Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two Random Tidbits

1. Katelyn is sick. Poor thing. She has strep throat and what the doctor thinks is chicken pox! Can you believe it? She's been vaccinated, but he said that a small percentage of people will still get the virus, just in a milder form. It just happened today, so we caught it fast. He wants us to call tomorrow and report on the spots and he'll make a final diagnosis based on her condition then. Dr was surprised that she had strep AND chicken pox, but said it wasn't impossible. He did say that the rash could be strep related, but the rash doesn't look like a typical strep rash. Poor thing. It's all over her body. Plus a fever. She's miserable.

2. When we had family devotions today Jim asked if I had any more sermons to share from my Bible reading. Lol. I told him that I didn't have any sermons at the moment as I had just read Joshua 11-15 and I think it takes someone with a bit more, um, experience maybe, to create a sermon out of a list of boundaries.

I did tell him that I am so enjoying my Bible reading plan and am thrilled that I've stayed on track for almost three weeks now. I'm actually looking forward to my daily Bible reading. I love the jumping around each day because it helps me get through the harder parts knowing that I have another week before I need to work through that book again.

Most days I only have 2-4 chapters that I have to read, but for some reason Prophecy is 5-6 chapters at a time. And, Prophecy day is Friday. We've had revival the past two Fridays, so I haven't been able to finish all of the reading on that specific day. I've had to stretch is out over Saturday, Sunday and Monday. But, I got it done and I understood a good portion of it. I have a Women's Study Bible, New King James Version, that has a lot of commentary in it, so I've been keeping that open while I read my KJV Bible so that I can read the commentary if I need to.

I just read Romans 5-6 and enjoyed reading and understanding that. My chapter 5 summary was that while one man, Adam, brought sin into this world, one man, Jesus, brought redemption from sin. Chapter 6 spoke to me about the need for Holiness, a new life in Christ.

Now I'm headed to go read some Beautiful in God's Eyes before going to bed.

"Give me the Word!"

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How Great, How Great!

I am SOOOOO excited to share this post!

Okay, so today was Jubilee service at our church. This is when all of our branch works come together for one big service. Usually it's at another location, but today is was at our church. Due to lack of space, Pastor had all of the children go to a separate children's church outside

Jim decided to stay outside with Katelyn and Tyler.

He told me that at the beginning of the service Bro Morey asked who needed the Holy Ghost. Tyler raised his hand (wow!). Then Bro Morey asked who WANTED the Holy Ghost. Tyler raised his hand (triple WOW!!!!!) I think this is the first time that Tyler has ever acknowledged his need or desire for the Holy Ghost.

Tyler thoroughly enjoyed the children's service. They did puppet shows and lots of fun stuff. Bro Luckenbaugh preached a powerful message about needing the Holy Ghost. But, when altar service was announced, Tyler had to use the rest room.

He did come back, though, and stood with Jim in the back, watching.

Then, Bro Luckenbaugh told everyone who still needed the Holy Ghost to come forward. Jim said that Bro L said "Come on, Tyler." Jim let Tyler go on up ahead of him as Jim was holding Justin by that time.

Amy Gardner and Sis Tabla said that when Tyler got up there that he lifted up his hands and started to pray (Tyler just told me that he did not do this). He got spooked when people started praying with him, however, and stopped, so by the time Jim got to him, he was just standing there again.

Tyler was very excited about fun service, though. And I'm so excited about Tyler's response. I was telling all the nursery workers about it. Then, I was like "I've got to go tell Bro Burbank!!!"

This is a HUGE baby step for Tyler. I am so excited to see God working on him. Jim and I have really made some changes and are putting lots of effort into our children right now and I believe that we are going to see the fruit very soon. Not just in Tyler, but Jason and Justin and Katelyn, too.

I'm considering starting to take Tyler to chapel on Thursdays. It would be a challenge, but well worth it.

I believe that God is working and it is only a matter of time before I get to post that Tyler got the Holy Ghost!

Breakfast Like a King!

This morning for breakfast we ate scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage patties, fried potatoes and Cinnamon Streusel Cake. Yummmm!

My grocery budget is $50 a week less than it was this time last year. Yet we are eating wonderfully!!!

And, no, I'm not couponing. Well, hardly at all.

I'm learning a lot more about cooking from scratch, using up what we have, and adding just a little something different to make an ordinary ingredient shine.

Whereas my breakfast grocery list used to look something like:
  • boxed cereal, on sale
  • poptarts, on sale
  • frozen waffles, on sale
  • sausage links, on sale
  • packaged donuts, on sale
  • grands biscuits, on sale

it now looks like this:

  • 1 5 dozen package of eggs
  • 1 25 lb bag of flour
  • 2 4 pound packages of butter
  • 1 9 lb box of oat
  • 13 lb tube of sausage
  • 1 15 lb bag of potatoes
  • 1 10 lb bag of sugar
  • 1 4 lb bag of brown sugar
  • 1 2 bottle pack of syrup
  • 1 5 lb bag of cheese
  • 1 40 ct flour tortilla

and maybe some rosemary, garlic, or cinnamon.

Then I might make granola, coffee cake, muffins, homemade waffles, pancakes, french toast, eggs, fried potatoes, breakfast burritos, sausage breakfast casserole, and the list goes on.

