Monday, April 30, 2007

Hot Dogs anyone?

Yesterday, we had a day of missions. Second Chance Grace Ministries, along with our church - The Pursuit and other organizations gathered together to minister to 1,400 migrant workers and their families in Caldwell, Idaho. There were several bands playing including ours and people sharing their testimonies. It was an awesome time of serving the needy in our area. No need to go away for a short term missions trips to Mexico, when there was an opportunity right there.


We had a good time setting up the event area, preparing and serving hotdogs and hamburgers, playing with the kids, and talking to the people. There was face painting, fake tatoo tables, inflatable slides and bouncing play structures for the kids. So many of the people were very polite and humble. It was great seeing their smiles of appreciation for a group of people trying to show them that they matter. At about 4 p.m., my husband and I decided to leave, but just before we went, one of the pastors announced that already two people had made decisions for Christ. It was a great Sunday!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Today's challenge

Is cleaning the car out - the whole caboodle.

This entailed:

~Taking 2 toddler car seats out.
~Finding all the "treasures" our kiddos left there.
~Thinking, "Oh, this is where that went."
~Emptying the garbage.
~Bringing in items that don't belong in the car.
~Checked the trunk for emergency supplies (water, first aid kit, jumper cables, T.P., etc.)
~Wiped down inside of car and doorways.
~Kids helped washed all the windows and honk the horn (grrr).
~Vacuumed.
~Then dismantled car seats to clean the fabric.
~Tried to keep all the buckles, belts and parts together with little hands in the midst of it.
~Sprayed fabric with spot cleaner and washed.
~Put in dryer for 5 minutes and then put in the sun on the deck.
~Wipe down shell of car seats and cloth straps.
~Put car seats together (Daddy is a whiz at this).
~Put seats in car.
~(Still need to take to car wash)
~Done.

Hmmm, maybe this is why we don't do this more than a few times a year. It is a bit of a challenge. Although, it could be worse with more car seats or a bigger vehicle. :)

Good Stuff!

Hello everyone!

Found this article over at Mary Ann's House: Frugal Fridays - "Eating Well on a Very Small Budget".

I could not have said this any better, myself. She is doing so many of the things that we do in our home. Though, it has taken me a few years to figure it all out. It is so great how she is trying to be a good steward with what the Lord has given her. I really love how she is also keeping everything balanced by eating healthy in a limited budget. Also, being resourceful without going overboard. There is some great stuff in there - be sure to check it out.

For more Frugal Friday posts, please visit Biblical Womanhood

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Works for me Wednesday - Contact Tips


Here's what works for me as a contact wearer:

I wear those disposable long wear contacts. So when I pick up my order from Costco (the cheapest place to get contacts of the Oasis Brand), or any other supplier, I ask them if I can have a sample of their solution. Some places will even let you choose the brand. Often including an extra lens case.

When I get home with the boxes, I make sure they are properly labeled LEFT or RIGHT!

Then I write the date I put my lenses in, on the inside of the box cover. That way, I know for sure when it was that I had put new ones in, how fast I am going through them, and when I need to place another order. I make sure to keep a handy little pen or pencil right there along side the box to help with recording.

Another option is to make a note on your calendar when you need to change out your contacts.

Last of all, I take advantage of the Manufacturer Web Sites for offerings of samples, coupons, and future promotions.

The last time I did this, a company sent me a year's worth of contact lens cases, a sample of moisture eye drops, and $5.00 in coupons.

Here's to healthy contact wearing!
And what works for me...

For more Works for me Wednesday tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer!

Not Forgotten

Dear Friends,

The following is a devotion that I received from our "Keeper's of the Home" Leader, who has been teaching about being a Titus 2 Woman. I hope you are blessed by reading it along with the personal notes she has shared. Although there is much to read, it is sure to be an encouragement.

You Will Not Be Forgotten
By Glynnis Whitwer

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:
With the Lord a day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years are like a day.”
2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

Devotion:
When my third child was born, my oldest was three. And they were all active boys!

My husband and I were outnumbered and my life was completely up-ended. For the next three years I couldn’t even go shopping at Target by myself with the kids. While one raced down the aisle, the toddler climbed out of the cart. Meanwhile, the baby, who disliked being confined from the moment of his birth, screamed! I was a mess! I felt like climbing over the cart and racing down the aisle screaming myself.

