Monday, December 31, 2012

Drawing to a Close

Well, tomorrow starts task of learning to write 2013.
I like the start of a new year.
I like to wonder what it holds and where I will be at this time next year.
I hardly expected to be writing this post from NC, but here I sit.
God is not done teaching me here or using me here.
I have now lived in NC longer than any other place I have live in my adult life.
(3 years FL, 4 years NY, 4 years WA, and now entering 5th year in NC)
I hardly expected to be writing using wireless Internet,
yet God supplied in the last week.
I hardly expected to revamp the entire way I shop, cook, bake, eat out,
yet I have entered the world of allergy free cooking.
I did set a few goals for last year.
I wanted to run more and even do 3 miles straight.
I wanted to memorize the book of Galatians.
I wanted to work on contentment.
I did finish the Couch to 5K program.
My time was reasonable and I improved my stamina and stride.
Unfortunately, I did not really keep it up, but I do run better now when I do run.
Hubby and I changed our schedules so we are running again together
and I will soon be back in form.
I got through 3 1/2 chapters of Galatians and plan to finish it this year.
Some was a lack of diligence on my part,
some was caused by some health struggles that seem to be improving.
I mentioned last week about how the gluten-free diet helped my depression ...
... and it also helped my contentment in the past year. (Praise the LORD!)
There is always so much to do and to adapt to be more like Christ and less like the world.

Friday, December 28, 2012

No Longer a Dinosaur

I am a bit excited today.
Today may be the day that I switch over to wireless Internet.
My wireless hot spot is supposed to arrive today!
If you have read this blog for long, you know that I have been
and saving pennies
in order to leave my dial-up service behind.
AT&T has been laughing at me for years because I am still using dial-up.
One representative actually called me a dinosaur!
My dilemma: try to bring in home phone and wireless under $50.

My dad recently made the switch from dial-up and it was a great deal,
but still under a contract.
We were not comfortable with a contract since
we want to be ready to move when God says "GO!"
and His plan may involve being without steady employment or income.
But my dad's switch made us pursue some different avenues in our search.

And ...
it is now possible.

Wally World has a wireless home telephone service for just $15 a month -
unlimited local and long distance.
That is half of what I am paying now for just local!

And then the exciting part ...
Wireless for $25 a month.
Of course there are limits on usage,
but we don't download music or video,
so we are hoping to keep it in the $40 a month price.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wisdom From Above

2012 was a year of great change for us.
Hubby was back to working full-time.
We changed our diet in a dramatic way.
We were back to being a 2 vehicle family.

On this last Thankful Thursday of the year,
I am so thankful that God led us to the diet change.
Such a relatively small change that gave big results.
Last year at this time, I was battling great depression and had been for a number of years.
The depression was not only debilitating physically,
but it was not a help to my spiritual life either.
Christians are not supposed to be down.
We have the Lord, and he is ALL that we need.
And yet, I seemed to always be struggling.
Was my faith lacking?

While many people turn to a gluten free diet for relief from tummy troubles,
the diet helped to regulate some hormones that gave me emotional relief.
It has been a much better year.
All praise to our God who made our bodies so intricately!
I am still learning so much about natural ways to help my body run the way that it should.

I am also thankful for family on both sides that have embraced our changes -
learning to read labels, spending extra for specialty foods, sending recipes my way,
and buying us an awesome grain mill.

I am also thankful that he sent us local friends this year who also understand and live by the diet.
What a thrill to have gluten-free chicken noodle soup brought to my door when I was sick!

I am thankful that God knows our needs,
that His wisdom is vast, immeasurable.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day

We enjoyed our Christmas Day immensely.
We have not been able to be with our physical family for Christmas in years
and the holiday seems strange to me without children about.
We have shared part of our Christmas Day with friends here in North Carolina before,
but did the entertaining ourselves this year.
Our friends were able to spend nearly the whole day with us.

We had a relaxing day.
Simple food.
Simple entertainment (the children).
Lovely conversation.

I greatly enjoyed having the kiddos about
and to be able to share out of the abundance that the Lord has blessed us with.

Now, back to routine -
at least until New Years :)

By Your Fruits

Proverbs 31:31
Give her of the fruit of her hands;
and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Don't tell me about your success -

On this final Woman's Work Wednesday of the Year,
we read the last comment about the Virtuous Woman.

This exemplary woman does not have to brag about her virtue,
the successes of her life speak for themselves.
Look at her life - kind, calm, prepared, successful, modest, hard-working.
Listen to those she has touched - husband, children, servants, poor, needy.

The proofs of your successes and/or failures are all around you.
You do not have to tell me about your greatness - I will be able to see it.
Do folks turn to you for stability?
Do they know that you are unflappable (because you are relying on THE ROCK)?
Are your home and family in order?
Are you known for your kindness and generosity?
Do you stand behind your husband and have a stake in his success?
Do you live what you preach?

James 3:11-18
 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place
sweet water and bitter?
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries?
either a vine, figs?
so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?
let him shew out of a good conversation
his works with meekness of wisdom.
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts,
glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above,
but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is,
there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated,
full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality,
and without hypocrisy.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
of them that make peace.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

We do wish you a very special day.
May you not lose sight of the reason for the holiday.

