Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I thought I would share the thoughts that I wrote down in my journal today.

Proverbs 28:13
He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

We are all walking wounded.  Some of us project it onto everyone else around us expecting them to be responsible for healing our wounds.  Some of us withhold ourselves from others in an effort to never be wounded again.  And some of us are those rare beautifully, wounded people who expose their wounds and allow others to see not only the wound but the Great Healer at work in them.
I yearn to be that person who humbly confesses my wounds and deals with them.  Who authentically allows others to see my scars, weaknesses, infirmities and festuring sores without regard to self.  With regard alone for my Father and for love of others.
I think my intention is right but my flesh is weak.  I find myself responding to situations with little ability to express this deeper motive.  Often I find that my own selfishness betrays my true heart and my love cannot be seen.  When I deal in relationship with another I see that so many times what I thought was love is not and true love often contains tremendous sacrifice and pain.
I'm reminded of how Jesus was completely exposed on the cross.  Of how his most loving act was his greatest pain.  What am I to gain from this knowledge?  That I too will pain stakingly sacrifice and be exposed?  If I am to truly live for him this is my lot, if not here, in the next life I will be exposed.
For Jesus his exposure was that of the fulfillment of prophesy, of great hope and truth.  For me as I carry my own cross the exposure is that of great sin  and shame.  The truth still remains in this and all things, I do not carry that cross alone.  I do not labor to rid myself of that terrible sin and shame.  I do not turn the other cheek of my own strength.  All of these are only done through him that lives in me.
I prayed today that the Father would help me to see accurately.  My selfishness and pride prevent me from really seeing.  I asked that God would remove the fog and help me to see in clarity as far as he wills me to see.  If I am in the way I prayed he would break down that selfishness and replace it with a heart that is completely surrendered to him.
I don't know what this life is suppose to look like.  I often find that I have these moments of almost being able to see and grasp just a bit of the enormity of my hidden life in the Lord.  Then in an instant I am back in the flesh battling again to get a glimpse.  Praise be that I do not have to struggle and fight alone, the way is already paved and bought.  I simply must choose to follow it no matter how hard and narrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What's Your Reference Point?

I love small phrases that remind me of big things.  When I am in a trying moment I am most helped by a few key words that can remind me of the truth.  A new phrase I am adding to my arsenal of wordy helpers is, what's your reference point?  Too many times I get caught up in an issue and I forget what the reference point is.  The reference point is the heart of an issue, the truth of the matter, the center of something. Take this morning when one of my children spilled blueberry smoothie on the floor my reference point should have been to point to the Lord's will in this and all things.  Yet, I was tempted to have my reference point be my emotions.  They were along the lines of, great now I have a giant mess to clean up, wasn't this child suppose to be sitting!!!  But, if I stop and say what's my reference point I am brought back into line with the truth.  In this circumstance the truth is, this is a child who just made a mistake, she can learn from it and clean it up.  Coach her and encourage her.  Praise the Lord, I was able to overcome my emotional response and directed the child to clean up the mess, reminding her it was not big deal.  This is a little example, but I look forward to using this phrase to help me find the truth and heart of the matter in bigger issues that arise. 

As I have been thinking on how to apply this phrase to more issues I am finding that my reference point is often what leads me to sin.  When I have a situation arise where God is asking me to sacrifice my reference point is often selfishness instead of sacrificially serving as my Saviour modeled for me.  I also find that I struggle with the temptation to respond out of an ignorant reference point where I seek my own experiences to make sense of the things.  This is foolishness on my part.  There will be so many things that I won't understand.   I will need to forsake my reference point of thinking I must understand and trade it in for a reference point of trusting the Lord in all things.  It is truly exciting to think that such a simple few words put together could have such a profound impact on how I respond to the trials of life.  What a joy it is to have the Lord bless me with this bit of revelation this morning!  Perhaps it will encourage others to find their reference point in the face of temptation.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dairy Free Menu Ideas

About a month ago we found out our little Gretta is pasteurized-dairy intolerant.  So I've been working on a dairy-free diet.  It is going much better than I expected.  I thought I would share some of the meals we've found that work for us.

  • 7-grain hot cereal (Bob's Red Mill is what we like), I will add cocoa powder, some sweetener (either turbinado sugar or honey), and rice milk, mmmm...it tastes like hot chocolate
  • oatmeal with blueberries
  • granola and rice milk
  • pancakes with sausage
  • pancake sandwiches (pb & honey)
  • omelets & toast (great way to sneak some vegies in with breakfast)
  • poached egg on toast with avocado
  • smoothies (spinach, frozen berries, oj, rice milk, spirulina, fish oil & ginger)

  • tuna in a whole wheat pita pocket with lettuce and cut up vegies
  • cooked chicken strips on a whole wheat wrap with salad & homemade dressing, cut up vegies on the side
  • soup (alphabet, minestrone or cream of vegie), toast and salad
  • peanut butter banana panini
  • bean burritos (pinto or black beans, salsa, taco seasoning & spinach) on a whole wheat wrap
  • breakfast burritos (eggs and salsa in a whole wheat wrap)
  • fried egg sandwiches
  • scrambles eggs, cut up vegies and toast
  • Teriyaki stir fry and brown rice
  • vegetable & meat curry over rice
  • black beans & rice
  • quiche
  • pizza pasta (sauteed vegies, chicken sausage & spaghetti sauce over whole wheat penne & then baked)
  • roast chicken & vegetables
  • roast beef & vegetables
  • stew
  • chicken legs & baked potatoes w/ salad and cooked vegie
  • tacos (minus the cheese and sour cream!)
  • teriyaki salmon, roasted sweet potatoes, salad and cooked vegie
  • fried rice
  • venison burgers with roasted mushrooms, potatoes, salad and a vegie
  • dried fruit & nuts
  • fruit
  • chips & salsa
  • pb & apples
  • pita chips, vegetable and hummus
  • vegie straws
  • cashew nut clusters from Costco
My goal is to get as many nutrients in our family simply.  As our family grows, I am finding my time is less and less available to cook.  These are all pretty simple items that use many of the same ingredients so I don't have to stock a pantry and freezer with too many different items.  Here are some surprisingly great items that we've tried lately.

  • Earth Balance butter substitute, it tastes just as good as butter to me!
  • Spike seasoning, we've been flavoring our meat with this
  • The Griddler by Cuisinart, we do burgers, salmon, sandwiches, pancakes and so much more on this
  • Vegie Straws from Costco, these taste like chips without the bad stuff (they're still not great for us so there treats)
  • Rice Milk - Pete and I have been enjoying coffee drinks in the morning and this takes the place of milk without a flavor concession
  • Cashew Nut Clusters from Costco, these are so nummy!  A great treat if you like nuts & sweets
  • Chicken sausage, there are so many different flavors, we like spicy for black beans, italian for pasta and garlic for our quiche.  Costco has some but, Trader Joe's has the greatest variety.
  • Indian food.  Pete and I recently went to an Indian restaurant.  It was fabulous and had so many great flavors.  I have been trying to incorporate curry, turmeric and coconut milk into more of our cooking.  It's a fun way to liven up some of our dishes.
  • Sprouted bread from Trader Joe's

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Life seems to be an endless cycle of monotony.  Each day I will get hungry and need to eat something then in about 4 hours I will be hungry again and need to eat and then get hungry again and need to eat.  I will sleep and then wake each day at about the same times for the rest of my life.  About every 24 hours I will require a shower.  I will pay bills once a month until I die.  Most of the things I spend my time doing are things that are cyclical and ever so monotonous!  Some of these things are enjoyable and others are a chore but, the truth is most of them are a part of my life I just need to come to content terms with them.  I caught myself saying to Pete tonight, "I have trained the children several times on how to take a shower, at what point have I trained enough that they remember to put the shower curtain in the shower!"  Training my children is so many times monotonous and it seems to be never ending.  What's a mama to do when these cycles begin to cause me to grow weary?  During these moments I realize I must, "vent vertically," as our Pastor, Mark Bowen would say.  I need to cry out to God to relieve my troubled heart of wrong attitudes and strengthen me, motivate me and comfort me.  The second thing that I need to do is find my head and follow it.  My head is my husband and God has blessed us married women with problem solvers.  When my perspective is skewed my husband is usually willing to help me adjust it and help me to fix my problems.  In the past when I've gone to my husband and spoken to him about feeling worn down from training he will often have me do something completely unexpected and what I would never think of.  The funny thing is that many times his ways, that seem so foreign to me, work!  One of the last things that I am reminded that I must do in this season of training and excess monotony is that I must stay encouraged.  Whether that be spending some time laughing with a girlfriend, reading an encouraging book, or simply refreshing with a fun movie.  Throwing something new, different, unscheduled and out of the ordinary into my routine often yields tremendous rewards.
Ahh....I feel so much better just remembering that my life is not completely monotonous and boring!   Maybe tomorrow we'll eat hot dogs for breakfast and play in the snow all day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Burden vs. Load

Galations 6:2-4
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  3If you anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  4Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load.