In those difficult three years I kept trying to regain my old life. An organizer and leader by nature, I’d volunteer to oversee something at church and then make my kids and me miserable trying to get it done. My heart is heavy when I remember the times I dragged my three little boys to one event or another, only to leave angry and in tears because they couldn’t sit still.

Instead of accepting my life as it was, I plowed ahead, wanting to serve God and feeling certain He was pleased with my sacrifices. The problem was that my innocent children made the real sacrifice by enduring my non-stop lifestyle. I wish with all my heart that someone had taken me out to coffee and helped me get some perspective. I was too blind to see.

What I know now is that sometimes God calls us to a new mission field that on the surface looks like we’ve been called out of the “game.” But nothing could be further from the truth! Those three years I was afraid to stop pursuing my goals in case an opportunity might pass me by. Instead I missed the opportunity to minister more deeply to my children passed me by.

Note from Lori:
I've shared with you all that I too as a young wife and mother struggled with this. I thought that by being a home keeper, wife and mother that I was somehow not serving, or out of the "game" so to speak. I have shared with you all how one day during a quiet time I was having with the Lord in His Word....that I felt this huge compelling heart pull to serve on the mission field. I wanted to go so badly and serve the Lord whole heartedly....making sure that my life counted and wanting to lay it down for the Lord. I prayed and cried out to the Lord asking him to please send me and our family out on the mission field....to please use us and allow us to go and do whatever the Lord would have us to....anywhere you want us to go, Lord! Was my cry to him.

Then a still, small, quiet voice spoke to my heart "will you serve me on THIS mission field?" I immediately stopped. "THIS mission field, Lord?!" That still, small voice repeated "yes my daughter, THIS mission field."

God gave me the perspective that day that formed and shaped the following years of seeing my role as wife, mother, and keeper of our home as a GREAT and high calling. He helped me to see how very important and vital a role I was playing in the kingdom of God to serve him upon the mission field he had already placed me upon. The Lord really began a heart work in me, as he helped me to gain his perspective and to become more grateful for the blessing of serving him in my home.


It is a GREAT and mighty thing to be be a help meet to our husbands, to affirm them, honor them, respect them, love them and to work hard to have a marriage that endures a life time!


It is a GREAT and mighty thing to raise arrows for the Lord. Our children will be arrows in the hand of the Lord....reaching far and wide to be his hands and feet to those he calls them to serve. We have a wonderful opportunity to minister, disciple, mentor and invest in the lives of our children....loving them, training them, teaching them, investing in them and in their lives.


Don't let the opportunities the Lord has given you with your husband and children pass you by. Oh that we would redeem the time, and make the most of every opportunity to do good....serving the Lord, right where he's placed us!


Also, sometimes our younger children will say things like "I can't wait till...." They are anxiously awaiting some future blessing or event, and their anticipation and urgency to hurry things up and get to that day....often can cause them to loose the joy of ....THIS day and THIS moment. We always encourage them that while it is fun to look forward to something, we can't allow that to cause us to miss out on all the wonderful things that are right now, right here. None of us knows how long we'll have. We may not even have tomorrow! Let us make the most of ...today. Of THIS moment and THIS day! Rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord.

Second Peter 3:8 says,
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (NIV). Although this verse is speaking about the Lord’s return, I believe it can be applied to any time of “waiting.” God doesn’t see time as we do. Three years seems like an eternity, when it’s really just a breath in time. The first part of verse 9 offers hope to those who think opportunities are passing them by and God has forgotten them: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.”

I wish someone had told me that God would not forget me, that I was right where He wanted me, and that I should relax and see the opportunities He had placed in front of me. (my emphasis) Even though my days felt like years, they really were just a blink. At least, that’s what I know now …

From Lori:


As wives and mothers we are right where the Lord wants us to be. We are on the mission field he has placed us upon. My hearts cry is that we would see the wonderful opportunities we have in our marriages, with our children, and in our homes to serve the Lord...to be HIS hands and His feet to our families. We have been given a great and mighty blessing! I know for me, it helped me to see the importance of what God had called me to do and it helped me to desire to serve my husband and children differently...to be much more...purposeful... as I came to realize what an important role we play as wives and mothers in God's kingdom.


