Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday's Musings

We're back!

No "Monday Menu" this week (as fascinating as that always is, I'm sure...) Just a buffet of random thoughts from my transitioning-back-into-real-life brain. We had a great time on our vacation last week. I'm not a good blogger. I didn't take any pictures at ALL. The above photo was taken by my daughter on our trip in 2004! (But it looked like that last week... really.) I'm hoping if any of my friends who were there took any, they might share! If you were on the trip and you're reading this... Bethany took some GREAT pictures of you and your kids! If you're interested in swapping, let me know! We spent last evening restoring my sweet brother-in-law's beautiful travel trailer to it's "original upright position" and returning it to him. It was so nice! We loved it! We ended up in the perfect spot and my talented husband was able to maneuver it perfectly. We had a wonderful time with about 8 or 9 other families (most of whom stayed in cabins nearby) sitting by the campfires, hiking, playing at the playground, keeping up with each other's kids, laughing, remembering, praying, singing... What a refreshing time!

And, now the laundry.

While the laundry is whirring, I'm letting the kids sleep in and I'm gathering my wits about me for a busy, busy April. I'm hanging on to this last day of March. I hope it goes slowly! My mind is just meandering a bit this Monday morning. If you continue to read, be warned. It's random.


We found out the day before Good Friday that we passed our home study! Believe me, I did not take that for granted. We have an excellent (and thorough!) social worker. It was a very "refining" process for us... quite beneficial, actually. I wasn't anxious or really worried, but it was good to get the word that we were officially approved and can now move on to compile the rest of our dossier (paper mountain.)


Last night while getting caught up on my email I found out that our case worker from our daughter's birth country will be in town this week and we get to meet her on Friday. I'm am beyond excited! She's the one who will connect us with our daughter! She may already know her! She and her husband run the orphanage over there and have a precious relationship with the children. From what I have heard of her, she is wonderful. I cannot wait to spend some time getting to know her. The next time we will see her is when we are there. God is so good to arrange this meeting with her on this side of the ocean, at this point in the process when it's so easy to get bogged down.


Just look what arrived in the mail the day before we left!!

This is an Adoption Journey bracelet created by Heather at Waiting for Our Heart's Desire.

I had ordered it from Heather a couple of months ago, and she mailed it to me the day before she left to go bring home her TWO precious new sons! I can't believe she took the time to do that during such a busy time.

Here is what she says about the bracelet:

"On both ends of this bracelet you will see two glass tear drops representing the sacrifices that are made and tears that are shed when a birth mother decides to give up her child. The second tear represents the sacrifices made, tears during waiting, and the tears of joy that come with the adoption journey. The world represents the far off land where I will discover my son. The big red heart represents my hearts' desire for a son. The three crystals (green, yellow, red) represents the flag. The most important bead on the bracelet is the original nickel prayer bead, from a very old prayer necklace that I had purchased. I also personalized mine with a blue baby bottle representing the son that God will one day place in my arms."

This photo doesn't do it justice. It is absolutely stunning and brings tears to my eyes. (I chose not to have a baby bottle charm since our daughter could be up to 5 years old.) I love this tangible reminder of this journey we are on. And I love accessories. Love them. I may just get creative and design some Adoption Journey Flip Flops or something... ;)

Will you please take a moment to say a prayer for John, Heather and their two dear sons as they are in Africa being united, and for their precious family who awaits them back home? This is a wonderful time in their family!

**Update: They are back! I can't tell you how moved I am by this picture. Go see what God's been up to. Adoption is greater than the universe...

I missed the first installment of...

But I had the book with me! Here is the first post from last Friday, discussing the book The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. I read this book last summer and I learned SO much. I am glad to reread it with such a great group to get their perspective and post some of my thoughts as well. Hopefully I'll get time later today to post about the first chapter, but if not I'll just hop right in with the second chapter on Friday. I would encourage you to pick up this book and read it with us! (If you are a man and would rather not read about how to be an excellent wife, you may want to pick up The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott and John MacArthur... ;)

