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Showing posts from March, 2014

The Garden Gate by Christa Kinde

We have read the previous three books in the Threshold Series (The Blue Door, The Hidden Deep, and The Broken Window). I have been reading the series with my 9 year old daughter. We have been enjoying the story of Prissie Pomeroy. Prissie is a teenager who is able to see and interact with angels. She becomes best friends with one, Koji, and has numerous other friends in her community that she discovers to be angels as well. In this book, we see the farewells of many dear friends but the blooming of beautiful relationships with others. The book focuses on Prissie's saying good bye to her friend Koji, as well as the further development of her friendship with the young man Ransom. The most interesting story line with in the book is the interactions with Adin, a fallen angel that has been tormenting Prissie for some time. I think I like the series because even though it is about angels, Kinde always points the characters and the readers back to God who is the only one worthy of de

Four Cups by Chris Hodges

Four Cups by Chris Hodges is a brief book based on the four cups associated with the Seder Meal. Within the Seder meal, four promises of God are celebrated. Hodges goes through the four promises and challenges the reader to live them out. Those four promises are: 1. God will free you from oppression. 2.God will free you from slavery. 3. God will redeem you. 4. God claims you and wants to celebrate that. My favorite was the last promise. I think that it's very rare that we get together with other Christians to celebrate the fact that we belong to God. We have plenty of parties, but often those are to mark events or the passing of time, but not often do we celebrate the fact that we get to hang out with the Holy Spirit. Each chapter is short enough that it could be read aloud by a group and then followed with a simple prayer. It would make a nice book study for a group. Hodges also recommends using the four cups to help grow your faith community. And by growth, he mean

Day 23 of 40

I've made it my goal to replace negative thoughts of people with a singular good thought. I'm taking baby steps, that's why it's singular. You know, when people disappoint me or hurt me, I can very easily create a list of all the reasons I don't like them. My goal is anytime that list starts to play, I stop it with one singular good thought about them. Sometimes, it's hard to come up with, but now that I've got one, I'm going to stick with it for awhile. Hopefully, it will help put the list to rest. Added benefit is that if I'm tempted to say something negative about someone, I have a positive thing to say instead. Though I'm afraid that it may come out and appear random. So if you notice me saying something peculiar in the midst of conversation, help me out with some other good thoughts about people.

Day 22 of 40

It's a grey day here, but it's warm, so I guess we'll take it. I'm thinking it's a perfect day to lounge in bed all day and watch movies and drink hot tea. Anyone else out there relaxing after this harsh winter we've had?

Day 21 of 40

I got another Bible in the mail yesterday. Hannah wanted to know how many I needed. I think a few more will be needed before I'm done. This year alone I got two new Bibles and it's only March. I bought them with specific things in mind. One is a journaling bible, it has wide lined margins. I use it for Bible study, but honestly, I bought it to give to my daughter, once I've studied through the majority of it at least once.  And the other one is a One Year Bible. I tend to read the One Year Bible plan on my electronic device everyday. But there has been a desire in me to start my day with less electric glow. And I know that I have some days coming this year when I won't have access to Internet when I wake up. The thing that surprised me was how excited Joel was to see it in the house. I guess he's been feeling the same way about wanting more Jesus but not wanting to use a multipurpose device to get to him. Personally, I get easily distracted when I use my IPad to rea

Day 20 of 40

How can lent be half way over already? I haven't learned nearly enough yet! I haven't given over as much as I thought I wanted to by this point. I feel like I'm right on the edge of making a huge emotional/mental break through, but I'm still I'll equipped and unprepared! I need more languishing in the word, more hours on my knees. Our time in the wilderness seems to be rushing to its end and all I want to do is stay here. But He didn't stay here. I got up and started battling. What a difficult thing it must have been to walk away from a taste of heaven on earth to take on a fight with flesh on. But it wasn't just flesh was it. Jesus had on some armor. Something we couldn't see with our eyes but which spoke to our hearts and souls. He deflected arrows, walked with peace, remembered his salvation. He had the whole armor of God on. And maybe that's what he's working on me in the midst of the desert, taking my measurements to make sure that it fits. 