This new realizaton and understanding the Lord was giving me as I spent time with him...helped me so much in my heart attitude and in my behavior towards my home and family. I would iron and see an opportunity to pray for Mark as I ironed his shirts. I would pray for his job, I would pray for him as the leader of our home, I would pray and thank the Lord for him and for all he does to bless our family. I thought about how wonderful it was that I could help him, by making sure that his shirts were ironed. I thought about how it would bless him to have more than one shirt, ironed to choose from in his closet. I took delight in making sure our home was pleasant when he walked in from work. I took more delight in greeting him and in thanking him for working and laying down his life for our family. The Lord helped me to thank Mark so much more...for each kind thing he did for our family.


The Lord was helping me to grow and learn HOW to be grateful...and how to express it. I began to be much more grateful for my role as a stay at home wife and mother. I began to take seriously my need to invest in our children and to really deepen my relationship with them as I came alongside them and taught and trained them each day. I began to take seriously my role as Keeper of our home. I became more committed to learning how to cook, clean, and do things that would make our home an inviting, warm place for our family and for others that might come to visit.


The Lord helped me sooo much to gain HIS perspective, about what my role of serving was to be in my marriage, family and home. He began to help me to not grow weary in well doing. Sometimes the dirty diapers and spilled orange juice seem endless...but as the Lord began to change my heart attitude about serving in my home...I didn't get as frustrated or upset about these things. I began to see each thing as an opportunity to die to "it" whatever that happened to be in that moment. To die to my flesh and to serve wholeheartedly as unto the Lord. I have failed MANY times! But as I have continued to draw close to Jesus, he has been sooo very faithful to come alongside me and equip me and strengthen me. I have been so very blessed that the Lord has continued to help me to stay focused upon my first and foremost calling...to minister to my husband and children. And he's helped me to see how sweet the fruit is of this effort! I am so grateful to have had these past 27 years with my honny. I am so grateful for the grace the Lord has given us, to have these years together!


I am so grateful for the relationships we have with our children. We are soooo enjoying our time with them! We were told to dread the teen years....but we have found them to be awesome and such a blast! While there have been opportunties for our family to serve others throughout the years in a variety of ways....God has really helped me to continue to see the need to make sure we're putting first things....first. And for all of us to see the joy of serving wherever the Lord has placed us!

Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your faithfulness. No matter what my circumstances look like to me, I know You have not forgotten me. Help me to see Your hand in every moment of my day, and to look for ways to serve You and those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Do You Know Him?

Application Steps:
Identify an area of your life that seems to be put on hold. Instead of rebelling against, ask God what He wants you to learn from it.


Reflections:

What are some of the lies women believe when it looks like God has put their dreams on hold?



If you are in a “holding pattern,” list three reasons to be thankful in the midst of your current situation.


Then, list three ways you can grow spiritually in that same situation.



Power Verses:
Psalm 40:1, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.” (NIV)

Luke 12:6, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” (NIV)

Genesis 9:16, “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." (NIV)

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The envelope

It is such a special treat to be able to get away from time to time and attend women's conferences. These times always bring refreshment and offer "treasures" to bring home and apply to my life.

Which was again true from a conference that I attended in February. It was a Homeschooling Encouragement Day. My husband and I, had been looking into our children's schooling options and thought this day would be a great way to learn more from those people who are the professionals. Those that have been doing homeschooling a long time and are practicing it every day. There were some great speakers with a wealth of information and so many practical ideas.

What really touched me was the answer and question times. In one of the group discussions, I heard this conversation between a speaker, who I will call Mrs. L and one of the attendees, who I will call, Susan.

This is how one of the conversations went:
Susan asks,
"I was wondering how do you know when your child is doing his/her best? I mean when you know they can do better, but for some reason they don't do it. How do you not get frustrated with them when they don't meet your expectations. When you know they are capable of doing something?

Mrs. L. asked,
"Well now give me an example?"

Susan says,
"Like the other day, when we were writing a letter to grandparents. I gave my son a pen, an envelope and then a slip of paper with their address. Then I had him go sit down and address it. When he was finished, he showed the letter to me with the address he had written vertically down the envelope. This was so frustrating to me, because I knew he could do it. It seemed like he wasn't doing his best."

Mrs. L. says,
"Can I ask you something?"

Susan says,
"Yes."

Mrs. L. says,
"Have you trained him to write an address on an envelope? Have you sat down with him and showed him where and and how to write the name, address, city, state and zip code goes? Where the return address goes? Where the stamp goes?"