Lastly, I'll share what I'm wrestling with this morning: Pride. I used to think pride was just an inflated ego or boastfulness. I haven't realized until lately that pride is simply self-focus. Self-focus can manifest itself in some really sneaky ways: insecurity, embarrassment, being angry when corrected/confronted, or putting myself first in any way. Needing attention is pride. Needing to prove myself right is pride. Worrying about what people think is pride. Pride encompasses so much more than I thought it did! Why should this concern me? Because James 4:6 says "God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble." Did you catch that? God is OPPOSED to the proud. Martha Peace says, "When God opposes someone (as He does the proud), He sets Himself against that person. He is not merely neutral or passive towards them but is actively opposing them, facing Himself against them. Being actively opposed by God is an extremely precarious and unnecessary place to be." I don't know about you, but the thought of God actively opposing me, setting Himself against me, scares me to death! And all because I let my insecurity have free reign, or focus on myself too much. Wow.

Something to think about as I fold all of this laundry...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Menu Monday

I am late getting my menu up this week because... the stomach bug has hit our house! It's only claimed one of us, though, (my sweet daughter) and she's bravely battling it. I think she's on the other side of it, though, and is feeling much better. I've been thankful for my husband's wonderful invention of freezing gatorade in plastic baggies... those ice chips were a lifesaver last night! I'm usually not a germ freak, but when something like this hits our house I'm a madwoman with the Clorox wipes, disinfectant spray, and hand sanitizer. I knew I was losing it awhile ago when I was cleaning the Lysol can with a Clorox wipe... BUT, we're leaving town Wednesday for a wonderful spring break trip, so I don't want anyone else to catch it!

Besides walking around with my antibacterial products in a holster and firing at will, I'm also working on getting us out of town, so this will be a short week in the kitchen for me!

For now, here's our menu:

Hay and Straw (one of my favorite things to do with leftover Easter ham)

Tomato Basil Soup- my friend Mary's recipe, which is available on her website along with her other fabulous recipes here

Wednesday - Sunday:
We are going for a wonderful week of camping (RV style, that is) at a beautiful state park in Oklahoma where there are cabins, too. We usually stay in a cabin each spring, but this year my husband's generous brother has offered us his ginormous travel trailer. Fun! About 10-12 families from our family bible fellowship will be there, and we all split up the cooking (for dinner) and all eat together at someone's cabin around the campfire. It's a wonderful time of fellowship! We'll have our usual- hot dogs, smores, sandwiches and snacky foods, plus my cute husband will be grilling us steaks . I also always, always take a big batch of sausage balls and my grandmother's banana bread for breakfasts.

One of my first-ever blog posts a couple of years ago was about this trip, and the banana bread. My grandmother's tube pan had an interesting journey to another state and found its way back to us, which I wrote about here. I've never posted the recipe for this amazing banana bread, but I've shared it with lots of folks and everyone loves it. In honor of the 6th anniversary of my sweet Nana's homegoing and since I'm baking some tomorrow, I'd love to share it with you!

Nana's Banana Nut Bread

3 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. baking soda
4 cups flour
3 mashed ripe bananas
1 cup chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts, but frequently leave them out or just sprinkle them on top right before I put it in the oven, in case someone is allergic or doesn't prefer nuts)

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well. Add vanilla. In a separate measuring cup, combine baking soda and buttermilk. Add flour and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Add bananas and nuts. Bake in a well-greased and floured tube pan or large bundt pan at 300 degrees for 1 hour 55 min. or two 8" loaf pans for 1 hour 15 min.
For more menus and recipes, visit Laura. Have a wonderful week, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Was It A Morning Like This?

Was it a morning like this
When the Son still hid from Jerusalem?
And Mary rose from her bed
To tend the Lord She thought was dead

What is a morning like this,
When Mary walked down from Jerusalem?
And two angels stood at the tomb,
Bearers of news she would hear soon..

Did the grass sing?
Did the earth rejoice
To feel You again?
Over and over like a
Trumpet underground,
Did the earth seem to pound:
"He is risen"

Over and over
in a never ending round
"He is risen,

Alleluia, Alleluia!"

Was it an morning like this,
When Peter and John from Jerusalem?
And as they raced for the tomb,
Beneath their feet was there a tune?

Was it a morning like this,
When my Lord looked out
On Jerusalem?
He is risen,

Alleluia, Alleluia!

From Morning Like This by Sandi Patty

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mine, Mine Was The Transgression

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners' gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! 'Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

He Made Purification of Sins

"In eternity we're going to sing on and on and on and it will be never-ending joy, ever-deepening joy. On a dark night like this Maundy Thursday we want to remember how it is that we got such a promise, sinners like us..."

