Monday, November 30, 2009

Watching the Scale

Well it is that time of year that is very difficult for me and also the time of year that encouraged me to become more healthy.  Yes, it is the season when the busy schedule can crowd out exercise and the gatherings with all their goodies can really disturb my weight.  I know it is that time because I woke up on Friday morning, hopped on the scale ... and there was that number!  Yes, I have a number (about 5 lbs above my desired weight) and if I reach or exceed it, then I omit treats for awhile, redouble my efforts in exercise, and start cooking with more thought to calories and fiber.  It all started about a year after I got married.  Within 15 months of that exciting day, I had gained 20 lbs.  This was not going to bode well for me since I plan to be married a LONG time.  With hubby's support, I found a regimented eating plan that taught me how to eat sensibly and helped me to lose 35-40 lbs in about 2 years.  Not only did I lose the weight, but I also have less back and joint trouble.

Hubby has helped me realize in that time, that my gluttony (yes, I call it what it is) is a sin.  I do not drink or smoke because my body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, ... but will I wear it down by taxing my bones and my internal organs with excess weight and junk food with no nutritional value?  I am to be a good steward of the finances God gives me.  So will I squander my money on medical bills incurred because I did not take care of my body?  I am so thankful that I was exhorted in this area before the habits were even more difficult to break.  I am glad hubby loved me enough to encourage me and to stand by me in my quest to become more healthy.

In light of the season and the struggles that I will face particularly in the next month, I quickly searched for my "light" recipes again.  I chose a Pinto Bean Stew for dinner on Saturday night.  Hubby wasn't so sure when I mentioned Pinto Beans, so I called it Mexican Soup!  The stew took a lot of cooking time, but the manual labor was slight.  It was warm and hearty and very good with a simple wheat roll or wheat crackers.  If you are not needing light options, you could also serve with a topping of cheese and a side of tortilla chips, or add a little ground meat.

Pinto Bean Stew

1 c dried pitno beans
2 c cold water
1/2 c chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
dash of cayenne pepper
1 pack (16 oz) frozen corn, thawed
1 large onion, chopped
1 mediumm green pepper, chopped
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar

Place the beans in a alarge saucepan; add water to cover by 2 in.  Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1-4 hours or until softened.

Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.  Return beans to the pan; add cold water, carrot, garlic, chili powder, salt, and cayenne.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are almost tender.

In a nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, saute the corn, onion, and green pepper until tender. (I deemed this step optional and just through them in the pot.)  Add to the bean mixture.  Cover and cook for 45 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar.  Cook 5 minutes longer or until heated through.

Yield 6 - 1 cup servings (1 cup = 214 cal)

I Corinthians 6:19-20
What? know ye not that your body is
the temple of the Holy Ghost,
which is in you, which ye have of God,
and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God's.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day After

It has been a busy week here as I am sure that it has been in your home.  I love holidays - the gathering with friends and family - the rememberance of God's goodness.  I feel I never get enough of thanking on Thanksgiving.  I am trying to think of some ways to have even more focus on the Provider next year and not just the provision.  Do you have a great tradition that leaves you focused on the Lord?  If so, let me know!

I am thankful for another beautiful day here.  It is cool again, but the sun and the wind have made the clothes dry so quickly outside today - 3 loads done today!  I also enoyed a walk home in the crisp air after my lessons.  Tomorrow I hope to get a LOT of raking done along with the house cleaning.  The kitchen is especially in need of some attention.

I am 5 minutes away from a loaf of bread and the Turkey just found his spot in the oven.  Since we didn't have our meal at home yesterday, I am making a small Thanksgiving meal today so that we can have some leftovers (besides sweet breads and desserts).  I love turkey sandwiches and so does hubby. 

Tonight we are heading to the Messiah as performed at the college here.  We missed it last year, but it is a pleasant tradition that we enjoy continuing since our 3 performances out in Seattle by the Seattle Symphony.  My violin teacher informed me that a school south of here is also performing it this year in the middle of December - maybe I will get to hear it twice this year.  There is nothing like that majestic music and the words of the Prophecy and Fulfillment of Scripture all fused together to praise the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  My favorite song is "Worthy is the Lamb" - WOW!  BTW - we wore out our last CD collection of Handel's Messiah - if any of my readers can recommend a great version - leave me a comment - if not, we'll just make a stab in the dark or try the version that we last owned.

Have a great weekend!  Enjoy your time in Church - I know that I will.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Top 10 Countdown of Thanks

I am thankful for 10 students
with which to share my love of music -
who can choose to serve in their local church -
now and in the future.

