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Showing posts from December, 2014

Wednesday Words of Encouragement: A New Year and a New You!

Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV) ~ You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;   to be made new in the attitude of your minds;   and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Exercise more.  Get in shape.  Lose 5, 10, or 50 lbs. Most people make goals or resolutions for the upcoming year and often these physical goals are on the list.  I know that I usually have some sort of exercise goal on my list of things as well.  I do believe it's important to take care of our bodies and be in the best shape and health possible. Besides the physical goals, I usually have a few others too.  In fact, I love looking forward and starting out the new year with new direction. This passage in Ephesians is a reminder that we are to also work on setting new goals for our spiritual life as well.  So often, this gets overlooked.  I'm not just talking about reading t

Sweetness

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So many times I feel as if I've failed as a parent. There are definitely mistakes we have made along the way; some minor and some major.   Yet, there are those times when things click and I realize that there are also many things Dan & I have done right. I felt that way this weekend as I listened to Stephen discuss what he is learning in his classes with his grandmother.  I heard his passion for ministry and thanked the Lord for that! I felt it when I saw how two brothers interact well together with love for each other.  I see it when my children talk about the wonderful childhood they had and all the fond memories they've had of the different ministries and places we've lived.  Often I think that there are only bad memories, but I saw things through their eyes and much of what they talked about was good. I love hearing Emily's heart for her friends, no matter what their situation and her ability to look past their behavior to see them

Multitude Monday

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This has been a week of both family and focusing on the things that matter most to me and it's been good.  The past few days have been spent away from the computer and it's made me realize how much wasted time there can be.  Instead of filling my life with fluff I want to make each moment count.  Sometimes you need to get rid of the distractions to hear what God is saying!    This week I'm thankful for blessings 2331 through 2340. 2331.  A wonderful Christmas Eve service and Christmas Day. 2332.  The smell of fresh baked bread. 2333.  A relaxing afternoon in the fresh air. 2334.  Warmer weather and no snow! 2335.  Taking a road trip together to visit family. 2336.  Board games and lots of laughter. 2337.  Great conversation. 2338.  Time away from technology and focusing on God's word. 2339.  A mother-in-law who loves caring for her family. And finally, 2340.  Get

Merry Christmas!

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I started blogging on December 30, 2008 and have done so almost daily ever since.  Through this blog I have come to know some of the sweetest people I ever will.  Ladies from all over the United States, France, Canada, England, Scotland, and even South Africa.  It reminds me so often of what a grand reunion we will have one day in heaven.  I can honestly say that I have learned so many thing through reading your blogs.  Ways to love my husband and children better.  Fun ways to decorate or save money or garden.  All types of tips for the kitchen and house.  I've been spiritually challenged by many of your blogs.  I've cried and rejoiced with many of you, as you have with me. Thank you for reading.  Thank you for commenting.  Thank you for the emails, notes and gifts I have received throughout the years. I want to wish you each a Merry Christmas!  Looking forward to new things in 2015.  Have a wonderful celebration tonight and tomorrow.

Second Wind

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  It's funny how I can just want to throw in the towel, give up and not do one more thing and then, I'll get a second wind, renewed energy and all the things I thought were impossible to get done, happen. That is exactly what has happened to me since Monday.  I thought, "This is it, no more baking."  Then I took a couple days off.  Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at the mall with Dan & Emily so she could get her shopping done.  It was fun and relaxing.  There was no pressure.  It was just a laid back kind of day. And bam!  My energy is back.  So I decided to spend most of today baking our favorites.  So far this season I have made: Cinnamon pinwheels Peppermint chocolate crunch cookies Swedish ginger thins Andes mint cookies Chocolate candy cane kiss cookies Today will be spent making the following: Bizcochitos Brandy snaps Spritz Christmas meringues and a variety of sweet breads to give as gifts.  Of course, I may get in the midst of

Multitude Monday

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I overslept this morning and I woke up feeling like a truck has hit me.  My head is aching, my arm hurts and every muscle is sore.  I don't even know why I feel this way as I'm not sick.  I had multiple, intense dreams all night so I have a feeling that I really didn't get the solid, deep sleep I need.  Whatever the reason, it certainly leads to a very sour attitude in me.  I feel like a grouch.  I want to snap at everyone who even walks into the room.  But then I was reminded of the verses found in Luke's gospel. Luke 2:8-11 ~ And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. The shepherds were up in the

Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places

Isaiah 49:14-16 ~ "But Zion said, 'The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.' Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." It is hard to find true love in this world.   We long for someone to say, “I love you.”   We desire for someone to love us unconditionally.   Yet, for most of us, there are so many lies ringing through our heads saying, “You are not good enough.”   “You are not smart enough.”   “You are worthless.”   “You are not wanted.”   “You are not loved.”   Do you ever feel this way?   Alone?   Unimportant?   Unaccepted and unloved?   Are you, as the song says, “Looking for love in all the wrong places?”   “Looking for love in too many faces?   No one person will fulfill this need for love in our lives.   People are sinful.   They fail.   They let us down

Blog Drawing

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I put all the names in a basket and drew one out this morning.  And the winner of the package of Christmas goodies is..... Kathi D Congratulations, Kathi!  Your package will be mailed out on Monday morning. Of course, because I have such a hard time not feeling bad for everyone who didn't win and I'm in the Christmas spirit, I decided to choose two more names.  They'll get something as well.  Those two are... Elizabeth D and Sandy Just email me your addresses at Groh5ofus@aol.com and I'll get these in the mail to you. Have a Merry Christmas!

