There have been so many random thoughts and reflections stirring in my heart, in my spirit, in my mind. I am full...brimming over with contemplations so deep that I am afraid that my words cannot reach down and scoop up all that inhabits the depth of my meanderings in order to bring them out adequately. But it helps to at least try.
I love to laugh, make jokes, and just skip like a child. However, there is a seemingly bottomless part of my heart that so often dissects a thought or an idea until every organ of that notion is picked apart and laid out for inspection. However, my favorite place to go is to the heart and mind of God. I guess it is because He is so real to me. I have watched Him do so many things in my short 44 years that I am convinced more each day that my life is not my own. He is constantly weaving His plan into the fabric of my own person and family.
Sometimes I feel like a paralyzed spectator in His activities as I watch His plans unfold. However, I know there is an ongoing beckoning of His heart to my own heart to be an active participant in all He is doing. So we work together...God and me. And I admit that sometimes I resist and act like a spoiled brat.....but He faithfully upholds me. He never discards or writes me off.
This past weekend has been very difficult for our family. There was no big tragedy. However, it was more like four or five little annoying and invisible chiwawas running around in our house nipping at our heels every few moments. Have you ever had days like that? One minute it is one thing, then before you know it feels like all of those little nippers are on you at once trying to pick away your strength and patience. Then it is almost as if the little hyperactive mongrels are chewing up your house until there is nothing but destruction that seemingly can never be cleaned up! No folks I am not referring to my children even though at times I look around at the physical jumbles of toys and teenage muddles of left over snacks and dirty laundry and I wonder. Hmmmm.
So before you make judgements that our home is just a disorderly agglomeration causing distress and chaos, let me elaborate. Yes, we are real people and we do not try to pretend that all is well all the time. It is not. However what I want to continually be reminded of is the delight of One who loves to show up in the midst of topsy-turviness. He is drawn to conflict because He is the one who has the answers. He is the master Problem Solver. And He loves to show up and constantly prove to His kids how loving He is.
Yes, I am often disappointed in myself. And honestly I am sometimes dismayed by the choices of my children and others around me. It is easy as a parent to become caught up in the wind of the moment and feel as though you are being tossed about in the gusts of stress, discouragement,and bewilderment. However, I know that the One who upholds us utilizes the wind of the chaotic moments to thrust us all closer to the end result of who He is making us and calling us to be. It is encouraging to know that God Almighty has set our end from our beginning and that this day, yesterday and last week are only portions of the journey in which He is leading us. I am not defined by what happened this past weekend. My family members as well as myself are all pieces of art not yet completed. And it is in this "knowing" that I can appreciate those masterpieces just as they are in the middle of the process.
And I am pulled up into new planes of perspective when He sets me on His right sturdy wing and gives me a view of what is to be. We look together upon the wider scope of life's map and He says, "See, this is what I am making that one to be. What you thought was the very demise of that child is the very thing I am cultivating for my glory. You must not make assumptions in the "now". You must make declarations of what will be and what they are becoming."
I am edified and enlightened to know that I am blessed when I struggle with seasons of chaos and disorder because I know that God is in it with me. He loves to dwell with me in my messes! And while onlookers may disdainfully exclaim, "Tisk Tisk Tisk...what a shame.", I soar though the wind on wings of grace which uphold me. And I can thrive in peace and rest knowing that He has the Last word of the novel... the last stroke of the artist brush, and the last phrase of the melody.
I dare to be so open with my life. I dare to be honest. But in this I encourage my own heart with added hopes that someone else too can be comforted by the same comfort I receive. Additionally, I am reminded that we are all in the fight together. Its just that our strategies are not all the same. And our God loves a good fist fight, boxing match,and shoot out because He loves to disarm that which would try to destroy, devour or even nip at His kids. Our battle is not against flesh. It is not our husbands, our children, our bosses, neighbors, or friends. It is the invisible chiwawas and ravenous wolves that attempt to rip our hearts apart.
However, we are being fought for and we all know the ending. The journey is not over. And we know that our Father can be counted on to see us through and to uphold us when the journey becomes rough and the path becomes distorted.
Finally, we can relax in the understanding that we can be excited and joyful about this journey as we face the challenges that are inevitable. And I leave my little blogging room with this quote:
"IT IS GOOD TO HAVE AN END TO JOURNEY TOWARDS; BUT IT IS THE JOURNEY THAT MATTERS IN THE END." Ursula K.Le Guin
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.