We are entertaining friends today -
or maybe they are becoming family.
A young couple and their 3 kiddos.

A little untraditional meal -
hubby is grilling chicken, shrimp and veggies
and the dessert request was gluten free lemon bars.
We are going to have mint oreos too!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012


And ...
... I have a new floor!

Rotted subflooring removed exposing insulation and pipes.

New plywood in place
New laminate covering the plywood

All trimmed up and back in business

 We had been hoping that the landlord would let us redo the entire kitchen floor.
We are sure that there are 2 other spots with rotted subflouring ...
... and the linoleum is cut in many places and brittle ...

... but it was not to be, and I am thankful for the space that did get fixed.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Putting in part of a new kitchen floor today.
The portion nearest to the sink finally fell through.
The tenant's before us must not have realized that leaking pipes
and press board are a bad combination.

Mess - Mess - Mess

All the wet wood cut away exposing insulation.
Ready to put in new wood.
The landlord gave us some PERGO-like floor covering to use on top.

I will share more pictures with you on Monday -
it may be complete then, or it may still be a work in progress.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Greatest Gift

Society is full of gifts right now.
Some are practical.
Some are frivolous.
Some are extravagant.
Some are predictable.

On this last "Thankful Thursday" before Christmas
I am so thankful for the greatest gift -
the gift of a Savior more than 2000 years ago.
Jesus Christ took on flesh and was made a man -
not just to make a sweet nativity scene,
not just to give another holiday to celebrate -
He came with the purpose of dying for our sins.
This gift is not just for me - it is for all mankind.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We are all sinners deserving of the ultimate punishment -
death and hell -
but He, as the perfect sacrifice
took our punishment.
If you and I acknowledge Christ as God,
his death on the cross,
and his resurrection from the grave,
and repent (turn from) of our sins,
God promises us a home in heaven one day.

It is that simple,
but we are prideful people,
and many will not bow the knee to God
and will refuse the gift.

God offers the greatest gift.
Have you received it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

True Beauty

Proverbs 31:30
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

Here is the trait that led to the virtuous woman's success in every other area.
The virtuous woman feared the Lord.
I have often heard this preached that she was a Christian.
Indeed, in order to fear the Lord, one must accept Him as Savior,
but I believe that there are many Christian women who do not properly fear the Lord.

The fear of the Lord should and will change every aspect of our lives ...
how we work,
how we care for our bodies,
how we dress,
what we listen to,
how we raise our children,
how we spend our free time,
how we speak,
how we see others,
how we pray,
how we study the Bible ...

I believe that it is easy to deceive ourselves as women.
Fearing the Lord is not just 5 minutes in the morning,
or participating in family devotions,
or serving at church ... get the idea.

My life should be changed if I fear the Lord.
It will make me different from the world and from many Christians.
Solomon knew how rare this woman was -
out of his 1000 wives/concubines I believe he could not find one.
Perhaps that is because we often run on emotions, or on the desire to please others.

Ecclesiastes 7:25,27-28
I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things,
and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: ...

 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found;
but a woman among all those have I not found.     I truly believe that if I could master the fear of the Lord, the other traits of the virtuous woman would just fall into place. I would be disciplined, healthy, economical, kind, resourceful ...
  The Fear of the Lord    

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crowded Out

Two questions have jumped out at me this year.
"Are you Ready for Christmas?"
"Will we have a good Christmas?"

I understand the first to ask -
is your shopping done?
are the Christmas cards in the mail?
how is the baking coming?
and yet it strikes me that Jesus is missing in the question.
I should always be ready to remember and celebrate Christ's birth.

The second question is more disheartening.
The context usually explains this question as ...
Will I get what I want?
Will there be a lot of Christmas presents?
Christ is again missing.

Reminds me of this hymn:

Crowded Out
by C.H. Morris

Is Christ crowded out of your busy life
With the toiling that each day brings?
With the strain and stress of the cares 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 your 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.

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?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Glad for Pioneers

Well, I think I found it ...
while I am still searching for a bread recipe ...
I think I found a roll recipe that I like. 

We were having beef stew at our church fellowship on Sunday. 
What goes better with soup or stew than warm bread?
 ... so I had to try it. 
The first recipe I tried was phenomenal fresh ...
but the next day ...
kind of like a hardened sponge - not even the microwave would help it. 
The second recipe was good, but needed a little tweaking. 
So, I combined the recipe of #2 with the baking style of recipe #1
and had an acceptable roll on Sunday morning. 
I suppose that in time this will all become routine -
I keep learning more and more about this strange activity called gluten free baking
as I read more and more recipes. 

I have found that my most trusted resources have been
Gluten Free on a Shoestring
and the Gluten Free Bible
Both have proven reliable for a good recipe.
I am glad for those who have figured out the ins and outs of gf baking.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Little Date

Since I have spent the fall trying to rid my house of "stuff,"
I do not desire to add to the clutter again.

