Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thankful || Week Four

22. Compassion. I am so grateful for compassion. Our God is compassionate and longsuffering, not willing that any should perish. And boy am I thankful for that. When I was naked and dirty and soaked in sin, He had compassion on me. He even left His glory in Heaven and came down to the earth and put on flesh - the same flesh that smells and sweats and sins. He had that much compassion for me. I pray that I will always be singing a song of thanksgiving for what He has done. And I pray that I can show that same compassion to others.

23. Truth. Truth is being avoided these days. Of course, it goes back to the fall of Adam, but it seems as though, as the end draws closer and closer, that truth is shunned more and more.....and more. Absolute truth? HA! They say, "Hey, if it's true for you, that's fine. But this is me and this is my truth." Seriously? What a flawed theology. I am thankful that I was given truth - at an early age. I am thankful that the Lord made truth available to me and that I accepted it. Yeah, it hurts sometimes but, from experience, truth WILL ALWAYS set you free.

24. Health. We take our health for granted. Or well, I do, anyway. In the past couple of months, I have been more diligent in thanking God every day for my health. Grant's grandmother is fighting cancer as I type this. Its reminded me of my grandfather's battle with cancer four years ago. Life is fragile. I have been so blessed with good health and, even more so, my family has been blessed with good health. My husband is well. My little boy is well. My parents are well. My sisters are well. I am thankful for that. Even when I am sick, I am grateful to not be in ICU or in physical rehab learning to walk again. Those of us who woke up today in our own bed in our own home need to be thankful, and remember that there are thousands who woke up today in a hospital room or on the streets in the freezing cold. Those of us who woke up today and saw our husband and children need to be thankful, and remember that some woke up today without either. Those of us who woke up today with good health need to thank the Lord, and remember that so many who are battling cancer and debilitating diseases. I am thankful for the health God has blessed me and my family with....and I pray I won't ever take it for granted again.
25. Hugs. I love hugs. You know on those days when you really feel rotten and somebody gives you a big 'ole hug? Doesn't it make you feel lots better? It does me. I have those kind of friends who, when we see other, we hug. I treasure that. When I visit my family, there are hugs all around! When we say goodbye, there are many, many more hugs! I hug my son all....the.....time. He better get used to it, too. :) I love my husband's hugs. When I'm hurt or frustrated and he hugs me, nothing seems that bad anymore. When I'm almost asleep and I feel him hug me in HIS sleep, there's no better feeling. When I'm goofing off and he hugs me for the heck of it, it's awesome. I'm thankful for the hugs of my family and friends. And I'm also thankful for the BIG hug Christ gave me when He saved me too. :)

26. Wisdom. I am thankful that I have "the only wise God" (Jude 1:25) and that he gave me wise parents. When Solomon was told by God that He would give him whatever he asked for, Solomon asked for wisdom. Wow. Who would chose wisdom over wealth and fame and prestige?? Solomon did. And boy did he get it! He was the wisest man to ever live. Proverbs emphasises the need for wisdom and understanding and truth. I want that too. I would rather be wise than rich or good looking. I am thankful that the Lord offers wisdom to those who ask for it. He will give wisdom liberally to those who lack, if, as James 1:6 says, we "ask in faith, nothing wavering."

27. Movie nights. Growing up, my family had tons of movie nights. We would eat supper than cram into the living room and watch a movie together, complete with popcorn and, sometimes, cookies. I miss "cramming" into that room watching movies but now my husband and I have our own movie nights. Every so often, we'll sit Nathan on the couch with us and curl up together and watch a good movie. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but those of you who cherish the little things (and those of you who come from big families) probably relate. I love those memories. Laughing. Looking at each other with a "what's-going-to-happen-next?" look on our faces. Trying to figure out the plot. It's special to me....and I'm thankful for it.

