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Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas



A Communion Hymn for Christmas

Gathered round Your table on this holy eve,
Viewing Bethlehem's stable we rejoice and grieve;
Joy to see You lying in Your manger bed,
Weep to see You dying in our sinful stead.

Prince of Glory, gracing Heav'n ere time began,
Now for us embracing death as Son of Man;
By Your birth so lowly, by Your love so true,
By Your cross most holy, Lord, we worship You!

Bethlehem's Incarnation, Calvary's bitter cross,
Wrought for us salvation by Your pain and loss;
Now we fall before You in this holy place,
Prostrate we adore You, for Your gift of grace.

With profoundest wonder we Your body take--
Laid in manger yonder, broken for our sake;
Hushed in adoration we approach the cup--
Bethlehem's pure oblation freely offered up.

Christmas Babe so tender, Lamb who bore our blame,
How shall sinners render praises due Your name?
Do Your own good pleasure in the lives we bring;
In Your ransomed treasure reign forever King!

(Margaret Clarkson)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The true meaning of Christmas


Only a few more days until we celebrate the Lord's birth. It is hard to comprehend that God came to earth in the flesh--as a baby. I always think of this passage during Christmas because it explains what the Lord did:

Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross~Philippians 2:6-8

That's what Christmas is all about!!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dinner for Tonight

A Quick and Easy Dinner for Tonight:

Pineapple Salsa Chicken

3-6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 can tidbit pineapple (drain)
1 can black beans (undrained)
1 32-oz. jar chunky-style salsa (mild or medium)

Place chicken breasts in the crockpot and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve with warm tortillas and rice.

And I'm making this for our Titus 2 group tonight.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

24

If you're a fan of the television show "24", then you'll enjoy this: http://www.ifilm.com/video/2804648

Friday, December 15, 2006

5 Ways to Say "No"

5 Ways to Say 'No'

While it's OK to say 'Yes' to some requests for your time--especially those that are really important--saying 'No' is essential to securing sufficient time for yourself and your family. Here are 5 tactful ways to say 'No.'

1. 'Although I'm flattered you've asked me to make your daughter's party dress, I just don't have the time to do so with all of my other projects.'

2. 'I can't volunteer to chaperone the dance, but I'd be more than happy to bake cookies for the event.'

3. 'I don't have the time necessary to give this project my full attention, and I can't accept projects that I can only offer limited focus on.'

4. 'Thanks for asking, but my Saturdays are dedicated to my family.'

5. 'My schedule is already booked to the max, so although I appreciate you asking, I have to decline your kind offer.'

The above was taken from the "Get Organized Now!" Newsletter. * To subscribe, visit here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not Much Blogging Lately

I am in the middle of Christmas preparations so really haven't have much time to blog lately. Last night I finished the first of two (perhaps three) fleece blankets that I'm making. There's not much to it! I just bought the fleece panel (a cardinal one for my mom and a Cowboys one for my dad) and I'm doing a blanket stitch around the edges. Easy as pie!

The other day we made about 6 dozen cookies but they are now gone. So last night JK and JL made another six dozen. Some are decorated, some are not. We're also going to be working on a gingerbread house this week. Last year I did one myself but this year JK is going to do it. Yeah! Our tree is up but not decorated. That is on my list this week also!

The weather has been very nice lately. I went out to lunch with friends today and I didn't even need a jacket. I know the wintery blast will come in the near future but I'm enjoying this now. I do hope we get some snow this winter. And not just a little bit--I'd like to see a major snowstorm! It's been quite a while since that has happened in Central VA.

So, if you don't see my around here as much as usual you'll know I'm busy with things around the house. Have a blessed week!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Hymn

Angels, from the Realms of Glory
Angels, from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.
Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant Light:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.
Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter vision beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations,
Ye have seen His natal star:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.
Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.
(James Montgomery)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My day so far......

Reading.....the Word of God

Studying.....the book of James

Thinking.....about how to implement some changes in the homeless ministry at church

Listening.....Old-Fashioned Christian Radio

Drinking.....orange juice

Teaching.....geometry

Making.....just made breakfast and lunch today; not working on any crafts right now

Working.....on finishing up the laundry

Waiting.....for my son to come home from school

Going.....to Barnes and Noble tonight to meet a friend

Dinner.....leftovers from the past few days!

Praying.....for the sick at our church

Praising.....for the three children that He has given me. They are such a blessing to me. I found this on the white board this morning, written by my oldest dd: "I love you, Mom, more than words can say. I hope you have an awesome day. PS: you're cool."

How about your day? What is happening in your home? Please share!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Yo!

This quiz hit the nail on the head! I'm not for Philly but grew up about 20 miles away in South Jersey (until 1990). I didn't think I had an accent but I maybe I do!!


What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia
 

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Northeast
 
The Midland
 
The Inland North
 
The South
 
Boston
 
The West
 
North Central
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sunday Hymn

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of ev'ry nation,
Joy of ev'ry longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a Child, and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives. Isaiah 61:1

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Quiz

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Non-Reader
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Advent

We have never really celebrated Advent during the holiday season. Every year we do countdown to Christmas with an advent calendar. We always pick ones that have Scripture in each window. This year we are making a Jesse Tree using this book. I've spent a lot time researching what to use and this one seems the best fit for our family. There are a lot of free resources on the web and they are easy to find by googling "Jesse Tree" but I liked this one best. I have been reading Ann's blog, Holy Experience, for a long time and I feel I "know" her and her heart for the Lord. If you haven't been reading her blog, you are missing out on some challenging words!

Tomorrow we'll go in the backyard and look for a branch that we can use for our Jesse tree. You can make your own tree on posterboard but I like the idea of having a branch as described in Isaiah 11:1: "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit."

We have always tried to make our Christmas more and more Christ-filled each year. Some years are better than others. I fail and get caught up in things that don't really matter. I admit that I am very sentimental about Christmas but not in the way I should be. I love the all the old, animated Christmas shows and wouldn't miss them every year (did anyone watch Charlie Brown tonight?). But I haven't always been that careful to honor the Lord during this time. I have realized lately that I have not been living my life deliberately. I need to get rid of things that are hindering me from living a life that is honoring to Him. So, one of the things I am doing is honoring Him each day of this Christmas season by focusing on His coming. Preparing my heart (and my family's) to worship Him in all His glory. Christmas! God in the flesh! A time when God took on human form so that He could save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). That fact alone should cause me to worship and thank Him every minute for what He has done.

As Ann says her in book:

He's coming. Let's prepare.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

10 Guidelines for Keeping Christ in Christmas


TAKE time to be alone and ponder your relationship with Christ.

READ the story of Jesus' birth and note how people responded--Mary, Joseph, the
shepherds, Simeon and Anna.