I recently attended a conference at church that spoke about these verses.  I have often thought on these verses and what I can do help others in need but, I realize now I have been blind to the plain truth it contains.  When a burden comes into a persons life, this is something that cannot be dealt with alone.  The problem is larger than the person and we should instantly and sympathetically help them.  However there is a time when a person must carry their own responsibilities, their load.  A load could be defined as what we can handle on our own.  Generally speaking we are responsible and can provide for our families, parent our children and do everyday sort of things without calling in help. I realize there is some gray here, I am speaking to the clear areas.

This was a beautiful truth to really understand.  There is a freedom in knowing what is my responsibility as a Christ follower and what is not.  I find that it is so easy to entertain confusion when it comes to verses like these because the needs of others usually evoke an emotional response in me.  If I am not careful to evaluate the response in my heart and compare it to the truth of the Bible and the bottom line of the situation I can often embark with good intentions but wrong motive.  God has patiently been working on me in this area.  Clarity is still an elusive emotion and thought, but I find that if I stop, pray and seek out the word and wise counsel clarity is much easier to see in these issues that arise.

Lately I have been taking these verses a little closer to home.  Each day it seems there are numerous times I need to evaluate whether I am responding to a situation and treating it as a burden or a load.  When it comes to being a wife and mother I see that I often try and take on other people's loads and bug off what I don't want to deal with on others as a burden instead of dealing with it as my load.  There are times when I try so hard to control the actions of my husband or children and carry their load.  This is such and awkward and unnatural way to live with my family!  When I try and do my husbands job, make his decisions and put my will in his way God's law and order gets turned upside down and I drive my man away!  When I expect the children to act like adults and I try and carry their walk with the Lord and responsibilities for them the results are horrible! The child feels beat up because they can't please Mom and a they can't stand up under any pressure because I have been doing the work they should be doing to grow into responsible adults.

Our culture has this truth desperately backwards.  We have a new generation of men and women who can't work or manage their money because they've never carried their own load before.  We have parents and husbands and wives that make each other's lives miserable because they refuse to live in the order that God has ordained and to take personal responsibility.   We see people looking to unload their loads on anyone that they can and we see others never allowing someone to help them with their burdens.  It's heartbreaking to see that people are in so much pain because of their inability to stand up under the pressure of their own load.  It's just as disheartening to see people with unbearable burdens that no one else will help them with because their too bogged down by the messes they have themselves in.

These verses has been a tremendous reminder to me that I must carry the load God has planned for me.  The thing I find most ironic is that my load is so light when I am carrying the Load Jesus gives me instead of the one I think I should be carrying.  When I am living in what is meant for me, I have time to help with other's burdens.  In that I find much joy.  We were not created to live simply for ourselves but for the glory of our Father.  We bring so much glory to Him when we help others with their burdens. 

As women it is so easy to take on what is not ours to carry and burnout.  We must always be testing our actions to bring them into line with what God would have us do.  We are not to have lives where we crash and burn ever few days from the overwhelming pressure we put on ourselves.  We are meant to be victorious in Jesus' power!  Ladies let us embrace His truth, and His power and live in the peace of carrying what was only meant for us to carry!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let Your Children Vote Too!

Today is election day.  At our house we talk about why it is so very important to vote and to elect people that share the same beliefs that we do.  To make this important day stand out we have done a couple of things you may want to do with your family.  The first is that we always bring our children to the poll with us.  We have them walk through the process with us.  The other thing we did today was conducted our own poll on what to have for dinner.  I hand wrote a ballot for each child.  On the ballot was appetizer, main dish, side and dessert options.  Under each one I wrote 3 options and then had the children vote for what they wanted to win the election.  It was great fun and a neat way to highlight our nations election process.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beef Stew

This morning I got a pot of stew in the oven and the house smells so good. It would be great if I could bottle this scent! This is a great recipe for a day when you know you will be at home, it's blustery cold out and you want to knock the socks off your family with a savory meal. There are a couple of keys to a great stew, the first is that you dredge the meat in seasoned flour and brown it. The second is using a cast iron pan in a low-heat oven.

2# beef stew meat (you can cut up a chuck roast, steaks or other roast as well)
1/2c flour
1tsp. salt
1/4tsp pepper
1tsp. paprika
2T olive oil
2T butter
4c beef broth (I use 4c water + 1T beef base)
1c red wine
1-14oz can stewed or diced tomatoes(we hate chunks of tomatoes so I whip in the mini chopper)
1tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1tsp garlic cloves, minced
fresh ground pepper
carrots, potatoes, onions and peas to preference, pealed & chopped in the same size pieces as the beef

Heat the pot well, over med heat so you don't burn the oil and  butter. Cut up beef. Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a plastic zip bag. Put meat in bag and coat well with flour mix. Place 1T butter and olive oil in pan, brown half the meat and remove to plate. Do with other half of oil, butter and meat. Remove all the meat. Add water, beef base, wine, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, garlic and fresh ground pepper, bring to boil (make sure to mix well and scrape the beautiful bits of crusty meat, butter and flour off the bottom). Once it has boiled add meat and stick in 250 degree oven, the longer the better! A couple of hours before you are ready to serve the meal add the vegetables, I like to taste the juice at this point to see if it needs any salt. Potatoes always taste better if salt is added when they cook, not after. Cook an additional couple of hours. Cornbread and a salad or coleslaw is a great accompaniment for this. The stew is terribly hot when you take it out of the oven, so it can stand to sit while you bake your cornbread.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who am I?

Our church has been reading the book, 30 Days to Live. One thought that has struck me in this book is that our society promotes mediocrity focusing on improving our weakness's. We tend to try and bring our weakness's up to average and ignore our strengths. During my quiet time this morning I wrote in my journal who I am and my strengths. It was so encouraging! So many times I foolishly look around me to see what I should be instead of looking clearly at what I have already been made. I would highly suggest each person take a few minutes to evaluate who they were made to be in strength and be encouraged. Just for fun here is what I came up with.

I am a daughter of the great King Jesus, excited to proclaim his truth and encourage my sisters in His word. Contemplating His truth, design, and order drive me to obey Him and submit. How I love to safely be in His fold, obeying His laws. I am thankful for my heavenly Father and the freedom I have in His law.

I am a wife who loves to encourage and challenge her husband in submission to his authority. I enjoy serving him so he can be free to do and be who God wills him to be. I love to joyfully create an atmosphere for my man to rest and and be refreshed by.

I am a mother gifted in teaching, loving to watch my children grow in their individual relationships Jesus. I enjoy creating a healthy, disciplined environment for my girls to thrive securely in.

I am a daughter and friend grateful for the beautiful relationships around me. I am honest, maybe too honest with those around me! Serving those near me brings me great joy especially if I can feed them, or enourage them with the Lord's truth.

Eating well, living healthfully, cooking, reading, quilting and trying new things with Pete and the girls are some of my personal interests. I especially like to read books that grow me and challenge me or teaching me something new. I like relaxing, coffee and being helpful. It is a trial to be waited on! I like pedicures, good deals and Jane Austin style British movies. I am blissful for the first 5 minutes after the house has been completely cleaned.