28. Cards, letters, and e-mails. I'm thankful for mail in my mailbox! NOT junk mail. NOT spam. NOT bills. None of that stuff. I'm talking about the "I was just thinking about you" cards. The letters that fill you in on your friend or family's life. E-mails that say, "Hey! How you doing?" Those are special. Now, when time is something people try to rush through, knowing that someone stopped and thought of you long enough to write (or type) a note down....that's priceless. And I'm thankful for it.

29. Prayer. Prayer changes things. So often we make prayer the last resort. You know, "If all else fails, then we'll pray and hope for the best." That isn't how it ought to be. Prayer should always be the FIRST thing we do. It's a mighty weapon that God has given to us. It's approaching the throne of Heaven and speaking to the Lord of all creation. .....and THAT'S our last resort?? So silly. I have to be reminded often that prayer should be my default. I have seen the power of prayer. I have seen people miraculously healed. I have seen marriages on the brink of divorce (and after a divorce) be restored. I have seen amazing things but the key to it all was prayer. I am thankful that we can come before God with our petitions - great and small. I'm thankful that we can praise Him. I'm thankful that we can thank Him. I am thankful for prayer and the power it holds.

30. Thankfulness. Can you be thankful for thankfulness? I think so. I'm THANKFUL that we CAN be thankful. Does that make sense? ** Doesn't matter, I'm gonna do it anyway. :p *** I am thankful for so many things.... more than I can count. I have breath in my body. I have a home and family. I have friends. I have a work and a ministry. I have passions. I have the promise of Heaven. I have so.... much. And I'm thankful to be thankful. :)

The Arena of Cloth Diapering

I was really gung-ho about cloth diapering.....until I actually HAD my baby. After quite an, um, interesting labor and delivery, I was completely out of it the first week we were home. Then I became busy trying to learn how to be a mommy; meaning how to function on very little sleep and being alone with the constant demands of a small person. Apart from that, I was enormously blessed by cases (I will repeat - cases!) of diapers. I had so many that I ended up giving three packages of newborn diapers away! When Nathan finally reached size 1 in diapers, I still had newborns left over that I had never even opened. Talk about a blessing!! Anyway, several months ago, Hannah sent me some prefolds and a Bummie. They have been sitting on the shelf of my changing table and I have been summoning up the courage to go for it. Today was the day. After spending an hour reading on cloth diapering and EC (elimination communication), I have made it a goal to switch to cloth diapers. Of course, that doesn't mean I will refuse disposable. When we are on the road or something, I will more than likely be using disposable much - if not all - the time. But, for now, I am officially stepping into the cloth diapering arena. I have the older cloth diapers that you put on with the pins as well as the plastic cover but Hannah introduced me to Bummies, All in Ones, and the latest, more modern approach to cloth diapering. Up front, they are expensive. But in my reading, I see that they are well worth the bucks if you stick to it. You wash and reuse them and they will last and last....for more than just your one kiddo. That totally beats $20+ a pack for disposable which will be gone in a week. After Christmas, I am planning on buying one of the All in One diapers to see if I like them, as well as another diaper cover. I also would like a diaper tote which will make it easier (and less stinky!) while on the road.

Speaking of stink, my diaper pail REEKS!! Baking soda just doesn't cut it. So... I just found a very good "stink-master." What is it? So genius. Essential oils. Make sure it's ESSENTIAL oil. I used lavender which is my current favorite on my shelf. I drip a few drops in the pail before I place the bag in. Then, I may put a drop IN the bag. I just started it and it helps a lot. If any of you mommies have more suggestions, let me hear them. :)

