Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas time is here again

For us, Christmas isn't just a day, it's more like a week!
On Saturday we celebrated with just our family.
We started the morning with presents, and ate
lots of good food.  One of the fun things we did
this year was giving everyone in the family a
Nerf gun, then we had several battles in the house.
Sam was feeling the worst, and spent a lot of time sleeping, poor guy.

In the evening it started snowing, after sleeting on and off
during the day, so we even got a white Christmas! 
The kids didn't get out in it too much since they were
still worn out from being sick.

Tonight was our church Christmas program, these are the
three boys that were well enough to go.  Sometimes life
doesn't turn out how you expect, but you just have to go with the flow!

We have three more Christmases this week, lots more fun times
with family and more memories to be made!  Hopefully we'll
stay well from now on too.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace
to men on whom his favor rests.
Luke 2:14

Saturday, December 21, 2013

White Christmas Roses

At Thanksgiving Andy's mom gave us this set of
white rose dishes, called Governor's Mansion.
They belonged to Andy's Great-Grandma originally.
Here is an old photo of Andy's family using them about
60 years ago- his mom is on the left, then his grandpa and aunt.
When I saw them I thought they would be perfect
for our Christmas brunch this year!
I love using family treasures.
Andy bought me some white roses for our centerpiece,
to match the white rose on the dishes.

I added in some cedar and red berries from our woods.
Our brunch was very tasty, the menu included, honey glazed ham,
hashbrown and egg casserole, gingerbread boys, cinnamon applesauce,
and grapes.  I posted the recipe for these gingerbread boys earlier
in the week, you can find it here if you like.  They were yummy!

We had a great Christmas, although some of the kids are still feeling sick.
You can tell which ones by their faces in this picture!
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
Luke 1:68

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas!
Tomorrow we celebrate here at home with our family-
starting with presents in the morning,
followed by a Christmas brunch.
I'm hoping to share pictures
in the next day or two,
however, we have 3 sick with the
stomach flu today, so if that trend
continues, Christmas might
end up being pretty simple!
I hope your home is filled with
music, children, and the love of Jesus this week!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Real Truth Doesn't Change

For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
Psalm 33:4-5
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8
God never changes.  He remains the same through all of time.
God's Word never changes either.  What was true 6,000 years
ago when the world began was still true 2,000 years ago when
Jesus was born, and it is still true today.
He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind;
for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.
1 Samuel 15:29
Cultures do change their mind though, don't they?  When you don't
base what is true on God and His Word, truth is constantly changing.
Consider Germany 100 years ago.  Would they have dreamed that
in 20 years time they would have decided that it was ok to kill
millions of people because of their race?  Truth changed.
The same thing is happening today in our culture.
Truth is being redefined.  The big headline today is
Phil Robertson being suspended from the TV show, Duck Dynasty,
because he said homosexuality was a sin.
This morning I read this article from Yahoo news,
and it contained this quote:

"Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe," said GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz.

True Christians?  Talk about redefining truth.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie,
and worshiped and served created things
rather than the Creator- who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.
Even their women exchanged natural relations
for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also
abandoned natural relations with women and
were inflamed with lust for one another.
Men committed indecent acts with other men,
and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Romans 1:25-27
So what should our role as Christians be?
Should we be staging protests, announcing with loudspeakers
on the streets the evils of homosexuality?  I think not.
Homosexuality is a sin, just like pride is a sin,
lying is a sin, and cheating on your husband or wife
is a sin.  So what should we be doing?
I agree with Phil Robertson, when he said,
 "My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."
Then we will no longer be infants,
tossed back and forth by the waves,
and blown here and there by every wind of teaching
and by the cunning and craftiness of men
in their deceitful scheming.
Instead, speaking the truth in love,
we will in all things grow up into him
who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Ephesians 4:14-15
I am so glad that God never changes.
Thankfully he made a way so all of us sinners could be
made right with him again-
he gave us Jesus.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gingerbread Boys

When I asked our boys what they wanted to eat for our brunch
on Christmas morning, Grandma's Gingerbread Boys
was the first thing they mentioned- so I thought I'd share the
recipe with you as well, they really are very good!
Raisin Gingerbread
1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. molasses or syrup
1 egg
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. salt
1 pkg. yeast
4 1/2 c. flour
1 c. raisins
I mixed the dough up in my bread machine, so that made it really easy.  But if you don't have a bread machine here are the "by hand" directions. 
In large mixing bowl combine 2 c. flour, yeast and ginger.  In saucepan heat and stir milk, butter, molasses, and salt until warm and butter almost melts.  Add to flour mixture along with egg.  Beat on low speed 30 seconds.  Beat on high speed 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining flour.  Add raisins and stir.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Cover, let rise till double. 
Here is where I picked back up with the recipe when my dough was done in the bread machine- Punch down and let rest 10 minutes.  Roll to 3/4 inch thickness.  Cut into gingerbread boys with cookie cutter.  Place on lightly greased baking sheets.  Cover, let rise till double.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.
Decorate with butter frosting~
In large mixing bowl beat 1/3 c. softened butter until fluffy.  Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar, beating well.  Slowly beat in 1/4 c. milk and 1 1/2 t. vanilla.  Slowly beat in an additional 2-2 1/2 c. powdered sugar.  Beat in additional milk to make of piping consistency.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hymnal Snowflakes

