family better.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Food

Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at: http://christianhomekeeper.org/blog/the-homekeepers-journal-with-linky-love/ .

This week’s Journal is all about ……… food, planning and healthy eating ….

In my kitchen this week ………. I'm trying something new: I started my first batch of sourdough starter. I'm hoping to get the hang of it and use it for pancakes, waffles, English muffins, bread, pizza crust, etc.

I think we do/do not eat healthily because …….. Hmmm... What's healthy?!? Someone says it's only meat, and someone says it's only veggies. So, who really knows anymore?!? I figure as long as most of our food isn't processed stuff and that we're eatting seasonally, we're doing okay. If we don't eat healthy, it's usually because I didn't plan ahead or time is short.

My family is/is not resistant to healthy eating because …….. My family isn't really resistant to it. Around here, broccoli is treated like some people treat chocolate! They just can't get enough of it. I think that's because the kids have known no different. They've grown up eating fruits and veggies. My husband had to come around to it though, but he does fine now. (Although he's been known to bring home a carton of Pringles or a box of "chocolate logs" from time to time.

Choose one………..

I do have a garden ……….
We put in a square foot garden this year, and it's growing very nicely. We've enjoyed zucchini, summer squash, green beans, broccoli, kolrabi, swiss chard, romaine, lettuce, and chives. The beats are almost ready. The tomatoes, green peppers, chili peppers, muskmelon, carrots, green onions, and eggplant are coming along nicely. Although my eggplant doesn't have a lot of flowers on it. Hmmm?!?!

I don’t have a garden ………

The hardest part about eating healthily for me and my family is ……….. when other people bombard us with junk food. That and when I'm feeling lazy (or hot, as the case may be!) and reach for a box of mac and cheese. ~sigh~

My favorite thing about preparing and serving healthy foods is …… picking them fresh out of the garden and having my kids REALLY love them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Favorite Songs - In Christ Alone!

One of my friends posted this on Facebook. It was a great way to wake up this morning. This song reveals the heart of true Christianity. Christ alone is Who makes us in to the people He wants us to be. If you belong to Him, He's working on your life. It's because of His finished work on the cross that you will be able to stand firm.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please get it touch with me. Knowing Jesus Christ is the most important thing that's every happened to me. And I'd love to introduce you to Him!



Here are the lyrics:

In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease,
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless Babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.

Til on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid,
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay.
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious Day,
Up from the grave He rose again.

And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me.
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death.
This is the power of Christ in me.
From a life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.

No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Could ever pluck me from His hand,
Til He returns or calls me home.
Here in the power of Christ I stand.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Recipe - Pizza on the Grill or over the Fire

This isn't going to be a recipe as much as it's going to be a how-to for making pizza on the grill.

Making pizza on the grill is much easier with two people. One person does the actual grilling while the other person does the food prep and decorating.

Make a batch of your favorite pizza dough. I've tried rolling it out inside and bringing it outside already rolled up, but that's a lesson in futility. The dough will rise and it will all stick together. It's a mess. So, just bring your big batch of dough out by the grill or the firepit, whichever you're using, and roll it out as you need it.

Bring the pizza sauce and the toppings to your grilling area. (We usually set up a card table to help with all this.) You'll also want plates or a big platter to work on.

Once the fire/coals are nice and hot, roll out a chunk of the dough. I just rip off a handful and roll it out on the platter. I make personal pizzas. I think that keeps them easier to flip.

Put the rolled out dough on the grate of the grill. Don't worry. It won't ooze through the cracks!

Using tongs or a turner, peek at the bottom. When it starts turning light brown, flip it.

When both sides are lightly browned, put it on a plate, add the sauce, toppings, and cheese, and return it to the grill. If you're using a grill you can close the cover to help the cheese melt a bit faster. Otherwise, if you're cooking with a fire, you'll have to be a bit more patient. Once the cheese starts melting, enjoy!

Note: This isn't one of those meals that everyone will eat together at the same time. I think at most we did four pizzas on the grill/fire at once. It's more of a laid back, enjoy the conversation, and eat when the opportunity presents itself kind of meal! I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Rough Week

Last week was a rough week for our family. We said good-bye to two dear friends from church who have changed their permanant addresses from earth to heaven. Oh, I have no doubt that we will see them again someday, and I have no doubt that they are joyfully serving their Creator and Savior whom they loved so much while they were here on earth. But it’s still sad for those of us who are left behind. Both of these dear saints were 82 years old. One of them had been married for 62 years and the other for 61 years. Their lives were a living testimony to the grace of God.

