Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Still Dating!

This update is a little bit late due to continued connection problems.  Hubby and I did do some apple picking last Friday.  It was so nice to get away.  We went about 45 minutes east of our little town in search of my favorite Macintosh apples.  We missed the Macs due to some strong storms, but we still had a good time and enjoyed the time away.
The owners think that we picked Winesaps.  They are good for munching, made a good pie, made good sauce, but we were a bit disappointed with the cider that it made.  I love the fact that marriage can be new all the time.  Hubby wasn't feeling particularly well, but made the time to have a special time with me. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Giving thanks

While I am struggling today with a poor phone line and difficulty connecting to the "Super Highway,"  I am so thankful for all of the choices that we have in communication.  I can pick up a phone and call, I can zip an email to a friend.  I can research things in a phone book or search online.  I can use a physical map or have a Garmin or mapquest tell me which way to go. 

Woman's Work

Well, this is a day late because we are having some phone line trouble.  Bummer!  Don't know how regular I will be while we are trying to diagnose the problem - lots of static inteferes with a dial-up connection.

One job that has proven fun and challenging is that of finances in the home.  Not all wives take on this task, but while hubby was away from home for months on end, I took this job over.  I have learned so much this year that I wish I had practiced more while we were in WA and I had more time and things were more convenient.  My neighbor introduced me to a website called  This site is AWESOME.  Daily, I receive emails that tell me how to get freebies, where to use my Sunday coupons for the best deals.  I particularly enjoy making the most of CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid deals and triple coupons at Harris Teeter (our high end grocery).  I went to triple coupons on Tuesday and saved 57 dollars with 20 coupons (WOW!)  It is one way to have some "fun" things in the pantry without breaking the bank - Toaster Strudel for breakfast ... granola bars ...

I knew we would cut some things when we left the military.  Many of you know that I struggle with acne in a big way.  I had been using Proactiv for many years with great success, but that bill was just not going to be able to continue.  So I dealt with the acne for a number of months here in NC.  But that all changed in April or May.  While researching another health problem, I found that apple cider vinegar helps acne.  Really?  Really!  I simply put 1 tsp in water (or juice) every morning.  My skin has been SO much clearer.  That sure is a lot cheaper than medication and doctor bills!

Beyond the finances - there is much to work on spiritually. 

I Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you
but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful,
who will not suffer you to be tempted
above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation
also make a way to escape,
that ye may be able to bear it.

I had often focused on the not being "tempted above that ye are able"  and missed the ESCAPE.  God gives an escape.  How silly I would be if I tried to cut a whole out of a burning building when the fire escape was right beside me!  So often I think that I have to escape the temptation in my own strength, but the escape God provides is there - I just have to find it and use it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Will Not Let Thee Go

It seems that there is always a tune or song running through my head.  I rather like when that happens.  This song is based on the account of Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord.  His persistence yielded results.  There are prayers that I long to see answered and it is a daily struggle to continue in sincerity and earnestness to bring those requests before God.

I Will Not Let Thee Go
Words by Joe Zichterman (formerly associated with THE WILDS)

The anguish of my soul you see; the blessing stil unclaimed;
My spirit nearly crushed beneath the load.
In the darkest night I wrestle with the Angel of the Lord,
And I boldly claim the promise of Thy Word
That my diligent pursuit Thou shalt reward.

And though Thou bidst me let Thee go, I will not be denied,
And it delights Your heart to see me so.
When you touch me in my weakness, it is but to make me strong,
And though weeping may endure the whole night long,
You have promised in the morning joy shall come.

Oh, ev'ryone who asks receives, and those who seek will find,
And all who keep on knocking enter in.
Through each test of perseverance as we stand on sacred sod,
Soon we travel where victor'ous saints have trod.
Let us triumph as a prince prevails with God!

I will not let Thee go until You bless me.
I'll wrestle with my Lord until the break of dawn.
I cannot be content without the vict'ry.
Until the battle's won, I simply can't go on.
With my soul in great travail, I know I shall prevail with Thee!
Until the answer comes for me, no matter what the cost may be,
I will not let Thee go.

And so I tell myself, and you as well - stick with those prayers. 
There is a purpose in the battle, even if we don't know what that purpose is.

