Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Garden In My Mind

I've been doing a lot of dreaming about this summer's garden already, have you?  The seeds we ordered are already here!  Yes, there is snow outside, and the wind is freezing, but it's so fun to plan and imagine how the garden will look this summer!  So, as I was looking through my old issues of gardening magazines I found this poem on the back of an old Birds and Blooms-

The Garden in My Mind
I have a secret garden
Where lilies never fade.
The daisies never wither,
And roses bloom in shade.
Brick paths are lined with larkspur,
And bee balm blooms bright red.
Bringing hummingbirds to sip
The nectar from each head.
Lilies surround the birdbath
Where robins come to call.
Blue jays come to the feeder
That stands against the wall.
There are chores that I must do,
I know I cannot stay.
Garden scenes will wait for me.
They're just a thought away.
~Joseph Fecher~
Keep dreaming!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I always think of Robins as a sign of spring, and here they showed up a little early this year!  I enjoy watching the birds and squirrels out the windows of our home.  You know, in the Bible Jesus says that God sees even when a sparrow falls. 
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29,31
If God knows what's going on even in a sparrow's life, don't you think he knows what's going on in yours?  God has been reinforcing that idea to me again lately- he has a plan, and not only does he have a plan, but it's a good plan.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you. 
You will seek me and find me when you
seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Saturday, January 26, 2013

True love is...

spending your Saturday building a new garden for your wife! 
There were a lot of heavy rocks to lift and we are all tired out. 
I'm looking forward to planting in a couple months! 

Friday, January 25, 2013


We rarely see bald eagles here in our part of the country,
but I spotted this one today way up in the sky- he had no fear
or worries so high above all the problems of this world.  I hope
these words from Isaiah are encouraging to you today.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What is Love, Anyways?

In our Bible study this week the question came up, What is love, anyways?  I'm not sure I gave that great of an answer, so I decided to do a little study on it.  Is love a feeling?  Is it just doing what's best for someone?  Are we supposed to show "tough love" in some cases?  Is love dealing harshly with someone who is not following the truth?  In the New Testament we are told to love each other 28 times, so we better know what it really means. 
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.
Anyone who does not love remains in death.
Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
This is how we know what love is:
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
1 John 3:14-16
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:12
So from these verses, love is sacrificial and unconditional.  If the situation comes up where we feel like we need to confront someone or let them know the error of their ways, we better speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).  Speaking the truth in love means coming to someone with a kind, humble, and patient attitude, being willing to serve them and help them in any way we can, like Jesus did for us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thankful for Seven Years

SJ and his Dukes cake
I can't believe it's been seven years since we had a baby!  SJ is growing up, like they all do.  He is a joy to have in our family and we are sure thankful for him.  Looking back when he was a tiny preemie and the doctors were telling us all the possible complications he might have in life because he was born 11 weeks premature, and here he is now as healthy as any of us- what a blessing from God!
He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and compassionate.
Psalm 111:4

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Drive

LA and I took a drive through the country around our place
this afternoon.  There were a few more stone houses I'd heard
of that I wanted to see.  This one was pretty neat, although
we couldn't get very close to it.  It would have been a pretty
place to live, overlooking the grass covered hills.
This one was more fallen in, I don't want to let this happen
to our stone house!  It did have some pretty stone work
over the doors and windows.
All that was left of this last one was the bottom half.
about another area stone house if you like history!

Friday, January 18, 2013

With Eternity in Mind

Winter sunsets are so beautiful!
In Matthew 16, Jesus was telling his disciples that he would have to suffer and be killed, and then three days later, be raised to life.  Peter didn't like that plan, he thought he had a better one.  So,
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
"Never, Lord!" he said.
"This shall never happen to you!"
Sounds like something I probably would have said.  If someone I knew and loved started talking about how they were going to be killed I'd be planning a way to get them out of the country.  Was Jesus grateful for Peter's concern?
Jesus turned and said to Peter,
"Get behind me, Satan!
You are a stumbling block to me;
you do not have in mind the things of God,
but the things of men."
Peter was looking at things from an earthly perspective.  If we look at life this way we fall into Satan's trap and he has us right where he wants us.  We have  to look at things with eternity in mind.  For example, in our lives we are facing the decision of who we are open to adopting next.  If we look at it from an earthly perspective, what's best/easiest for us in this life, we would want to adopt a healthy newborn.  But if we look at it from an eternal perspective, how could we say no to a hurting 10 year old?  It changes things, huh?  May we be willing to follow God wherever he leads.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Finally Nine

