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Friday, December 30, 2011

Aftermath

Well, today I am doing the dreaded after-Christmas cleaning.  Not only are there gifts to put away, but there is grime from parties thrown, and I am trying to disinfect while hubby recuperates from his yearly New Years bug.  Oh - fun, fun!  It was a warm, breezy day (at least this morning), so I opened up the bedroom to air it out.  I also hung out all of the bedding in hopes of blowing away the germs.  In between the cleaning, I started the tax return with any information that I already had.  The year is fast waning ... I hung the 2012 calendar today.  Hard to believe that another year is past!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time

Today I am thankful for time off.  I am enjoying time with my hubby (even though he is fighting sickness).  I don't think that we have had a whole week off together since we arrived in NC in October 2008.  It is nice to regroup and to relax before starting another round of adventures.  We have done a little window shopping and a little house hunting, but are mostly enjoying a relaxing week of peace and quiet.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Unexplainable Savings Plan

One of my favorite jobs in the home is accountant.  With hubby's direction and approval, I create a budget and then help us stick with it.  Every year at about this time, I wrap up the budget sheets and present an "annual report" to hubby.  We evaluate what needs to be changed, if funds should be moved, if we need to tighten up in some areas, etc.  Every year at about this time, we both scratch our heads and marvel at God's goodness to us.  We feebly try to do our part by shopping wisely, saving for the future, and giving to God's work and His people,  we try to live a life of faith ... but God does far more in stretching the budget and in providing for our needs and wants.  Truly ... little is much when God is in it. 
Luke 6:38
Give, and it shall be given unto you;
good measure, pressed down, and shaken together,
and running over, shall men give into your bosom.
For with the same measure that ye mete
withal it shall be measured to you again.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Where is my Joy?

Psalm 119:14
I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies,
as much as in all riches.

David had a proper view of God's Word and material blessings.
I often have to do a priority check after Christmas and Birthdays.
We show our love and gratitude to others with gifts.
Oh, our delight to give and to receive special items.
I received many riches this Christmas ...
...a watch, a ring, a necklace ...
It is easy to joy in these riches.
Do I joy in God's Word just as much and just as easily?

Enjoyed the Celebration

I do hope that you had a wonderful Christmas day.

This may have been one of my best yet.

I just love when Christmas day is on Sunday.

We started the day with a little extra sleep
(after hosting a party the night before).

Church service at 11.

Church fellowship meal at noon.

Another service at 1 with the celebration of the Lord's Supper.

Tried to find a solid church with an evening service.  No success.

Invited friends over for fellowship and help with leftovers!

Joined some other friends to look at lights in a neighboring town.

So thankful for our church family who shared time with us this holiday season 
in the absence of our own families.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I wish you and your family
a very
Merry Christmas!

* * * * * * * * * *

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.



Philippians 2:5-11
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

* * * * * * * * * *
Christmas is more than a baby in a manger.
Jesus came to earth to die for you.
If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior,
won't you repent of your sins and believe on the work of Christ to save you?



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve



Christmas Eve Service.
Here.
Tonight.
The house is all cleaned.
Made room for 12 big people and 2 itty bitties
in a single wide living room.
Now ... must prepare refreshments.

The nativity above will help to keep our two little guests
involved in the reading of the Christmas Story.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gifts of Love

It is an unseasonably warm day today. 
Beautiful sunny skies after a few days of drippy, drizzly, pouring ... mess.
Surely not looking a lot like Christmas here.
Despite the weather, I am preparing for a Christmas Eve service
here at the Bickish mansion tomorrow night.

I survived the girlie party yesterday.  It usually takes them awhile to warm up ... but they sure did!  Poor hubby was home and had to listen to all of the giggling and friendly competition during the games.  He was also a great help ... while I was finishing up the games, he was washing all of my baking and dinner dishes :)  What a sweetheart.