So anyway, back to cloth diapering. This afternoon, I gave Nathan a bath, then placed the prefold and the Bummie diaper cover on him. Can I say C.U.T.E! Apparently, he didn't notice the change. He was quite happy and I instantly felt that wonderful feeling a woman gets when she realizes that she CAN do something utterly intimidating. I still don't know what the big deal was. I'm no stranger to cloth diapers. My Mom used cloth diapers a lot with my sisters. Regardless of the WHY, I am a happy momma right now. This also makes me feel like tackling a big mountain soon: EC. As I mentioned above, EC stands for Elimination Communication. A few months ago, I bought the book, The Diaper Free Baby. Intriguing, isn't it? After hearing about a couple who had their 3 month old baby potty trained, I was like, "Whaaa?" and decided to look into it. Obviously, Nathan is not potty trained, but I have been reading up on the idea and it is very fascinating. Basically, infants are born with the ability to communicate their need to "go," just as they communicate hunger or sleepiness. The author is a mother of two children who were diaper-free at eighteen and fifteen months! The book is all about teaching parents how to identify and respond to their baby or toddler's natural cues. It is another facet of "Attachment Parenting" which includes baby wearing, co-sleeping, and breastfeeding. So, come the new year, I just may attempt the impossible and see if that actually works.

FOR NOW, though, hooray for cloth diapering! Puh-lease pray for me as I go at it with full force! :)

Deer, Salmon, Sausage, Chicken, and a Reese cake

I have been working on my recipe box. I have a lot of recipes saved on my computer and on my phone, so I have been working to get them in my actually BOX sitting on the counter. Upon doing that, I realized that I have not posted recipes in a while, I am. :) Below are a few of my original recipes and a couple of favorites I have tried. Happy cooking!

Kristen's Fried Deer Steak

6 pieces of Deer meat

2 c. Self-rising flour
1 tsp. Black pepper
1 Tbsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Garlic

Mix all ingredients together. Depending on your taste, add or decrease measurements. After tenderizing your deer meat, drop in mixture, coating well. Place in skillet on medium-low heat. Cook both sides until brown. Enjoy! Feeds 2.

Kristen's Butter-Broiled Salmon

6 Salmon fillets
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup of Itallian dressing
black pepper, salt, garlic (to taste)

Put 1 stick of butter in a bowl and heat in microwave or on stove until melted. Once metled, remove and add Itallian dressing, garlic, and black pepper.

Place salmon fillets in a glass pan and sprinkle with salt. Pour half of mixture over the salmon and place in oven. Let broil until tops of salmon begin to turn. Remove from oven and turn salmon fillets over. Pour remaining mixture over the salmon and place back in the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy! Feeds 3.

Kristen's Sausage Egg Dish

1/2 lb sausage

4 egss
dash of black pepper
1/4 and 1 Tbsp milk
3 thin slices American cheese

Cook sausage and drain.

In a mixing bowl, mix ingredients together. Pour into skillet with sausage and cook until eggs are done. Feeds 2.

Kristen's Reese Cake

2 boxes of Yellow Butter Cake mix

ingredients for cake mixes
5 Tbsp. peanut butter
8-10 Reese cups
1 container of Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Make one cake mix with ingraidents called for(usually butter, oil, egg) and bake as directed in a round pan. While the first cake is baking, unwrap Reese cups and put in blender with 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter. Blend until mixture is gooey. Take the first cake out of the oven and cut the edges from around the cake off. Place second cake in oven. When cake #1 is completely cooled, spread the Reese mixture over top of cake liberally. Use all the mixture. Next, take the Chocolate Buttercream icing and mixture together with 3 Tbsp. of peanut butter. Stir thoroughly until well blended. Remove second cake from oven and cut the edges around cake as the first. Let cool. Once cooled, gently place second cake on top of the first cake. Begin icing with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture. Once iced, place in fridge for 1 hour. Enjoy!

Bruschetta Chicken
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup egg substitute
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place flour and eggs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in flour, then in eggs; place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine the cheese, bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over chicken.

Loosely cover baking dish with foil. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 170°.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over the chicken. Return to the oven for 3-5 minutes or until tomato mixture is heated through. Feeds 4.