PRAISE God at Christmas. Join other Christians in celebrations of music and praise.

HELP those in need at Christmas. Follow the example of Jesus whose heart was filled with compassion for those who were suffering.

KEEP your "to do" list as short as possible. Limit your social obligations so there is time for reflections.

USE cash when you buy gifts to avoid holiday debt. Invite your relatives to support a mission cause instead of giving you a gift.

TELL others about the Savior. Find opportunities to give a tract or a Bible.

REMEMBER Christ's church around the world. Some of these churches are enduring great hardship.

LIVE like Christ in this season. Be compassionate. Be forgiving (especially in mall parking lots and with harassed sales staff). Be sensitive to the people with whom you work and play.

BE JOYFUL at Christmas! You are celebrating the greatest event in the history of the world--the arrival of God in human form.

Taken from a tract that can be purchased here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Psalm 100

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving Menu




Our Thanksgiving Menu

Turkey breast
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Rolls

Pecan Pie
Pumpkin

Appetizers for earlier in the day:
7-layer bean dip
Cream Cheese dip
Bacon Delights

What's on your menu this Thanksgiving?


Monday, November 20, 2006

Christmas Organizing


12 Days of Holiday Organizing:Countdown to A Successful Celebration

by Debbie Williams

It's that time of year again. The holidays are almost upon us. We know it arrives at the same time every year, and yet it sneaks up on us year after year. However, your holiday preparations don't have to be stressful if you create a holiday countdown, a checklist if you will, to halt the holiday madness:

Day 12 - Be prepared.Create a budget for your gift purchases and stick with it. This will determine who is on your gift list, and how what you will purchase. Then make a detailed gift list and keep it with you in your purse, briefcase, or planner for quick reference. Write down a few ideas for presents, based on the preferences of those on the list and hints they have given you throughout the year.

Day 11 - Slow down.Utilize slow times to run your errands so that you won't burn out. Shop for groceries in early mornings or late evenings (not during lunch hour or after work), visit the malls during your lunchbreak while others are at work or in the classroom, and try to avoid standing in line if at all possible. Take bottled water and a snack for quick energy.

Day 10 - Take stock.Start stocking the freezer for quick meals. Just double a recipe every day this week and you'll have instant leftovers. You'll thank yourself in the busy days to come.

Day 9 - Limit interruptions.Learn how to screen incoming interruptions to eliminate stress at the job and home. Use voicemail, caller i.d., and email filters to avoid chaos creators.

Day 8 - Helping hands.Hire a babysitter or mother's helper to watch the kids while you shop, wrap gifts, or visit your favorite day spa.

Day 7 - Delegate.Delegate simple decorating and gift-wrapping tasks to others. Small children love to help by adding bows or gift tags to presents, while visiting grandparents can polish silver or press linens.

Day 6 - Multi-tasking.Multi-task whenever possible so that you can play and work at the same time. Watch TV while polishing silver, or listen to classical music while ironing table linens. Try to avoid isolating yourself from the rest of the fun while you're working on your to do's.

Day 5 - Game plan?Create a game plan for your holiday meal. Cook rolls, stuffing, desserts, and meats in smaller portions for easy heat and serve dinners on the big day. Focus your efforts on family time, rather than kitchen duty.

Day 4 - Check it out.Take an inventory of the linen closet so that there are no surprises as you serve the turkey. Is your best tablecloth stained, or did Uncle Bert's cigar burn a hole in one of your damask napkins? Maybe it's time to assemble paper and plastic ware for the big day instead. (Sometimes it's better to lower your expectations of a perfect tablescape than to spend all your time washing dishes in the kitchen. I doubt anyone will call the Entertainment Police!)

Day 3 - Open heart, open home.Consider having an open house rather than trying to squeeze in several parties. Invite everyone to visit one home at staggered times for some good cheer. This can work on the big day too, especially if all the in-laws live in town. It sure beats driving around all day from house to house to see those you love!

Day 2 - Speedy delivery.Order take-out or pull a prepared meal from the freezer for a stress-free meal today. Let the oven rest for tomorrow's big feast.

Day 1 - The Main Event.Start the morning with easy preparations in the kitchen, leaving other items for the last minute. Chop vegetables, mix dips, then assemble snack trays for munching. Put the turkey in the oven, set the table, and bake pies. Leave candles, music, and last minute preparations for later. Leave the house to take a stroll around the block, enjoy a bubblebath, or listen to some relaxing music before your family or friends arrive. Enjoy yourself. You've earned it!

And the day AFTER Christmas, make next year's 'to do' so that you won't have to work so hard again! Shop year round for gifts, decorations, and cards for those you love. Keep a running list of things you need, should not do again, and tips for making things easier on you and your household. Getting organized for the holidays is truly a process, but with some effective planning you can enjoy the journey. Happy Holidays!
-----
Debbie Williams is an author and speaker who offers tools and training to help you put your life in order. Read more practical tips like these in Debbie's book, Common Sense Organizing (Champion Press, January 2005).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Homekeeping and Organizing Websites


www.organizedhome.com
http://www.flylady.net/
http://www.organized-mom.com/
http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/
http://www.hisgraceworks.com/
http://www.nutnhoney.net/ (Lots of links to homekeeping sites)
http://www.getorganizednow.com/
http://www.organizedtimes.com/
http://www.organizetips.com/
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/
http://www.t2chk.org/ (Christian Homekeeper)
http://www.creativehomemaking.com/
http://www.menus4moms.com/ (free weekly menus and recipes)
http://www.helpformothers.org/ (Keepers at Home organizer)
http://www.oldfashionedhomemaking.com/
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/
http://www.makingithomemagazine.com/
http://www.homemakingorganized.com/ (article on how to make household organizer)
http://www.kristensguide.com/House_Home_Life/Organizing/Home_Organizer/index.asp (a guide to making a household organizer)
http://www.practicalhomemaking.com/

This list is by no means exhaustive! Do you have any you'd like to share? Please leave a comment with your favorite homekeeping and organizing websites. Thank you!

