I hope all of my blogger friends out there have not forgotten about me. And I have not forgotten you. It has been a tough year and my desire to write has either died or gone into hiding. Sometimes the rough weather causes things to go dormant. Just as a tree looks lifeless in the winter, there is always life within its sap. And I hope that is all that is going on with me. With the loss of my mother a year ago, our son's diagnosis, and other family trials, there have been so many days where I have felt like I am just trying to survive. However, there have been blessed moments of children's smiles and giggles, hugs from precious family and friends, and encouraging words from those around me. My heart is reflecting on this season and the joy of Christ's birth from the throne of glory to a needy and dark world. And as I marvel of this truth that never grows trite, I think of how life is all about holding on and letting go. Here is a perspective from Mary's heart. And I believe it is the heartfelt thread shared by every mother. Merry Christmas!
Holding On, Letting Go
Contently she smiled as she bundled Him up,
Cradling while kissing his face,
Tenderly she whispered the name of her Lord,
As she soothed this bundle of grace.
"Jesus, Jesus." she murmured.
Her heart oozing intense adoration,
Tears of emotion dripped from her face,
As she soaked in intricacies of divine creation.
Like any newborn baby,
No hint of Shikinah glory to see,
Ten fingers and toes; soft downy hair,
"Lord , how could all of this be?"
She held in her arms the Hope of the Nations,
Anointed Savior of All,
Wonder of wonders humbly born,
In a filthy cold cattle stall.
She pressed the babe tightly against flowing affections,
It is 9 a.m. and Timothy is already outside. I am gazing out the window observing as he happily plays with the stream of water leaking from the garden hose. His mouth is moving so he is probably singing his favorite song, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". And his sweet face is gleaming with that shimmering smile of his. It is that kind of grin that lights up his entire face and beams from his bright blue eyes. His countenance is one that melts the heart. And this morning I am reflecting, remembering and realizing. I am seeing beyond what is visible. Something very special is being revealed and the revelation that there is more going on here than meets the limited human mind and reaches toward the depths of the eternal heart.
Six months ago, our precious 4 year old was diagnosed with moderate to mildly severe autism along with severe developmental delays. What we already suspected and feared was true. At the age of 3, Timothy mysteriously began to show signs of regression in his speech and overall development. We don't know why. We don't know how. But we do know that it is what it is, Autism. I had to go through my own time of grief. It has been a perplexing and painful season. And I wrestled with feelings of shame and guilt concerning my grief over the thoughts that my child was not "normal". People would say,"Well at least he does not have cancer." Or, "How do you know for sure and how did the doctors come up with that diagnosis?" Well meaning friends minimized my pain with their words, questions, and doubts. I really did not expect everyone to understand. However, I am very blessed and grateful for those family and friends who simply reached out with compassion and support. It was an indescribable pain knowing that things were going to be very different for Timothy and for our family. The dreams I had for my child were dead. I had to grieve, to mourn , and to process the shocking truth.
Then it was time to get busy and move forward by researching, learning, making calls and talking to experts and other parents of children with autism as well as finding speech and occupational therapy for Timothy. Talk about overwhelming! I thought," How in the world am I supposed to balance this with the responsibility of all the other children I am a mother to? And what is going to happen to Timothy? What about his future?" I felt like I was drowning.
Each day since the diagnosis, I have had to give it to God and I say, "Lord, I don't know how we are supposed to do this, but I trust that You know what to do and not do. So, I give it to You. I give you little Timmy. I give you this family. I release my fear of the unknown and choose to trust You with it all." Has the fear completely left? No. I face it every day. You see, I often feel fear but I do not let it have me. For it is in the face of fear where I am trained to be courageous. I am learning that it is not fear itself that consumes me for fear will come. But it is how I respond when it threatens to consume me and control me.
And many days I feel so inadequate, lost and unfit as a mother. Once again, I take it to my room and I pray again to God. Basically, I am simply living on a prayer. And to be perfectly blunt, I am learning that living on a prayer is the best and most productive way to live.