I am thankful for 9 trees that line our rental property.
This is the first time that we have had any land -
ground to garden, yard work, leaves to rake, space for picnics.

I am thankful for 8 (or 8.6) miles to church.
This is the closest we have ever lived to our church
and we have been so blessed and challenged
this year at Manna.

I am thankful for 7 tools needed to start a garden.
I loved container gardening in Washington,
but it was so much fun to plant a "real" garden this year
and to reap the harvest.

I am thankful for 6 semesters instead of 8.
The school granted hubby 22 transfer credits
which will shorten his time in school.

I am thankful for 5 speeds on our little Focus.
Our car was a miracle and blessing when
God gave it to us 5 years ago and
it continues to meet our needs.

I am thankful for 4 strings on the violin.
After years of desiring to play a stringed instrument
and 2 years looking at one in my home,
I finally have a teacher and am learning to play!

I am thankful for 3 people in the trailer next door.
It has been such a blessing to have friends close by.

I am thankful that 2 are better than 1.
I am thankful for a godly husband
who leads our home,
who encourages me to be the best wife I can be,
who sympathizes with my struggles.

I am thankful for 1 mighty, faithful God
who knows the plans that He has for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I Thessalonians 5:16, 18
Rejoice evermore.
In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Merry Heart

I am baking a batch of rolls right now for Thanksgiving dinner. I have done quite a few sweet breads as well tonight.  I love the warmth and the smells of fall baking.  Unfortunately the pear bread overflowed its pan and the burning batter did not smell so good.  We are still getting rid of the smoke.

Chapter 2 of Created to be His Helpmeet was on a merry heart.  The author believes that many marriages fall apart because the wife loses her joy.  There is no smile for the hard working husband, no playful interaction reminiscent of the times before the wedding ceremony, no approving or admiring smile that encourages the leader in the home.  I was convicted to consider my disposition each day - especially when that alarm clock goes off!

I looked at all of the times joy appeared in the Bible and came up with this summary.  Our joy comes from recogniziing who God is, recognizing His work, and recognizing the godly actions of fellow-believers.  Joy is not a result of circumstances, so nothing can take it from me.  Joy is a choice.  I choose how I will spend my day and how I will relate to my family. 

Next week ... a thankful spirit.

Proverbs 15:13
A merry heart
maketh a cheerful countenance:
but by sorrow of the heart
the spirit is broken.

The Forgotten Holiday

Psalm 107:8 (15,21,31)
Oh that men would praise the LORD
for his goodness,
and for his wonderful works
to the children of men!

Psalm 107 repeats this refrain four times as it recounts all that the Lord had done for the nation of Israel.  I am often guilty of reading this Psalm and wondering how the Israelites could complain after the Red Sea, manna, quail, water from a rock, water made sweet, the pillar of cloud and fire ...  

But am I so different then the Israelites.  Here we are at Thanksgiving and it is a holiday that is forgotten between October 31 and December 25.  My God is so good to me, to America, to the World.  May I be more careful to thank him and may this verse not be said of me - this week or throughout the week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Week of Thanks

Usually I post a recipe on Monday, but my one adventuresome recipe this week was a flop.  It was a vegetable split pea soup.  Some of you are saying, of course that was a flop because the thought of a thick green soup turns your stomach.  I really like regular split pea soup, since hubby introduced me to it about 7 years ago.  I really missed the ham in the experimental recipe this week.

There will be a lot of cooking this week,without a lot of experimentation.  It is a week of tradition.  I do have a few new sweet breads that I am going to try and may pass along one of those recipes next week.  This week I want to be thankful.

I am thankful that God is true, that He does not lie, that His plan works.  I left church last night with a new thought about where God might lead us.  You see, right now hubby is studying to be a pastor, but without children we see ourselves Biblically as unqualified for that position.  Many would disagree with that and we won't argue about it, but it is the Bible as we see it right now.  Anyway, an opportunity that looked like something that hubby would be suited for was presented.  When I mentioned it on the way home, he was floored.  You see, it would involve a sacrifice that he was not sure that I would ever be willing to make, so he never even approached the subject.  Anyway, he woke up this morning in a very good mood and we both thought it might be related to the fact that there was a "reason" to go to school this morning.  I have often heard that a wife is a thermostat in the home and this morning I saw how my response affected my home.

Since I usually put a recipe here, I will also say that I am thankful for God's provision of food.  My cupboards are full and my freezer is full.  God uses so many ways to meet our daily needs.  My parents brought us food from NY, fellow gardeners have shared of their abundance, we learned to garden, friends and neighbors have shown us where to find good deals, internet resources show us how to use sales and coupons to get good deals, God has taught us to be content with what is provided (don't be picky), and we are learning to say no to the flesh when we are not really hungry.