Old Christian Radio

Do you like sacred Christian music? You know, the hymns of yesteryear? I like all kinds of Christian music from contemporary to hymns. As always, there is a time and a place for everything. While I'm working at my desk and while we're doing school I like to listen to the old songs of the faith. I found a website called "Old-Fashioned Christian Music" that I can listen to while my computer is on. If you enjoy sacred music, give this website a try!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Quotes of Contentment and Simplicity


The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. ~Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993

Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter. ~D.H. Mondfleur

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. ~E.F. Schumacker

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. ~Albert Einstein

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. ~Author Unknown

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. ~Elise Boulding

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~John Burroughs

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. ~Lin Yutang

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. ~Henry David Thoreau

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo DaVinci

How many things are there which I do not want. ~Socrates

Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion. ~The Talmud

You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need. ~Vernon Howard

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. ~Henry David Thoreau

We don't need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it. ~Donald Horban

Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves. ~Edwin Way Teale

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. ~Philippians 4:11

Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?" ~Hebrews 13:5-6

But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet and good tilled earth. ~Bilbo Baggins

The way for a man to be contented, is not by raising his estate higher, but by bringing his heart lower. ~Thomas Watson

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More Rain Today

The weather report stated that the rain would be gone by the morning. They were wrong! As I took JK to art class this morning, it was very foggy but looked as if it would burn off. By noon it was pouring and it continued that way for most of the afternoon. A lot of the leaves are off the trees now.....on the ground, on my car, stuck on windows. Thankfully it was warm today.

There's not much going on today. While JK had art, I went grocery shopping at Super Wal-Mart. Christmas displays are everywhere. What happened to Thanksgiving??? While I was there I ran into a friend from church. She was there with her new baby girl--only 12 days old! She has lots of hair and was even wearing a clip. So cute!

After art, JK had school but it was a light day because we usually don't get back before 2:00. She took a history test which I have yet to grade. This was an alternate test as she did poorly on the first one. Hopefully she will do better this time.

Groceries are put away, laundry is done, kitchen is cleaned and downstairs is straightened. That makes me dance!! I know it won't stay that way for long but it does feel good to have everything in order.

Tonight we had chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice and refried beans. I'll post the recipe in the next day or two because I am very tired and headed to bed.

What did you do today?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dinner Tonight

Baked Potato Soup

4 large baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter (or margarine)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (I used regular)
6 cups milk
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Bake potatoes at 350* for 65-75 minutes or until tender; cool completely. Peel and cube potatoes. (Ok, I don't do this! I peel the raw potatoes, cube them and put them into a pot with water and cook for about 15-20 minutes until they are done. Much easier and quicker!)

In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; whisk in sour cream. Add potatoes and green onions. Garnish with bacon and cheese. This is a very thick chowder-like soup. 10 servings.

Corn Bread

1 cup milk
1/4 stick butter or margarine, melted
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups yellow, white or blue cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt

Heat oven to 400*. Grease bottom and side of 9" round pan or 8" square pan with shortening.

Beat milk, butter and egg in large bowl. Sitr in remaining ingredients all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Pour batter into pan.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 servings. You can also make muffins; just grease bottom only of muffin cups or use paper baking cups. Fill about 3/4 full. Cook time is the same.

What did you make for dinner tonight?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Library Finds and A Busy Day

Our trip to the Richmond Public Library booksale proved to be fruitful. I came home with about 40 books for $22.00. Not too bad! I was a little late to the sale and I was all the way at the back of the line so by the time I got to the children's books whole shelves had been scooped up! It happens like that sometimes. My friend, Michelle, was first in line and she picked up a lot of good books. I think she had about 6 or 7 boxes. I was very pleased with my finds and felt it was worth going. Most the of the newer books were in mint condition. Here's some of what I found:

The Secret Garden; I have this already but bought it for the illustrations. They're by Nora Unwin and she is one of my favorites. I also have this book illustrated by Tasha Tudor. I'll keep both!

A Farmer's Wife--The Story of Ruth; from 1906; neat book retelling the Bible story with b&w illustrations.

Flipbook Animations and Other Ways to Make Cartoons Move

A Treasury of Flower Fairies; poems and pictures by Cicely Mary Barker. I love fairies and her books are very sweet. This one is in mint condition. The pictures date back to the 30's.

I Love America--A Treasury of Popular Stories, History, Poems and Songs; very nice Golden Book from 1990.

When I Grow Up and The Wonderful House; two Little Golden Books from 1950; first editions. I love Little Golden Books and have about 200 of them. I'm always on the look out for the older ones because they have such sweet stories and they remind me of the ones I had when I was little.

Oh, Were They Ever Happy! by Peter Spier; he is another of my favorite author/illustrators. Tells the story of what happens when the sitter doesn't show up.......

Betsy Ross by Alexandra Wallner

Start Exploring Bulfinch's Mythology. Neat coloring book and poster of 16 classic tales of adventure.

Hear, Hear Mr. Shakespeare; story, illustrations and selections from Shakespeare's plays.

Explorers Who Got Lost by Diane Drehel

Peter the Great by Diane Stanley; another addition to her picture-book biographies. These are very well done and recommended by me!

Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda

America--A Young Person's Guide to the USA. Very nice, oversized book with a state on each page; filled with lots of illustrations and facts.

A Little Book of Manners by Emilie Barnes

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes; every home library should have at least one Calvin and Hobbes book!!

The Great Rubber Stamp Book; a perfect companion to our rubber stamping supplies!

The Tea Party Book--with recipes, menus, decorations and favors to make. Don't these sound like fun: A Valentine Tea, A Japanese Tea Party, A Royal Tea Party, Tiny Tea? I can't wait to have a tea party soon!

Shirley by Charlotte Bronte; I haven't read this but am looking forward to it. Jane Eyre is my favorite book so I'm sure this will be good also.

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken; I've heard a lot about this book and am glad to have found a copy.

The Lord is My Shepherd and Give Us This Day; beautiful two-book boxed set of The Lord's Prayer and The Twenty-Third Psalm illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Looks as if it was never read.

Cranford by Mrs. Gaskell; beautiful 1924 copy; I almost passed this by but picked it up because it was in such good condition. Mrs. Gaskell is Elizabeth Gaskell, author of Wives and Daughters and North and South. She was a contemporary of the Brontes but not as well known. She is well worth reading!

The Confessions of the Faith together with The Larger Catechism and The Shorter Catechism; nice 1944 copy in very good condition. Printed in Richmond!

A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne, illustrated by Aurth Rackham; nice paperback copy of this book. Has nice color plates along with b&w illustrations.

Drummond's Addresses by Henry Drummond; includes The Greatest Thing in the World. I can't find a date but this looks to be from the late 1800's or early 1900's.

JK also picked up some funny poetry books because she saw some new poems by Ogden Nash that she had not read before. She really like Ogden Nash's poetry.

After the library, we drove to a teacher store and then spent an hour in the Hallmark store looking at all the new Christmas ornaments. That was a lot of fun. Then we went to lunch at Taco Bell, drove to another library to pick up some DVD's we had waiting, picked up pictures at Sam's Club and then arrived home around 4:00!! We took a one-hour nap and then got ready to go stamping. Whew! Stamping was a lot fun and I made about a dozen birthday cards so I was glad I went.

