Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallo-weenie!

My little dog was so not amused when taking this picture. (He was a sad clown) But, he'll do anything for a goldfish cracker!
We took some time yesterday (finally!) to go to the "pumpkin patch" in our town and look for the perfect pumpkins.

SO, this is what we're doing this morning... The strainer is for the pumpkin seeds which I will roast later. We love those!

We will carve pumpkins this morning and read Pumpkin Patch Parable. Even though the kids are older, but we still do some of these things every year... they love looking forward to simple little traditions. I know Halloween has become somewhat controversial in Christian circles in recent years. I actually love that it has become a discussion as I feel we should really examine everything we do. After really looking at it and praying about it when our kids were really young, we really didn't feel convicted about what our family was doing... dressing up, welcoming neighbor children, getting out and about in our neighborhood and being a light (which, admittedly, we don't do enough of during the rest of the year...) THIS is the day the LORD has made! Every day is His. So, later we will dress up, have a great time, and most of all strive to bring glory to Him (our goal every day.)

Another thing my kids know to expect is that we will spend a fair amount of time talking about Reformation Day. Our hymn this month has been "A Mighty Fortress" and we will watch part of this classic Martin Luther video (though last year we watched this one with Joseph Fiennes and it was excellent. We liked it better but we don't own it.) I love reading about this great reformer!

For a "treat" today, here are some great Martin Luther quotes to ponder:

"Pray and let God worry."

"The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid."

"Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave."

"You are not only responsible for what you say, you are also responsible for what you do not say."

"Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God."

Have a blessed day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Menu

Lunch: YOYO (You're on you're own! Mom's still getting over the weekend, LOL)
Dinner: Mini Meatloaves, green beans, carrots

Lunch: Pizza Pancakes
Dinner: Chicken Enchiladas, black beans, corn casserole

Lunch: grilled chicken sandwiches with organic onion rings (that I found at Super Target)
Dinner: Southwestern Pumpkin Soup (this is SO good!), crusty bread, salad, and lots of candy...

Lunch: turkey hot dogs, chips
Dinner: Ham and Scalloped potatoes (Fix-it and Forget-It, p. 142)

Lunch: YOYO
Dinner: Crab Cakes (we didn't have this for our "Geography dinner" for Maryland and Delaware last week- we had a spur of the moment "out-to-eat" night, which I LOVE!)

Weekend~ Lots of great leftovers

For more menus and some organization inspiration, please visit Laura. Have a great week!


Corn Casserole

1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup melted margarine or butter
1 (8 oz.) can cream style corn
1 (8 oz.) can whole kernel corn
1 (8 oz.) package corn muffin mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in the order listed; mix well. Pour into greased 9x9" baking dish. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


"I want to tell you that in order to experience true revival most of us don’t need to hear one more truth than we already know. We just need to obey the truth we already know. When we do, we will experience, I believe, true revival."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss, from her current series, Seeking Him- Obedience: the Acid Test of Love

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday Musings

Well, if you're interested in what we've been up to, grab a cup of coffee and settle in. I feel like I haven't really blogged any "updates" in awhile...

We had a wonderful week last week. Just wonderful. At the end of it I realized it had been one of the busiest we've had in a long time, but it was just so great... it fed my soul in so many ways it just didn't "feel" busy. Have you ever had weeks like that?

Monday my daughter and I went to our weekly Bible study with some other mothers and daughters. We are enjoying the study greatly, and especially spending time with my fun mother-in-law and sister-in-law who are attending it, too. And this is the second week in a row my sweet mil has brought us Starbucks! I'm starting to get spoiled! The next morning, speaking of Starbucks, I met with a wonderful, godly, precious young woman who, along with her husband and another couple, head up our church's college ministry. We met for the first time in China when our team joined up with their team over there. I felt drawn to her from the moment I met her, and she asked me about the possibity of mentoring some of the college girls she works with. She is clearly walking with the Lord and has such a heart for Him and for these precious girls. I have been praying about getting involved in that ministry somehow, so she and I met for coffee and prayer and had a wonderful meeting. That night I went to the college ministry (along with my daughter, who already knows some of the people, as she traveled with them for the past two summers... they asked me to please bring her, and she was excited to go!) and it was such a worshipful, rich time of praise and scriptural teaching. I really felt energized! (And... I felt forty. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Otherwise there wouldn't be that whole Titus-2-older-woman-younger-woman thing going on...)

