Sunday, December 26, 2010

Time Off

While hubby has 3 weeks off from classes, he only gets a brief break from work on the farm.  We will be resting and relaxing this week after a busy weekend and semester.  I'll be back in the new year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


I wish you all a very merry Christmas!  I hope that your focus will be on the Christ who is the reason for Christmas.  I hope that if you have not trusted Him as your Savior that you will turn from your sin and believe in His death, burial, and resurrection that allows you a home in heaven one day.  I hope that if you are away from the Lord that you will confess your sins and return to live a righteous life before Him.

Hubby and I will be spending the day at a conference for some men from South Sudan.  Hubby and 3 other men will be presenting the gospel all day.  Our prayer is for their salvation and that they would return to South Sudan to evangelize their own people.  Will you pray with us?  They will also be in services at church tomorrow.  Both pastor and hubby will again present evangelistic messages.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Simplifed Christmas

I am so thankful this week that hubby has helped me to simplify our celebration of Christmas.  While the decorations, the music, the cards, the family and friend get-to-gethers are wonderful, what is important is the celebration of the the birth of a Saviour - Christ the Lord.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Trying to Maintain Calm

Do you get frayed during this season?  It happens easily to me.  I lost a lot of the stress when the children's program was completed on Sunday night, but there were still cookies to bake for the work place, a conference to help with this weekend, shopping to finish, and the housework to keep up on.  It doesn't matter the season, it seems that the mundane easily draws my attention from the things that matter most.

The Lord often has to remind me to focus on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy.  (Philippians 4:8)

Is your focus in the proper place?  This is the celebration of Christ's birth.  He was born to die that I might be saved from the wages of my sin.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Planted and Producing

Psalm 9:13-14
Those that be planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;
they shall be fat and flourishing.

My sister-in-law stitched the first verse of this pair for our wedding.  I read it again this week.  The second verse jumped out.  It has been a tough season with pregnancy announcements, births, and updates on growing families in Christmas cards and letters.  God promises that if I dwell in Him, I will bring forth fruit in old age.  While it may not be His plan to provide the physical fruit that my heart desires, it may be spiritual fruit for His kingdom which is far more valuable.

Monday, December 20, 2010


It used to be so easy to get rid of the holiday baking.  With a whole boatload (correction "ship"load) of sailors, I could cook and bake everyday and I could send it immediately to the crew.  I have been baking this week, but for the workers at the farm.  There are not 100's of workers there, so there are extras around the house ... many are going in the freezer.  I began making this recipe for hubby while out to see - molasses cookies keep well and ship well.  I love these because of he cayenne which gives a little kick to the already spicy cookie.

Molasses Crinkles

2 1/4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c veg. shortening
1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
1 c dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c molasses (not black strap or barbados)
granulated sugar for tops of cookies

Mix flour, soda, and spices in bowl.
Beat shortening, butter, brown sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add egg and molasses, beating until combined.  Mix in flour mixture until combined.
Preheat oven to 375*
Roll 1 heaping tsp of cough into a 1 inch ball with wet hands, then dip 1 end of ball in sugar.  Place sugared side up 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 10-12 minutes.  Cool 1 minute on sheets.  Cool completely on racks.

Friday, December 17, 2010


For my brothers ...

the tradition continues ...

I never thought my own husband would "torment" me with my "JOY" blocks.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


4 Down and 2 To Go!

Today hubby had his last final for the semester.  Hopefully at this time next year, the school years will be behind us!  Celebrating tonight with some Cranberry Ginger Ale, a tin of popcorn, and Miracle on 34th Street.  Maybe we will go out a look at Christmas lights as well!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Giving Of Ourselves

Romans 16:6
Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.

I just began a new "wifey book."  I try to get at least one each time I order hubby's books for the coming semester.  I chose Building Her House by Nancy Wilson.  I would love to sit down and devour it, but I must keep up with other responsibilities.  I did read a chapter entitled "Loving Labor."  During this season of giving, it was a great reminder.  Sometimes we, especially as women, are busy serving and doing for others but we miss the heart of the action.  We might serve out of necessity; We might serve grudgingly.  Our service in the home, church, and community should be an act of love that points to our great God and Savior  I know that I needed this attitude adjustment.  I need to wholeheartedly bestow my service.

Are you tired and weary today?  Think of your service as a gift.  Will it be given in a trash bag?  Will it be a half-hearted gift?  or will it be a beautiful gift tied off with a beautiful bow?  Will the response of the recipient be all the thanks that is needed?  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Southwestern Corn Chowder

Hubby was so sweet today.  He requested a nice warm soup for supper.  Easy enough.  As I started digging through the cookbooks looking for a recipe that I had all the ingredients for, he said, "What are you doing?  I thought that you would just open a can!"  He wanted to save me time and effort.  I found a super easy soup instead and saved the cans for a rushed lunch.  This recipe grabbed my attention because it had basic ingredients that I typically have in house; it also was a chowder without a milk base (good for lactose intolerant hubbies).

 Southwestern Corn Chowder

1 lb chicken breast cut into cubes
1 med onion, diced
1 T oil
2 tsp cumin
2 cans chicken broth
1 pkg frozen corn (10 oz)
3/4 c picante sauce (I used salsa)
1/2 c chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 c chopped green pepper
2 T minced fresh cilantro (or 2 tsp dried)
2 T cornstarch
2 T water
shredded Monterey Jack cheese, opt.

In 3 qt. saucepan, cook chicken and onion i oil until chicken juices run clear.  Stir in cumin.  Add broth, corn, and picante sauce.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in pepper and cilantro.

Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into soup.  Bring to a boil cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Spoon into bowls; top with cheese if desired.

1 c = 164 cal (without cheese)

I also thought that this would be good with 1/2 of the chicken and a can of black beans ... maybe next time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trying to Warm Up

It's a cold one for NC.  There is actually a little snow on the back porch right now.  By little, I mean, a few large flakes in the cracks closest to the house.  It was nice to see it in the air last night as we drove home from church.

I did get the laundry out in this frigid weather without losing my fingers.  Now on to so warm tasks.  I have some TVP chili in the crockpot and a loaf of bread that is trying to rise.  Maybe there will be a batch of cookies as well for a Final Exam Study Session tonight.  Yes, we are to finals week  ...  then only 2 more semesters, Lord willing.

Now onto Christmas cards ... I am always a little slow on these ... it is a little hard to get motivated to assemble Christmas cards in the summer :)

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Are they crazy?

Some people don't have to drive 2 hours to find some snow.  Here is the view outside my parent's home in NY about 2 hours ago.  It used to be their back porch.  They live in "snow country" receiving lake effect snow off of Lake Erie each winter.  They have between 3 and 4 feet outside.  Can you see the top of the grandkids' swing set?  Maybe hubby and I are not as crazy as those who live in areas like this!  Despite this, we hope to catch some of this NY snow soon with the family!

This picture makes me thankful for God's provision of a home and heat during the chilly winter days.  This morning I have a cup of Vanilla Bean Latte to warm the inside and 2 pine scented candles burning to give a cozy feel to the place.  One more trip to the clothesline to hang out clothes and then I can do some indoor tasks ... ironing and some editing and some Sunday School Christmas program work.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I just came in from hanging wash on the line.  It was 18* this morning here in Shelby.  That is cold for these parts and I guess that it is supposed to stick with us for awhile.  We are thankful for the sunshine that has accompanied the cold to help to keep the little trailer warm during the day - it was not constructed for cold temps.