Monday, September 21, 2009

His Way is Perfect

Psalm 18:30
As for God, his way is perfect:
the word of the LORD is tried:
he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Instinctively, we claim that we realize that God's way is perfect.  Sometimes He works in ways to wonderful for us.  We saw this during the past weekend.  Our church is nearing the end of missions month and the members have had opportunity to share time with the visiting missionaries.  We were scheduled to have the missionaries over to lunch on Sunday.  I had sent an e-mail earlier in the week asking about convenience of location and food allergies.  Due to an error in my typing - or a very busy missionary - we never connected.  So we just prepared as normal for a meal on Sunday.  On Sunday, they did not realize that anything was planned and the wife was not feeling well, so they excused themselves from coming.  When they did, hubby asked if we could bring them food that evening - What relief washed over the husband's face!  Why do I see this as God's perfect way ... Had our email connected and they excused themselves, I would not have made a large Sunday meal ...  Because there was plenty, God could use us to bless them in a way we would not have expected.

Breakfast for Supper!

So, the stuffed peppers on the grill were just o.k. last week.  No rave reviews, but acceptable.  The hit of the week was breakfast night.  I asked hubby what he wanted and he replied with pumpkin pancakes, eggs, and smoothies.  We cut it down to pumpkin pancakes, bacon, and smoothies.  I had a little extra pumpkin from the delicious pumpkin cheesecake bars - so this was a perfect request. 

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups flour
3 T brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 c milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/4 c cooking oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger

In a large bowl combine flour and other dry ingredients. 
In a second bowl combine eggs and remaining ingredients. 
Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until slightly lumpy.
Heat lightly greased griddle.
For each pancake pour 1/4 c batter. 
Cook until golden.  Makes 16 pancakes.    

Just another taste of fall.  YUMMY!

I am looking forward to a trip to the apple orchard this Friday and hoping that the Macs are still being picked.  Hubby is going to take the afternoon off from school work so that we can spend the afternoon together.  Then we can juice up some apples, make applesauce, apple muffins, apple pies, apple fritters ... 

Matthew 7:17
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit;
but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Psalm 139:14
I will praise thee;
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works;
and that my soul knoweth right well.
I have been reminded this week that God made me unique. 
It is not mine to compare to others,
...or to beat myself up at my "limitations",
...or to boast in my "gifts." 
God made me unique.  
Today I am trying to remember to be thankful for the limitations
as well as the talents. 
God knows His creation and in that I can rest.  
God knew what He was doing - He has a perfect plan.
Will you thank God with me?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I shall not be moved!

Psalm 16:8-9
I have set the LORD always before me:
because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad,
and my glory rejoiceth:
my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Many in this world are uncertain about the future - government, health care, insurance, employment, finances ...  The list goes on, and on, and on.  If I walk in God's ways, I can have perfect peace.  I am secure in Him.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Taste of Fall

Yes, I know, we are still a week away from the start of Autumn - but, why can't I get a jump start on my favorite season?  The mornings here in NC have been so pleasant, that hubby and I are just itching for the cooler weather to arrive to stay!  Early in our marriage, I learned that pumpkin pie was a favorite of my love.  That was fine with me.  Only one crust to worry about - no slicing or peeling fruit - everything mixed in the KitchenAid ...  Then I realized that it was nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves that were the hit ... anything with these spices is a winner.  So this weekend I tried a dessert to complement the two of us.  It had pumpkin and "fall spices" for hubby and cream cheese for me!  It was fairly reasonable in price after some super double coupons combined with a BOGO sale at our local Harris Teeter and the use of home grown pumpkin.  I also used up some stale graham crackers in the crust instead of using Ginger Snaps and pecans (though that sounds really good).  I was also tired by Saturday night, so the squares were not swirled - I just mixed everything at once!

So here it is complements of Kraft:

Pumpkin-swirl Cheesecake

25 Ginger shaps, finely crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped Pecans 
1/4 c butter, melted
4 pkg. Cream Cheese softened 
1 c sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
Heat oven to 325*.
Mix crumbs, nuts, and butter; press onto bottom of 13 x 9 inch pan.
Beat cream cheese, 3/4 c sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended.
Remove 1 1/2 c batter.
Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter.
Spoon half of pumpkin batter into crust;
top with spoonfuls of half the plain batter.
Repeat layers; swirl with kinfe.
Bake 45 min or until center is almost set.  Cool completely. 
Refrigerate 4 hours.