And so, I am encouraged that hubby and I are going to
share the gift of time this Christmas rather than accumulating more stuff.
Tomorrow he is taking me to an exhibit on the preservation of the Bible.
It is sponsored by Hobby Lobby - a great craft store that is still closed on Sunday.
It is over in Charlotte, so while we are there ...
I think a trip to our favorite GF restaurant is in order!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Great Physician

There is nothing like an illness to remind you to be thankful ...
...thankful for the Great Physician.

I am thankful for a God with power of sickness and disease.
I am thankful to be feeling better.

I was tickled when heard that a doctor in our area admitted that the flu shot
that was being given this year did not match the strain of the flu that
the county has been fighting this month.

God has given mankind intelligence,
but the power of life and death,
sickness and health,
are still in His hands.

For that I am thankful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Not Just Status Quo

Proverbs 31:29
Many daughters have done virtuously,
but thou excellest them all.

The virtuous woman did not settle for average.
She did the best that she could in all situations.

She may not have been the best at everything.
Her time, energies, and health may have held her back some days.
Yet, this woman put what she had into everything that she attempted.

Virtue is not really what is seen on the outside (though it will be seen).
Virtue is like character - it is who you are when no one is watching.

Do you work differently when hubby is home?
Is your house cleaner when mom is coming for a visit?
Does your computer and reading time change if others are around?

Working hard, no matter what.

Very convicting.

Monday, December 10, 2012

On the mend?

No recipes to share today, because I just have not been doing any extra cooking. 
I was even blessed to have some friends bring us some chicken noodle soup on Saturday -
I couldn't taste it, but it was warm and satisfying.
Been down with the flu - fever, aches, pains, and serious head cold ... oh, and laryngitis a few days. 
It is a strange bug ... been going on for over a week like a roller coaster ...
good day, bad day, good day, bad day. 
Hope the worst is behind me. 
So thankful that hubby has stayed well. 

Hoping to try making GF rolls this week. 
We're having a church dinner on Sunday and our sweet church family is planning
 GF beef stew and ham as the main dishes. 
I would like to take some rolls to go with the delicious stew! 
Need to search for a good dessert to take ... it might be pumpkin pie! 
It might be mini-cheesecakes! 
Or maybe it will involve a google search for something new!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Why Celebrate?

Christmas is in the air!
Hubby put up his Christmas village on Tuesday,
and I followed with 3 nativities and some greenery yesterday.
I also created the Christmas cards which await personal messages.

I love this season.
I love remembering the humility of the Savior who came to die for me.
I love the scents of pine and peppermint.
I love the winter decorations - pine boughs and ribbon.
I love remembering the ultimate gift (Christ)
by giving gifts to those I love.
I love sending Christmas cards to thank others for their part in my life
and to remind them of the true meaning of Christmas.

We are planning a quiet Christmas celebration this year.
Enjoying a slower day.
Enjoying some special treats.
Enjoying the reminder of Christ's birth -
for without His sacrifice, I could not have eternal life.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I am an avoider
Yes, I avoid the doctor like the plague. 
Perhaps some of it is the cost,
some of it is the invasion of privacy,
and most of it is that many doctors want to medicate for EVERYTHING. 
Since we moved to NC (4 years ago), the only doctor I have seen is the dentist. 
We go to a dental college in Charlotte that offers free cleanings, advice and referrals.
  Yesterday, I returned to the eye doctor after 5 years. 
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that my eyes were improving. 
For that, I am thankful. 
Of course, then I wonder if my nearsightedness will improve and I will soon need reading glasses :)

And now starts the search for a regular doctor. 
It is about time for a well-person checkup. 
I loved the doctor I found in WA and perhaps I can find one just as relaxed and down-to-earth here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Ultimate Reward

Proverbs 31:28
Her children arise up, and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praiseth her.

In the last four verses of this inspiring chapter,
we are allowed to see the reward given to this virtuous woman.
It is not money, prizes, or trophies.
This woman receives the praise she deserves.
It is not the praise of the community that is mentioned first
(though I am sure the merchants, the poor, and her servants would praise her),
but it is her family.
Her husband praises her because she indeed is his help meet.
She has aided him in his successes and supported him in his failures.
He recognizes the role his wife plays in encouraging him and helping him meet his responsiblities.
Her children also praise her because she has done her best
to prepare them for whatever their futures hold.
They appreciate the tought love, the present ear, the years of prayers.

It is sad that many women search for fulfilment outside of the home.
They seek the praise of a boss or coworkers rather than
the praise of the husband and children that they should be ministering to.
I recognize that there are many husbands who do not give the praise their wives deserve,
there are many ungrateful children who do not respect their mothers as they should,
but there are also many wives and mothers not seeking to be a "virtuous woman."
These traits will take time, practice, and effort to develop.

There is no greater reward, in my opinion,
after a difficult day of homekeeping,
than recognition from my hubby -
he appreciates the clean home, the ready meal, the sweet treat.
And even if hubby forgets to say something,
I feel a reward in his successes -
because I am his HELP MEET
and that is the best job I have ever had.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Constant Modification

There are days when I realize that we have lived in NC longer than we have lived anywhere else.  I realize this because everything has a place and we both know where that "place" is.  Sometimes it seems that the house can run itself.  And yet there is always something that needs a little "tweaking."  And so ... we tweak!