Yeah, it's a little bit more work for me, but my family is well fed, better really than when we were doing more of the packaged stuff. (Can't you tell by the pounds I've put on?!)

When I make something, I try to make extra to put into the freezer so that Jim can grab a bag or container to put into his lunch every day, instead of starving until lunch because there's nothing portable to eat (hanging my head in shame), or so that the kids can warm up something on busy weekday mornings.

I also try to look at what we already have in the fridge that needs to be used up. For example, last night for dinner I made Roasted Rosemary Potatoes. Oh, let me tell you about these potatoes first before I make my point. They are a perfect example of what I mean by adding just a little something different.

Potatoes. They are cheap. But, they can get boring if you don't mix it up a little (baked potato, fried potato, mashed potato, repeat, yawn). With the simple addition of rosemary, a bag of which was about $2 at Walmart (look in the Mexican section), I can now make this spectacular fancy potato dish.

So, anyway, I made these rosemary potatoes and we had a bunch leftover. We always have fried potatoes with our eggs because everyone likes it that way. I was getting ready to cut up potatoes when I remembered that we had leftover rosemary potatoes in the fridge. Would they work for fried potatoes? Not sure, but I won't know until I try.

They were delicious. This will definitely be a regular thing! And, I got rid of the leftover potatoes instead of having them waste away in the fridge, and I saved my other potatoes for another time!

As wives and mothers, particularly stay-at-home moms, it is our God-given duty to provide good food for our family. Some women don't like to cook or feel like they are not very good at it. You won't know until you try and you won't get better until you practice. I've gotten better over the years, I still make many flops, but I just love the sounds of pleasure when my family eats a good meal and are full. I know I've done good.

Many are looking at their budgets and wondering how on earth they are going to be able to feed their families on such meager budgets. I encourage you to think outside the (packaged) box. Get creative. Do things like buy in bulk and make lots of different things with the same types of ingredients. Just a little twist here or there can make a whole new entree.

One of my favorite website is The Prudent Homemaker. She has tons of great links, menus and recipes for creative meal planning for pennies. She is such as encouragement to me when I feel tired and worn out. I wish she had a blog, but she only does facebook. But, check out her website and sites like hers. Embrace your role and your current state and enjoy your time in the kitchen.

Let's eat!

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Beautiful Girl

Katelyn Janèe Caldwell

Age 11

January 27, 2012

It's been AGES since we've ordered pictures for Katelyn and she's been reminding us of the fact for quite awhile :)

So, I finally was able to take her. I picked Portrait Innovations because I've heard lots of good things from church friends AND they had a good $10 deal.

Katelyn did such a good job that it was sooo hard to just pick one picture, but I did. Katelyn also had very specific opinions about the pictures, so a lot of them were trashed immediately. ;-)

This is the one we picked. I do have one little complaint about her hair along her shoulder, but oh well!

She's wearing a shirt that was a gift from one of our favorite ladies, Sis Bafford. Thanks for the shirt!!

My girl is so beautiful and she's growing up!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Justin likes music, too.

Now we are listening "Days of Elijah" and Justin is worshiping in the dance. :)

Do I Trust You?

In case you don't know, I am always singing. Well, usually humming as I've learned that not everyone likes to hear my less-than-stellar singing. I've always got a song in my head.

An old one popped into my mind just now and I could remember all the words but couldn't remember the title or the author. Thank God for Google :)

So, here's the song on Youtube (I just minimize the screen and listen) and I've posted the lyrics below.

Couldn't help but think about Mike and Teresa Sesma and little Angel and Korey and Sara Kash and Paige while listening to this song. Their faith in the midst of such a trial is an amazing testimony.

Here's the lyrics:

Do I Trust You, by Twila Paris

Sometimes my little heart can't understand
What's in Your will, what's in Your plan.
So many times I'm tempted to ask You why,
But I can never forget it for long.
Lord, what You do could not be wrong.
So I believe You, even when I must cry.

Do I trust You, Lord?
Does the river flow?
Do I trust You, Lord?
Does the north wind blow?
You can see my heart,
You can read my mind,
And You got to know
That I would rather die
Than to lose my faith
In the One I love.
Do I trust You, Lord?
Do I trust You?

I know the answers, I've given them all.
But suddenly now, I feel so small.
Shaken down to the cavity in my soul.
I know the doctrine and theology,
But right now they don't mean much to me.
This time there's only one thing I've got to know.

Do I trust You, Lord?
Does the robin sing?
Do I trust You, Lord?
Does it rain in spring?
You can see my heart,
You can read my mind,
And You got to know
That I would rather die
Than to lose my faith
In the One I love.
Do I trust You, Lord?
Do I trust You?

I will trust You, Lord, when I don't know why.
I will trust You, Lord, till the day I die.
I will trust You, Lord, when I'm blind with pain!
You were God before, and You'll never change.
I will trust You.
I will trust You.
I will trust You, Lord.
I will trust You

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thoughts From Jericho

Yesterday my Bible reading led me through the story of the children of Israel conquering Jericho, Achan's sin, and the conquering of Ai.

I had a couple of thoughts while reading, nothing new to most folks, even me, just some reminders :)

As I was reading the story of the children of Israel running into the newly opened Jericho "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old,..." Joshua 6:21 I thought to myself, "Ewww! How awful to have been those warriors and have to put little innocent children to death." I also felt so bad for those poor babies. Killed, for no reason other than that they were part of a people who were the enemy of the children of Israel.