It's a tradition in our family that when boys turn 9, they get
their first bb gun for their birthday.  DJ finally reached his
birthday this week and got his gun!
He was especially happy that it came with a scope.
Ready for some rabbit huntin'!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Winter Mantle

After Christmas the house always seems so empty when
all the Christmas decor comes down!  Today I finally got
the mantle re-decorated.  I love decorating with birdhouses.
For a while I have admired the Friendly Village dish pattern,
by Johnson Brothers, and recently found this tea cup on ebay.
It's fun to have some pretty dishes for the dull days of winter!
This cute little red doll chair belonged to my Great-Aunt,
and the pine cones were painted by our kids several years ago.
I hope you all are finding ways to brighten these cold winter days!
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Psalm 37:5-6
I'm linking to Tea Time Tuesday again today.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Silly SJ

Somebody around here is missing his 2 front teeth-
if you see them, let him know!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Trusting in Trials

~Our stone house in winter... looks a little cold and lonely, huh?~
Adopting always teaches you patience and perseverance, and apparently we still need to learn some more in that area!  I just keep praying that God will send us the child he wants in our family, and that our hearts will be prepared for that child, and that our new child's heart will be prepared for us.  Really, we aren't any closer to adopting than we were 2 months ago.  Adopting through the state is definitely not a quick process or an easy one.  But we feel like this is the path God wants us to take this time.  If you are new here and want to read about our past adoptions, those stories can be found here for PD, here for DJ, here for SJ, and here for AJ
Sometimes things pile up on us, don't they?  That's how it's felt around here lately.  God always knows when we need more "opportunities to trust"!  It seems like I should have learned this lesson by now but I guess I haven't.  When those trials come, we can either choose joy because we know God has something good in mind, or we can choose discouragement, grumpiness, and despair.  Hmm, I wonder which would be best???
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be
mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Some thoughts on Lincoln and the present time

Andy and I went to see the movie, Lincoln, this week, and I couldn't help comparing the situation of those days, 150 years ago, to our present situation.  If you haven't seen the movie, it is very interesting and tells the story of how the 13th amendment to abolish slavery was passed.  Abraham Lincoln stood by his conviction of the evils of slavery, even though it meant that the war lasted longer.

People of those days were so blinded to their prejudice and injustice towards Blacks.  They used the argument that Blacks were less human than Whites to justify their use of them as slaves.  This picture breaks my heart.

Don't we do the same thing now?  I don't know how many times I've heard the argument that the unborn aren't really human.  They have to be born and breathe their first breath of air to be alive.  It's crazy!  People use the exact same argument to justify the killing of babies that they used to justify slavery.  This must stop now.  I can only hope that it doesn't take a civil war for the blinders to come off this time.
~10 week old baby~

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:8-9

Thursday, January 3, 2013

God is For Us!

And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.

For those God foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

What, then, shall we say in response to this?
If God is for us, who can be against us?

For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,

nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:28,29,31,38

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year's Tradition

(Myself, my Mom, and my sister)
Every year on New Year's Day we gather at my
parents' place and make New Year's Cookies. 
They are a traditional Mennonite food and are
actually more like donuts than cookies. 
Mom mixing up the dough- it has raisins in it.

Then we fry them up and glaze them.
We can hardly make them fast enough!  I've included the
recipe below, this year, with all our boys, we made it 5 times as big.
They are delicious!
New Year's Cookies
1/3 c. warm water
2 pkgs. yeast
2 T. sugar
1/4 c. milk
2 T. butter
1 3/4 c. flour
2 eggs
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. raisins
2 T. flour
Combine water, yeast, and sugar.  Let stand till bubbly (5 min.).  In saucepan or microwave, heat milk and butter until butter is almost melted.  In large bowl, beat yeast mixture, milk mixture, 1 3/4 c. flour, eggs, and salt for 3 min.  Rinse raisins with water and drain.  Toss with 2 T. flour.  Beat into dough.  (Batter will be sticky).  To fry, drop dough by heaping teaspoons into deep, hot oil (365 deg.)  Fry till browned.  Drain on paper towels.  Coat with glaze or sugar while still warm.
Glaze: beat together 4 c. sifted powdered sugar, 2 t. vanilla, and enough milk to make a thin glaze.

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