(While Mrs. L is saying this, you can see the realization come across Susan's face, a bit of tears welling up in her eyes, and then a smile.)

Susan says,
"Well no, I have not done that."

Mrs. L. says,
"You need to train him in these things. Even those things that we think are the simplest of tasks need to be taught. You and I, have learned these skills and now they need to be trained how to do them too. They cannot always learn by just observing Mom and Dad. We need to take the time to train them."

Susan asks,
"How do you know when they are being disobedient or not?"

Mrs. L. says,
"When you can tell that things are "just not right". When they aren't getting the instructions. You need to stop and ask yourself, "Now have I trained them?"
If there is an "attitude" present - you know when they are darting their eyes, rolling their eyes, slumping the shoulders, tone of voice (not hard to miss), and there is a lack of a humble heart - then they are disobeying. They then need more training and discipline.


****************************************

Now personally this scenario is not something that I would struggle with. It seems logical to me that a child would need training in how to address an envelope. But the underlining message of this conversation is what hit home for me. I had not heard of the term "training" used in this context before. I was so very blessed to have witnessed many conversations like the one above, that so became light bulb moments! Not only did I hear about schooling options, but what I really came away with was an answer to prayer. Some solid instruction into raising my children. The Lord met my true need that day.

I hope to later share more of how life at home changed following this conference.

Blessings to you all. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Menu Plan Monday #1


This is my first time joining "Menu Plan Monday". Hope you enjoy!

Monday: Burritos, Salad, and Peaches
Tuesday: Dinner w/ friends
Wednesday: Easy Shrimp Pasta for Two and Caesar Salad
Thursday: Waffles, Homemade Sausage, Cantaloupe
Friday: Spaghetti w/ cheese toast and mixed veggies


For more dinner ideas, especially for the days when at 5:00 in the evening you still have no idea what to make, please visit Laura of I’m An Organizing Junkie.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sea Salt

I recently received a bag of Sea Salt. Anyone know some good uses for this. How and when to use it in cooking and other things?

Counting Pennies

These recipes ares some of my favorites for quick & inexpensive meals. Feel free to share any that you may use in your own home.


Ground Beef 'N' Biscuits



This saucy
meal is
family pleasing
and also
budget-pleasing
at .98 cents
per serving.








Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
1 pckg. (10 oz) frozen peas
1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
In a skillet over medium heat, cook beef, celery and onion until meat is no longer pink and celery is tender; drain. Stir in the flour, salt, oregano, and pepper until blended. Add tomato sauce and peas; simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Separate biscuits; arrange over beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden and cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.


**********************************

Creamed Tuna Recipe

Serve creamed tuna as a lunch dish or for dinner over toast, biscuits, or rice.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 can (about 7 ounces) tuna, drained
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup frozen peas, cooked

Preparation:

  • Melt butter over medium-low heat; blend in flour, salt,
    and pepper.
  • Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, or until smooth and bubbly.
  • Gradually stir in milk while stirring constantly. Continue cooking, stirring
    constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
  • Add drained tuna and cooked peas. Continue heating and stirring until hot.
  • Serve creamed tuna over toast, biscuits, or rice. Creamed Tuna recipe makes approximately 3 cups. Cook time: 7 minutes

    From Diana Rattray of Your Guide to Southern Cuisine from About.com

**********************************

Homemade Oven French Fries:

Ingredients:
  • 2 baking potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Peel potatoes (optional) - by leaving peeling on it offers more nutrients
  • Cut into strips, about 1/4 inches in diameter.
  • In a bowl, combine potatoes with olive oil, and mix well so that potatoes are evenly coated with the oil. (optional) - Instead of using a mixing bowl, I use a Ziploc bag or even better, the plastic liners of empty cereal boxes. It recycles and leaves no mess.
  • Spray baking sheet (0ptional)
  • Place in a single layer on a baking sheet in a preheated oven.
  • Bake until potatoes have browned, about 20 minutes.