I encourage you to go here to read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WFMW: Reading Aloud and A Book Recommendation

This post originally started as a post about a book we are reading that we are really enjoying... but I'll get to that in a minute. I'll start by saying that reading aloud to our children has always worked for us. We have read aloud to them on a regular basis since they were little bitty, and now at 14 and 11 they still enjoy it. We all do! We have so many shared experiences through the books we've enjoyed together. When they were little, it was hard for them to sit still for a book sometimes (especially a chapter book) so I had things for their little fingers to do while little ears listened. Some of those things were:
  • Magna Doodle
  • Build with Legos (already spread out... no "raking" through the tub!)
  • Moon Sand
  • Etch-a-Sketch
  • Draw quietly
  • Mold things out of clay/ play-doh that go along with what we're reading (history or whatever)
  • Wikki Sticks on a cookie sheet
  • Make things out of pipe cleaners

When they were little and were doing those semi-quiet activities while their Dad or I read to them, it was hard to tell they were listening, but that's okay. We were spending time as a family, they were hearing their parents read, and those words were going somewhere. We would find out later as they would recount parts of the stories they loved, or even now when they remember funny parts of past books we've read... they were listening. And it built in the habit of sitting and enjoying literature. My husband is on his second time of reading the Little House On The Prairie series to them. That's become a special memory for the three of them. (He reads it to them at night while I'm "regrouping" or preparing for the next day!)

Now, on to the book I wanted to share with you... We are loving Grandpa's Box. Meade and Van Patter masterfully weave the entire Biblical story of redemption into the storyline of a Grandfather telling his grandchildren stories using figures he's carved and stored in a fishing tackle box. He tells each story in the context of war-- which fascinates my son. (There is a wonderful review of it here.) It's recommended for ages 9-12, and I am so glad to find a book like this which is not only theologically sound and extrememly well-written, but holds their interests as this book does. We started making each of the figures that Grandpa carved, but instead of wood (obviously!) we are using Model Magic. By the end of the book each of the kids will have a set of figures to remind them of the basic storyline of the entire Bible, that they can use to remind themselves or perhaps even share with their own kids someday. Here's what they've made so far: (You can click on the photo to make it bigger.)

I just wanted to share this book today. Reading aloud continues to work for us!

For more tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday Menu

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" John 1:5

These are our candles we will be using this week each evening after dinner during our Holy Week readings. (We are using Noel Piper's readings found here.) If you were to look closely under the ivy you would see our Advent wreath, and these are some of the candles we used at Christmas. I think that's quite symbolic. It was also thrifty, because I already had it all on hand! It's not too late to put together some candles and incorporate some scripture readings each evening to make this week leading up to Easter a more set-apart time in your home. I've posted some other links here. I'd love to know some of your ideas!

On to our menu...

Happy St. Paddy's Day!
Baked Potato Soup (didnt have this a couple of weeks ago), salad, Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

Baked Fish (didn't have this last week), steamed vegetables, hot bread

Chicken Enchiladas, black beans, corn, salad


Passover Seder meal/ potluck with our Family Bible Fellowship... Not sure what I'm taking yet...

Easter meal~
Ham, rolls, spinach salad, veggies, Blueberry Banana Pie (recipes here from last year)

For more menus or to link yours, visit Laura. If you don't menu-plan yet, she's got a link to a great resource to help you get started... you might want to check it out!

Now, I'm off to make some shamrock-shaped pancakes...
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great week!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Holy Week

This is the palm tree I planted on my patio yesterday, in anticipation of Palm Sunday today. It has been a wonderful day! I hope you are having a blessed Palm Sunday and anticipating Holy Week as well. We started this morning with breakfast as a family- coffee cake and fruit, with a lit candle on the table, which simply helps us remember that this is a special time. We attend church as a family on Saturday nights, so after breakfast my daughter and I were able to scoot over to Africa church and then go out to lunch together.

This morning we read about the Triumphal Entry in Mark's and Luke's gospels, noting especially how Luke's gospel details how Christ wept over Jerusalem... He was not exactly upbeat or giddy as He rode the donkey colt into the city to the chorus of "Hosanna!" He knew some who praised Him were not true disciples and in just a matter of days would be crying, "Crucify Him!"