It’s amazing how quickly death can put things into perspective. As I have been reflecting back on the lives of these two good friends, the things I remember were conversations, meals together, music, prayers, sharing of concerns. Thoughts of what they drove, what they wore, how they did their hair, or how often they mowed their lawn didn’t even enter my mind.

And so, what am I to learn from their lives? Not to become too concerned about the things that don’t matter. To focus on people. To share their concerns and burdens. To pray together more fervently. May these be lessons that I never forget.

Betty and Bob, you are missed.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What I'm Reading - The Narrated Bible

Oh, I know... that doesn't sound too exciting. But it is! I read this Bible a couple years ago, and I picked it up and I'm reading through it again. Yes, I have other Bibles, but I like coming back to this one for reading. Why? Well, I have a couple reasons.

First, it's NIV. That means it's the New International Version. Typically I read/study from either the New King James or from the New American Standard. While I appreciate those versions, sometimes I get the verses so memorized that my eyes just gloss over them as my mind recites them. This often results in mindless reading. Not a good thing. By reading another translation, the words are just a bit different. (The meaning is the same.) This makes me slow down a bit and grasp the meaning rather than just subconsiously skim over something because "I've got it memorized."

Second, it's written in chronological order. I really like this aspect of it. I've tried to read through a "normal" Bible, but it jumps back and forth a lot. And I never understood where the different kings fit in with the different prophets. This Bible puts everything in the order in which things happened. (As best as the editors could put it together, of course!) So, I'm reading about the kings at the same time I'm reading about the prophets that were alive during that time. This makes the pieces fit together much more quickly for me.

Third, another thing I like is the narration. I didn't think I would, but I do. Before reading a section, the authors summarize the section, so I know what's coming. This also helps me to fit the pieces together a bit more easily. The narration isn't vital for me in accounts that I know really well, but in some of the more less-known passages (I'm thinking Ezekiel, for example), these narrations are very helpful.

Fourth, the print is a good size for my eyes. Many Bibles have such small print. This one isn't super-huge, but I can easily read it without straining. (A definite plus!)

Fifth, if you would like to read through the Bible in a year, the passages you need to read each day are clearly marked. And the year doesn't have to start with January 1! It goes by weeks. So, you'll start with week one. That could be January 1, or it could be July 7.

And so, that's what I'm working my way through. It proved to be a good read the first time through, and I expect it will be this time as well. If you're Bible reading is in a bit of a rut, you may want to check out this Bible. It may provide just what you need.

Here's a link to it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Narrated-Bible-Chronological-Order-NIV/dp/0736902392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278503769&sr=8-1. I don't get a kick-back or anything if you purchase it from there, but at least you'll have all the information about it if you want to buy one, and you can read what others are saying about this Bible.

Monday, July 5, 2010

God Bless the USA

Today we celebrate our nation's birthday. It's a day we remember those who gave their all so that we may know freedom on earth. I am blessed beyond all measure, not only because I enjoy freedom in America, but more importantly because I enjoy spiritual freedom through Jesus Christ. He purchased my eternal freedom by dying in my place about 2000 years ago. What a wonderful Savior He is!

In honor to those soldiers, past and present, who have fought to preserve the freedoms we enjoy in America, "Thank you!"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Kenya Presentation!

For those of you who have wanted to see pictures of my recent trip to Kenya, you will be pleased to know that I have finally finished uploading a copy of my presentation to you tube. I never would have gotten this project completed without the diligent and patient help of Carl. "So, hats off to you, my son! Thank you!"

Below are the links to the different clips on you tube. The entire presentation was just over an hour long, and you tube only allows ten minute segments. Hence the need for seven different segments. But this way you can watch one and if you have to go away you can watch the next one later.

Anyway, here are the links. Enjoy!


1 -
Kenyan geography, education, health care, and exports



2-
Kenyan work, roads, mosquitoes, architecture, and "The Trunks!"



3-
Daily life – getting water, groceries, errands, cooking, bathroom, laundry



4-
Asher, their ministries, street boys



5-
street boys, a song in Swahili, prayer requests



6-
Kristie’s tidbits: “Mama Asher” & dresses. “Faces of Kenya”



7-
Misc.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cake Class!