Yesterday, I took Timothy to a make up session with his occupational therapist. He normally goes every Monday. However, there was a special blessing awaiting. When we arrived, Michelle greeted Timothy as she always does. "Hi Timmy! We are going to play in the barn today!" Timmy's face lit up because he loves the barn as it is a large room set up with a small trampoline, bowling, large mats for rolling and jumping, and other fun activities designed for sensory and physical development. The atmosphere of the barn was different this day because there were more children present. I noticed a little boy in a wheelchair who was being assisted by his therapist with strengthening exercises for his upper body. He was watching every move Timothy made as he energetically ran around exploring everything in sight. When Michelle placed him on his tummy on the large platform swing, Timothy began to bellow out his favorite song "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". He sang it in his own little language but he had the melody down pat. The child in the wheelchair began to giggle with delight. His therapist said, "I have never seen him like this. He usually cries when other kids are in the room." Then, the two therapists began to discuss the possibility of changing the sessions so the two boys could be together because of the "positive energy" (as the therapist called it) Timothy exuded.
Here is this little guy named Timothy. He does not have many words. He whispers most of the time when he does speak.Yet, through a simple song, a happy countenance and a brilliant smile he touched a little boy's life. And he touches mine everyday. It may not seem like a big deal to most. However, when you live with autism, every moment matters. Every milestone is significant. You know, I am the one who is truly blessed. I am changing for the better because God has given me the privilege to be the mom to 11 very precious children. However, there is something about Timothy that is leading me in a new and profound way. I am learning to slow down and to savor simple accomplishments. I am seeing that a person can be deeply touched not so much through words but through a smile and a joyful countenance. And my vision is enlarged because the purity of an innocent child can make a significant impact on the lives around him. Also, I am considering that maybe the things we label as abnormal are not so abnormal after all. I find myself, like Timmy, singing and just enjoying small moments. Just as this quote says, "We can sing our cares away easier than we can reason them away."
Timothy, you will go far in life. God has amazing and unfathomable things in mind for you. I am seeing it more and more. It will not be what I imagined , it will be much better! So I sing to you Timmy, our little shining star. I pray that your light will never fade and that your life will lead many travelers who are lost in the dark toward the true light!
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are!
When the blazing sun is gone, When he nothing shines upon, Then you show your little light, Twinkle, twinkle, all the night. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are!
Then the traveler in the dark Thanks you for your tiny spark; He could not see which way to go, If you did not twinkle so. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are!"
The Lord is teaching me more and more each day about His rest. We have had our share of hardship and trials over the past few months. My mother died very suddenly this past December. Just two weeks before her death, our 4 year old son was diagnosed with autism. And just a couple weeks ago, I took one of the girls to the doctor for pink eye only to discover she has a heart murmur. She was referred to a pediatric cardiologist and some abnormalities showed up on her EKG. Now we wait for the next appointment for more testing. Waiting is just plain difficult. It is excruciating at times. It seems like torment. However, it is within the waiting room of hardship and adversity that our faithful Lord teaches us about true rest and leaning upon Him. I am finding that even though some days I do not handle stress very well, my Father truly understands my weakness. He does not get frustrated or angry with me. He just wants me to lean on Him. Simple as that. And He keeps His arms around me even though I sometimes get frustrated with Him because I cannot feel His embrace. Faith is more than what I am feeling. Faith is assurance. Faith is knowing He is holding me regardless of what my mind or emotions say . He just wants me to live each day enjoying the simple things in life. For the simple things are truly what brings pleasure and delight to the soul. Through trials we learn to appreciate the seemingly insignificant moments and pleasures. The insignificant becomes very significant. There are lovely reminders God has graciously given us to capture each day if we will just stop and take notice. When I soak in His beauty, I find healing and peace.
In His grace, I can truly enjoy all the beauty around me, even within the seasons of the unknown. There is comfort surrounding me. There is sunshine in my darkness. There are smiles within the midst of my tears. Because of who He is, I can enjoy my life. I can have abundant life. My eternity is not only held within the future but I am living it in the now.
May you always discover hope in the midst of your fears. May you enjoy each day as you lean upon the Hope of Glory.
