Friday, June 29, 2012

Make Hay While the Sun ...

... Doesn't Shine

I can't say that I am particularly fond of the heat this time of year.  It seems that I have to rush around to get so much done before the heat of the day.  By 8 this morning, I had watered the gardens (takes about 45 minutes), had devotions, made breakfast, packed a lunch, and went for a 3 mile walk/run.  In nearby Charlotte, the weather forecast is for over 100* for the next 3 days.  We are supposed to be in the very high 90's*.  Lord willing, hubby and I are headed to the highest peak east of the Mississippi on Saturday.  At 6,684 ft, hopefully there will be some cool air!

Hubby looked at the mower.  The pull cord is not jammed anymore, but something blew in the engine and it is now burning oil like anything.  So - I am taking this week off from mowing.  I think that hubby has decided to buy a new mower (rather than limping along with a used one) this time ... so maybe Monday morning will afford a chance to mow down my weeds.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thankful for Joy

III John 4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

No, I am not assuming that I bring my parents joy (though I certainly seek to).  It has been a hard week as the "maternity ward" (my hubby's name for our trailer park) continues to expand - I have a count of 5 pregnant women out of 19 households within view from any side of my trailer.  While I am honestly excited for them and the miracle of birth, it is difficult to watch the expanding bellies.  It is hard to be an "outsider."  But did I not refer to the "way of escape" on Tuesday.  In the middle of the hard times, God sends an encouragement ... some joy. 

While I do not have children of my own, I seek to pour my life into the children of others - hopefully supporting the parents.  As a kindergarten teacher, I did not see many results because of my student's young age.  As a piano teacher, sometimes I see good results when parents encourage practice, and sometimes I am frustrated by the apathy of both parent and student.  Teaching the pre-teen and teen girls at church has been challenging and rewarding.  They are at the age where they are establishing routines and beliefs for themselves.  Recently one of my Sunday School students came to me.  I had been encouraging her to have a quiet time every day and to get to bed before midnight every night even though it is summer vacation.  She came to me Sunday and said that she had done it - 7 days of devos and 7 nights of reasonable bedtimes.  Not only that, but she called on Saturday morning and asked for a ride to visitation!  And then, as if that wasn't enough ... she had taken initiative to go above and beyond her chores to do something more for her mother!  No, she is not my child ... but she sure brought me a lot of joy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Frugal with a Purpose

One of my favorite aspects of homemaking is the economic side.  I like the challenge of staying in a budget.  I like to crunch numbers.  I like to save.  I like to have extra to help others.  I like to see God use a little and make it a lot.  I have not always been so aware of this aspect of homemaking.  The novice wife of ten years ago would by steak whenever the mood struck, would plan vacations any time for any reason, would shop wherever she felt like it.  I read recently that the primary reason for saving money should be to give more and I heartily agree.  Recently hubby asked me to put this saying somewhere in our home to remind us to keep right priorities.

As I mentioned, I am still learning, but I feel that I made progress this morning.  I was going to mow the lawn, but the lawnmower appears to need some attention (I happen to live with a lawn mower mechanic - so I just have to bide my time).  As I thought of how to spend my morning, I looked at my new perennial garden.  In this little patch, I had planted a trumpet vine which was in great need of some support.  I was dreaming of the perfect trellis and of course it was available online in the $100-$200 range.  Not quite economical!  Hubby had planned to make something, but we did not have any scrap wood long enough, so he told me that he would buy some long 1x2's soon and work around them.  Oh, surely I could come up with something!  My uncreative self did come up with something.  I am surrounded by trees which afford many branches.  Out I went with my loppers and invented this rustic trellis for my vine.  I am looking forward to watching it fill in and perhaps spreading onto the deck (which is behind it)!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Refreshing Gift

Psalm 90:14
O satisfy us early with thy mercy;
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

This morning we woke to cool, refreshing temperatures.
The buttoned-up house was about 77* when we awoke,
then we opened everything we could and within 1 hour we were down to 71*!
It was definitely the day to be tidying in the garden.
Even here at noon - the breeze is still cool.
I had waited almost too long to tie tomatoes again, but the deed is done as best I could.
I ripped up greens that had turned bitter in the heat.
I enjoyed cleaning up the flower beds.
The bright blossoms cheer my spirit.
Oh -  but I also found evidence of a terrible cutworm -
I hope I caught it before I lose my pumpkin plant.