Here are a few things we will be doing this week to observe Holy Week in our home... There are some simple (but powerful) readings developed by Noel Piper that we will be doing this week found here. These are in her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions, which is available to read online here. (I just love the Pipers! They make so many of their materials available for free. It's amazing!) We are going to hopefully make the "Easter Mountain" which is explained here in chapter 9 of the book.

During Christmas we read the first half of John Piper's Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. I purposely stopped in the middle so we could finish it in the days leading up to Easter. It is available to read online here. I highly recommend it to read for yourself, or aloud to your older children. There is also a supplemental Bible reading plan to accompany the book, available here, that we will make use of as well. It's so helpful!

Friday night we will enjoy a time of fellowship with our Family Bible Fellowship (Sunday school class which we attend as a family) at our annual Passover Seder meal. If you don't have a group who does this or know of one you can attend, this site has some great recipes and explains it very thoroughly. Attending a Seder meal has always added meaning to our family's observance of Good Friday.

I would love to know some of the ways you make Holy Week a set-apart time for your family, and I'm always looking for new things to incorporate into our family's celebrations, so if you have some ideas or links, please let me know!

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday (Psalm) 13

Today is the 13th, so this morning found me in Psalm 13. I love this Psalm! It starts with a question... a phrase that I think I've uttered or at least thought many, many times. "How long, O Lord?" In other words, it begins with a lament. It's okay to do that, but I must make sure I'm not grumbling! I was reminded of words spoken by a very wise pastor: The difference between lamenting and grumbling is that grumbling calls God's character into question while a lament calls God's character into action. So, as with any lament in the Psalms, I read this one anticipating the Psalmist (in this case, David) calling God into action. It's not a grumble to ask God "How long?" as long as I keep my focus on his sovereignty, His mercy, His goodness.

John MacArthur's notes on this Psalm are excellent:
"Psalm 13 launches with an explosion of 4 "How longs?" indicating another lament is about to begin. But David will shift radically from turmoil to tranquility in the space of 6 short verses through 3 levels of attitude:

I. Below "Sea Level" Expressions of Despair (13:1,2)
II. "Sea Level" Expressions of Desires (13:3,4)
III. "Mountaintop" Level Expressions of Delight(13:5,6)"

As I read the above, I thought of it as "Below 'See' Level." There are levels of despair that we hold deep inside, and we rarely bring them out to be seen. Hidden stresses and fears the enemy (our own flesh!) keeps bringing against us. It's been years. Maybe we even secretly wonder if God even knows about it, even though we know He knows everything... I heard recently, "If you can share it, you can bear it." Share it with Him! He will help you bear it!

"How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever:
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long wil my enemy be exalted over me?"

Then we bring our deepest desires and struggles to "See Level:"

"Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest my enemy say,
'I have prevailed against him,'
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved."

We know our struggle is not with flesh and blood, we have a very real "unseen enemy" prowling like a lion, so there is a constant battle there. But so many times I need not look any further than the struggle I am having with my own sin nature. The enemy can take many forms. We must bring these battles above "see level" so they can be dealt with.

And finally, the "mountaintop." A place far above "see level." The place of victory. More than that- a place to thank Him in advance for future grace because you can celebrate His past faithfulness. On the mountaintop, all can be seen, most of all God's faithfulness can be put on glorious display.

"But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord
Because He has dealt bountifully with me."

I want to share with you one of the songs that shuffled into my "not-so-quiet time" this morning. This song really gets me going and puts it all into perspective. It's ALL His. Everything I brought to Him in prayer this morning and will bring before Him all throughout the day already belongs to Him. Praise You, Lord.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Hem of His Garment

"And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak;
for she was saying to herself, "If I only touch His garment, I will get well."
Matthew 9:20-21

"Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured." Mark 6:56

I love reading these passages. I love the imagery they bring to mind of people earnestly, desperately seeking to be near Jesus. I love how just a believing touch of the very hem of his robe was all it took to make someone whole in a particular area of suffering or sin. What a vivid picture of His power, love, and tenderness. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had that today? If Jesus Himself were going to be passing through my town today I would throw all else aside, grab my children (and probably the rest of my loved ones!) and run to where He would be. I even think I would push through the crowd and try to get a touch, just the smallest touch, of His garment.