Today, I need to roast the pumpkin seeds that were left after cooking up my pumpkin.  Yummy!  I also saw a recipe for peppers stuffed with beans and rice that are cooked on the grill.  Sounds like some of my garden peppers are destined for the grill tonight.  Ignore their screams - I am experimenting tonight.  If it is good, you just might see the recipe for it next Menu Monday. 

"... trust ... in the living God,
who giveth us richly
all things to enjoy;"
I Timothy 6:17

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Week in Review

I have a love/hate relationship with Saturdays.  Why?  Well it is 5:50 am and I have my second load of wash in and am still waiting for the sun to come up.  I hate the 4:30 wake-up call, but I love watching the earth wake up, hearing the sounds of the morning, finishing my cleaning while the morning is still cool (anytime before lunch), having devotions outside on the back porch before the heat of the day.  Who knew that this night owl would need to become a morning person?  I love the fact that marriage changes both partners - it is truly a process of becoming "one."  I love the fact that I am "forced" to be disciplined in my sleep habits so that I can meet the needs of my husband and so that we can have the most time together.  I love the fact that I can get up and show hubby my love by making a lunch for him before he goes to work. 

Much to think about this week.  We just commemorated 9-11.  It really doesn't seem like 8 years ago.  Our naion has changed so much since that time.  How thankful I am for all those who haven given their lives and who continue to sacrifice of their time for my freedoms!  I am so grateful to the families who are without husband or father so that my husband can study and train!  This day also reminds me that America has come a long way - and not for the good - and that we trifle with God's blessing on this land.

A dear friend of ours passed away this week.  The loss of loved ones always causes me to reflect on the brevity of life.  Am I working for the Lord while I have breath?

Beyond the times of reflection, it was a busy week.  We are still trying to settle into the school routine.  Hubby is about 2 weeks ahead on school work and that feels good.  He had some good ideas about his research paper for English Composition yesterday, so that project is not looking so bad anymore.  So far, the Greek hasn't killed him and he enjoys the challenge - he is so blessed to have a partially photographic memory as he learns vocab. and endings upon endings.

The garden is still producing beans and peppers.  The rain of this week and the cooler temperatures has been a real blessing.  (Not only has the garden thrived, but we have had the AC off for 2 weeks, except while we were entertaining on Sunday).  The lawn is growing like crazy, and looking GREAT for September.  I had to rake yesterday after mowing because it was so long.  Of course, I was also eyeing the grass clippings as good compost :)

Today the house will be cleaned and then the shed will get a coat or two of primer.  There will be more violin practice - I am sure that the neighbors wish it was hot again so that I would close the windows.  My left hand fingers are still a little numb, but are adjusting slowly to the strings.  My teacher has been pleased with my progress and told me yesterday when he assigned 14 pages to practice that it was the largest assignment that he had ever given.  I will be starting a hymn this week, which will make practice even more enjoyable.

Tomorrow is the Lord's Day again.  ... a day of rest  ... a day to focus on the Lord 

Have a great weekend!

Psalm 146:2
While I live will I praise the LORD:
I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday Again

Psalm 5:11
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice:
let them ever shout for joy,
because thou defendest them:
let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
It is almost 10 in the morning and it is still dark in the house.  The rain is really coming down outside.  If there is one thing that I enjoy about a trailer, it is the sound of the rain on the roof and walls.  So this morning, I am thankful for housing.  I am thankful that the landlord fixed the bottom edge of the trailer and repainted this summer, hopefully preventing any further rotting of the floor boards.  It is wonderful to watch and hear the rain, and yet be spared from being drenched in it!

Our little trailer was a little disappointing when we first arrived in NC, but we are so thankful for our home.  Yes, with a little repair (I love being married to a handy man), a lot of elbow grease (yes, I used hubby's muscles a little here as well), fresh paint, and the touches that make a home cozy ... it is home and how thankful we are for it.  We are thankful for friends who did all the footwork so that we could move right in when we arrived.  We are thankful for school personnel who keep the rents reasonable so that we can afford to stay in school.  We are thankful for our neighbors who look after us and keep us accountable.  We have much more then we deserve.

I just started a study on the word rejoice in the Bible.  I am trying to pick out the when, why, and how of rejoicing.  In the book of Psalms, we are to rejoice in our salvation, in the Lord, in the name of the Lord, in His mercies ...  I think "Thankful Thursday" could be filled just with these alone.

Well, it is time to get ready and leave the protection of the trailer - piano lessons across the street in about a half hour.