"In a culture that does not like to acknowledge loss or talk about the impact, it's difficult to grieve. And when we add this silence to the fact that most of us have never been taught about the process and normalcy of grief, no wonder we struggle."~~ H. Norman Wright
As the days slowly pass since Momma died, I am seeing the blessing of strong relationships and true friendship. God has placed people in my life who are truly safe places. Even though my Daddy is hurting tremendously, he continues to encourage me that mourning, which is an outward expression of grief, is very normal. He is a very safe person in my life and I admire his strength in the midst of His own anguish. In addition, I feel such an overwhelming sense of gratitude of the amazing friends God has placed around me in this difficult and trying season of my life. I never want to let them go.
Yesterday,Daddy sent photos of Momma's gravestone. When I awoke I turned on my computer to check my email.The photo above is what I saw. I stared at it for the longest moment. My mother, who was so vibrant and full of life...and here is a granite stone with her beautiful name engraved upon it. It just seemed completely unreal all over again. And the thrashing waves of grief threatened to overtake me as the tears flowed through out the day. However, they were much needed as I have withheld a seemingly internal waterfall for the "sake of the children." But I know this is needed. I know this is good. And I know it is normal.
My heart is swollen with immense gratitude for the precious people in my life who have allowed me to express my pain. These precious souls have not tried to heal me, nor have they attempted to advise me on how to heal. These few friends have simply entered into my wound, sat with me as I have bled, and told me they are there. How simply powerful is this? How loving and gracious?
I have been reading a book written by a mother of an autistic child entitled, "Let Me Hear Your Voice", by Catherine Maurice. She expresses her need for just simple understanding after the loss of a stillborn baby as well as processing the news of her young daughter's diagnoses of autism. This is what she says.
"None of us, especially myself, wants to jump into another's pain. If we can't fix something in our friend's life, we feel helpless. If we can't make it go away, we want to pretend it is not there. We don't know what to say. We are at a loss for words.Our lives have their own aches and sorrows. If we see poverty, we try at least to help by giving some money away,even though we know our money does not go very far. But if we see heartbreak, most of us are less effective; we try to talk the person out of it. Often we have to learn that there is no solution for suffering. Everyone has some of it sooner or later. What helps is to have one or two people around who keep trying to understand, who are just willing to just hold our hand as we walk on through it."
As I pondered these words, I realized that God has blessed me with very strong people who have truly partaken of my pain. They have not tried to "fix" things, they just sat with me, loved me, and comforted me. I just want to express my appreciation because you all have been a true example of Christ in my life. God simply wants to enter into our pain, for He genuinely experiences it and deeply feels it. He never minimizes our trials because our sufferings are as personal to Him as they are to us. When my child is hurt, I hurt too if not more. I am reminded of the passionate and intimate love of our Father who longs to enter into our hardships and embrace us right in the middle of that messy place. Grief is not tidy. Grief cannot easily be defined. But it is an appointed part of life that every soul shall experience. No two shall experience it the same. But we all shall feel it's sting. So in the midst of mourning, God will envelope us in His love, in His understanding, and knit the body of Christ into the beautiful masterpiece He has called us to be.
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let's not let it slip through our fingers. We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:15 The Message
One month ago today, I received a phone call from my Dad that my mother was not doing very well. By the sound of Daddy's voice, I knew it was very serious. She had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance and her heart rate dropped dangerously low. For one day, a life support system kept her alive but her soul was already gone. Her heart stopped beating for good on December the 12,2010. It has been one month and I still cannot believe she is gone. Her death was so sudden and shocking. Some days I wonder if I have moved on from the shock. It all still seems so unreal. I wake up in the morning and for one second all seems normal. Then the reality hits me all over again. My mother is in Heaven now. I will not hear her voice over the phone. I will not see her pretty face or chat with her on Face book. Sometimes I think of her at home working in the yard, reading a good book, working a puzzle, cooking yummy food, or just sitting with my Daddy having a pleasant conversation. I often think of the joy she brought to others. She made people feel special when they were in her presence. She was a happy woman and she made people smile. She did many kind things for others but she never announced her good deeds. Momma was also very precise and organized. She wrote lists of everything she needed to do and she completed them all. I always told her she could be the CEO of a major corporation because she was so organized and disciplined. She would have made a wonderful leader and boss because not only did she know how to "get the job" done but she had fun doing it! She was a leader because she led me. And I pray that I will be able to carry on her legacy.