I also know what I am not. I am not casual, as much as I may try my strength does not lie in small talk, and being laid back. I love children but I do not enjoy managing many of them at the same time, I am easily overwhelmed.

Take the time to really look at your strengths and design. I hope you'll be as encouraged as I am!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Practicing For Eternity

Submit: To surrender; to yield one's person to the power of another; to give up resistance. Websters 1828 Dictionary

Obey: To comply with the commands, orders, or instructions of a superior.

Websters 1828

Obedience: Doing what your told, when your told with a good attitude

Kim Doebler

On more than one occasion I have heard that we can think of this life as the training grounds for eternity. This has always sounded reasonable to me, but I have never really thought on it much, until today. As I was talking with a friend about submitting to our husbands the thought struck me that our submission in our earthly marriage is our training ground for our submission to our eternal husband. In addition it is one of our most obvious pictures of God's relationship played out in an earthly relationship.
As believers in Jesus Christ we have many opportunities to speak for him and to model his love in action. Perhaps the most striking models of His love and character will be in our marriages and parenting. On our own we can have his traits and show them, but in our relationship with others we truly reflect the relationship principles of the Lord. God is always working in triune relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In most relationships on earth their is a triune as well. If you have a healthy relationship under God it will reflect the beauty and freedom of living within a chain of command and triune.
Marriage is an excellent example of God's order. At the tip of the triune triangle is God, one corner is the husband and the other corner is women. Man and women both point toward and live under God, with women taking direction and submitting to God and man. When each component of this model is in the proper place amazing things happen. Men are free to be who they were created to be and are able to live up to God's commands. Women are protected and free to do what they were created to do without struggling to usurp power. God is honored and enjoyed!
Often times when we speak of submitting to another sinful human (our husbands) I hear the underlying attitude of, "how can I submit to HIM, HE can't do anything right and will surely lead me into ruin, my agenda will not be considered and things will just not work!" or perhaps there is the blatant statement I've heard as well, "well, he is just not the leading type, he just doesn't do anything, what am I suppose to do nothing?" I think it's interesting that God in his divine word does not put exceptions on women respecting and submitting. He doesn't tell us that we only have to submit to a natural born leader, or a decisive man. He simply tells us to respect and submit to the man He has joined us with. Our job is not to be judge of whether our husband's are capable of leading, it is simply to follow and obey no matter what the circumstance or situation save if we are asked to go against God's laws.
When we do get the courage and power from the Holy Spirit to submit to the sinful man He's joined us with how do we start? I clearly remember when I chose to start submitting to Pete no matter what the outcome would be. It was a trial for me to truly believe that things would work out for the best. In my heart I was not able to see how submission would work, but I chose to believe God's word and submit anyway. When a decision needed to be made I wouldn't make it. When something needed to be done I wouldn't nag I would try and sweetly as possible mention it and then I chose at every opportunity to believe that my husband would do well and to encourage. The results were astounding. My mild mannered, quiet go with the flow man suddenly turned into a vibrant, more confident man who got things accomplished. I don't recall the individual items that he did that didn't get done before or the specifics. I just recall how my attitude changed towards him. Where I had not had hope in him, now I did and where I thought he was "not the leading type" I realized he was!
After several years of growing in submission to my husband I can truly say that God's way works. I believe that God blessed my submission and Pete's willingness to lead. With great conviction I believe that God will take a poor decision made by a husband in his effort to lead and bless it. If his wife submits and is humble to the husbands leading, again I have seen the Lord blesses the situation. It is a true comfort and need of mothers and wives to have a man who will make the decisions and shoulder the responsibility. I can't count the times I have struggled with a parenting issue, teaching problem or relationship dilemma where Pete has been able to step in and shed light and wisdom on the situation. Guaranteed if I was to proceed on my own there would not be nearly as much success. I simply have too many emotions that lead me astray, my husband brings clarity!
I love the lessons that I have learned over the years in submitting to Pete. However, I know that I have only begun to see what a true heart of respect and obedience looks like. I have so far to go, yet I trust that God will continue to grow me in this area as I choose to obey and submit moment by moment.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Overwhelmed and Tired

I confess I did not get up on time this morning, when I did finally get up I wasn't completely ready to great my little ones for the day. In all truth I still just want to crawl back in bed and take a nap. This is one of those days where I ask myself a hundred time, "how am I going to make it through!"

As a wife, disciple, mother and homeschool teacher the demands of the day can look terrifying at times. Most days are manageable and I can look at them with confidence, on the other days, I need something more than motivation. I would like to think a shot of espresso could do this, but that's not strong enough. The only thing that can get me through days like these is the Lord's power. Often times after evaluating where the exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed are coming from a realization strikes me, I have not been living in His power. On my own I tend to frantically rush from one to do item to the next and get frustrated when something comes between me and checking off things on my list. Is this the same list the Lord would have for me? Umm...probably not. His standards are not human standards.

A human believes she can get up at the crack of dawn; take a quick shower and end up looking radiant; cook wholesome delectable meals; have a spotless house; teach an exciting, educationally stimulating school day; manage the families extra activities with vibrancy and grace; serve each and every person she sees in need; and still have time left over to love on her man and keep him enthralled with her! Written here I know this sounds so stupid, but honestly in my power, of my standard this really is what I expect. His word places a high standard before us, but the truth is, it is not to be met by us in our power. In His strength, of His will and in His timing we can accomplish what He has before us. If I am willing to put aside these silly expectations and ask him to be in each part of my day so much more gets done. When I give Him the first place on my agenda and in my heart, he makes my day stretch to so much more than I could ever do alone! Yet, I find that I fall into my old ladies ways of trying to control it myself.

Having a quiet time to start the day is the first decision that leads to a more peace filled day. It isn't a cure all as I still can feel like there are a million things to fit into a little bit of time. It amazes me how God really does answer prayer. If I can remember to stop fretting and being anxious and get on my knees and let go, God answers and blesses that release. I laid all of the days worries and frustrations at the Lord's feet and he took care of it today. What a relief it was to look back at two completely different portions of the day. The beginning was stressful, frustrating and awkward in my power. After I prayed I got done way more than I could have imagined and felt re-energized. Thank You Lord, for showing me in such an obvious way so quickly that your plan is so much better than mine!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Roast Chicken

One of our families favorite meals is roast chicken. This is by far one of the most economical, healthy and delicious meals I have been able to figure out. On average a chicken is about $3.50 and the vegetables are inexpensive as are the seasonings. Here is how we cook it:

1 whole chicken
1t salt
1/2t pepper
1/2t each herb assortment whatever you have on hand I tend to use summer savory, thyme, oregano, parsley
extra virgin olive oil
(any other root veggie you have around)

Make sure your chicken is good and thawed. Clean it out in the sink and discard the innards and bags of stuff. I haven't figured out how to use the insides yet, if you know please tell me so I can squeeze a few more pennies out of this bird. Once the bird is clean put it in a good sized roasting pan. I really like to use a stoneware pan or cast iron for this dish. Start by pouring olive oil on the bird and spreading it everywhere (about 2-4T). Make sure to get the cavity. Then mix your herbs and seasonings together and scrub all over the bird. Be generous with the seasonings and herbs if you run out of mixed herbs and think the bird is not covered well, make more! Stuff the inside of the bird with aromatics such as an orange, lemon, onion or shallot cut in quarters. These help to keep the bird moist from the inside. Cut up your veggies and mix with salt, pepper, olive oil and thyme. Spread around bird. Bake 425 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the bird is 170 degrees.

Take the juices and put in a saucepan to make gravy. Mix the juice with a bit of water maybe 1c and boil. Mix 2T of arrowroot powder or cornstarch with enough cold water to make a paste. Whisk into boiling juice and continue to whisk until it is thick. You probably won't need any additional seasonings, but try it first. If needed add some salt and pepper.

Once your meal has been devoured take all the leftover meat off the bones and use for chicken quesodilla's tomorrow at lunch. Or cut up the leftover veggies and chicken, mix with the gravy and make a pot pie. Better yet, you can take the broth that you'll make out of the bones and make soup.