Day 19 of 40

Sometimes, I think I should invest in another journal. Writing can be a very releasing/relaxing thing. And as much as I love sharing here, there is a limit within blogging. I don't get to share specifics about people and situations. Honestly, as vulnerable as I can be, there's still the issue of I'm only able to expose as much as I'm willing to deal with. There's a sense I get sometimes that if I were to expose everything in my heart here, in a public forum, people who believe they have a voice in my life would become upset and try to make me feel guilty for doing so. Maybe that's just fear. But I think there's also some conscience going on in the midst of that. I've found that people rarely notice when you're sharing a secret that is meant to evoke honesty if within that is information about themselves.  For instance, if one shares an emotion, say sadness and has it attached with a name, instead of hearing "I'm sad" they only hear &quo

Day 18 of 40

It's been flurries mixed with intense bright sun today. I think I'm ready to move north. Can't winter last just a few more months? Not this spring business with the mud and trash, but winter with it's piled high snow and chilly days that you dress properly for. I really don't care much for spring, it runs two perfectly good seasons by mixing them together the wrong way, unlike fall, it mixes them up quite well.

Day 17 of 40

My sister has this catch phrase that we like to use when we're together it's "radical acceptance." I kind of like it, it comes in very handy when dealing with people, especially people that enjoy arguing for sport. I'm not talking about debaters that are intrigued by conversation and draw people out with their ability to discuss just about anything with a passion, I like those folks very much, they're fun. No I'm talking about people who take disagreeable to the next level and live a life of cantankerous yelling. I have to use radical acceptance much like George Costanza's father would say "Serenity now!" on Seinfeld.  I recently came to realize a few things about radical acceptance. I have to use it towards myself, too. In Romans, Paul asks us to leave in peace with people, in as much as it depends upon ourselves. Well, I can't make peace with some folks. They are always going to see the worst in me and assume that I'm out to make th

Mom and Daughter Cooking Show Season 1 Episode 8 Tea Sandwiches

Spring seems like the perfect time to share some tea with friends! We made four simple sandwiches to make it into a special occasion. If you can't view the video, you can access it through this link Tuna Salad canned tuna chopped celery mayonnaise Mix season to taste Chicken Salad Canned or chopped leftover chicken pineapple tidbits with some juice chopped green onion mayonnaise mix mayonnaise and juice to make a thick dressing. Add other ingredients. Pimento cheese I use this recipe adapted from Cook's Country. 1½ cups cheddar cheese , grated ⅓ cup drained jarred pimentos , chopped fine 2 ounces cream cheese , softened

Day 16 of 40

Is it possible to be strong willed and obedient? I'm not sure. I remember when my daughter was young she didn't obey my commands very well. Someone off handedly told me something along the lines of it will be a good feature for leadership some day. And all I could think of is if she wouldn't submit to me at the age of 2 how was she ever going to submit to God as an adult?  I think that we should foster creative thinking, organization of community and various other "strong will" type things, but I think it's most important to learn that we are never the ultimate authority of our lives and the lives of others. God holds that position and if we can't submit to other humans having authority within our lives, I hold out little hope for us giving even greater authority in our lives to God. Maybe I'm pessimistic, but God placed people in our lives to occasionally tell us what to do and how to do it, but if we just have ourselves as the ultimate authority, the

Day 15 of 40

When we traveled to Scotland many moons ago, I had a cheese sandwich and it had sweet pickle on it. Turns out the cheese and pickle sandwich is as common as peanut butter and jelly. Today, I made some cheese spread and lacking pimentos and anyone else interested in eating it, I added some sweet pickle relish. It was delicious, not quite Scotland, but close enough. What's the most unusual thing you've tried while traveling that you recreated when returning home?

Day 14 of 40

It's the first day of spring. Spring is probably my least favorite season, it's grey, muddy, and cold. But I do love spring snows. They're my favorite. It's warmer and they seem so out of place. Each one is like a little surprise. Love them! Imagine my delight when I opened the windows to air the house today and noticed some little flakes floating around outside. 

