Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Around Here September 2016

Clint and I have been fairly ill the past several days. We are on antibiotics, but they are not helping. The assumption is that it is something viral. Whatever it is, it is mean. It's already been through the rest of the family but seems to be hitting us harder.

Brandon has been buying furniture and settling more into his home.

Amanda has asked to move back home and made some wiser choices. Since making those changes, she's found a full time job and has her sights set on purchasing a house within the next year. She's been taking care of us and running the household the last few days which has been a tremendous blessing.

Joshua and Bethany had their 17th and 13th birthdays on the 17th. Since Clint and I were sick, we are planning a "do over" for their birthday celebration.

Joshua got his braces put on. Four brackets fell off within the first half an hour. He went back to get them put on and the orthodontist did not "have the stuff to do it with."

Caleb has announced he wants to start an apprenticeship with a carpenter. We are looking for an opportunity near us.

Emily has been cooking for our turtles and tortoises. The turtles will be hibernating soon so their appetites and nutrition needs have gone up quite a bit. Hannah has learned that pigtails keep her hair from being a knotted mess every morning. That's saving us both some time every day.

I had something fun and profitable dropped in my lap a few months ago. I wasn't looking for it, but it found me. It's been a big blessing to our family and many others. It's keeping me busy and has really helped with the Christmas gift list.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Up and Down

Everything God allows serves a purpose in the lives of those who love Him. This has been a roller coaster ride, and we've had to hold on tight with the ups and downs. We know God is using it to refine every member of our family into more His image. It's been a very painful process. 

We learned things that had been hidden from us...things that broke our heart and other things that scared us. Stories had been told about others that we believed, so we helped them get out of the situation. Only we find out there were lies upon lies as the poison on the inside ate its way out. The situation became bad, and then it got better shortly. Then the situation grew worse again. Then it became much worse. We kept praying. 

Specifically, we asked God to scare them but not to hurt them. We asked God to send them walking down the driveway when it was OK to invite them home again. Both of those very specific prayers were answered. For now, they are home and "committed to being good." It's not perfect but better.

God has been very gracious with His peace. The calmness in my heart I know came from Him. The songs I'd wake up with in my mind, I know were put there by Him. The friends who ministered, the stories that came my way, the verses in my daily devotional were all given to me by a God who loves me as an individual. All His ways are good!

We think we know what the root event is to this bad thinking, but we can't get them to talk. We know the struggles with very low self esteem and PTSD aren't helping. We know they are headed for trouble again if they don't get help to learn ways to protect themselves. We've tried all we know how to do and more. We've offered every available resource. The pain is very visible. 

Where we can't make inroads, we know God can. Please keep praying. 

I apologize for not answering mail. I started a new activity in May, and it has been affected by this. However, it has also been a great way to occupy the mind during this season.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

United States Air Force Heritage of America Band October 1 Performance

This was emailed to me, so I am sharing it here:

The United States Air Force Heritage of America Band, stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia will celebrate its 75th anniversary with a special concert, “A Legacy of Excellence,” on Saturday, 1 October, 7:30pm, at The Ferguson Center for the Arts, in Newport News, VA.  The concert will feature the concert band, and will welcome to the conducting podium several former commanders of the USAF Heritage of America Band, including:   Colonel Lowell E. Graham (USAF, ret.), Colonel Larry H. Lang, Lieutenant Colonel Richard A. Shelton (USAF, ret.), and Captain Rafael F. Toro-Quinones.
The USAF Heritage of America Band, established by the Army Air Forces on Oct 1, 1941, provides musical support to a 15-state region reaching from Maine to South Carolina.  The band has been featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NBC’s "The Today Show," the DESERT STORM National Victory Parade, The World Series, NFL games, and NASCAR. The Heritage of America Band has performed ceremonies for U.S presidents and foreign heads of state, including the Queen of England and the President of France.
This performance is FREE and open to the public! Doors Open at 6:30 P.M. Only the first 1700 ticket holders will be seated. Ticket holders must be seated by 7:15 P.M. Unclaimed seats will be available for non-ticketed patrons at 7:20 P.M.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Please Keep Praying

We heard from them.