The next evening we had dinner with some fun friends. We first met them when they were church planters in France. I am always so inspired by them and enjoy our time together, usually laughing my head off! They asked us to bring over pictures from Ghana because they are praying about going as a family as well, so after a delicious London Broil, we relived some of our Africa experiences. Oh, how I loved it! After being out for three evenings, we enjoyed some cozy time at home as a family Thursday and Friday evenings, then spent the day Saturday volunteering at an adoption conference. All I can say is, "wow." God is doing something great through this miracle of adoption. I was blessed just to be in the same room as some of those precious families and the speakers! Their stories are amazing. I am convinced that if you walk closely enough with the Lord, eventually you find yourself with orphans. They are so near to His heart. It was a precious day for our family.

And I can't even describe Saturday evening to you. I don't know how. Luke and I were privileged to be invited to a banquet/dinner for some of the candidates for the presidential election in Ghana. It was such fun! Some of the party candidates were there, we heard presentations about the political "goings on" in Ghana, we met some of the most interesting people and just had a wonderful time soaking up some Ghanaian culture, which we've missed so much. In a huge ballroom full of people, we were the only white faces in the crowd and I felt right at home! Oh, and the people and their clothing were so beautiful. They always are. (I'm keeping my eye on for the pictures, I'll link it if they post some!) Sometimes when I'm in certain places I wonder how or why God ordains that we have certain experiences...and I thank Him for it. Wow!

Oh, and last night! It was "missionary visitor" night at our Awana club, and our precious friends who are "m's" in China (stateside until January) came and spoke to our high schoolers, Sparkies, and T&T'ers. It was so wonderful! The kids loved it and they gave each of them some chopsticks that said "Pray for China." Our time with them is always so limited on the other side of the Pacific, so having them here just thrills me. I'm soaking them up while I can until they leave. It was so precious to listen to them tell those little eager faces all about China and inspire them to come over to China themselves and tell others about Jesus. I have no doubt that some of those kids will do just that!

Like I said, a busy week! And very, very interesting. God is up to some fun things in our family, for sure... In the midst of it, we had a great week of school, which I posted about over on my homeschool blog. We're having a bit of a relaxed morning at our house while I "regroup," and then, it's another fun week ahead. I've got to get our house straightened up today, as we have a realtor friend coming over in the morning to discuss going forward with selling our house. (That's one of those aforementioned "fun things" we've got going on, LOL.)

I hope yours is wonderful as well, and that God is up to some great things in your family too. I just know He is!

Monday Menu

The wind is whipping outside my window this morning, blowing in some cooler air... maybe fall is finally here! Oh, that would be so nice! I bought some new boots a couple of weeks ago, and they have been sitting in the closet watching the flip flops get chosen everyday. I'm sure they're wondering when they'll get their turn!

We are excited to go to my Grandmother's house at the end of the week to join ALL of my wonderful aunts, uncles and cousin, along with my brother's family and my parents, to celebrate Grandmother's 85th birthday. We are looking forward to a visit with everyone, and I have a shorter week in the kitchen!

Monday ~
Lunch: Chicken Pesto Panini's (I simplify these greatly- shaved deli chicken, grated cheese, pesto, and the George Foreman grill... they turn out great every time!)
Dinner: Crock Pot Lasagna (This is the BEST lasagna ever, and so easy! From Fix It and Forget It)

Lunch: Nachos
Dinner: Geography dinner- Crab Cakes (Maryland), Broccoli Cauliflower casserole (Delaware) from the book Eat Your Way Through the USA

Lunch: YOYO (You're On You're Own!)
Dinner: Leftovers

For more menus (and some GREAT organizing tips!) visit Laura, our resident "Organizing Junkie." Thanks for hosting us, Laura!

Have a great week around your table!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Heaven On Earth

"You and I have the privilege of presenting a picture to others of what heaven will be like. We have the opportunity to turn our homes into a little bit of heaven on earth. When we pursue God's design for us as wives, mothers, and homemakers, and pursue it with passion and purpose, we establish a place here on earth that reflects the bliss and order of our future home in heaven."

Elizabeth George, Life Management for Busy Women

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Contagious Virus

Last week we were supposed to get together with another family and at the last minute my friend called to let us know that one of her kids had chicken pox. We opted not to go, even though my husband and myself have had it, and our kids have both had light cases... just because we felt it was prudent not to expose ourselves to it. In past years we have gotten flu shots because we have not wanted to catch or spread the flu virus. When one of our kids has come down with strep throat, my immediate thought has been, "Oh no! Who else have we exposed?" or "Where did we catch this??" We are careful to wash hands and use hand sanitizer (especially when we travel) so that we don't catch any "bugs."

But there's something more contagious that often we don't guard against: fear.