So.......that was our day! We don't have ones like that often so it's fun for us every once in a while. JK was glad to be home and in her bed.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Serving Him at Home


A quick entry here to let you know that the fall issue of my newsletter, Serving Him at Home, is now available. If you would like to read more about it, please visit here. If you would like to receive the newsletter, just click on the "Join This Group" button at the top of the page. Once you have joined, you'll have access to all my newsletters for the past four years. I hope you'll give it a try and that they will be a blessing to you.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Servants

Proverbs 31:15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. (NIV)

I don't have any servant girls (unless you count my two daughters!) but I do have servants that work for me and they are humming along right now. Who are they? My washer, dryer and bread machine. There are other servants that I use quite regularly also: my dishwasher, vacuum, and crockpot among others. Without these wonderful servants I know my day would be much longer and harder and I'm thankful that the Lord has provided these to help me serve my family better.

Right now I'm making pizza dough in the bread machine. Homemade pizzas are always a hit around here. Here's the recipe I use to make the dough:

1 1/2 cups plus 4T water
1 1/2 t salt
4 T olive oil
5 C flour
4 t sugar
4 t yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine pan and add to machine; start on dough cycle. When complete (mine takes about 1.5 hours), take out dough and divide. Use 12" pizza pan or cookie sheet. Shape and let sit 10 minutes. Add sauce and toppings. Bake at 400* for 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Simple Life

At our church picnic for the dedication of our new building (pictures here) I was talking with a few ladies and they mentioned how overwhelmed and busy they were. One lady declared that the only way to get away from such busyness was to go back in time--that busyness is just the way life is here in 2006. When they asked me if I agreed, I said no. I told them I had chosen a simple life. One said, "Oh, really? How do you do that?" I explained that I did not get involved in every serving or homeschooling opportunity that was open. Yes, there are a lot of ways to help at church but I don't have to do them all!

I got the feeling that these two ladies didn't think that I had chosen the better way. I disagree! My simple life here at home allows time for learning at a natural pace. We have time to explore. I am never "behind" in school. Who would I be behind anyway? I think running around and being involved in lots of activities breeds discontent in children. At least in mine it did!

I have found that children need lots of time at home. They need time to think! How can they process all that they are learning if they are not given the time to think about it and work it out? How can they find out what interests them if they are never given the time to try new ideas? They need time to be bored. Bored--yes! If they are always on the go, then they are going to expect to be on the go all the time. If we fill up their days with "stuff", this is what they will expect. I think children need to have some boredom. Boredom isn't fun and children won't be bored for long. Boredom will drive them to explore, to learn, to do something! They will read, do crafts, play outside, build Legos, etc. in order not to be bored. Does that make sense? Boredom is a good catalyst and if our children always have activities lined up for them then when they are bored, they will complain and whine that they have nothing to do. Their imagination and enthusiasm for life will be stifled.

When my children were toddlers, I wanted to be involved in some ministries at church and was lamenting the fact that I couldn't. My (very wise) pastor's wife told me that now is the time to be home with my children. Now is the time to train them and to pour all my energies into our home life: husband and children. She said there were seasons of life and when they were older I would be able to be involved in more. I am so grateful to her for that advice! I'm so thankful that the Lord enabled me to follow it. Now that my youngest is 12, I am involved in more ministries. But, again, I've chosen ones that don't take me out of the home much and ones that JK can be involved in.

It seems (to me) that being busy and overwhelmed is worn as a badge of honor. How much more can I cram into my day? How tired can I be at night? I am so behind in school. My house is a mess. I have so much laundry (cleaning, cooking) to do. I just can't do it all, etc., etc. Well, I don't think the Lord meant for our days to be so full that we aren't doing our job well. The Lord said to do all things well. To do it so it brings honor and glory to Him. Is neglecting our family to serve in church ministry (or other activities) bringing glory to Him? As wives and mothers our priority is to "love our husbands, to love our children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, subject to our own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored."

A friend pointed out to me recently that a lot of women who are so involved in ministry and homeschooling activities neglect a very important part of their day (actually THE most important part) and that is time with the Lord reading and studying His word. This has been on my mind lately. If we don't spend time in the word, where do we get our strength? Where is our guidance? How can we know Him if we don't take the time to find out?

Let's not neglect our time with the Lord and our families by being so busy. Let's not be so involved in homeschooling activities that we are never actually home. I don't think it's a good thing when moms say proudly that they are doing school in the car and are never home. I don't think it brings honor and glory to Lord when moms tell of rushing from one activity to next and have to bring dinner home from the drive-through. Let's not neglect our family by being involved in many and various church ministries. Choose ministries that you can do with your children (cleaning the church or sending birthday/get-well cards to members, for example) or that don't require a huge commitment. God wants us to serve Him in our homes. Later when this season of life has passed, there will still be plenty of years and opporunities to serve. Let's make our first priority home.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday Hymn

I Gave My Life for Thee

I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed,
That thou might'st ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead:
I gave, I gave My life for thee,
What hast thou given Me?

My Father's house of light,
My glory-circled throne,
I left, for earthly night,
For wand'rings sad and lone;
I left, I left it all for thee,
Hast thou left aught for Me?

I suffered much for thee,
More than the tongue can tell,
Of bitt'rest agony,
To resuce thee from hell;
I've borne, I've borne it all for thee,
What hast thou borne for Me?

And I have brought to thee,
Down from My home above,
Salvation full and free,
My pardon and My love;
I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee,
What hast thou brought to me?

(Frances Ridley Havergal)

Friday, September 29, 2006

More Thoughts from The Contented Woman

Everyone wants to be happy. No one would turn down the chance to have the desires of their heart granted. However, it isn't hard to see tht some people choose to be sad. It is as though they keep hitting their head against a brick wall--trying to find happiness their way. They have a restless spirit, running from one thing to another, seeking happiness in possessions, prestige, or power. However, real happiness comes from within, never from without.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Anything that does not begin right can never end right. In order to be happy, the very first choice we must make, is to choose the master we will serve. Every soul is either serving Jesus or satan. There is no middle ground.

The foundation for everyone's happiness is to be sure we are SERVING the right master--Jesus, and Him alone! It can never be Jesus AND someone (or something) else!

What joy there is in striving to please Jesus in ALL that we do--whether it is worship, our work, conversation, recreation, dress, eating, hobbies, or vacation! Don't be afraid to try to please Him.
~*~*~*~*~*~

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Autumn

Autumn is.........

crisp mornings and cool evenings
orange and red sunsets
pumpkin pie
hot chocolate
spice-scented candles
jack o'lanterns with happy faces
foliage of red, yellow, green and brown
a return to a slower routine
juicy, red apples for applesauce and pie
popcorn
a bountiful harvest

Below are poems that JK has copied into her poetry notebook. November Night and A Pop Corn Song are her favorites.