Our God is merciful.
I deserve punishment - death and eternal separation from Him in hell.
He does not give me what I deserve.
How often I rejoice and rest in His promise not to give me more than I can bear.
He will give me a way to escape.
Sometimes I want to doubt and question - sinfully wondering if He is keeping track of the trials,
wondering if the escape is there right now or coming soon.
Like a cool morning in the midst of summer - he sends a refreshing.
And it is mercy for EVERYONE!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Complete Proteins

I never imagined that hubby would get tired of eggs or of pancakes for breakfast ... but it has happened.  Since we have lost the quick "cereal breakfast" or "toast and peanut butter breakfast," each morning provides a hot breakfast.  Recently I decided to try a hot cereal and it was a big hit!  Hot rice cereal is still an option, but this cereal was made with QUINOA (pronounced KEEN - WA).  Typically you have to serve grains with another source of protein to get a complete protein - think beans and rice, peanut butter sandwich ...  Quinoa is one of the only grains that is a complete protein.  It is a quick breakfast cereal that really sticks with you until lunch.  While quinoa is not as cheap as rice - it is also not as expensive as other gluten-free grains or flours needed to make pancakes.

Breakfast Quinoa

1/2 c quinoa
1 c water
1 Tbls brown sugar
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
*optional items*
1/4 c raisins
raspberries and bananas

Rinse quinoa.  Put in small saucepan.
Stir in water, brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon.
Bring to a boil.
Reuce heat; simmer, covered, 10-15 min. until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed.
Add raisins, if desired, for last 5 min. of cooking time.
Top quinoa with raspberries and bananas.  Serve with milk.

Serves 2.

Canning Again

If you read the post on Friday, you know that I was desiring to get the beets picked and processed today.  I looked at the weather for this week and decided that today was the day to do it.  One day this week is predicted to be 100*.  Summer sure is coming on strong.  I got the beets picked and a full canner processed before the heat of the day.  The jars look so pretty on the counter.  Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 80's and pleasant, so I will finish tidying the garden (mostly tying up tomato plants) before the heat arrives at the end of the week.

Friday, June 22, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

'Tis the season for all things garden. 
So far, our little garden patch is producing well.
The hot weather has just intensified this week,
so the efforts to keep things going will be ramped up.

The sugar snap peas were simply delicious - so good that I did not get any put away in the freezer.  They were an awesome snack and we enjoyed them fresh.  We have also enjoyed fresh greens (spinach and lettuce).  The beets are awaiting processing (maybe Monday).  The carrots and onions are enjoyed on an 'as needed' basis. 

The beans, cucumbers, and zucchini are producing right now.  I canned 4 pints of beans this morning (I know that sounds ridiculously small to some of you).  I ate cucumbers as my lunch today (with some Catalina dressing as dip!).  The zucchini are a favorite on the grill with a little lemon pepper and then served with Parmesan cheese.

I am watching pumpkins growing fat, my first successful winter squash producing, quite a few watermelon babies, and at least one cantaloupe.  The pepper plants are still deciding if they want to make a go of it.  The majority of the garden is tomato plants which are heavy with fruit, but not quite ripe yet.

It always amazes me what that little seed planted months ago is doing today. 
The law of sowing and reaping.
... You reap more than you sow. ...

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Today, I am thinking about and thanking God for those who encourage me.
I am sure that many do not even realize that they are doing so. 

Each one has a different way of encouraging. 

