Friday, June 29, 2012

Amazing Love

The other day I was looking up at the sky and it was so beautiful, such a deep blue and the clouds were swirling like this in the wind up there, it was so pretty I called Andy out to see it.  If you ever take a moment to gaze up into the sky it doesn't take long and you feel pretty small.  The universe is just so huge and vast.  Did you know God's love is that big?  Psalm 57:10 and Psalm 103:11 say,

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him.

That's a lot of love!  These verses from Romans 5:8, and Ephesians 2:4-5 tell us how God made his love for us real.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

But because of his great love for us,
God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ
even when we were dead in transgressions —
it is by grace you have been saved.

What an amazing, good, God we have.  His love is perfect.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In memory of Trigger

Our little miniature foal, Trigger, died today.  She fell into some muddy water and couldn't get back out and so she drowned.  Isn't that awful?  Andy pulled her out but it was too late.  We are all so sad.  She was such a fun little horse and so friendly.  When we were walking across the yard she would come up behind us and nibble on our back, trying to get attention so we'd scratch her back and pet her.  We'll miss her.  She was almost more like a dog than a horse, how she would follow us around.  The kids loved her too- as you can see in this picture of SJ and Trigger. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In everything?

Every once in a while God gives us insight into why he allows those really tough things into our lives.  Even when he does, sometimes it's still hard to be thankful for it.  But just this morning I felt God telling me that I needed to write down one of those hard things on my thankful list.  So I did, through my tears.

#725. Infertility 

It was so hard to write down!  But if we had always been able to have babies easily, we would never have adopted, I'm sure of it.  We would have thought it was too expensive and too complicated.  There would have been no PD, DJ, SJ or AJ in our family!  And that thought is unbearable.  In this situation, God gave me the insight into why he allowed such a hard thing into our lives. 

Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20  

No matter what your struggle is, God is sovereign- that means he knows all about it, he knows why he allowed it in your life, he has a good purpose in it and he knows what the future holds for you.  That is why we can give him thanks in everything.  He can be fully trusted.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Five year old reasoning

Our little AJ is really thinking things through these days.  It's so funny the things he comes up with!  He is learning that God made the world and everything in it, so we have daily discussions about how God made everything, but then people take the things that God made and make other things, like houses, chocolate chip cookies, etc. 

Well, one day AJ said, "I think God forgot when he made Bud Light."  I guess God didn't realize that might be a bad thing to make???

As we were driving home from church yesterday he said, "I think the gas slowly leaks out of the car, that's why we have to fill it up with gas every once in a while."  I had to let Andy explain that one!

The other day AJ told Andy he knew how they make scooters.  He said, "First they take scooter juice, pour it in a machine, and out comes a scooter!"

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Our boys know how much I like flowers so this morning LA and SJ surprised me with some wildflowers they found in the clearing.  Aren't they pretty?  They found some nice ones.  I wish I knew the names of all the different kinds.  If anyone knows what they are you can leave a comment!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hooray for feeling good!

Some of the wildflowers blooming in our pasture right now.

(To read the beginning of this story click here).  The last few weeks I haven't been feeling too good.  There have been a lot of "laying on the couch all day" days.  It can get a little discouraging.  Last week the doctor gave me some new pills and they seem to have helped though and the last couple days I have felt better than I have in a long time.  It's so exciting to feel good when you've felt bad for so long!  It seems a little silly to be excited to be able to push your shopping cart all the way through Walmart without wearing out but just last week I couldn't even push it a little ways and this week I did the whole thing myself!  (:

Feeling good and having energy is such a wonderful blessing and I am so thankful to be feeling better this week.  You don't realize what a blessing good health is until it's gone.  God is good and he gives us what we need-- yes, there are days when I am so tired of feeling bad-- but God continues to teach me to rely on him and remember that he is the great Healer.  My doctor is great, but he can't heal me, only God can do that. 