Give God the thanks that He deserves today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ever-changing Job

It is Woman's Work Wednesday.  Today I have to bake some bread, make some tomato sauce, proof read and print some English papers ...  I love being a "keeper at home."  There is such variety in my work.  I may be baking, cleaning, sewing, ironing, ... the typical things we imagine, but in this season of my life, my job changes daily.  While Chris is in school, I am also secretary, proof reader, printer, researcher, encourager, assignment interpreter, study buddy, ...  When God said that I am to be a help to my husband, He definitely gave me so many ways to accomplish the task!

The latest chapter in the book Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit was dealing with Fear and Worry as the robbers of my godly spirit.  How often do I want to change course, or doubt the course that I have chosen because I encounter a trial of some sort?  Some days, we struggle with this as students in school - does God really want us here?  Why is it hard to get in enough hours at work or for some to find work at all?  Why was the GI Bill cut?  We know that this is God's plan for us, but it is easy to doubt when the hard times come (and are they really that hard?).  Sometimes it is easy to worry about the future.  Where will we go?  Will hubby be a pastor, translator, lay person helping another pastor?  The chapter stressed that Prayer is the key to this "robber."  We need to ask God for His peace and trust that if we have made a decision with His guidance through prayer and Bible Study that it is His will for us - regardless of the trial.  The book also gave me the reminder that I need to let hubby make the leadership decisions and then not doubt the decisions when they are made.  There is such peace when we rely on God's plan of leadership in the home

I Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.


Psalm 1:6
For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous:
but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
So I didn't get to the posting part yesterday,
but the "tune" that was with me yesterday was Psalm 1.
As I read the Psalm, it hit me that I often claim this promise -
"the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous",
but am I living the righteous life that He desires?
  The Psalm shows the righteous person as one who doesn't ...
...walk with the ungodly,
...stand with sinners,
...sit with the scornful,
 ... he delights in the Law of the Lord,
...and meditates on His Word.
Am I righteous? 
With the blood of Christ covering me, I am,
but I want to strive to live the righteous life that He has set out for me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Menu Monday

Part of simplifying my life has been to simplify my view of food and meal preparation.  When hubby and I married, I thought a meal had to be meat, a starch (rice, noodles, potatoes), a vegetable ... possibly bread, a salad ...  You get the idea.  Not only that, but I thought I was a terrible wife if I repeated any meal within a month's time ... Crazy!  This month, I am making a plan for one week and using it 4 times to cover the month.  Yes, I have hubby's blessing and so far he is enjoying the idea.  It has already saved much time and even money at the store.  The week includes a bean night, a breakfast night, chicken one night, ground beef one evening, fish, and Italian (spaghetti or homemade pizza).  Sunday is usually a Crock-pot meal.

The switch to a bean-based meal was perhaps the hardest and most of you know why.  Most men just LOVE meat, and hubby was no different.  So the key to the switch was finding bean dishes with good seasoning.  Lentil tacos was a hit from the beginning, but I recently found another recipe that is quick, easy, and surprised the socks off of me.

Brown Rice and Lentils
2 T butter/margarine
1 sm onion, chopped (1/4 c)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 c dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
1/2 c uncooked brown rice
1 can (14 oz) vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 c water
1/4 tsp red pepper sauce (I don't really measure ... this adds the flavor)
1 med green bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1 c)
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese (opt.)

1.  In 2 qt sauce pan, melt butter over med. heat.  Cook onion and garlic in butter about 3 min, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender.
2. Stir in lentils, rice, broth, water and pepper sauce (I also add the peppers here because I like them to be cooked through).  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer about 50 minutes, adding water if necessary, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
3.  Stir in bell pepper.  Sprinkle with cheese. (Optional)

Can you imagine this served with some fresh wheat rolls or bread and a side of green beans? 
Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Week in Review

Well, we are through the first full week of the semester.  It is good to take a breath.  During the first week, the school conducts Opening Revival meetings.  It was hard to feel like the school work was getting adequate time when there were services to run to each night.  The services were very good.  The evening meetings were on Bitterness, the sins that can capture a pastor, and the Holiness of God. 

Despite the business of the week, hubby was able to get one full week ahead on schoolwork.  We even finished 235 vocabulary words so that they could be turned in early for extra credit.  Yes, I can use the pronoun "we" because I am back to my job as chief typist, proofer, and printer.  We are faithfully trying to learn Greek vocabulary words and it is fun to challenge each other.  I am often reminded of some of my former pastors as we throw the words around and Chris wonders how I get them to "stick" so quickly. 