**********************************


Baked Pork Chops and Potatoes

Ingredients:
4-6 pork chops
Salt & Pepper
1/3 cup onions, chopped
Vegie Oil
4 cups potatoes, thickly sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 cups milk

Directions:
  • Pour a couple of teaspoons of vegie oil in pan. Add onions and saute. Add pork chops that have been seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides.
  • Place potatoes in a 2 quart greased baking dish and arrange browned chops on top. To the cooked onions in the skillet add the soup and milk. Stir and heat. Pour on top of chops and potatoes.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake 30 - 40 more minutes. Serves 6

    From: Living On a Dime Newsletter

**********************************


Easy Pizza Sauce
Have you ever ran out of the canned pizza sauce when you really needed it? This recipe is so good and easy you may never buy pizza sauce again. by Bonnie Young at www.recipezaar.com

Ingredients:

2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups water
Instructions:
  • Combine tomato paste, garlic, parsley flakes, onion, oregano, basil and water in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Cool a little and spread on your pizza crust and proceed with remainder of your toppings. Makes 3 cups, 4-6 servings.
*Here are the adjustments we made for our preferences:
  • Used Organic Tomato Paste we had on hand. Made for a sweeter taste.
  • Used 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder instead of 2 cloves garlic
  • Used 1/2 tsp. of Onion powder instead of the 4 tspns. of dried onion flakes
  • Added 1 tsp. of sugar
  • Added 1 tbsp. of Olive oil and removed 1 tbsp. of water.
  • Added a few pinches of salt.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Prescription Plan

Here at our house, there is a row of about 5 rose bushes. One of them has a problem of red rust infection. If you look closely at the original shoots, you can see some of the discoloration.



We want to redo this bed of roses by tearing out all the useless black paper. Then lie down thick layers of dampened newspaper, with bark as a covering. Doing this would make the area look so much nicer as it borders the lawn and the neighbors driveway.

Here is the prescription plan:

1. Cut back and thin out bushes to promote growth.

2. Keep enough leftover coffee grounds to place around the roots of the rose bushes.

3. Drench the entire rose bush with Fungicide every 7-10 days during first budding.

4. Spread a Rose Sytemic for the keeping bugs off and promoting growth every 6-8 weeks during growing season.


5. Use calendar to keep track of applications.

6. Take care to not let the lawn sprinkler spray water on top of the rose bushes every time it's watered. Try to be more purposeful in watering just the root area.

7. When blooms are finished, cut them off to promote additional blooms.

There you have it. A prescription plan for healthier rose bushes.

Breakthrough

I have recently had two breakthroughs. They are not significant in any way. Just interesting to me.

The other day I was called "You're the nice coupon lady!"

You see when this checker first met me, she had been on the job for only two days. With the shopping list, the different deals that were going on, and the coupons I was using, anyone would have looked at it and said it was a nightmare. Before we even started I shared with her what was going to be happening with the coupons. First that she needed to scan my Albertson's Savings Card. Then proceed with items on the belt that I had placed in order with the coupons. Especially with the store matching coupons that I had already written what the store price was and the difference with the sale right there on the coupon. So no math for her! She just had to type it in. Through it all we chatted about her first few days experience as a new checker. The grand total at the end was $8.00 for $72.00 worth of groceries. The checker said, "You did a great job - wow!" I told her she did a great job too. And that I appreciated her great customer service.

So then the next time I came to shop there, I purposely went to her register. She greets me with "Hey you're the nice coupon lady!"

I thanked her. Knowingly, that in her future she would meet other "coupon ladies" that would do much better than myself. But I was blessed to hear that she had appreciated the kindness shared with her.


The other breakthrough was at this special sale that I go to every quarter or so. It is at a children's consignment shop. They have an off-site sale where it is like a huge garage sale with tons of baby and children's clothes placed on tables for people to look through. Sometimes, things can get a bit "hairy" or pushy. To be honest, there has been a particular woman there that gets under my skin. She is a pro at this stuff. She comes with her son and another woman, and they work the system. I have tried to say hello to her or smile with nothing in return. She is all business. But we see each other in the sales and sometimes brush elbows.

So at this last sale, we were both in line waiting for the doors to open. I said, "Hello" and she smiled. Then it just seemed that throughout the sale we were friendly with each other. We both knew how things worked at the sales. So we would often be right beside each other working a pile, I'd step on her bag she would laugh, we'd help each other find an item, and then she even brought over her pile of items that she was done with. Usually, her group is over in a corner on to their own and doesn't let anyone look at them.