Alicia and I finished our first cake decorating class last night. It met for two hours once a week for four weeks. And we learned a lot! It really was an enjoyable class. Two other mothers and their daughters (who were about Alicia's age) made up the rest of the class. And one of those mothers was a good friend of mine in elementary school. So, even though most of the classtime was spent learnin', I enjoyed catching up with her and getting to know her daughter a little bit.

So, what did we learn? We learned how to make a double-layer cake, complete with filling. We learned how to make stars, flowers, roses, shells, rosettes, and leaves. (I'm sure there were a few other things we learned, but I can't remember right off.) Last night we learned and practiced writing. We also decorated our final cake for class. Alicia and I decided to stick with a patriotic theme since this Sunday is the fourth of July. Red frosting is hard to make! It tends to want to come out pink! And pink, white and blue just won't do!

Anyway, here are some pictures of our final cake. And today we're making four dozen cupcakes for church tonight. ~smile~


Monday, June 28, 2010

Thinkin' 'bout camp, camp, camp, camp!!!

I follow the status updates made by the Christian camp that our kids attend, and this past week the status update brought tears to my eyes. Here's the post:

"This morning a mom placed her faith in Christ after hearing about her daughter's salvation at Pine Ridge earlier in the week. What a changed home that will be!"

I think about this family often. I pray that their home will indeed be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Website of Interest - Laine's Letters

It's been a number of years since I stumbled across the website www.lainesletters.com. Laine is a Christian wife and mother who started her website before blogging hit the nation like a whirlwind! While there are undoubtedly many other wives and mothers who have blogs that are similar to Laine's, I still find myself going back and rereading her articles.

Laine used to write very faithfully, but she has since cut back on her computer time. Her website is divided into three parts: recipes, letters, and "in my home." The recipes are self-explanatory, but they represent "real" food. You likely won't have to make a trip to the grocery store before trying most of the recipes. The letters are short devotionals about things, and those are very good as well. But it's the "in my home" part that I enjoy the most.

In this part of her website, she lists some of the things that happened in her home during the past week. I realize she hasn't written any updates in a number of years, but most of the things she writes about are pretty timeless: how to save money, how to stick to a budget, how to make your house a home, how to heal with herbs, how to cook, how to clean, etc.

Timeless.

Take a half hour today, and sit down and read some of her stuff. May it inspire you to get ambitious and work a bit more at making your home a refuge from the cares of this world.

Recipe - Peas and Asparagus

The other day I was given a pile of asparagus, and, having never cooked it before, I was a bit intimidated. So, I posted a plea for help on my Facebook status, and I received lots of helpful tidbits. I also searched my favorite cooking website, http://www.allrecipes.com/, to see what I could come up with there. I found lots of recipes that looked good, but the one we tried yesterday coupled asparagus with a veggie my family already enjoys, peas. I can't say the kids were thrilled with asparagus, but only Justin said he didn't like it, and even he ate it without too much complaining. I enjoyed it, and since I still have quite a big pile in the refrigerator, I'm looking to doing a bit more experimenting for lunch today. But here's the recipe as I made it yesterday. Enjoy!

PEAS AND ASPARAGUS
1/2 cup water
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen peas
3/4 pound fresh or frozen asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Dash pepper

Bring water to a boil. Add peas, asparagus, butter, parsley, garlic salt and pepper. Return to a boil.
2.Reduce heat; cover and simmer until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; serve immediately.

Friday, April 16, 2010

EFA - Bike Ride!!!

The weather warmed up nicely this week and on the right days so that Wayne was home on a nice day! That's always a bonus. After spending the morning getting some chores done around the house, we loaded up all the bikes and headed for the Musketawa Trail. This trail is a 12' wide paved trail that was built on an old railroad bed. So, it's nice and level for bike riding, and it's a lot easier riding than riding with kids on the roads. That always makes me nervous!

We rode a total of eight miles, and we tried to find a geocache along the way, but it was missing. Bummer! Guess we'll just have to go back. ~grin~ The other bummer thing was that I discovered my odometer wasn't calibrated just right. It was saying I had riden a mile when, in fact, I had only riden seven-tenths of a mile! That's not good. So, when we got home, Wayne recalibrated it for me, and now it's pretty much right on. The bummer thing is that in recalibrating it, I lost all the miles I had already put on it this year. It wasn't a lot of miles, but my goal is to ride 500 miles this summer, and every little bit helps!