To make broth: Put the bones in a crock pot. You can add an onion, carrot and celery with a bay leaf or just do the bones and cover with water. Leave on low overnight or for at least 12 hours. Strain and freeze or refrigerate.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our Children Love School!

We are in the first of our 3 weeks of school break. I asked the children what they wanted to do this morning and everyone wanted to stay home and play. What a blessing! As I am sitting here typing my oldest daughter is "teaching" her sisters. Of all the things they could do with a free morning they decided to play school! I hear my words coming out of my eldest daughters mouth and my younger ones are listening. What a joy to hear my girls playing together.

Most days school is not a huge chore and we all get along well. But, there are the other days that make me question my ability to teach the girls and their ability to learn from me. My utmost desire in schooling them is to prepare them for whatever God has in store for their lives. I want them to have a love of learning not so they can be master academics rather, that they love to learn about our Lord and Saviour. It's moments like these that I lift up my hands in praise to the Lord that He has decided to show me some fruit in the lives of these little girls. Yippee, they like school!!!

So what have I done to get to this moment? Nothing, if I have done anything it has probably been hindering the children from enjoyment and delight in learning. The only thing that can be known from this is that God is faithful when we ask him to be the Principal and source of all our knowledge whether in school or otherwise. I must continue to lift up each day of our learning and school and leave it in the only capable hands, His hands.

As we enjoy this break in our schooling I will remember to praise God for these glimpses of fruit and ask that he be in each part of our day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

I love this time of year. We are able to eat fresh from the garden and enjoy the fruits of our labor. My father gardens much more than we do here, and we often get to enjoy the fruits of his garden too. This year he had an abundance of spaghetti squash. In the past our family has tried to eat spaghetti squash but we just never enjoyed the taste of it. This year we tried it a couple of new ways and found that we love it prepared these ways. Here are the recipes.

Marinara Baked Spaghetti Squash
This is super easy and tasty. I baked the squash at 400 degrees until it was soft (about a hour). In the meantime I browned a lb of hamburger and added a jar of natural spaghetti sauce, some Italian seasonings (oregano, basil, a little garlic powder etc.). Let this simmer while the squash bakes. Remove the squash from oven and cut in half carefully it's HOT. Remove the seeds. Now you should have 2 hollowed out pieces of squash. Put the sauce in, top with cheese parmesan or mozzarella or both. Bake until bubbly. Pete and I both agree that we prefer this over regular spaghetti noodles. It was a hit with our children too.

Stir Fry and squash noodles
here we just made a traditional stir fry. We baked the squash and shred it into "noodles". Then we served the stir fry over the plain noodles. Another hit.

The think I like most about these recipes is that they are so healthy. They are a great way to get several servings of vegetables into our diet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I heart Teriyaki Sauce

Well it's finally happened I have found the perfect sauce. In a book I picked up from the library I found this recipe for Teriyaki sauce and I've been using it for everything from stir fry, to sesame green beans to chinese burritos. My family is patiently waiting for me to come out of my euphoric state of taste and move onto to other recipes, but I don't see this happening anytime soon. So for now I'm dousing every fresh summer veggie I can get my hands on with this delightfully sweet and salty sauce. I would like to keep the recipe and bribe people with it as I do believe I could ransom affections with it, but since I am trying to maintain my christian morals, I will pass it on.

Teriyaki Sauce (from More Freezer Recipes)
2c soy sauce (I finally had to give in and buy the gallon jug at Costco!)
2c sugar (I have been using Turbinado sugar which is unprocessed sugar)
1c mirin (okay, I don't know where to get this or what it is, I have used wine and apple juice as a substitution)
2t fresh ginger (I have used dried and it tastes great)
2t fresh garlic
Combine all in pot and simmer until dissolved together. This will store for several months in the fridge. It doesn't last that long here!

Here are some recipes I have used it with:

Stir fry- fry up some cut up chicken or beef, remove from pan and add a variety of fresh veggies when they are crisp tender add in the meat, pour on a generous amount of sauce and serve over brown rice

Sesame green beans-take a Tblsp. or two of sesame seeds and roast in a dry pan on stove. Remove and add some frozen green beans (fresh if ya' got em') with a bit of water and steem just until hot. Pour out water. Add a bit of olive oil and fry in hot oven a couple of min until the beans start to brown just a bit. Pour on some sesame oil, sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. My kiddos think these are candy.

Chinese Burritos-Brown a # of hamburger, add 8 oz sliced bella mushrooms when the mushrooms have fried a bit add a bag of coleslaw mix (or make your own, simply shred 1/2 a head of cabbage with a few carrots) and cook until the coleslaw is tender crisp. Add 1/2 a bottle of hoisin sauce and enough teriyaki to coat everything generously. I like to add a bit of sesame oil as well. Place in heated ww tortillas wrap and enjoy with some fresh fruit. This is a healthy light summer dinner, one of our families favorites.

This makes a great marinade as well. Next on my to try list is steak kabobs marinated in teriyaki.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Suprnatural Love

It's been a long trying summer. My words have been stifled and few. Words generally run rampant in my mind and onto paper, I am sure they will return soon. In the meantime here is an excellant post from Femina. Please do check it out.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mother's Prayer

I read this prayer in Home-Making by J.R. Miller, written in 1882. I think I may print this and put it up where I can see it daily so I remember to take each of my trials to the Lord.

"My mind was ruled with small cares today,
And I said pettish words, and did not keep
Long-suffering patience well; and now how deep
My trouble for this sin! In vain I weep
For foolish words I never can unsay.
Yet not in vain, oh, surely not in vain!
This sorrow must compel me to take heed:
And surely I shall learn how much I need
Thy constant strength my own to supersede,
and all my thoughts to patience to constrain.
Yes, I shall learn at last though I neglect
Day after day to seek my help from thee.
Oh, aid me, that I may always recollect
This gentle-heartedness and oh, correct
Whatever else of sin thou seest in me."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Praying for our Husbands: His Fatherhood

Pray that your husband becomes a father in the image of his Father in heaven. Pray that he has the strength, wisdom, discernment, love and proper priorities to raise up children who love the Lord. Pray that god would be evident in the leading, training and disciplining of his children.

Verses to pray:

Psalm 103:13
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.
Psalm 127:3-6
Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Proverbs 23:24-26
The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise don delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice! My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.
Proverbs 4:1
Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
Hebrews 12:10-11
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Malachi 4:6
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.
Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Proverbs 13:24
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
Proverbs 29:17
Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Praying for our Husbands: Future Generations

Recently I have been convicted of my need to pray God's word for my husband. As my husband is pulled in so many different directions and has to balance so many things, I see the need to really be praying for him during this season of life. Work, children, wife, church, friendships and responsibilities all vie for his time and attention. I know that lifting him up in prayer is powerful and able to encourage him to be in the Lord's will in each area of his life.

Isaiah 55:11 says, "So my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." In lifting up my husband to the Lord I know that powerful things will happen. We need to be praying what we know the Lord's will is, and we can tell his will by his word. In a spirit of wanting to obey the Lord I have found some verses to pray for my husband in regards to his future generations. I have listed them here if you would like to pray them as well. I will continue to post verses to pray in several areas of our husband's lives as I get them put together. I pray that this will spur and motivate wives to really invest in their husbands by taking each and every aspect of their lives to the Lord in prayer.

Pray for your husbands posterity. Pray that his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all future generations would have lives firmly rooted in the Lord. Pray that your husband's legacy would be one of great love for the Lord and that each successive generation would grow stronger in their faith for God's glory.

Proverbs 20:7 The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.
Luke 1:50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
Psalm 103:17-18 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him; and his righteousness with their children's children---with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
Proverbs 14:26 He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves and inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dangerous Women

I found this blog through Visionary Womanhood http://visionarywomanhood.blogspot.com/ about what it means to be the right kind of dangerous woman. Worth the read! Here is the link to Femina http://www.feminagirls.com/2010/05/29/dangerous-women/#more-1762. I hope you take a minute to be encouraged to be dangerous.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Baking Bread & Our Thoughts

Each week as I use yeast to do my bread baking, it triggers all kinds of verses in my mind. The one that most often comes to mind is, "Be careful," Jesus said to them, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." Matthew 16:6. I don't have a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees around me but I do have plenty of questionable influences that would love to plant a few grains of yeast in mind and have them multiply.