Clint and I are standing on God's promises and are battling in prayer. Thank you to those who are standing in prayer with us. Please tell us how we can pray for you and yours.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

What a Blessing He Is to Our Family!

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If you are working, Caleb will be the member of our family to ask you how he can help. He is so giving and works so hard! He saw I had a need for bookshelves, so he made me two matching bookshelves to fit in the spaces on either side of our entertainment center. I have not had time to stain them yet, but they are filled with books already!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Granddog likes to be Cradled

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Girly, Brandon's dog, doesn't understand "too big for my lap." She loves to be held and rocked like a baby and will ask me to let her into my lap which is where she is in this picture. She snuggled right up to my breast like a baby! She'll take all the love I can give her. She still suffers from anxiety from losing her first owner to cancer, so our family tries to work it out to make sure she is never alone. She is a sweetheart! She's also been helpful in running dogs off our farm during the daytime. She goes home with Brandon every evening and keeps watch over him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

An idea to help if someone you love works in the heat...

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When Clint works his second job on the weekends, it can get very, very hot. Recently, he had to pull two twelve hour days in over 100°F conditions. The workload was unusually physically demanding and very fast paced. He came home exhausted. I had his chair ready with his shorts, his big cup of ice water, two cold peaches, and two cloths with ice cold water. I had a fan blowing on him and an ice bath for his feet. After asking the children to leave so Clint could change his clothes where he was, I helped him out of his sweat drenched clothes. Then I wiped him down with the cold cloths. He was so appreciative and felt better very quickly.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Little Brother

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He's not so little any more!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

He's Handy to Have Around

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I told Caleb I needed a bookshelf to store the girl's school books.
He came back in an hour with this!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Quit Playing with My Food

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Sorry it is blurry. Cell phone picture
I went with a cheaper phone and plan to save on costs since so many of us have phones now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

This Isn't a Pretty Story

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If you are easily upset by the harsher realities of life...
If you believe guns have no place whatsoever in society, ...

you need to stop reading.

We live in the country on a farm with livestock surrounded by approximately 60-75 acres of forest. Two weeks ago, we had a fox having seizures, convulsions, and the inability to walk more than a few steps at a time in our yard right where six of our children walk to the feed storage. Our livestock had been fed earlier that morning. Joshua was going to take the hogs fruit peelings from breakfast and saw the fox in the yard. He told me right away with a "It's sick and acting like it has seizures or something." I knew before I got outside what I'd have to do*, so I told Joshua to get me the gun while I headed out to make sure we didn't lose it and to observe it.

The fox was showing several symptoms of rabies. Our dogs and cats are vaccinated, but there was still a threat to the people, stray pets, and the wildlife in our neighborhood. So, to be responsible, I had to kill the rabies, which had already "killed" the fox. My shot was off. Ugh!! I got its hip. 

As a strong nurturer, I hate to cause anything suffering. When I've had to put something down, I've always done the job efficiently. That didn't happen this time. However, the fox was so far gone, its brain could not register any pain. It literally did not know it was shot. I was glad, but now I had a crazy situation on my hands.

It crawled under a very heavy wooden crate. One or both of us would have to lift the crate which would put our legs very close to an animal with what I strongly suspected was rabies. I couldn't just fire through the crate because there was metal in it which could cause a ricochet. Also, I'd still have to lift the crate to see if had finished the job. I had no vehicle at home in that moment, and my neighbor wasn't well. I knew if anything went amiss we'd have to wait for an ambulance to drive to the house and then drive us to the best hospital for treatment. It took just seconds to think this through and realize I didn't like any of those options.

I called Clint at work and asked his advice on how to best handle the situation. He told me to watch to make sure it did not escape to the brush about 20' away and wait for him to get home. With his thick tent canvas pants protecting his legs, he lifted the crate. In that split second, the fox turned towards Clint which was alarming! Clint quickly finished the job. We burned the fox and the crate.

This is the second time in twenty years we've seen what we suspect was a rabid animal in our neighborhood. *Animal control told us on previous calls that they don't come out unless an animal has bitten someone or is fully contained. They tell us if wildlife is sick or a threatening to shoot it ourselves. I'm OK with that; it's country life! They don't test for rabies unless an animal has bitten someone because testing is expensive. What this tells me is that the reports for rabies in any area that follows this practice can be very misleading. 

