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:

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!"


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.


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."


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:

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.


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: .

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: 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

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

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

Asher, their ministries, street boys

street boys, a song in Swahili, prayer requests

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