My girlies brought some sweet, well-thought out gifts which showed that they had thought about me.  One student had asked me weeks ago about my favorite animal and made me a poster with pictures of otters all over it and included some fun facts as well.  Some students had noticed my love of apples (as seen in my kitchen decor) on a previous visit and brought gifts according to that love.  Each student was quick to tell me that the gifts were not expensive, but the value to me was great because it showed their love and interest in ME!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sunday School Party

I am working on the final details of another Sunday School Party.  5 girls will spend some time at the Bickish Mansion this evening.  Of course there will be pizza and chips.  They will once again make their own dessert - Stained Glass Cookies!  That also is their craft :)  We have some games to play with Christmas themes.  Our devotion comes from

Proverbs 22:1
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches,
and loving favour rather than silver and gold. 

and

Luke 1:28 and 30 
And the angel came in unto her, and said,
Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou among women.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary:
for thou hast found favour with God.

It is easy to get caught up in materialism at Christmas ...
...the silver, the gold, the toys, the gadgets, the games, the clothes ...
... you name it. 
What matters and what will last is God's favour on our lives!
Mary was poor as seen by her offering in the temple following Christ's birth.
That is, poor in the world's eyes
She was not chosen for her riches ...
...but for her character and relationship to God. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Crowded Out

Is Christ crowded out of your busy life
With the toiling that each day brings?
with the strain and stress of the cards that press
You've no time for the King of kings.

"No room in the inn" for the Christ-Child blest,
"In a manger so low He lay;"
In the hearts of men o'er and o'er again,
There's no room for Him still today.

"The foxes have holes and the birds have nests
But nowhere for His head divine."
Had the Son of man, should He come again
Find a place in you heart and mine.

The hearts of the ones whom He died to save
Is the home which He seeks today;
By His life bought yet He is crowded out,
And "Away with Him," still they say.

There's coming a day in the great sometime
If for Christ you have never room,
You will knock and wait at the pearly gate,
Crowded out there will be you doom.

Refrain:
Crowded out!  Crowded out!
You've no time for His service, you say;
While for pleasure and business you always have time,
Is Christ crowded out today?

- Mrs. C. H. Morris


Another not so well known Christmas carol. 
Quite the convicting message. 
What is taking my time that should be given to Christ?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah


Today is the first day of Hanukkah. 
We have not converted in our study of the Hebrew tongue, but we do try to keep aware of Jewish celebrations.  The celebration is actually a beautiful remembrance of God's blessing on the Jews ... when oil that should have lasted for about 1 day, lasted for 8 days.  The unfortunate part is that the Jews celebrate God's provision of oil, and ignore His provision of their Messiah.

We went to the mall in Charlotte today in search of some more Hebrew speaking vendors.  We prayed that we would be able to give out some more Barit Hodesha (New Covenants).  We were excited to arrive and see a program set up in the center of the mall for a Hanukkah Celebration hosted by a Jewish Preschool!  We gave one Hebrew New Testament to an Orthodox Jew there selling menorahs. 

We then found kiosks with 4 other Jewish young people.  We were able to give New Testaments to 2 of them and hope to go back when it is a little quieter.  We even shared a Hanukkah donut with one of the girls!

God is good.  He loves the Jewish people and He loves Israel.  Shouldn't we?

Just a note.  It was during Hanukkah (the festival of lights) that Jesus declared Himself to be the Light of the World. 

Monday, December 19, 2011


A Christmas tree made out of poinsettia lights.
Seattle, WA


Loving this season of the year!
****
Preparing to host 2 parties this week.
****
Busy, busy, busy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A New Job

Well, we were praying ...
    ... and God answered.

While we still wonder what a Bible college education has to do with our present course, we have been praying and asking God to show us whether we should stay here or move.  We knew that the position at Kmart was perfect during the school semester but would not adequately meet our needs after college.  We are thankful that on Tuesday, God gave hubby a job at a farm and tractor store/shop.  He will work as a diesel mechanic and a parts man for awhile.  The position is 8-5, M-F which allows for hubby to be in church for all services as well as to be involved in organized visitation on Saturdays.  What a blessing!  While we may wonder about the Bible college degree, we no longer wonder about his Diesel Mechanics Degree or his time ripping apart tractors on the dairy farm :)  It is just a reminder that God's timing is perfect ... and I sure needed that reminder this week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Willing Acceptance of God's Plan

Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:
for, behold,
from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him
from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud
in the imagination of their hearts.
 He hath put down the mighty from their seats,
and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath holpen his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham,
and to his seed for ever.

