Small Acts of Kindness: Food on the Table

In August of 2012, while our family was at an annual cookout, we got a call.  My mother-in-love, Betty Lou, had been to the doctor and something wasn’t quite right; they would be running more tests…

Source: Small Acts of Kindness: Food on the Table


Stone Sunday Chronicles

It is a month from my latest post of Stone Sunday Chronicles.  My husband did hijack the computer two of those weeks, editing his GoPro fishing videos.  And probably my other Sunday late evenings were spent going to bed at a decent time.  Nonetheless, here alas, is another chronicle of our Sunday, my favorite day of the week.

If you asked my husband his favorite part of Sunday corporate worship, he’d definitely say “preaching.”  He’s not much of a singer, although he confesses to singing in his heart and mind 😉  Me, it’s always been the music.  I was raised in the Church of Christ, so at that time we sang Acapella from the hymnal.  I was all about it.  When I hopped over to the Baptist in college, I sang in the BSU choir with an electric keyboard and loved it!  I’m also an instrumentalist, so I’d just say, music moves me.  One of the songs this morning caught my heart – Raised to Life – and here’s why it spoke to me.  You see, I want to walk in Truth.  I want all of the abundant life God offers me this side of heaven.  In John 10:10 (NIV) it says 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  Well, I want it to the full.  And I believe that to have that, I get to practice believing Truth revealed to me in HIS Word.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!”  I want to live that!

So, here are the words that landed in my heart – and with each repeat, I could sense a reminder to believe HIM:

Sin was strong
But Jesus is stronger
Our shame was great
But Jesus You’re greater

Some days it’s seems like the opposite, huh?  But Truth is that HE is stronger and greater than our sin and shame!  Isn’t that glorious!???  I hope you will come along with me and choose to hang your hat on this Truth and walk in it!

Through the message this morning, I was challenged to consider what lies/false gods I am hanging onto as I seek to enter the promised land of this abundant life, here and now.  My other challenge was to consider how I am perceiving those who are non-Christian around me.

Our 2nd hour was spent with 11 fabulous 4 year olds.  We had a great time telling the story of the woman at the well.  One of the things I’ve begun to do with them is practice reciting scripture with me.  They are each so happy to come say scripture with me and get a sticker!  I still think they like my husband better than all of us!  He had been out two weeks and they were each so glad to see him and ran and gave him a hug.  Today was also Teacher Appreciation day, and one of our child’s families made us small yummy treats and our Preschool leader gave each teacher a wonderful hand-made pie for serving.  We are grateful for the privilege of serving these children in His Name.

Husband and I had an afternoon date time as we dined alfresco and it was so relaxing.  The boys enjoyed time with their MeMe.  I came back after an afternoon of doing nothing and made Scrambled Eggs in Muffin Tin.  This recipe is so easy to work with; I threw in diced baked potato to saute after my sausage had cooked.  The boys were delighted to have it as dinner (as I don’t cook on Sunday nights, so this was a treat!) and husband gets a few for an early morning breakfast.  Score for me!

Here’s the link for the Raised to Life video.  I hope you have time to enjoy worshiping – basking in His love for you and choosing to believe and walk in Truth revealed.