Some encourage by their faithfulness. 
You know,
those faces that are always in the parking lot
on Saturday morning for visitation without complaint. 
Nothing deters them and they are an encouragement to me. 

Some encourage by their desire to do right. 
These are those who are not easily swayed to rebellion ...
they may see the hypocrisy or even the ridiculousness,
but they know the rules, they know what is expected, and they do it.  

Others encourage silently ...
there is never a crisis with them ...
the focus is not them, their service, their sacrifice, or their difficulty ...
they see a need and without fanfare or stress, they meet it. 

There are still others who give ...
these drop a note in the mail or share the perfect, useful oddity. 

Perhaps these encouragers are on my mind today because one arose this week
and is taking hubby and me for dinner tonight ... a little rest for a busy month.

Inspires me to be the encourager this week in some one's life.
How about you?

A Message for the Nation of Israel

Another tract completed today.  This one in Hebrew!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Getting the Message

I am sure that you have tried to explain something before only to receive a blank stare in return.
Or perhaps you were receiving instructions and the words really meant nothing.
Words were exchanged, but communication was not occurring.

One of the perks of being married to one that preaches is that his messages are communicated clearly in my mind.  While I can and do learn and grow from others, there are definitely fewer barriers when hubby is preaching.  When hubby preaches, not only do I receive a preview all week, but I just understand his language and his style.  Since he has been preaching a lot lately, I have had a lot of food for thought. 

John  -  "I am not the Christ."  - oh, a reminder that "He must increase, and I must decrease."  It seems that this week I have had to battle my stubborn pride more than ever.  It is not about "my" way, but about His way.

Titus  -  "maintain good works" - serving others should be a habit that starts in my home and overflows into my entire life.  It is not an on-again, off-again endeavor.

Job  -  a battle for the glory - while not preached by hubby, it has been in my mind for two weeks now.  As in the story of Job, Satan knows where I am weak and he definitely uses it to his advantage.  He wants me to "curse God and die" rather than to glorify God in my trials.  Daily I must decide to let God order my life and allow the trials as He sees fit. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Expect Great Things

Psalm 81:10
I am the LORD thy God,
which brought thee out of the land of Egypt:
open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

I read this verse yesterday.
I contemplated how much I miss simply because I doubt ...
I don't expect ...
I don't open my hands ...
I am looking the wrong way ...

God is there.
Do I expect great things?
Do you?

Monday, June 18, 2012


I spend a little time every morning with the puzzles in the paper. 
I do the Suduku, the crossword puzzle, and have learned to enjoy the JUMBLE. 

I am feeling a little "jumbled" today. 
So many thoughts spinning in my mind. 
I am trying to put some framework to them so that I can share them with you. 
Thanks for being patient.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just a Great Aunt :)

I don't know whether it makes me sound prideful or old or HUGE, but I am now a great aunt.  I always thought I was fairly spectacular (my nieces and nephews should only give kind comments below so as not to burst my bubble), but now it is official and not based on opinion.  Congratulations to Peter and Elisabeth (our nephew and his wife) on the birth of a healthy baby.  I am always thankful to hear of a safe and healthy delivery considering that it is such a precious gift of God.

I am also thankful today for a new opportunity in the coming weeks.  We have frequently prayed about opportunities as pulpit supply on the weekends and the Lord has answered that prayer.  Hubby is frequently helping out in our home church here in NC, but this weekend we get to help in another local church.  Hubby will be preaching in the morning service and I will be working with the kiddos (and music if necessary). 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Not Acting

It is inevitable that while doing an excessive amount of public speaking a person will occasionally put his foot in his mouth.  I expect that it will happen now and again while hubby is preaching.  He had one such incident on Sunday night when his phrasing of words made it sound like he had a difficult home life :)  He corrected himself, but we took some ribbing for it after the service.  Later he commented to a member that "You know we love each other, right?"  The answer was surprising, yet sadly not surprising in light of the many Christian marriages we have seen crumbling around us.  "It appears that you have a good relationship, or you could be great actors."  There are a lot of people working on their theatrical abilities - especially in church.  Their good works and their righteous acts are bestowed on everyone but those in their homes.