The most recent was our exercise schedule.  While it is easy for me to find a time to run, walk, jog, lift weights, jump rope ... hubby was a little disappointed in his ability to find a good option.  4:00 runs were not suiting him, his walks on his lunch break do not get his heart rate up, and since we eat at 5:30 when he walks in the door, evening exercise was hard until 7:30 or 8:00 when it was time to wind down.

After a brainstorm on Sunday afternoon, we decided to postpone dinner and run together at least 3 times a week (Mon, Tues, and Saturday) as soon as hubby got home.  We are still in the trial days, but we have to find something that works for both of us.  Though I can fit exercise in throughout the day, I really enjoy hubby's motivation - he definitely pushes me farther than I push myself!

Monday, December 3, 2012


My first few attempts at Gluten-Free pizza were less than spectacular.  I was so desperate that I was searching high and low for restaurants that would serve me a gluten free pizza.  Well, our plans to visit a gluten free pizza restaurant continued to fall through and I continued to try my hand at an acceptable crust.  I have now made a good one and hubby agrees that we need search no farther.  I am thrilled because my friend Lynette, from WA, had shared her AWESOME recipe for pizza sauce and I mourned the fact that I might not be able to use it again.  I enjoy using the recipe because it is just REALLY good and because it reminds me of many nights shared with our friends (included as if we were family) when we were so far away from our physical families. 

Lynette's Pizza Sauce

1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 clove pressed garlic
2 Tbsp dried onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp each dried basil, oregano, marjoram
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt

Mix together well, cover, and set on counter for 1 hour.
Enough Sauce for 3 15" pizzas.
Extra sauce freezes well.
(1/2 of recipe covers a cookie sheet size pizza)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Home Improvements

On this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful as a homemaker.

The first blessing was Monday.
We arrived home from NY to find that a small leak in the kitchen pipes was now a large leak.
This leak had been an issue before we moved in (as evidenced by water stains and a rotted floor)
but we had not seen any further damage until this past month.
When we called the landlord, he was on his way out of town.
He agreed to pay for the parts AND hubby's labor.
Not only am I assured that it is done well,
but it was finished by Monday night rather than days later!

The other blessing was a "gift" from a friend.
Our friend Sam used to live in the trailer below us.
While he lived there, he put beautiful red rocks around the trailer and the trees.
The trailer has been removed, but the beautiful rocks remain.
So, 5 gallon bucket by 5 gallon bucket I am regraveling my driveway!

And ... in the process ... I get real life exercise.
Between the raking and the rock hauling I have found some muscles that I had forgotten.

And speaking of exercise and reasons to be thankful,
my dear hubby just ordered me a "running skirt" on Cyber Monday -
I am eager to receive it!
Check them out at
They were having a 20% off and free shipping sale on Monday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Diligent Oversight

Proverbs 31:27
She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness.

We now come to the last trait of this Proverbs 31 woman before we see her rewards.
This virtuous woman is diligent in all areas.
She carefully oversees each member and each activity in her home.
I imagine that she carefully trained each servant and each child in one activity at a time.
Each member knew how to perform their work, their chores, their tasks.
I imagine that she followed this mantra:
"You must inspect what you expect."
You and I know that if I merely give a command, it may or may not be heeded;
but if I follow the command with visual inspection, I can assure it will be completed.
I also imagine that in time it almost appeared that the home ran itself :)

She also oversees her time.
She is not absorbed into useless activities.
She uses each moment wisely.
She did not lose her day to long phone calls, to web searches,  etc.
She was a fan of the BEST, not just the GOOD.

Diligence ...
... hopefully it is the trait that will finish raking the yard,
list some more eBay products,
make a Sunday School worksheet,
and bake a pumpkin pie today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Simple Prayer

Psalm 86:17
Shew me a token for good;
that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed:
because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.

Such a simple prayer.

God regularly shows me a "token for good"
without even waiting for my request.

Just imagine what I would see if I would but ask!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

For the first time in MANY years, we were away for Thanksgiving.  I believe that our last Thanksgiving away from home was spent eating Turkey sandwiches on the North Shore in Hawaii when hubby was in port for a week in about 2004.  We took a whirlwind trip to NY.  It was supposed to be linked to some schooling in PA this week, but that training was postponed.

We had smooth sailing on our Northbound trek.  13 hours door to door.  We spent time with family on Thursday and Friday especially trying to become more than a picture to many of our nieces and nephews - though one nephew told me that I did not look like my blog picture (I look older now!)  My mom prepared a gluten-free feast for our first gluten-free Thanksgiving ... from stuffing, to gravy, to pie, to pumpkin bread, and even gingerbread cookies and breakfast casserole.  The only thing we had to pass on was the rolls.

Of course, we are always hoping for a glimpse of snow when we head north.  After a balmy Thanksgiving day ... We got it!  It started snowing on Friday night and we ended up traveling in icy snow through NY, PA, and WV.  It was so much "fun" that we were stopped on I-79 for almost an hour and a half while spun-out cars were cleared from icy bridges.  Needless to say, we were glad to get home in one piece and enjoyed services in our church on Sunday. 