2 lbs. deer steak

1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, minced
1 bottle barbecue sauce

Cover steaks with milk; let stand 30 minutes. Remove from milk; add salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, coat in barbecue sauce, then dip back into flour. Brown in butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add onions. Enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful || Week Three

15. Forgiveness. I am thankful that the Lord God of all forgives me. He forgave me long ago for all my sins and He saved me. But that wasn't a one-time thing. He kept forgiving. Every fall, every fail, every doubt, every sin....He still forgives. I am thankful to have a husband who forgives me when I am a selfish person. I am thankful that he can look past my flaws and still love me....and forgive me when I think I'm unforgivable. I am thankful for my parents who, when raising me, would always forgive my disobedience and who showed me the love and forgiveness of God before I ever came to know Him. All in all, forgiveness is a beautiful, humbling thing...and I'm thankful for it.

16. Music. On a down day, a song can lift my spirits. On a day when I'm thinking about myself, a song can remind me that this life isn't about me. A song can make me dance around the room or burst into tears (literally). A song can convict me. A song can encourage me. A song can inspire me and make me push myself to be a better servant of the Lord. I love music. Always have. I'm thankful the Lord gave us voices as well as the harps, guitars, pianos, trumpets, drums and all the countless other instruments that we can use to make a joyful noise unto Him.

17. My quiet time. When I am weak in my faith, it means I haven't spent quality alone time with Jesus. When I am doubtful, skeptical of His promises, and worrisome, it's proof that I have not spent time at His feet. I have noticed that I am the most irrational and quick-tempered person when I haven't made time for the Lord. On days when I am still and quiet and open my heart to Him and what He has to teach me and show me, I have found that the day goes by more joyfully, more peacefully, and I am more graceful and kind to my family. I am SO thankful that I have a God who will speak to me - His creation. I am thankful that He listens and cares about the most minute' details of my life and that He desires to lead me, teach me, mature me, and work in and through me.

18. The holiday season. I love Thanksgiving. I simply adore Christmastime. I love it when the air is a little colder and the leaves begin to fall. I love seeing the pumpkins, tasting sweet potato pie, walking on the crunchy leaves, breaking out my jackets and gloves, eating turkey and stuffing, and listening to Christmas music. I love buying and making gifts. I love wrapping them and putting them under the tree. I love decorating the house. I love baking Christmas cookies. I love it all. I am thankful for the feeling that comes with this time of year. I'm thankful that the Lord led our ancestors here, to America, and blessed our nation with freedom. I am thankful that He sent His Son to this earth to save us. I am thankful for every year that He gives us and blesses us with.

19. Laughter. What would life look like without laughter? I simply LOVE to laugh. I love fellowshipping with family and friends and, with many of them, we could spend hours just laughing! The Christian life is not an easy road. There are choices to be made that go against our flesh. There are paths that must be taken that will be opposite of the paths taken by friends and, at times, even family. The Christian life is all about dying to self...and that's just painful. It's uncomfortable. Many times, it's hurtful. But there is such joy and freedom in Christ and in the daily crucifixion of self. There is joy on the lonely road, there is joy in the peace that comes with following in the footsteps of Jesus. It's a hard life, but it's a fun life! It's an exciting life! I am thankful that I have "the joy of my salvation!"

20. My past. Yes, I have a past too....and I'm thankful for it. No matter how we were raised or how much good we have done, we ALL still have baggage. We ALL have things in our past that are shameful. I am not thankful for the sins in my past. I am not thankful for the choices I made that went against the Lord. I am not thankful for my disobedience at any time. However, I AM thankful that through the bad, the Lord made good. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Though the Lord despises and hates sin, He is such a longsuffering God in that He will make something good come out the bad for those who have a broken and contrite heart (a repentative heart). I am thankful for that.