November Night
Listen....
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.
(Adelaide Crapsey)

Autumn
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.
(Emily Dickinson)

September
The goldenrod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make aster in the brook.

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.
(Helen Hunt Jackson)

A Pop Corn Song
Sing a song of pop corn
When the snowstorms rage;
Fifty little brown men
Put into a cage.
Shake them till they laugh and leap
Crowding to the top;
Watch them burst their little coats
Pop!! Pop!! Pop!!

Sing a song of pop corn
In the firelight;
Fifty little fairies
Robed in fleecy white.
Through the shining wires see
How they skip and prance
To the music of the flames;
Dance!! Dance!! Dance!!

Sing of song of pop corn
Done the frolicking;
Fifty little fairies
Strung upon a string.
Cool and happy, hand in hand
Sugar-spangled, fair;
Isn't that a necklace fit
For any child to wear?
(Nancy Byrd Turner)

Autumn Fancies
The maple is a dainty maid,
The pet of all the wood,
Who lights the disky forest glade
With scarlet cloak and hood.

The elm a lovely lady is,
In shimmering robes of gold,
That catch the sunlight when she moves,
And glisten, fold on fold.

The sumac is a gypsy queen,
Who flaunts in crimson dressed,
And wild along the roadside runs,
Red blossoms in her breast.

And towering high above the wood,
All in his purple cloak,
A monarch in his splendor is
The proud and mighty oak.
(Unknown)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blessed Are The Parents

Blessed are the Parents

Blessed are the parents who make their peace with spilled milk and mud, for of such is the kingdom of children.

Blessed are the parents who refuse to compare their children with others, for precious unto each is the rhythm of his own growth. (Note: A nice reminder to our homeschooling mothers.)

Blessed are the mothers and fathers, who have learned to laugh, for it is the music of the child’s world.

Blessed are those parents who understand the goodness of time, for they make it not a sword that kills growth, but a shield to protect and guide their children.

Blessed are the parents who can say "no" without anger; for comforting to the child is the security of a firm decision.

Blessed are the parents who are teachable, for knowledge brings understanding and understanding brings love.

Blessed are the parents who love their children in the midst of a hostile world, for love is the greatest of all gifts.

Author Unknown

Thursday, September 21, 2006

One-Dish Chicken and Stuffing


One-Dish Chicken and Stuffing

1 pkg. chicken stuffing mix
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup
1/2 C sour cream or plain yogurt

Make stuffing according to package directions; set aside. Place chicken in 13x9 pan. Mix soup and sour cream, pour over chicken. Top with stuffing. Bake at 375* for 35 minutes.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Organizing Your Craft and Sewing Supplies

Organizing Your Craft and Sewing Supplies by Rachel Paxton - rachel@creativehomemaking.com

If you're a weekend crafter like me, you probably have a lot of crafting odds and ends laying around that get all jumbled together depending on what project you're working on at the moment.


Over the years, I have found several ways to organize my craft and sewing supplies in a way that I can actually find them again when I need them. As I went through the process of organizing them, I was able to identify items I no longer needed and separate the remaining items into logical groups. As a result, I now have all my supplies limited to one corner of a room and well organized. Now I can find things when I need them.

When I first started sorting through all my supplies everything was thrown together in a lot of cardboard boxes up in a hard-to-reach closet. The first thing I did was dump each box into a big pile and start sorting. My piles were: lace, trim, buttons, quilting supplies, cross stitch supplies, ribbon roses, fabric scraps, craft books, and misc.

I first discarded the odds and ends I knew I'd never use again. I then bought two very large Rubbermaid containers (great for stacking) to store my supplies in. You may need more depending on how many supplies you have accumulated. I also bought some gallon-sized Ziploc bags.

I sorted through all the lace and trim and put lace in one Ziploc bag and trim in another. The ribbon roses went in another. I put all the buttons in a plastic container with different compartments--sorted by color. All these items, plus other misc. like styrofoam balls, contact paper, plastic canvas, went into one Rubbermaid container.

All my quilting and cross stitch supplies (mostly fabric scraps and cross stitch fabric) went into the second container.

All my unfinished projects went into a cardboard box, and all my yarn for plastic canvas projects went into another.

The containers and boxes stack on top of each other and fit nicely underneath a small square "craft table" I have set up in the corner of my home office. It's all out of the way and everything is easily identified.

On top of the table I keep little projects I'm working on, like cross stitch, or photo albums for working on scrapbooks. My embroidery thread is organized by DMC number in plastic containers made for storing embroidery thread. These containers are also stacked on the table.
My sewing machine thread is organized on a small wooden board with small spindles you can buy that is designed to hold spools of thread. My sewing machine sits on the floor next to the craft table while not in use.

Next to my craft table is a stand-alone cupboard that is sold as a pantry cupboard that you can probably find at Walmart for about $100. In the cupboard I store a lot of multipurpose items like my glue guns, all kinds of glue, paper, scissors, and all of my scrapbooking supplies. This cupboard works great for items other family members also use a lot, like tape and scissors. My paper cutter and long stapler are stored on top of the cabinet.

I also have several bookcases in my office, and I use a couple of shelves on one of them for organizing my craft and sewing books. The books are organized by craft type.
All of my small sewing supplies I keep in a couple of small sewing baskets that I can move with me from room to room. In these I keep sewing needles, embroidery scissors, measuring tape, pins, seam ripper, etc.

Hopefully these ideas will help you get in the mood to start organizing your own craft and sewing supplies. It's so much more enjoyable to work on projects when you know what you have and where everything is.
-----------
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. Visit her site
http://www.organized-mom.com, featuring the Easy Organizer, loaded with tools to help you plan, schedule, remember events, keep in touch, get your family on an organized schedule, prioritize, and more.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Hymn

Come, All Christians, Be Committed

Come, all Christians, be committed
To the service of the Lord.
Make your lives for Him more fitted,
Tune your hearts with one accord.
Come into His courts with gladness,
Each his sacred vows renew,
Turn away from sin and sadness,
Be transformed with life anew.

Of your time and talents give ye,
They are gifts from God above,
To be used by Christians freely
To proclaim His wondrous love.
Come again to serve the Savior,
Tithes and off'rings with you bring.
In your work with Him find favor,
And with joy His praises sing.

God's command to love each other
Is required of every man.
Showing mercy to a brother
Mirrors His redemptive plan.
In compassion He has given
Of His love that is divine;
On the cross sins were forgiven;
Joy and peace are fully thine.

Come in praise and adoration,
All who on Christ's name believe.
Worship Him with consecration,
Grace and love will you receive.
For His grace give Him the glory,
For the Spirit and the Word,
And repeat the gospel story
Till all men His name have heard.