I was pleased that there was a breakthrough with this woman. Next time, I will purposely ask her some questions to learn more about her. I never imagined being able to have even have a conversation with her, and next time I will try opening the doors a little more.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Day 21

Well, I recently completed Day 21 in the devotional book, "Whispers of Hope", by Beth Moore. It has been said that after 21 days of doing something it then becomes a habit. Maybe, just maybe, I will finish the entire 70 days of devotions and prayer guides this time.

Here is a little bit from today's devotion:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock" ~ Matthew 7:24

"The strength of our houses is not dependent on our salvation. It's not dependent on our faith. It's dependent upon our willingness to live according to God's Word..."

"As long as we have breath, it is never too late for a foolish man to become wise. Better to have a hut on the Rock than a castle on the sand." ~ Beth Moore

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Feast of Roses

Just finished this latest book,
"The Feast of Roses"
by Indu Sundaresan. As it seems with most sequels, the first book was better. Although, it was just as intriguing as "The Twentieth Wife". I was a bit distracted in how the author would give background explanations to the reader who hadn't read the first book. So I would just skim through those.

If you have read the first book and want to find out what happens to Mehrunnisa in her reign as Empress of the Mughal Dynasty, then read on! The author did an outstanding job of sharing the many details of Indian history, culture, and customs. I liked the character, Mehrunnisa in the first book, but then found it waning as her thirst for power increased.

Here are some previous postings for the first book,
"The Twentieth Wife":

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"The least of these"


Recently, I received an email from my friend and fellow co-worker at the crisis center I used to work at. She shared that a past client (who I will call Jesse) was trying to get in contact with me. Contact with Jesse has been sporadic over the last 3 years. She has always had a life of turmoil and of consequence.



Oddly, as I read the email from my friend, a growing panic swelled up in me. These were the thoughts that raced through my head:

"Who am I?", "What do I have to offer?", and "What could be going on in Jesse's life, now?"

Then came that steady, small voice, as the Lord spoke into my being...
"Be available, listen, love the least of these, and obey."

When talking and praying with Jesse on the phone, she again shared how much it meant to her to receive the friendship and kindness I gave to her, when she was my client. That in her life she hasn't had very many people show her respect. To go beyond my "job" requirements. She knows what that looks like, as so many other "workers" have come and gone in her life. She said that she often talks about me to "others". And that when she does think of me, it makes her smile and gives her hope.

I am so blessed to know that the hope she sees is - Jesus. And all He asks us to do is to be available. Be ready and willing as He calls us to love "the least of these..."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Eggs galore...

One of the basic rules of frugality is to waste not, want not. In this case, I want to not be wasting all the hard boiled eggs I have leftover! I dislike having the same thing over and over and over, so I try to reuse items in a creative way.

Last night we made Eggs Goldenrod with peaches. This is a meal that has biscuits with gravy and then chopped hard boiled eggs on top. The meal was especially frugal as we used peppered gravy from a previous meal that had been stored in the freezer. Also put in some chopped up sausage from that morning's breakfast. Very yummy!

Then we will be making Egg Sandwiches for lunch.

One more tip:
Be careful to not break the Easter eggs in front of your children.
May cause trauma. :)

THE SUN IS UP!
















These are the precious words I heard this morning. Although, I am not a morning person, my son is. I love to hear the exuberance he has for the simple, but powerful act of the rising sun. How excited he is. It brings a smile to my face. Also, a reminder to treasure these moments.






Monday, April 9, 2007

Celebrating...

Easter at the Hertel's

On Easter Sunday, we all woke up to a down pouring of rain. Jadon still had a fever and runny nose. So, I went to the first service at our church, then my husband came in the car with the kids, and then I brought them home while he went to the next service. We were thankful to have 2 services to choose from, or one of us would have missed out on a really great worship time and sermon.

Our first tulips bloomed.


When we came home, the kids had fun dying Easter Eggs.




All the pretty colors. One egg missing due to a mishap.


Here are the kid's Easter Baskets and Buckets.
In all, they were about $3.00 each to put together.
The plastic eggs had jelly beans and coins hidden in them.
The baskets had bunnies, puzzles, bubbles, plastic eggs
with small toys, and a few candies.



Emily, happily finding an egg.




Jadon, had quite the eye for the hidden eggs.




The kids were excited to find their Easter Baskets.


First Carrot Cake



Thankfully, the inside of the cake was much more tastier than
the looks of the decorating,


We had this ham dish, with scallop potatoes, salad,
and cream of corn on the side.