I Timothy 5:4  
...let them learn first to shew piety at home...

I have to learn to show piety at home?  Back to "school" I go!  It must not be a foreign concept if Paul wrote about it so many years ago.  Our society has been taught to put on a good front.  We show others what we want them to see.  It is not so difficult to do via phone, email, facebook, or even the blogosphere.  You can see the victories while I mask the stumbles.  I can paint the picture as I want to.

Are you the same in the home as out of the home? 
Are you one person in the car on the way to church and another when you step out of the car? 
The true person is the one you are at home. 
Are you happy with who you are? 
More importantly, is God happy with who you are?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Repetition is the Key to Learning

In my education classes at college, we were reminded repeatedly to REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW.  It was built into the curriculum, but my instructors knew that there would be a tendency to skip the review to make time for something else.  In my own life, I see the necessity of review in my Bible memory, in the messages that I hear at church, and in my own Bible study.  I need reminders.

As I read my Bible each day, I typically read 1 Psalm, a portion of the Proverb of the day, a couple of chapters in the Old Testament and 1 chapter in the New Testament.  I do this because I know that I will come away with something.  Sometimes I need the encouragement of the Psalms.  Sometimes I need to hold onto a principle for Proverbs.  Sometimes I need the straightforward rebuke of a Prophet.  Other times I need the doctrinal teaching from the New Testament.  God gave me some repetition on Saturday.  The message was in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The message:  "Don't talk back!"  or  "You are you for a reason."

Isaiah 45:9
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!
Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it,
What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Romans 9:20
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?
Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it,
Why hast thou made me thus?

I really am a slow learner sometimes and these verses always convict me.  This time it was a double blow.
SHH!  Don't talk back!  I have a plan in the way you are made!

Are you listening today? 
What did you learn and apply in your Bible study today?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Asian Noodles

Last Tuesday, we had the privilege of kidsitting for some friends in the church.  I had not babysat since last fall.  Three Little People ages 2 through 5.  I felt up to the challenge and it allowed me to get adventurous with my cooking again.  Since one of our little friends has a modified diet free of many common allergens, I broke out my Autism cookbook to plan a meal that was "safe" for him to eat.  In the process, I found two new favorites for the Bookish household.  I love when things work out that way!

Asian Noodles

1 lb corn spaghetti (I used a corn/rice noodle)
1/2 c light sesame oil
1 Tbls evaporated cane juice or agave nectar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 scallion, sliced (I omitted this)
1/2 c roasted sesame sees (I omitted this too)

Boil spaghetti until tender.  Rinse in cold water.
Combine all other ingredients and stir with a whisk until blended.
Pour over spaghetti and toss.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Quiet Weekend at Home?

Anticipating a quiet weekend at home. 
You need those every time and again. 
Feels like hubby and I have been "ships passing in the night" this week. 
You know that doesn't sit well around here.  :)
It has all been for good reasons, but there is still a need to refresh. 
Looking forward to a little r&r - hopefully this weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Best Schooling

I have been through nearly 18 years of schooling as a student and then 6 years as a teacher.  I value structured, organized education.  I appreciate book learning and instruction.  However, I do believe that the best lessons come throughout life as we are placed in various situations.  I am so thankful for those lessons that are learned in the "nitty-gritty" of life.