My mother had a heart of gold and she always found ways to encourage others. I will never forget the wise words she gave me when I was in the 6th grade. I was a new student in middle school. Some of the kids were very unkind and I would come home from school crying everyday. She would put her arms around me and tell me not to worry. She said, "All you need to do is find some children like you who feel left out. Make friends with them and do not worry about the ones that are being mean." I took her advice to heart and it worked.
Momma was also a very beautiful woman. When I was a little girl, I loved to watch her do her hair. I remember she had a beehive hairstyle back in the day, and she would tease it up until it stood about 8 inches above her head. I would admire her beauty. To me, she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was not perfect, but she was herself and she loved me. That made her the most beautiful woman in my eyes.
In John 10:10, Jesus said He came to give us life so that we can have it more abundantly. My mother lived an abundant life. She knew how to enjoy life but the abundant life is much more. Her life was overflowing with the fruits of the spirit which are pleasing to God. She lived knowing she was loved, therefore she granted love. Momma was full of joy,exuded a peaceful countenance, was graced with patience, showered others with kindness, exemplified goodness, remained faithful, and maintained a gentle manner as well as self control. Many benefited from her beautiful qualities. I know I have!
Even though I have all of the memories of the person she was, I now love to ponder the person she continues to be in the presence of her Maker. Her life here on earth was lovely and her life in Glory is even lovelier. This woman's name is Linda and her name means "pretty". What a fitting name for such a wonderful woman who loved God, loved her family and loved her friends. I miss her so much. My heart aches with longing to see her again. And because the Hope of Glory lives in my heart, I know that I will be with her again to hear her voice and to see her smile. Momma, I know you are serving the Lord and resting in His care. I bet you are completing everything on your list and assisting God in preparing a magnificent place for us when we finally meet again. I love you my lovely mother!
"Many times life is like riding alone in a little red wagon on a crazy freeway, until you look up and see that Someone was pulling you all along!"~~~~~
LITTLE RED WAGON I FEEL SO SMALL AS I AM CLIMBING IN I'M NOT STEADY AT ALL.
THERE IS NO ONE TO PUSH. HOW WILL YOU MOVE? THIS IS NOT MUCH FUN, JUST SITTING IN YOU.
ALL OF A SUDDEN, WOBBLY WHEELS START TO ROLL. WE ARE HEADED DOWN HILL, DANGER SEEMS TO UNFOLD.
WE ARE PICKING UP SPEED, FEAR IS ROBBING MY BREATH, WE ARE NOW ON A FREEWAY, AM I FACING SURE DEATH?
NO,I'M NOT ASKING, "IS IT THE END OF MY DAYS?" RATHER, "IS IT THE DEATH OF A DREAM? WHAT IS THIS DREADFUL HAZE?"
OTHERS FRANTICALLY RUSH TO SPOTS OF "WHO KNOWS WHAT", AS I SPIN IN MY WAGON, TOWARD THE ISLES OF "I KNOW NOT".
NEXT I FIND MYSELF MYSTERIOUSLY OFF OF THE ROAD, UPON THE JAGGED EDGE, FACING THE LAND NAMED "UNTOLD".
THERE ARE RIVERS TO CROSS, RUGGED MOUNTAINS TO CLIMB, MY FEET ARE BARE, AM I LOSING MY MIND?
HOW CAN I CONQUER WHEN I FEEL SO ALONE? THERE IS ONLY THIS WAGON. WHERE HAS EVERYONE GONE?
I AM TALKING TO YOU, RED BOX WITH WORN WHEELS! BUT YOU DON'T REALLY CARE HOW THIS ALL MAKES ME FEEL!
EVERY DROP OF SWEAT HAS DRAINED FROM MY BEING, I FEEL THE TEARS BUT THERE IS ONLY THE STINGING.
THROUGH THE BURNING, AND BEYOND THE HAZE I SENSE THE PRESENCE AND THAT PIERCING GAZE.
HIS VOICE IS NOT AUDIBLE, BUT I HAVE HEARD HIM BEFORE, THE SILENT WHISPERS OF MY LOVING LORD.