The kids and I had a fun time this morning making snowflakes
from old hymnal pages!  I got the idea from Anita Diaz at Far Above Rubies.
She has lots of great ideas for using family antiques in her d├ęcor,
craft ideas, and beautiful photos of the Great Smoky Mountains.
They turned out great!  After we were done making them I ironed
them to press them flat, which worked really well.

This is my "homemade tree" in the kitchen.
Besides the hymnal snowflakes, I also have crocheted
snowflakes that I made this fall, and paper cones
my Mom and I made one year.
We decorated them with vintage buttons and trims,
stickers, and ribbons.
I also hung some snowflakes from the windows.
(AJ had a mouthful of candy when I took this picture...)

Christmas decorating is so fun, and being able to enjoy
it with the kids is an added blessing!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tree of Memories

One of my favorite parts of Christmas decorating
is all the memories that come as I put up the ornaments
on the Christmas tree.  Our Christmas tree is not
a "designer" tree, with a theme and perfectly matched
ornaments, but rather, a tree of memories.
The toy train above was given to my husband when
he was nine years old.  It still plays Jingle Bells!
These are our boys- as God gave us each of our children,
I bought an ornament that looked like them, and so
they are on our tree every year and are some of my
favorite ornaments.

The homemade ornaments definitely bring back more
fond memories than the store bought ones!  Andy
made the ball when he was a boy in school, and I
have such great memories of making the other three
ornaments shown with my Mom.  I remember she
didn't really feel like making the ice skates, but
she did anyways, what a good mom!
I keep telling myself as I decorate, the house doesn't need
to be perfect- as long as our home is filled with love,
Christmas will be great.
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God,
and God in him.
1 John 4:16
I'm joining Sandi's Home party today.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Colorado Thanksgiving

This year we decided to spend Thanksgiving in Colorado
with Andy's family, and we are so glad we did!
Thanksgiving day, after the turkey, we went on this
beautiful hike in Colorado National Monument.
The kids had a great time climbing around
on all the rocks, I think their hike ended up
being about twice as long as ours, with all
the running around they did!
This was the view to the west, just amazing.

Then, we drove up over the Monument and stopped at
the spot where Andy proposed to me almost 17 years ago... aww.

It was so beautiful with the sun setting!
We had a lovely time, now I have mounds of laundry to do
and a house to decorate for Christmas--
I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving too!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

From the first bright light of morning,
To the last warm glow of dusk;
Every breath we take is sacred,
For it is God's gift to us.
In thanksgiving, let us praise Him;
In thanksgiving, let us sing
Songs of praise and adoration
To our gracious Lord, and King.
In the season of our plenty,
In the season of our need;
We will find His grace sufficient,
We will find His love complete.
Safe within His hand that guides us,
Hidden in His healing wings;
Day by day His love provides us
Every good and perfect thing.
In thanksgiving, let us praise Him;
In thanksgiving, let us sing
Songs of praise and adoration
To our gracious Lord, and King.
~Claire Cloninger~


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thank you Lord, for...

I ate my first piece of pie in two years today.  It was so good!
I had to go gluten free back in 2012 because of my health,
and just recently I started eating a little bit of wheat now and
then.  Even though it seems to make me not feel well after I
eat it, I decided to go ahead and have a piece of pumpkin pie
at our family Thanksgiving today, it's just a little crust, right?
Anyways, it was very good. (:
Blessings to you as you enjoy Thanksgiving with your families
this week- try not to stress out about the meal and everything
being just right- as long as the food's good everybody will be happy!
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalm 107:8-9

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Against the Odds

Here's a look at our odds for adopting a girl through the foster care system- these are not scientific figures, they were done by my math, but I think they are pretty accurate.

Out of all the kids that come into foster care...

50% are able to go back home to their biological families.
40% are adopted by their foster family or a relative.
The remaining 10% are placed on state waiting child lists.  Dividing that 10% up...
7% are boys.
1% are girls over the age of 13.

The remaining 2% are the ones that we look through.  Of them...
More than 1% are part of a sibling group.
So it you followed all those percentages, of all the kids that come into foster care, less than 1% would be possibilities for our family.  Most of them have been through so much trauma that it would not be wise to mix them in with our boys.  So there really are very few girls available to us.  Here is a photo of the girls we've inquired about or submitted our homestudy for this year.
For about half of these girls, a family has been found, which is great!  The rest of them either would not work well with our family, or we are waiting to hear back about them.  They are from all over the country.  Even though our chances don't look too promising, I know that we are doing what God has asked us to do.  Whether we adopt one of these girls or God leads us to someone else, he will fulfill his purpose both for us and each girl in this photo!  What a great promise this is--
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
Your love, O LORD, endures forever-
do not abandon the works of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Just a little miracle?