We gave all of our dogs and cats a rabies booster per our vet's advice. Since we already have vet given rabies for their county licenses, we had the vaccine shipped overnight and administered it ourselves. It wasn't cheap, but it's worth the peace of mind.

The scariest thing about this is that I am convinced by the timing, that the fox was under the feed storage shed that morning while my children were walking all around. I'm thanking God it stayed hidden. 

Clint gave the oldest of us our bi-annual gun safety/target practice course again. Brandon came home for it.

I encourage you to learn what "dumb" or paralytic rabies looks like. Most people I talk to think "Cujo" behavior when they think rabies. The animal can appear friendly or injured. Please teach your children to get you any time they see a wild or strange animal. Teach them not to pet or approach any animal, even someone else's pet, without your permission. 

Please excuse the errors. It's another full-plate morning.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

This Happened on the 4th....

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My fun loving daughter used pet safe dye to "Smurf" my poodle..
Me laughing: "Amanda! Oh my word! How long until it washes out?"
Amanda laughing harder: "It doesn't wash out. It has to grow out."
I will have a blue dog until I can shave her again.
Maggie liked the extra attention she received at the gas station though.
"It's a Bloodle!"

This is NOT Scriptural Love

"Here is another very common delusion! Thousands pride themselves on never condemning others, or saying they are wrong, whatever they may do. They convert the precept of our Lord, “Do not judge,” into an excuse for having no unfavorable opinion at all of anybody. They pervert His prohibition of rash and censorious judgments into a prohibition of all judgment whatsoever. Your neighbor may be a drunkard, a liar, a violent man. Never mind! “It is not love,” they tell you, “to pronounce him, wrong.” You are to believe that he has a good heart at the bottom! This idea of love is, unhappily, a very common one. It is full of mischief. To throw a veil over sin, and to refuse to call things by their right names–to talk of “hearts” being good, when “lives” are flatly wrong–to shut our eyes against wickedness, and excuse their immorality–this is NOT Scriptural love."  ~ J.C. Ryle

Saturday, July 09, 2016

When Fearful, Remember...

"Every time God says, “Don’t be afraid,” it’s only the first part of his sentence." -read more here.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

A Fun Long Weekend

Miss Em had a great birthday on the 3rd!

Even though we didn't get to set off the fireworks we purchased, we had a fun filled celebration of our nation's independence. Fyi, non-aerial fireworks are legal in our county.

We live right across the river from the very place our country won her independence in Yorktown where Cornwallis surrendered to Washington. They have a big fireworks display which we can see a bit of over the tree tops. This year's was cancelled.

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two of our stars, The Rapping Duo

We were blessed with a huge buffet of food mostly cooked on the grill by Clint. The children filled 700 water balloons for a massive water balloon fight. There was good fellowship with neighbors and surprisingly talented impromptu entertainment! We later settled in for a couple of movies as a family.

We also managed to get some work done. We took apart, repaired, and reinstalled our bathroom shower doors, installed a new side door, and established our RV for use as our farm sales office.

We'll set of the fireworks during our annual bonfire gathering this fall.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Nice, Inexpensive Queen Elsa Play Dress

I purchased this costume dress for Emily and was very pleased with how it looks, fits, and with the construction for $35. I'm sharing because I have a lot of friends with little girls who also like to dress up. Emily is 9 and wears an 8/10. I purchased the 11/12, and it fits her with a good amount of room to grow--exactly like I expected. This is an affiliate link meaning I get back a very small percentage if you order through it. My review and pictures of Em and the dress are on the page.

Monday, July 04, 2016

God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me.

Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:7

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Thank the Lord for Dirty Dishes

"Dirty Dishes"
Mama hollers "Supper time,
And don't make me tell you twice
Wash your hands and wipe your face.
The table's no place for your toys,
And try to use your inside voice,
Don't dig in 'til we say Grace."
So we put down our forks and bowed our heads
And then she prayed the strangest prayer ever said:

"I wanna thank You Lord,
For noisy children and slamming doors,
And clothes scattered all over the floor,
A husband workin' all the time,
Draggin' in dead tired at night,
My never ending messy kitchen
And dirty dishes."

