Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Going Hog Wild



I had this whole long, serious blog posted but then decided I needed some lightheartedness today.  Sometimes it's better to just look at the lighter side of life.  I've been going hog wild with things lately.

* I got super motivated the other night and between Sunday night and yesterday, made 40 note cards.  Some are for a local inspirational gift shop that requested more, some are for a couple upcoming craft fairs.





 

* I looked out the window yesterday, in time to see this monstrosity trot by my back window.  All I was able to get was the back end of him and so sorry about the not nice view.  Someone in town is missing a pig!  lol  Another thing to add to my list: Things you See in a Rural Community.  :-)


* I'm sitting in the midst of piles.  Piles of laundry.  Piles of papers.  Piles of craft items.  Piles of vendor things that need to go back to them.  I'm thinking if I could put the piles into furniture shape, I'd have some more seating.  Okay, I haven't gone hog wild with decluttering.

* Dan & I are off to a pastor's get together today and I'm looking forward to getting out of town for a few hours.  Good friends, food, encouragement.  Ingredients for a good day and I don't want to go hog wild with my eating.  By the way, still holding steady at a 26 lb. weight loss.

There you have it.  Boring to most people but certainly not to me!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Multitude Monday



I love my Mondays and mostly because this is the day that I look back over the previous week and count my blessings.  Thanksgiving is coming and I'm so glad we have this holiday as a reminder that our thanks should flow out 365 days a year and 24/7.

I'm especially thankful this week for the many ways I've seen God's hand on us the past week.

This week I'm thankful for blessings #2266 - 2285.

2266.  My husband has a job with some flexibility that allowed him to help out in a few situations this week where I was unable to do so.

2267.  I made it through a very stressful week with a smile on my face and no melt-downs. ;-)

2268.  Emily's ankle was sprained and not broken.

2269.  Dan made it home with Stephen safely through a snowstorm.



2270.  All my chicks are under one roof.

2271.  Worshiping as a family in church yesterday.

2272.  The sense of awe I got yesterday listening to a full house at church lifting their voices in worship.

2273.  Taking a meal to someone home from the hospital and being able to sit and visit and then pray for her.

2274.  My husband's love for his congregation shown in the many small things that most never know about.

2275.  Holding my tongue when I want to lash out because as I told someone yesterday, my actions and words represent Christ.  It's hard, especially when you are being treated unjustly BUT it's required as a believer.

2276.  Sitting in a silent house and creating in peace.



2277.  Seeing how God used a terrible experience in my past to allow me to comfort someone going through a similar thing in the present.

2278.  Being able to offer my mother advice in a stressful situation.  Usually I turn to my mother so it was nice to be able to do the same for her.

2279.  Feeding my thin son who has lived on junk the past few months at college!  lol

2280.  A visit with a friend.

2281.  My daughter willingly giving up 10 hours of her Saturday to ring the bell and collect for the Salvation Army at a local grocery store.  She also organized a group of friends to come for 2 hour increments throughout the day.



2282.  Dan willing to give up 10 hours of his Saturday to supervise her and her friends.

2283.  A roof over my head.

2284.  Delivering baskets for Thanksgiving.

and finally....

2285.  A thankful heart.


Are you counting your blessings?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Motherhood

I went through my old photo albums last night and got to reminiscing about my life.  I've been so blessed with great friends and wonderful memories.

One of the few that stuck out to me was this photo.


It mostly struck me at how happy and content I look.  And I was.  Holding that little one just brought such nurturing feelings out in me.  Her mother and father were close friends and I still keep in touch with them today via Facebook.  In fact, we were chatting about it last night and this tiny thing is now 27 and a gorgeous beauty.  I also babysat for her cousin whose parents are also good friends.  Their daughter is 28 and I feel old!

I've played many roles in my life - public relations director of the year, administrative assistant, director of an adult literacy program, teacher, and shop owner.  However, the one that stands out to me and means the most is mother.

I loved holding my children in my arms as babies while they nursed.  I sang to them.  I read to them.  I rocked them and played silly games with them. 