Amy Carmichael says, "Have you ever thought how infectious fear can be? It spreads from one person to another more quickly and certainly than any of the fevers we know so well.

You can refuse the spirit of fear, which never comes to us from God. (And if He does not send it to us, who does?) Instead, open your heart wide to the Spirit of "power and love and a calm and well-balanced mind, and discipline and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified). Because fear is so infectious, let us, for the sake of others and ourselves, refuse it."

I think we, as women, often don't "refuse it." We share it! We sit in groups having coffee while our kids play and discuss our fears, sharing what we're most afraid of, and... exposing each other to it. When someone shares a fear with me, I usually do one of two things: I think to myself, "Oh, I've never been afraid of that. That's not a struggle of mine." (Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 1 Cor. 10:12) Or I think, "Oh, you're right! That could happen. Wow, I never thought of that..." and fear takes root. At both points, I can refuse it... take that thought captive to Christ, resist the fear.

It's not that we shouldn't ever share, but that we should take care how we share and with whom, I think. When I have an illness I cancel appointments with my friends but I make one with the doctor. I limit exposing those who might be vulnerable to it, and go to someone like a doctor who is not only equipped for exposure, but able to help. Maybe instead of broadcasting my fears far and wide at gatherings of friends, I should share them with someone who I know is walking firmly with the Lord, who can commit to pray with me about it or offer advice from his or her own victory.

Carmichael says, "Thank God courage is as "infectious" as discouragement. Haven't you often felt the cheer and strength that seem to flow from a person whose mind is fixed and firm on God? I have." I have, too. Not only do I want to be around that type of person, I want to be that person. Sometimes I am. I have been in the past. But repeated exposure to the fears of others can weaken me, I've found, if I don't regularly inoculate myself with Truth and limit my exposure to the "fear virus."

She says, "When we are downhearted or fearful or weak, we are saying to everybody (by the way we look and by our timidity, if not by our words), 'After all, the Lord can't be absolutely trusted.' "

And that is more dangerous than any virus that's out there right now. We must, for the sake of ourselves and others, refuse fear and not spread it. Let's remind each other of our Savior Who has never, not once, failed us.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:18

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Menu

"But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."
1 Timothy 6:8

Happy Monday! Another week to be grateful for the way God has provided for our families and to be good stewards of those provisions. He is so, so good!

Breakfast choices:
biscuits with apple butter or gravy
cinnamon rolls
scrambled eggs
combination of the above

Monday ~
Lunch: sliced BBQ brisket, macaroni and cheese
Dinner: Ritz chicken, peas, scalloped potatoes

Tuesday ~
Lunch: grilled chicken sandwiches
Dinner: beef enchiladas, corn, black beans

Wednesday ~
Lunch: homemade pizza
Dinner: dinner with friends

Thursday ~
Lunch: pita pocket sandwiches
Dinner: Leftovers

Friday ~
Lunch: leftover lunch buffet
Dinner: Crock Pot French Onion Soup

Here's a quick kitchen tip: My favorite way to bake potatoes is in the microwave inside paper lunch sacks! I wash and brush the potatoes, poke a few holes in them, then twist them up in either a brown or white sack (whatever I have on hand) For large baking potatoes you set the time for about 7 minutes per potato, for smaller ones it takes about 4-5 minutes per potato.

To read more menus or to share yours, visit Laura. Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Year of Living Biblically

Many Christians and those in the Christian blogosphere would say that we try our best to "live Biblically." I know I do. And I know that the longer I have walked with Christ, and the more I study Scripture, the more grateful I am for God's grace as I daily try to walk according to His Word. I was intrigued yesterday to catch an interview of an author who spent a year literally adhering to Biblical "rules." You can watch his "Today Show" interview here. It is fascinating.

The author, A. J. Jacobs, who describes himself as an agnostic, spent 52 weeks living as "Biblically" as he could. Right down to wearing robes, growing out his beard, playing the lyre, changing his eating habits, and of course, following the Ten Commandments. (He even stoned an adulterer! Seriously!) The whole thing is interesting to me on so many levels, and I'm sure there will be much discussion of his book in the blogosphere, but one thing I heard him say struck me yesterday:

Matt Lauer asked him "On your average day did you find that you were unable to fulfill this or were there days where you could absolutely fulfill it for 24 hours at a time?" His response was, "Never. You're always going to break rules. Especially the rules like coveting, gossiping, and lying. I was astounded by how much I sinned once you start to pay attention." "Really?" Matt replied, "So in other words you had a rude awakening that on a daily basis you covet and you lie?" A.J. responded, "Absolutely, and I never really followed all the rules, but you can try. You can try to become a better person... hopefully."