Psalm 37:25
I have been young, and now am old;
yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken,
nor his seed begging bread.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I choose differently.

I Timothy 6:17
Charge them that are rich
in this world,
that they be not highminded,
nor trust in uncertain riches,
but in the living God,
who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.

The end of another busy week.  It is good to look back and see some yard work completed.  It was fun to visit with some neighbors this week.  It was good to have a mix of sunshine and rain.  It is nice to look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday next week.  God is good to give us so many things to enjoy.  I am waiting on some laundry to finish this morning and to get it on the line before I head out on my weekly (sometimes every other week) shopping trip.  Turkeys are 40 cents a pound at Walmart this week - Hubby picked up 2 on his way home yesterday and I have an assignment to get 2 more.  We love Turkey, and turkey sandwiches, and turkey pot pie, and turkey biscuit bake ...  yum.  Oh!  and I have the promise of another decorative pumpkin that will be in my freezer after Thanksgiving.  No violin lesson today, but I have learned another few keys to play in this week.

I have been thinking much about choices.  I mentioned the sermon on "I will" on Sunday - determining to do right.  It has caused me to think on something that my parents used to tell us.  They instructed us to never say "we can't afford that."  You see, the truth was, if we chose not to participate in an activity or chose not to purchase something, it was not that we couldn't afford it, but rather that we chose to spend our money differently.  The principle applies to both time and money.  We have choices - some choices are difficult and some are easy.  I choose to make laundry soap, because I want the funds to stop for an ice cream treat once each week (it may not be that frequent, but almost).  I choose to pack hubby's lunches because I want to have a pot roast on Sunday.  I choose to do all my shopping in one day, because I want to have gas to drive into the country for a hike with my sweetheart.  I choose to dry clothes outside, because I want to have a few degrees more heat in the trailer this winter.   When I consider this, it also helps me to avoid judging.  My choices may not be right for everyone, each person has different priorities.

Life is about choices and I pray that I am making wise decisions that will be a testimony to my Savior and a credit to my husband.  How will I spend my time today?  Will I take time to enjoy my family?  Will I take time to make a peaceful home?  Will I take time alone with my Lord?  or will frivolous activities steal from my day what really matters?  How about my shopping trip?  Will I choose healthy food or just expensive convenience?  Will I keep to the budget, or be swayed by a tempting display? 

It is my choice. 
     God has given me time and riches.
          I am his steward. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Changing Seasons

This morning as I look at the leaf-littered lawn and the reds and oranges on the Bradford Pear trees, I am so thankful for the changing seasons.  I love the colors of the autumn leaves, the scent of the fallen leaves as I stroll through the woods, the crisp mornings and warm afternoons.  I love winter with its "sweater weather,"  the brilliant white snow, the rest from the yard work.  I love the color of spring.  The new growth on the trees, the first tulip or daffodil to poke through the earth, the warmth, the excitement of planting a garden.  AAHH, and summer - the fresh fruits and vegetables, the warm weather, the days of vacation.  I love that my God is creative.  There is something for everyone and variety to our year. 

And God said,
Let there be lights in the firmament
of the heaven ... for seasons,  
...and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:14, 18

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I am a GIFT!

There are no clothes blowing out on the line this morning.  It is a "drippy" morning, but a warm soy bead burner is filling the trailer with the scent of Hazelnut.  I have a warm maple milk beside me and the Bradford Pear trees outside seem a little brighter against the gray clouds.  I am not much for the rain, but I have been refreshed by the past few days of Sunshine.

I am not sure what "woman's work" I will do today.  I finished weeding the walkway and the garden, but the driveway is far from finished.  That will not happen today.  We did get trees trimmed yesterday.  Hubby requested a pumpkin pie, so that will help warm the house later today.  We went to Hobby Lobby last night so I could buy supplies for making Christmas cards - I could do that this afternoon.  I am excited that I have an idea, material, and time this year - BEFORE Thanksgiving!  I love making Christmas cards but usually stress myself in the weeks right before Christmas.  I also have a crocheted dishcloth to finish up and today might be perfect for that as well.

I am more excited about my study of Created to Be His Helpmeet.  Chapter one is entitled "God's Gift."  I was first challenged by the word "help meet."  It is one word in the Hebrew and only refers to the wife in Genesis 2:18,20.  I am to help, protect, aid, succour my husband.  What surprised me is that this same word is used about God throughout the Bible - particularly in the book of Psalms (ex. Ps. 121 - I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help).  I am to help my husband as God helps me.  Wow!  That is some standard of excellence!