(Eva B. Lloyd)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thoughts on Servanthood


...The world's way is to be served; God's way is to serve. The world's way teaches us to focus on our own needs; God's way teaches us to focus on other people's needs.

Friday, September 15, 2006

First Week of School

Yesterday completed our first week of school. JK and my dh are in NJ this weekend visiting his brother while I am here with JM for the weekend so we only had a four-day week.

We did Language Arts and History each day using Lifepacs. I am so glad that I decided to use these. They have made school so much easier for me--and JK really likes them. She is always telling me some little tidbit that she has learned. We also did Wordsmith Apprentice and copywork. I picked up a neat little book at the convention called "
Copywork for Girls". A few years ago I picked up a used copy their Bible copywork but didn't really care for it. Not that I didn't like the Bible verses but just felt we could copy ones that pertain to certain situations that were going on in our home. Anyway, this one does have Scripture but also poems, literature selections, recipes, etc. that "help reinforce Godly character qualities in your daughters".

JK also reviewed all her Latin roots that we started last year and did very well on those. She also did her Bible study each day. We use Studying God's Word from Christian Liberty. The only thing we didn't do was math but we'll start on that next week.

We have a goal to finish each day before 2:15 when JM comes home from school and we achieved our goal each day. Once we add math, we'll have to start earlier but we're still planning on the 2:15 deadline. Next week we'll have a four-day schedule again since we're going on the church camping trip starting on Friday.

How was your week at home?

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4T butter
2 eggs
6 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 t hot sauce
1t kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3/4 t dry mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday Hymn

Near to the Heart of God

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.

Chorus:
O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee,
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.

Chorus

There is aplace of full release,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

Chorus

(Cleland B. McAfee)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Exciting Adventures Ahead

A few months ago our church announced that they were putting together a mission trip to Honduras. We have sent two saints from our church to work in a medical mission there. Their house is in the process of being built and men are needed to go down to finish it. The shell is there but it needs everything else. They also required two ladies to go in order to cook for them. I wanted to go but didn't think financially it was possible. Then the Lord provided an airline ticket through the generosity of dear friends. Last week another lady from church made the decision to go. So.......we will be flying to Honduras on October 6 (my 22nd weddding anniversary ) and returning on the 16th. It is less than a month away now.

Today I got my tetanus shot (which doesn't hurt; tomorrow might be another story) and next week I'll be getting the Hepatitis A. My passport is being processing and will, Lord willing, arrive soon. It's actually happening!

Last night our team leader, the other cook and I had a meeting to discuss our menu plans and various options. We were able to accomplish all that was needed and our plans are set. Of course, we need to be flexible but the planning is finished and that was a big task.

I asked my husband last night about when he went to Cuba (in '91 for the PanAm Games) if he thought it was really happening before he got there and he said no. I feel the same way. I am looking forward to going but it doesn't quite seem real. I'm sure as it gets closer I'll be more excited. For now it feels like an ordinary trip.

Last week I bought a nice leather journal just for the trip. I have already written a few entries concerning the preparation, prayer requests and praises. I think it will be neat to read it years from now and see how the Lord used me during this time.

In our study of James during the last two weeks, Trish and I learned about our faith and works. "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (2:17 NIV) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." (2:26 NIV) It is an honor and privilege to do these good works which God prepared in advance for me to do! It is a blessing to serve the Lord in any way I can. He gave ALL for me! Shouldn't I give all to Him?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Scripture Memory

Why memorize Scripture? John Piper tells you here.

This is an area that I have not been faithful in pursuing. One of the things Kay Arthur suggests as you go through her
Precept studies is to memorize the Scripture that is being studied. Right now I'm working through the book of James. I had started to memorize James 1 but let it fall by the wayside but after reading the above message from John Piper, I'm picking it back up again.

Years ago when I was an AWANA director for Chums (3rd-4th grade girls), I memorized a lot of Scripture and can still recall most of it. Those verses have been such a blessing to me. I pray that these new verses will fill my mind and heart the same way. I'm a lot older now and my brain isn't as fresh but I need to be obedient in this area of the spiritual disciplines.

I put James 1 on my PDA so I can take it out when needed. It will be easy to study while I'm waiting for orthodontist appointments, karate, etc. I also bought 4x6 cards that are on a spiral ring. I typed out the verses and put a few on each page. I'll use this for my studying at home since it's a lot easier to read and the batteries won't wear down.

Here's the first chapter of James:

1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position;
10 and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.
11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
(NASB)

Homeschooling Offers Freedom

Today is one of the reasons I enjoy homeschooling. Freedom. Freedom to be able to serve others. JK and I went over a friend's house who is having some complications with her pregnancy. While Julianne played with her 3-year old, I was able to do a few loads of laundry, the dishes and clean the kitchen--all while this precious mom was off her feet and able to take a nap! I was so glad to be able help her and also for JK to minister. She is learning to be a servant also and I'm so thankful that we are able to change our schedule when a need comes up and to do the Lord's work.

Yeah for homeschooling and for being flexible.

First Day of School

My son, 17, is out the door and on his way to his senior year. sniff sniff. It's hard to believe it is here already. We watched videos last week for my oldest dd's birthday and there was my son when he was small. And now he is in his last year of high school. When the children were little, I remember older moms telling me how fast the time would go. I was a little skeptical because the days seemed endless. They were right!! It has gone by in a flash.

On another note, we are expecting more rain again. Heavy rain all day today. I will try to make the most of it but I miss the sun.

Hope you all have a blessed day in the Lord.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Hymn

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind;
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper rev'rence praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian Sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still small voice of calm!

(John G. Whittier)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Here comes the sun......

The sun just peeked through the clouds a minute ago. Yeah! I don't function very well when it is cloudy for more than a day or two. I start to get headaches, feel very tired and grumpy. I miss the sun and am so glad it is coming out.

Happy happy! Joy joy!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ernesto

The remnants of Ernesto are blowing through right now. This is nothing compared to what was left of Hurricane Isabel when she came through. Still.....my backyard is full of leaves and twigs and a few branches--some large!! It's very windy and the lights keep flickering off and on.

We just heard a loud crack! A huge branch from our tulip tree has snapped off!! It is now wedged onto some branches of another tree. Thankfully it didn't hit our deck, house or shed. I noticed there was a tree down in our neighbor's yard.

Well, it looks like this day will not be an ordinary one in Central VA. More later.......

Update: before I got to post, the branch fell taking another large one with it. I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Easy Southern Banana Pudding


Easy Southern Banana Pudding
3 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) instant vanilla pudding
30 vanilla wafers
3 medium bananas, sliced
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed

Pour milk in a large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Bet with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Let stand 5 minutes.