Here is a peek at one of my projects from last week.  I think that it may be one of the smallest clothing items that I have constructed.  The fabric was a soft corduroy.  I made "matching" dresses for my 2 year old and almost 12 year old nieces.  Then I sewed a jean skirt for the older of the two.  I must say that it was odd to try on my niece's clothes to make sure that they will fit her.

Of course I am thinking about Christmas and am especially thinking about Mary this week after a message on Sunday.  I am pondering the fact that it seems as if she never tried to justify herself in the eyes of her betrothed.  In the Biblical record, it is not presented that Mary told Joseph of the visit from the angel, but an angel appeared to Joseph as well and explained his part in God's plan.  I don't know if she truly accepted the stigma and the criticisms silently, but it makes me contemplate my attitude in the home, church, and community.  Do I seek to justify myself, to have the last word, to always be "right?"  Again, it is part of that struggle that I have with pride.  "Not I, but Christ."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a Savior's humility

There are many in Christian circles who do not enjoy the carols of the season.  They believe that the focus is too much on the baby and not enough on the Cross of Calvary.  I personally love the songs of this time of year and their focus on a Saviour who would leave all to come to earth, to become a man (while still fully God), in order to redeem a fallen race (that includes me!)  I have found that while there are some "weak" carols, many do portray Christ's purpose in coming and tell the complete story of his birth, life, and death.

Today I woke up humming "Once in Royal David's City" which is part of the Christmas program that the church children will present in another week and a half.  His humility while still being God is emphasized.

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable;
and his cradle was a stall.
With the poor, and meek, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

The biggest problem we have in our home is pride.  We want things done our way.  We can't understand why others would do things differently.  Our pride is hurt by other's words or actions.  Christ came as the supreme example of humility. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Are we CRAZY?

Just got back from a date with my sweetheart.
We heard that there was snow in Boone, NC.
Just had to go find it!
Just about 2 hours up and a couple more home :)
The little red Focus looks like a Yankee car for the moment
 - all covered with salt or sand!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rest ...

Hubby and I enjoyed a nontraditional Thanksgiving Day yesterday.  (Not quite as odd as a turkey sandwich on the North Shore in Hawaii some 6 years ago)  We were definitely not up at 4:45 am.  We arose and did a relaxing Pilates workout, cleaned up, and finally had brunch at around 10:30.  We read the "Praise Psalms" together and then around 11:45 hit the road to see the Biltmore house decorated for Christmas.  (See a picture of us here.)  Following our "explore," we headed to Ryan's for a Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet. 

I enjoyed a day with no set schedule and no hype to draw away from the act of Thanksgiving.  I have much to be thankful for ... God is so good.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Colorful Thanksgiving


a crisp apple
my little Focus
a vibrant Maple tree in fall
bright cheeks after being outside on a cool day
the heart - a symbol of love


a setting sun
a harvest pumpkin
a creamsicle


a cheery sunshine warming the trailer
the first daffodils of spring
the last mums of fall


fresh cut grass
the first seedling to appear
peas, beans, broccoli, lettuce


a clear sky above
my denim skirts
my eyes


my fingers after picking blackberries
a juicy plum
hyacinths and irises


my adopted dog
the letters in a good book
the notes on a page of music


hubby's eyes and hair
the soil in the garden
a fall leaf
a crisp waffle cone (with ice cream inside)

There are also uncolored things to be thankful for ...
a hug when nothing else will help
an understanding look or word

Most importantly -
God's love -
whereby we are offered salvation as a free gift.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Charity never faileth.

The final trait given in I Corinthians 13.  Love is faithful ... it is lasting ... it is always active ... it cannot become obsolete.  As we approach this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a God who exhibits this enduring, faithful love.  I am also thankful for a husband who seeks to emulate the traits of my magnificent Savior.  We can become so busy or so preoccupied with things around us that we as sinful flesh can easily forget to love others - including those within the walls of our homes.  In the hustle and bustle of a holiday tomorrow and the entire season through the new year, let's not forget to LOVE!

Today I am working on a jumper for my niece.  I did the "dirty" work last night - I am not fond of the laying out and cutting, but I got one dress, one jumper, and one skirt cut out last night.  Now to get busy. 

Hubby and I will be sharing a quiet holiday together tomorrow.  Planning to see the Biltmore House all trimmed for Christmas and then to share a simple meal here, there, who knows?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Psalm 136:26

O give thanks unto the God of heaven;
for his mercy endureth for ever.

He doesn't give me what I deserve.


He gives me blessings that I don't deserve.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Green Tomato Bread

Well, the tomato bread mentioned many weeks ago was a success.  Not quite as popular as pumpkin bread or banana bread - but green tomatoes were in abundance and so we will enjoy a "different" bread this winter in between pumpkin and banana breads.  Oh - the test crew included hubby, father, and self!  Think I will make some pumpkin streusel muffins with the rest of my morning.

Just received a "goody" box from my nieces.  Looks like Aunt Sandra will be busy.  They chose some cute corduroy and I will enjoy making some jumpers and skirts for them. 

The Christmas program is coming along.  The "props" that I was working on are done and there are only a few songs that need some ironing out.  It seems that last weekend was a big decorating weekend around the Shelby, NC area.  We will decorate on Thanksgiving evening or that weekend.  No plans for a tree this year, but hubby will put up his village lit houses and I will put nativities around the house.  It is hard to think of Christmas decorations when the leaves are still turning and falling.  In the next week or two it will be time to do some SERIOUS raking around here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Everyday Blessings

Do you tend to overlook the simple blessings of each day?  Maybe I am the only one.  Today I am thankful for so many things. 

I am thankful for a full freezer and pantry.  Dad and mom recently visited with a whole ice chest full of REAL corn, they also brought some squash (I am saving that for next Thursday), some apples, and some juice.  I mentioned yesterday that 4 pumpkins had yielded 18 cans of pumpkin which are also in the freezer.

I am also thankful for this sunny day and the ability to dry my laundry outside.  There is nothing like the smell of clothes dried outside and I like the smaller electric bill.  Speaking of electric bills, I was thankful to see the years smallest bill last month (no a/c, no heat, and little dryer).

I am thankful for the color on the Bradford pear trees this time of year.  They are simply gorgeous in the rising and setting sun.  (I just need to remember to be thankful as they start to dump their leaves and the raking begins)

Psalm 68:19
Blessed be the Lord,
who daily loadeth us with benefits,
even the God of our salvation.  Selah.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

...endureth all things.

The second to last trait of love as given in I Corinthians 13 is endurance.  Love bears up under suffering, under stress, under difficulties.  Love sticks with the stuff.  It reminds me of Song of Solomon 8:7, "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; ... ."  During the days of deployments and the announcements of numerous broken military families, we held tight to the fortitude of Christian love - the love that endures.  No marriage is without trying times - finances, separations, extended family, differences that must be reconciled, but love will endure the trails and struggles with patience.

There are now 18 pies worth of pumpkin in the freezer.  I still have one small pumpkin to bake and puree and hubby is eagerly awaiting some seasoned pumpkin seeds for a snack.  Now that the sun is out, I can bake some bread (I need the warmth of the sun to help it rise) and I think that I will make some apple crisp today as well.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another Reason to Praise

Hubby and I just started working on memorizing Psalm 138 together (I think he is hoping I will be a little faster on this than I am at the book of Colossians).  Verse 2 says,

"I will worship toward thy holy temple,
and praise thy name
for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth:..."