I think I can make it now, the pain is gone All of the bad feelings have disappeared Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin?for It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.
Look all around, there’s nothin?but blue skies Look straight ahead, nothin?but blue skies
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.
I have not heard this song in years. However, for some odd reason I thought of it this morning. The memory of this tune was probably provoked by some interesting observations I made this past week. You see, I have slowed down a lot. I mean a lot. Not as much organizing, cleaning, laundry and cooking. Things have really been simplified here over the past 3 months. And it is a good thing.
Naturally, I am the type person that looks around at messes and disorder and I get uptight. But you know what? I realize that the mess does not matter so much right now because in my slower state I am seeing things I have never noticed. I sit out side and watch my kids play in the evenings. Story time is a lot less rushed. And hubby is probably one of the most patient men I have ever known. I have noticed these treasures, but the reality seems to be sinking in deeper into my heart these days. And the realization has hit me that I am unwrapping more of the gifts God has bestowed upon my life.
Yesterday was a quiet Father's Day. How I love those kinds of celebrations. It is in the hushed and the simplistic moments that I can really see. The kids and I gave John a simple gift. We gave him a new shorts outfit with some cool leather flip-flops. (You really must have flip-flops in Arizona) He really appreciated his presents.
However, what was really special was what happened after that. The little ones were so excited about their Daddy that they went on a mission. They really wanted to keep giving Daddy gifts. So Joshua, our 6 year old, went rummaging through his toys to find Daddy another surprise. He discovered an old child sized baseball glove and an old box. He drew pictures on the outside of the box and placed the glove inside. He held that little box in his sweet little hands and excitedly ran up to his Daddy. "Here Dad, I have another gift for you!" Joshie exclaimed.
John took the box and opened it with enthusiasm! "Wow", John said, "What a Cool baseball mitt! Look Mommy. Look what Joshua gave me for Father's Day." John tried on the mitt and it only went halfway over his fingers! Then he bent over and gave Joshua a big hug as he and I exchanged warm glances of how precious the gesture was.
While this was taking place, four year old Heather was in a little corner drawing pictures on a piece of paper for her Daddy. She ran happily toward him with an energetic abandonment. Wrapping her little arms around Daddy's legs she cried with joy, "Oh Daddy, I love you so so much." Then John picked her up, and held her close against his chest and replied, "Oh, I love you too, baby girl!"
For a few moments I was frozen in a moment of surreality. It was if God Almighty paralyzed me to a moment of deep realization....In fact He did. Here is what I saw beyond that precious tender moment.
A child who is secure in his Father's love dances through life with an energy of freedom and relentless love. A child who truly knows he is loved feels safe to give and wants to give continuously. A little one who has been loved unconditionally knows it deep down even though he does not have the words to describe that love. And so he just lives it, breaths it, runs with it, and gives it back freely.
Likewise, a child of God who has truly seen and experienced the pure love of God can do the same. If I know my Father, I know His love for me is real. And my life becomes more about giving that pure love back rather than trying to contain it as if I might lose it.
Furthermore, the Father is delighted when I just innocently give it back to Him in any form I can find. When the children were running around just looking for anything they could find, John was delighted that they love him so much they simply wanted to just give him anything they had. The gift itself was not that much. However, the passionate desire to express that love to their father in some tangible way, in any way melted their Daddy's heart to mush!
Wow, how our Heavenly Father's heart must soften even more when we like Joshua and Heather search for ways to bless Him and express our love to Him. This is the heart of worship! It isn't so much about the songs we sing in church and the elaborate words we use. It really is not about our performance and how good we are at something. It is about the hidden unspoken messages of the childlike heart that sings to, runs to, hugs and kisses the very core of the Father's heart....and it melts Him with pleasure and delight in the light of a love so genuine and pure!
I do not want to be labeled as a religious person. However, I cannot live my life without acknowledging a Person in my life in whom I live my life. Without Him, I cannot thrive. Without Him, I cannot love or receive love. Without this Person, I literally would not be alive today. I am not religious. I am just a lover of One whom I know is real and I long for others to know Him too. Simple as that.
As I have mentioned in other posts, my husband lost his job in 2007 without severance.Our hearts were already broken as we had just lost a second baby to miscarriage weeks before. We struggled for 9 months and lived on practically nothing while he searched for employment. We lived on grace and we made it to the other side of that hurdle. However, once we had jumped over it, we still had to recover from many months of struggle.