Every time that I read or am reminded of this "Magnificat" (Mary's Song),
I am amazed at Mary's strength in adversity. 
Sure she is respected today and held up as a godly example,
but the looks, comments, and opinions during her day were
probably less than favorable.
Her eyes were on God, her Savior.
She realized her true position before Him
and the honor of His calling.

How many times do I complain in my call?
Why don't I sing this as my own "Magnificat?"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No Room in the Inn

 No beautiful chamber, No soft cradle bed,
No place but a manger, Nowhere for His head;
No praises of gladness, No tho't of their sin,
No glory but sadness, No room in the inn.

No room, no room for Jesus, Oh, give Him welcome free,
Lest you should hear at heaven's gate, "There is no room for thee."

No sweet consecration, No seeking His part,
No humiliation, No place in the heart;
No tho't of the Savior, No sorrow for sin,
No pray'r for His favor, No room in the inn.

No one to receive Him, No welcome while here,
No balm to relieve Him, No staff but a spear;
No seeking His treasure, No weeping for sin,
No doing His pleasure, No room in the inn.

-A.L. Skilton

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chocolate Cookies with Peppermint Icing

While I can't attest to these cookies myself.  Both hubby and the Hebrew class seemed to enjoy them.  Don't get me wrong ... I wanted to try them, but I am a chocoholic who abstains from chocolate because I can't stop once I start (kind an "acceptable" addiction that I don't want to accept).  I did not use the frosting recipe suggested, but rather used some canned peppermint icing (forgive me).  You could add peppermint extract to the given recipe to achieve similar results.

Frosted Chocolate Delights

1/2 c shortening (I used butter)
1 c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c chopped walnuts (I used choc. chips since I was using peppermint icing)

FROSTING:
9 TBSP butter, softened
4 1/2 c confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
6-8 TBSP milk

Cream shortening and brown sugar.  Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla.  Beat in chocolate.  Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Stir in nuts (or choc. chips)

Drop by TBSP 2 in apart on ungreased sheets.  Bake at 350* for 11-13 min. or until firm.

For frosting ... cream butter and sugar.  Beat in vanilla and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency.  Frost cooled cookies.

* * * * * * * * *

I also made some homemade peanut butter cups. 
I no longer eat these ... but I know that they are DELICIOUS!




Friday, December 9, 2011

Mazel Tov Ishi

Congratulations, My Husband

Done!

This is the last day of classes.
No finals to take.

Have some treats to take to Hebrew class to celebrate.

It is a small enough school that the official ceremony will have to wait until May.
The question is ... Will we still be here?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Education

Can I be thankful twice today?

I am thankful for education. 
 I love to teach and I love to learn. 
I think I could gladly be a perpetual student. 
I am thankful for a hubby who loves to learn ... and encourages me to keep learning.
I have enjoyed the time that hubby has been in school
because there is always something new to read,
... to study,
... to research. 
So now what? 
We ordered Rosetta Stone Modern Hebrew yesterday. 
We will continue to study Biblical Hebrew on our own,
but would like to be able to speak in hopes of ministering to God's people - the Jews!

Accountability

Today I am thankful for my Sunday School class of five pre-teen and teen girls.  While not what I would have deemed my "calling" or gift, the uniqueness of this age has been a gift.  It took awhile to realize that my influence could extend past the walls of the classroom with this age.  Not only did they need a challenge from the Word each week, but a challenge to be more Christ-like throughout the week.  Who doesn't need that challenge?  Unfortunately, I have found it hard to find adult accountability partners.  I am not sure if we become embarassed as we age ... Perhaps we are scared that someone will discover that we are not a "Super-Christian."  BUT ... these girls are not afraid to put my feet to the fire and accept it from me as well.  What a joy to be approached on a Wednesday night and asked, "How are your devotions going this week?  Have you done them every day?" 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Negative Example

I have often thought that I learn best by negative examples.  Perhaps you have done it too.  You see an outcome, an action, or an activity that you do not like and you make a concerted effort to avoid it in your life.  Perhaps it was in your marriage, in your parenting style, in the way that you serve.  The negative example and result sometimes speaks far louder than the positive example.