The Lord is loving, kind, and true regardless of my situation.  I love to think of the thanksgiving hymn entitled "Thanks to God for my Redeemer."  The hymn mentions thanks for sunshine AND rain, thanks for roses AND thorns, thanks for prayers answered AND those denied, thanks for joy AND sorrow.  He is always good.  I have not arrived at this act of unceasing praise and thanksgiving, in fact, it has been a hard two weeks to be thankful for rain and for prayers so far denied, but it is good to have these reminders of psalms and hymns that point to God for His help and strength.  His way is perfect.

It is grey and rainy today.  It will be a good day to get another 2 pumpkins cooked up, pureed, and put in the freezer.  I did up about 7 pies worth yesterday!  After last year's shortage, I didn't wait until after Oct. 31.  The Lord provided some marked down pumpkins on Oct. 30 and I grabbed 4 then!  Also working on Children's Christmas program and a crochet project.  Time is just flying by.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Three Weeks!

Well, If any of my faithful readers are still sticking with me after 3 weeks ... I am back.

The break from the blog was supposed to be short - just a small break to enjoy fall break with my dear hubby.  We did have a marvellous break.  We spent one day hiking - not just a flat trail, but up and down and rocks and peaks - about 13.5 miles we estimated.  It was beautiful.  A quiet day with each other.  One day, we finally broke down and tried a milkshake at the local Cookout.  I wish we had waited until we were in the moving truck on our way out of town.  I ordered a blueberry cheesecake milkshake and it was just about the best thing I have ever eaten.  Of course, with every swallow, I could also envision my sadness on the scale the next morning.  Fortunately our hike was 2 days later and it is now gone!

Following fall break, I got a nasty cold/flu which held me in its grip much longer than I cared to be there.  Just finishing my daily work wore me out, and so I could not visit with you.

Last week, my folks visited from NY.  It was a short visit, but we finally had beautiful weather for their visit (it has rained the past two times and often did in the Seattle area when they would visit as well).  Chris was caught up on his work, so we were all able to visit together which was nice.

The rest of last week was spent catching up from sickness and guests ... but, now I am back.

Now we are in the holiday season and it is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  I think we are planning a quiet day at home ... possibly a trip back to the Biltmore to see it all dressed up for the holidays.

Last night the children at church sang a song entitled "In Everything Give Thanks."  EVERYTHING!  It is easy to be thankful for a visit from family, it is easy to be thankful for a fall break with hubby, but can I be thankful for days in bed with the flu?  Yes,  even those days are for my benefit, that I might learn to more fully trust in my Creator because, well, it is then that I am forced to remember that I am not in charge and that I am not invincible.  "All things were created by Him and FOR Him." 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just a quiet morning at home.  It is dark and very rainy.  I have some scented candles burning (mostly apple with some cranberry mandarin thrown in.  I enjoy the sound of the pouring rain on the trailer roof.  Think I'll bake some Apple Crisp this morning.

Blog entries may be sparse this week - Fall break starts tomorrow after chapel ... staying home, but enjoying not sharing hubby with school :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Generosity and Tough Love

I am thankful today for the generosity of a friend.  A gardener friend of ours gave us a bag of beautiful sweet peppers last night.  When I calculate their worth based on the grocery store price, it was a very generous gift.  We enjoyed a beautiful batch of stuffed peppers for lunch (and there are leftovers too) and will use the remainder for some shish-kabobs very soon. 

Tough love?  Yes, recently I had to ask hubby to have tough love with me.  Hubby gets up very early to have his quiet time before heading off to school.  He usually lets me sleep, but I asked him to ensure that I get up with him rather than rolling over until it is time to make breakfast.  I am thankful for his help where I lack discipline.  It has been a very good week because I have started my day with the Lord and not allowed the day to "squeeze" out what is most important.  Family is often the most compassionate to our "needs" or desires - if you are having trouble, why not ask them for help?  Why should you have to ask?  They may want to help, but may not want to hurt your feelings or to incur some strange wrath from the one they love. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

...hopeth all things ...

I like to look at this aspect of love as the insurance against divorce.  Hope is a word that looks to the future.  The second coming of Jesus Christ is called our "hope."  It is what we rest in.  The future is very bright.  In love, hope is positive, is optimistic, it won't "throw in the towel."  How does love practice this hope?  It forgives and continues forgiving; it holds great expectations for the future; it seeks to do what it can to make things better.  Have you ever heard someone complain about their spouse, their marriage, their children and immediately you see how they could have eased the situation?  It is easy to see how others can encourage love, but harder to see in our own lives.  It is easy to get short-sighted in the midst of trials, or difficult days, or mood swings, but love looks beyond today and the offenses of it ... it just keeps loving. 

Of course, hope in man will cause disappointment at times.  Our true hope needs to be in the LORD.  It is He that can give us true love as described in I Corinthians 13 and can give us the grace to press on!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Sure Foundation

Psalm 44:5-8

Through thee will we push down our enemies:
through thy name will we tread them under
that rise up against us.
For I will not trust in my bow,
neither shall my sword save me.
But thou hast saved us from our enemies,
and hast put them to shame that hated us.
In God we boast all the day long,
and praise thy name  forever.  Selah.

Think about it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Green Tomato Update

Just letting you know, I did not forget to give my opinion on the Green Tomato Bread ... I had pumpkin thawed in the fridge that turned into sweet bread and now I have some bananas that are really ready for some baked treat.  The green tomato puree is ready, maybe for next Monday?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Are you celebrating today?

Happy Sweetest Day!

Today is "Sweetest Day."  OK, it is also Bosses Day.  For me, I celebrate the same person.  Hubby is working today and then going hunting, but we will have a special dinner later tonight (unless he is processing a deer).  Will you show and speak appreciation to your "sweetest" today?

***update on the hunt:  hubby hit the deer, but then he was unable to find it before having to call it a night.  Another hunt planned for Saturday night!

Friday, October 15, 2010

October Macs

I am thankful for my trip to the apple orchard last week.  There were 3 blessings about the trip.  The first was beautiful, sunny, yet cool, weather - the kind of autumn weather that you imagine when you think of September and October.  The second blessing was that we found an orchard that was $10 a bushel cheaper than the one we have gone to 2 other times.  The third blessing was MACS!  We arrived at the orchard and a worker asked if he could help us.  I asked what apple would most closely resemble my favorite Mac.  He pointed out the door and said "Those 2 rows right there ARE Hampshire Macs!"  They were definitely thin, but we easily picked 1 bushel and have been enjoying Snacking and baking rather than just baking.  I count it as a "token of good" from the good hand of our God.

ALSO ...
               A shout out to my Dad ...
                         HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fit Words

Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
in pictures of silver.

I am so thankful for people who know the right thing to say.  It really is a gift.  It is just too easy to speak without thinking.  Can you imagine walking up to a war veteran who lost his legs in the war and complaining about a stubbed toe?  Can you imagine complaining that your extra BMW is in the shop to someone who is holding their one car together with duct tape and chewing gum?  I know that I thoughtlessly open my mouth many times and we are all painfully aware of the hurtful words of others.  I am thankful that in the midst of a painful world, the Lord sends those who understand the affect that their words can have.  I am thankful  for opportunities to see the difficulties that others face, in hope that I will be more conscious of my words and actions toward them. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"...believeth all things ..."