I was also challenged by Proverbs 12:4 "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:..."  A crown is an ornament or a sign of power.  How can I do this?  I came up with a list based on the traits of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.  A crowning wife has mental vigor, is pious, is active in the service of her family, is strong and willing to work, is full of moral goodness, is prudent, supports and keeps up her husband's authority, is ingenious, is useful, is industrious, is submissive, is faithful, is trustworthy, is resolute - firm and steady, teaches her children submission, desires to know her husband better, is wise, is gracious, is modest, cares for her husband, is grave, is discreet, is busy, and builds up her husband's reputation.  Just a little overwhelming, isn't it?

I was created for my husband.  I Cor. 11:8-9 "...neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man."  I am his helper.  I was blessed by an article by Mrs. Camp, the wife of one of hubby's professors,  this week.  It was about the responsibilities of a ministry wife and applies to all wives.  So often we are overwhelmed by what is "expected" of us, but we need to step back and see that our first priority is the care of our husbands, children, homes and then extra service.  If my home is not in order, my husband's ministry will fail or he will be disqualified from his service.

Lofty goals today ...
     ...but if you aim at nothing, you are bound to hit it. 
               Aim High!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good and Pleasant

Psalm 147:1
Praise ye the LORD:
for it is good to sing praises unto our God;
for it is pleasant;
and praise is comely.

Good, pleasant, and comely.  How often can you say that about an activity?  Sometimes it is something good to do, but is not pleasant (like exercise or cleaning).  Sometimes it is pleasant, but not good for me (like a triple scoop of ice cream).  Praising the Lord is an encouragement ...  it will never leave me regretful ... it will only improve my day.

I praise the Lord for some more beautiful days this week.  Hubby built my flower bed yesterday afternoon.  It looks GREAT!  I filled it full of bulbs and now I have only to eagerly wait for Spring to see all the beauty there.  I am anticipating the bright splash of color in the early spring with tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.  The glads and irises from NY will give us some color through the summer as well.  As hubby worked, I praised the Lord for the strength, knowledge, and determination he has given my sweetheart.  He was moving some pretty large planters full of dirt without complaint and working diligently to make sure that the flower bed was level and properly constructed. 

Yesterday I wrote about determining to do right.  I determined to be virtuous (not only diligent but full of moral goodness) and the Lord provided an opportunity to prove me.  I struggled, but the Lord is faithful.  I am so thankful for being reminded that I have to make the choice each day, each hour, each minute to do right.

Today I have some more weeding to do.  I guess weed is much like determining to do right, it seems to be an endless process, for as soon as one part is finished another part screams for attention.  I finished about half of the garden and 3/4 of the walkway leading to the trailer yesterday.  The driveway needs weeding once more as well.  Hubby is going to trim trees today.  I think I like my outdoor work better than the indoor work :)

Have a pleasant day -
 fill it with praise for our wonderful Lord!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A recurring theme - Thanksgiving

I was so thankful to be in God's house yesterday. 

It is such a blessing to meet with people of like faith and to be encouraged and challenged by the Word.  I sit in the teen Sunday School class which hubby teaches.  His lesson was on "Putting God's Holiness on an Ox Cart."  Of course, this comes from the story of David bringing the Ark back in a haphazard fashion.  ...But how often do I do that?  How often do I fail to prepare myself for church instead having my mind in a thousand different places or rushing in at the last minute because I failed to plan my morning properly?  How often do I mention God or His gifts flippantly?  How often do I fail to serve in church with the proper attitude - failing to give Him the glory for how He chooses to use me?  How often do I want to do what is right, but I want to do it my way?  As a wife, my "job" is defined by God.  I am a help meet, but how often do I want to twist that?  How often do I want someone (hubby) to serve me while meeting his own needs?  (By the way, he will often serve me out of his love for me, but I should not expect it or demand it)  How often do I blaspheme the Word of God by having a poor testimony before the world?

The morning service closely paralleled this in my mind.  We read I Thessalonians 5:1-3.  I am part of the crowd that will not see the tribulation, I know that the rapture could happen at any time ... but do my actions show it?  Do I want my life to be in chaos when Christ comes for me?  Do I want to be complaining about my service at home when I am caught up?  Would I put Christ, my devotions, my prayer life on hold if I truly saw each day as the day He might return?  Very convicting to me.