I have cleaned the house this morning and have the clothesline full.  The yard needs some serious raking and this may be the afternoon for that before some rain moves in.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give Thanks

Psalm 106:1 
Praise ye the LORD.
O give thanks unto the LORD;
for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

His goodness
His mercy
His grace
His longsuffering
His care
His knowledge
His understanding
His holiness
His love
His provision
His strength
His healing
His wisdom

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Godly Mouth

Proverbs 31:26
She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

More on this godly woman's character ...
the virtuous woman knows how to use (or not use) her words.

This woman knows the right thing to say.
She knows Wisdom (Christ).
She is thoughtful, careful, and helpful in her speech.
I am often at a loss to help a friend ...
...I fear it is because I do not always have the wisdom of God.
This only comes through dedicated, careful time with Him.

This woman is not a gossip, a back biter, a slanderer.
She uses her tongue to build rather than to tear down.

You will probably be tested in the next few busy days?
Maybe you are being tested right now?
Perhaps in your home, with the children, the relatives, your spouse?
Perhaps at church?
Perhaps even online?
Will your speech put you in a class with the virtuous woman?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where Did It Go?

I am sure that you have noticed it over the years. 
Out goes the Halloween trash and in comes the Christmas trimmings. 
The one display of Thanksgiving/Fall decorations and treats are already 50% off on November 1. 
Yes, it has been going on for awhile. 
Thanksgiving ... the forgotten holiday. 
And yet, it used to be relegated to the commercial scene
and I could understand (though not approve) of that. 
Hubby and I were out a week ago and we noticed icicle lights,
Christmas trees, and wreaths adorning the houses around us ...
... 2 weeks before Thanksgiving?!?!

It is absurd and sad to me to miss a holiday focused on being thankful. 
My flesh easily chooses the path of covetousness
and I like and need the reminder to focus on what I have been given.

Society in general has forgotten to be thankful. 
The writer of Romans described the most evil of societies in Romans chapter 1
and it all began with unthankful hearts.

Romans 1:21
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,
neither were thankful;
 but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 

I trust that you are not overlooking this precious time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Breathe Deeply

I always love the feeling of a Monday.  For one, it is my cleaning day - the day to clear away those piles that have accumulated on the piano and one dining room chair.  I love the smell of the cleaners and a fall candle burning.  It is a fresh week to strive to meet my goals.  Hubby helped me clean up the yard and gardens on Saturday, so even that looks fresh (though the leaves are falling rapidly and I am sure that I will have to rake after the Thanksgiving holiday).

I accomplished much more than expected today.  I expected an afternoon full of piano lessons that were to be moved because Thursday is Thanksgiving - but they all cancelled.  So the house was cleaned more thoroughly, extra computer work will be accomplished, and I have worked on cutting out letters and visuals for the church bulletin boards for December and January.

It will be a busy week with Thanksgiving? 
Don't know how many days I will be able to visit with y'all, but never fear -
I will be back when things die down!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Supposed To

It is a weekly part of my Sunday School class to have the girls give thanks for SOMETHING!
Typically the answers revolve around a warm shower, a delicious meal,
the sleepover party, friends, pets, transportation, family,
sunshine, rain, air conditioning.
It revolves around things that we like ... things that make us comfortable.

Last night, pastor asked us what we "should" be thankful for.
Of course my first thought was North Carolina.
Then I thought that there were so many things that I forget to be thankful for:
the person who know how to press my buttons,
the spilled flour or dry beans all over the newly cleaned kitchen,
the child who obviously hasn't looked at his music lesson since last week,
empty arms,
a broken car,
unusually large insects,
the overdone (aka burnt) meal,
a few rainy days in a row ...

The Bible says "In everything give thanks."
Easy talking, hard living!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Peaceful Confidence

Proverbs 31:25
Strength and honour are her clothing;
and she shall rejoice in time to come.

A trait of spirit and character.
I admire all of this woman's virtues,
it is hard to pick one that I admire most.

The virtuous woman does not fear the future.
The virtuous woman rests.
The virtuous woman will have joy in days ahead.
Do you know many women who are truly peaceful?

Why does this woman have this peaceful confidence?
She "wears" or "is robed in" her godly character.
She has strength of mind and character.
She is honorable in her thoughts, actions and words.
She is secure.
She is not blown about and troubled with every wind of change.
She is not unsettled by changes in her schedule.
Her trust is in the right source.
It is God who gives her this amazing strength.
She does not fear what others may say of her -
she lives righteously before her God and others.
She does not need to defend her actions.

Can you and I walk in that peace and confidence?
With God's help, we can!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Enough Said

Psalm 84:9-12
 Behold, O God our shield,
and look upon the face of thine anointed.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. 
I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God,
than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield:
the LORD will give grace and glory:
no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Winding Down

We had our first good frost on Friday morning.  That finished off the beans, the tomatoes, and the cucumber plants.  That leaves some root vegetables (carrots and beets), kale and peas.  I got all the withered plants cleaned up, mulched, and buried on Friday afternoon before a BEAUTIFUL weekend.  It is hard to believe that in only 3 more months I will be planting again.  I am hoping that our rain today knocks down some more leaves so that we can get the yard cleaned up one last time before Thanksgiving, but I am not holding my breath!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pleasant Surprise

On this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for little surprises.
I have been involved with some online survey companies for a number of years. 
It is not overly lucrative - perhaps earning $10 every 3 months, but $10 is $10. 
Recently I was asked to use 2 different shampoos for 10 days each and then to give my opinion. 
What a surprise when my box arrived with 4 full-sized bottles! 
I am thankful for the little pleasures that God sends our way. 
I use Pantene as my regular shampoo, but the TreSemme - what luxury! 
I guess that I made more than $10 this month :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is it a problem for me?