God’s Best to you,


Where He Leads

Since having children nearly 7 years ago, I am still learning to be content with the daily activities that are necessary to make a loving home go round-n-round. It has been a long journey to arrive at a “respectable” level of contentment. Along the way, I’ve had my faithful supporter, guide, comforter and friend, Jesus in me. My “Jesus-with-skin-on” has come in the form of many – first of course, being my husband, who I’ve learned has much greater insight than I’ve previously given him credit for! Becoming a Mom has been gloriously wonderful and at the same time, rock hard!
My learning contentment has meant I’ve had to lay aside my envy. Along this journey these past 7 years – 2 precious boys later, I’ve seen beautiful Mothers around me spinning plates so beautifully. Weaving a web of personal creativity. Serving others. And yet my Heavenly Father, for me, has set the boundary lines close in. The writing and speaking I dream of doing to encourage and uplift women to the heart of God is just that – a dream. For now, the boundaries are set in. When He gives me the “YES!” I’ll move – but not until then. I know His will and plan are perfect. I’ve had many years to practice trusting Him.
So when He had me and the kids enroll into Bible Study Fellowship this year to study Isaiah, I was stunned by the peace He gave me while sitting in intro that morning. The peace He gave I’ve described as almost touchable. Wild peace from Him. And as I began to get into the study, it didn’t take Him long to speak to a heart longing to hear more from Him. He gave me an assignment.
In response to one of the pointed questions of “what specific situations of oppression and injustice could you work to resolve?” My response was to “encourage and invest in the lives of young moms who are overwhelmed by being a mom (single) – speaking Truth into their lives.” He continued to point me in a direction – His direction. And before long, I found myself in volunteer training for Hannah House, a maternity home for pregnant women, 13-29. It had just moved it’s 20+ year ministry from Glenrose, Tx to East Texas and was in need of volunteers. I had no idea where I fit in until I wrote on my training card “willing to talk about a day in the life of a Mom.” To which the director replied, “GREAT! We had moms in Glenrose that would have a girl come in their home once a week to see what it’s really like to be a mom.” Well, I was just thinking about giving a talk about the ins and outs of my day, but no, Heavenly Father had a different plan – to open my home to these beautiful pregnant women – speaking Truth into their lives and loving on them through my family.
To date we’ve had girls the past three Friday mornings. It has been a joy to host these women. To pray for them. My boys have embraced each one; prayed for each one. They have had the blessing of doing a little bit of each thing we do, between chore time, reading time, watching me teach as we “do school”, cooking. They’ve seen me discipline each child – the not so fun, but necessary part of parenting. We’ve loved on them and shared a meal with them. And my two little evangelists have both asked each girl “Do you know Jesus?” Wow. I would have never dreamed. As I described to several friends of mine, He’s placed me out of my comfort zone and in a very vulnerable place. But HE is here with us, making Himself known to those who are hurting. And we are blessed.
Are you interested in writing or speaking to women and leading them to the heart of God? If your heart is to serve women and lead them to the Heavenly Father, check out the She Speaks Conference. I’m going to! Maybe I’ll see you there!

Food: 5 MORE fridge/pantry staple items, + 5 more

I ran out of this yesterday after writing my first post on my 5 pantry or fridge staple items. POPCORN! We eat popcorn at least 3 times a week for snack or movie time. I forget the brand since I store it in a jar in the pantry. But we get it from our local health food store and it’s organic. I’ve fluctuated between it and the Food Club brand. There IS a difference in the quality and not that much difference in price. Even if I went with Orval Redenbaucher’s (whew – I probably just butchered that, but you know the brand), I think my organic is cheaper. I’ll check on that today since we’re making a trip for several staple items we are out of.

SO, here’s 6-10 in the pantry/fridge

6. Popcorn, organic
7. EGGS – we eat A LOT of eggs and when I made my fried rice last night, I was 1 egg shy and really prefer three in my fried rice when I don’t add meat
8. Corn tortillas – we do taquitos on Saturday morning or Sunday night, along with soft tacos with beans and spanish rice
9. Rice – still settling on brand, but usually choose to save money here; prices fluctuate, but I prefer Jasmine or Basmati, but usually get Food Brand, long grain
10. Dry beans – black or pinto, usually both. I have a great crock pot recipe for beans and do these at least once a week.

There it is! For me more than anyone else! Off to the store since we are out of some of our staples 🙂

UPDATE:  After trip to the Granary, my favorite organic popcorn is Arrowhead Mills, 1.75 lb. bag for $2.75.

12. Peanut Butter, Arrowhead Mills, sometimes organic, sometimes not

13.  Albacore Tuna in water

14.  Onions, i always cook with yellow onions, prefer the sweet ones, but right now, any onion I’ve brought home has made my eyes water :/

15.  Avocados, these use to be a luxury item, now they are a necessity!  And today, Walmart had them for 44 cents!

Stone Sunday Chronicles – Last week!