Last night, pastor talked about "I will" - determining to serve God and to do right, regardless of the cost.  He showed a few of the many "I will" statements of David in the book of Psalms.  I will rejoice, I will sing, I will be sorry,  I will bless the Lord at all times ...  I can determine to do right, to be joyful ...  I just have to determine and set my mind to it.  So today, I determine to be thankful, to be a virtuous women, to be teachable.

I was reminded again yesterday about the value of gratitude - a small recognition of another's service.  I was thanked twice for things that I saw as trivial, but how that motivates me to continue and to improve in my service.  I was also able to thank someone else for serving who said that it meant a lot and that he had only been thanked by one other person for that service during his months/years of service.  What a difference gratitude makes?  Wouldn't my church be a different place if everyone knew that their service was appreciated (pastor, nursery worker, cleaners, maintenance, faithful attenders, meal providers, advice givers, song leaders ...)?  Wouldn't my home have a different tone if every gift of time, service, love, or money was acknowledged with appreciation?  So I want to make a new habit - a habit of thanksgiving.  What a perfect season to work on it ... Thanksgiving, Christmas (the rememberance of God's unspeakable gift)!

More fun with pumpkins

     It is another beautiful morning.  The house is still cool, but the sun will soon warm the trailer.  Hubby said that he would work on my flower box, so I will be planting bulbs this afternoon and will probably weed near him while he is working.  I was so excited that his schedule has freed up to allow him to do this.  He also wants to set up an archery target in the back yard, so I may have another activity to practice each day.  I have a long way to go to become as proficient as hubby's family.  I must agree with them that there is something fascinating about traditional sports and so I hope to get better with my "welcome to the family gift" - a small, traditional bow of my own made by my father-in-law.

     A friend of mine gave me a HUGE pumpkin on Friday.  I could only fit half of it in my oven at a time.  I did get it baked up and it produced the equivalent of 10 cans of pumpkin.  OOH!  Yummy!  I only had to promise that I would make pumpkin cheesecake bars for Thanksgiving dinner :)  So once again, I am in pumpkin mode and thought that I would share my FAVORITE pumpkin bread recipe.  It is very sweet, so I don't make it for general snacking, but I will often "gift" it or make it for guests.  It is very moist (due to the pudding) and it keeps well (I often mailed it to the ship for Chris and his coworkers) - I think it took about 2 months to reach him once and it was still good (at least to sailors who had been eating in a mess and hadn't had a port call in a while). 

Delicious Pumpkin Bread
(yes, that really is the recipe name)

5 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
2 c flour
2 c sugar
2 packages (3 oz each) cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Beat eggs.  Add oil and pumpkin, beat until smooth.  Combine remaining ingredients, gradually beat into pumpkin mixture.  Pour batter into 5 greased 5 x2 1/2 x 2 loaf pans.  Bake at 325* for 50-55 min or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks.  (May also be baked in 2 greased 8 x 4 x 2 loaf pans for 75-80 min)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Much Accomplished

Welcome to all of Olivia's facebook friends.  This blog simply began as another way of communicating with my husband while he was deployed in the Navy last year.  It was not so much about wives and women then, but about my daily activities and struggles and concerns.  It has also become a way that my family keeps up on me.  The key purpose of the blog is to teach me to organize my thoughts and to be able to communicate clearly with others as God allows.  I am greatly burdened for the state of America's homes and believe that much of it stems from an improper and degraded view of the role of the wife in the home.  Families also struggle because we just don't know how to keep things simple - everything seems so important.

It is the end of a busy week, but I feel good about it.  It was so stormy this week, that I accomplished much in the house.  All of the areas that we "live" in within the trailer have been deep cleaned.  Light fixtures, blinds, switch plates, refrigerator, washing machine.  There are 3 rooms that are basically storage areas that will await another stormy week.  I hope to be outside next week doing some weeding and planting some flower bulbs for next spring (if hubby gets a break to build a flower box for me).

Today is lesson day.  I teach 2 and then take my violin lesson.  I began the 2nd lesson book this week and hopefully I can fly through that.  It is definitely more fun to play as the songs get more advanced.  I am enjoying picking out a new hymn each week to play.  This afternoon I am going to make some soup and bread to take to a family that Chris met on visitation.  Tonight is Seedline with the opportunity to put together Bibles for South Africa.  Tomorrow is cleaning day and then we are going to entertain here at the trailer in the evening. 

It is good to see the sun today and to feel it warming the trailer already this morning. I am thankful for the rain to keep things green and to keep my veggies growing, but there is nothing like the sun to lift my spirits.

