Monday, November 9, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie
(for a cozy fall night! As requested by Nadia :-))

2 pounds ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 quart homemade beef stock
1 small can tomato sauce
½ t. Wizard Worcestershire Sauce
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1-2 t. sea salt

1 bag organic sweet corn (Trader Joe’s)

Yukon Gold Potatoes
Kerrygold butter
TJ’s Organic Sour Cream
Sea Salt

Grated Cheddar Cheese (Tillamook Sharp)

Frozen Spelt Pie Crusts from Whole Foods - pull them out of the freezer as you begin.

Brown beef and onion. When onions are somewhat softened and beef is partly cooked, add diced carrots.

When beef is fully cooked add stock, tomato sauce and seasonings. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make mashed potatoes. I don’t even know the recipe anymore because Courtney always makes them, but I’m guessing a bag of potatoes – boiled, drained and smashed, 2 sticks of butter (or one package of Kerrygold), a lot of sour cream, and sea salt. This is too many potaotes for the pies, but we like leftover mashed potatoes around here.

Stir in corn to beef mixture and simmer until it’s heated.

Pour beef mixture into 2 or 3 pie crusts. Top with mashed potatoes and cheese and bake until crusts are done – 25 mintues or so.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting and Bountiful Harvest

I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. Psalm 52:8

The other day I had a bunch of plants that I really wanted to move. Some were getting too much sun, and some weren't getting enough. I had all kinds of ideas about where to put things, but there was nothing I could do about it. It was just too hot, and I knew that they would die if I moved them at that time.

So I had to wait.

It made me think about situations we are in, when we really want change. We know we're not in the best place but there seems to be nothing we can do about it, and we pray, and we wait and it seems like nothing is happening. Yet God, our master gardener, feels our pain. Just like I really wanted to move my plants, God wants to put us where we'll blossom. But He understands the perfect timing and circumstances that are beyond our knowledge.

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him. Isaiah 30:18

Part II Bountiful Harvest - just a few fun pictures

I have been so pleased with the limelight hydrangeas. To my knowledge, these are the only hydrangeas that tolerate heat and full sun. The have done beautifully around the pool and also make a great cut flower (best if cut in the early morning).

I think it's fitting that the African basil (on the left) outperformed the standard basil this summer! On the right are Courtney's zinnias (planted from the seeds she got at Justine's birthday party) but if I ask really nice she lets me pick some from time to time. We're going to try to save some seed this year for the first time - from several different flowers. I've heard you can even save petunia seed - we'll see!

As always, I plant tomatoes too close together and without enough support so they are sprawling everywhere... but yummy all the same. This year, I'm almost as excited to see a slug eaten or overripe tomatoe because they make the chickens so happy! And I'm getting about 9 eggs a day now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mission Mindset

It is so, so very good to be home.

We had an absolutely wonderful trip to Kenya. We praise God for His provision and protection in every way. Considering we just took our seven children, age three to fifteen, half way across the world for three weeks, it was amazingly smooth, and we are so thankful.

Before we left, I wondered how it all would affect me. Would there be a difficult culture shock in returning to the abundant life in the US? But while I learned a lot and have somewhat of a different perspective, I don't feel like my world has been turned upside down. And I think it's because everything I encountered was more-or-less exactly what I expected.

I attribute this partly to all the people in my life who have opened my eyes to the hurting world around me. I am thankful for Compassion International, and for a long lost youth group leader who introduced me to this organization. I'm thankful for Samaritan's Purse, and their excellence in showing mercy and practical helps as an avenue to share the best news of all, reconciliation to the God of the universe through His Son, Jesus. I'm thankful to my Dad and Mom, and their real life, close to home examples of caring for the poor, outcast, and underprivileged in this world. And so, so many more people I have known that live their lives sold out to the cross, and tell their tales of the world they encounter.