We can do that today. We can do that everyday. We can do it throughout each day. In fact, it's happened to me. Perhaps it's happened to you, too. What a glorious moment that is! Have you ever been reading your Bible or devotional book (hopefully one that is steeped in Scripture), or been praying and felt an immediate change? An unexplainable peace? Or perhaps new, immediate clarity or conviction? That's it. That's the hem of His robe.

Amy Carmichael, in her book Thou Givest- They Gather ,says:

"We touch Him and all is changed.
What happens and who can tell how it happens?
We only know that something has passed from Him to us. For example:

  • Courage to do the difficult task we feared.
  • Patience to bear with that one particular trying person.
  • Inner strength to go on when we were sure we could not.
  • A sweet freshness in our spirit, complete inner happiness, deep-flowing peace."
She continues, "God's way of passing by, of letting His "hem" come near us, is to take some single word in His Book and make it breathe spirit and life to us. Then, relying upon that word-- meditating, feeding our soul on it-- we find it is suddenly possible to go from strength to strength."

There is nothing like it, is there? As we face the new challenges that await us each new week and each new day, we can choose, as Carmichael says, to "go on with God." He is always passing by. We have His Word, always there for us, ready to meet us wherever we are and carry us the next step, give us the next direction, help us in our struggles, convict us of our sin and point us to His cleansing, and reveal more to us about the nature and character of our great God.

Have you touched the hem of His robe today? Oh, how I hope you have. Let's push through the busy-ness and the pressing issues and get to the feet of Jesus.

Menu Monday

"For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good."
Psalm 107:9

Well, it's another week to see God's goodness at work in our lives. One of my favorite sayings (usually repeated in the African churches I've been in) is "God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good." That is so, so true! Whatever may be going on in our homes this week, even amid the difficulties, may we continue to believe in His absolute goodness and may we see whatever is truly good as evidence that He is present in our circumstances. The food we prepare this week and the nourishment our bodies receive is but a representation of the true nourishment He offers for our thirsty and hungry souls. He IS good. ALL the time.

Here is our menu plan this week:

B: French toast, bacon , fruit
L: Make-your-own pizzas
D: Slow-Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu

B: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
L: Baked chicken nuggets, macaroni
D: Crock-Pot French Dip Sandwiches

B: whole wheat bagels with brown sugar and cinnamon cream cheese (I just mix this myself using low fat cream cheese-- the kids love it!), fruit
L: chicken taquitos
D: Baked fish

B: eggs (scrambled or poached), toast, fruit
L: Yo-yo ("You're on your own")
D: Taco Soup

B: cereal and fruit
L: Yo-yo
D: Leftovers

For more menu plans, or to post your own, please visit Laura. This week she's posted a useful link for helping to cut grocery costs. I'm going to check it out!

Have a great week, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Whose Children Are They?

**I don't usually cross-post, but this is a subject about which I'm quite passionate. I posted this today on my homeschool blog . Perhaps even if you're not a homeschooler, maybe you'll find some "food for thought" ...**

Can you imagine the public outcry that would be heard if it were suddenly brought into question whether parents could legally be in charge of feeding their own children unless at least one parent became a certified, registered dietitian? What if, in order to prepare your children's food in your own home it was mandatory to be under the ongoing supervision of a credentialed, registered dietitian?

How do you think the general public would feel about their state assuming that since one family didn't adequately feed their children (as determined by the courts) now all families must receive training and certification as dietitians and cooks, or else bring their children to state-funded nutrition centers for all of the meals for their minor children? Because, obviously, parents can't be trusted. They're not qualified. The feeding of children is too important an issue. We can't leave dietary decisions and menu implementation to amateurs! Even amateurs who love these children with their very lives and are doing everything they can to educate themselves and feed them properly. Parents either must receive the necessary qualification and certification to cook for and feed their own children, or let the proper professionals handle it. In fact, it should be the law.

This sounds a bit absurd in the realm of nutrition, but this is exactly what's happening in the realm of education. The underlying assumption is that parents simply can't be trusted to educate their own children.