Do you ever find yourself wishing for a miracle?
Maybe just a small one?
Just this morning I found myself asking God for a miracle-
that we would have our girl home with us for Christmas.
Maybe he will answer with a yes, and maybe with a no,
but whatever he does will be for the best.
Sometimes we are like Martha in the Bible.  She and her sister
Mary and brother Lazarus were good friends of Jesus.  He often
stayed with them when he was in the area, so when they sent
word to Jesus that Lazarus was really sick, they fully expected
that Jesus would hurry over and heal him.  But he didn't.
He waited a few days, long enough for Lazarus to die.
I'm sure Martha and Mary wondered if Jesus even cared.
Oh yes, he cared.  He had something bigger planned.
Sometimes, we ask God for a little miracle,
but he says no, because he has a lot bigger miracle in mind.
Maybe you know the story- Jesus came when everyone
thought it was too late, but he was right on time.
He went to the tomb, and called for Lazarus to come out.
And out he came, alive as ever!
Many believed in him because of this amazing miracle.
So it was all for the best.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him, so that you may
overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thanks for Praying

~La Mariette aux Fraises~
by Albert Anker
I thought I'd give you a bit of an adoption update,
in case you're curious.  We could definitely use
your prayers.  Lately it seems like we are in a
battle, discouragement and despair of ever finding
a child is what we are struggling with these days.
I know that God wants us to stand firm, but
sometimes it's hard.  At this time there aren't
any girls that would be a match for our family
in our state, most of them need a family with
no other children or only older children.  So
we are looking at Adopt US Kids and have sent
out our homestudy for several different girls across
the country.  It seems like kind of a long shot
that we would be selected for any of them,
but God knows.  Thanks for praying for us!
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can
take your stand against the devil's schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world
and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:10-12

Monday, November 4, 2013

Our State is Pretty Too

I used to compare the fall colors in our state to other
states, like Vermont or Tennessee or Michigan, and
felt rather sorry for myself that we didn't live in a prettier place.

But then we moved to the desert in Arizona and Mexico,
where there is no fall to speak of, and when we moved
back here, suddenly, it was all so much prettier!

I really don't know what I was thinking!
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant
nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain,
but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
1 Timothy 6:17

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Big Picture

This is the tallest tree on our land, and as we were taking a walk
yesterday we came up to it.  AJ thought it was just amazing,
and he exclaimed, "This tree must be as big as God!"
I'm so glad that our God is a lot bigger than that old cottonwood tree.
If we were birds, we could fly to the top of that cottonwood and be
able to see all the country around, and we would get the big picture.
Down here where we are in the woods we can only see a little way.
So, do I trust my own judgment and knowledge, even
though I can only see a little bit, or do I trust the One
who is able to see the whole picture?
Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven, and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.
Ecclesiastes 5:2

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Easy Granny Square Dishcloth

This week I made up my own crocheted dishcloth pattern, and thought I'd share it with you here- it comes together really fast, enjoy!

Easy Granny Square Dishcloth


Uses 100% cotton yarn and size G crochet hook.

Chain 5, join with slip stitch in beginning chain to make a loop.

Round 1:  Ch 3 (counts as first dc) 2 dc, ch 3, (3 dc, ch 3) 3 times.  Join with slip stitch to top of beginning ch 3.

Round 2:  Slip stitch over to ch 3 space.  Ch 3, 2 dc, ch 3, 3 dc all in ch 3 space.  Ch 2, 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc in corner space.  Repeat around and join with slip stitch in top of beginning ch 3.

Rounds  3-7:  Slip stitch over to ch 3 space.  Ch 3, 2 dc, ch 3, 3 dc all in ch 3 space. Ch 2, (3 dc in ch 2 space, ch 2) across, (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in corner, repeat until all the way around, join with slip stitch in top of beginning ch 3.

Round 8:  Ch 1, sc in each double crochet , 2 sc in each ch 2 space, and 3 sc in each corner around.  Join with slip stitch to beginning ch. 

Round 9:  Ch 4, skip next sc, sc in next sc, (chain 3, skip next sc, sc in next sc) around. Join with slip stitch to beginning ch.

 You may switch to a contrasting color on round 8 if desired.

I'm joining Sandi's Home Party.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Bliss

~Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree~
Emily Bronte
With the cooler weather these days, a nice hot cup
of tea is just what we need to warm us from the inside out!

Red transferware works so well with many different seasons,
and I love it paired with the rustic reds and golds of fall.

This tea cup is called, 'Girl at Well", by Spode.

I hope you find time to enjoy the beautiful colors of fall today too!
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