Then I reached the story of Achan: "And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters...And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones." Joshua 7: 24-25

And again I thought, those poor children. Killed, because of the sin of their father. The children of Achan weren't the ones who stole the garment, silver, and gold, but they had to suffer the same punishment as their father.

The thought came to me: The choices that we, as parents, make affect our children, too. (Told you it was nothing new).

The children of Jericho did not choose to be born into a heathen family; they did not choose to be the enemy of the people of God. They were given that distinction simply because of who their parents were and the choices that their parents made. Their parents could have chosen to be saved with Rahab that day, but they did not, so they were put to death. The children were affected by the choices that their parents made.

Achan's children also were not the ones who stole items from Jericho that were intended to be consecrated to the Lord, disobeying a direct order from the Lord via Joshua. But, they were put to death because of the poor choice that their father, Achan, made. They were affected by the choices that their parent made.

I am reminded of the story that my husband tells of the day that God spoke to him and told him to take his family (us) and go to Phoenix. It was because of our children, just Katelyn and Tyler at the time.

While I was still going to church and Jim would come occassionally, we were not living a godly lifestyle, a lifestyle of separation as we had been taught from birth. Instead, we were choosing to follow the path that many in our current church were going down, one of lowering the standards and becoming more liberal. We allowed a TV to come into our home, certainly not something that our parents had ever allowed, but something that was becoming more common in our church. In our prayer-less state, we fell to these temptations and for two years, we put our young children in front of a TV. God has forgiven us, but I still shudder to think about what affects that might have had on their young minds.

Jim telling of the story is that he might not have made the choice to heed the voice of God if not for our children. But he couldn't handle the fact that our children might have been lost if we had continued down the path that we were on. Because we believe that things would only have become worse in our lives if we had not made the changes.

Me, responsible for whether or not my children go to Heaven? Yes; if they are not raised in the truth, trained up in the way they should go, how will they know how to live a holy and godly life? Child learn by example and they will follow the example of their parents as they reach adulthood and begin to make their own choices.

Do you want that on your conscience? I surely don't. Which is why, when giving the choice, we choose to move to another city, a better church for us, to get our hearts right with God, and teach our children a holy and godly life like we were taught.

Pastor asks frequently, "Which one of your (four) children are you willing to be lost?" NONE! I choose none!

These thoughts were already swirling in my mind when we got to church last night. Our evangelist, Bro Morgan, preached about perspective. One of his main points was that if you are horn locked with your pastor, you need to change your perspective. If you are going home and bad mouthing the pastor, telling your kids that he is wrong for his stand, or doing things even though your pastor said not to, you need to pray through and move to the other side of the mountain (one of his examples). Your children will watch and learn their respect for their pastor and the ministry of God by what they see from you.

Ouch. That one caught me. Why? Because I was doing something, a small thing, really, that Pastor had asked us not to do, and the kids had seen me do it. I justified it and explained it away because really it was so innocent and I wasn't even "really" doing it, just observing. But Pastor had said "Don't go there!" and I was doing it anyway. I was giving my children a bad perspective, planting the seeds in their hearts to disobey their Pastor.

I repented immediately and as soon as possible I gathered my children and apologized to them and told them that it will never happen again.

I do not want my children to die spiritually because of bad choices that I have made.

The other thing that caught my attention as I was reading this story was in chapter 8, when Joshua tells the people that they can take of the spoils of Ai for themselves. I thought "Wow, if Achan had but waited, he would have gotten all of that stuff that he stole, maybe even more!" Instead, because he disobeyed, he and his family were put to death.

Achan only needed to obey the words of Joshua and he would have been alive and blessed!! He needed to trust that his leader had heard from the Lord and do what he was commanded, even when he didn't understand. Even when he didn't see the reason why, couldn't see beyond today.

Just like Achan, we need to listen to our Pastor, the man of God in our lives. When he says "Don't", we need to trust that he has heard from the Lord and knows things that maybe we don't. Sometimes the Pastor may give a command and we don't see and understand why. "It's just an innocent thing!" However, Pastor may see something down the road, a outcome that we don't know about yet, or something even better like the spoils from Ai, and if we just listen, we'll be even better off.

So, those are my thoughts from Jericho: I want to listen to my Pastor and obey the Lord, because my children are affected by the choices that I make.

I am so enjoying my journey through the Bible and love it when God opens my understanding about things (hopefully that will kick in for some of the tougher Scripture here real soon!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There's another one!

Sunday morning on the way to church Jason noticed a cleverly painted fire hydrant in Downtown Glendale. Next thing we knew, he was keeping an eagle eye out for every fire hydrant.

So, today I had to take Katelyn to school and all the way there and all the way back I hear "There's another one! There's another one!"

Thank God he's got good vision!

Friday, January 20, 2012

He's a Mighty Good Man!

Jim just surprised me with a box of See's candy to commemorate our 17th "going out" anniversary on January 22.

I was smiling so big as I opened the box and I turned to Katelyn and said "This is the kind of man that you want for your husband."

She smiled and said "Yeah, and it's the kind of man that I want for my daddy, too."

I love you, Jimmy!

The Long Trip: Disneyland!!