While riding we spotted a half dozen turtles sunning themselves on logs, a robin's nest with four eggs in it, and various birds, and lots of woodchuck holes.

I'm grateful for a family that enjoys the simple things in life, like a bike ride on a beautiful afternoon after a full morning of work.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recipe - Pasta Salad

This has got to be one of my all-time favorite summer pasta salad recipes! I made this years ago when Wayne and I were first married, but somehow I lost the recipe. I knew I had made this delicious pasta dish, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember exactly how it went. After searching the internet for a recipe that looked similar and coming up empty-handed, imagine how thrilled I was to find a copy of it in our church cookbook! Enjoy!

PASTA SALAD
(from Ruth DeKorne)

1 bunch broccoli, cut up
2 C grated cheese
1 16-oz box twist pasta, cooked and cooled
1 medium onion, chopped
1 6-oz bag of dried cranberries
1# bacon fried crisp and crumbled (optional)

DRESSING:
1 C sugar
2 C mayonnaise
4 Tbs red wine vinegar

Mix the salad ingredients. Mix the dressing ingredients. Combine.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Favorite Songs - The Mom Song

Here's a song I stumbled across a year or so ago. It still brings a smile to my lips. May all you Moms out there enjoy "The Mom Song."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recipe - Mouse Ears (aka Fried Cinnamon Strips)

This is always a fun treat for the kids. Since they are a smaller version of the popular "Elephant Ears," we renamed them "Mouse Ears." Enjoy!


MOUSE EARS (aka Fried Cinnmon Strips)

1 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
10 8" flour tortillas (or whatever you have onhand)
cooking oil

Combine sugar cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. Cut tortillas into 2”x3” strips.

Heat ½-1” oil in skillet or electric frying pan to 375. Fry 4-5 strips at a time for about 30 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels.

While still warm, cover with sugar mixture.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Favorite Songs - Man of Sorrows (Hallelujah! What a Savior!)

This is one of my all-time favorite hymns. It's a beautiful reminder of what Christ did for us, and of what awaits those who believe in Him. (The singing will start after the speaking part. The harmony is beautiful. It's worth waiting for.)



Man of Sorrows

1. Man of Sorrows! What a name
For the Son of God, Who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

2. Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

3. Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atonement! Can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

4. Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

5. When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In Our Home ~ April 4, 2010

1- The highlight at our home this week was purchasing a new-to-us van. It's a 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette. It's got a few more miles on it than we originally wanted, but we didn't have to raid all of our savings to purchase it either. Hopefully it will last us many years without many repairs! It's going to be nice to have wheels again!

2- The chicken coop is completely done. At least for now. ~grin~ I think I want to add another vent to it. We had some warm days this past week. (Over 80 degrees!) And that ol' chicken coop got pretty toasty. I think another vent would be a good idea. It's all painted and the shingles are on it. It looks great!

3- I got a lot of groceries this week, but nothing to eat. Amazing how that happens sometimes! Because the little grocery store where I shop is closing for remodeling (and opening under a new owner), everything in the store was 25% off. I had a bunch of their store coupons as well. And having spent some time earlier in the week spring cleaning my cupboards, I knew which stuff we needed to stock up on. So, I purchased a lot of flour, sugar, canned beans, etc. It's nice to have the cupboards full again. And because I had coupons, and because this store was one of the least expensive stores around, and because everything was 25% off, I got some great deals! Now, I just hope that when they re-open, they don't raise their prices. ~sigh~

4- Yes, I did spend some time cleaning my cupboards. I'm not a big spring cleaner, but every once in awhile, I like to tackle a project and get 'er done! This was one of those projects. My spices are now all organized again. It's actually delightful to open my cupboard doors now!

5- I was nauseous most of the week. It was a bad side effect of the Typhoid medication (vaccine!) I was taking. I took my last pill Thursday morning, and I was still quite nauseous this morning (Sunday). I'm hoping tomorrow will be better.

6- Justin was under the weather this week, and now Carl seems to have it. Just lethargic, with a sore throat and a fever. (102 or so) I hope it will end with Carl and that we won't all get it.

7- Carl sang and played his guitar in church this morning. I know I'm partial, but I thought he did a great job. I love seeing young people publicly declare their love for Jesus. To think that he was able to sing in front of that many people while he wasn't feeling well... It made this mama's heart happy. He said he wasn't feeling well when he woke up this morning, but I figured it was just nerves. I told him he could stay home if he wanted, but at that point he wanted to go. But as the morning progressed, he kept getting worse and worse. So, right after church, he made a bee-line for his bed, and he spent most of the day there. Poor kid.