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.  Psalm 71:14

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yummy BBQ Ribs

Many years ago I got this great BBQ ribs recipe from my friend, Tonya.  It's so easy and tastes so great, that I thought I'd share it with you.  We had it for supper tonight and there aren't any leftovers!  This recipe works with any type of ribs, but we prefer the boneless pork ribs.  First you get a big piece of tin foil and line a 9x13 pan with it.  Then you place the ribs in the pan.
Next, you pour most of a bottle of BBQ sauce on top of the ribs and add a little water.  This is a good opportunity to use up the last little bits of BBQ sauce in the bottom of the bottles that you have been saving in your fridge.  Maybe you don't do that, but we always seem to have one or two. 
Now you just wrap the foil around the ribs and kind of fold it together to seal.  Then put them in the oven and bake at 350 for about 3 hours.  These go great with Nicole's Potatoes recipe that I posted a while back.  Hope you like them!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What's blooming now...

I love flowers and flower gardens!  I have big dreams for our place, but we do live in the windy midwest with extreme heat and extreme cold, so sometimes reality hits.  I love checking out Aiken House and Gardens for inspiration- she lives on Prince Edward Island, where Anne of Green Gables was from, and her gardens are amazing!  I'm sure my garden won't ever be like hers, but maybe as the kids get older I'll be able to add some fun things to ours also.  We do have some lovely roses planted here by the people who lived here before us, and they smell so good right now!
This is a knockout rose, they are a very nice fuss free variety.  We have three of these bushes and they grow very well with little help from me.  Just a little water now and then. 

Zinnias are a good standby here in our area and mine are just starting to bloom.  I planted them from seeds this spring.  They didn't come up real well, I think my flowerbed must need some fertilizer or something.  This one is sure a pretty shade of pink!

A nice lady in our church shared some seeds from her garden with some of us last year and one of the things she gave us was dill.  So now I have dill growing in our garden.  I know I could make dill pickles with it, but I didn't plant any cucumbers this year, so it's just there looking decorative for now.  (:  I don't really have time to do any canning this year anyways.
All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever.  1 Peter 1:24-25

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day 2012

Here's the man himself- he had to cook his own supper.  I just realized, for Mother's day he made me dinner, and for Father's day he made me supper...
DJ checking out the river
LA tried some fishing
SJ is the best scavenger of the family- within 10 minutes he had found
these 2 fishing bobbers and a nice fishing fly.
AJ and PD found a big oak tree to climb
After supper the kids had great fun swimming in the lake-
We ended the evening with a stop for ice cream!  I love our family. (:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grandma's recipes on my wall

My Grandma died back when I was in college, and when we were dividing up her things I was the recipient of her cook book.  She had all kinds of scraps of paper tucked in the pages, with recipes written on them, or cooking tips, or health information.  She was very health conscious because she had type 1 diabetes.  Certain pages are very well used so it was easy to tell what were her favorite recipes though!  One of those was the recipe for sweet roll dough, it can be used for rolls or cinnamon rolls.  I've made it quite a few times myself and it is a good recipe! 
I also have a cook book that was hand written by my Great-grandma, when she was 90 years old.  She died when I was still a child, but I have lots of memories of going to visit her at the nursing home.  She always had candy in her dresser and we kids could each have a piece when we came to visit.

For a while now I have wanted to frame some of their handwritten recipes and put them up in my kitchen.  So this week I had some time one day and decided to do it.  I made copies with the scanner so I could make the recipes fit my 5x7 frames.  They still didn't fit quite right so I used scrapbooking paper at the top and bottom.  It was hard to get a good picture of them because of lighting and my camera skills aren't too great but you get the idea.  It was a fun project!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Could you?

AJ, PD, and SJ planning their next spying mission

Did you know that it is estimated that there are 143 million orphans in the world? 

That is half of the United States population.

Many are not available for adoption, but many are waiting, especially older children and children with special needs.

Did you know that there are about 100,000 children waiting to be adopted in the US foster care system?