There have been times of frustration, sadness, and gut-wrenching pain.  But I would not trade those moments for anything in the world.

My children are grown and growing up - 23, 21 and 15.  Yet my role as mother is still important.  I'm still the one they come to when there is a problem.  They still look to me when they are sick.  And they still want me to cook for them.  lol

I closed the shop today.  Stephen got home late last night from college, Nathan woke up with a stomach bug and Emily has a sprained ankle from a fall in gym class.  Given all that, plus the snow we got last night, I decided my family needs me more.

Even though my children don't need me as much, I'm thankful for those times when I'm able to care for them.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Anticipation


Dan left a few moments ago to pick up Stephen from his college dormitory.  He's coming home for Thanksgiving.  I'm excited!  A week with all my chicks in the nest. 

The turkey is purchased as well as the majority of food for the Thanksgiving meal.  We also purchased items for a second meal for a Thanksgiving basket.

The ingredients for Christmas cookies are purchased.  Epic fail this year.  I usually have a ton of different kinds in the freezer already.  Not one cookie has been made this year so that is on the agenda over the next few weeks.

I brought home all my fabric in anticipation of the shop closing.  I actually will be closed after Saturday until the big Christmas event in town on December 6th.  The landlady is moving a lot of her stuff in to sell and needs time to set it up.  And that's fine.  More time with my family!

 
 
I will be participating in a craft fair next Saturday so I'll have some venue to make sales. I've been busy preparing Advent readings for church.  Thanksgiving will be here next Thursday and Christmas is coming!

Love the anticipation.  Molly, the bunny, is even excited. :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (NIV) ~

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
 
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

I had another sleepless night last night as I wrestled with a decision.  I find myself in a situation that has been fairly stressful and a lot of it is because I'm dealing with someone who has a different value system than I do. 

From a purely human point of view, I would be justified to just walk away from the relationship and I've been praying for the right words to say to do this.  However, I asked a friend to pray for me last night and she did say she would be praying that the Lord would show me exactly what to do and how to do it.

This morning, I opened my Bible to this passage of scripture and was shown my answer.  My primary reason for being here in this community is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those I meet.  It's to show Christ's love and compassion.  It's to be a light in the darkness.  Sometimes that may mean being treated unjustly by someone in order to do that.  It may mean putting up with aggravation, unkindness, or annoyances.  It may mean I have to swallow my pride and it means I have to look at the bigger picture.

I prayed and ask the Lord to show me what to do and He answered.  It may not be what *I* want but at the same time I don't want to be a stumbling block to someone coming to know Him.  It's better that I put up with some temporary inconveniences and blows to my pride then have someone never come to know Him because of me.

So I'd love it if you would pray for me.  Pray that I would shine the light of God's love.  Pray that I would be gracious in my words and thoughts.  Pray that I would gracefully put up with some annoyance in order to have someone truly see God in me. 

I truly want to bring glory to Him!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Life in Cookbooks

I was straightening my pantry shelves yesterday when I started browsing through my cookbooks. Most of my recipes are from my head, magazines or the internet but I do have a few cookbooks that I've had for years.  It occurred to me that each of these books represent some part of my life.

So for something different and fun today, I'd thought I'd share that on my blog.

This one, More with Less, was written by a Mennonite community and was one that reminds me of my teen years.  For a time, my single mother and we three children lived with our pastor and family.  They ran a Christian training center and camp that my brother-in-law is actually the director of at this point.  This was one of the mainstays of the center. 

There are so many wonderful recipes in it, using inexpensive ingredients.  The premise of this book is that we in the west use up so much of the world's resources even though we are fairly small in population compared to the rest of the world.  I love it because not only does it have great recipes but is very informational on how to make do, use it up and do without! 



When we first got married, my mother-in-law pulled a number of items from her own kitchen to give us, including pots, pans and this gem.  I used this book for years until it literally fell apart.  I was so sad to see it go but the pages were ripped, the binding cracked in half and it was a mess.  However, one day at a library book sale I saw a copy that looked brand new for $2.  So I snatched it up!