Have you ever accomplished "the impossible" simply because you had someone supporting you, someone believing in your abilities, someone who could see your possibility?  Charity has this trait.  Charity "believeth all things."  The world tears down husbands as lazy, incompetent, clueless.  This has crept into our homes and churches.  There are many men who may never succeed or accomplish anything simply because their wives and families do not believe in them.  This often happens with children as well.  We attach labels at the drop of a hat ... "Johnny is our loud child ... Mark is the slow one ... Susie can't do math ... Sharon has to be told 3 times before she obeys."  How often do our labels create the child's behavior?  Why not believe that Johnny can be quiet and encourage him, Mark can work quickly with some motivation, Susie can succeed at Math, and Sharon can learn to obey quickly.  Believe in your loved ones.

While love is not gullible, it does give the benefit of the doubt.  It is generous rather than accusatory.  Are you slow to accept an answer and quick to jump to conclusions?  This is not the nature of Charity.

How can you encourage your loved ones day?  What will they accomplish because you believe in them?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Psalm 36:7
How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God!
therefore the children of men put their trust
under the shadow of thy wings.

God's love and goodness in the lives of His children is a great witness to the lost.
Do I show the goodness of God to everyone around me?
or do I act as if I have no Heavenly Father caring for me?

Monday, October 11, 2010

More Green Tomato Recipes

Well, the Green Tomato Pie was edible.  I offered hubby a piece and he was a bit reluctant, but after a bite, he agreed that it was good.  We both had some texture issues with it, but managed to eat the whole pie in the last few days.

I did a search for green tomato recipes this morning.  Seems that they should be fried (not going to happen in this house), or pickled, or made into some sort of relish.  I did find a recipe for Green Tomato Bread here and I think that I will try it.  Currently I have some green pulp in the blender and I will need to drain it and then set to work.

Green Tomato Bread

1/2 c oil
8 oz plain yogurt
3 egg
2 c sugar
2 c green tomatoes, pureed and drained
2 c all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease two loaf pans. Combine oil, yogurt, eggs, sugar, and green tomatoes and mix well. Combine all purpose flours, baking powder, baking soda, and spices and add to wet ingredients. Stir together just until combined. Divide between two pans and bake just until a toothpick comes clean from the center of the bread, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pans, then remove. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. May be frozen.  (puree may also be frozen for use at a later date)
I need to bake some more everyday bread today as well.  I made a turkey on Friday and a fresh loaf of bread Saturday and we have really enjoyed hot turkey sandwiches!  I also have a pile of laundry from the church prophet's chamber along with farm clothes to tend to.  It is supposed to be warm for a few days, but at least the nights are cool!  I will let you know how the bread turned out after we have tried it :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Picking Apples Again

I love to experiment in the kitchen ... not with creating my own recipes, but in trying unique recipes that I haven't used before.  Last night, hubby had some late night studying to do; we had just finished a pumpkin pie; and I decided to make a new pie in honor of the end of the gardening season (I had just ripped out all my tomato plants).  Hubby got excited until he heard what I was making ... Green Tomato Pie!  It sure is an UGLY pie, but it tastes like any fall pie with cinnamon and sugar.  I don't think that I could bring myself to serve it to guests, but it is a good way to use those last tomatoes. 

In any case, hubby decided that in order to end the experiments, he needed to take me apple picking again!  There won't be any Macs this time, but something useful for crisps, breads, muffins, and pies.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Goodwill Store in my own Bedroom

Well I am getting a late start this morning, not because I was being lazy or sleeping in, but because I was going through 4 bags + of clothes from a friend.  I am thankful for the generosity of those who let me peek at their clothes that are bound for Goodwill before they donate them.  I have rarely seen so many modest skirts in one place at one time - WOW!  I love Goodwill and hand-me-downs, because they tend to be more modest than the fashions of today and today's finds were.  I don't have 4 bags worth of needs, so I picked out a few things to change up my wardrobe and now it is time to find some more people who can be blessed as I was ... wish my sisters-in-law lived closer ... Watch out neighborhood!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

...Beareth all things, ...

True love seeks to cover, to forgive, to forget.  I think that much of the pain in failing marriages is caused by storing up grievances that can be hurled when a disagreement arises.  Do I cover the failings of my husband or seek to show them to our friends and family members?  Do I use his failings to make myself look better or to "get a laugh?"  Do I truly forgive, or just in word for a moment?  A godly love will forgive and will seek to cover the faults of another.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Psalm 25:11

For thy name's sake,
O Lord,
pardon mine iniquity;
for it is great.

I love the honesty of the Psalms.
Do you suppose David was a "man after God's own heart"
because he saw his sin for what it was?
Let's be honest with God today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lentil Stew

With the presence of overcast days and cooler daytime (and nighttime) temperatures, I am encouraged to get back to making soups, stews, and chilis.  Friday night I made a wonderful new recipe for Lentil Stew with a fresh loaf of bread and then on Saturday I made a basic chili with a new recipe for Southern Spoon bread.  The spoon bread was a "southern" version of corn bread, I guess, kind of like  a custard, or a corn pudding.  To me, the lentil stew was comparable to beef stew, maybe better.  It was very warm and hearty.

Lentil Stew

1 c dry lentils
6 c water
2 T broth powder
2 T soy sauce
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 potatoes, diced
1/2 tsp dried parsley
3 T flour
3 T butter, melted

Rinse the lentils.  Add all of the ingredients except the flour and butter to a large pot.  Cook over med. heat for 35 minutes.

In a small bowl mix the flour, and butter into a paste.  Whisk the paste into the stew and stir constantly or 3-4 minutes.  The stew will thicken as you stir.

Broth Powder

1 c nutritional yeast flakes (also called brewers yeast)
3 T onion powder
3 T garlic powder
1 T salt
1 tsp celery seed
2 T Italian seasoning
2 T dried parsley
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp. tarragon  (I didn't have this, so I just omitted it)
1 tsp. paprika

Place all ingredients in a blender, cover, and blend for 3-4 seconds or until well mixed.  Sore in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.

Add 1 T to a cup of hot water for a cup of soup or stock. 
Two tsp of this recipe plus 1/2 tsp of salt is the equivalent of 1 bouillon cube. 
To use commercial broth powder in place of homemade broth powder, reduce the salt in the recipe by 1/2 tsp for every 2 tsp of commercial broth powder used.

I had a profitable weekend.  The trailer has been fall cleaned except for the stove and the guest room; the remaining plants in the garden are slowly being mulched and put in the compost.  It is good to go through things again, to clean down the walls and light fixtures, to return things to their proper locations, ... AAAHHH CLEAN!  Today I think that I will make some scarecrows for the empty garden space.  That will be fun.  Maybe then I will start to attack the guest room which has become an unsightly catch-all!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A New Month

Well, September is gone and I turned the calendar to October this morning.  What should greet me but a picture of my folks' home?  Not really, but there sits an Amish buggy, a pile of pumpkins,and those big farm houses with barn and silos beside.  Reminds me of the street where they live and of grandma and grandpa's house.  And makes me want a donut - they're big a cheap out in Amish Country!  I guess it is a good thing that I don't live there anymore.