There are approximately 300,000 churches in the United States of America.

Why are there any children waiting?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress
and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 82:3-4

We have been so blessed to be able to adopt four times, but I always wonder if we should be doing more?  Maybe we will in the future, we will see what God has for us.  But with the many resources we have here in America, surely there is one family out of every three churches who could adopt a child waiting in foster care.  I'm not saying it would be easy, but life isn't about doing the easy thing.  Maybe you can't adopt from foster care for one reason or another, but maybe you could adopt an orphan from another country, who has no hope of any future at all without adoption?  Maybe you can't do that either, but you could help another family financially who is trying to adopt.  Adopting is very expensive, costing $10,000-$30,000 easily.  Something to think about!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

God's country blessings

You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the desert overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.
Psalm 65:9-13

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our miniature horse story

For many years I thought it would be so fun to have a miniature horse farm someday.  They just seemed so cute and the perfect size for kids!  But I figured it would probably be one of those dreams that would never come true, along with lots of other crazy ideas I've had!  But, a few years ago we had the opportunity to buy a miniature mare from the ranch where Andy was working.  We named her Star.


The kids had lots of fun with her, and got bucked off a few times, but she calmed down eventually.  After having her for a year or so we thought it would be fun to see if she could have a foal, so we bought a miniature stallion, and named him Barnum.  He's a great horse, never bites or kicks, but he won't let anyone ride him.

Barnum and AJ

Well, this spring my dream came true.  One Sunday after church I went out to check on the horses because we knew that Star was going to foal anytime and there was little Trigger running around the pen, looking a little lost!  It has been so fun having such a little horse- she is very friendly and loves to be scratched and loves to follow us around the yard.  She just makes me smile every time I see her.

SJ and Trigger when Trigger was 1 day old

I don't know how many horses we'll end up with, you can only have so many, you know!  But they are fun and a good experience for the boys.

By the way, if you noticed, I put the boys' pictures up on the side bar and for privacy's sake we decided to just use their initials for their names, so that's what I'll call them on the blog from now on.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A new calf

One of the things I love about living in the country is that it gives our kids the opportunity to have and raise their own animals.  Last week my brother had a baby calf that he didn't want to keep so he gave it to our son.  He was very happy to get him!  So now he has the responsibility of feeding the calf his bottle several times a day.  Our son loves animals and loves to take care of them so he is good at it. 
I always loved having bottle calves when I was a kid.  I remember my first one was red with a white face, and I named her Henrietta.  I remember running out to feed them in the mornings before school.  Country life is great- and I'm so thankful that our kids get to experience those same things.  (:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Look who's five!

Our youngest is five years old, how can that be?  (:  He was so excited about turning five, he's been counting down the days all week.  For his cake he picked Bobs and Larrys from Veggietales, made out of cupcakes and twinkies. 
This afternoon we had some friends over to help celebrate.  The water balloon fight was a lot of fun!

Summer is a great time to be a kid. (:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

God, my Rock, part 2

Ok, this morning I read Psalm 62 and it has more great verses about God being our Rock, so I just had to share them with you too!  It starts out like this-

My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

The part about God alone being my rock was what stood out to me.  Not my husband, Andy, not my Dad, not my church that has been there for over a hundred years, no, God alone is my rock.  He is where I can rest secure.  Isn't that a comforting thought?

These next verses are so good also-

My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Our son took this picture when we were in Colorado a couple weeks ago.  It's definitely a mighty rock!  That's what God is for us, a mighty rock, a place of refuge, and not only that, but we can pour out our hearts to him!  He cares for us!  The Psalm ends like this-

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving.

Strong and loving- I'm so glad we have such a great God!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

God, my Rock

Sometimes I feel so weak.  There are days when I feel so helpless, so at the mercy of circumstances around me.  What can I do?  So the verses I read this morning from Psalms 61:2-3 were a comfort.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.