21. My future. I'm the type that likes to plan. Coping with change is difficult for me. It's a struggle to trust my future in the Lord's hands and I'm ashamed of my faithlessness. Yet however my emotions feel about the issue, I'm thankful that my HEAD knows the truth. I am thankful that even when my feelings are full of worry, my head knows that all is well as long as it's in the Lord's grasp. I have no idea what is ahead of me. I don't know what our future looks like. I don't know if my husband and I will stay here forever or if the Lord will call us away overseas. I don't know if we will be blessed with more children or if Nathan will be the only arrow in our quiver. I don't know if we will all live to see the rapture or if I will have to say goodbye to members of my family. I don't know how bumpy the road will become. I don't know how harsh the wind will get. BUT I do know that no matter how bad the storm gets or how beautiful the rainbow is, the Lord is in control. He is with me today...and He will be with me tomorrow. And I am so very thankful for that.

Monday Meanderings - 11/28/2011

Gracious, I haven't done a Monday Meandering in a long time! Before I share what's on the agenda, I'll recap the last week.

What fun!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband's family. I missed my parents and sisters but I was very blessed to be able to meet more of Grant's family and to be welcomed so well. Wednesday, we celebrated with his Mom's side. Thursday, we celebrated with his Dad's side. Friday, I got up in the middle of the night and joined in with the Black Friday shopping spree with my Mom, two of my sisters, my mom-in-law, and my Mammie-in-law. :) SUCH fun! I finished our Christmas shopping for the year and returned home with an armload of bags that I cannot wait to wrap and stick under our tree! Upon arriving home, I was greeted by some dear friends from south Louisiana. So we settled down, in our team apparel, and rooted for our states as we watched the Arkansas vs LSU game. Needless to say, it was a blow for us, Arkansans. :( But it was fun, anyhow. We had company all weekend and enjoyed visiting and fellowshipping. The boys played with each other and I believe Nathan will be crawling by Christmas now that he saw another baby in action. :)

Now it's on to another week! Here's what it looks like as of now...

Bible Study... "Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent" - Psalm 120-134

Memory Verse... Psalm 121:5-8
"The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Think of him more than myself
♥ Be an encourager
♥ Keep all snacks and goodies out of sight
♥ Pray for him more

Train Them Up...
* Stay consistent on "No"
* Get back to a routine of "Bible Story Time"
Personal Goals...
* Journal
* Work on photo albums
* Study early before Nathan wakes up
* Be still

New Habit of the Month...
* Season my words with grace
MUST Do...
* Wash laundry
* Get mail
* Practice violin
* Finish Christmas newsletter
* Clean house
Zone... the living room

M - Salad
T - Deer steak, steamed carrots, sweet potato fries?
W - Chili
Th - TBD
Su - TBD
* Gift wrapping
* Enjoying the cold weather (and possibly some snow flurries tonight)
3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. Christmassy feeling!
2. Slippers
3. Quiet time

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

As we cook the turkey and visit with family and friends, let us remember what this day truly means. And let us be thankful for all that God has done!...not just this day.... but every day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nathan's Introduction to Christmas

I poured myself a cup of coffee (with coco mix and marshmallows added) and I came into this study. I pulled up Blogger (for the first time in a week....sorry!) and logged in. Then I walked into the living room to check on Nathan.......and pulled him out from under the Christmas tree. Again.

How that child scoots from one side of the living room to the other in a matter of seconds amazes me! Yesterday, Grant and I began decorating for Christmas (even though it was 73 degrees outside. Bleh.) and I have gotten a kick out of Nathan's reaction. He was taking a nap when we set up the Christmas tree and when he woke up and I brought him in the living room, his face was priceless! I wish we would have had the foresight to video it. It was a mixture of confusion, curiosity, and shock which, on a seven month old, is a hilarious combination. Every time he looks at the tree, awe is all over his face. So adorable. We are currently having to teach him the word "no." Yes....we have reached the age and, believe you me, HE KNOWS. I have told him "No, Nathan. No-no touch. No." two or three times so far this morning and every time those words come out of my mouth, he stops and looks down like he is heartbroken and ashamed. Little stinker.