My morning walk/jog/run was beautiful today.  It is so much cooler this week and I had hymns filling my mind and it was nice to see the sun after a few cloudy days.  I just finished my smoothie for breakfast and need to get a shower.  The weekend doesn't hold anything extraordinary - more fall cleaning in the guest room and catch-all room (my office and hubby's hobby room and our exercise room),  regular weekend cleaning, and hopefully some more work outside if it is going to be THIS beautiful.

If you haven't guessed it ... I LOVE AUTUMN!!!!!!

Bring on the crisp mornings, the crunchy leaves, the pumpkin spice lattes, the apple crisp, the pumpkin pies, the fall flowers, the scarecrows ... AAHHHH!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mums and Blinds and Cooler Temps

Today I am thankful for the fall mums newly planted on my back porch.  Just to look out on their tiny buds ready to open in fall shades of purple, yellow, and red lifts my spirits.  I did not get any planted in the front yesterday because of rain, but it looks as if we are free of rain for today.

I am thankful for two new sets of mini blinds in the trailer.  Two sets in the trailer had broken cords so that they could no longer be raised.  Both new sets allow me to open the windows more easily to allow cool breezes in and one set brightens a room by replacing a dark blue set. 

I am thankful for the past few days of rain and cooler temperatures.  It has been nice to have the A/C off and to be wearing a sweatshirt in the mornings and to be able to enjoy the warmth as I bake in the afternoon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"...but rejoiceth in the truth;"

Last Wednesday, the trait of love was that it did not rejoice in iniquity.  Instead of rejoicing in iniquity, love rejoices in truth.

True love can thrive in a home when it is filled with openness, honesty, and a desire to stand by the Word of God (the only source of all TRUTH).  A home with deception, cheating, or lying is not a home of love.  I want a home that stands on and for the truth ... one that is known for true integrity. 

How about you? 
* * * * *
Will you seek to follow God's Word wholly? 
* * * * *
Will you speak the truth in your home?

Today there are piano lessons to give, a violin lesson to receive, and some hubby projects to type.  There are also mums to be planted and dinner to make for a visiting missionary.  I also have some ideas whirling around in my little head to dress up my now empty garden trellises for fall ...

Hi ho, Hi ho, its off to work I go! 
* * * * *
What is keeping you busy today?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Psalm 18:28

For thou wilt lighten my candle:
the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Is it the darkness of depression?

Is it the darkness and confusion of the unknown?
The Lord gives light!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Spanish Pie

1 c TVP granules
1 c boiling water
2 T oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 T Taco Seasoning
6 oz tomato sauce
1 c grated cheddar cheese, divided
3/4 c cornmeal
1 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 egg whites (I used 1 whole egg)
1/3 c milk
4 oz can diced green chilies

In small bowl, combine the TVP and boiling water.  While that soaks, heat the oil in a a large skillet and cook the onions and garlic, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is golden brown.  Add the seasoning mix, tomato sauce, TVP, and halfof the cheese to the onions.  Stir 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and well distributed, then remove from heat.

In separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, egg whites, milk, green chilies, and the other half of the cheese.  Mix until everything is moist, but don't overmix.  Spread the TVP mixture evenly in an 8x8 baking dish.  Pour the cornmeal mixture over the top and spread evenly.  Bake at 425* for 20 minutes or until the corn bread is cooked through.

Serves 6.  268 cal per 1 c serving.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Well, it is the end of the 4th full week of school.  Hubby has done well to keep ahead on things so that yesterday we could have the afternoon off for some "fun."  Upon looking at my pair of black dress shoes with a hole fomring in a very thin sole, we decided to go shoe shopping. Yes, I am excited about hunting season and my husband is a GREAT shoe shopper - he has good taste and he like quality (his favorite brand is Clarks).   We didn't quite find my dream shoes (they are low heals, closed toes with thin straps - a girly, but sensible shoe), but we did find a very servicable pair that wasn't completely boring.  Then hubby found a cute pair of casual shoes that goes well with my denim wardrobe (denim skirts, jumpers, and dresses which I live in except for church).  It was a special trip provided by the HOPE ladies who gave me a tremendous gift last week - I am still going to buy a rake and some fall mums with the rest of their gift.  THANKS LADIES!

I never imagined after my time in Seattle that I would ever long for rain, but we are definitely hoping that the weather forecasters are correct and that we will have some rain tomorrow and Monday.   I hope that it ushers in some cooler weather - the calendar says that it is fall, but it doesn't feel like it yet!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Hunting Season

My invisible laundry - its camouflaged.
That's a lot of camo!
Today I am thankful for hunting season. Hubby thinks I may be the only woman in the world thankful for hunting season.  It is not a hardship for me while hubby is in school because he cannot be consumed with the activity.  If you know the "pre-marriage" Sandra, you may find it strange that I rejoice in a hunt.  You see, I did not grow up in a hunting family, nor was hunting a predominant activity in the towns where I grew up.  But hubby, on the other hand, grew up with bows and guns in his hands and with deer, elk, and other game processed for winter consumption.  This week, I have been washing and airing camo clothes that have just arrived from MT and hubby is planning to go hunting on Saturday night.  He is not hoping for much, because he has no time to watch the habits of the deer at the locations where he will shoot, but he is excited to think that he might be able to put some meat in the freezer.  If he does, another Thursday's blog will give thanks for a deer and a few Mondays will be devoted to finding good ways to cook deer (hubby grew up on deer jerky and I have maybe eaten deer twice in my 35 years).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"rejoiceth not in iniquity,..."

As I read verse 6 of I Corinthians 13, I am reminded that true love does not exult in the failings, misfortunes, sins of others.  It does not get a satisfaction when others fall short.  Do you show that kind of love in your home?  I quickly think of the phrases, "I told you so" or "you should have listened to me."  I don't think I have used the words, but I sure have thought them.  True love does not gloat over others when they stumble, when they have a hard time, when things don't go right. 

I just began listening to a message put out by Vision Forum.  It is called "the wise woman's guide to blessing her husband's vision."  So far it has been full of challenges and reminders about my role as a wife and about the ways I can encourage or discourage my dear hubby.  I will have to listen to it again soon and jot some notes to share with you soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Christmas Songs

Well, the truth is that there are Christmas songs going around in my head this week (alright, they have been for about 4 weeks now).  The children at church have begun work on a Christmas program and their songs are going around and around in my head as I try to memorize them myself and try to concoct inventive ways to teach and present them.  Many of the songs focus on a reason to praise the Lord.  He came in humility; He loves me; He is royalty; He gives me blessings every day; He left me with a job to do.  I think that the children are enjoying "Gospel Bells" the best!  When we began the song, I asked the children what gospel bells were.  My favorite answer was "they are door bells, for when you go on door to door."  I guess they put a practical nature to the understanding that gospel bells means we are telling others of Christ and His love for them.  We won't save this song for Christmas, we are going to sing it this week at church for the conclusion of Mission's Conference.

Monday, September 20, 2010

115 pounds and TVP

Friday was the 6 month anniversary of our ladies' HOPE meetings.  HOPE stands for Helping Others by Providing Encouragement.  The ladies have been working very hard and have a combined loss of 115 pounds for the first 6 months!  WOW!  I had a good weight loss week as well - since May with birthday, vacation, birthday, and anniversary, I have been working to get the creeping 5 pounds off and this week the results finally happened.  HOORAY!