I had my second violin lesson this week and was excited to receive an "A+" from my teacher.  I was only playing on open strings, but he said the tone was good.  He also said that my violin was a good one (Thanks mom and dad!).  This week I start fingering and hopefully things will progress just as well - my typing might be funny for a few days as I develop callouses on my string fingers.

The weather was just delightful this week.  It was starting to feel like fall - cool and dry!  We were able to have windows open all week.  I have a feeling that summer is not quite through, but the cool days are much appreciated and make us eager for the fall season.  The cooler temperatures and rain have also greened up the lawn which is prettier to look at, but more difficult to mow!

I did get in a third planting in this week and will make some more this week.  The warm weather here is a blessing in that aspect.  I look forward to having fresh salad greens again. 

Tomorrow is the day we look forward to the most - a day of rest and focus on the Lord and fellowship with fellow believers.  I enjoy the day with no thoughts of school books, laundry, cleaning, ironing ... truly it is good to be in the house of the Lord and to be fed by God's servant.  We will also share dinner with our neighbors and it will be nice to visit with them.  I hope you will take your Sunday and give it to the Lord.  Give him that day and trust that He will multiply the time in your week.

Psalm 122:1
I was glad when they said unto me,
Let us go into the house of the LORD.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

"Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD.
Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 150:6

It is good in the midst of trying days (and good days too) to remind yourself of God's goodness in your life. I am so thankful for a diligent, disciplined husband. He is working VERY hard this semester so that we can push through this time of schooling. He has a heavy load which he works through without complaint. He is a great leader and example of discipline.

I am also thankful for God's provision each day. It was a cool morning and we had a nice warm breakfast on the table and there was food to put in hubby's lunch box for work and there were blankets on the bed to keep us warm.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Woman's Work Wednesday

I guess some would think that title a little bit on the chauvinistic side - but I love being a wife and doing woman's work. The first load of wash is hanging out in the cool breeze and sun this morning while the whites are spinning in the machine. I love the smell of the bleach in the house. I am still looking forward to planting some seeds before lunch and also scrubbing the kitchen floor with a brush and some vinegar. There are also some bananas that will become bread, waffles, muffins, or pancakes - I just haven't decided which. It is going to be breakfast night here and I am going to try a casserole made with grits! We'll see how that flies :)

The title of this blog is not really about my work in the trailer and around the place here, but about the work in my life. I am currently working through a study on Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell. I like to be working on my own "school" while Chris is in the books so much. The first chapter was simply showing the command to have this spirit and examining the things that steal it from me. As I thought about it, I pinned unexpected events as a quiet spirit robber and also a proud heart. I like to follow my plans in my way and when that does not happen, an ungodly spirit can follow. So I am working on giving up my "rights" realizing that I have a "right" to Hell, but God has been so gracious to save me. I am also working on cultivating the right start to my day. You know that to be a fruitful quiet time with God. I want more than just a reading and a "pat" prayer.

So - Back to work I go - with the physical and the spiritual.

I Peter 3:4
"...the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,
which is in the sight of God of great price."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Tune on Tuesday

"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
Ephesians 5:19

Yes, this blog needs some structure and its writer needs discipline. So we will try some new things in the coming weeks.

Today the hymn "Saved, Saved" is going through my mind. "...Life now is sweet and my joy is complete, For I'm saved, saved, saved!" We sang it last night at the opening revival at school. It was a good message on Bitterness and some of the fruits of bitterness. Today that hymn goes through my mind. Am I living like my life is sweet, joy complete? I hope so!

There is joy in the journey we are going through. I am joyful today in a successful shopping trip. I love the discount grocery stores that they have in this area - lots of dents, tears, after dated food - BUT AWESOME deals that stretch the budget. I am singing because I am learning to play the Violin. I am rejoicing in the successes of my piano students and their desire to use their music in church.

My blender pitcher broke yesterday - this right after I resolved to cut my shopping budget by 25%. Both Chris and I began to pray for a new pitcher at a good deal. Sure enough, a plastic one waited for me at the store at a price in my budget - God cares about my needs and my wants! I guess I can make hubby a smoothie tomorrow for breakfast!

I am reminded about a sign we saw in a local store -
"It is not about waiting for the storm to pass,
but about learning to dance in the rain."

God has a purpose for this time in my life and yours. Life IS sweet.