When we moved to AZ last year we found ourselves still asking how things were going to work out. Many who have been through financial set backs know what I mean. It takes time to mend. We needed many things and we moved West with a lot less than we had. We gave a lot of our belongings away because the truck we rented would not hold it all.
Now here we are months later and I can testify over and over of how the Lord has provided for our family far and beyond John's paycheck. During my time of worrying, I took a piece of paper and wrote down the things I was concerned about and I even wrote down hopes and dreams. I do not share this with the intention of making Jesus look like Santa Claus. However, when we delight ourselves in Him, He gives us the desires of our hearts. I would sit in my prayer chair with the list. First I would ponder an all of His benefits. I would thank Him for all He had already done for us. And I would express my gratitude for just knowing Him and belonging to Him. Then I would lay the list down on the floor as if laying it at his feet. Sometimes the answer to our prayers do not look like we think and they may not come in our timing, but He is faithful to go way beyond our limited thinking. So I would like to open to you a place I have kept secret for 9 months. Here is the list I wrote last September.
Keep in mind that at Thanksgiving my husband's check was drastically cut in order to cover the taxes for our move out here.
1. Income to meet our needs and bills over the next two months. 2. Healing in our family and marriage. (There was much stress on our family relationships from the move and financial strain. Also, we had come out of a lot of church conflict) 3.Dental work for our family. (This was a biggie!) 4.Finances for Christmas gifts. (This was not looking too hopeful with the cut in John's check) 5.Work on the van...air conditioning needed repair. (And you gotta have it in Arizona!) 6.Church or spiritual family in our new community. 7.A second car 8.Clothing for the children (we left a lot of that behind) 9.New Baby ( A hope and dream) 10.Money to pay off van title. (When John was out of work, we had to sell our van title to buy food.) 11.A Big Bonus from John's new employer 12.For discouragement, depression, oppression, and disappointment to be lifted from our family.
As I look back over this list, I see that God has either answered each petition or is in the process of doing so. There has been healing and refreshment in our family relationships.The bills are being paid.The van title has been paid off.Dental work is well on the way. John received a 2000 dollar bonus which covered the rest of Christmas and helped us to pay our bills for the month his check was cut. We were able to get our other car out here from Atlanta.The air conditioning is repaired in the van. Some precious new friends have given us clothing for our children. We have two babies on the way. And we are building new friendships with God loving people in a new way.Also, the clouds of disappointment, discouragement, and depression have lifted.
And I need to also add that I have been concerned about baby items. Yesterday, some sweet friends of ours brought over mounds of baby things. Even though we have had many children, we have no baby things. When I awoke from my nap, I walked in the living room and there were clothes, blankets,towels, a car seat, port-a-crib, baby swing, bouncy seat, baby tub, and much more. All I could do was cry. Another friend loaned me all of her maternity clothes so I will not need to purchase any of those either.
As you can tell, I am blown away by the goodness of God flowing through so many venues. However, the most uplifting is His kindness flowing through others. This is what binds people together. Furthermore, I would like to testify that there is nothing special about us that would cause these prayers to be answered. It is about how kind, good, special and able the one and only true God is. I want others to know Him and to see that He is gracious. His loving kindness is better than life. I have to boast in Him. He hears our cries in the hidden places and He says, " I am taking care of you. Do not worry." And he gives us a hug instead of scolding us for worrying. He is Father. He is love. He is real!
Many people are going through a season where they a wondering where He is or if He is real and alive. I have doubted His goodness so many times. But His grace always prevails. He will come through. He will provide. This is His Father's nature....to be the ultimate provider in our lives.
I am thankful for the rough spots in my life. For when they come, I can be assured that He is going to show up and help me. Hopefully, someone will be encouraged by this testimony. There is a lot of hopelessness in our world. Maybe my little candle will light a dismayed heart with the warmth of who God really is.
DON'T FRET OR WORRY. INSTEAD OF WORRYING PRAY. LET PETITIONS AND PRAISES SHAPE YOUR WORRIES INTO PRAYERS,LETTING GOD KNOW YOUR CONCERNS. BEFORE YOU KNOW IT,A SENSE OF GOD'S WHOLENESS, EVERYTHING COMING TOGETHER FOR GOOD, WILL COME AND SETTLE YOU DOWN. ITS WONDERFUL WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CHRIST DISPLACES WORRY AT THE CENTER OF YOUR LIVES. PHILIPPIANS 4: 6-7
The faithfulness of God is beyond my wildest dreams and expectations. It is so amazing to watch the loving heavenly Father step into every detail of my life and answer prayers that I pray in secret. He truly understands a mother's heart. And all the concerns and petitions of a mother seem to always line up with the intentions of God's own heart.