Today began early as we were scheduled to serve as MVP (most valuable parent) in Saw’s class today. It began with Tony and I working together to throw a pork loin roast into the oven. Fortunately (albeit grudgingly) I am learning to bathe the night before so there’s only makeup and hair to contend with. Easy breakfast with farmers cheese (tvorog), honey, granola and banana. Sammy would love a return of my “famous Sunday muffins” but he and I are going to have to make it a routine to mix the dry ingredients the night before.

Way before we had kids, Tony and I were involved in a large Sunday school class where everyone was having kids before us. I loved that class and the people in it and was very passionate about encouraging others in their relationship with Christ. One of the members had twins at one point – and then “fell of the face of the earth.” And I remember it making me sad that she no longer attended our class, or church, that I knew of. Perhaps to make it more challenging, I think her husband worked on Sundays. And although our class visited and encouraged her, nothing changed. However, believing that a parent, as a Believer, had the greatest responsibility of leading their child to faith in Christ, and in my opinion, worshipping with other believers is a part of the process of teaching them to live out God’s Word, could not understand her absence and rememember thinking “God didn’t give you those babies for you to drop out of church!” Well, this was my simple prayer when I got home and was changing clothes “Thank you Father, for helping us to work through the challenges of GETTING to church! Thank for for the tenacity and perseverance it often takes on a Sunday morning to not give up and to keep moving us (especially 2 small people!) forward so that we can live out our faith by worshipping with other Believers.” Because believe me, I encountered some small, yet viable opportunities this morning to throw my hands up in the air and say “FORGET IT! IT’s TOO HARD!”

Our time was well spent in worship (didn’t get there for song, only message). Pastor is still preaching on 2 Corinthians and giving/money. It’s been a great series. Tony is PUMPED about starting Dave Ramsey’s course in a few weeks.

Our next tour of duty was changed – we were to be MVP’s in Sawyer’s class (a breeze) but were asked before worship if we could switch to Sammy’s class. My response: I’m not prayed up for that! That class is 30+ strong. But we were willing – and always will be, to step in where we’re needed. Sammy was NOT happy about Momma being in his class, but Dad is the fun man of the two of us and was able to win him over by playing a game of “ball” in the fish tank (no fish or water) and this won him over easily. They divide the boys and girls up after getting started and we were in charge of sharing about Jesus being in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, how hard it must have been for him and how He made the right decisions to lean on/into Father during this testing. We made a 80 link chain yellow/black, representing day and night. My Sammy was a great help. I don’t know who was the rowdiest, the girls or boys. But both groups LOVED my husband. This is how it always is. Our previous next door neighbors had a daugther – she saw me more than Tony (he was working nights at the time), but she ALWAYS remembered his name and would ask about him – and then say “What’s your name again?” Anyhow, we survived 30+ kindergartener’s and were glad to get home!

Since I’m finishing this post a week late, I can’t remember much past that! But there were a few things I thought worth reading. Maybe a sentence or two.

From my kitchen window: Tales of a Happy Homemaker

This is where I was most of my first day of 2010. In my kitchen. Beautiful day outside, with lots of leaves in our back yard, even though we don’t have any trees 🙂 A chance to hear the boys playing in the back yard – sometimes this went well, sometimes not so much!

I’ve been inspired by several to be in my kitchen. I would first give hats off to the movie, Julie and Julia. After I first saw it several months ago, I was off in the kitchen trying new things immediately. Not French cooking, but NEW to me dishes. Recently I saw it on DVD – and I just really enjoy that show. I enjoy the happiness that both the J’s found in cooking. And since I’m responsible for feeding 3 others – and boys/men at that, a joyful attitude towards the kitchen is helpful!