8- The kids and I went on our first bike ride of the year. We rode up to the eye doctor to get Carl's glasses adjusted. (The result of an encounter with a ball.) It was so nice to ride a bike with no pain in my ankle! What a blessing! I ordered an odometer for my bike to track how far I ride this year. My goal is 500 miles. I have no idea how far I'll be able to ride. (Time constraints being a big factor) But we'll see.

9- We also had the first "ICE CREAM DRILL" of the year. This is when we get all the kids in bed, and then Wayne and I go out on the front porch and yell, "ICE CREAM DRILL!" The kids race out of bed in their pajamas, and pile into the car for a quick trip to the local ice cream shop. This time it was to McDonalds for caramel sundays. Yum!

10- That puts this past week in the books. It's always exciting to see what the next week will hold!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Recipe - Skinney-Dippin' Chicken

This has got to be the easiest way to prepare chicken breasts, and they are so delicious. This is a recipe that you can make without referring to a cookbook, and thus, you can impress your friends! ~grin~ When we named this dish we all agreed on Skinney-Dippin' Chicken. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

SKINNEY-DIPPIN’ CHICKEN

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth (or make your own fresh or with bouillon cubes)
Parmesan cheese

Place chicken in 9x13. Don’t overlap. Pour broth over chicken. Sprinkle cheese over chicken. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

In Our Home ~ March 27, 2010

Let's see, what went on in our home last week?

1- I finished another lesson for our Wednesday night kids' club at church. I only have one more to write, and then this year's lessons are done. Good thing, since the year ends next month! Then I get to start on next year's lessons. I'm looking forward to finishing this year, and I'm looking forward to starting next year's lessons. What a blessing it is to be able to do that!

2- I visited the health department with Kristie (my friend who is going to Kenya with me). So, we're up-to-date on almost all our vaccines. I got Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B, and Typhoid. The Typhoid is a oral vaccine, and it makes me a bit nauseous. So, I'll be glad when that's done! I need to get a Polio booster from my doctor as well as a perscription for Malaria. Then I'll be all set with that!

3- Wayne got the chicken coop primed. And he painted all the trim. Now just to paint the main part and shingle it. I'm amazed at how much water those little babes drink. Wow! I think we'll splurge this week and get a "real" waterer for them.

4- When I stopped by my favorite grocery store this week, they had a sign declaring that March 31 would be their last day open because they are remodeling. I hope they are truly remodeling and that they will indeed reopen. I'd hate for them to go out of business. ~sigh~ That definitely wouldn't be good for the grocery budget.

5- Carl had an activity with the teens from camp. They spent Friday night playing games and doing skits. He had a great time... as usual.

6- While he was there, I connected with one of my geocaching buddies. Kathy and I had fun geocaching in Greenville. I didn't realize Greenville is home to so many cute little lakes. We had a great time, even though we ate too much at Ponderosa!

7- Saturday afternoon we helped a friend at the Bible Club Fun Day. I ran a booth for the kids. Very fun.

8- Wayne and Carl went to a Griffin hockey game. They had a good time, in spite of the fact that the Griffins lost.

9- Justin's comments never cease to make me chuckle. While the big boys were at the hockey game, we went to visit with the wives and younger kids. When Justin realized he'd be the oldest boy there (The only other boy is about three.), he said, "Mom, don't you know that boys go through three stages? They like girls. They don't like girls. And they like girls. I'm in the middle stage. I don't like girls." What a hoot!

10- We were also discussing some other people we were going to stop and see, and Justin said, "The last time we saw them they were in a motor home." I couldn't figure out what he meant. Then he said, "Oh, wait. That's someone else. The last time we saw the DeKornes they were in the motor home." Then it hit me. Motor home... nursing home... they must sound alike to a little kid! ~smile~

11- The tooth fairy also paid a visit to our home this week. Justin lost his first tooth. ~sniff, sniff~ My baby's growing up. She brought him a gold-colored dollar coin. He loves his new treasure.

Hope your week is filled with the anticipation of celebrating the joy of our risen Lord!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brownies!