Proverbs 31:24
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it;
and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

The ever-inspiring, virtuous woman ...
here she is using her skills to bring extra income to her home.
Here is the verse that many folks have thought should cause me some trouble.
Why trouble?
Well, I am a SAHW (stay at home wife) by conviction.
I believe that God would have a wife or mother to have her place in the home.
More than a few people have asked me what I do with the virtuous woman -
- an able business woman.
I concede - she is working and she is great business sense.
But I believe that she is working in her home (remember the candle, the spindle, the distaff) ...
you see, she delivers her products to the merchant.
If she sells it to the merchant - then he is in the public market selling it.

The virtuous woman uses any extra time she has,
along with her well-honed skills,
to bring in some extra income for the family.

How is this seen today?
tutoring in the home,
making goods for craft fairs,
etsy shops,
avon, tupperware, ... (you know the list)
innumerable creative ways.

Yes, I have one of these businesses.
I teach piano lessons.
the catch?
my students (and their parents) know that if hubby needs me,
he comes first.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?

I just received yet another phone call regarding the election.
This one was from the candidate himself.
He said a vote for him would help America to remain the "hope of the earth."

Neither America nor this candidate is the hope of the earth,
but I know someone who is -
and He is greater than any Presidential candidate!

How Could You Forget?

I don't think that you could forget -
not with all the phone calls,
the mailings,
the news coverage.

But just in case -
Don't forget to go vote today.

Only a moment

For what is your life?
It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time,
and then vanisheth away.
James 4:14

I receive the paper each morning.
While I look at the whole paper, in our tiny paper the news is primarily obituaries and comics.
In the obituaries, I look for names I know, but I also look at ages.
There are usually one or two days a week where there is the death of a child or of someone my age.
There is that reminder that I am not guaranteed tomorrow.
Our neighborhood is in a state of shock to find that a young father of 6 is battling cancer.
If you have visited me and your children have played on the playground,
you have probably met him.

The reminder seems to serve 3 purposes.
One, it makes me thankful for today.
Two, it releases the pride from thinking that I am indispensable.
Three, it makes me more urgent to tell others about saving grace.

Will you pray for Mike and his family today?
He will be seen at Cancer Centers of America this weekend.

If you are uncertain of your life beyond death,
will you make certain today?
Leave me a message or visit here for the plan of salvation.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Can You Actually Taste Fall?

Well, I did not get pumpkin snickerdoodles made this weekend,
but maybe later this week.
The apple turnovers looked phenomenal and my students were pleased with their treat.
We enjoyed dinner with friends at our favorite restaurant on Saturday night - Fun!
And then we celebrated the birthday of a brand new 8 year old after church on Sunday night.

I am not sure if you can actually taste fall,
but if you can ... then this is it.
apples, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg,
crunchy topping, creamy filling ...
and easy to make gluten or dairy free.

Dutch Apple-Pumpkin Crisp

1 1/2 c chopped peeled apples (2 small)
3/4 c all-purpose flour (or gluten free blend)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c butter or margarine, softened
1 c canned pumpkin
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 c milk
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice {I snuck in a little extra :) }
1 egg
whipped cream / ice cream if desired.

Heat oven to 350*
Spread apples over bottom of 9" glass pie plate.
Microwave uncovered on High for 4-6 minutes or until apples are crisp-tender.
Toss 3/4 c flour, brown sugar, butter, and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice until crumbly.  Set aside.
In another bowl.  Beat remaining ingredients (except whipped cream) until smooth.
Pour over apples.
Sprinkle with flour mixture.
Bake 30-35 min. until golden brown and set.
Cool 20 minutes.
Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Recipe was found on

Friday, November 2, 2012

Birthday Treats and Fall Baking

It is a big birthday weekend for the church - with a church of about 40, 2 birthdays is a big weekend.  I am making some gluten-free, dairy free cupcakes for tonight's party which will hopefully leave a couple for the party tomorrow as well.  I would not make them for just Chris and me, but my little friend will be there and it is a little harder to understand when you are six!  Also making some apple turnovers (the glutened variety) for my Sunday School class - the recipe looks a little time-consuming, but yummy! ... and am itching to try a recipe for pumpkin - apple crisp for hubby and I.  I just found a recipe for pumpkin Snickerdoodles which should take car of the remainder of the jar of pumpkin ... AAHH!  Fall Treats!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