This week I was "in school" learning things that I never learned in the classroom.  The primary lesson was a continuation of the lesson that I started "studying" while I lay flat on my back about a month ago, unable to move because of a strain in my neck.  The lesson stems from the fact that I am a prideful, independent person.  It was hard to let even my dear husband meet my needs even though he wanted to and was sufficient for the task.  In my independence, it is easy to rob people of the opportunity to be a blessing to me and my family.  It is easy, in prideful independence, to forge my own way, to fail to ask for help, to unfairly expect other's to read my mind.  It is easy to see this in others, but hard to acknowledge it in my own life.  It is a hard balance between "using" others and letting God use the gifts, abilities, and resources of others to meet my needs, but one that must be learned. 

I am thankful that God is not letting me forget this lesson.  I am sure that I will be reviewing it often.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Unnecessary Confirmation

Psalm 68:9
Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain,
whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance,
when it was weary.

It is a cool, overcast morning.
We have had a plentiful rain this spring and the gardens are loving it.
We enjoyed a house below 70* this morning with the breeze refreshing the house.

God is faithful to encourage those who trust in him.
It may not always come in our own timing, but He knows best.
I am so thankful for the small voice of God confirming my path this week.
There are weeks, when like Eve, I want to question God.
Should I really be a stay at home wife?
Does God really expect all of those qualifications in a pastor?
Why do I feel like I am swimming upstream alone? (sounds a lot like Elijah)
Common questions of a sinful woman.
Did God really say ...?
I know the right answer, but I want a loophole.
I want my way and my path and my ... and my ...

This week, there has been no doubt and questioning.
Unique opportunities created for me in my situation.
Opportunities to share, to minister, to stretch made possible
when I chose to obey.

Are you on a hard, lonely path?
Are you sure that it is the correct path of you?
...the path God wants for you?
Then just keep walking in it!
The confirmation is coming!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


It is a common desire all around us.  You can see it in the increase of retreats, spas, massage, ...  It is so easily given up - unexpected challenges that we allow to upset our days and lives.  I value peace in my home and life.  I like quiet, order, soothing sounds.  While we can orchestrate peace to some extent, lasting peace can only come from God and a constant, healthy relationship with Him.  I have been singing this song to myself since Sunday night and enjoying the reminder to keep my mind and heart on God and His ways.

Like a River Glorious
Frances R. Havergal

Like a river glorious Is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious In its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth Fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth Deeper all the way.

Hidden in the hollow Of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, Never traitor stand;
Not a surge f worry, Not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry Touch the spirit there.

Every joy or trial Falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial By the Sun of Love.
We may trust Him fully All for us to ;
They who trust Him wholly Find Him wholly true.

Stayed upon Jehovah, Hearts are fully blest;
Finding, as He promised, Perfect peace and rest.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Why I Love Classical Music and the Old Hymns

I think that I had a very blessed childhood.  As a private music lesson teacher today, I watch parents scrimp and save to pay for music lessons for their children.  I see them make difficult choices.  While I see this, I think of the YEARS of piano, organ, and flute lessons that I was given by my parents.  I think of the careful vocal training I received at church.  I think of the years that my teachers poured into me.  My teachers exposed me to a vast array of music, but primarily classical and sacred pieces.  My favorite by far are the combination of Sacred Classical pieces like the Messiah and many of Beethoven's sacred pieces (Jesu' Joy of Man's Desiring).  Maybe some would call me "snooty," but I love the exactness of classical music and old hymns.  There are rules to be learned, followed, and obeyed. 

Why?  Why classical and sacred?  I had not thought much about it until arriving in NC.  I was quickly made aware that my upbringing was rare here when hubby began choosing hymns and our church joked about his "high-church" music and when another instrumentalist suggested that his music choices were not "rousing" enough, especially on Sunday nights.  "High-church" - A Mighty Fortress is our God, Come thou Fount of Every Blessing, O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus ...  Beautiful pieces that focus on God and His attributes, that remind me of the worm that I am outside of Christ.  I was excited when last night at church we had favorites night and the hymns chosen were Holy, Holy, Holy and Be Thou My Vision and Crown Him with Many Crowns.