We all got real still and quiet,
And daddy asked "Honey, you alright?"
She said, "There ain't nothing wrong,
Noisy kids are happy kids,
And slamming doors just means we live,
In a warm and loving home,
Your long hours and those dishes in the sink,
Means a job and enough to eat.

So I'm gonna thank You Lord,
For noisy children and slamming doors,
And clothes scattered all over the floor,
A husband workin' all the time,
Draggin' in dead tired at night,
My never ending messy kitchen

For my little busy bees
Beggin' mama, mama can you please?
Always wantin' me and callin' me 
Loads of laundry pilin' up
Crayons crushed into the rug
In those little sticky kisses
And dirty dishes,
And dirty dishes..."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

All Believers Are Not Alike

All Believers Are Not Alike

We must not expect all believers in Christ to be exactly like one another. We must not set down others as having no grace, because their experience does not entirely tally with our own. The sheep in the Lord’s flock have each their own peculiarities. The trees in the Lord’s garden are not all precisely alike. All true servants of God agree in the principal things of religion. All are led by one Spirit. All feel their sins, and all trust in Christ. All repent, all believe, and all are holy. But in minor matters they often differ widely. Let not one despise another on this account. There will be Martha’s and there will be Mary’s in the Church until the Lord comes again. ~ J.C. Ryle

Friday, June 24, 2016

Naughty and Nice

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Those naughty and nice geese of ours keep life both fun and frustrating! 

When it is not breeding season, they will eat out of my hands. If they hear me talking in the house, they will rush to that window and try to get my attention. If I walk outside, they rush towards me and greet me with such noise! If I sit on a blanket on the ground, they will encircle me and sit down to "visit." 

When they are sitting on eggs of have goslings, they are all business! I am no longer their buddy, and I had better steer clear of their nests. If I dare to check a nest, I am in hot water for days. They will fuss at me every time they see me.

They are toddler like with their curiosity. They will manipulate anything I have low enough for them to reach with their beaks. If it is light enough, they will try to make off with it. 

Gardening has been especially challenging! They went behind us and pulled up the tomato plants! The first time, they left them right beside the holes. We replanted them as soon as we saw them, and they recovered just fine. So, the next time those mischievous geese saw them, they made off with the plants! I have no idea where they took them! We still have a few dozen tomato plants in other areas, but boy, those geese keep us on our toes!

Our geese are great guardians of the yard. Nothing comes through without us knowing about it because the geese will sound the alarm. They frighten off dogs, foxes, and raccoons which makes them a valuable addition to the farmyard.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Around Here

There is always so much going on at our little farm. We've cleared land to fence a larger area for our hogs to graze. We also separated our sows who will give birth in July and August. We planted around 20 trees this year. We will finish cutting the trees we cut down into firewood in the fall. We are keeping our eyes on the elderberries so we can make more syrup and benefit from those wonderful antioxidants. Our wild blackberries will be ready next month. We'll be canning to preserve the bounty.

Our garden has been hit or miss. Between the excessive spring rains and our schedules, we didn't get as much planted. We have a lot in containers and are starting a large carrot bed. I am planning a fall garden and will put that in the ground in July.

Brandon has just purchased himself a second vehicle and is returning to college in July to advance his education. He is enjoying gardening at his new home. He was happy to report that the grapevine I gave him a few months ago, from a cutting off of one on our farm, is producing grapes! He stopped by Saturday and played K'nex with Emily and Hannah to keep those relationships strong. Sunday, he managed to give himself a concussion and needed Amanda and Caleb to watch over him for 24 hours. He, Amanda, Bethany, and I have plans to go to Hobby Lobby this week.

Amanda is making strides in her studies. Her grades are excellent, and she gets nice notes from her professors. When she is finished, she plans to obtain her Master's Degree. She is also volunteering at two local churches and helps with the errands each week which has freed me up to resume the two days of bulk cooking each week requires. She often sends me, "I love you, mommy!" texts out of the blue which makes my day.

Joshua and Caleb are also volunteering alongside of Amanda at one church. They are handing out food to those who need it. They help carry the boxes of food to their cars. Joshua is building on his knowledge of car repair and is still taking behind the wheel under Clint. Caleb is happily using the new router (woodworking) every chance he gets. He's more than ready to start behind the wheel! Both boys are slated to get braces in the near future.