More Space

One empty lot right below,
and another empty lot past the storage shed.
On this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for an ever-expanding back yard - you know, wide open spaces.  Sounds funny, doesn't it?  I live in a trailer park, but not quite as you would normally picture it.  Yes, about half of the trailers (maybe more) are in disrepair, but we are not packed on top of each other, for which I am very thankful.  In the 4 years that we have been here, the owners have removed or sold the two trailers in the lots below us ... which means more back yard for us (and yet I don't have to mow it all).  The little one bedroom trailer directly below us was remove yesterday (a fun process to watch).  The picture was taken from my back porch.  Hopefully the front and back porch that are sitting below will soon be removed as well :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Like the Word FREE

One of my friends just showed me this opportunity to get $25 added to an account at  They sell photo cards, journals, party decorations and art work.  This is my personal referral link and for every order shipped, they will give me an additional $25 as well.  And hey, you can turn around and try it with your friends as well.  I hope to get some cute personalized journals for my Sunday School class for Christmas.
They currently have free shipping on holiday cards with the code BACKER12.  The site also offered me 10% off on my order of 3 or more items.  You can only use one coupon code per order though.

And you can sign up here for an additional $25 off of a $50 order with a coupon code.

This is the perfect time to share this deal with the Christmas season coming up.

**It appears that in order to use the coupon code with the $25 promotional you must purchase $75 worth of merchandise.** 

Shipping is $7.95.

Behind Every Great Man ...

Proverbs 31:23
Her husband is known in the gates,
when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

The book of Proverbs is full of praise for a virtuous wife,
and full of warnings about life with the clamorous, nagging, undisciplined woman.
Here, Solomon continues his praise for this Proverbs 31 woman.
Perhaps the praise is not direct,
but Solomon sees her husband's success as a reflection of her virtue.
Her husband has a place of prominence, in part because of his wife.
After the preceding descriptions of this woman,
I am sure that this husband does not worry about things at home while at the city gates-
he knows things are being well-cared for and he has confidence in his wife.

I agree with Solomon.
I think a wife can have a great influence on her husband's success or lack thereof.
A wife can prevent her husband from advancing.
A wife can hold back helpful advice and ideas.
A wife can berate, correct and belittle until there is no desire to succeed.
A wife can dishonor and embarrass.
A wife can put her own "needs" and wants ahead of those of her family.
In ministry, a wife can disqualify a man from his calling.

On the flip side, a wife can be the greatest cheerleader.
A wife can give loving counsel that no one else can due to her special relationship.
A wife can honor her husband and breed that respect in others.
A wife can create a home that encourages peace and creativity.
 A wife can work beside to help to carry her husband's load.
A wife can be the most faithful prayer warrior for her husband.
A wife can support her husband's goals at home, work, and in ministry.

I long to help my husband succeed.
I must recognize that I play a part in his success.
So I must get busy supporting, cheering, praying, and honoring...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A New Record?

I opened the paper this morning
and read that there was a chance of snow this morning.

I have heard of snow in NY in October,
but NC?

I know it won't last if it comes,
but it sure would be nice to see!
Supposedly the mountains around us will have snow this week,
maybe I need to take a little road trip!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Staying In!

The laundry is out this morning and will be dry in record time this morning.  The wind is very strong as we feel the minor effects of Hurricane Sandy.  The temperatures have dropped substantially and we are looking at day time highs in the 50's and nighttime lows near freezing this week.  It will be a good week to get things done in the house and that's ok because I did the yard and garden work late last week.  Because it looks like the garden my not be around much longer, we picked a "mess" of beans on Saturday and worked together to get them in the freezer. 

I baked my first, truly enjoyable gluten-free bread on Saturday.  It was soft.  It rose well.  It had great flavor (almost rye with onion).  I wish that I could say that I made it from scratch, but I used a Bob's Red Mill Whole grain Bread mix.  It was awesome for toasted cheese, with bean and potato soup, and as "Egg in a whole."  The loaf is all gone, but I have 3 more bags of that mix, along with 4 for white bread.  I found the mixes at my discount grocery for only $.99 per bag!  It inspires me to keep looking for a "from scratch" recipe that will be better - If Bob can do it?  Why not I? 

Already more than 1/2 gone by the time I got the camera.

My cooking has been rather experimental, but I did come up with a "winner" on Saturday morning.  I took my buckwheat pancake recipe and tweaked it for fall.  Instead of milk, I used my remaining pumpkin spice creamer and soy milk and then added diced apples.  Hubby thought that they were the best pancakes that he has ever had and that thrilled this little wife's heart.

For my readers along the eastern seaboard -
I pray for your safety and warmth today. 
Stay in if you can.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Simple Pleasures

On this Thankful Thursday,
I am thankful for my warm cup of coffee ...
... with pumpkin spice creamer!

What a simple pleasure on a cool morning!

I am thankful for the promise of a warm day
and the clothes drying on the line.

I am thankful for 9 piano lessons today -
the opportunity to share what I have been taught.

I am thankful for a loving husband,
and a warm home,
and a thriving garden,
and food on the table,
and a car that is better than a Duracell,
and new lessons to learn,
and struggles that stretch me,
and endless ministry opportunities,
and good health.


What if the only things you had today
were the things you thanked God for yesterday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Befitting Her Station

Proverbs 31:22
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry;
her clothing is silk and purple.