I attribute it also to a love of reading, which has led me to learn through books about so many other parts of the world. Even Little House on the Prairie had a huge impact on my life, and I often think about how blessed we are to live in this time in history. I also read all the newsletters from missionary organizations and Voice of the Martyrs. They help me put things in perspective on a daily basis.

It was FUN to actually be there, and THRILLING to be able to meet our long prayed over boys, Zachary (pictured above) and Peter. But there is so much you can do to make a difference without flying half way across the world. It is so much about the MINDSET. It's what we read, how we use our time, and what we talk about with our kids. It's taking God's Word seriously and applying it to our lives. That is what has shaped me more than anything.

I'm not saying I've arrived - there is still a lot of sanctification to be done in my life. And I don't think short-term mission trips aren't important, because they are. And for some, I think tactile experiences are more effective than simply reading and seeing pictures.

Certainly Dan's skills as a surgeon were appreciated greatly, and I hope our family was a blessing to others. While money is needed, I'd rank prayer, education (which also takes money) and a stable government up there even more after our experiences. And I've always loved John Wesley's quote - "Earn as much as you can, give as much as you can, save as much as you can."

But for you parents out there, I think the best thing you can do is make missions a part of your everyday life. Pray for those you know who are full-time in ministry. They definitely suffer greater persecution from the enemy. Give generously, and teach your children to do the same. Learn about what God is doing all over the globe, and pray about your part. The beautiful thing is, usually what we are passionate about is where He wants us to be! (Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4)

And on a more shallow note.

It. Is. So. Good. To. Be. Home.

I love cream in my coffee, driving my car, towels that are dried in the dryer, not sleeping under mosquito netting, paved roads, friends and family (not necessarily less important than cream in my coffee), cell phone service, my garden, summer in Oregon, not having suitcases piled up in the study and entry in preparation for the trip, and not wondering how we would survive the flight. It's over. We did it. Thanks be to God! And now it's back to my favorite time of the year... summer, my birthday, homeschool planning (but not actually homeschooling), Sunriver, football season and dates with my husband. SWEET!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

God is in the Details

Yesterday was Ryan's birthday, and we had a fun outing to the mall. He thought it was all fun, thankfully, but it was also a bit of last minute stuff for Africa. I had with me my week's massive, detailed list of EVERYTHING I need to buy for Africa and things I need to remember to pack, etc.

Somehow it disappeared after about three stores. We had walked a long way, it was time for Ryan's birthday lunch, and I just couldn't worry about it. And somehow I didn't.

We had lunch, did some more shopping, and on the way out I had one last stop at the Nordstrom lingerie department. A department, mind you, that I hadn't previously been to that day. After checking out I looked very carefully to see that I hadn't dropped my new, just-started, but incomplete list. And down on the employee part of the counter, amongst their papers, was MY ORIGINAL LIST!!!

It probably fell out near the children's shoe department, across the aisle, which had been my first stop. Someone gave it to someone close by. And it just happened to be given to the department where I would be two hours later. And it just happened to be on the same side of the counter where I would be checking out.

I don't believe in coincidences, do you?

God is SO good, and I think this was such a sweet reminder that He is watching over us, and He is in the details, as we embark on our African adventure.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Hour in the Life (a.k.a. why it takes so long to make dinner)

I get out the pasta pot, but it looks like either the dogs had licked it and no one had washed it or someone under the age of nine had done the job.

(I put up with this because by the age of ten or so it pays off. I now have three kids who can make a kitchen spotless if need be!)

Lots of gunked on stuff so I had to get out an SOS pad.

Cade is STARVING and wants some yogurt. Okay, I'm thinking, it is kind of late to be just starting dinner and you're a growing boy.

We don't have any sweetened yogurt ready. So I open the new quart of yogurt, add agave and vanilla and stir, making quite a mess with overspill.

(Grr on all the companies that used to make maple yogurt without sugar but still call it maple yogurt even though it's not just maple syrup anymore.)