Day 13 of 40

It's grocery day. I remember when Joel and I were first married. We went to the grocery store and bought all kinds things. Most of which went uneaten. Next time I went with a list. That list has changed over the years, it's become more exact. I like it. I don't and won't for the most part go to the store without a list. Even a spur of the moment trip has a mental list. It's like my own little adult security blanket that saves me time and money. I'd snuggle it if I could :-) 

Day 12 of 40

Sometimes, I get trapped by numbers. It's not the best feeling and part of my brain says "Self, you must be looking at this wrong." But then I fall into doing more and more calculations in hopes that  my math skills are what's askew, as opposed to my outlook.  This year appears to be the one that God has decided to address me about this. Late last year, I stopped weighing myself. I've talked about me and the scale before. But I felt a really strong call within me from God to let it go for a year. To just not step on and find out. A year where my emotions have to find another source. This Lent, God has been putting me in places where I'm having to address some of that desire to get emotions from numbers. Mainly I've been trying to work myself up over my personal finances. And when I say personal finances, the only things that I pay for are fuel and luxuries. Seriously, I've been freaking out (internally) over a luxury budget! And there are people in thi

Day 11 of 40

It's St. Patrick's day! We started off our day with some green eggs and reading a small book about St. Patrick, which included some legends about him. My favorite is the one about the clover.  Though a four leaf clover is considered lucky, according to the legend, it's the three leaf clover that is infamous. While trying to explain how the trinity can be three in one, he looked down and saw the clover, picking it up he pointed out the three leaves but only one stem. I like that! Makes me feel a little better about my funny looking cookie on the latest MaD Cooking Show.

Mom and Daughter Cooking Show Season 1 Episode 7 Clover Cookies

It's almost time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! I've always been a big fan of green. This year we made some edible four leaf clovers! The recipe we used comes from Midwest Living. You can find it here .  Or you can just use refrigerated sugar cookie dough or a cookie dough mix. If you don't have a cookie cutter, just form some small balls of dough, place them together and roll them into a clover shape. And for our homemade frosting, I'm sorry to say that there is no recipe, just an idea. You put some powdered sugar and shortening in a mixer, combine and then add some vanilla and milk until it's the right consistency. You can access the video directly on Youtube through this link

Day 10 of 40

I don't really have much to share today. The thing on my mind is our cats. They crack me up. We rescued Tinkerbell about four years ago. And then rescued Pumpkin about two years ago. They've never been malicious towards one another and they've never been overly affectionate either. They've developed routines around each other and around me. They like to jump in the bed and wake me up. We recently switched their feeding time, so no more 5AM wake up purrs for me. When I'm hanging out in my room with the door closed, they prefer to both be on the same side of the door. Sometimes they will even open the door to get to each other. The cutest is when they stick their paws under. The least cute is when they mew, incessantly.  Here's what I find most intriguing. They don't like for Hannah to pick them up, but they love hanging out in her room, especially under her bed. And though they will get on my bed to get pets and sleep, they avoid the top of Hannah's bed l

Day 9 of 40

Yesterday was a pretty fun day. Hannah and I taped the Mom and Daughter Cooking Show, but when I went to upload it, I discovered that my power cord has stopped working. So, I decided to wait on taking care of that, maybe it will happen today, tomorrow at the latest. We also went to the library yesterday. Hannah went to a class on DNA. I got to almost fall asleep in an armchair while I was reading under the skylight. And then had a pleasant conversation with some fellow homeschool moms while we were waiting for them to finish.  There was also movie night! We watched The Lost World, which is the sequel to Jurassic Park. It was a terrible movie, but it had dinosaurs and great acting. I say great acting because the far fetched storyline never caused anyone to break character. It's like a B-movie with really great dino puppets.

Day 7/8 of 40

As I was falling asleep last night I remembered my little blog. I even had something clever to say then, but it's gone now. So on to day 8. Yesterday, Joel and I prayed for something big. I can't wait to tell you how God decides to answer! We don't know how/when/where yet, but I do know that God is in the amazing business. Today, we're hoping to make some cookies for the Mom and Daughter Cooking Show. We might even have a give away to go with them!

Day 6 of 40

Today, I found myself in a position of jealousy and correction and encouragement.  You see, other parents have something I don't. They have very good readers, in particular ones that have started at a very young age that just love to do it. I don't have that. My kid was not one of those preschoolers wandering around with a classic novel. Even at nine, she does not fill her spare time with a novel.  I was praying about the whole thing, bemoaning what I didn't have, what I don't have. Fortunately, God is good. As I was praying I looked up and there written on a blackboard was this verse from Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. God made me laugh. Faith, one of the most important gifts that we've been isn't decided by how much we read, it's through HEARING the word of Christ. My kid is definitely doing that!  It's so easy to get caught up in the wrong stuff, especially getting caught up in good things. God placed