Bethany has been expanding her cooking skills. She recently surprised us with a homemade Boston Cream Pie! It was delicious! She's been showing us she's no lightweight when it comes to heavy work on the farm! She helped us put in a fence recently and did a great job. She and Amanda plan days out to shop and enjoy each other's company. Bethany's also been learning to groom our dogs and can give a pretty good men's haircut. 

Emily and Hannah are making strides in their school and are learning more and more every day! They love going outside to play and have been catching tad poles again this year. Tea parties are all the rage! They are usually filled with goodies that draw their brothers into the mix. This year, Em and H-bug aren't just getting eggs from their chickens, but they are cooking their own breakfasts using them! Emily is 8 and can cook breakfast for the entire gang in the time morning chores done.

Clint has been working overtime to pay for the medical bills from earlier this year. He's been trying to keep up with repairs at home to the stove, fridge, mowers, weed eaters, and other equipment. It's been one of those very demanding times of life where we struggle to keep up with all of the "to do's."

Monday, June 20, 2016


I am finally starting to feel better from a mean sinus infection that came after a severe environmental allergy (meow) attack. This is not related to the seasonal allergies I've had success in treating. It spread from my sinuses to my ears, so I had a double ear infection along with it.

This infection had me taking quite a lot of herbal medicine followed by three rounds of antibiotics followed by tons more of herbal medicine..and it's still not 100% gone. It's antibiotic resistant, the worst I've ever had, and I am keeping busy just staying on top of it with saline and essential oil/xylitol rinses and my own natural herbal antibiotic blend. I have made more progress in the last four days than I did in all the preceding weeks. 

The little bit of energy I have goes to my treadmill/prayer time and whatever most pressing thing of the day is after that. I am trusting the Lord has a plan and a purpose for the interruption in the routine, but I am eager to get back to full speed. 

I have been trying to return calls, texts, and emails. I haven't even been able to keep up with Facebook. I am still doing the online counseling and those messages come first. 

Please excuse the brevity in words and the ease of "thumbs up" as I play "catch up" in all areas of life. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Real Christian Quote

"A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible and knows that which passeth knowledge." A. W. Tozer: The Root of the Righteous

Monday, June 13, 2016

Keeping the Grocery Budget on Target Tips

Feeding eight, and very often nine or more, people, we have to stay on track with the budget. One way I do that is by making use of the online shopping cart feature at stores I shop at, like Sam's Club. Even when I don't order it online to pick up at the store, using the shopping cart is helpful. I simply put what I need to buy in the cart, and it keeps track of the amount I've spent. I can efficiently add or subtract as needed to help me maximize the budget without going over. Once I am finished, I print or handwrite the list. Sometimes I copy it into an email where it can be read on a phone. This helps keep the groceries in line with our budget. 

When I shopped by sale items and coupons, I would make my weekly menu by what was on sale. While there are a few fresh meat and vegetable coupons out there, there aren't that many when compared to the processed foods which we try to avoid. There sure aren't enough fresh food coupons to make even a slight dent with the amount my family consumes! I save more money by raising our food at home, so I put my time into that instead of cutting coupons and matching up sales and then driving all around our area to acquire them. Now, I make my weekly menus by what is on hand at home. I only buy what is needed to go fill in the recipe for those meals.

Herbs and spices are much cheaper when purchased in bulk. I have used herbalcom.com for well over a decade for not only our medicinal herbs but also culinary herbs, spices, and specialty salts. Sometimes, but not very often, Sam's Club will beat their price. Since they arrive in a thick blue bag, I repackage and relabel them into quart sized canning jars and store in a dark, cool place. Using these spices, I often mix my own blends such as taco seasonings, steak rubs, etc. For supplement or herbal medicine, I buy gelatin capsules and cap my own or make other forms like tinctures, extracts, teas, etc. This has helped me create very flavorful dishes and buy supplements for our family without breaking the bank. 

One of the biggest ways you can save on your grocery bill is by doing this one thing: eliminate waste. Look for ways to use everything you can. If it is about to spoil, find a way to use it before it does. One of the tips I acquired years ago was to take the juice from canned fruits, add a little water, and freeze it into popsicles. By pausing before you toss something out and thinking about how it can be used can bring you big savings.