Now two more kids want yogurt. AND a little whipped cream leftover from Kat's strawberry pie. PLEASE? Okay, if you'll play the quiet game because Kat has the flu and is trying to rest on the couch.

Get the water started to boil.

Courtney is yelling, "Can you get us some coins so we can dive for them?"

Okay, sure! (Get coins, and on the way close the front door which has been left open by little boys taking bubble wrap outside to stomp on it, and remind them that they need to clean it up).

Mom, says Abby, my tummy hurts.

Why don't you take some Zypan?


Meatballs into oven.

Now Bode and Cade want me to get them vitamins too.

Stop to clean up Bode, who is covered in yogurt.

Boys try to escape outside. Stop to get at least Cade to clear the yogurt bowls. And remind him to clean up the bubble wrap.

Out to garden to pick some lettuce. Wait, yogurt needs to be put away. Wait, time to add pasta. Turn off the back porch lights. Why are these always on?

Pick lettuce and so many strawberries! (No slugs in the beer trap, but there are two flies. Not bad!)

See Cade. Did you pick up the bubble wrap?

"What is the bubble wrap?"

The stuff you were stomping on the front porch! Please throw it away.


The light finally comes on.

Coming back in. "Mom, watch me!" Bode is using a 2X4 as a balance beam. "Good Job!" Falls down. "You're okay!"

Stop to chat to sweet hubby who is working on a project outside.

Wash lettuce and berries.

Bode comes back in and is whining because somebody took his yogurt. No, no, it's right here on the counter.

Drain pasta.

"Hey mom, watch this." Some wierd thing I don't understand, and she says it's from the movie we saw last night.

See bubble wrap in a pile in the entry.

"Cade, you need to put the bubble wrap in the trash."

"O-oh!" (like now I get it.)

Heat sauce.

The little boys come in barking like dogs and crawl through the kitchen. Leave the door open. I close it. Turn the porch lights off AGAIN. I don't get this - who would turn them on?

Abby is now in her third outfit since I started this. "Abby, have you put all your clothes away that you have been taking off?" Says something I don't understand but somehow assures me that it's okay.

Rip lettuce.

"Mom, are you coming to watch our dog show?" Sure! Thankfully it was a short rendition of dogs singing "Don't Stop Believing."

Cocoa and friend are STARVING. Help yourself! Kat. Ditto. Serve Dan his "working snack" outside because this is date night! Come back in to serve the littles and Abby has already served all three!!! Good job!

Cade's drink spills all over the table and Bode has a great time splashing it before I get to clean it up.

Big girls try to escape without doing any dinner clean-up. That's a no-go.

Lots of chat about what movie they are going to watch.

Jack and Ryan are gone for the night or we would have a lot more dictation of arguments and discussion of sports scores.

Mom, I think Bode needs a diaper change.




I couldn't be more blessed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sweet Spring

Hilarious picture of Bode during a twilight game of family baseball.

I took this picture after they took their helmets off, of course. No one would be crazy enough to ride around on an ATV without helmets. Of course.

Our chickens and bunnies are living together harmoniously... so far!

These guys are seriously spoiled with all of our food scraps and buckets full of weeds. I especially love giving them all of the slugs I find.

I never seem to put up any picture of my older girls. I sort of feel like I'm invading their privacy; that they're too old for me to blog about. I don't know... what do you think? I guess I'll have to ask them what THEY think!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


This is not the most beautiful room in the house, but I am very happy with it right now. Dan seems to be on an organizational kick. Maybe he's trying to pick up the slack around here since I always seem to be outdoors... hmm...

Anyway, I love these Costco shelves he put in the schoolroom. Now it's a schoolroom/pantry. We never really did school in there anyway, but it's great storage and nice to have a craft table.

And then this morning I woke up to this.

The picture doesn't really do it justice, but it's a charging station and memo board. Dan and Ryan were up til midnight working on it so that no cord shows!!! How great is that?! And of course he wrote "I love Heather" as the first memo but the flash ruined that for the picture. How did I get so blessed as to have a husband who orders from Pottery Barn without even consulting me?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Feed the Forgotten

From Brandi's blog.