The kids in front of the big Christmas tree in the square on Main Street. We took this picture right after we arrived at Disneyland as we got there a little early and the rest of the park was not open yet.

The first day of our Disneyland adventure dawned bright and beautiful. The rain was gone and the weather was perfect. We got all the kids dressed and ready to go (thank the Lord I didn't have to iron!) One thing that I did before we left was to take a picture of each kid so I would have it in case one of them got lost at the park. Thankfully, we never had to use the picture!

One of the reasons for that was because Justin and Jason wore a backpack harness the whole time. I can not tell you how wonderful these things were to my peace of mind. We did have the stroller and did keep them buckled in as we walked along, but for times when they were not in the stroller, such as going on a ride, it was so helpful to have that connection because, try as you might, you do get distracted by this buckle or that other child and little ones can and will run off sooo fast. And least you think that I'm a horrible parent for harnessing my kids, the boys loved wearing their backpacks and didn't mind it one bit. They still bring the packs to me here at home and ask me to put the packs on them.

I mentioned that we had the double stroller. I tied a colorful scarf around the handle so that we would be able to identify it easily. Another thing that I did was packed everything into backpacks. Nothing was left free. This was because there were certain times, mostly on the Disneyland Railroad and sometimes the tram, that the stroller had to be folded up. Since all of our stuff was in backpacks, it was easy to sling the packs on our backs, allowing our hands to still be free to hold kids, lug stroller, and navigate steps, etc.

The backpacks held diapers, extra clothes for the little ones, sweaters and jackets because it did get cool around 3 in the afternoon, snacks and water bottles. The snacks and water were wonderful, allowing us to only have to purchase lunch and dinner, with the occasional treat that we could afford and wanted, not just needed.

Our hotel was a 10 minute walk to the Disneyland parking lot and trams. Tyler complained about the walk, but it was nice not to have to worry about paying for parking.

Let me just say that we picked one of the best times to go! I've been during Christmas and I know how much of a mad house it is then. This week that we went, the second week of November, was nothing like that at all. It was empty by Disneyland standards. But, they had just started to put up the Christmas decorations, so that was a fun little treat. No parade yet, though, and Small World was still closed.

They opened up Main Street an hour before park opening time, so it was easy to get in and walk around Main Street without having to rush to the rides. Kind of silly, but as we walked under the arched tunnel that leads into Main Street, I got a little teary thinking "We brought all of our kids to Disneyland!"

Overall, we had a blast. I had been a little worried about keeping everyone happy because of the age difference, but we had no problem at all. Surprisingly, Justin and Jason were able to ride on lots of the rides. And, if they were not able to ride a certain ride, there was also something close by for them to do. And because it wasn't busy, none of the lines were very long, so we weren't stuck waiting forever. This was a huge key, I think, to our success: we were constantly moving. Also, most of the rides that Justin and Jason were able to go on were configured in such a way that I was able to sit with both of them on one row, so we didn't have to worry about being separated.

I'm not much of a roller coaster rider. I'll ride them but I don't enjoy them as much as Jim does. So it naturally fell to him to ride the coasters with the big kids and me to hang out with the littles. However, we did switch for certain things, like Star Tours. Again, it was so easy. I really was surprised and applauded Disney for a convenient layout.

I'll share some more pictures and stories later.

A Tree, Part II

I thought that this passage from Beautiful in God's Eyes went well with my thoughts about trees, fruits and seasons:

...Edith Schaeffer (a missionary's wife in France) says about the Proverbs 31 woman: "Certainly all the admirable things written about this woman did not take place in one year. It seems to me it is a summary of the great diversity of accomplishments and results of her work and imagination and talents over a long period of time." page 19

I loved this quote! How many times have I read about the Proverbs 31 woman and thought "I have to be doing ALL of this stuff, at the same time???? Impossible."

Mrs. Schaeffer points out that it could be that she does each of these things cumulatively, during different seasons of her life.

So, I'm not going to fret because my current season does not allow for me to do all of those things that the Proverbs 31 woman does, all at the same time.

I will, however, continue to be open to understanding what God does want me to be doing right now, because the greatest folly would be not doing anything at all.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Tree

Did you know that there are hundreds of different types of trees? And there are tons of different kinds of fruit-bearing trees. There are bunches of different kinds of fruits. (how's that for scientific?)

While doing my Bible reading recently, I reread Psalms 1.

I was struck anew by verse 3: And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;

Wait, that said HIS fruit in HIS season (emphasis mine). It didn't say "will bring forth the same fruit that his brother brings forth"

Some of us are apple trees. But, did you know that there are there are more than 7,500 variations of apple trees in the world?

Some of us are orange trees, or lemon, or grapefruit.

Peach trees. Banana trees.

All the different kinds of trees bring forth, or produce, a different type of fruit. Each fruit looks different, tastes different, feels different, smells different from each other type.

Even pieces of the same exact type of fruit can look different from each other, or taste a little different.

We just bought some fuji apples and none of them look the same. Some are a little more green, some a little more red, some taste sweet, some are a little more tart.

And, each of these different types of fruit produce at different times of the year! Currently we are seeing a lot of citrus and the end of the apple season. Peaches come in August. And I have no idea when banana season is.

The Bible says that the Blessed man (that's who I want to be) is like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings for HIS fruit in HIS season (emphasis mine). It doesn't say that the blessed man is a fuji apple tree, or a peach tree.