SO PERCHED IN MY WAGON, ALL RUSTED AND WORN, HE SAYS, "I UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR HEART IS TORN".
"THE VENTURE BEFORE YOU, IS LONG AND ROUGH, BUT IF YOU LET ME PULL THAT WILL BE ENOUGH."
"TRYING TO TRAVEL SOLO AS YOU FACE THIS QUEST IN LIFE, WILL LEAD TO CERTAIN CRASH BUT MY COMPANY WILL SUFFICE."
AS HE STARTS TO PULL THE HANDLE, TOWARD THE COUNTRY CALLED "UNKNOWN", I REST ALONG THE PILGRIMAGE, FOR I WAS NEVER REALLY ALONE...... by Ange Cogburn
We all face challenges and struggles in life that often leave us overwhelmed, weary and discouraged. We may feel abandoned as if some plight has come upon us and will devour us. Our family is facing a situation like this as our son is facing some developmental challenges. We do not know yet what the future holds, but we know who holds his future and the future of our family. We can face the challenges with a defeatist mindset, or we can move forward knowing that our Savior is pulling us along. He leads us, guides us and lavishes His love upon us in indescribable measures. This season is a gift. What lies ahead is a gift. I embrace it. I am up to the challenge because I know my Redeemer lives!
I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:20b
" Looking back on a season of loss can allow for much gratitude in the heart. However, walking in the midst of it tests every hope to see if it is solid enough to stand on. When pain is a fiery, constant companion to your raw, torn-up heart and all of life suddenly seems shallow and meaningless, where does that leave us? The pain of loss is like a continual night and life without color...until He whispers hope into the darkness. And then the soul will struggle through the choice to reach out and embrace it or deny its comfort. He knows when our heart can't feel his love through the pain and so He holds out hope - and we have a choice." Author Unknown
I saw this quote this morning and it took my heart back to a place of remembrance of losses, pain, and disappointments I have suffered in my life. When one is walking in the dark and the pitch black is drowning out every speck of light, your soul eyes strain to focus on anything tangible. Your path is is obscured by that shrouding veil of hopelessness. You stumble. You trip. You bump into obstacles in your pathway and wince at the pain. You slip and slide through the endless stream of tears. You just cannot seem to get a grip. And you feel you are drowing in a sea of darkness. You forget to breathe or you gasp for air. I remember it well. Yet in the midst of these thick slices of trials in which life inevitably serves, there is One who is always there holding out hope. What would we do without hope?
You reach out for help. And well wishers in the goodness of their hearts will tell you what to do. Just have hope. Just have more faith. Just read your Bible...yada, yada. When you feel like your heart is crumbling, the last thing you want is a list of "should dos". You just want relief. You just want comfort. You just want the strength to hold on yet another moment. Loss is excruciating. You feel abandoned. You feel forgotten. You are confused and misunderstood. Loneliness is a shallow word when trying to define how you feel.
A couple of days ago, a dear friend wrote to me pouring out her sorrow and feelings of abandonment. This strong woman of faith shared that she had no hope that God is there for her. It is difficult to know what to say in this situation. It is not a time to correct. Correction is not needed. It is really not a time to advise. Her heart is tired. And in my own inadequacy, all I could do was tell her this, " I remember."
And I began to share with her the way I felt in dark seasons . "It was through my very doubt, fear, anger, disappointment and hopelessness that God did show Himself strong. Nothing shall seperate us from the love of God. Not even our own lack of feeling or hope. So hope is still there because Hope is a person and HE is within you whether you feel Him or not. And HE is caring for you now. HE never abandons His own. And who am I to say that I will never feel like that again? Who is to say that just because I have been through times when I doubted God and lost hope that I may never go through it again later? It is even Him who holds our faith together...to say that I have arrived to a place that I will never feel like He is abandoned me or forgotten me is arrogant. I know that there are trials ahead in my life. I pray for the grace to see me through even if I lose hope.We are frail in our humanity but strong in HIM!"