Too often we hear heartbreaking stories like this (that I posted on Saturday) and do nothing. We feel helpless. . . and so we move on. Not this time. There are people DYING in Uganda right now. There are children who's bellies are hungry and aching. There are mamas who are too weak to stand and babies begging to be held. There are people trapping termites hoping for food and eating dung in helplessness. DO NOT CAVE TO DESPAIR. YOU CAN DO SOMETHING.

Join us and Children's HopeChest to FEED THE FORGOTTEN!!! (CLICK HERE TO GIVE NOW) (note: please write FEED THE FORGOTTEN in the notes section)

For $0.14, we can (and WILL) feed someone a meal of posho and beans. (posho is cornmeal, which is filling and beans are protein). Take that in for a moment. . .

$0.14 a meal

$2.86 for 20 days

$1 per FAMILY

$20 feed a family for 20 days.

How much was my Chick Fil A yesterday? How much is your Starbucks? The bigger question is how much am I willing to give up SO THAT OTHERS MIGHT EAT?

Remember Jesus story of the Good Samaritan? Remember how his very neighbors walked right by him? They probably looked at him with pity. . .probably thought "oh poor guy, that breaks my heart" but the fact is THEY DID NOTHING.

What will you do? These children are starving. . .

these actual children. . .

will you help? The money raised will feed those precious children. There are 3 - 4 villages that we are targeting (I'm hoping for more after we see how much we can raise!) to bring food relief to asap. These people are literally starving. . and waiting for you to act. Will you help? Even with paypal fees (2-3%) even $1 will feed 6 people! You CAN make a difference.

Spread the word, blog about it, facebook it, twitter it, ask your church or school or business to give, post the blog badge anything. Truly, we are begging you. . .on behalf of these children not to forget this post and move on to the next in your google reader list. Stop, pray, act.

(note: please write FEED THE FORGOTTEN in the notes section when you give)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ah ha!

I think I've realized something about my sweet, peaceful day yesterday. With a little help from a friend. I am coming out of the fog of toddlers and babies! Bode is getting easier with each and every day and I am not pregnant or nursing. I have not felt like this in fifteen years! No wonder.

Another important note, which should probably have been mentioned first. I've been noticing that Tuesdays have been rough days. I get up early and walk for an hour with my dad, and as a result, I come home and get right into breakfast mode and never really have a good quiet time (Bible study and prayer). But after realizing this, yesterday I made it a point to spend the hour after breakfast in quiet time, and THAT was probably the reason for my great day. My mental state during that hour was one of true desperation for God. He is so good and faithful!

The picture is another "ah ha" moment. Abby has learned to ride her bike! Yay Abby! (I love that look of concentration.)

Our God... does exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could ask, think or imagine! Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Do you ever feel guilty for feeling peaceful?

I had nothing pressing to do today. We unpacked from Sunriver this morning. The laundry was going, the house was picked up, the kids were playing or working on their school. I weeded for a little while and then made a lunch. Ate outside with my Mom before piano lessons started. My dad dropped by unexpectedly and picked up Kat from school (yay for one less trip in the car). I sat outside with Ryan and worked on grammar. Swam with the kids. Switched some laundry. Dan came home and got the boys and their practices were at the same field at more or less the same time (yay again for no driving for me). Made dinner with Kat's help. Now I'm waiting for Dan and the boys to get home from baseball so we can eat. It's been such a nice day. No stress. And it makes me feel like I'm forgetting something. Hmmm.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This is for my friend Ann, who generously helped me with her time and expertise to shop for pots! Ann, here they are! What do you think?

I'll take more pictures when the plants fill in. The middle is a darling little lavender that I thought was a blue salvia when I first saw it. I can't wait for it to really bloom - maybe after this next heat spell.