I began to read Created to be His Helpmeet again last night.  I have read it before, but am taking more time this time through to do a companion Bible study.  I already have so much to share on Wednesday about chapter 1.  Think about this until then.  You are a gift to your husband.  Does that not make you feel special?  What about your role?  Well that is spelled out as well and is uniquely suited to you!

Have a great weekend! 
          Enjoy your time in God's House! 
                    I will be back on Monday!  See ya then.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shelter from the Storm

It is a very windy day here in NC.  Remnants of Ida have pelted us with rain and leave us with a brisk day.  I really like that my laundry dries in an hour or two on the line, but wrestling it up there is a little "fun."  It has been fun to listen to the rain each night as I drift to sleep.

I am so thankful for a trailer that keeps me warm and dry on these stormy days.  It is easy to complain about the poor design, the leaky windows, the carpet stains, the shingles accumulating in the yard rather than on the roof ... but I am protected from the storm.  The Bible says "having food and raiment let us be therewith content" and my trailer is beyond that!

The title reminds me of the song "Shelter in a Time of Storm."  I have a far greater shelter than this old trailer.  Our government's actions may frighten me, society may cause me to gasp, the actions of others may cause me to shake my head ... but my shelter and rock are Christ.  When the way looks weary, when things look hopeless, when I start to worry ... well ... why worry?  Why don't I retreat to MY ROCK and leave the worry there!

It is easier said than done.  I am struggling with it today.  With prayer and a determination to change my focus to Him ... victory can be sure!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Freedom and Woman's Work

A great big THANK YOU to all of our servicemen who are or have served our country that I might live in a free land.

I live with a veteran who hates to be called such.  You see, he didn't have to pay the ultimate price, and though he was in a war zone, he never felt in harms way.  I see it very differently.  Each man who dons the uniform of the United States military makes a sacrifice each day.  His life is not his own.  He is at the service of his country 24-7.  He gives of his "free time" working 24 hours a day - sometimes for months at a time.  He gives of his health - his health care is at the whim of the military, he can not always eat the way he would like.  He sacrifices holidays with family and friends.  He sacrifices financial payment - many of these servicemen could be paid far more in the private sector.  He sacrifices comfort - his bed may be a rack, a cot, or the ground.  He sacrifices once-in-a-lifetime events: birth of children, weddings, funerals.  And so, I thank these men - both present and past for their sacrifice and service.

Since this is woman's work Wednesday, I also send a big thanks to all of those wives who give of their lives for our country as well.  There are many wives today not only doing their work in the home, but doing that of their husband who is serving far from home or serving so many hours that he can't keep up on things at home.  These woman are doing this work for 6-18 months without a break, without the kiss that would recharge their wilting spirit, without the hug that wipes clear all the troubles of the day.  They are waiting for that e-mail, letter, or call not knowing when it will come.  They are learning to fix a car, some plumbing, a creaky step.  They are facing family holidays knowing that their family will be incomplete.  They are shedding tears in the shower, while they fall asleep, because they are expected to be strong in public and for their serviceman.  They have their own service and sacrifice for our country and for that I thank them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my meditation.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry,
my King, and my God:
for unto thee will I pray.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning,
O LORD; in the morning
will I direct my prayer unto thee,
and will look up.
... 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.
For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous;
with favour wilt thou compass him
as with a shield.

There are times when all we can do is cry and look up. 
                   What a comfort! 
We can rejoice because the Lord defends us. 
                   My life is in His hand. 
If I but live righteously before Him, His favor will rest upon me. 
                   Fret not, but leave it in His hands.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Bars

It was a beautiful weekend.  Yesterday it must have been in the mid-70's and sunny.  Hubby and I took a 1 1/2 hour walk instead of our typical Sunday afternoon nap.  It was good to be in the house of the Lord.  Our church celebrated the 4th anniversary of our Pastor's service at Manna.  It is good to be challenged, comforted, fed, exhorted by the undershepherd of a local church.  We are blessed at the feasts we have been receiving since joining with the church one year ago.

To celebrate their time, we had a crunch and munch after the service.  Hooray!  Time to try a new recipe.  I could not eat them because I am still off of chocolate - but hubby calls them "homemade twix bars."  That sure congers up some pleasant thoughts and makes my mouth water.  We decided that next time I would make half with crust and caramel and the other half with caramel and chocolate.