We live in an age where we focus so much on the future and the unknowns. We make assessments and make conclusions of doomsday because of so many negative clouds surrounding us. However, when the dark clouds hang low and press heavily upon us we must remember that truth will always stand and that there will always be hope. When my heart fails me, my God will never fail me. When my mind lies to me, my Father will remind me of the truth. And when my hope seems lost I can be still, open my soul in broken abandon and hear His whispers of hope. When it seems as cascading tears will never cease to flow, we can be assured that not only does He contain each teardrop in a bottle, but He counts each one that falls. Hope is not dependent on me and my strength. Hope is in the One who is the very essence of hope. Do you feel your hope wavering today? Do you feel that darkness is swallowing every ounce of strength you have? Do not give up. When you cannot hold hope, our Hope Whisperer stands in your midst and holds hope for you. He will never release His grasp upon you. Find rest and strength in the arms of the Hope Whisperer. For in Him there is always hope, always something to look forward to, and always the prevailing truth that Hope always wins.
Love to all,
AND THIS HOPE WILL NOT LEAD TO DISAPPOINTMENT (IN THE END). FOR WE KNOW HOW DEARLY GOD LOVES US BECAUSE HE HAS GIVEN US THE HOLY SPIRIT TO FILL OUR HEARTS WITH HIS LOVE. (ROMANS 5:5)
This my friend Karen's beautiful blog. Her husband just redesigned it and it is so pretty. I met Karen through the blogging community and she has been such a great friend. Bless you Karen! Check out her precious blog.
If you have a dream bigger than you, then God probably gave it to you. Dream it, write it out, and take small steps. Before you know it , you will see the invisible become visible and the impossible become possible.
Welcome to a Heart at Home
Click. Click. Click. Hello! Is that you clicking on the door of my little nook on the net? Welcome. Come on in and let me share my life with you. My life and heart are open and may you find something of value here that will lift your heart, inspire you or just give you a little break from the demands of your busy day. The coffee is ready and the pumpkin muffins are fresh and hot. Have a seat and relax!
A Heart at Home is one that gives, lives, loves, laughs,rests,heals,nurtures, and edifies other hearts that either dwell within our houses or enter in for a visit. This blog is my gift to you. Whether you are a stay home mother, newly married, a grandmother, a single mother, or single woman who desires to bring life and hope to others, there is plenty here for you.
A young single woman once told me she felt as though she was intruding when she read these blogs because she is not yet a mother or wife. However, if your dreams are to create places of life and love wherever you are or wherever you tread, I hope you will find encouragement, inspiration and useful tools here.
Imparting love, life and the gifts of home are limitless. Wherever your journey in life leads you, you have the opportunity to shed light and to be a living vessel that releases all the elements that make others feel at home.
You are meant to create and to take your life out to be shared. You are meant to be free to love and to open your heart to others who need a breath of refreshment . May we utilize the tools, gifts, and abilities God has given us and spread abundant life to those within our circles of influence.
In this little nook you will find various things. A collage of sorts from my personal life and journey. There will be insights, struggles, joy, frustration, stories, art, simple ideas for the home, photos, recipes and much more. Welcome to my little pad on the net! You are always welcome to my Heart at Home!
I am wife to John for 24 years and stay home mother of nine children, ages 19 to 2 years old. We homeschool 5 of our children. Our oldest lives in Canton, GA and our 16 year old is in public high school. We live in Gilbert, Arizona and are new residents here-learning the area and adjusting to the changes.
My heart is to create a loving and comfortable enviroment in my home for my husband, children and friends. I appreciate the privilege of being a stay home mother. I also love to read, write, create art, decorate, teach, and help lead other women to walk closely with the Lord and to be all He has called them to be. I believe the home is the best place to to be creative,to share hope and love. Home should be a haven of hope for those who dwell within and for those who enter in.
Contentment is knowing you own everything that cannot be bought. ACogburn
Caught on a Thought
Do not call me a Christian. There are too many Christians who do not believe.
Do not call me a believer. There are too many who believe but do not act on what they believe.
But please call me a disciple. A disciple is a learner. A disciple is one who takes what he learns and acts upon it. A disciple is one who is passionate about what he believes in and is not ashamed to let others know. A disciple spends himself for others regardless of the cost.