The big plant in the middle is a bright red camelia that blooms in December. Around it is white verbena, purple petunia and chartreuse sweet potato vine. The sweet potato vine looks horrible though. Brown edges on a lot of the leaves. Anyone have any ideas about that?

Check out the difference in these double blooming purple petunias. Same plants, planted the same day, both fertilized the same number of times.

These were planted in fresh garden blend from Grimms.

These were planted in I'm-not-sure-what.

Another wimpy petunia, but this gives you the best picture of the bloom.

I think I have some soil to amend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Random Pics of Spring

I love this boy.

This one too. Though he is a little sneak. Sunday we found him under Dan's desk eating a quart of chocolate ice cream with his hands. Of course it was everywhere, on the carpet and all over his face and hands, but he looks at Dan with his hands up like "I'm innocent" when he was found out. This is the downside to freezer drawers. A little too easy to access.

This is me. Every day. My little bit of heaven. I even love weeding. I've turned into my mother and then some.

My "little" man, helping me with rotatilling.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Love this face. Jack being congratulated by his teammates after his first ever homerun. I sort of missed it. Not totally. I was sitting on the bottom bleacher chatting, but watching too. I saw the boy get up to bat, I saw the hit, was really impressed with it, and excited to see it go over the fence. Only all that time I was thinking it was someone else, because the kid looked so big, I didn't think he was mine! Then he turned the corner at second base, I saw his face, and realized, but I was a little late with the camera. (Note to self: Jack is number 9)

But then he got a double. We could always pretend this was his homerun. It looks about the same rounding the bases.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Glamour and Fairies

This is been a busy, fun spring! I'm going to spend the next few days catching up on posting photos.

Abby with her Hollywood look. Seven going on 27. She has a rough life. On nice days she takes her school books, coloring stuff, toys etc. to a chaise and Cade enjoys playing the waiter for poolside service.

Abby and I planted a "fairy" garden. The seed packet said they would attract fairies. This is Abby and her friend Catie discussing how to spot fairies after finding a stone path that the fairies (read: sister) made.

Sweet girls! They BELIEVE in fairies.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Christian Humility

I finished reading a wonderful book last weekend, The Roots of Endurance by John Piper. My favorite quote was this picture from John Newton:

A company of travelers fall in to a pit: one of them gets a passenger to draw him out. Now he should not be angry with the rest for falling in; nor because they are not yet out, as he is. He did not pull himself out: instead, therefore, of reproaching them, he should show them pity. . . . A man, truly illuminated, will no more despise others, than Bartimaeus, after his own eyes were opened, would take a stick, and beat every blind man he met.

Amazing grace!—how sweet the sound—
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

The effect of this amazement is tenderness toward others. “[The ‘wretch’ who has been saved by grace] believes and feels his own weakness and unworthiness, and lives upon the grace and pardoning love of his Lord. This gives him an habitual tenderness and gentleness of spirit. Humble under a sense of much forgiveness to himself, he finds it easy to forgive others.”

The Roots of Endurance, by John Piper, pp. 72-73

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Atmosphere in the Home Part II

I think we all want to have happy, loving homes with a joyful atmosphere, and some sense of order.

After we make sure we are staying connected to the Source of all that we need (Part I), then what?

God has given us an order. Husbands love your wives. Wives respect your husbands. Children obey your parents.

You (if you are a woman) have no control over the first one, so work with the second and third. :-)

Most of us don't respect our husbands, unfortunately. We have certain things that we respect about our husbands, but we don't respect them ALL of the time just because of their position, which I think is what God wants us to do. If you haven't, please read Created to be His Helpmeet by Debbie Pearl. I can't say it any better than she does, except maybe a little less redneck. But it's the most biblical, no-nonsense, this-is-what-you-can-do-as-a-wife-to-make-a-difference-in-your-marriage, book I've ever read!