If you have ever watched yeast sponge it is really an amazing process. You simply place a few things in a bowl and voila, it grows like no ones business multiplying it's volume over and over. There are a couple of things that must be present for that yeast to multiply, one is the sugar, it has to feed off of something and the other is the warm water, not too hot, not too cold but really it just needs to be warm, there is room for fluctuation. I often think of how our minds are like that bowl. Once the yeast is put in the bowl and fed, it's off and growing. When we allow the world to enter our mind, just like the yeast it's views start to take over and multiply. If we give it the right conditions and food it will advance even quicker.

I love that this verse is so often brought up in my baking day because it keeps me vigilant to keep the bowl of my mind clean. We can feed off of so many good foods for thought, like Bible verses, praise and worship songs, pure and lovely truths, thankfulness and many more. Even easier is the allowance of the world into our thoughts and to unknowingly feed the grains of yeast it plants. The toughest battles we will face in our spiritual walk will be in the battlefield of our minds. The enemy knows just the right amount of ingredients to place in our thoughts. He doesn't even need to make them grow as we generally feed the grains of yeast he places. Unless we purposefully take control of our minds we will lose many battles.

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." We must ask for the Holy Spirit to help us in being vigilant to keep our thought lives pure and full of truth. The second we notice a grain of the enemies yeast being deposited, or we begin to think an untruth we must stop and clean house immediately. Take inventory of your thoughts when your emotions start to grow frustrated, angry, critical, depressed, condemning, judgemental, hurt or selfish. If you are experiencing poor emotions it is probably due to faulty thinking. Are you thinking poorly of your husband, children, family, friend? STOP! Take a step back and be willing to fight for the truth and the state of your mind. Pull out the word and see what it says about forgiveness, long-suffering, perseverance and unconditional love. You probably need to get rid of a little yeast!

One challenge I come up against continually is the temptation to think pridefully and selfishly. I often get frustrated when the children, well act like children and when my husband, well acts like a man! There are a couple of things I try and remember at these moments. One thing I ask myself is, "am I believing the best about this person?" The truth is generally that a child did not act foolishly to spite me, it was just that, foolishness. But it is my responsibility to correct them. When I act out my anger and frustrations because my plans and expectations are derailed it is no longer the child's problem or sin I am dealing with but mine! The other area I find myself fighting often is in the area of how I view my husband. More than I like I get a little self-righteous and out of place with my husband. I forget that God has put him over me and I begin to think that maybe Pete should get on my agenda! Many times it might be something around the house that I would like to see done differently or on a different time line and I will take that thought and hash it up nice and good in my mind until I have convinced myself he is just out to get me! This is a perfect example of letting one little grain of yeast grow. When I start to see this, I may be watering and sugaring these yeasty thoughts. I try and stop and remind myself that, "this is his house, not mine, I am to be his helper, he is not my helper!" Now this doesn't always make me feel better right away, but I praise the Lord for continually bringing to mind this verse in these times, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jer. 17:9. Our thoughts should follow truth and in turn our emotions will follow as well. Do not let your feelings be the starting point, the truth must be the starting point, then we act on that truth and in time our emotions will follow it.

A little yeast runs through the entire batch of dough and causes it to rise. This is great thing for bread, but not for our minds! Ladies, we must turn from the belief that we should follow our feelings and let our thoughts lead us. We must be on our guard. The beauty of purposeful, truthful thinking is that we are free to see truth and the fruit of that truth. If we are continually thinking and believing lies we miss the opportunity to live in a pure conscience and heart. There is not greater joy than to know truth and rest in it!

As a continual reminder of how to keep our thought lives holy, maybe you too would like to bake some bread. Here is our families staple recipe.

Whole Wheat Bread

1/3c Honey

1/3c Olive Oil

2 1/2c warm water

2T Yeast

2 1/2t Salt

6-7C Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2T Dough Enhancer

Combine the warm water, yeast & 2C flour in mixing bowl (if you have a mixer with a dough hook). Allow to sponge for 15 min. Add honey, oil, dough enhancer, salt & 4-5C additional flour. You want to start mixing it and when it just starts to clean the bowl then you have enough flour. Knead the dough on med-low speed for 6 mins. At the same time turn the oven on to 200 degrees. When the dough is done kneading split in 2 loaves, shape and place in oiled bread pans. Place in warm oven, turn off heat and let rise for 30 mins or until about doubled. When risen, turn oven onto 350 degrees and bake for about 35 minutes. Just leave the bread in the oven and set the timer for 35 minutes as the oven pre-heats. The bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow. Cool and Enjoy!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Just Do Something

I loved this book by Kevin DeYoung, "Just do Something a Liberating Approach to finding God's Will." I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in finding the Lord's will in their life. I was able to find this book on Abebooks.com, which sells used or like new books at a discount.

Mr. DeYoung writes in a very easy to read encouraging style. His humor and humility lead us not to feel condemned for our wavering ways, rather they left me feeling encouraged and confident. I pray that many more people will pick up a copy of this book and put into action the principles it highlights. It is refreshing and freeing to know that we can make confident decisions without so much hyper-spiritualized mulling.

I can't say enough good things about this book, so I won't try! This is definitely one to add to your library.

One of THOSE Mornings

You know the morning, the one where you have every intention of being graceful, calm, loving and purposeful. The morning when you expect your little ones to sweetly get up and give you a kiss and then be the picture of perfection. The morning when the sun shines and the day flows smoothly from one peaceful moment to the next. You know that morning right? Well that was suppose to be this morning and we were well on our way until I got out of bed and the cares of the world started to pummel me! I am so thankful that I have the words of my dear Lord to sustain me on days like this.
You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Nehemiah 9:17
God is so good to forgive me, to show me compassion, to not anger quickly with me and to love me. On days like these may I be the same to the little ladies in my care.
A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
How thankful I am that if I pray and seek wisdom like hidden treasure the Lord will generously give it. By the Holy Spirits power I can be patient and overlook the offenses to my feelings. These little ones must see a momma who is patient even when they are bound up in sin!
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
My hope and strength must be from the Lord on mornings like these. In him I can be strong and renewed. I must not have my expectations set on the actions of children but rather have hope stayed on my strengthener, my protector, my Saviour.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
Thank you Lord that you remind me of the great call you have on my life. On mornings like these I must remember what my purpose is and rise to the holy calling of mother!
I am so very thankful for the many verses that are alive in my heart to sustain me through the day. As this morning was not the picture of perfection it was an opportunity for my character to grow and for me to be steady and faithful with these children in my care. From one sinful, improving momma to another, stay in the word you'll need it on mornings like these!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Whose purse are you carrying?