Call me a disciple. Call me crazy. But a disciple is what I want to be. A Cogburn
God takes the scraps of a shredded heart and creates wondrous beauty. Ange
The loveliness of home is simply the overflow of heavenly trinkets encased within the treasure chest called the human heart. Ange
Appreciate your present blessings called jewels of the moments. Ange
Our Christmas Eve tradition of homemade pizzas!
Sara and Heather team up to make a giant cheese pizza
Jamie is creating his deep dish pizza
Our Family Room on Christmas Eve
cookies for Santa
Christmas Eve in the spa
Happy 6th Birthday Joshua
Joshua, you are a gift . We thank the Lord for every moment of your life.
This recipe is made in a bread machine. However, if you do not have one, there are really delicious pizza crusts you can buy premade. Pillsbury makes a really good pizza crust in a can. It is sold in the refrigerated biscuit section in the grocery store.
Add all of these ingredients to the bread pan in the order given.
1-1/2 cup warm water 4 Tbl. olive oil 4-1/4 cup all purpose flour 2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. sugar 2 tsp. yeast
If your machine is equipped with a "dough only" feature, use this setting.
When dough is finished, remove to a floured board if using immediately. Or place the dough in a bowl greased with olive oil, turn dough over to coat it, cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate until ready to use.
We use pizza sauce in a jar. Use pizza cheese and your selection of toppings such as beef, pepperoni, onion, mushrooms, etc.
This 2 pound recipe makes 2, 12 inch pies. Bake pizzas at about 375 until crust is done.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 31:19
God never promised this world would be free of trouble. In fact, He said in this world you shall have tribulation. He never said He would keep us from trials. However, He does promise that He will deliver us out of our afflictions. If you are suffering today through illness or sorrow, hardship or discouragement, be comforted that God is with You and He will bring you out. Do not lose heart.
Mountain in Mesa, AZ (near Phoenix)
Taken by Kerry
Phoenix landscape by Kerry
These photos were taken at Usary Park In Mesa, AZ.
John and Ange
A Fun Night Out!
Me and my friend Debbie
Mom, Kerry, and Timmy
These precious little angels cost about 4 cents to make. They can be used as ornaments or as a bow on a gift. We plan to make some to give to neighbors along with pumpkin muffins. Because they are so simple and inexpensive, you could give a dozen or so to a neighbor, friend or family member. They can then choose to use them as bows or ornaments. All of the materials were purchased at Walmart and the dollar store for under 8 dollars. This will make at least 50 angels.
1 package of white coffee filters 1 package of raffia silver or gold plastic wedding rings (in craft section of Walmart) your choice of narrow ribbon-gold, white or silver (purchased at Walmart for 45 cents for 5 yards. small styraphome balls or gold bells (purchased at dollar store) glue gun
Flatten out two coffee filters. Place small ball or bell in center. gather filter around the ball or bell and tie tightly with narrow ribbon. Tie ribbon into bow. Take several strands of raffia (about 3 to 4 inches) and tie into bow. Hot glue the bow to back of angel for the wings. Hot glue plastic ring to the angel's head. Use a single strand of raffia or gold thread to glue to the back of the angel's head if you want to make it into an ornament.
Get the whole family involved so you will not cheat on them! A fun and easy project. ENJOY the simplicity!
As you are planning your Thanksgiving meal this year do not forget to add the cranberry sauce. As you are serving and enjoying this traditional side dish remember what it represents this Thanksgiving. Here are some neat facts you can copy and share on Thanksgiving Day with your family.
Cranberry is a small sour berry which grows in bogs or muddy areas. (Remember good things grow out of messy places. God is the Redeemer)
Indians used cranberries to heal infections. (May this Thanksgiving be a time of healing if you need it)
The dye in cranberries was used to color the Indian's rugs and blankets. (May you be covered in God's blessings this year)
Indians taught the settlers how to cook a sauce with cranberries, water, and sweetener. (May every bitter thing in your life be sweetened this Thanksgiving)
The colonists called cranberry "crane-berry" because the flowers bent the stalk over and it resembled the long neck bird called the crane. (May you remember that God teaches us humility (bends us) through hardship. He wants you to depend on Him.
Even today before the berries are sent out to the rest of the country from New England, each individual berry must bounce at least 4 inches high to make sure they are not too ripe. (May your heart bounce and leap in knowing God's heart for you.
