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!