So far, he has been a very good boy concerning the Christmas tree. It's expected behavior for a seven month old boy to want to touch (and possibly eat) the Christmas tree. It really is cute. He scoots over and stares with big eyes. It's then that he reaches out his little hand....which gives me the green light to say "No, Nathan. No-no touch."  Consistency is key...and it's best to start early, yes? :)

Today I am deep cleaning the house. DEEP CLEANING, I say. The living room is done. The kitchen is done. Our bedroom is alllllmost done. And it's only 9:30 a.m. Not bad, at all! :) We have a busy week ahead of us but I am SO EXCITED!! Today I am cleaning and decorating and getting ALL the laundry washed, dried, folded, ironed, and put away. Tomorrow I am doing some grocery shopping and finishing up on a certain someone's Christmas gift. Wednesday is the Thanksgiving lunch at Grant's office (which I am to make mashed potatoes, mac 'n cheese, and a dessert) THEN the Thanksgiving dinner at Grant's mom's house. Thursday is - of course - THANKSGIVING which means that I will be watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade as I cook another dessert and make a salad for Thanksgiving dinner at Grant's grandmother's house (Whew...can we say diet?). Then Friday, I will be getting up and hitting the Black Friday sales with my Mom, Melody, Mercy, my mother-in-law, and my grandmother-in-law. That is going to be crazy-fun! Friday is also Mercy's 15 birthday, so it will be awesome to spend the day with her on her birthday. Then there is the long-awaited and every-year-anticipated Arkansas vs LSU game that afternoon. And if that wasn't enough excitement, some good friends of ours are coming in that afternoon from Louisiana to spend the weekend with us! They have a little boy a few months older than Nathan and I know that this visit will be extra fun for them now that Nathan is scooting around. Woooooo! Can we say awesomely-fun-and-hectically-exciting week? Yes, we can. :)

SO, guess I'd better get back to getting things ready.....and pull Nathan out from the Christmas tree again. :p

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful || Week Two

On to week #2 of my Thankful list. It's good to remember all the blessings the Lord has rained down on us. AND it's good to proclaim it, as well!

8. My friends. There was a period in my life when I was a teenager when I had no friends. It lasted quite a long time. Then, out of nowhere, God began dropping amazing people into my life! Now, I am so blessed to say that I have many friends who are seeking the Lord. I have many friends who love Jesus and are passionate about purity. I won't attempt to name them all, but they know who they are and I am blessed and thankful to be able to call them my friends.

9. My ministry. I grew up in an Evangelist home. Buses, Churches, people's homes....I grew up in those places. I grew up with music and Bible studies. I grew up in a ministry that is still going strong, even after 42 years! I am thankful that I was raised in it. I am thankful I am still a part of it! And as Paul said, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry."

10. My Church. I love Church. Like I said, I was raised in Churches. And I am thankful for our home Church and the family it has. I love each member. I love the spirit there. And I am thankful that I know that truth will always be preached and taught there!

11. My country. I have been overseas. I have been to several countries... but none compare to mine. I am thankful to be born and raised in the good 'ole USA. I am thankful for the foundation our country was founded upon. Though our country is far from where we first began, I consider it an honor to be a U.S. citizen and I will gladly defend our nation because, whether the pledge of allegiance tosses it or not, we are and always will be One Nation Under God. I am thankful for my freedom that millions do not have. I am thankful for those who have served and have given their lives for my right to have this blog and speak truth. I am thankful for America.

12. My gifts and talents. The Lord gave each person gifts and talents. Everyone is unique and everyone was created for a specific and special purpose. And, like a body, each member has its own use. I am thankful that the Lord gave me the gifts and talents that I have. I love to sing. I love to write. And I am so grateful and thankful that He not only gave me the gifts and talents I posses, but He has also given me the honor of USING them for His glory.

13. My pets. I love animals. I have had kittens and puppies and ponies and cows and pigs (yes, I had a pig) and I am thankful that I have been able to enjoy the fun of having pets! Currently, I have a horse down at my folks' house which I am anxious to move up here once we get a place. I have a cat who roams around outside and keeps mice out of our house. :) And my husband and I have *ahem* several dogs outside, most of which are his huntin' dogs. But I am thankful for them too! I love watching them play and chase Grant around the yard and I can't wait until Nathan is chasing THEM around the backyard.