In studying Genesis 16, I see in Sarah a negative example.  I can sympathize and empathize with Sarah.  She had a promise, but was not seeing the results.  She had already waited 10 years for her heart's desire and was losing hope.  In her desperation, she made a poor choice.  She chose to give her servant to her husband.  Now Abraham did not have to listen, but I can imagine that he may have been tired of seeing his wife's sorrow, he may have been losing faith as well, perhaps he just wanted to "just fix things."  In the end, her poor decision only compounded the problem.

How about you and me? 
Do I whine and complain to get my way? 
Do I wait for God to give me the desires of my heart? 
Do I encourage our husbands, friends, family to do wrong so that I can "fix" things? 

***********

It is another drippy day here. 
There is a promise of a break tomorrow. 
All of the rain reminds me of this verse.  

Proverbs 27:15 
A continual dropping in a very rainy day
and a contentious woman are alike.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Clutter Breeds Clutter

It is one of those strange scientific laws that is easily seen in a home.  Cleanliness breeds cleanliness and clutter breeds clutter.  Unfortunately the clutter has been winning in the little trailer here.  Typically, I do a really good cleaning before the Christmas decorations come out.  Not so this year.  In all the fun of decorating, the clutter was growing.  The part that I don't like about decorating is finding a spot for all the displaced things in the house.  Some just go back in the totes that the decorations came out of ... but some things are needful around the house.  I have spent some of the past two days fixing the clutter problem ... oh does that feel good.  A place for everything and everything in its place!

I think our personal and spiritual lives are the same way.  Bad eating choices breed more bad eating choices.  Good fitness choices breed other good choices.  A poor use of the tongue breeds more ill speech.  Good Bible study habits breed better study habits.

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.

Just as it feels good to walk around and work in a tidy, clean house, so it is a blessing to make right decisions and to walk with the Lord.  May I not let the "clutter" of life overcome my daily walk with the Lord.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Quaint and Charming Cookbook

I am not cooking tonight, because a good friend of ours is introducing us to a BBQ restaurant that our town is known for.  This includes the "best sweet tea" in the area and red BBQ slaw.  I am really looking forward to it.

Yesterday, I was not planning to cook either.  We were going to be distributing tracts at the fair grounds and were going to enjoy a bag lunch.  However, hubby wasn't feeling well, so some friends filled in.  That left a Sunday dinner unprepared.  My pastor's wife had mentioned that she was having Potato Soup and on the way home from church, I thought, I could throw together some Potato Soup.  I quickly went to this quaint, little cookbook, Just a Matter of Thyme which my Sister-in-law gave me as a shower gift 9 years ago.  It is a sweet book because of the pictures (drawings) and the handwriting-like font.  While not a "Taste of Home", every-recipe-is-a-winner book ... it does have some classics like this quick and easy one that saved the day yesterday ...

Stuffed Spud Soup

2 lbs frozen hash browns, thawed
1/2 c butter
1/2 c chopped green onion (I used white onion)
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
salt and pepper
3-4 c half 'n half or milk
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
bacon bits, parsley flakes, chopped chives, and/or sour cream for top

Saute onion in butter. 
Add soup, half 'n half, and thawed potatoes
(mine were frozen - still works but needs to warm a little longer). 
Stir in cheese and heat gently. 
Garnish and serve.
Serves 8-10

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Season Kick-off

Tonight, we dug out the Christmas decorations ... Christmas village, 3 nativities, stockings, and a few wall hangings.  While we began our work with scented candles and Classical Christmas CDs for ambiance, some carolers from the college came to cheer our spirits even more ... I have been a caroler many times, but have never had any on my door step. :)  Thanks Guys!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Opportunities

Today, I am thankful for opportunities that God gives us.  They are different for each person.  Our present study of the Hebrew language has opened a new door of opportunity for us.  I am sure that you have seen the kiosks for Israeli-made beauty aids in the mall.  Our Hebrew teacher encouraged us to use our knowledge of the language as a way to minister to the Jewish people working there.  Hubby went last night - not only do I have some really nice lotions, but he was able to give away 3 Hebrew New Testaments and was invited back by 2 of the men.  Hubby was on cloud 9 last night!  What an opportunity!

Tomorrow starts Christmas at the Fair.  We will be handing out tracts again.  Pastor and his wife said that while they were unpacking the tracts, people were asking for them.  Christmas is such an open door.

Will you pray for Maayan, Osher, Ben, and the people of Cleveland County who will receive the gospel this week?