Choosing Joy

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  This is the 5th night in a row that I've been wide awake in the middle of the night and I feel so very frustrated.  I wake up every night with a constant throbbing pain in my right shoulder.  I tore my rotator cuff a few months ago and after a steroid shot in that shoulder, I felt a better for a few weeks.  It's been progressively getting bad again, and last night I wrenched it which aggravated it even more.  Once I'm awake I can't get back to sleep until a few hours later which then causes me to oversleep in the morning.  Then I'm feeling behind all day. It's frustrating because there are so many things I want to do.   Things such as..... Sewing.   I'm almost out of tea totes which a local cafĂ© carries.  My Etsy shop is depleted of them.  I have a craft fair coming up in January.  But sewing aggravates the arm. Baking.  I've only made 4 kinds of cookies this entire season, when normally I make 10 or more.      Giving.  Our finances are ve

Confessions of a Farmer's Daughter

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  My friend, Jody Gates, is a fellow pastor's wife in our district.  We both homeschooled our children, love to write, and have other similar interests.  Of course, because we lived about 4 hours apart we only got to see each other a couple of times a year at our district women's retreats.  So most of our interaction was online.  Since Dan & I have moved last year Jody and I are now less than an hour a way and get together every couple of months for coffee and catching up.   Jody was such an encouragement to me when I wrote my books and now I get to reciprocate.   That is because she just released her first book, Confessions of a Farmer's Daughter .  In Confessions Jody shares how the perfect life she envisioned as a wife and mother doesn't match up to her reality.  It is an honest look at the struggles many women face as their real life doesn't live up to the fairy tale world they thought they would find.  She also gives us a look into the emotions su

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

Psalm 46:10 (NIV) ~ He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;      I will be exalted among the nations,      I will be exalted in the earth.” Christmas shopping.  Wrapping gifts.  Baking cookies.  Running from one holiday party to the next.   These are all the signs of the holiday season.  We race from one moment to the next with scarcely a breath in between.  Christmas is the time we celebrate the coming of the Messiah.  As believers we say we want to keep the true meaning of Christmas as our focus.  We express our desire to keep Christ in Christmas and yet, we continue to do all the things that pull our focus away from that.  We don't stop long enough to actually do what we say we want to do. And yet, as this Psalm states, God wants us to be still.  To stop and listen to Him.  To get off the spinning merry-go-round long enough to recognize who He is.  What was the response of those who witnessed the birth of Christ?  The magi fell to their knees and worshiped.  The she

A Christmas Gift

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I took Emily Christmas shopping this afternoon so she could finish getting some gifts for her friends.  I'm glad I did because I felt the excitement for Christmas begin to sweep over me.  I've been so busy with outside distractions lately, that I haven't really been in the Christmas mood.  However, each year I try to do a give away on my blog and I don't think I've done it at all this year.  So I'm giving you a Christmas gift!  I can't guarantee that it'll be there before Christmas day, but it's my gift to my blog readers.  It will be a package of a number of different items and obviously, a surprise! All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment on my blog or under this post on facebook. And if you are doing it on Facebook, you have to leave a comment.  No just clicking "like".  :-)  I will enter your name into a drawing which I'll do on Saturday morning.  And yes, for those of you overseas, you can participate too! Thank

Menu Planning

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I love to cook and if you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll understand what I mean.  To me a meal without creativity is just not a meal.  I'm also trying to manage our very tight budget and I decided to get back to my old habit of making out a menu each week.  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen because I make everything from scratch.  It's cheaper and also because I deal with so many health issues in our family, it's a way to manage what's going into their body. I always plan my meals around what I have in my pantry and have the same basic things there.  It ends up costing less than trying to plan a menu and then go out and purchase specific items. Here is the plan for the next week.  I'm not putting the word homemade in front of everything, but it's all from scratch from cereals to breads to desserts. Monday B - Granola, juice L - Hot pockets with ground beef, mozzarella and sauce (I'm making a double batch for the freez

Frugal Friday: Planning Ahead

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Do you remember the movie, A Christmas Story?   There is a line in the story when Ralphie is talking about wanting the Red Ryder BB Gun and says he felt the Christmas noose tightening itself around his neck.  Well, I kind of feel that way myself lately.  This year I don't seem to have my act together.  A lot of it was because I was so distracted and busy with the shop.  And I'm kicking myself for not making my list, planning ahead and getting things done in advance of December 11! That is something I want to rectify in the coming year.  If I start planning for Christmas in January then it won't be such a crunch to come up with something nor will it be a financial issue.  However, yesterday I remembered I have a shed full of gift items that were left over from my shop so I'm going shopping there today and getting things in the mail to our extended family.  My mother sent money for Christmas as she always does so I can use that to buy for the kids.  She always send