Chocolate Caramel Bars

2 c flour
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 c (6oz) semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 c brown sugar
1/3 cup light, dark or brown sugar corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chopped nuts (opt)
1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp shortening

Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray a 9x13 pan with oil.
FOR CRUST:  Mix flour, butter, sugar and salt inlarge bowl with mixer until mixture resembles coarse crumbs;  press firmly into prepared pan.
Bake 15 min or until golden brown.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over hot crust.  let stand 5 minutse or until shiny and soft.  Spread chocolate evenly; set aside.
FOR CARAMEL:  Cook butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a heavy 2 qt saucepan to boiling, stirring frequently.  Boil for 4 minutes without stirring.  Add vanilla extract and mix well.
Pour caramel over chocolate-covered crustl spread evenly.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Place chocolate chips and shortening in a small microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until melted.  Drizzle melted chocolate over bars.
Chill 1 hour to set; let stand at room temperature until softened.  Cut into 2x1 inch bars.  Store in covered container at room temperature.

Not all that pretty - but they sure look gooey enough and chocolatey enough.

BTW:  finished autumn cleaning in bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room on Saturday.  On to Kitchen and Dining Area today.  Glad for only one small set of mini blinds today, but ... the dreaded refrigerator sits before me, as well as the kitchen floor.

Friday, November 6, 2009

End of another week!

It seems that each day ends with hubby saying, "baby, we're almost done."  The pile of work left for the semester is depleting.  By tomorrow night, 2 subjects will be completed except for exams.  Hubby hopes to finish English next week and then there will just be weekly reading that is best done right before the quiz and GREEK!

It was a good week.  It turned out that we did not have mandatory meetings in the evening, so that freed up some time and allows us to go to Seedline tonight to make Bibles for the World Cup in South Africa early next year.  I made good strides in some DEEP CLEANING in the trailer which inspires me to keep it up next week.  With a small place, it shouldn't take much longer.  I hope to work on cleaning light fixtures this week.

We had a funny "only in the south" experience on Wednesday.  Hubby took a college student to Sonic for a treat after Wednesday night services.  We ordered a Cherry limeade for our friend and a small strawberry slush to share.  When our car hop came out, she had one cherry limeade and one cup of ice.  She didn't understand why we would want a plain slush.  We couldn't understand that either.  Chris explained what we ordered and she explained how we "should have" ordered.  She replaced the cup of "slush" with our order and we laughed the whole way home. 

It is the weekend.  It will be good to be in the House of the Lord on Sunday.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

God's Constant Provision

Psalm 145:3
Gret is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
and his greatness is unsearchable.

Hubby came home from school today with a "token of good" to share with me.  The woman in charge of Veterans Affairs at the college had asked him if we were receiving our GI education benefits yet.  She asked because with the change of programs over 50,000 veterans had not received payment yet.  Chris was amazed because, there was not even a hiccup in our payments.  Praise the Lord!  We are thankful that the Lord is in charge and that He is a great provider.  I am so thankful for the flexible job that Chris has as well.  What a blessing that he can go to school full-time and practically make his own schedule!  Our God is good.

Today is another beautiful day in a string of sunny days here in NC.  What a "lift" when the sun is out!  I have done lots of wash this morning including all of the valances and curtains in the trailer.  Most of the window treatments are pressed and back in place.  Piano lessons to give this afternoon as well as some practice of my own on the violin before my lesson tomorrow. 

It is November and thanksgiving should be even more prevalent in our minds. 
What are you thanking God for today?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Perspective II

Hebrews 13:5
Let your conversation be without covetousness;
and be content with such things as ye have:
for he hath said,
I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee.

It seems that now that we are passed midterms, things are settling down a little.  The garden is finished, most of the papers are typed, the fall decorations are up ... now I can focus on Fall cleaning and doing some baking.  I made a pear pie yesterday and used up some bananas in bread earlier this week.  I was disappointed this week when I headed to Walmart on Monday to buy up Halloween Pumpkins that had been marked down.  I do this each year to fill my freezer with pumpkin puree for pies, breads, pancakes, muffins, and our new favorite - cheesecake.  They had no pumpkins left.  I can't believe that I will have to buy canned pumpkin this year.  I will keep checking on the off chance that one of my friends is decorating with a pumpkin but does not want to use it!  I am cleaning in the kitchen this week.  Today I am going to try to get some spots that look like spaghetti sauce off the ceiling.  I don't think that I put them there, so I am not sure that I will get them off.  I also want to SOS the hood on the stove.  Nasty jobs but it sure feels good when it is done.  I am quickly coming to the end of my liquid laundry detergent, so that will need to be made again soon.  OH!  and Harris Teeter is having triple coupons this week ... time to plan a trip (or trips) for some stock up!

So back to perspective. 