So what about TVP!  I can't even believe that I know what this is.  It is textured vegetable protein.  (I feel like a true Seattle-ite now).  It all started with a 2 boxes of taco filling mix and 1 box of chili mix at the discount grocery store for 49 cents each.  It is hard to find taco seasoning for that price not to mention the whole meal.  It turns out, that the mix was made of vegetable protein and was pretty good.  Shortly after that, I looked at a cookbook for reduced cost meals and the Vegetarian section was full of recipes with TVP.  So the deal is that you have to rehydrate the TVP (1 oz = 3 oz of meat).  The proteins take the flavor of whatever they are rehydrated in or the seasoning that you cook with (or you can buy beef, sausage, chicken, bacon flavored TVP at a slightly greater cost) and can be substituted for any meat (particularly in flavorful dishes such as chili, sloppy joes, tacos).  It is not greasy and has about 400 calories per pound (about 100 calories per serving) and ZERO fat.  It is also high in protein and iron and Magnesium.  It is really trumpeted for being so much cheaper than meat.  Many sources have said that they can get it for about 50 cents a pound.  I found it at our local Ingles for 1.32 per pound, but am still looking for a better deal.  To calculate your savings.  Calculate the cost of one pound of TVP and then divide by 3.  Hubby is on board with experimenting as long as he only sees it once a week ... so ... let's try some new recipes!

Have you used TVP before?  If so, in what?  Where do you find the best deals on TVP?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God's Provision

On Tuesday, we received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Now these letters can be good or they can cause pain and I was unsure what this letter would hold.  Why pain?  Well one time, the letter held a demand for the return of excess GI Bill funds which we did not expect.  In this case, it was a letter confirming that we would once more be given the GI Bill for another semester.  We do not take this for granted.  With our country in its current financial state and our attendance at an unaccredited school, our privileges could be revoked at any time.  God has once again provided and we are grateful.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"thinketh no evil"

Sins of the mind seem to be the hardest to deal with.  These sins are often hidden from the sight of others and may not offend as the outward physical sin.  Yet they are just as damaging and just and heinous in God's sight.  True love thinketh no evil.  It does not hold a grudge, it does not imagine motives, it does not seek revenge ...   How prevalent is it to hear a wife talk about the "bad" things that her husband has done.  How often do you hear that "I am not going to do that while he is still doing this."  True love serves regardless of the situation.  Am I (are you) holding onto something that is preventing godly love in the home (or in the church)?  Give it to God and watch Him work in your life.

I started the fall cleaning last Saturday with the smallest bathroom and am working this week in the Master bedroom.  It is hard work, but well worth it!  I am still picking beans and it looks as if the tomato plants might have another short season before I prepare the garden for next year.  I have put myself back on a fairly strict schedule and it seems to be helping me to get more accomplished.  I was feeling a little overwhelmed and the Lord freed up an hour for me today by having another student cancel piano lessons.  He truly does know what we can and cannot handle and rightly orders are steps.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I just received a copy of this song to accompany for a girl at church.  It has a beautiful tune, but the words have struck a chord with me this week.

Lord, as I seek Your guidance for the day,
I find my thoughts unyielding, confusion crowds my way;
But then when I bow to you, the challenges You guide me through,
Your promises are ever new, I claim them for today.

Your will cannot lead me where Your grace will not keep me,
Your hand will protect me.  I rest in Your care.
Your eyes will watch over me, Your love will forgive me,
and when I am faltering, I still will find You there.

Each new day's design is charted by Your hand
and graciously revealed as I seek your Master plan.
Keep my footsteps faithful when from You I go.
Return me to the joy that Your blessings can bestow.

Your will cannot lead me where Your grace will not keep me,
Your hand will protect me. I rest in Your care.
Your eyes will watch over me, Your love will forgive me,
and when I am faltering, I still will find You there.

written by Carolyn Hamlin
Purifoy Pulishing Company

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cleaning Up!

It was a profitable weekend.  We had a work day at church - the first since we arrived 2 years ago.  The guys did a lot of maintenance projects and the ladies cleaned and sorted and moved and threw out.  It was a good example of "many hands make light work." 

Have you ever noticed how clutter breeds clutter?  Of course I could think of that at church as we cleaned, but there are those spots in my house that are just the "catch-alls."  Once the pile starts, it is hard to stop.  On the flip side, it might be hard to start throwing things out, but once you start it gets contagious and it feels really good to clean things up.  Are you breeding sin by starting piles or just stashing things here and there?  Or ... are you cleaning up!

I hope that I am always working on the clean-up side of sin.  I also need to get going on the Fall cleaning in the house.  I completed the bathroom on Saturday ... must ... keep ... going!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9 Cans of Beans

It is just a tiny garden, but I am so thankful for the extras that the Lord provides to put away for the future.  So 9 cans of beans joined the 9 cans of beets this week.  So thankful for God's provision!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

...not easily provoked

The next characteristic of love is that it does not have a hot, quick temper.  You have lived in this house, or been witness to it  ...  a house where the members walk around on egg shells trying to guess when the mom, dad, or a spouse is going to explode and what is going to trigger it.  True love is not easily provoked.  It does not allow itself to be drawn into poor actions.  It is not easily exasperated or irritable.  Does this sound like an aspect of love that you possess or one that you struggle with?  If I am aware of the problem, I can pray for proper responses and work to correct the problem. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No Escape

I read Psalm 139 this morning after I had been working on a Sunday School lesson with the same theme.  What a comfort!  There is no place where I can escape the presence and thoughts of my God!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Still Using Apples

1/2 of our bushel of apples are gone.  3 batches of Apple dumplings, 3 dishes of Apple Crisp, One batch of Apple Sauce and 1-2 apples per day as a snack.  Even hubby is finding that the apples are not bothering him as they usually do (if he doesn't overdo it).  The Apple Crisp has been a hit as a breakfast, or a dessert.  I am glad that it is a favorite because it sure is easier than pie or dumplings :)  My sister-in-law gave me this recipe when hubby and I married 8 years ago.

Apple Crisp

4 c sliced tart apples
2/3 - 3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 c oats
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 c butter, softened

Arrange apples in greased 8" square baking pan.  Mix remaining ingredients; sprinkle over apples.  Bake at 375* until topping is golden brown and apples are tender, about 30 minutes.

How easy is that?!?

All the apple cooking is appropriate as we enter the season of Autumn.  We have enjoyed two very COOL evenings and used NO air conditioning yesterday in the trailer.  I am not assuming that we have used it for the last time this year, but I'll take what comes my way!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baked Beans and another reminder of God's faithfulness

We woke throughout the night to the smell of baked beans in the crock pot.  OOHH!  Yummy!  It will be lunch today with some biscuits.  Tonight ... Bean and potato soup with fresh green pole beans from the garden and a side of fresh baked bread ... the cooler nights seem to be encouraging the beans now for which I am thankful.

These stamps are further reminder of God's faithfulness and provision.  These (along with about 150 others) were purchased back in February of 2008 before hubby left on his final deployment.  When hubby arrived in the war zone, he was told that he could mail home to the states without a stamp.  We have been using "deployment" stamps since he arrived home and these are the final 2.  So God provided stamps for our first 2 years in NC and we have been reminded of the difficult Navy days that He brought us through.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dog Food and Stuffing

I really am thankful for the little things and that I have a God who cares for these as well.  Three quick examples:  Hubby works on a farm and a dog (Thunder) who was left there by a migrant Mexican worker has adopted him.  Thunder has been eating cat food or the food left for the owner's dogs when he can, but has been acting VERY hungry.  Hubby prayed that we would be able to get some dog food for Thunder.  Shortly after, I got a coupon for a free 6 lb bag of dog food (Organic at that - regular price $15) and a sample of a "pig ear" and another small sample of dog food. 