1 Timothy 6:6-10
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we will take nothing out of it. but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. some people, eager for money, have wondered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

The American dream would lead us to believe we deserve a certain standard of living. That we are all able to attain and have the same successes, and possessions. That we are truly equal in each realm of life. This is a nice Utopian idea. Where we can all live at the same standard. Where we can be immediately gratified, but like most idea's our society is selling, these ideas are fraught with lies.
The truth in America today is that there are very distinct classes in regards to monetary wealth. The current financial crisis we are pulling out of clearly supports this. People chose to borrow their way out of their financial class and are now facing the reality of spending above their means. Others, some of whom claim to know Jesus Christ as their saviour, continue to forsake reality and live in a class above their means and are heading straight for disaster and much heartache.
When we bless ourselves by spending money out of our means, we miss out on God blessing us. If we choose to put ourselves first, our lusts and desires, we have replaced the Lord's blessing over us with our own. This is a very dangerous place to be. We each must ask ourselves if we are idolizing ourselves and breaking the second commandment. Our culture readily condones and promotes the practice of getting whatever we want by whatever means. If it takes a little debt to get what we want, our culture says, "go for it! Everyone else is too!" Sacrifice and contentment have no place in this way of thinking. Being content would mean that we may have to settle and that would never do according to this world! What a harmful lie we believe when we allow ourselves to align our thinking with these messages. When we choose to live outside our means and the blessing God has given us we build a wall between God and ourselves. We lose freedom and create bonds to money lenders.
There is freedom in boundaries. We may not have our eyes tickled by entertainment as often as our desires would like. We may have to work harder to provide what we would rather pay others to do for us. But, we will learn what true contentment is and reap the rewards of our efforts. In Philippians 4:11b-13 Paul encourages us with these words, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
We, like Paul, will know something so much sweeter than worldly wealth and treasures. We will know the peace and contentment when we live with the treasures the Lord would will us to have.
Several years ago as a young stay at home mother I had my heart set on getting a high-end name brand purse. I had finally nagged my hard working husband enough and he agreed to let me get a knock-off one. As I was driving to the knock-off purse store I happened upon a christian radio program that was airing a discussion on class in America. It talked about how low income people will often choose to appear to live outside of their class in an effort to conceal the truth. The commentators mentioned how destructive the practice of eating steak on a hamburger budget was. I felt some of the deepest shame I had ever felt at that moment. I asked myself, "what business do you have carrying around some rich ladies purse? What are you trying to prove and to who?" I realized I had proven to God that I was greedy and unthankful; and to my husband that I was ungrateful, needy, and unable to please.
As Christians we must reject the temptation to follow the trends of the culture we live in. We must conform to God's ways and His will. In this we will be able to see the joy of the Lord's hand blessing us and freedom from the heavy burden of financial debt. Learning to be content and say no to ourselves is difficult but yields joy, peace and fruit. What a wonderful example of obedience we are when we find contentment. Each day we can choose to say, "some may, I may not" with joy! It can be done and will save us from much hardship.
Matthew 6:24 says, "no one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Who will we choose to serve each day? What will we choose to model to our children? How will we live out the grand character of the Proverbs 31 woman? Let us choose to rise to the standard that our Father has placed before us to glorify Him, leave room for His blessing, and secure peace for the future of our families and future generations. Let us choose to shake off the shackles of worldly lust and lies, and live in truth and freedom!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Top 10 Lessons from MACHE

This past couple of days I had the opportunity to go to MACHE's (MN Assoc. of Christian Home Educators) annual conference. This was my first year going and I was a little nervous that I would be overwhelmed. To my surprise and great pleasure I had a wonderful time. The teachings were amazing, encouraging and thought provoking, I learned so much from them. I was able to find many treasures and buy most of my curriculum without having to pay shipping. I went with my sister-in-law Deb, who is so wise and always an inspiration to spend time with. Wow, I am blessed homeschooling momma and woman! I wanted to highlight my top 10 finds and lessons.

  1. If we are experiencing personality conflicts with a certain child of ours this is a sign to us as parents that we need to spend more quality time together and grow closer.
  2. We need to teach our children that as Christians we should be setting out to change the culture around us, not join it.
  3. As home-school families we need to teach the children that our freedom to school, worship, to be in Christ and other freedoms all came at a price. We must remember those who went before us who made our freedoms possible and remind one another of the deep cost that was paid and is still being paid for us.
  4. Write notes to your children, to express love and encouragement.
  5. If there are irritations popping up in the day that frustrate you and get you off track, write them down. Sit and look at them later and come up with solutions to fix these problems. When we are out of the frustrating moment we can often see how to fix these irritations.
  6. Tell your children a lot of stories about their grandparents and great-grandparents. This fosters generational thinking and roots.
  7. Christmas morning find a way to give first before receiving. Maybe go to a nursing home, bring someone a meal, or serve at a shelter.
  8. Do room checks. Warn the children that you will be checking room cleanliness at some point during the week and rewarding a tidy room with a small treat.
  9. Have family missions projects. Set up a jar to put spare change in or think of ways to support a special family picked mission. Maybe find something to make and sell to support your mission or organization.
  10. Encourage siblings to verbally love one another and physically serve one another.

There are so many, many more points that I will take away from this week-end. These are just a few. I hope to remember these and put into action what the Lord has laid on my heart.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Two-Week Meal Plan

I have been praying that God would show me how I am being distracted from doing His work. One way I discovered was that I spend far too much time thinking about food. It is my comfort zone, easy and enjoyable to think about. However, I am convicted that I spend far too much time thinking on this earthly thing. So I decided to come up with a two-week meal plan. It should simplify life, grocery shopping and minimize the time I spend thinking on meal planning. With my husbands approval we are on week 1 of the plan and will keep it in place for a couple of months. Here it is:

Week 1
Monday: B-Blueberry Oatmeal with Orange Juice
L-Tuna Sandwiches & Cut Up Veggies
D-Spaghetti & Salad (make a double batch of sauce for next weeks penne pasta)
Tuesday: B-Granola & Milk, Orange Juice
L-Eggs, Toast & Smoothie
D-Roast Chicken, Potatoes and Carrots
Wednesday: B-Yogurt w/ Blueberries and Granola & OJ
L-Chicken Quesodillas & Cut up Veggies
D-Nachos & Corn
Thursday: B-Eggs, Muffins & OJ
L-Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese
D-Salmon fillet w/ Salad
Friday: B-Pumpkin Oatmeal & OJ
L-Almond Butter and Honey Sandwiches w/ cut up veggies
D-Pizza & Salad
Saturday: B-Pancakes, Sausage, Blueberries & OJ
L-Egg Salad Sandwiches & cut up veggies
D-tacos, re-fried beans & corn
Sunday: B-Eggs, toast & smoothie
L-turkey wraps, cut up veggies
D-fried rice & green beans
Week 2
Monday: B-Pumpkin oatmeal & Oj
L-Tuna sandwiches and cut up veggies
D-chicken fajitas & peas
Tuesday: B-granola & milk, oj
L-eggs, toast & smoothie
D-chicken legs, potatoes & mixed veggies
Wednesday: B-blueberries, yogurt & granola, oj
L-quesodillas & cut up veggies
D-beef stir fry & brown rice
Thursday: B-eggs, muffins & oj
L-tomato soup & grilled cheese
D-roasted salmon, potatoes & green beans
Friday: B-blueberry oatmeal & oj
L-almond butter & honey sandwiches, cut up veggies
D-pizza & salad
Saturday: B-waffles, sausage & berries, oj
L-egg salad sandwiches, cut up veggies
D-beefed up burritos & peas
Sunday: B-eggs, toast & smoothie
L-turkey wraps & cut up veggies
D-penne pasta & mixed veggies

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Afternoon Ramblings

I don't want to pretend that I finally have things figured out but, a few things are becoming clear to me. One of them is that I rather like being 30. I don't feel the pressure to fit in, by the grace of God I belong to the best family ever with other's who call Jesus Christ their saviour.

I no longer feel the need to try and look or be perfect I feel content and confident that I am exactly the way the Lord wants me. Being at an age where I can dress in classic clothes without the hassle of trying to keep up with trends is refreshing and easy. I like not having to think about what is acceptable this season. I may look out of date, and that is okay with me.

I like that I finally figured out that my hair looks good dark and layered. Understanding that my breasts will never be in a position of perkiness again just makes me smile now. It use to annoy me to think that my stretch marks and saggy parts would never be young looking again. Now I feel that these are a badge of honor that I received as a gift to remind me of the privilege it is to have a body that is able and blessed to nourish and grow children. Some women never get the ability of doing this or miss the opportunity to really enjoy child bearing and rearing. I am thankful that I not only got the blessing of children, but have been duly blessed in being able to be home with them and teach them.

I like that I can finally come to the conclusion that I really cannot do things on my own and anything I have done, will do and can do is only because of the Holy Spirit's indwelling in me. As a younger adult I felt a pressure to prove myself, to somehow makeup for all the horrible sinful things I was as a youth, I no longer feel that burden. Christ's great love and acceptance have truly washed me clean and I no longer feel bonded to that old girl.