For example, I will often begin to become anxious in a certain area in one of my children's lives. So I will say out loud, "Lord, I need to talk with you." So I will steal away the first chance I get. Sometimes I will sit in my big chair by my bedroom window and gaze at the two palm trees in the back yard. I will rest and talk to my Dad about what is on my mind. Then other times I will sit in my tub or on the toilet (just being transparent here with the practical ways of God) and picture Him sitting by me intently listening. And other times I will chat with Him as I am making my bed in the mornings. However, my favorite time is when I go to bed as I usually turn in before my husband. I love to lay there and just thank the Lord for the day. I enjoy reviewing all the events whether stressful, fun, or just mundane. Then I share my gratitude with Him that He has been with me all day in the midst of everyday life. I love how such a mysterious God can be so simple and practical. It makes me feel secure to know He sits with me and hangs out at my house no matter what is going on! Wow, even writing about this gets me excited.
However, I have been thinking about the "mothering burdens" that seem to come upon me so often. When I go to my places of prayer, my confidence in my Dad grows as I watch Him address all of my concerns for my children. He takes care of it.He listens to my heart, nods His head "yes" and says, "Don't worry, I'll take care of them."
For example, this season of letting go of my oldest son has been challenging at times. I have felt frustration as well as pride as I watch him grow in manhood. He lives far away in Georgia and I have no control over any area of his life any longer. He is a young man now. He always belonged to God. But now the reality of that has set in.
There have been times over the past 9 months that I have felt concerned about him because things did not go as "I thought they should" in the choices he was making. So I have taken my worry to the Lord, for now that is all that is left to do. Prayer for my oldest child has led me to new levels of giving up control each time that tendency to want to still act as "mommy" in his life.
Furthermore, the excitement of watching what God is doing in my son's life confirms to me constantly that God has him in His grasp and He is not going to let my son go.You see, it is about Bradley and God now....the two of them together. And as I witness the hand of the Lord upon His life, I am seeing all kind of fruit. The grapes of that joyful, laid back spirit that Bradley has possessed since he was a baby has only grown. There are apples of wisdom being imparted as he learns valuable lessons through the school of life. And the strawberries of consideration, honor and respect are shining through his life as I watch him take initiative to pursue God, stay in touch with his family, and just love people.
For example, he has remembered everyone in the family's birthday this year...sent cards with money and gift cards. For Mother's Day he sent me a Bath and Body works gift card with a beautiful note thanking me for always putting my family first. Well, I am telling you this does something to a mother's heart that cannot be explained until you start experiencing it. You watch your child becoming the respectful and thoughtful person God is making him to be and you know you cannot take the credit. It is the powerful reminder that God has been there all along cultivating peace in the life of your child.
Another thing I love to watch is how the Lord has used dry seasons of Bradley's young journey to remind him of how much he needs God's presence in his life. He just told his Dad the other day in an email that he has been in a funk the last few months and admitted that he has been distant from God. However, the Lord gave him the understanding that he cannot make it in life without Jesus and knowing Him. When I read this, there were tears of joy seeping out of my heart as I watch my daily prayer for my kids being answered...that they would love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. And I know God is working that into Him! Whew! I am pumped!! I am encouraged that if that one prayer is answered, the rest of their lives will be filled with the abundance of a kingdom life. This is my heart for my kids and it is even more so God's heart for them.
The faithfulness of God is the divine heart of all creation "faith-full" to fulfill the wishes of His desire for His children. If God has that kind of faith, then He is faithful to to fill my own heart with the same. I can always count on Him!
Am I doing this? Resting in the moment? To be perfectly honest I am having a bit of a struggle doing that one thing that should seem so simple. My mind is racing ahead to the future. Jesus said,"Do not worry about tomorrow, for today holds enough troubles of its own." However, the uncertainties seem to be overwhelming me lately.
I have been thinking back to when we found out we were expecting our 9th baby. I was so tired and overcome with morning sickness. The laundry room was filled with several mountains of laundry and the heaps continued to grow. One morning I walked in , looked at the masses before me and dropped into the dirty piles of clothes crying out to God for help. It was not a muted cry, but one that the neighbors probably heard if they were out in their yards or walking by.