My sister-in-law shared this recipe with me last week. Her pastor's wife had shared it with her. We tried it out last night and it is delicious. We made four of them for our family as one only serves two people. The children had a blast helping and we all enjoyed eating them. Craving chocolate? You must try this!! YUMMY!
Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly Pour in milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips if using and vanilla flavoring. Mix again.
Place mug in microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. the cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed.
Allow to cool a little. Tip out onto a plate if desired or slice into individual pieces.
Tommy, our 16 year old had a great idea. Buy mugs at the dollar store. Place all dry ingredients inside a baggie. Place inside of mug. Write the recipe on a small card to tie onto the handle of the mug. Only the moist ingredients will need to be added. Wrap in colored clear wrap and tie with bow.
Makes great gift for friends, teachers, neighbors and family. Happy Holidays!
After the birth of my 9th child, two women from Taiwan came to stay with us to help care for our family. Every morning one of the precious women would bring me a special smoothie before breakfast. It relaxed me and gave me energy for the morning. Avocados have received a bad "rap" because of the fat content. However,health benefits outweigh the fat content.
Why are avocados good for you? 1.One avocado is filled with 30% more potassium than a banana. 2.One avocado provides 30% of the needed daily dosage of folate. This makes them especially good for pregnant women. 3.It is a seratonin food. They will boost your mood. Because they contain monosaturated fats, they help keep receptors in the brain sensitive to seratonin. 4.They help lower blood pressure. 5. They are loaded with good fats that boost your good cholesterol and help clean arteries.
In moderation, avocados have many benefits. Here is a simple recipe for women. Treat yourself and relax.
Blend together until creamy. Pour into a tall chilled glass. Sit in your favorite chair or enjoy as a "pick me up" while you are preparing lunch.
About once a week, our 14 year old son, Kerry, will create smoothies as a family treat. You can get as creative as you would like. These are less expensive than a night out for ice cream .However we still take the kids out periodically for Dairy Queen Sundays or cones.
Kerry's Strawberry Smoothie
1/2 lb of frozen strawberries 1 cup ice 1 to 1 1/2 cup of plain yogurt 1 cup of apple juice or Welches Cherry Burst Juice 1 cup sugar or 1/2 cup honey 1/2 to 1 cup lowfat milk
Add ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth. Add more milk or juice if needed.
Add graham crackers or Teddy Grahams for a yummy crunch.
Create a simple photo album of each family member. You can purchase small ones at the dollar store for single photos in each cover. Assemble album to keep by your special chair or quiet time retreat. During your prayer time, open your photo album. Place your hand on each loved one and pray individually for each person.
Hold Loosely, by Tommy
Life Matters, by Tommy
Freedom Awaits, by Tommy
Celebrate Life Always-Joshua
family-Jamie, Sara, Heather
"Whispering Prints", by Tommy
A Great Friend: Your Crock Pot
Enjoy more time with your family or friends this weekend. Try this as a meal or snack.
3 to 4 pound bag frozen meatballs (homestyle) 3 10 1/4 cans cream mushroom or celery soup 4 oz can button mushrooms 16 oz jar Cheese Whiz 1 meduim onion, diced
Combine ingredients in crock pot.Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Use as an appetizer or serve over rice as a main dish. Jasmine rice is delicious. Serve with salad.
The kids love this. Adults too! It can be served as a side dish for lunch or dinner and even as a dessert.
2 cans of tropical fruit mix (drained) 2 15 oz. cans mandarin oranges (drained) 1 banana peeled and sliced 1 8 oz. container of light cool whip
Mix all fruit together with light cool whip. Chill and serve when needed. Easy to double or add your own fruits. Add slivered almonds to give a crunch if desired. Loaded with vitamin C. Enjoy.
Take a Walk, by Tommy
Berries, by Tommy
Retreat your family with Easy Pumpkin Muffins
1 can of pumpkin
1 box of yellow moist cake mix
ground cinnamon to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Mix all ingredients by hand. Place in greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Yeilds about 3 dozen mini muffins.
Serve with coffee or tea
Melts in your mouth and comforts the weary.