There are many more hurdles for me to jump, lessons for me to learn and wisdom for me to gain, in the meantime I am so content to know that I don't have to walk any of the long or winding, trying roads that got me here again, I just need to take the next step towards whatever the future the Lord has for me holds.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Weeks Menu

I am back on track with eating well and does it ever taste good! We've been eating more whole grains and fresh vegetables and fruit and loving it. I had forgotton just how good it tastes to eat fresh and natural. My taste buds have prompted me to post another menu.

Friday: B-oatmeal and oj
L-leftover spaghetti and green beans
D-ww pizza w/ fresh mozzerella and salad
Saturday: B-ww pancakes and blueberry smoothies
L-a concotion of leftovers
D-Hamburgers, roasted potatoes and fresh vegies
Sunday: B- Eggs and Toast
L-turkey wraps & garlic roasted potato soup
D-fried rice & kiwi w/ vanilla yogurt for desert
Monday: B-banana-nut oatmeal and oj
L-Almond butter and hney sandwiches w/ vegies
D-out for dinner
Tuesday: B-granola and oj
D-Pete's fish, hashbrowns & peas
Wednesday: B-blueberry, yogurt and granola parfaits
L-Turkey Melts, vegies
D-Chicken Legs, brown rice & mixed vegies
Thursday: B-muffins, scrambled eggs and smoothie
L-bean burritos, vegies
D-roast chicken with carrots, potatoes and onions
Friday: B-pumpkin oatmeal, oj
L-almond butter and honey sandwiches, vegies
D-pizza and vegies

Monday, February 22, 2010

Kids Against Hunger

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
16Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
17The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."
John 21:15-17
I am going to see if I can get through this blog without sobbing. It's always a bit hard to sob and type.
As disciples of Jesus we are commanded to feed his sheep. There are so many ways that we can feed the sheep of the Lord physically, emotionally and spiritually. I am so excited about the opportunity to feed his sheep physically. Here are the details if you would like to help as well. Please help me get the word out!
Recently our church became a packing location for Kids Against Hunger. We will be packing 30,000 meals on March 13th. These meals feed not just one child but an entire family. That is a lot of food! It is amazing to me that one days work will fill so many belly's that are truly hungry. The work God is doing through this is absolutely mind blowing. Not only did he allow our church to become a packing site he also provided us the opportunity to be baker of the day at Great Harvest Bread in Burnsville. All of the proceeds will go to Kids Against Hunger. Please let people know that March 14th is the day to come and buy bread to help out Kids Against Hunger.

Buy Bread for Kids Against Hunger Sunday, March 14, Great Harvest, Burnsville. Evergreen-Lakeville, "Kids Against Hunger" won the "Baker for a Day" vote at Great Harvest in Burnsville. Stop by and buy lots of bread and tell everyone you know to do the same. All of the proceeds will go to Kids Against Hunger!
Try as I might tears of joy are streaming down my face thinking of how much this food will help some very hungry families.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Beefed Up Chinese Burritos Recipe

Pete and I really like this recipe. We are waiting for the children to get on board with it. They will tolerate it but, don't really like it. It is especially good with a spicy kick of Stir Fry Sauce.

1 lb ground beef
8 oz mushrooms sliced
1 small head of cabbage (or a bag of coleslaw mix)
2 carrots shredded (not needed if you use the coleslaw mix)
1T peanut or other oil (I always leave this out because I forget and it tastes fine without it)
1/4c hoisin sauce + more to spread on tortillas (in section by oriental foods & sauces at store)
2t asian dark sesame oil
12 tortillas (we like the ww kind)

Brown beef and drain. Add mushrooms and cook to lose moisture about 3 minutes. Mix hoisin, sesame oil, 1/4c water and stir fry sauce if desired. Add sauce, cabbage & carrots to beef. Cook until the cabbage is tender. Heat tortillas (I wrap them in foil and put in a 350 degree oven for a bit). Spread hoisin on tortillas and then desired amount of cabbage mix. Wrap and serve.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Prayer of the Week

Lord, please help me not to whine and complain but discipline and train. Amen!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh You MUST be Busy!

As a mother of 5 I get this line often, "Oh, you must be very busy!" It makes me cringe to hear that people think I am busy. It reminds me of the bible verses that talk about being a busy body. I've tried to purposefully not be "busy" so that I can be available to do what the Lord wants, and be available for my girls and for Pete. But, for some reason every time I hear this I just smile and say, "Oh, yes" or if I am really on my mental toes I say, "it's the best kind of busy!" Now I would like to come up with a new response maybe something like, "oh, not really they are great little servants and take care of me!" Okay I really wouldn't say that. Maybe I could try, "really were not busy we just enjoy being together."
Putting in the effort to manage our time and have a peaceful schedule has always been important to me. I find that when the children and I are over extended we seem to get caught up in chaos and crabbiness. Each family looks different in what they can handle for time commitments, but I wonder how many are forsaking peace because it is so easy to get caught up in the business of life?
A few of the things that have contributed to the peace in our house are keeping a schedule, eating healthy, staying consistent with expectations and discipline, good communication and boundaries. We know that if we keep the children out past bed time they are more prone to melt downs. If we don't eat well the children will nag for snacks. If the schedule permits too much free time the children probably will get out of control. These are all easily remedied by being fore thoughtful in what we commit to and what we do. Some simple direction from mom and dad can make all the difference.
I am still searching for the perfect reply to people when they assume that having a big family is a trial on our time. It is a pure joy to be tried and I want the joy to shine through and not the trial part! I hope that if you see us out and about you see some polite, respectful , joy filled children who are laughing and smiling! Each day we make the choice to encourage chaos or peace. I don't always make the right choice. But I hope that the peaceful days are more than the chaotic ones.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This weeks Menu

I am on yet another kick to get back on track eating healthy. For all of you food lovas' heres the menu!

B-pumpkin oatmeal & orange juice
L-peanut butter and honey on home-made ww bread, carrots and apple slices
D-to be decided (maybe Trader Joe's sushi?)
B-ww pancakes, venison sausage & warm berries
B-Eggs & toast w/Juice
L-Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
D-Nacho's & cut up vegies
B-Blueberry oatmeal & juice
L-leftover nacho's
D-Cream of Vegie Soup & Tuna Melts
L-leftover soup & toast
D-Chicken fajitas & green beans
B-yogurt with berries and granola
L-ww bean & cheese quesodillas w/ cut up vegies
D-chilli and cornbread
B-Pumpkin Muffins, scrambles eggs & Berry Smoothies
L-leftover chilli and cornbread
D-Beefed-up Chinese Burritos & peas

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hearts at Home

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable-if anything is excellant or
praiseworthy-think about such things.
Phillipians 4:8

Having my heart at home seems to be a valley and mountain top sort of thing for me. There are days when I feel I am a failure and I seem wrought with sin and mistakes and want to run away from my home. Praise God, I have come to a place where those days are few and most are filled with a joyful content to be with this beautiful family the Lord saw fit for me to be mother and wife of. As of lately the world seems to be crashing down around us, but, home has been such a warm, comfortable and loving place to be. Even though the battle rages the joy that comes with a family makes all the challenges manageable.

As I have shed tears of joy these past couple of weeks, I have also been shedding a few of sorrow as well. There are families that are in so much pain and it is heart breaking to see. There are some circumstantial issues and some issues that come from the choices people make. The fixer in me wants to swoop in and fix all these problems, come up with solutions and see change now. I realize though, that it won't be me or my power that changes these families, it has to be the Lord.

So what does this have to do with a heart being at home, I believe it has a lot to do with it! From our first thoughts in the morning until our last at night we have the option of choosing whether to manage our day, emotions, thoughts and actions or to let them manage us. The past few years have really taught me that if I want to be content and happy right here, right now I need to choose to do it first and then the joy comes. My attitude makes the difference in whether I am frustrated and worn down or thankful and joy filled.