I take that to mean that we are all different types of trees. That, depending on the type of tree that we are, we will produce a certain kind of fruit. At a certain time that is right for us.

I don't have to be exactly like Sis Wonderful, because I'm not that kind of tree. I don't have to be talented in the exact same ways as Sis. So Creative because that's not my fruit. And I don't have be involved in everything that Sis Finger in Everything in involved in right now because it's not my season.

But, I do need to ask the Lord to show me what kind of tree that I am, and what kind of fruit that he expects me to bear, and what my season is. Then I need to do it, and do it with all of my might.

I first encountered this lesson as a young mom. I remember lamenting to my mom about the fact that I was no longer able to be involved in all of the church things that I used to be involved in now that I had a baby or two.

Her words still ring clear today. She said "For right now, your ministry is to your family. There will come a time later when you will feel that you can be involved in other things again."

My season was motherhood. My fruit at that moment was to be the best mom to my young children that I could be.

As they have become older, I've been able to get involved in a few more things at church. My season has changed just a little. At it will continue to change as my children continue to grow and I seek out what new things the Lord has for me.

But, right now it's not time for me to be involved in so much that I am constantly away from my family. I need to remember what kind of tree that I am and not strive to be the same tree as my sister.

Be the tree that God made you. Bear the fruit that God has given you the seeds to bear. Acknowledge the season that you are in and let the Lord turn the pages of the calendar.

Help Me, Lord, to Build Again.

Yesterday I had to have "one of those talks" with someone.

I hate confrontation. I don't like saying "this is how I feel about what you're doing" and I sure don't like to hear how they feel about what I'm doing.

It hurts. It's humiliating to hear that someone doesn't like something that you're doing, or that you said words that hurt the person, or worse, that something that you said was misheard, not just by one person, but by several and now they think you're a horrible person.

Because, sometimes, even if you don't mean for your actions and words to be taken a certain way, the fact that they were means that something in your delivery was flawed, right or wrong.

The individual and I had a productive conversation and we were "good" when we hung up the phone, but the conversation kept me up for a long time. It haunted me early in the morning, after being awakened by my baby. It stays with me this morning.

How I could have done things differently.

How I could have said things differently.

How quickly good things that you build can be torn down with just one wrong word.

How I've pained the Lord because of a poor relationship with a brother/sister.

Oh, I want to be better. I want to do better. I want my actions to be right before the Lord and his people. I want the words that I say to be like apples of gold, encouraging my brothers and sisters and bringing glory to God.

So, I repent, dear one, for the way that I hurt you. And I begin again, pick up that tool and start, once more, to build that good thing, praying that the Cornerstone, the Master Builder will come with his blueprints and his skilled hand and help me to make it more secure and more solid and less likely to be torn down again.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just a quick note

The long trip will be continued soon! Sorry for the delay

My Bible Reading Plan for 2011

One of my goals this year is to read through the entire Bible. I do well reading certain parts and not so well with others so this year I want to read the whole thing. However, I have admitted to myself that starting at the beginning and trying to read straight through doesn't work for me. I poop out somewhere about Numbers. Then I just start picking what I like and never read certain things, like the prophets.

So, while looking online for a helpful chart, I came across one that I thought would work. Every day of the week is assigned a theme: Epistles, Gospels, Prophecy, etc. Then, each day has certain readings that fit that theme. So, for this week, I read Romans 1-2 on Sunday (Epistles), Genesis 1-3 on Monday (Law), and Joshua 1-5 on Tuesday (History). I'm not sure how I'll like all the jumping around, but I'm definitely going to try.

Here is the chart if you are interested: 52 Week Bible Reading Plan

I'm also going to work my way through Beautiful in His Eyes again. I read it when we first moved here and I'd like to do it again. I'd actually like to read a lot of other books, too, but, alas, I can't afford all the books that I want to buy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Love this post

Life is Made of Ordinary Moments

"Those are the moments life is made of. They won’t make it into any photo albums or scrapbook pages. But be sure not to miss them. They are the best part of this crazy thing called life."

Read the whole post here

Monday, January 16, 2012

Small breakthrough

We are a friendly church. People are always shaking hands and greeting each other, smiling, talking.

So, its only natural that people try to shake hands and talk with Tyler.

Most of the time, they are not successful. It's kind of embarrassing, to be quite honest.

Bro Matt Garrett is one who tries and tries again. And last night, Tyler shook his hand and smiled!!!! I was amazed.

It's such a small thing to many, but to me, it's huge.

A Foot Washing Picture

I wish I could have taken a picture of our foot washing service last night. It was so special.

The way that we do foot washing at our church is by family. Everyone in the family washes the feet of the head of the house, then the head washes the feet of the wife and all the children. Our family does it by age, down.

The picture I want to capture is Justin, pacifier in mouth, sitting on the edge of the white folding chair, dangling his bare feet. His tan pant legs are folded up. Jim is knelt down next to Justin and has lifted the pink basin of water up to Justin's feet to dip them into the water. I am standing next to the chair, to Justin's right. Katelyn, Tyler and Jason are standing on their barefoot, freshly washed feet, clustered between me and Jim. I have my hand on Justin's back, praying, as I hear my husband pray,

"Lord, this child is a promise. He's too young to understand what is going on, but your Word says that if we train up a child in the way he should go, that when he is old, he will not depart from it. We are praying for this young child that he will walk in your ways and will not depart from your presence."