I love the 4 part harmony of old hymns where each part seems to move on each word.  I love the deep doctrine that is not politically correct.  I love that it is "work" to learn because there is no vain repetition of words, phrases, or notes.  I love the strict timing and predictability of tones that is easy to sing as a congregation (if you have ever tried to follow the written music of a CCM piece that you have never heard, you understand what I mean).  I love the soothing nature of classics and hymns. 

I am discouraged by the trend of "gospel" music around me.  Don't stop reading!  By "gospel," I mean the sliding, swaying, straining, non-precise music that is common nationwide.  It has many labels - CCM, southern gospel, bluegrass.  Sometimes it is even labeled as good, conservative music on a church website.  It may have one poor trait or a combination of many.  Sliding to and from notes, emphasizing a driving bass line through the use of instruments, echoing phrases in vain repetition, or focusing on lyrics that make me feel good.  It tends to make me look at the performer and not God.  It tends to mimic the world and the culture.  Its performers may look no different than those that you see in Hollywood.  The traits of this music seem to me to show a lack of care, order, and effort toward excellence; it exudes a "come-as-you-are" and "stay-as-you-are" feel; it shows an improper view of my sin nature or simply ignores it; it doesn't seem to support the God that the songs are singing about (holy, careful, orderly).

I hate to hear music in the church that sounds like it is sung by a Country Music star in Nashville.   I am saddened that there are young children being trained to think that it is OK to sing, slide, and sway like an "American Idol" in church or anywhere for that matter.  I am grieved that this seems to be part of the formula for building mega churches.  I am grieved that churches want to mix the sound of the world with the message of the gospel to attract or keep members/attenders.  Call me peculiar (that's what God wants me to be anyway), but God removed that from my life about 9 years ago and when I hear it in a church it is a stumbling block to me.  Those songs are addicting and tough to remove from the mind.  The church may "clean" them up a bit, but all I hear is the music of my past.  I listened to 80's pop/rock in Jr. High and then traded that in for CCM thinking I could keep the sound I craved while pleasing God.  While I thought that I was worshipping and serving God, I was really just feeding my flesh.  It was what my sin nature wanted.  I wanted to have God and the world at the same time.  It doesn't work and it disobeys the following principles:

1 Peter 1:15-16
 But as he which hath called you is holy,
so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
an holy nation, a peculiar people;
that ye should shew forth the praises
of him who hath called you out of darkness
into his marvellous light:

Am I separate and different from the world? 
Are you? 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wedding Bells

We are headed to a wedding this morning. 
From all that we know, it will form a marriage that is based on commitment to God and each other. 
There is nothing more exciting than a godly wedding. 

Caleb and Joy Worley

May God bless you in the weeks, months, and years ahead
as you build a strong foundation in Him.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How do you get your spouse to ...?

I think that this is one of the funniest questions ever posed to hubby or myself.  I often get asked ... "How do you get your hubby to pick up his dirty clothes?"  "How do you get your hubby to wash dishes?"  "How do you get your hubby to make the bed?"  Why is this so funny?  It seems funny to me because I don't "get my hubby" to do anything.  He does things that he knows will please me because he loves me (and he has mild OCD) :)  He shows his love by his actions.

Not only is the question funny, but it is a challenge to me.  I want to serve my hubby in ways that are typically shunned by average wives.  I don't want to be average at my job - I want to be exceptional.  I want to surprise hubby.  I want my actions to back up my words.

I tried to "speak love" this morning before hubby went to work.  He is still adjusting to buckwheat pancakes (though it sounds like it would have gluten, it doesn't).  This morning, I mixed them up and added a healthy dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Boy, was that a small change that was a big hit!  It tasted like a cinnamon-sugar doughnut (appropriate for National Doughnut Day)!  Then, we dined al fresco in the cool morning surrounded by the pots of flowers that hubby bought me for my birthday.

Will you surprise those around you today with your service?

Will you elicit the question, "How do you get your spouse to ...?"

Why not try it today?