Now we look at the character of the virtuous woman by her attire.
This woman is a woman of business as well as the wife of an influential men.
She is a well-organized homemaker.
Thus, she dresses in a way befitting her position. 
She is appropriate in her dress. 
She is dressed WELL!

It was a real treat to move into our neighborhood 4 years ago.
Why so?
Each of our neighbors dressed for their position.
Many claimed the name of Christ, and they portrayed it in their modest dress.
It is unfortunate that in the last year, many women have chosen to forget their position and title
and in turn dishonor the God they claim as well as their husband.
Many times we have had to shut the blinds or move to another side of the trailer
because a woman has chosen to display her body inappropriately.

I want to emulate the virtuous woman in my dress.
It is hard when the world displays one vision of beauty and popular dress.
Sometimes it is hard to be "different" or "peculiar."

I claim to be Christ's child.
I want to be an asset to my husband and our ministries.
I do not want to cause a stumbling block to another man.
I want to be an example to young women making decisions on their own for the first time.
And so, I try to make or find clothes that cover, that do not cling,
that point others to Christ in their uniqueness from the world.

There was a day when the "royals" always had attire that set them apart.
They knew their station in life and they dressed the part - whether casual or formal.
I want to dress like a queen - my husband's queen.
I want to dress like a princess - the child of the KING!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Something Good?

I like to find something special about where I live that helps me to be content.
Upstate NY has beautiful falls, mountain hikes, and cool weather.
Pensacola, FL has beautiful snow-white beaches.
Seattle, WA has beautiful mountains, rocky coastlines, and very temperate weather.
But, North Carolina?  What does it have?
hot summers?  red clay? 
I certainly have had a hard time finding it.
But ... I finally realized it today.
It has a tremendously long growing season.
We are enjoying fresh green beans this week and thinking about the snap peas coming.
We are also enjoying the nice long fall.

This little couple is going to enjoy the long fall too.
The pumpkins are from our little garden patch!

The girl is a bit more feminine this year.
I gave her a skirt!
I will be spending the day in Charlotte while hubby attends tractor school.
Plenty of window shopping awaits!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Seasonal Treats

Have you noticed all the seasonal treats out in the stores? 
For me it is all things pumpkin spice - marshmallows, creamer, cream cheese ... 
I just love the fall flavor. 
While putting Bibles together at church on Friday night,
one of the other ladies suggested a twist on French Toast using pumpkin spice cream cheese. 
I do not make french toast much because hubby doesn't care for it, but this got him excited too. 
So I made bread on Saturday night so that we could have the special french toast
on Sunday morning with our coffee (lightened with pumpkin spice creamer, of course). 
It is so simple, I can't believe I did not think of it before. 
Just spread pumpkin spice cream cheese (or any flavor) between two slices of bread. 
Dip in egg mixture (use your favorite) and fry as usual like a grilled cheese sandwich.


Thursday, October 18, 2012


Perhaps it is human nature, or perhaps it is just a struggle that I have.
 It is easy to get complacent in areas where I feel I am above the norm.
It is an unhealthy comparison.
It is a prideful laziness.
It is upholding man's standard above God's standard.
Recently, I had let my exercise slide.
My weight was consistent.
I was eating healthy foods.
Why exercise? right?
Muscles need strength training and daily use to maintain strength and usefulness.

I am thankful this week for a woman that reminded me (by her actions)
to get back to this discipline.
I am thankful when a church family is healthy and doing what it should do.
I am thankful for those who are righteously consistent.
I am thankful for my sore muscles this morning which remind me
that I am doing the right thing after too many weeks off.
I am thankful for mobility.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More Confident

Well, I did it. 
I made another gluten-free pie yesterday. 
Apple - in honor of the season.
So what?
Well, not only did I make it for my very supportive and encouraging husband,
but I also served it to non-gluten free guests. --- and they ate it!

My goal is to be more confident in my gluten-free cooking that I will not feel leery to make
gluten-free meals for sick folks, new parents, church get-togethers, etc.

Hubby and I even enjoyed a piece for breakfast - yummy!

And today, time to clean up in the gardens again.
We should be picking pole beans by this time next week
and the peas have blossoms!

Fully Prepared

Proverbs 31:21
She is not afraid of the snow for her household:
for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

Have you ever heard of the french toast phenomenon?
It was new to me until we moved to this area of NC.
When "harsh" weather is predicted,
the bread, milk, and eggs just fly off the shelves.
It tickles me for a number of reasons -
one "harsh" is not usually that harsh around these parts,
and, if it is harsh, we won't have power and the milk and eggs will go bad,
and, why not stock up on pb & j?

I doubt that the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31
would have participated in the french toast phenomenon.
She was prepared.
This woman looks ahead.
I am sure that it did not apply to just clothing, but also to food, shelter, time.
She looked ahead.
She was not flustered or taken back.
She knew that her preparations were sufficient.

Do I look ahead to prepare?
Am I ready to feed guests at any moment?
Am I ready to take a meal to the sick?
Does my family have clothing appropriate for each season and occasion?
Am I taking care of my possessions so that they will not fail me at the most inopportune time?
Do I try to stay "up" on the cleaning so that an unexpected guest does not ruffle me?

~*~ Fully Prepared ~*~