Tears flowed. I wish I could have taken a picture of that moment, but it will have to be one that I store in my heart. The preciousness of the Holy Ghost, the beauty of raising our children in the purity of the Holy Ghost. We can't block them from this world, nor can we make choices for them as they get older. We can only train them up according to God's Word, then believe and trust that God will uphold his promise.

Bro Burbank

We have a man in our church who has taken a special interest in Tyler. His name is Bro Burbank. He always stops to talk to Tyler, has taught Tyler and Katelyn has to do "thumb wars" and, generally, is one of the few people who has successfully pushed past Tyler's barriers and made Tyler befriend him. Bro Burbank often comes over to pray with Tyler and believes with us that God has special things planned for Tyler.

Bro Burbank can often be seen at church praying with children. God has given him a special burden for the innocent hearts. His gentle but fervent prayers have helped led several children right to the throne, receiving the Holy Ghost.

Bro Burbank came up to me before our foot-washing and communion service last night and said that God had given him a "revelation that Tyler was going to receive the Holy Ghost."

Tears filled my eyes. I've been praying this week "Lord, I don't care if you don't do anything else for Tyler, no healings, no deliverance. But, please, Lord, save my son. Let him desire you and receive the Holy Ghost."

I so appreciated Bro Burbank's words of faith and encouragement. I know that at the moment watching Tyler in church is watching someone who shows absolutely no interest in spiritual things. But I believe that the day will come when that barrier will melt away and those tender feelings that Tyler has locked away will be exposed again and he'll surrender himself to the Lord. It may not be for awhile yet, but it will come.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly

So I was fixing the littles a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Katelyn comes over and starts raving about how good I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and how well I spread the peanut butter and how thick and creamy it looks and...

"Stop!" I yelled. "I don't want to hear any more about this sandwich!"

"Oh, cuz you don't get to eat it." says Katelyn.

Jason is standing there watching me make the sandwich and hears this exchange. He solemnly turns to me and says

"That sandwich looks horrible, Mom."

Thank you, son. I feel better now.

Precious Conversations

This afternoon Jason and I had precious conversation in the van on the way to pick Katelyn up from school.

It started with Jason asking me what I was going to pray for at prayer meeting that night.

I responded that I was going to pray that he gets the Holy Ghost.


So that you can be saved and go to Heaven. So that you can love Jesus with all of your heart.


Then I can go in the baptize. (That's what he calls the baptismal tank)

That's right.

Then Jason started talking and asking a bunch of questions about being baptized. Not the whys, he knows that already, more like the hows. Sometimes it was hard to understand, but it was something like this:

After I get the Holy Ghost, I'll go in the baptize. I'll need to go see what it looks like. What does it look like?

Kinda like the pool.

Yeah, it has water, huh? What color is the tank?

I'm not sure; I think it's blue.

Pastor doesn't get in the water with us, right?

No, he stands next to the tank. Only you will get in the water.

And I'll get wet, huh? And I'll have to tell my dad to get me because I'll be all soaking wet and I will need a towel. And you'll be there, and Tyler, and Justin, and Katelyn.

Then he tapered off for a while.

Then he says Pastor has a lot of stuff at his house, huh?

Um, maybe...?

He probably has lots of toys. For his kids.

Yes, I'm sure he does.

You know you're fasting when...

You start craving foods that you normally don't even like!

I'm drooling over this meal and plan to add it to my menu next week

Spinach Rice Casserole

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fasting with intention

Today is the first day of the Valley Pentecostal Church annual fast. Everyone that is physically able to is fasting a minimum of three days this week.

I am trying to be very intentional this week with my fasting, trying to remember to actually pray and meditate on the Lord rather than just feel miserable and complain about how hungry I am (of course, ask me about this on Wednesday).

One of the things that I did spontaneously this morning was that when I was preparing the littles' breakfast and the smell of the food wafted up to me and my stomach rumbled, I stopped and prayed and said "Lord, as I prepare this food for my family while I fast, I am asking that you bless our finances this year so that we can continue to provide food for our family all year long." Just a simple prayer, but it made me feel so much better to have a focus for my suffering at that moment.

Jason asked what I was doing and I tried to explain in simple terms. He nodded with a serious look on his face, then asked if we could sing "How Great Is Our God".

Absolutely, honey. We're gonna sing it loud and clear. How Great Is Our God!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Revelation 3:20

Please won't you let me in?

Why did I keep THAT recipe??

Do you ever go through your old recipes and wonder Why on earth did I keep this recipe?

Today's project was to go through an old recipe binder that I had filled years ago. Actually, the binder started out as a good idea; it was kind of a cookbook journal that would be passed down to my children. I typed up all of our favorite recipes, one per page, and I also tried to include little tidbits about the recipe, like how I came upon the recipe, or how much we loved it, or what we were doing the day that we ate it.

However, somewhere along the line I stopped vetting the recipes as well, or maybe our tastes have changed/matured, or I'm not using as much processed foods anymore? I don't know. But as I went through the binder today, so many recipes made my stomach turn. Blech, why did I keep this recipe???

Into the garbage went 75% of the recipes. (don't worry, I have it all saved on a disk, so I didn't lose the commentary).