Arrange half of the wafers on bottom on up side of 2-qt. serving bowl. Top with layers of half each of the banana slices and pudding. Repeat all layers. Spread whipped topping over pudding.

Refrigerate 3 hours or until ready to serve. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator. Makes 14 servings, about 2/3 cup each.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Homemaking



"But housekeeping is fun, and I think the women who hate it lack imagination. It is one job where you enjoy the results right along as you work. You may work all day washing and ironing, but at night you have the delicious feeling of sunny clean sheets and airy pillows to lie on. If you clean, you sit down at nightfall with the house shining and faintly smelling of wax, all yours to enjoy right then and there.

And if you cook---ah, if you cook---that creation you lift from the oven goes right to the table."


~~Gladys Taber, Stillmeadow Seasons~~

Sunday Hymn

A Charge to Keep I Have

A charge to keep I have--
A God to glorify,
Who gave His Son my soul to save
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill--
O may it all my pow'rs engage
To do my Master's will!

Arm me with jealous care,
As in thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!

Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely;
And let me ne'er my trust betray,
But press to realms on high.

~Charles Wesley

Friday, August 25, 2006

Quiet Resting Places

QUIET RESTING PLACES

Isaiah 32:18, "And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places."

A quiet resting place! Doesn't that sound idyllic? It sounds like a wonderful vacation, to me. But let's get back to the real life. It's not always quiet when you have lots of children around you. There is often so much to do that life doesn't seem like a rest! I know that I would have to go away for a vacation to have a rest from my busy life around here.

And yet this is what God calls our homes-resting places. I don't think it is necessarily a rest from noise and activity (although we need these respites from time to time). I believe it is a rest from fear. A rest from tension and strife. A rest from anger, bickering and fighting. A rest from complaining and grouching. These are the things that put strain upon your home. It's not the noise of children; it's not the hard work-it is the wrong attitudes! They cause frustration and vexation of soul more than outward circumstances.

Jesus gave us a wonderful invitation to rest, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Do you notice there are two rests He calls us into? Firstly, the rest of sins forgiven when the burden of the guilt of sin is rolled away. Secondly, you can experience a deeper rest in your soul as you take His yoke upon you and learn of Him. As the ocean is calm underneath even though the violent storm tosses the waves above, so you can experience a deep rest in your soul even when the waves of turmoil billow over you. You can have a rest of spirit in your home, even in the midst of noise and the bustle of activity.

Of course God also wants us to have times of literal rest, too. The evenings should be quieter times of family togetherness. My daughter Evangeline's home is not always quiet with her eight children (and she is the rowdiest of them all!) but when they come in for supper time, she expects them to change from being cowboys, Indians, pirates, or army guys etc. and welcomes them into twilight zone. She dims the lights and lights the candles in the winter time to promote the quieter atmosphere.

God also gives us one day a week to rest from our work and the busyness of the week. This also helps to make your home a resting place.

Another Scripture where God calls our home a resting place is Proverbs 24:15, "Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous, spoil not his resting place." God does not want anyone or anything to spoil your home. Deal severely with anything that spoils the rest in your home. Are you harboring a bad attitude to someone? Forgive and put it right. Are you mad with your husband? Forgive and take a humble attitude. Are you complaining about anything and everything? Get your attitude right. It's not worth spoiling the rest in your home. 2 Chronicles 23:21 tells us how the land if Israel was quiet when they got rid of evil.

Don't be like the Israelites. God called them to rest but they would not receive it. "In returning and rest shall you be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not." (Isaiah 30:15) Perhaps you are too busy doing things out of the home that you have no time to create peace in your home. When you return home you will find rest. Zechariah 10:6 Knox says, "In their own home, says the Lord, I will give them rest."

Love from NANCY CAMPBELL

PRAYER:
"Dear Lord, please show me the attitudes in my heart and in the things in my home that spoil the rest. Give me strength to get rid of them for I want my home to be a resting place for everyone in my home and all who come to visit .Amen."

AFFIRMATION:

In the midst of lots of noise
I will never lose my poise,
Although my work may never cease
I will never lose my peace!

Many women like to save these devotions. They print them out and keep them in a folder to read over and over again. Some print them out and pin them on the fridge with a magnet to read through the week. If you are printing this devotion and need it to be smaller, highlight and change to a smaller font.

If you know others who would be blessed by these devotions, you are welcome to forward them or let them know they can subscribe by sending a blank email to subscribers-on@aboverubies.org

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Unto Myself

Unto Myself

Unto Myself, my dear child, I would bring thee!
Who like Myself thy sure solace can be?
Who can reach down, down so deeply within thee?
Give to thy heart such a full sympathy?

Mournest thou sore that thy loved ones have failed thee?
Failed, sadly failed thy true comfort to be?
"Why did they fail" dost thou ask? Let Me whisper--
"That thou should'st find thy heart's comfort in Me."

Unto Myself! Ah, no, not unto others,
Dearest, or sweetest, or fairest, or best;
Only in Me lieth unchanging solace;
Only in Me is thy promise of rest!

Child of My love, to Myself I would bring thee!
Not to some PLACE of most heavenly bliss:
Places, like people, may all disappoint thee,
Till thou hast learned to drink higher than this.

Unto Myself, my dear child, I would bring thee!
None like Myself thy full portion can be!
While, in my heart, there is hunger and longing
That I might find choicest treasure in thee.

Unto Myself! To Myself--not My service!
Then to most sweetly and certainly prove
That I can make thee My channel of blessing,
Use thee to shed forth the wealth of My love.
~J. Danson Smith

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Purse Cake

Today is my oldest daughter's 20th birthday. We're going to have a birthday dinner Sunday night and she has requested that I make hamburger pie, mashed potatoes, broccoli and cheese, and biscuits. For dessert I'm making this cake (this will be a surprise) :




I'm going to be making it in pink, though, because that's her favorite color and because she is definitely girly-girly!! Here's the recipe if you would like to try it. There are many more great cakes like this over at the
Betty Crocker site.

Purse Cake
Candies, cake mix and ready-to-spread frosting are about all you need to create a fun purse cake.
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® cake mix (any flavor)
Water, oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
Desired food color
1 piece green peelable string licorice
1 jellied ring candy
Assorted small multicolored hard candies

1 . Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms and sides of 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with shortening or cooking spray.
2 . Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Pour into pans. Bake as directed on box. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
3 . Use serrated knife to cut one-fourth off each cake to form a straight edge about 7 inches long as shown in diagram (discard small pieces of cake or save for another use). Spread about 2 tablespoons frosting on bottom side of 1 cake. Place bottom side of other cake on frosting, matching cut edges. On serving plate or tray, stand cake, cut side down. Cover; freeze 1 hour or until firm.
4 . Tint remaining frosting with food color. Frost cake.
5 . Use peelable string licorice for handle and jellied ring candy for clasp. Decorate purse as desired with assorted candies. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Week in Review

Last week was pretty quiet around here. All of the downstairs is organized and clean! It seems like I am always doing this but I guess that is how it is to maintain a house. One of the hard things I have keeping up with is newspapers! We just started receiving the daily paper in July and it piles up quickly. What I've done is take a laundry basket and put it behind our couch. Now when the paper is read, we toss it in there. I haven't been recycling but now I think I will because these papers take up a lot of space in our trash cans.