Here is my favorite recipe for brownies. I like the fact that it makes a full 9x13 instead of just a 9x9. So, it's great for potlucks. (A 9x9 just seems cheap sometimes!) I've tried making it without the chocolate chips, and it's not nearly as good, so don't try to skimp there. And I enjoy mint, so I usually add the peppermint. If you don't have peppermint oil, you can find it at a health food store. Just make sure it's the kind that can be used in food. It has lots of different uses besides just an add-in for brownies! But more on that another day! For today, here's my tried and true recipe for brownies! Enjoy!

BROWNIES

1 1/3 C sugar
2/3 C cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 C flour
4 eggs
2/3 C oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 C chocolate chips
a few drops of food grade peppermint oil (optional)


Mix dry ingredients. Mix eggs, oil, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add all at once to the dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Pour into a greased 9x13.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Favorite Songs - The Power of the Cross

As Easter draws near, this song has gained more meaning for me. I've been working through the book of John (mostly), writing lessons for our Wednesday night kids' club, and I'm currently working on Judas and on the Crucifixion. So, for me, Easter is kind of the culmination of what I've been working on for the past twelve months. And "The Power of the Cross" by Keith and Kristyn Getty does a good job of summing it up.

Because Christ took the punishment we deserved, we can indeed, stand forgiven. No other religion serves a god as great as our God. Our God is a God of grace and mercy. We only have to accept what He has done for us and follow after Him. When I did that, I experienced true freedom. What an awesome God I serve!



Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1
Oh to see the dawn of the darkest day
Christ on the road to Calvary
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then
Nailed to a cross of wood

Chorus 1
This the pow’r of the cross
Christ became sin for us
Took the blame, bore the wrath
We stand forgiven at the cross

Verse 2
Oh to see the pain written on Your face
Bearing the awesome weight of sin
Ev’ry bitter thought, ev’ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow

Verse 3
Now the daylight flees, now the ground beneath
Quakes as its maker bows his head
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life
‘Finished!’ the vict’ry cry.

Verse 4
Oh to see my name written in the wound
For through Your suf‘fring I am free
Death is crushed to death, life is mine to live
Won through Your selfless love

Chorus 2
This the pow’r of the cross
Son of God slain for us
What a life, what a cost
We stand forgiven at the cross

Friday, March 19, 2010

In Our Home ~ March 21, 2010

Well, another week has come and gone, and this one hasn't been very eventful. (That's not necessarily a bad thing!





1~ Wayne had Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday off work. So, we used a couple of those days to start building our "coop de poop." Our chicks are getting bigger every day. Sunday I had to put our fireplace surround thing around it because they were perching on top of the cardboard box. The fireplace protector is about 2-2.5 feet tall. Two days ago, I caught one of them perched on that! Their feathers are not all in yet, so I'm a bit leary of leaving them outside in the coop all night. (Feathers are what keep them warm. Fuzz is cute, but not so warm.) So, by day, they are in the coop with their heat lamp. And in the evening we bring them back into the kitchen.

2~ The coop is coming along nicely though. Basically, we just need to prime and paint it and then add the shingles. Then we have to figure out how to move it to where we want it to be. I don't think that is going to be an easy task. It's quite heavy!


3~ I went geocaching on Tuesday with one of my friends. We found 13 caches and enjoyed dinner together.


4~ "You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind." I read that somewhere this week, and it has stuck with me. Rather than just making and look at to-do lists, I actually need to focus on just doing it! Quit planning (sometimes) and just do it! Hopefully I'll remember this, but temper it with a bit of planning first!

5~ We got to babysit my sister's kids Wednesday morning. The more the merrier. All the kids had a ball playing outside, and I didn't have to do anything! ~grin~


6~ Justin and I have practiced his reading and writing by leaving messages for each other on his magnadoodle. He calls them text messages. He's doing reading and he's not even thinking about it. What fun!


7~ The trees have stopped running. So, our syrup making is done for this year. It seems a bit early, but what do I know? I'm just a rookie! We made a half gallon of syrup this year. Yum!


8~ All in all, it's been a very uneventful week. But the chicken coop is almost done. Hurrah!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thankful for Sunshine!

For those of you who don't live in Michigan, winters are very gloomy. We can go for weeks without catching a glimpse of the sun. And if it does ever come out from behind the thick cloud cover, it shines so brightly off the snow that it's blinding.