Day 5 of 40

Some time changes are not so easy. Time travel always looks so easy in the movies. You watch Dr. Who and you'd think that it was as simple as stepping out of a phone booth. But I think our little experiments with daylight savings definitely teaches us that traveling into the future makes us tired and cranky, while traveling into the past, well, it makes us well rested and pleasant.  Except when we travel into the past by flying towards the sun. That makes me tired and cranky, too. Who am I kidding, flying in general makes me tired and cranky.  I've always wondered how people can stand to fly to Europe for a weekend. Jet lag is not my friend. I would spend the entire weekend trying to wake up or fall asleep.  Anyway, I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm sleepy and ready for bedtime and it's only quarter after 8am.

Mom and Daughter Cooking Show Season 1 Episode 6 Lasagna

Today we layered up some lasagna for dinner. The recipe that I prefer was on the back of the box before it became "Oven Ready Lasagna." I'm going to share that one here, as I couldn't find it online at Barilla. The method that we used is the same with using boiled noodles if you prefer those. If you can't access the embedded video, you can access it through this link on Barilla Four Layer No-Boil Lasagne Ingredients: 1 box (9 oz) Barilla Lasagne (Oven Ready Lasagna), uncooked 2 eggs 1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese 4 cups (16 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese (divided) 1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated parmesan cheese 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage or ground beef (cook, crumble and drain) 2 jars Barilla Marinara Sauce Preparation: Preheat oven to 375F. Spray baking pan (about 13x9x3 inches deep)* with non-stick cooking spray. Remove 16 Barilla Lasagne sheets from box. DO NOT BOIL. In medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella and the Parmesan. *If usi

Day 4 of 40

My daughter likes to squash slush bugs. Do you know what those are? I think she may have named them as I'm certain that she discovered them. A slush bug is a little puddle of slushie snow. She stamps right into them. It's one of her favorite wintery pastimes.  I simultaneously love and hate them. I love that she is creative and enjoying life. I hate that I often get splattered with slush bug guts when she squashes one.

Day 3 of 40

Yesterday was one of those days that kind of stretched on forever. I think making waffles for breakfast can do that to a day. I don't make waffles everyday, but on Thursdays specifically, I try to make something special for the family. It's the day that Joel writes his Sunday sermon, so I like to send him off well fed. I don't always succeed, but it's a hope for every Thursday. Well, after waffles the day just kept getting better. I got to Skype with my sweet Momma, my dad has a contract on his house, we went to the dollar store with no meltdowns, AND we got a good parking spot at the library. Something I learned this week, sometimes it's easier to just buy the four dollar slice of cake. You see, Hannah wanted a slice of vanilla cake from the store for her Saturday morning treat. I couldn't bear the thought of buying such a small amount of cake for such a big price tag. I agreed to make one. Well, she didn't just want a single layer, she wanted a layer cake

Day 2 of 40

Last night, we had an Ash Wednesday service at church. One of the things that we do is to write down sins or burdens and then burn them. Sometimes, the flames can get pretty high. And then after placing our sins in the fire, we can have ashes placed on our heads. Now the ashes are generally made from the palm leaves from the previous year. But part of me contemplates the ashes from my just burned burdens. Seriously, why do I hold on to this stuff? And I can see that it's not just emotional, spiritual, relational baggage that I tend to carry around with me. I also like to create physical baggage as well. Yesterday, I cleaned out our pantry. I had been holding on to some crackers, thinking that we would serve them again. They were from a party in 2012. I felt like it was safe to say that any future party deserves new crackers at this point. Now that they're gone, I wonder why they didn't leave sooner. I hope that I feel the same way about the stuff I burned last night. I ho

Day 1 of 40

I don't know what's in store for the next 40 plus Sundays days, but I do feel like I'm supposed to be here in this space, utilizing the area that God has created for me. So I'm a little blank today, but I am sure that something will happen in the midst of just showing up. So for today, I leave you with this... First of all, I'm still loving all the snow and cold that we've been having this year. I'm not wishing it away at all! Bring on some more! I'm still waiting for some good snowman snow!  The reason why I'm sharing this particular photo because I was trying to capture a rainbow burst that we saw on the way to evening church. It was awesome!  I love catching site of rainbows, but one in the middle of winter while the sun sets and it looked like a rainbow flame! Just reminded me that anything is possible with God, just need to keep our eyes and hearts open.