I also have stuffed a bunch of "to-try" loose recipes into the front flap of the binder. That was fun to go through. I kept about 60% of those recipes. Coupled with the recipes that I selected out of the old Taste of Home magazines that I bought recently, I think I need to make two resolutions: 1) to make at least two new recipes every week until I've tried them all, and 2) no new recipes until I've tried them all. Hmm, not sure if I can do that one. I love searching Food.com

So, after this break I'm going to divide up the recipes by category and file them so they will be easy to find. Can't wait to make my menu plan and grocery list for after the fast. Anyone else always tend eat really well after the fast? I have noticed over the years that I usually make really big, full course meals the first few weeks. Funny.

Can y'all tell that I like food?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Some of my favorite meatless recipes

I thought it would be fun to list some of my favorite meatless recipes, now that I have them all nice and organized.

In no particular order:

Cheesy Bean Enchiladas

Old Fashioned Corn and Potato Chowder

Easy, Speedy Spaghetti Sauce (with or without meat)

Crockpot Corn Chowder (with or without meat; good with ham)

Black Bean and Tortilla Bake (sharp cheese is good!)

Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole

Cheese Enchilada Stack

Organizing the laundry room

Beginning the new year, I am endeavoring to spend at least 15 minutes a day decluttering and spring-cleaning a specific area of the house. I started with the laundry room because it was the place that was driving me crazy at the moment.

I have a good sized laundry room. It includes my washer and dryer, two cabinets above them, all which are directly across from the door, plus a floor to ceiling shelving system to the right of the door, perpendicular to the washer and dryer.

This shelving system has a waist high counter that I just love and I call it my "office". It holds my coupons, sales flyers and my recipes. However, it quickly becomes a catch-all as the sales flyers quickly add up, the recipes get scattered and everything that doesn't have a home gets piled on top. It's very easy to open the laundry room door, toss the item on the counter and shut the door.

So, I cleared off the counter again. Now I am working on organizing my recipes, which are a mess right now. I've tried various ways of organizing and haven't hit on a great one yet, but here's what I'm doing right now:

My recipes were currently being filed in a Quaker Oats box. I kid you not. It was impossible to find a specific recipe quickly. So, I went through them and threw out the ones that are not favorites. Then, I seperated the recipes out into categories: chicken, beef, meatless, etc.

I have two binders that I've used in the past that were currently empty (it's a long story), so I dusted those off and put them into use again. All of my "cooking" recipes went into one folder and all of my "baking" recipes went into another. I couldn't find any divider in my mess of supplies (another place that will see a decluttering soon) but I did find manila folders. I cut them in half and holed punched them, then wrote the category on the tab. So now I have a binder that has a divider that says "chicken" then all of my chicken recipes, followed by a divider that says "beef", etc.

I love it!

Now to go through all the recipes that I have printed off or torn out of a magazine, decide which ones really have potential, and MAKE THEM!

Friends, Brothers Part II

So, I was thinking about Katelyn's comment about friends and brothers and I got to thinking,

"Ya know, as much as she complains about her brothers not leaving her alone and driving her crazy, I think she would feel the opposite; that it WOULD be hard for a friend to stick closer than a brothers."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Friends, Brothers

Katelyn has been having some "friend" issues, the latest being that everyone has been invited to a birthday party except her.

Last night during pre-service prayer I put my arm around her and began to pray for her.

I said lots of appropriate things, then I said "Lord, be that friend that sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)

Katelyn starts cracking up laughing and pipes up "That won't be hard!"

We got a good chuckle out of that one.

Hey, the girl's got three brothers. She knows what she's talking about.

Chewing on...well...not chewing

Last night Pastor "treached" about fasting and gave points about why we fast and what it means to fast.

I'm still chewing on a lot of what he said. Here are some highlights that are currently in my head:

  • Fasting is not strong-arming God, "God, you must do this for me!" Instead, it's softening our hearts, minds and spirits to say "Okay, God, not my will but thy will. I'm ready to let you work instead of telling you how to do it. I'm ready to be changed so that you can work."
  • Fast according to your need. If you have little need, then fast a little. If you have great need, then fast greatly.
  • Bizarre behavior is a spirit. And these things come out only by prayer and fasting.
  • And finally, fasting doesn't mean that God is going to do a miracle right then and there. His answer might still be "wait". But, again, fasting prepares you to receive what God does have planned for you and helps you to accept the grace and the strength if you do need to wait.

Oh, I needed to hear that one!!! Because I couldn't help sitting there thinking "But, God, the thing that I need to fast about this year is the exact same thing that I fasted about last year! Nothing has changed! Did I do something wrong?"

No. Maybe the miracle last year was not the healing, but the learning, the growing and stretching, the humility, the knowledge that I need God more than ever before, a marriage that is stronger, tears that come easier.

The tears flowed when Pastor stated that last point. So simple, but so profound.

So, I will be setting my face to fast next week. Due to pregnancy and nursing, I haven't done a complete fast of more than one day in five years so I'm setting my goal for a minimum three days. I know it won't be easy, but God will help.

I will be praying that God will heal my boy and bring peace to our home.

I will also be praying for my sister-in-law, Gina, who is currently in the hospital having trouble with her donated kidney.

I will be praying for my family members, for salvation, restoration, and healing.

I'm ready, Lord, I'm so ready.