Happy Frugal Mothering! 

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Monday, June 06, 2016

Poor Truck

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First, Brandon got her stuck in his front yard. 
Our good friend and neighbor Super Mack pulled her out with his tractor.

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Then she failed inspection for upper and lower ball joints on both sides.
Clint saw the tie rods were worn, so he is replacing those too.

Clint is doing the work with the boys as a homeschooling lesson + life skills. Clint replaced his first ball joint as a teenager while a certain girl handed him tools. His father died of alcoholism, so he had no one to teach or help him. He learned all he knows about automobile repair by buying a book and by "doing." He got frustrated from time to time but pushed through it to keep learning. He never gave up and kept trying until he got it right. He succeeded at each repair he attempted even if it took a lot longer than planned. He didn't have much confidence at first, but with each success he gained confidence in his abilities. Repairs became easier and easier as he gained experience. He now does 99% of the work on our vehicles and other equipment and has saved us a small fortune which has helped contribute towards us having more luxuries in life-like two to three week long family vacations a year plus several weekend trips for him and I. I am thankful to have been the girl who watched the boy struggle to learn and become the man he is today. I am even more thankful he is making it easier for our children by teaching them all he can. Clint is a man who persists and remains committed to a task and continues to have a teachable spirit in all areas of life. He is a careful man who limits his time in front of the television to truly live and experience life for the Lord's glory. After 30 years of being his girlfriend/wife, I am still absolutely over the moon, crazy in love with him.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Are You Resting Often Enough in These Three Ways?


"What’s undone weighs heavily on me. I can’t escape the feeling I’m not doing enough. My to-do list looms before me daily. ...
I’m ashamed to admit it, but a good day to me is defined by getting things accomplished on my list. Not the people I’ve touched. Not the time I’ve spent with God. Not the things I’ve learned. Just what I’ve done." read more here.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

Crock Pot Chicken Marsala

I made the above recipe (tripled) recently for my family. I used corn starch instead of arrowroot powder and added seasonings until it suited me. I also added an extra container of mushrooms.The family RAVED over it. Clint said it was better than Carrabbas. Everyone had seconds! Tip: For the Marsala wine, I used the next to the cheapest after learning this is what a lot of chefs use. It made the difference!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Article: My Friend Honored God and His Parents — Why Did He Die Young?

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

While attending a Christian school, the teachers used the Biblical phrase "that your days may be long" as a way to threaten stress the importance to obedience to not just parents but all authority. "God says right here, that if you honor and obey your parents, you will live a long time. So, if you want a long life, then you have to honor and obey your parents and those in authority over you." 

It was very confusing to many of us when a classmate died. He was a good person and loved his parents, so why did God not keep His promise to let him live long? Why didn't that promise apply to him? What about parents who weren't so honorable? They were sexually, physically, and emotionally abusing their child. Are children suppose to honor and obey their parents who are abusive so they could have a long life? How was the child suppose to do that? I have several friends whose children have died who have really struggled over the teaching they received in church on this matter. "Did my child have some secret sin I didn't know about?" I have friends whose parents have died young but had been very dutiful children. "Why didn't God keep His promise? If this promise does not apply to this person, then what ones do not apply to me? How can we rest on God's promises if they may or may not apply? " they asked.

God's Word is not in error. It's our interpretation! John Piper solves that problem in the article I've shared below. I feel there needs to be a clearer teaching on this in the church so that it does not cause people to question God's goodness and faithfulness. If you have wondered about these passages and the life happening around you, I encourage you to read the article in its entirety and see what God is really saying.

My Friend Honored God and His Parents — Why Did He Die Young?
"So, if we have been trained to see these patterns, if children have been shown this, we won’t be as likely to give Ephesians 6:3 a meaning Paul surely did not intend for it to have. In the Old Testament, this promise was made to the people of Israel as a whole that they would endure from generation to generation in the land of promise if they were the kind of people who kept the law and honored their parents. It is not a promise to each individual Israelite who honors his parents that he will live out his full three score and ten. You can read it. You will remain in the land, meaning you, the people of Israel, won’t be swept away into Babylon if you are law-keeping people. And they weren’t, and so they were swept away. ...