I use to believe that I needed to have a time set aside to refresh and be in the word each day. So I would get up read my bible and expect to have this sweet time with the Lord and not be interrupted. Well that is a little unrealistic for a mom with several little ones that need a lot of attention. Some mornings went according to plan but several times I was interrupted and would think things like, "can't I just do this one thing to start my day well? Grrr...." So I would set up my entire day with a poor attitude as I reacted to the interruption. I once read a devotional that talked about how we need to expect to be interrupted when we are needed by our little ones and learn to be thankful for those times. So I tried to change my attitude and thinking and welcome the interruptions. I have had so many moments of beauty come from these times. Now if one of the children is up when I am still doing my quiet time I include them. We read the bible, pray together or I direct them to be near me and read or look at the pictures in their bible. Instead of ending my time in frustration I end it feeling like I have helped to nurture a love for the Lord in my little one. My heart wants to be here. It is all a matter of attitude and where we place our hearts.

There seems to be a trend in our culture where we are encouraged to have "me" time. Somehow we have been convinced that if we nurture ourselves first, and take care of us we will be better for those others around us. This is a seemingly nice idea but it forgets one thing, we are all sinners we will never get it all together this side of eternity! I confess I have had this idea in the past where I somehow convince myself that if I can just get away for a little bit or have a little time with other adults or on my own I will return and be super mom. I started to rely on these times away. One problem here, I was looking forward to the "me" time and stopped enjoying the now. A bit of discontent crept in. I still get stuck in this thinking now, but most of the time I see that when I give the Lord my time he gives me refreshment. Many times not how I viewed refreshing time, but in ways that fit in with my life now. Maybe I give myself a pedicure on a Sunday afternoon when the girls are resting. It might be a blogging, maybe a bath. But, it probably won't be a week-end out with my friends. That is not where I am at right now in life and I'm okay with it. God provides what we need.

I am amazed with all the ways that God meets us where we are at. If we are willing to give him control, follow and obey his ways especially in submission to our husbands and command to love our children he will reward us with riches beyond measure. I am so honored to know by God's grace some of those riches. They come in whispers of, "mommy, I love you." All the work that it takes to manage my time, thoughts, actions and days is so worth it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Bro Elijah

The past few days have been some of those aha sort of days. God gave me just a glimpse of understanding. I was reading in 1 Kings and came to chapter 19 where it gives the account of the prophet Elijah fleeing King Ahab and Jezebel. They had put an order out to have all the prophets killed so Elijah travels far and stops in the desert. Elijah says in verse 10, "I have been very zealous for the Lord god Almighty. the Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too." I can't imagine the horror and utter loneliness Elijah faced. To feel as though you are the only one in the world is very foreign to me. But, I kept reading and was so encouraged by what I read. The first thing God did for Elijah was to provide for him physically. He gave him rest and food. He didn't try and motivate him or comfort him, he just provided for his physical needs. After this God tells Elijah he is going to speak to him so first he sends a strong wind, then a earthquake and a fire. God is not in any of these. Then when those things were completed God spoke to Elijah in a whisper. I was amazed by this action. God didn't come in a magnificent display of power to Elijah and yell powerfully at him his words but simply, gently came in a whisper. Then God very specifically and clearly gives Elijah a course of action. Wow! This is not mans way nor my natures way. Elijah was in need and God provided. Not only did he just provide but he left an example of how to minister to someone in need.
  1. Provide for physical needs first. May it is meals for a hungry family. A hug for a hurting mom. Sleep for a exhausted husband.
  2. Gently encourage truth.
  3. Provide clear direction. Give hope and light to a situation by offering practical steps. (I believe this one will need very careful consideration and direction from the Lord)

God has placed several people in my life at this moment that have very different levels of needs. At first I was frustrated wondering how I was going to help. Then God gave me this path. I realize I am so very limited in what I can do. I am encouraged that I can do these things listed. I am so thankful to the Lord for giving me this pearl. I pray I use it wisely.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Home Made Diaper Wipes

For the past 3 children I have used this recipe to make diaper wipes. I love them. I never run out of wipes because I always have the ingredients on hand. It only takes about 1 minute to make these and they work great. I also like that I know exactly what I am putting on my little ones bottom! I am also going to experiment and see if I can't come up with a cleaning wipes recipe to use as well. I'll post any success's!

1 roll Bounty paper towel cut in half (I use a serrated kitchen knife to cut, and these must be the thick good quality paper towels)
2 Tbsp. baby oil
2 Tbsp. baby shampoo
1 1/2 cups warm water

Cut bolt of paper towel in half. Put in a plastic container that holds it firmly. When I started making these I invested in a good container that was easy to open. You could try and recycle a food container to use also. Mix warm water, oil and shampoo. Pour over paper towel. Pull out wet center roll of cardboard. Wa la perfect wipes, your baby will thank you!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just Stop It!

Funny, Funny, Funny! If you get a chance check out Stacy McDonalds blog and video.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I recently attended a H.O.M.E. meeting at our church. Once a month some women who home school or are interested in homeschooling get together and discuss different topics, pray and offer support to one another. At this past meeting we had a guest speaker, Vicky, who talked about courtship. I loved what Vicky had to say and her story. She has 5 girls 2 of whom have courted and are married, one who is currently courting and 2 other daughters. As a mother of 5 girls myself I really perked up and listened when Vicky spoke.

I have heard of courting before and really have been taken with the idea. At first I thought it was some sort of politically correct arranged marriage situation. I realize now that is way off! Courtship is purposeful dating with the intention of marriage. Ideally you get to know someone well in a friendship, then the man approaches the woman's father in a request to court the girl, asks the girl and then courts, works towards engagement and marries. The thing that is most appealing to me about this model is that the man and woman's hearts are wisely protected and accountable to others. In our culture so many times men and women suffer tremendous heart-ache and pain from dating. In the book Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham he says, "dating is simply practicing for divorce." I couldn't agree more. It pains me to think about my girls hearts breaking needlessly because of lack of caution in where they give their hearts away.

I have many years before I need to really deal with courting. I do however wonder now what I can do start protecting my little girls hearts from the pain of prematurely giving them away to the wrong things. As women and girls we have a bent for romance and can easily give away our hearts and be led by emotion. God has wisely designed us to be emotional, feeling and tuned into our hearts. This will help us to raise the little ones he has us parent and protect our home. Unfortunately with the fall I believe this blessing also became our curse, if we are not careful we can follow our hearts into much trouble. Unguided, unchecked and uncontrolled we can very easily have our hearts crushed and in the process sin as well. So I wonder what do I do now to inform, train and teach my girls that, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond all cure" Jer. 17:9.? How do I start to teach them to, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is a wellspring of life" Pr. 4:23?

I have had a few thoughts on what to do, but, hope to have more and nail this down a little more firmly as our girls grow. One thought that I took away from the meeting was to really be diligent in watching what I allow my little girls to see and be entertained by. So many movies, books and songs now rouse the heart to love far before it is time to be concerned with such things. Romance for small children is just silly and ridiculous but it sells! Nearly every Disney movie that involves a princess also involves a prince. Most pop music has jilted teenage love or devotion of another as the main theme. This is unacceptable. I do not want to give the message to my little girls that boyfriends, girlfriends, breaking up, fighting over a mate, arguing and making up is at all acceptable or realistically a part of their teen years. My girls have an active enough imagination without adding the fantasy of princess's marrying, wedding dresses, boyfriends and the such to their minds. The fantasy play that we allow needs to be carefully watched. We do not want to wake a girls sweet purity up too soon, it will do nothing but cause heart ache.

Another item that I had brought to my attention is that Pete and I are responsible for overseeing our girls hearts until they marry. That is a long time! It is our job now to make sure that these precious hearts are not being led astray, hurt, or set up for failure. When our children are left to themselves to date and carry on with boys as they please we are neglecting to care for the entire child. I don't want to pretend like I know how to keep my own heart completely, much less my child's, but I realize I must start forging a relationship when my girls are little so that they will hopefully trust me with their hearts when they are older and allow Pete and I to help protect and guide them. This is a scary thought because of the gravity it holds, but, in another way I look forward to seeing them have joy filled marriages that aren't entered into with past baggage and pain. I also look forward to helping along the way.

There is so much more for me to consider and learn in this area. I hope that if you have any ideas on how to start promoting the care and protection of your child's heart at a young age you will respond here.