Would love to hear about your Easter...
Thanks for stopping by!


Easter Sunday

Here is a song from our Sunday Worship that was especially touching:


This Is Our God

A refuge for the poor, a shelter from the storm
This is our God
He will wipe away your tears and return your wasted years
This is our God
Oh... this is our God
A father to the orphan, a healer to the broken
This is our God
And he brings peace to our madness and comfort in our sadness
This is our God
Oh... this is our God
This is the one we have waited for
Oh... this is our God
A fountain for the thirsty, a lover for the lonely
This is our God
He brings glory to the humble and crowns for the faithful
This is our God

by Chris Tomlin


Friday, April 6, 2007

The Strategy

Today, called for strategic planning.

The task was grocery shopping at WinCo. Just myself and the kids. Typically, my husband does the big shopping for us on Friday's, as the store is on the way home from his work. So I am very blessed and a bit spoiled to not have to brave this part of the shopping every week or two. If I do go, then it is usually by myself or then with one of the kids. When it's one on one, they are the sweetest angels. So helpful!

The problem is that my 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter, have not had the full opportunity to work out their "kinks" at the grocery store. My daughter is very stubborn. Usually, she does not want to stay in the cart, but wants to walk on her own without holding hands. Doesn't like to be carried either. Yes, that is very naughty. Yes, we are working on this. :)

So this weekend is going to be a busy one. In looking at our schedule, it was decided that I would need to do the shopping. As soon as my husband gets off from work, he will be going to the car store to pick up parts for repairing the Clutch. It has this grinding noise as he tries to switch gears. A few times it almost got stuck. He will be taking out all the parts this evening, and then placing them back in tomorrow. There are also other issues, like the brakes and the shocks.

To make a long story, even longer...

With my daughter's tendencies, a plan was needed. So I did some image searches on Google.com to find some of the groceries that would be on our list. Placed about 8 of them on a sheet. Then practiced with the kids and gave them "The Speech": "That they would listen to mommy with both ears, staying seated in the cart (or they would be disciplined). That we will be playing a GAME!, The Bingo Game. Where we have to find a bag of salad (Rhino Food, Emily calls it. That's another story), or we have to find milk, etc. They then would receive a sticker to put on the matching picture".

All in all, it worked very well. There were a few people at the store that thought it was cute, some others had that look, like oh how silly, or I don't need that. :( I didn't care, I was on a mission!

My kids were having fun and behaving. Emily sat in the front of the cart with the belt on the entire time. They learned about some new foods, like onions, pineapple, ham slices, etc. They learned about matching items. The only effort on my part was talking more in reminding them what they were looking for and stopping to give stickers.

We talked about their experience when we got home and they were given much praise. Jadon said he listened to mommy very well. They were proud to have their own grocery lists, like the adults.

Now if only they can put the all groceries away by themeselves. ;)




Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Great Pumpkin Dessert


















15 oz can pumpkin
12 oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
¾ c. butter
1 ½ c. walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2 in. baking pan. Sprinkle with dry cake mix and drizzle with butter. Top with walnuts. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Yield: 12-16 servings.

This dish is like a pumpkin pie with a crunchy nut topping. It’s a great alternative dessert for the holidays and all year long!

A few weeks ago I posted about my experience in making this dish here:
See: Thursday, March 22, 2007 posting, "A week in the life of..."

Monday, April 2, 2007

Birthday Boy!

We took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese's on Sunday night. At first they walked around in a daze with all the excitement. They quickly adjusted and found their favorite games.















Then on Monday night, March 26th, we celebrated Jadon's 4th Birthday! Leading up to this day, he had been asking for a "blue cake". So when placing the order, he picked out this Finding Nemo Birthday Cake. I tried to make the decorations look like the ocean. We already had most of the creatures and the seashells on hand. The two starfish, blue paper confetti, dangling fish from the ceiling, and blue streamers were purchased at the party store by Dad. When Jadon woke up from his nap and found all the decorations put up, his face broke out with a great big smile and sparkling eyes filled with awe.






















New toothbrushes for the kids.















Jadon
had been asking for a Superman toothbrush and Emily was happy to get a Winnie The Pooh toothbrush.


"What is it?"

















Checking out the wheels on his new big boy bike.
















"Look Mom, I was little. Now, I'm a big, big, boy!"