Sausage Macaroni Bake

Made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was delicious.

Sams Club currently has 2 lb logs of Jimmy Dean sausage for $3.98, which is $1.99 a pound. A bit much, but I cut it into 3 pieces or more to stretch it out.

This recipe uses 3/4 lb of sausage. I just eyeballed it.

I also like that it only uses 1 cup of tomato sauce. I was worried that it would be dry, but it wasn't at all. Thankful for another good recipe that doesn't require jarred spaghetti sauce.

I was also worried that it wouldn't be enough for us, but it feed one toddler, one tween and two adults with seconds, plus a good amount for a leftover lunch. I would definitely double it if I needed to feed more people.

I love good food!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Making that money stretch in the kitchen

When I went to Sam's club on Saturday, I picked up a package of thighs for 90 cents a pound. The package had 15 thighs in it, so two meals of oven fried chicken.

But, I'm going to stretch the meat out at least two more meals. See, my kids don't do a very good job of eating all of the chicken off of the bones, and these were big thighs. So, after dinner, I collected all of the leftover chicken bones and tossed them into a pot of water. Boiled them for about an hour. Drained the water (if I was really good I'd save the liquid and make chicken broth here, sigh) and plucked all of the meat off the bone. I got about a cup to a cup and a half of chicken meat, which I will use to make chicken and rice soup. The soup gives us a good meal's worth, plus leftovers and because I put in a lot of vegetables, we don't need a lot of chicken, just enough.

I also took out the rest of the ham that I cooked while my family was here and cut as much off as I could of that. I put two handfuls of ham into each bag and got four bags worth. There was still a lot of meat on the bone, so I'm soaking some pinto beans in my new Christmas present oval crockpot right now and will make ham and beans for dinner tomorrow. With homemade tortillas ;)

Little things like this is what helps us to keep the grocery budget down. I try to use up everything and not waste. It's a constant thing, I have to think about it and do it, and as displayed by the example above not 100%. But it's so worth it.

New Year's Goals

I've had an enjoyable time today talking with my hubby about our goals, plans and dreams for this next year.

This year we will have to make some decision regarding our housing, most likely trying to buy a house. Scary. We will be looking at size, price, and location. Imagine scales trying to weigh it all out: This house is cheaper, but longer distance away. This house is bigger and closer, but more expensive.

We also want to pay off our van, which will be two years early, hooray!

We are also looking at the possibility of taking one of two different trips this year: Going to Houston in May for my cousin's wedding, or going to Seattle in June to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. Both trips would be for a long weekend as Justin will only be 2 and I've never left him. Jason has only been left overnight.

Decisions, decision.

All of this, of course, takes money, which we are definitely not swimming in. But, hopefully with some careful planning and a good tax check we can see some of these fulfilled.

I will also be taking the bull by the horns and sending in Tyler's DDD application as well as applying for a grant through the Department of Education (have to remember what the name of that thing was first!). Just today I got an email from the Boy Scouts, in response to an inquiry that I sent months ago!! Did you know that studies have shown that Autistic boys excel in Boy Scouts? Interesting! So, we may explore that route a little.

I also want to continue to work on bettering myself as a wife, mother and friend. Sometimes I feel like this area is two steps forward, one step back. And my prayer life. I've taken to praying in the bathroom with the fan on just so I can get some privacy!!!

Around the house I will be working on decluttering and spring cleaning, with the thought that we will likely be moving in approximately six months.

Anyway, that's what I'll be working on and praying about this next little while. January 9th begins our fast. I'm not looking forward to the fasting part, but I am looking forward to the spiritual recharge.

What's on your plate this year?

God healed Jason's arm

Yesterday when I went to pick the boys up from nursery, I found Jason sitting quietly on a chair, cradling his right arm, hand around his wrist.

The nursery workers told me that he had been favoring his arm all morning, but no one could pinpoint an occasion when he had hurt his arm.

When Jason saw me, he began to cry about his hurt arm.

I was worried. I admit, I tend to be a "run to the emergency room first and think about it later" kind of person. My husband is just the opposite, so when I asked him if we should take Jason in for x-rays, he said "Wait."

Jason held his arm all the way home. He did fall asleep in the van, though, so we decided that we would see what he did when he woke up. Which turned out to be as soon as Jim tried to pull him out of the van.

Jason set to crying and carrying on again. I was very worried and we prepared to take him to get checked out.

Then, all of the sudden, Jason stopped crying, hopped down and went running off. He was fine. He never cradled his arm again or held his wrist.

I believe that God healed him.

And what amazes me even more is that we never stopped and said a specific prayer for him. Just in my mind I know that I continued a chant of "Jesus, Please Lord, Jesus" the whole time. And I think Jim said "Oh, Jesus" one time out loud. I'm sure he was praying in his head, too.

And that was all it took. Just breathing the name of Jesus and He was right there.

I'm also reminded of the time that we took Katelyn to Phoenix Children's because she had fallen at school and was exhibiting symptoms of a concussion and possibly a broken knuckle or two. We were very worried, as was the medical personnel. The doctor was in talking with us and I remember her asking me "Is this normal behavior for her?" and I responded that it was not and the doctor got that concerned look on her face. Then, suddenly, like someone flipped a switch, Katelyn was fine. The doctor tried to explain it away, but I know that God healed my baby.

He is so faithful.