This week's California Court of Appeal decision is found here. If you haven't already, I encourage you to go read it. The language is clear. It's not just about this one family. The decision is now on the path to become a legal precedent for other cases. I don't think it's alarmist at all to listen to James Dobson's radio broadcast for today and consider seriously what is discussed. It's not paranoid to join HSLDA or at least your state's support group. It's not irrational to go here and sign this petition on behalf of thousands of homeschoolers in California. You never know when your family might benefit from the work that's being done on behalf of the rights of parents. Parents who happen to want to nourish the minds of their children themselves... through homeschooling.

**Edited to add: This is not just a homeschool issue! Al Mohler has a great post about this on his blog here. Dr. Mohler states, "This is a controversy that demands the attention of all parents. After all, if parents have no constitutional right to educate their own children, what other aspects of the parent's choices for their own children lack protection? This question reaches far beyond educational decisions."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

To The Praise of the Glory of His Grace

"Adoption is greater than the universe... It was there before the universe and it is above the universe and it is the purpose of the universe." John Piper gets all of this, of course, straight from God's word, from Ephesians 1 in particular.

This message was on John Piper's blog yesterday. I encourage you to take the next 5 minutes and 9 seconds to watch his message below.

In his message Piper says, "When God was thinking about how to create a universe, what was centrally driving Him was 'How can I create a universe in which My grace would be put on display most beautifully?'... His answer was, 'I will predestine people for adoption.' ... God planned from eternity to fold sinners like us into His everlasting family of joy." Oh! Doesn't that make you praise the glory of His grace? That He would fold a sinner like me into His family... it's unthinkable! It's amazing. What joy, indeed!

A few months ago I read these piercing words: "You are God's plan for the orphan."

According to James 1:27, all Christians are His plan for orphans- those who don't have a Mom and a Dad or a physical "forever family." By His grace we are also part of His plan for those who don't yet have a relationship with a Heavenly Father and are not yet part of His "everlasting family of joy."

What part will you play in His plan?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bloggy Books and Monday's Menu

Happy Monday!

It's a rainy, stormy morning here. It would be a great day to pour another cup of coffee and curl up with a good book. But, it's also a great day to pour another cup of coffee and get in there and do school with my two sweet kiddos... Speaking of books, though, I received a great one this weekend thanks to Kelly over at A Spacious Place (one of my favorite blogs and regular stops!) I won a copy of Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World by Jill Rigby. I can't wait to get started on it! Thanks so much, Kelly!

If you like to read like I do, then please join us over at Lux Venit for "Lit Lovers":

I love, love, love Leslie's book reviews over at The Discerning Reader. Her blog is another regular stop for me. When I heard she was starting a book discussion I knew I wanted to be part of it. The first one will be The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. I highly encourage you to read this book if you haven't already, and to join in the discussion on your blog (if you have one) or other blogs of some of the other women reading the book. We won't be starting it until after Easter, so there's time if you want to pick up the book. I read it last summer and LOVED it. I needed to read what Martha Peace had to say. I decided after I read it that I would try to re-read it each year. It's that good! She speaks straight from God's Word and doesn't mince words. It's a very helpful book!

Now, on with our weekly menu...


We're going to a friend's house to play after school, and my husband's meeting us there for pizza after work. Fun!


Crock Pot Stew and Cornbread

I just put the stew meat in the slow cooker for the morning (with a can of stewed tomatoes) then at lunch time I add the rest of the veggies as well as a can of no-salt-added tomato sauce. It's yummy by dinner time! For the cornbread I make Jiffy brand and sometimes, for added moistness I add a can of creamed corn to the mix.


Southwestern Fish Tacos
I started making these a couple of years ago when I had a freezer full of fish (thanks to my two resident fishermen) and I was looking for creative ways to cook it. Our family fell in love with this recipe and it has become a favorite. This was my daughter's request this week.


Baked Potato Soup

I make this using my baked-potatoes-in-lunchbags maneuver (poke holes in each potato and wrap in a lunch sack,bake in the microwave for about 4 min. per potato... up to 7 min. each if they're big) Then I scoop out the baked potato out of the skins into the soup pot. I heat it slowly with milk, minced onion, butter,salt and pepper. For thickening I sprinkle in potato flakes. When it gets hot I add some sour cream. It's great served with bacon bits and cheese on top and with a loaf of hot, crusty bread and salad.


Ritzy Chicken (another family favorite)

Stop by Laura's for more menus, and have a great week!