I am so thankful to have God my Father, my protector, my comfort, my rock.  He can be trusted, no matter what the circumstances!  A friend has this quote on her facebook and I thought it was good-

"Every experience God gives us, every person he brings into our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only he can see."

I can see how that has been true in the past for us, and I am looking forward to what he has for us in the future!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Zucchini bread

This is our first year to try planting zucchini in the garden.  I can see now why people are always trying to get rid of them.  We've only picked two and I'm wondering what in the world we are going to do with all this stuff.  Nobody around here thought the zucchini pizza recipe I found on pinterest sounded very good, but they do all love zucchini bread!  I made some more loaves this morning and decided to share the recipe, if all our boys like it, it must be pretty good.  (And if you don't happen to have any zucchini, I'd be glad to share some with you!)

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup cooking oil
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour

Beat the eggs.  Mix in sugar, zucchini, vanilla and cooking oil.  Add dry ingredients and mix till combined.  Spray 2 loaf pans with non stick cooking spray and pour batter evenly into pans.  Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or so at 350 degrees.  Cool 15 minutes before removing from pans.  Makes 2 loaves.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The stone house

I love history and antiques so when we moved to this place it was a real bonus to have this old stone house on the property!  There are several old abandoned houses made of limestone like this one in our area, but most don't have the roof anymore.  Ours barely has a roof.  In the 1980's someone remodeled the interior but failed to repair the roof so all the interior work was wasted.  The kids and I started ripping out the drywall in the upstairs last fall but haven't worked on it much since.
There is even a cellar under the house.  It's not very big, probably about 12 ft. x 24 ft. on the inside.  I would love to fix it up someday but I'm not sure what we would do with it then...  
Now for the history part- in the top of the front gable there is this stone with the date 1882 and the name Cox.  There's a country cemetery a mile and a half from here so we went over there to see if we could find this Mr. Cox, and sure enough there he was, he fought in the Civil War, and afterwards he homesteaded here and got his quarter section of land like everyone else who settled here.  His brother got the quarter section catty-corner across the section.  I did a little research and found out that he wasn't married in 1882, but in 1885, when he was 50 years old, he married a girl from Ohio, and she was only 19.  At least he had a nice house to bring her to.  I wonder what she thought, coming across the country to live with a 50 year old stranger?  Her mother had died 5 years before, and her 16 year old sister died the year she left home to get married, so maybe she was ready for a change of scenery.  Life was so different back then.  Mr. and Mrs. Cox had one daughter and she and her husband did not have any children, as far as I know.  I enjoy sitting over there, imagining what life might have been like back then.  I wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Cox got along, being from different generations.  It's fun to imagine wagons and buggies pulling up to the house.  A lot has changed in 130 years.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Home sweet home

Isn't home a wonderful place to be?  I love being at home- although last night when Andy surprised me by taking me out for supper I loved that too!  (:  God has blessed us with a wonderful place to live.  Last weekend as we were driving through the mountains we were talking about the huge houses we saw and how much they must cost.  One of the boys said when he grew up he didn't want to have such a huge house because it wouldn't be very homey.  I guess he must be happy with our house! (: 

I enjoy changing the decorations around from time to time, this is the summer look in the kitchen.  My mom did the sunflower arrangement for me.  You know, one thing about having only boys is that no one notices when I do things like this!  I always make sure and point it out to them though. (:  Oh well, having pretty decorations around makes me happy anyways- and I'm pretty sure that they would notice if I never put anything out at all! (:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Some encouragement

I love the book of Psalms in the Bible, they are so encouraging when I'm overwhelmed with the troubles of life.  This morning I was reading from chapters 56 and 57, and David wrote them when he was hiding out from King Saul, who was trying to kill him.  So he had plenty to be discouraged about!  But no matter what you are going through, whether it is relationship problems, health problems, financial problems, or whatever, God is bigger than it all and he can be trusted.  Here are the verses that helped me this morning, and I hope they are an encouragement to you as well.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?

Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll--
are they not in your record?

I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.

I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
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