One of the jobs I had when we were engaged and first married was administrative assistant for Federal Paper Board.  It was a large international paper company that has since been merged with another company.  This company hosted The Masters golf tournament each year. 

My bosses actually flew me to their headquarters in Augusta, Georgia to tour the plant and do some "errands" for them and while there, I received a copy of this cookbook.  I use quite a few of the recipes in there too.



As I've mentioned before, Dan & I worked for an inner city ministry for 10 years.  Dan was the vice president and I was the director of an adult literacy program, English as a Second Language, as well as the assistant director of an early learning center of 80 children.  I was putting in 14 hour days between the school and the adult programs, starting at about 7 in the morning and getting home around 9 p.m. some days.  Our children attended the preschool so I was with them every day and then they would play and toddle around our feet at night while we taught English or literacy.

This book was my best friend in those days.  Often I would bring the crockpot with us and plug it in at the school so we could eat dinner before starting in with the adult programs.  The Lord got ahold of me about our crazy life but this certainly helped during that time and I still use it quite often.



When I began homeschooling my children, I joined a message board and even though I no longer homeschool, am still part of that website, serving as a moderator.  I made wonderful friendships there and have connected with some "in real life" too. :-) 

One year, a group of ladies decided to put together a cookbook and I love it!  In fact, I have about 20 recipes of my own in the book.  I turn to it quite frequently when I want to try something new.



Finally, I stumbled across this book in a bookstore and decided to purchase it.  When I started my bread baking adventure, I used many of the recipes in here and some are still my favorites.  There is an apple cake recipe in here that is wonderful!

I don't use it as much anymore but it's still there when I want something different.

 
So there you have it!  My adult life in cookbooks.  Do you have a favorite few you use?
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Multitude Monday: Thirst-Quencher

 
Last week was quite the rollercoaster of emotions.  We got hit with wave upon wave of trials and bad news.  A friend reminded me that we must be doing something right here that the devil doesn't like because it seemed as if we were under spiritual attack given the sheer magnitude of things going wrong all at once.
 
This morning as I read in Isaiah, the Lord reminded me that He is in control and that He is watching over us.
 
Isaiah 44:1-5 (NLT) ~
 
But now, listen to me, Jacob my servant,
    Israel my chosen one.
The Lord who made you and helps you says:
Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant,
    O dear Israel, my chosen one.
For I will pour out water to quench your thirst
    and to irrigate your parched fields.
And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants,
    and my blessing on your children.
They will thrive like watered grass,
    like willows on a riverbank.
Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the Lord.’
    Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’
Some will write the Lord’s name on their hands
    and will take the name of Israel as their own.”
 
There are those times of dryness and barrenness and despair.  Yet the Lord promises to help us.  He is beside us.  He is watching over not only Dan & I, but our children.  He is pouring out His spirit on us and that brings comfort when things seem to be unraveling. 
 
So today, as I count my weekly blessings, I am continuing to trust Him to work through all these situations.  I have renewed hope and joy.  I am excited to see what He is going to do not only in our lives, but in our ministry here.  I'm so thankful for the drinks of spiritual water in the times of dryness that I get from spending time in His word and prayer.
 
This week I'm thankful for blessings #2251-2265.
 
2251.  Hot apple pie.
 
 
2252.  Reminders from the Lord of what is really important in my life.

2253.  Warm socks.

2254.  Walking with a friend.

2255.  Sugar cookies, straight from the oven.


2256.  Praying with my children.

2257.  Nathan got a new (used) car which will be much better in the snow for him.

2258.  A packed service yesterday.

2259.  The beauty in homespun fabrics.


2260.  Finishing up orders.

2261.  Relaxing Sunday afternoons.

2262.  The simple beauty of grapevine wreathes.


2263.  Forgiveness.

2264.  Hands lifted in worship.

and finally...

2265.  The quenching of my thirst in the barren times.