Tuesday I went grocery shopping.  I knew that I needed to watch what I spent, so I prayed over some special "wish" items on the list.  I am hoping to make a turkey when the days cool a little more and prayed that I would find some stuffing at our Discount Grocery ... one small bag was waiting for me!

I took my last Magnesium pill on Tuesday morning.  I had ordered some more through Amazon in hopes that they would arrive by Wednesday morning.  Emails confirmed my order and placed delivery in the middle of September.  But ... the package of pills arrived Wednesday morning before I had to leave for violin lessons. 

I am thankful for a God who cares about details.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

...seeketh not her own

True love in the home...  It truly is a selfless act which is shown in this small description in I Corinthians 13:5.  Love is not selfish.  This concept flies in the face of modern teaching.  How many times have you heard or even adopted the though, "I just need some 'me' time."  Or perhaps you have heard and absorbed, "you just need to pursue your own goals and interests!"  It is everywhere.  I am not saying that a mom or a wife should never take a rest, but couldn't that rest include her family.  (Of course, this is more easily done when the children are trained that there are "quiet" times in the day and when I as the wife have been diligent to fulfil the tasks that I should to help my husband)  I am also not saying that a mom or a wife should not have interests and hobbies, but couldn't they be for the betterment of her family or including the family.  (Sewing to clothe the family, scrap booking with children, cooking with the family.)  Return to the thought again - if you are married, your job is a helper. The helper does not make all the plans or leave in the middle of completing the work, it aids in fulfilling the plans.  If you are a mother, your job is in training and directing those little (and big) ones for the few years that they are in your home.  Are your selfish pursuits worth failing as a helper or not investing in your children?  My goal today:  Serve others, not self!

Other goal:  Survive my first violin lesson after having the summer off!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Large Place

Psalm 118:5
I called upon the Lord in distress:
the Lord answered me,
and set me in a large place.

I read this verse last week in my quiet time - yes, while wrestling with complete trust in God during uncertain situations.  God hears and answers ... meeting our needs and putting me in a better place.  His ways are not my ways and His plans are far better than my own.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Apple Dumplings

We made it to the foothills for some apple picking on Friday.  I promised to organize hubby's mountain of school work to keep him on schedule as we drove and he took me for MACS!  It is a little bit of a search for Macintosh here.  The man at the orchard says that they are hard to grow here and that they fall fast ... they were falling as we picked and could be gone by next week.  Our next trip to the orchards I will have to settle for another type of apple.  The trip always reminds us of fall in NY, especially at the beautiful Sky Top Orchards.  We have lived in 3 states that pride themselves in apples - NY, WA, and now NC!

I am enjoying the fresh Macs and grapes that we picked and am baking for hubby.  I made some apple dumplings on Saturday night along with some stuffed peppers for the crock pot on Sunday.  Hubby didn't like the new recipe that I used because it had a sauce similar to sticky buns - a carmelly, gooey mess of yumminess... (of course, I liked the reminder of Grandma Hadley's specialty).  So today, I will make dumplings anew with the "old" sauce.

Apple Dumplings

2 1/2 c water
1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c plus 6 tsp butter, divided
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 c shortening
1/2 c milk
5-6 small tart apples (peeled and cored, or chopped to make 2 c)
Cinnamon sugar

In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook and stir over med until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.  Add 1/4 c butter; stir until melted.  Remove from the heat; set aside.

In a bowl,combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in milk.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12 x 18 rectangle.  Divide into 6 - 6" squares.  Place an apple or 1/3 cup diced apples in the center of each portion.  Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, dot with remaining butter.  Bring corners of pastry to center.  Brush edges with milk or water; pinch edges to seal.

Place in a greased 13x9 in dish; drizzle with syrup.  Bake, uncovered at 375* for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Still Working on It

Nahum 1:7
The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;
and he knoweth them that trust in him.

Psalm 112:7
He [the righteous] shall not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

It has been a week to work on putting my trust in the proper source - the Lord.  All things are in his hands.  He does all things well.  I just need to rest in Him ... so easy to say, so hard to practice.

Headed to the mountains this afternoon to pick some apples.  We had just missed the Macs last year, but should be right in the middle of the season if we make it this afternoon!  Hubby is looking forward to some fresh cider juiced at home and I just like snacking on a good fresh apple and hope to can some applesauce!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to School

It was not hard to choose what to be thankful for today.  I am thankful for the start of another semester.  We are halfway through our training here.  Only 3 semesters to go - if the Lord wills.  Hubby again has a busy schedule which includes Life of Christ, Pentateuch, Homiletics, Greek (part 3), Poetical Books, Bible Geography and Archeology, and Dispensations.  It should be a good semester.  Hubby is looking forward to getting into Greek again and having the challenge of a particularly strict teacher for Bible Geography (along with the interest in the subject).  I will soon be back to violin lessons.  I did not do as well on practice this summer, but will benefit from the accountability that the school year provides.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Good Manners

"[charity] doth not behave itself unseemly,"
I Corinthians 13:5

Love is mannerly.  Love knows how to behave in all situations.  There is such a joy in being married to someone who knows how to act in social situations.  True love will work to be appropriate in speech, in dress, in behavior in any situation that it is in.  How I long to be a "crown" to my husband by showing good manners wherever we are.  For me the work is to be appropriate in a "shooting" party, or when out camping - these are more unfamiliar than "stuffy" occasions.  Hubby on the other hand has to work harder at the formal events.  We were privileged to have such a social situation to be involved in this past weekend.  I was pleased when hubby wanted to arrive appropriately early, when my usually possessive hubby bowed to tradition as the usher seated us, when we were seated a few times in "awkward" company and hubby rose to the occasion in involving all around us in conversation.  On the flip side, I was embarrassed for those who stalled the beginning of the wedding by arriving so close to the start of the wedding that they could not sign the guest pages and be seated before the given time. 

Love also knows the right way to express itself in public without becoming cold and without making others uncomfortable. 

Today was a big yard work day.  It has been slowly cooling off, so there was much to do.  The yard was mowed, some dead flowers pulled, some vegetables trimmed back, some mulching done.  It is a good start - still much to do, but it will keep until tomorrow.  Time to clean up in the house!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Psalm 113

Psalm 113:9

He maketh the barren woman to keep house,
and to be a joyful mother of children.
Praise ye the LORD.

This verse never ceases to encourage my faith and prayers when I read it.  While it may be that God will never bless our home with children, there are many ways to be a teacher and nurturer to those that I come in contact with.  Praise ye the LORD!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nothing to share

Due to a wedding rehearsal dinner and a wedding reception, I did not do much cooking this weekend.  The rehearsal dinner was delicious with salad, prime rib, baked potato, and mixed veggies.  There was a rich cake for dessert, but it was chocolate, so I passed.  Hubby even passed on his ... it was VERY tempting.  At the weddinge reception there was wonderful bbq pork with rolls to make sandwiches, potato salad, cole slaw, and baked beans.  It too was delicious.  The wedding cake offered 4 different flavors - chocolate, spice, carrot, and strawberry.  Hubby had chocolate, I had strawberry.