"I was astounded by how much I sinned..."

What a statement! This interview, and his book which details his "experiment," highlights the need for Christ, the need for a Savior. He looked into the law and it reflected back his own iniquity, and he saw it! He described himself at the end of the interview as still an agnostic (a "reverent agnostic," actually) and that he has incorporated certain Biblical principles into his life, like the Sabbath and thankfulness. He found that there are things that just... work. Things that bring peace. But what I think is the most amazing thing is that he showed that even those who don't acknowledge God realize they fall short. We can't keep the commandments on our own. We sin daily, all day. We are fallen.

At the end of the interview, Matt says, "Think fast, when's the last time you broke one of the Ten Commandments." A.J. replied, "Probably during this interview." Matt, laughing, asked, "Which one?" to which he said, chuckling "I don't know... it's hard to keep track..."

It sure is.

Oh, how I'm unspeakably grateful that it's not my ability to keep the commandments that has brought me into a relationship with God, but that it was Christ's sinlessness and payment on my behalf that make me righteous before a holy God. I am thankful every. single. day. that I'm not simply trying in my own power not to sin, or to prove myself worthy. Thank you God, for drawing me. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Menu Monday and a GREAT Chocolate Sauce Recipe

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! We did, and now it's time to hit another week. I love how every Monday brings another chance for a fresh start... an effective week. God's mercies are new every morning, every minute, every week! What a wonderful thought to start our day.

Here's our menu:

Breakfast choices:
Pumpkin bread (I made some yesterday... C'mon fall!)
scrambled eggs
toast & jam or jelly
various combinations of the above

Monday ~
Lunch: tuna salad and crackers
Dinner: New Jersey Chicken Casserole (EYWTUSA p. 70) (We didn't have this last week), green beans, red velvet cake

Tuesday ~
Lunch: french bread pizzas
Dinner: Baked Potato Soup, hot bread, salad

Wednesday ~
Lunch: turkey wraps, Flat Earth chips
Dinner: Spaghetti, caesar salad, grean beans, garlic bread

Thursday ~
Lunch: Frito pie
Dinner: Leftover Dinner Buffet

Friday ~
Lunch: Leftover Lunch Buffet
Dinner: Crock Pot pork chops (envelope of golden onion soup mix + can of cr. of celery soup + pork chops = yummy), pasta, mixed veggies

Last week we had so many yummy leftovers we had two leftover nights (yey!). One thing I like to do when we're having leftovers since I'm not cooking a whole meal, is to whip up a new dessert. (And I'm talking s-i-m-p-l-e, like a box cake or even slice and bake cookies if I'm pressed for time.) Last week I made a family favorite- a yellow (box) cake and my Nana's chocolate sauce. This chocolate sauce recipe is SO yummy and easy, I encourage you to try it!

Nana's Chocolate Sauce

3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour (generous)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (generous)
pinch of salt

Stir dry ingredients well.

Add 2 cups milk. Use a whisk to stir while cooking in saucepan. After sauce cooks and thickens a bit, add:

1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Our family has always enjoyed this sauce over yellow cake, but I suppose you could serve it with any type of cake, ice cream or fruit. Enjoy!

To read more menus or to pick up some awesome organizing tips, stop by Laura's. Have a great week!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I think I need a nap...

I have watched this video at least 20 times, and I laugh hysterically everytime!

Somebody help me.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Update

Well, if I'm going to go on posting this infrequently, I might need to change my blog name to "One Week More" or "One Month More" won't I?

Happy Friday!

It's been a fun, busy week at our house. Have you ever had that feeling that God is up to something big? Enough to make your "tummy tickle" and make you feel a rush of adrenaline? There have been three distinct times in my life when I've had that feeling, and all three of those times He has, in fact, been up to something big. (I'm finding out, of course, that He always is, and the degree to which I "feel it" is the degree to which I'm on board, LOL)

Well, I've got that feeling again. He is definitely at work in our family, bringing about some exciting changes, all of which are "post-worthy" but are still in the works so... not yet. ;) One change that we learned last week is that we will be welcoming a new niece or nephew next spring! Our extended family is just the most fun, and welcomes new little ones with such joy, this new little bundle is so blessed that God hand-picked this wonderful crew as his or her earthly family, and Amy and Randy as parents. S/he has NO idea how blessed s/he will be, but his or her Aunt Cyndi will gladly tell him/her. (Okay, these slash marks just have to go... Amy, please find out what s/he is at your earliest opportunity, 'kay?) :)

I sat down to post this morning with nothing- and everything- on my mind. As I type I have no idea what will make it onto the screen and get posted, but I felt like posting anyway. So, if you're blog-hopping in search of some well-written, cohesive, Deep and Meaningful posts... this ain't one. This is your opportunity to keep on hoppin' and come back on another day. Which I'm not sure when that will be. (Deep and Meaningful just seem to "come upon" me and can't necessarily be planned for!)