Here is my suggestion: If you put the two halves together, “it will go well with you and you will live long,” I would suggest in view of all we have seen is that it means it will go well with you and you will live as long as it going well with you implies. In other words, “it will go well with you” defines “you will live long,” not the other way around. Living long doesn’t define how it will go well with you. Going well with you defines how long you will live. And that is exactly the way, I think, we should say it to a child who is dying or who has lost a friend or a parent — though we don’t speak glibly or say it without tears — but we do say, “In God’s mind and God’s good heart, it is going well. It is going to go well with you.” ...
If God takes a child — he gives and he takes, he gives and he takes — blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21). If God takes a child in the most ultimate sense, it has gone well with them and that is what he promised. It will go well for you and you will live as long as is good for you on this earth and then forever in heaven."

Please note what I feel is a most crucial point. I know firsthand that truth without love is very harmful to tender hearts. 

"And that is exactly the way, I think, we should say it to a child who is dying or who has lost a friend or a parent — though we don’t speak glibly or say it without tears — but we do say, “In God’s mind and God’s good heart, it is going well. It is going to go well with you.”

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Teaching Our Children: It's War!

There is an unseen war on to corrupt our children's hearts, minds, and bodies. As a parent very aware of the battle, it can be overwhelming! Clint and I are constantly looking for ways to drive home the seriousness of making wise choices. We have a lot of conversations about how thinking wrong leads to doing and doing wrong which then leads to negative consequences. 

I've been asking my children this week how does this quote apply to real life and what foundations can we apply to keep our footing in a world where temptations and evil are everywhere: 

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

For our family, a firm foundation is found in knowing and applying God's Word, especially His commandments. 

Beside our front door, I have a handwritten sign which says: 

Before you go out this door
WHO you are... __________ Asbell
WHERE you come from.... your family
WHO you represent...--->A HOLY GOD <--- b="">

Let your speech and behavior reflect these facts.

This sign is not pretty. It was hastily handwritten by a tired mother who has more to do than hours in the day. The neon yellow arrow does not match my decor. Sometimes I cringe inwardly when others seeing these signs, wondering what they think. However, my decor isn't here to serve my desires for perfection or color coordination others will envy. Those things would fulfill my prideful flesh. I am not here to please others by seeking their approval. My home is here to glorify my God, and I can do that by teaching/reminding my children of Truth. 

I can say the same about my blog posts. They aren't eloquently written. They have spelling and grammatical errors. I want perfection, but I can't achieve it and still fulfill my many other duties. I know there are other Christians, parents, women, wives, mothers who are also engaged in this battle. I hear from many of you often. I want to give encouragement and share ideas because I know how battle weary we can become especially when the godly older women the Bible talks about in Titus 2:4 are so absent in our lives. Don't worry about your decor or other frivolous matters. Keep your eyes on the goal. Fight for your children's hearts and minds because if you don't the consequences can last longer than a lifetime. They could be an eternity. Fight, mamas! Fight hard and don't forget to fill your tank (take care of you spiritually, emotionally/mentally, and physcially) so you can keep going.

Don't expect perfection as you raise and launch your children. I know my efforts don't guarantee anything. Life is messy, and human beings are fallible. "Perfect little angels" don't exist. There will be trying times. There will be sin. There will be hurts and disappointments. However, I do know God will bless my efforts and help us through the trials. I know giving them Him is the best thing I can give them, so I labor on. I am praying for you. Please pray for me too.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Article: For Christian Singles

"Asking God to help you find a mate is a good thing. Here are a few tips for how to pray boldly for marriage. ...

She talked differently about marriage than what I was used to. She said it was a good thing, that God created it for our benefit, and that He still wants Christians to marry and have families. But she didn't stop there. "Be open about your desire to marry," she said. "Talk about it with your friends, just like you talk about all the other things you hope to do." She even went so far to say, "In our anti-marriage culture you have to be strategic."
I was embarrassed to admit my desire, and here she was encouraging me to not only acknowledge my hopes, but also pursue them.

Suddenly I felt free to really pray. My requests looked totally different than before." read the rest here.