As far as children obeying their parents, I've found it to be a balance between discipline and training and friendship and relationship. For great basics on parenting biblically, my favorite book is Don't Make Me Count to Three: A Mom's Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline by Ginger Plowman. I also liked Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp, but Plowman's book is more readable, humorous and practical.

To summarize, the standard has to be set high. You should expect your children to obey you the first time, all the way, and with a happy heart.

But it's easy to go over-the-top and become a drill sergeant, whose children only obey you in your presence. Not good! While keeping high expectations, you also have to have a sense of humor, laugh, play with your children, show them affection, be willing to admit when you are wrong and ask forgiveness, and in general, build a friendship or relationship with them, just like you would with any other person.

Also keep in mind Proverbs 22:6. Most of know this verse as, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." But "in the way he should go" can be translated "according to his bent" or "according to the tenor of his way." That means if you have multiple children you can't treat them all the same way and expect the results to be the same. Hmm... that makes things a little more difficult. Is God trying to make it hard? Or maybe make us a little more dependent on Him? Back to the Source on that!

I heard something really interesting last week at church. We had a guest speaker (Chuck Bomar from Colosse Church in Tigard) who said God is never going to call us in a direction that makes us less dependent on Him.

Being a wife and mother and manager of our home keep me very dependent on God. And that's a good thing!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Atmosphere in the Home Part I

Over the years I have been so blessed by all the "older" moms who have taken time out of their busy schedules to share with "younger" moms.

I have been to many groups - MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), Hearts at Home and others whose names I can't remember. I always left feeling so encouraged and inspired. These are such important ministries, and I hope someday to do my part as an older mom. Problem is, right now, I'm an older mom but I still have a two-year-old. So here's to blogging instead.

I remember being asked by an older mom, "How do you want your kids to remember you?" Are you always rushing to get somewhere? Are your kids going to remember you saying "Hurry, hurry, get your shoes on and get in the car!" Is this the legacy you want to leave?

I remember feeling very convicted. And I think about it to this day.

We need to have balance. We want to make sure our kids have time for church, school, extra-curricular activities, family, chores, friends... and depending on the day and the season, we tend to be a little out of balance in one way or another, but always coming back to center.

How do we do this? I think it starts with getting supernatural help. I don't know about you, but I can't do it on my own.

Do you really believe that the Creator God, Who made you, Who made this world, Who made the universe, Who is love, Who sent His own Son to die for you, has more thoughts of you than there are grains of sand? (see Psalm 139:17-18)

If you really believe that (and it is true!) won't you cuddle up to your Abba Father, and seek His infinite wisdom for your day?

Enjoy Him!

Wake up before your kids (or put on a video) and have your spot. For me, that's coffee & water, a blanket, my Bible, journal and sometimes my copy of Morning and Evening (a devotional by Charles Spurgeon.) And my dayplanner too, though I try not look much at that. Only to write things down that I need to remember that come to me as I pray - since it is my brain.

Personally, I do not work on an official "Bible Study" during this time. I read the Psalms or another book of the Bible and meditate on God's Word and pray, going back and forth between Scripture and journaling/praying. But I don't do well with feeling like I'm doing homework.

If you only have five minutes, spend five minutes praising Him for Who He is (reading the Psalms and copying Scriptures down that describe Him is great for this). Getting your mind off yourself and all the unimportant things we tend to worry about will do wonders for your day! If you have more time, continue through the ACTS model of prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication - presenting your requests to God).

If you aren't a morning person, just try it anyway. Even if you can have just a little quiet time in the morning, I think it will bless your day.

Okay, this is getting long. I've just added "Part I" to the title, and I will continue it later :-)

For more great information on getting started on quiet times, head over to my friend Jeannie's blog.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Valentines Fun

I spent a Saturday morning at the end of January with a great group of ladies learning about a sweet Valentines tradition. I don't know if it has an official name... maybe "Fourteen Days of Blessing Your Husband."

The idea is to do a little something each day for all the days of February leading up to Valentines Day, expressing your love and respect for him.