My second inspiration comes from the blog I follow Owlhaven. She’s a Mom of 10, most adopted from several different countries. She’s a wonderful inspiration. On her blog I’ve found several recipes and have tried at least 3-4 within the last few days! A few days ago I made her homemade granola recipe that has received rave reviews from the kids and hubs. It is a wondeful topping to the homemade tvorog cheese (aka “Farmer’s Cheese”) that I made mixed with a dab of honey to sweeten! Yummy! This morning I spent my time peeling 10 lbs. of apples to make homemade applesauce. And boy, did it turn out yummy as well! But I forgot, last night I made pasta carbonera (off Owlhaven’s blog as well). It was an easy meal to fix (spaghetti/bacon/onion/garlic/basil or sage/parmesan cheese). I think I need some more spice, but I’m willing to try it again. Easy and cheap is how I would describe it.

That is probably the 3rd reason for my inspiration – trying to save on my grocery bill. Well, actually, that’s only my partial inspiration. Perhaps what propels that is the desire to feed my children wholesome food – even perhaps whole foods. And we’re working toward that end. An ingredient that has worked it’s way out of our pantry is High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is in so many things offered. Yogurt being one of them, along with wanting to avoid Splenda, brought about the Farmer’s Cheese which delightfully fills in for yogurt as well as sour cream, or even a cream-cheese like spread. I was crossing my fingers on the granola, as I continue to try to find an easy go-to snack for the kids that’s not processed. As we passed by the Nutrigrain Food bars at the store (which haven’t been in our house, to my dismay, for some time) and Sammy asked for them, my response was “I’d love to feed them to you cause their easy – but they’re not the best for you.” I was grateful for his acceptance of that truth! Something about having kids makes you want to give them the very best – and learning how to prioritize in the midst of that desire, one of my first priorities is teaching them good eating habits and to enjoy whole foods!

Next up: Spelt bread with molasses. This is my dear Judy’s recipe that she has finally written down after learning the process of it being completely down in the fridge. That recipe is LOVE to me. We’ve had this bread several times and SO enjoy it! I can’t wait for it to smell up the house and to eat it! And it will go well with our tvorog cheese as well. Yum.

And somewhere in between I’ll be trying a green smoothie – something along the lines of spinach/apple/carrot/tvorog/honey. I’ll post how it turns out. Along with my inspiration to try that.

Well, my blog time is spent. I’m pooped. We’ve had our black eyed peas and wonderful cabbage (made by the hubs – which was fattening) along with homemade cornbread. Our dessert was easy peach cobbler with a special treat from Schwan’s – cinnamon icecream! Let’s just say, the kids were happy about that!

I had hoped to blog about what Father had shared with me during the Christmas holidays and how I was drawn closer to Him through music. But I have a feeling that is to remain between He and I for now. However, I received some MARVELOUS Christmas gifts and hope to share some photos SOON!

Saturday Night Special

We’ve had a relaxing day of light chores (outside mowing/pick-up, car clean-out). I’ve even been able to read a few more chapters of The Sacrifice today – the 3rd book in Abram’s Daughters.

Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well, so I put Tony on cook-duty for fish. That was our last bag, so he is off to fish tomorrow after church. So tonight I chose to make chicken spaghetti which happens once in a blue moon. My Sammy kept having trouble playing with Saw (who was having trouble playing with Sammy…), so I made him come work with me in the kitchen. We set out our nice plates; in fact, big ones for everyone (no spiderman or monkey plates). Something Sammy said inspired me to pull our my white cotten napkins and place tea lights in the middle. We placed all our food in nice bowls and surprise dad (and the kids…) with a candlelight dinner. It was nice and relaxing….just the way I like it. We finished it off with mint chocolate chip ice-cream. Yum. Yum. was Saw Wayen’s reply.

Everyone was pleasantly pleased and relaxed (except for Saw who had his food taken away b/c he was playing…he’s a little off today.)

Now it’s time for outdoor time – Sammy wants to ride his bike down the side street and we are caring for our neighbors “near perfect” dog, Arlis. And there is still toy pick-up in the yard to do.

I like this Saturday. Perhaps we can end it with a little bit of the Anne of Green Gables sequel. Surprisingly, all three of my “men” enjoyed the first one!