Hubby cooked on Sunday.  We threw some potatoes on the grill and made chicken kabobs with garden peppers and onions - YUM! 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Congratulations James and Elisabeth

Here is a picture of the wedding cross-stitch that I was recently working on.  We are headed to the wedding later this afternoon.  James has been the song leader in our church this since last summer and his bride was also a student at ABC and has helped with church music this summer, allowing me to take a break from the piano to either play the flute on Sunday nights or to sing beside hubby on Wednesday nights.  They are now headed to a new ministry. 

Congratulations James and Elisabeth!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Different Weekend

It is hard to believe that it is Friday already.  I spent much of the week putting  a Sunday School program together and dodging raindrops with my laundry.  Tonight we will go to a wedding rehearsal dinner.  I don't have a big part, and it is definitely a different role.  Usually I am a pianist or organist, but this time I get to play the flute.  Tomorrow is the "big day" for James and Elisabeth.  Hubby took the day off, so we will probably take a run in the morning.  He wants to clean the car and I will try to get some work done in the garden.  The wedding is in mid-afternoon and we should have the evening together.  Since my Saturday is "different,"  I need to get to the house cleaning today.  TTFN

Surprise Days

I am a day late on my Thankful Thursday entry.  Why?  Because hubby awoke to a phone call that he had the day off yesterday.  So today I am thankful for the days that God gives us to just rest or catch up from the hustle and bustle.  We enjoyed "sleeping in" after about 3 hours of intense storms through the night.  It was nice to have hubby's help as it was our week to clean at church.  We rested again in the afternoon and even took an evening run together when the heat broke a little (though the humidity was such that I think we were swimming).  I am also thankful that God impressed hubby to work on Tuesday so that he was not even short of work hours!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I had a wonderful anniversary yesterday.  It is simply amazing to get to spend your life with your best friend.  I am exceedingly glad to have been able to spend the day together rather than in thought from a ship and an apartment.  Hubby worked much of the day, but we had a lovely meal at the Olive Garden last night and then a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee while we walked around a local park.  (I did find the will power to refuse a DD donut - though they are my favorite)  Hubby found just the sweetest anniversary card in the "Kim Anderson" style of black and white children with a color accent here and there.  It said "Just so you know, I only plan to tag along until about the end of time or so."  Two years ago, I had found a similar card as he was completing his final deployment.  It read "Now and always ... the only two times I want to be with you."

Back to thinking about true charity in the home.  Love is not egotistical or self-centered.  One who truly loves will not boast on their abilities or push their ideas as the best.  A loving woman seeks to lift Christ up first and then to see the promotion of those that she loves.  Love does not seek to impress others or draw attention to her own actions.  A wife, mother, or daughter does not seek acknowledgement for their acts of love, for they view their activity as "normal."  How much of your daily conversation is about self?  Are you content to serve "unnoticed" in the home and promote the welfare of others in the home?  This may be a good test of the quality of your love.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 17, 2002 ... 8 Wonderful Years!

Sorry for the picture quality ... a picture of a picture is pitiful!
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Bickish

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Fru-fru" Cookies

I am not much for fussing with recipes.  Food is serviceable to me and hubby knows that while it might not always be as pretty as the picture, I do try to make it tasty :)  I had been admiring these cookies for about 2 years and with a church fellowship yesterday, I decided to try my hand at them.  They really look harder than they are ... they are homemade slice and bake cookies ...

Watermelon Slice Cookies

3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Red and green gelfood coloring
1/3 c raisins
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

* In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in egg and extract.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt;  gradually add to creamed mixture.  Set aside 1 c of dough.
* Tint remaining dough red; shape into a 3 1/2 inch long log.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Tint 1/3 c of the reserved dough green; wrap in plastic wrap.  Wrap remaining plain dough.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.
* On a lightly floured surface, roll plain dough into an 8 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch rectangle.  Wrap red log with white dough.  Repeat with green but roll to a 10 x 3 1/2 inch rectangle.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
* Unwrap and cut into 3/16 in slices.  Place 2 in apart onunreased baking sheets.  Cut raisins into small pieces.  Lightly press raisin bits and sesame seeds into red dough to resemble watermelon seeds.
* Bake 350* for 9-11 minutes or until firm.  Immediately cut cookies in half.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

Have you heard of telling the "Wordless Book" with the watermelon?  These would be a great snack for kids after telling the story.  "My heart was black (seeds) with sin, until the Savior came in.  His precious blood (fruit) I know has washed me white (inner rind) as snow.  And in his word I'm told, I'll walk the streets of gold (watermelon blossom).  To grow (green rind)  in Christ each day, I'll read my Bible and pray."

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today I am thankful for the family that God gave me.  I have a wonderful family that was given to me at birth.  I am sure that I am daily covered with their prayers for me.  I am thankful for their graciousness as I continue to learn and grow.  I am thankful for the opportunities that my parents gave me as a child that prepared me for various ministries today.  I am thankful for the examples of my 3 brothers and their wives as they serve faithfully in various churches in whatever aspect the Lord chooses.  I am thankful for parents who taught me the need for hard work and a contentment with simple things.

I am thankful for the husband that God gave to me and for his family.  I am thankful for a husband who just wants God will for our lives.  I am thankful for his work ethic that takes him through the heat of the day in outside work, that means working a job and going to school full-time.  I am thankful for his caring family that also covers us in prayers and has been so generous in so many ways.

God designed the family unit and what a blessing they are to me!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 envieth not; ...

It is easy to desire the gifts, abilities, praise, attention, activities of others ... especially in the home.  The Lord says in His Word that true love does not envy.  Love is generous in all situations.  It is eager to praise with sincerity.  How are you rejoicing in the success or activities within your family today?  It is not about competition, but about serving together.  If my husband is a success, I feel like a success.  I hope that his actions reflect well upon me and that my actions complement and build him up as well.

I am off to take hubby to work today and then to run ALOT of errands.  I like the prospect of being out for the day, but I must say that I must work to rejoice as I drive around in this HEAT! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Psalm 92:1-2

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD,  and to sing praises unto thy name,  O most High:  To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning,
and thy faithfulness every night.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Enjoying the Fruits of the Season

I love the fresh fruits and vegetables of summer.  While not having a great year in the garden, we have enjoyed fresh cucumbers and carrots.  The tomatoes have made wonderful homemade salsa or broiled tomatoes.  I long for the day when I live somewhere long enough to have fruit trees.  We are enjoying the fresh peaches from SC right now.  I found this pie recipe last year.  Hubby turned his nose up at first, but now it is a frequent request in the summer with the fruits are at their peak and the prices are not!

Peach Plum Pie

2 c sliced, peeled peaches
2 c sliced peeled plums
1 T lemon juice
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c quick cooking tapioca
1/2 -1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp salt
Pastry for double-crust pie
2 T butter or margarine

In a large bowl, combine 1st 8 ingredients.
Let stand 15 minutes.
Fill pie crust, dot with butter.  Cover with top.
Cover edges loosely with foil.
Bake 450* for 10 minutes.
Remove foil and bake 35 minutes at 350*.

I haven't been doing too much baking due to the heat, but I will work quickly one morning this week to get a pie made for hubby before the heat of the day.