Wednesday was JK's last day of bowling in the summer league. We had a nice party and awards were given out. She ended up with an 85 average and a high game of 122. After the party, they had free bowling where the kids just bowled for fun. JK did a lot of trick shots through her legs, backwards, etc. It was really funny!! The Fall league starts on September 9th and she is looking forward to that. She will move up to the Jr./Majors, which is 12-21 so she will be bowling against some of the older ones this year. Should be interesting!!

Thursday night JK was in a karate ceremony where she received her yellow belt. She worked very hard to achieve this and we were very proud of her! She takes classes with 6 of her friends so that makes a nice time of fellowship for her while she is learning. I really didn't know much about karate before she took this class but I have to tell you that it is truly very good exercise. One class is for 1.5 hours and the other for 1 hour and she works and sweats the entire time. Her heart and body are definitely getting a workout.

Thursday JK and I went to a pool party for our local homeschool support group. The group will not be meeting anymore so this was a final farewell. We had a beautiful day and it was good to meet up with friends I haven't seen for a while. The group will continue to "meet" via e-mail, which is great way to get information out. And if anyone wants to schedule field trips, we can do that also. We just won't be having the physical monthly meetings anymore.

Saturday morning all the local office stores had their Teacher Appreciation Days but I didn't make it to any of them. I have so many pens, markers, Post-It notes, etc. that I really don't need any of the free things that they were giving away. One store always gives away a totebag but I don't need that either! This coming week Michael's is offering 10% off everything to teachers (including sale prices) so that might be something I'll look into. I can always use more stamping supplies .

This morning our associate pastor, Rick, spoke on 1 Peter 2:1-3 about desiring spiritual milk. He asked something that I have been thinking about all day. "When have I said, 'I long for the Scripture'. The word long in the passage is strong desire. Do I have a strong desire for the Word? Do I long to have like a baby who cries for milk?" I read the Word each day, I study it each day but I don't think I desire it like he was talking about. I want that desire! I want to cry for it each day.

Of course Rick didn't leave it there. He encouraged us to increase our desire for the Word by:
~praying: ask God to create that desire
~spending time in the Word: discipline myself to do this; have a plan
~having accountability: have someone who can ask me, "How are you doing in your pursuit of Christ?" Isn't that a great question to ask other believers? I love it!!

May the Lord create that desire in me to long (have a strong desire ) for His Word more and more each day.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

This and That

I noticed today that my hit counter was over 10,000. Wow! I think that means my blog has been viewed 10,000 times?? Who would have thought?? That's pretty neat.

This morning I took my ds to a SAT Essay Workshop at
HEAV, our state homeschool association. He got many practical ideas on how to take that part of the SAT, which he'll be doing this fall! Yikes!

While I was out I ran a few errands. I stopped at Michael's Craft store and picked up some brads for making cards. When I went to their clearance aisle, I found a set of three pots in a tray that I can use for paper clips, rubber bands, etc. I had bought a set a few weeks ago when they were $3.00; this week they were $1.72 so I picked up two sets!

I finished up there and drove down to a local teacher's shop that has a teacher appreciation week every year. I don't normally shop there because it's more for classroom teachers but I like going to the appreciation week as they have good sales, prizes to give out, etc. Well, I found the neatest thing for JK to use while she studies her flash cards. It's called Score Tracker. It lets you quiz yourself and keeps track of the right/wrong answers and the time. You clip flashcards to it by a ring and then practice. Here's a picture:*


You can't see the flashcards there but they are on the left-hand side. You press the yellow button to start the timer; then read the first question. Say your answer. Correct? Press the green button. Incorrect? Press the red button. When finished, press the yellow button and then check your stats.

I'm going to use this for states/capitals and for our Latin/Greek root cards. I think this will make it more interesting than me reading them aloud or JK just studying them. Hopefully this will motivate her to study!!!

After the teacher store, I went to a thift shop where my dh wanted me to look at some tables. We're going to be fixing up our spare room and we've been looking for an end table and some kind of table to put our old TV on along with the various video equipment. Well, I didn't like what was there but I did find a great bargain for $3.25. It was a brand-new, still in the box, cookie press from Pampered Chef. I checked their website and it retails for $27.00.

I'm so thankful for the Lord leading me to this! I have been wanting one for a long time and now I have one of the best for a little over $3. He is good!!

I was on my way home when my ds called an hour early to tell me to pick him up. Before I could head over to get him, he called back and said a friend from church who was also at the workshop would be driving him home. I saved on gas! That's always a blessing.

It is so awesome to see how God takes care of me in these little ways. They are like refreshing drops of encouragement coming down from heaven. They are a reminder that He cares for me. He cares for the sparrow, how much more He cares and loves me!

*For some reason my pictures aren't loading so I'll try to post them later.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

This Week at Home

The hot weather has continued all week. We're still hot but the humidity has gone down *a little* so that has helped. Next week it's supposed to cool down into the 80's. Break out the coats!!

I haven't posted much because of busyness around here. I'm almost finished the schoolroom and will post pictures when it is completed. By the way, I couldn't post pictures of the new ant farm because the light kept bouncing off the glass. It looks really neat, though. I posted pictures from an advertisement of the farm on
my other blog. You can pop over there and look if you'd like.

Speaking of ants, they have entered my kitchen! Not the ones from the farm, but outside ones. I can't stand those beasts!!! I guess they are looking for a cool place to stay. I only have one cabinet in my kitchen that contains food and yesterday I saw about 10 in there. I took everything out and sprayed. I also went outside to spray around the house. The exterminator is coming next week but in the mean time I wanted to get rid of them now! I haven't seen any this morning so I'll wash the cabinets and put everything back. Hopefully, they will not make a reappearance.

We are watching my oldest dd's dog this week while she is away. What an experience that has been. Snickers is a puppy and so full of energy. It's been a lot of fun having her around. The nicest part is that she is really cuddly. When one of us sits down to read or watch TV, she jumps up and cuddles next to us. I love it. She is so soft and warm.

JK got a job taking care of a friend's cat while they are away on vacation. She is looking forward to caring for it and playing with it. It will be her first pet sitting job. I'm sure the first of many!

Well, that's all from here. How was your week?