For those of you still reading, bless your heart. You've hung on for my ramble! Thank you! Let's see, what we've been up to this week:

Monday I received a phone call that my dear aunt and uncle from South Carolina were in town visiting my parents. I had forgotten that this was when they were coming, so this was a nice surprise! (I wake up! In a new world! Every day! So lots of things! Come as a fun! Surprise to me!) We went over and had wonderful burgers that my dad cooked out and visited with them. Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lois are a HUGE part of who I am. They always lived in another state, so I didn't get to see them often, but when I did, they had such an impact. I even went and spent time with them in the summers during high school. Aunt Lois always put me to work in the kitchen, mowing the lawn, or picking peaches (good for her!) but then she always took time to take me to great sales and outlets (good for me!). There was never a time when I was growing up that I felt pretty, but after I would get ready each morning and come down the hall, Uncle Jerry would sing "There She Is... Miss America" to me. And for just that moment, I would believe him. Such a sweet memory! They love, love, love my kids too and that just blesses me so much. SO, it was a great visit Monday.

Wednesday evening we had just the most fun theme party ever, with our above-mentioned extended family. My daughter and her cousin have birthdays 5 days apart (they are a year apart in age) so for the past few years we have been combining parties for them into one BIG family party. It started a few years ago with a 50's party, then the 60's... Last year I posted pictures of our 70's party. Well, this year, it was back to the 80's! It was fun and scary at the same time! Fun because it was, well, fun. Scary because getting my hair back to its 80's height came all too naturally for me. Yep, scary! I didn't have any 80's -looking clothes (thank goodness, really) and didn't take the time to go to thrift stores and put together Desperately-Seeking-Susan -esque attire like my fun sisters-in-law did, so I did the only thing I knew to do... I sent my cute husband to the attic. He came down with our old suitcase full of our fraternity and sorority shirts. Oh, MY. The 80's came right down into our dining room when we opened that up! So, we sported our greek letters and I used a can of hairspray on my hair and we looked just exactly ::cough::: like we did in 1987.

Two decades and two kids later... here we are! I didn't get many good pictures of the rest of the family, but as soon as I can snag them off of one of my sil's Myspaces, I'll share some. What fun! It's hard to believe I can't remember all of the "Thriller" dance anymore. I was so disappointed in myself... But I'm convinced if I could purge my brain of some of those 80's lyrics I could memorize more scripture. Or at least remember where my car keys are.

Speaking of hard to believe, here are the birthday girls at age 13 and 14!

Time marches (or moonwalks) on, doesn't it? Well, it's been a great week here, and I hope you've had a good one as well. I guess I better get on with this day and see what it holds. Thanks so much for stopping by today and getting caught up with us!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Welcome to another week! And welcome to October!

I hope you had a fantastic weekend. We sure did! We enjoyed my daughter's wonderful birthday dinner last week with our fun friends from China and finished up our study of the New England states with a wonderful clam chowder. This week we are moving on the Mid-Atlantic states with New Jersey and New York. (I thought New York would involve cheesecake, but I was surprised! If you scroll down to Friday you'll see why...)

Here's what we're munching around here this week:

Breakfast choices:
Banana bread
sausage balls
any combination of the above

Monday ~
Lunch: pita pocket sandwiches
Dinner: Chicken tortilla soup

Tuesday ~
Lunch: Ramen noodles
Dinner: Bar-b-cups (my son's request, he LOVES these), mixed veggies

Wednesday ~
Lunch: tacquitos
Dinner: Pizza at our family's fun "80's party" (birthday party for my daughter and her cousin) We are picking up the pizza and I'm sending my husband in, because I'm not wearing my 80's hair into a public establishment...)

Thursday ~
Lunch: macaroni and cheese, fruit
Dinner: Leftovers

Friday ~
Lunch: Leftover Lunch Buffet
Dinner: New Jersey Chicken Casserole (EYWTUSA p. 70), green beans, Red Velvet Cake (Did you know that Red Velvet Cake was created at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City? I thought it was a Southern thing! Well, I'll be...

Oh, I hope you have a wonderful week in your kitchen, whatever you've got cookin'!

Visit Laura for more menus or to share yours with the rest of us.