I cannot believe it! The house is totally quiet. With 11 active children, this is a rare moment. So I grab my simple laptop, run into my teenage daughter's room to sit by the window in her cushiony purple bucket chair. I gaze out and contemplate the endless and bluest sapphire sky.The slender palms sway and whisper in the tender cool breeze. And while all the folks back in my home town of Ninety Six, S.C. are enjoying a rare snow storm, I sit in my home here in the Arizona desert thinking how I would love to be there joining in on all the fun. However, I am pondering how grateful I am to be living in such a unique area of the country. Furthermore, my heart is overflowing with gratitude for how intimately involved God is in my life and the lives of all people. If we could only realize and appreciate just how much He is paying attention even when we question our own faith in various seasons of this life's journey.
Before our family moved from the East to Arizona about a year and a half ago, we had just waded through some really tough times. My husband lost his job,we had suffered two miscarriages and experienced some huge financial losses and set backs. In addition, we had gone through various situations that even damaged our trust in people. Sometimes when we are hurting over so much hardship and have wept until to the "almost point" of feeling completely drained, I feel as though we trudge through some sort muddy season of just trying to survive. In essence this causes a person to feel numb or paralyzed within every fiber of his or her existence. It is as if something died in your heart and left a black meaningless hole. That is how I felt for at least the first 8 months we lived here. It as as I had not only moved to a literal desert, but soul was a dry wasteland. We had suffered several painful trials as a family in a very short period of time. Then we suddenly moved 1900 miles away from everyone and everything familiar. Needless to say, transition is usually pretty tough. We had lost hope in many ways and felt like God had kind of forgotten us. I did not realize at the time, God brought us to the desert to heal us and to restore us and to give us a hope and a future. It is never His intention to hurt us even though sometimes our feelings lie to us and tell us otherwise.
The positive thing about moving out West was that I felt a tender nudge that I needed to just simplify my life. I was involved in so many activities in our former community and church. I loved it all because I gain great joy in serving and helping others even outside the home. Needless to say, moving to Arizona pretty much forced me to do just that, to simplify my life and to find rest. In our new season of change I was starting to really having fun taking care of the children, fixing up my home,sketching, and writing on my little blog! That season was only the beginning of my healing.
One day, as I was simply living, loving, and faithfully completing my normal and mundane tasks I received an email from a man named Eric. He told me he had come across my personal blog and invited me to be one the bloggers on Stage of Life. I was really surprised and thought it sounded like something I would enjoy doing. That was about 8 months ago. Since I have been sharing my life on Stage of Life through simple essays, I have been blessed in so many ways. I believe God knew I needed a place to pour out my heart again. He knows that when we do operate in the gifts He bestows, something in the heart starts to shrivel and die. The founders of this project have been so gracious to allow me to share my passion for the Lord and how my faith has carried me through each day of life no matter what the circumstances. I am grateful to them for this where many venues do not allow such freedom. There were, however, a couple of times I felt discouraged thinking no one probably read my essays, but I have continued to share my life and heart on this wonderful site. And even beyond the blessing of being able to share a part of myself in this way, there was someone, somewhere who would find my essays. I am glad I did not give up.
Just a couple of weeks ago I received an email from a very kind man who had read some my posts on Stage of Life. He poured out his heart to me and shared that his heart was broken because his precious wife was suffering her tenth miscarriage. I could feel the hopelessness and distress in his email and my heart was in pain for this precious couple. I was in tears as he poured out their story. He asked me about my faith and shared that he was looking for hope and for answers. I felt so inadequate in how to reach back and encourage this amazing couple. So I just prayed for God to give me words. After much prayer and the shedding of many tears for this couple I did not personally know, I felt like God was simply telling me to just be myself and not to worry about trying to be a dynamic counselor with perfect advice and all the answers. So I did just that. I shared my heart with the simple words that I know. Nothing impressive or intelligent....it was just me being me.
Through several exchanges of email, I believe these precious people are finding hope and faith. I believe they are in a season where they are not so much just trying to figure out why, they are simply learning to trust. In the meantime, I feel that God is in the process of touching them and healing their broken hearts.And I carry great hopes and faith that God is working many miracles in this stage of their lives.
What is even more amazing to me, is that God has touched me deeply through this family. I too have more hope and God is granting even more healing in me just through His allowing me to encourage someone else who lives many miles away. I have hope that maybe my simple posts on Stage of life may really be touching some one's heart. In addition, I have been challenged to see things from a broader perspective by just listening to someone else and their convictions. I am constantly reminded that I should always keep my heart open to listen and to learn new things. Furthermore, I am joyfully amazed how God operates to network people together even from across many miles through the Internet for His redemptive and loving purposes. You see, in my attempt to lift up another, my own heart has been touched and my faith has been strengthened. I have learned new things and am reminded that if God wants to do something through you, He will bring the people to you.A simple housewife like me who labors and serves within the walls of her own home, and God brought a hurting heart via email through my dinky little laptop. Thank you again Stage of Life, for your mission is touching others in deep ways. Your vision and discovery is so much more than an avenue to share information, it is a resource where hurting people are finding healing and hope. And thank you to my new friend whom I met through Stage of Life. Whether you realize it or not, I have been touched and have found strength through your story of heartbreak in which God is restoring. I am the blessed one. God's love knows no bounds. It reaches across the miles through unlimited avenues, beyond religious denominations and beliefs, and goes deeper than the sometimes shallow reasoning of man. Today I soak in the fountain of gratitude that overflows from my heart.
In closing I would like to share a quote God gave to my heart.
"HOPE" is the peaceful state of knowing we always have something to look forward to. Even in the midst of trouble, God's grace enables us to look forward and beyond with confidence knowing that He is good and has organized great plans for His own!
With a joyful and appreciative heart,
To read articles on Stage of Life, click on the green link on the side bar.
It has really been a hairy day. So I am happy to have "boocoos" of left-over meatballs heating up in my oven at this moment. Since I have a few moments I thought, "Well,why not go ahead and update my blog. So here I am sitting on my comfy love sofa. My 13 year old daughter is holding one of the twins (the other is sleeping), and my 19 year old son is folding laundry.
Many of you have seen these photos already on Facebook. However, I just wanted to share them with those of you who do not do the Facebook "thang". Here is a photo of our 5 year old daughter with Lizzie and Maggie. I guess there is at least one good thing about having plenty of lap room!
It is so hard to believe these little beauties are almost 3 months old! Sister Heather is still enthralled by her two little sisters. Wonder if she will still feel the same once they are old enough to ransack her room??Hmmm.... This one is my favorites.....beautiful feet...so smooth with no dry skin or callouses! I kiss these little toes and wonder where these precious feet will tread one day.
Well, this is all I have for now. I do need to update my sidebar. I have some great photos for that. BUT...the meatballs are "hollarin" for attention and so is one of the babies! HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now I know I have not blogged in so long. HOWEVER, I want to thank all of you who have not given up on me. I have some new photos to post. I put them on Facebook, but have not posted them here yet. This week my friends..I promise this week I will post some new stuff. For now however, I would like to simply post these youtube videos with thoughts and prayers for a precious couple the Lord brought my way through email. They are tragically suffering their tenth miscarriage. They are hurting right now and my heart is broken and aching for them. Lord, embrace them and hold them like only You can in this time.
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.