Some give little clues along the way leading up to the "big" gift on Valentines Day. Others have publicly declared their love with yard-sale type songs all along their husband's route to work saying "Trish loves Jerry." How cute is that!?

The picture above is from a surprise visit we paid to Dan at work this week. Another day he found found chocolates in his car, and he has had employees deliver little gifts to him at his various office locations. Who knows what will happen next!

And if your marriage could use a little refresher or you want to learn more about what it means to respect your hubby, check out Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl. Click here to order it. It's not easy to read, but it will bless your marriage as you pray your way through it. If you haven't read the Pearls before, be forewarned... for most of us, parts of it are like reading about a different culture. But I think this is their best book yet, and I know it blessed our marriage immensely.

Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I have had a hard time blogging the past few weeks, because a lot of painful stuff was going on, but nothing that I could share online. I feel like we're out of the woods now... I hope and pray!

One of the biggest lessons I have learned from this experience is how draining it is to have turmoil. My life is busy, but I forget how easy and blessed it is. And how hard it is just to live life when there are people or situations that sap all of your emotional energy. I have new sympathy for others around me who live with dysfunction or disease or anything other than normal. It is exhausting.

As Christians, we are going to mess up. Others are going to hurt us. Satan is alive and well doing his best to cause all the trouble he can. Even amongst like-minded people who all desire to see God's will be done, there can be divisiveness. God knew this, and he warned us in Colossians 4:13 to be "bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do."

We shouldn't be surprised when other Christians hurt us. We know from His Word that this is expected.

How do we bear and forgive? "But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." Colossians 4:14-15

And though we labor, strive, and agonize, it's with His strength which works in us mightily. (Colossians 1:29) So even when He calls us to hard things, He gives us His strength to do it. (Thanks, Mom, for sharing that verse this week!) He's thought of everything. He did it all. Bringing me back to one final and favorite verse:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yummy, Healthy Snack!

I love homeschooling. This is what Abby and I made for school today. Right now she is doing her handwriting by writing the recipe down.

Almond Butter Balls

2 cups almond butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup Arbonne Chocolate Protein Shake powder
1 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes; plus additional for coating

Mix all until smooth. Form into balls and roll in coconut flakes. Refrigerate. Yum!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Years Goals

This is my favorite time of year. If you follow this blog for long, you'll probably hear me say that again about another season. But it's one of them! I love setting goals, de-junking my house, getting started with school again after a break, and that fun, fresh feeling of a new year.

I am not sure if it is a fast or a diet, but I am doing the biggest whatever-it-is of my life. Not a total fast, but a fast from all real food for 21 days. I am doing liquids (yes, coffee, too), Standard Process protein bars, Arbonne protein shakes, fiber supplement, energy drinks and weight loss chews. So it's not total torture, but still a very limited diet. To help me stay out of tempting situations, my kids are doing all the cooking. What an amazing amount of time I am saving! Not eating, and especially not cooking. I am just about done with day four.

Another new years goal is to have my kids memorize a new Bible verse every other day or so (one that I choose, in addition to AWANA or whatever else they are doing at church). In the past I have had loftier goals, like memorizing entire books of the Bible, and while we'd get a chapter done, which is great, we'd burn out before the whole book was memorized. I'm enjoying making notes of verses I come across that I'd like to do next, and everyone has been very enthusiastic about our three verses so far. Tonight I bought a cute little journal at the Container Store to keep them in for easy review. January is never complete without at least one trip to the Container Store!

I have been especially meditating on one of our verses, Luke 3:10-11. When told of their need to repent, God's people ask John the Baptist, what they should do next. His response is "Who ever has two tunics, let him give to him who has none, and he who has food, do likewise." I sure have a lot more than one tunic, and I'm not quite sure what do about that.

P.S. Abby doesn't yet follow my blog, so hopefully she won't notice that I didn't post on her birthday. But Happy Seventh Birthday, my dear spunky girl! What a delight you are to all of us.