However, I remember God answered my plea for help in such an extravagant way. I could not even imagine what He had in store. Two sweet Christian ladies were sent from Taiwan at no cost to us, to live with us for two weeks. They caught up our laundry, cooked food, bought groceries and packed boxes as we were getting ready to move.I guess other countries really are sending missionaries the U.S. to show the love of God!
As if that was not wonderful enough, they flew back to the states when the baby was born and stayed with us for a month. They cleaned, cooked, helped with the children and helped take care of me while I was recovering. Whenever I visit the memories of how God so graciously provided for us during that time, I know I can look forward to His provision for this pregnancy and birth also.
In my limited thinking I have been looking at the way things are now...out of order. The bed sheets need changing. The bathrooms need cleaning. Meal time is a struggle. However, I have to believe that God's provision is here. I have been asking for help and my husband and teenagers are doing a lot around here. However, I am concerned about what will happen when I go to the hospital to have the babies. Who will be here when I have to go? What will we do for meals while I am recovering? How will we manage those first weeks of adjusting to twins? How will we do Christmas this year since the babies are due right around the holidays? The questions are endless.
Maybe the Lord has a big surprise for us this time. If He brought wonderful saints from the other side of the world to help us, He surely will provide this time also. I know He is faithful. Some days I just struggle with what I know to be true and my mind and thoughts take over. I must captivate these worrisome meditations and dwell on what I know to be true. That He is faithful. His grace is sufficient. He cares for me so I can cast my burdens upon Him. That my God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory. So how about anyone else out there? Have you struggled lately with worry? And how has God met you in your need? Testimonies sure would help right now as I am once again being challenged to rest in the moment.
I had to share these photos with you that my son Tommy took. I love watching him grow in his creative ability to catch intriguing moments and touching images with his simple little camera. He has been experimenting with black and white. Also, I noticed he is doing really well with focusing in on just portions of images which is really creative. Both of these photos were taken from the car as my husband John and our son Tommy drove across country earlier this week from Georgia to Arizona. We decided to bless him with a flight to Atlanta to spend 10 days with our oldest son Bradley. It took them two days to drive 32 hours, but they did spend one night in a hotel. They arrived home at 10 p.m. Monday evening.
The following day was Tommy's birthday. It was pretty laid back. John took the day off and I rested as I am still dealing with nausea. Kerry, our 15 year old, made the famous ice cream birthday cake. It was coffee and vanilla mixed with chopped Butter finger candy bars.
I am so proud of all of my children. Bradley, our 19 year old is living 1800 miles from us and is learning some great life lessons that will benefit him all through his life. He is a positive example for those he works with and is on the top of his boss's list of loyal employees.
Tommy is working hard toward his future and making all A's and B's in school. He continues to grow in his gifting of music and photography. Kerry our 15 year old is a blessing in that he does all he can to serve and help our family. He has been such a tremendous support these last two months especially the days when I could barely hold up my head from the morning sickness. He has even learned to cook a few dishes. He will be a great husband one day!
Sara, our 12 year old daughter is maturing into a strong and lovely young woman and I know that she will provide strength to others through whatever God calls her to do.
As for the little ones. They are full of joy and contentment. I look to them everyday as a source of encouragement and exhortation to just enjoy life and to be content in all situations.
I am not sure why the photos of the clouds have just touched my heart so deeply today. I think it may represent a place we are in our lives. We have been under a patch of clouds for years. Some of you know our story. However, I understand in faith that eventually the clouds break and streams of glorious light penetrate dismayed hearts. I look at the ribbons of sunlight which seem to strike with indescribable beauty and I realize that we are beginning to see the purpose of many things that we have suffered. The clouds have been breaking and we still have more to discover. However, the search is exciting and we are blessed to be walking in the light.
I just want to encourage parents today! Do not withhold words of praise from your children. Let others hear how proud you are of them. When Jesus was being baptized by John the Baptist, the spirit of God descended upon him as a dove. The voice of the father exclaimed, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." If God voices His delight in his children then we must do it too. People may accuse you of pride. However when we give God all the credit for the great work taking place in our children, this is genuine pleasure being expressed through you from the heart of the Lord.
I pray for you all blessings and hope and love and joy and all the wonderful things that are already yours to relish this day!
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.