The last main chapter in Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit was not on spirit robbers, but on contentment, gratitude and a smile which will strengthen a spirit.  How different would our attitude be if we were more content, if we expressed our thanks, if we just chose to smile?  I take this back to my perspective.  As a former military wife, it baffles me when I hear a complaint that a spouse got home 1 hour late from work or had to work 6 days one week.  Perspective - there are those who just found out that after 7 months overseas, their deployment has been extended by a month or possibly indefinitely.  When I would want to be down over hubby's 6 month deployment, I would think of an army wife who face 12-18 months without the love of her life.  What about children?  As hubby and I wait for God's blessing of children in our life, I wonder how parents can complain about their precious gifts.  That unmade bed is another opportunity to teach, that questioning spirit is an opportunity to impart knowledge and Biblical truth, is it really the child that is "so bad" or just missed opportunities at training?  It is all about perspective.  Any situation can be turned around and some good seen in it.  So that is what I am working on ... contentment.  Wouldn't I like a new car? yet, hubby keeps are older car looking new and running well and there are those without reliable transportation.  Wouldn't I like steak each week? but, my waistline and heart are glad for more lean chicken and beans and we know of ministry families who have eaten tomatoes and rice for a month or more.  How about that new outfit? yet, my closets and drawers are already bursting with God's provisions. 

What about gratefulness?  I discovered in September that I was enjoying violin lessons immensely.  Of course, I enjoy the musicality and the knowledge of new things, but I also realized that I enjoyed hearing that I was doing a good job.  Pride?  maybe a hint.  But also a truth - people want to know that what they are doing is good and is appreciated.  I am trying to do better at letting others now that I appreciate them.

A smile.  Enough said.

I Timothy 6:8
And having food and raiment
let us be therewith content.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Psalm 100:4-5
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him,
and bless his name.
For the Lord is good:
his mercy is everlasting:
and his truth endureth to all generations.

I think that this will be a two part blog for "Tune Tuesday" along with "Womens work Wednesday."  Our perspective greatly effects our responses and our actions.  The Bible gives us so many reasons to give thanks - simply in who our God is.  Yet, here I often sit - complaining about a slightly used trailer, a puttering lawn mower, the fact that I need to be disciplined in my shopping trips.  If I turn this around and think about those who are homeless, my trailer doesn't look so bad.  If I think about the years in an apartment when there was no lawn to mow, I can enjoy fighting with the lawn mower.  When I look at my full cupboards, do I really need more at the store?  Perspective.

The Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, his truth endureth to all generations.  God knows me.  He has proven himself so many times.  Why do I complain?  Why am I not content?

Try a different perspective today. 
How about God's perspective?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Steak Soup!

There is nothing like cool, crisp weather to lead me to make a nice pot of soup.  I asked hubby which kind he would like today with fresh bread and he suggested a vegetable-beef soup.  It has been so long since we have shared this steak soup.  No, it is not made with steak, but hamburger.  The steak flavor comes from the steak sauce that you drizzle on each bowl. 

Steak Soup
1 c butter/margarine
1 c flour
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
6 (10 oz) cans beef consomme/stock/broth
1 c diced carrots
1 c diced celery
1 c diced potatoes
1 can green beans
16 oz can tomatoes
10 oz frozen corn
10 oz frozen peas.

Melt butter in a soup pot.
Add the flour, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
Add broth and continue stirring 3 minutes more.
Add vegetables an cook over medium heat until tender.
In a separate pan, brown beef and onion.
Drain and add to vegetable broth.
Season with freshly ground pepper and steak sauce if desired.
Serves about 10

I think that I will also make a batch of applesauce today.  Going to try it in the crockpot this time.  I LOVE AUTUMN!

End of Fall Break

We finished fall break.  The weather was not cooperative, but it was nice not to spend each evening in the books or writing papers.  We had a good visit with dad and mom early in the week.  Thursday was a typical work day - hubby at the farm, and I at home cleaning up.  Friday we had planned to hike at chimney rock, but the clouds were VERY low, so we went to Asheville and wandered a mall and a craft store.  Saturday hubby went to work and I did finish the possibles bags.  I think hubby might have slept with his - he was excited about the new design.  The other recipient said he was going to wear his out with use.  The fall decorations finally came out on Saturday as well.  Leaf garland ... pumpkins ... scarecrows ...  The scarecrows are in my front garden and greatly cheer me when I come and  go.  It is wonderful that we can make life FUN!

Today it is back to school.  I will mow and hubby will be back to the books.  It is also missions conference week, so we will be at meetings much of the week.  We're excited to be in the last half of the semester - the end is in sight.

Have a great week, all!