The past few weeks we've made up for it though. The sun has been shining so beautifully! We've spent a lot of time outside building a chicken coop. It's almost done. (And it's a good thing because these chicks are growing like weeds!)

Today is supposed to be another beautiful day. I'm hoping to get our lessons done this morning while it's still rather cold outside so that we will be able to enjoy the fresh air this afternoon and evening. I'd like to get some yard work done, and I'd like to do something fun with the kidlets. Maybe a bike ride.

But today, I'm thankful for the sunshine. It inspires us to get something done, and it gives us a bit of hope that spring is, indeed, on its way! (Especially since the weather man is predicting snow for the beginning of next week!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What I'm Reading - Raising Chickens for Dummies

Yeah. Enough said?!? A few weeks ago we brought four little chicks into our lives. I had done a lot of internet research on how to raise chickens, and so I thought we were ready. And we were, but then I heard about this book, "Raising Chickens for Dummies," and I saw that it had receieved high ratings on Amazon. So, we welcomed yet another book into our home! ~smile~

I was really looking for a book that included blueprints for building a chicken coop when I noticed this book. I never did find what I was originally looking for, but "Raising Chickens for Dummies" will be a very valuable book as time goes on.

I haven't read the whole book yet. (Since we have just three week old chicks, I'm not worried about breeding them!) I've just read the pertinent information, and, as with all the dummy books I've read, it's thorough and well-written. It includes everything I was looking for in a basic chicken care book.

If you're just getting started with chickens, this will be a book you'll at least want to browse through. And, while you could probably find a lot of the same information online, there's just something cozy about being able to snuggle up with a book. And so, this book will be on the table next to my tub for awhile as I continue to glean information from it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In Our Home ~ March 13, 2010

This has been a fairly tame week. We're still without a van, and since Wayne worked every day this past week, we've been pretty much home-bound. But here's a run-down of what we did.

1~ The week was very overcast, and so the sap stopped running in our maple trees. We boiled down all that we've collected, and we have about two quarts. It's delicious.

2~ The kids worked hard on their lessons this week. Alicia and Justin finished their science for this schoolyear, and all three kids are done with history. The more subjects they finish, the more time they have to work on other subjects. I'm looking forward to the snowball effect!

3~ We had dinner with some good friends on Thursday night. They had invited someone over from church who tends to be a bit more "quiet." So, adding our family to the mix made for easier conversation. It's always a wonderful thing to spend time with other believers, and the delicious food is an added bonus!

4~ Our garage floods every spring when the ground thaws. And every winter it becomes strewn with stuff. (Our garage is under the house and opens to the backyard, so we never part there. We use it for storage, and we keep a stack of wood for our woodburner in it.) We spent part of one day cleaning it all out in anticipation of a wet floor. So, we're ready for the thaw!

5~ Justin, Alicia and I picked up all the piles of dog poop that were in the yard. That's always a big project in the spring because it accumulates all winter long. I am so glad for my helpers. Because of them another big job is crossed off the to-do list.

6~ Justin has finally grasped the fact that he can read. We've had a fun time the past few days "texting" each other on his magna-doodle. All those tears earlier in the year were worth it!

7~ Alicia is also finally grasping the concept that she isn't as dumb as she thought when it comes to math. She actually asked to do more math today because she likes it. Just a few weeks ago it was all tears and emotion. Thank you, Jesus for this change in attitude!

8~ Because I don't feel like grocery shopping when Wayne gets home from work (due to the one-vehicle situation), we've been using up some of the odd things in our pantry/freezer. It's good to have a bit of elbow room in there.

9~ I've been saving old pairs of jeans to make a quilt for our bed. I noticed that I have quite a pile of them, so I've been cutting them up. First I cut all the good material off them. I have a big tote full of good material, so I guess it's time to start cutting out some squares! Maybe I'll have it done in time for a Christmas present for Wayne. (Planning ahead never hurt anyone, right?!?)

10~ Now that the weather is warmer outside, it's also warmer in our basement where my "office" is located. When winter comes, my computer moves upstairs because it can get down to 47 degrees in our room. Brrrrr! But now that it's warmer down there, I took some time to clean up the mess that accumulates on my desk over the course of a winter. (It's akin to the mess we cleaned up in the garage now that it's warmer out there!) My desk is now so much more inviting to sit at.

11~ I've been enjoying the book "Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret." It's a great read. Very insightful, and very challenging.

12~ That's it for this week "in our home." Hope your coming week is a great one!