14. Hardships and Trials. It sounds strange but I am actually thankful for the hard times. I am learning that it is in the most difficult moments that we draw closer to the Lord. We learn to trust Him more. We learn to let go. We learn that He is truly our comforter. We learn that He will sustain us and uphold us. We may be terrified, but then we learn that He is our Peace. We may be broken, but then we learn that He is our Healer. We may be weak and tired, but then we learn that His grace is sufficient. I have had my share of horrible storms that I did not think I would live through. But I am THANKFUL for those times! One of my favorite songs includes the line, "What if my greatest disappointments and aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?" I am thankful that His blessings and His mercies and His love are sometimes born from hardships. If that's what it takes to learn more about my Savior and to draw ever closer to Him, then I'll embrace it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Seven Months Old

So today, we celebrated Grant's 31st birthday and it was a doubly-special day because it was also Nathan's 7 month birthday. :) How exciting! Tomorrow I will post more on Grant but, for now, here is the latest on our little man cub.

  • Nathan experienced his first ear infection this past month. We have been SO blessed by a healthy little boy and this was our first health episode and I am thankful for that. His temperature went up pretty high so after a trip to the doctor, we found out our poor baby had a left ear infection. Praise God, after ONE DAY on the medication, no one could tell he had ever been sick.
  • Nathan is scooting EVERYWHERE. It's hilarious how he will find a way to get himself to the area he wants to get to. In the last couple of days, he has been getting on his hands and knees, which is way cute! He hasn't figured out that he should move his hands and knees in order to go, but he will.....soon.
  • Nathan is finally gaining some good weight! He is eating like crazy, which is super. He loves bananas, apples, green beans, sweet potatoes.... pretty much everything. I have pureed apples and avocados so far, which he enjoyed. I hope to do sweet potatoes next.
  • He is still sleeping excellent. He goes down in between 7:00-8:15 p.m. each night. Every few nights he will wake around 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and I will usually change his diaper and offer him a bottle, then put him down again. I am trying to take every opportunity to feed him in order to build up his weight and, if this is a growth spurt, I'm all for it!
  • Nathan is talking up a storm! Or.....gabbing, anyway. :) He said "Dadda" about two weeks ago. Grant is CONVINCED he knows exactly what he is saying... I'm not so sure, but it's darling anyway! I love hearing him "talk."
  • He is NOW sitting up! Precious. He is quite proud of himself too. :)

"Mmmmm....I love food!!"

Goofing off with Momma

Sound asleep

He is on the move!

And sitting up!

Crazy hair... hehehe

"Hi ya'll!"

I'm SEVEN months old!

Happy Birthday, Grant!

Happy Birthday, Grant!

Sorry ladies, this fella is MINE! :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

To Love Their Children

The other day, I learned that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar announced that they are now expecting their 20th child!! ohmygoodness!

I am a big fan of their TV show on TLC and watch it as often as I am able on Tuesday nights and early on weekday mornings. I enjoyed watching the budding romance, engagement, and the wedding of their oldest son, Joshua, to Anna, along with the birth of their two children. I have loved reading their first book (the second is on my Christmas list) and prayed along with thousands as their 19th child, Josie, came into the world four months premature. So, yes, I am a fan. :) A lot of people have had derogatory and....well, let's just be honest....hateful comments about the Duggars and their way of life. I have to say, "Gracious, let them alone!" I, for one, am inspired at their obedience in letting the Lord have full control of every area of their lives, especially in the issue of children. That is when you can truly sing, "I surrender ALL." I'm amazed at how they run their home smoothly and with order with so many kids when I know of countless parents who cannot control the one or two kids they have. Grant and I are praying for Michelle as she sacrifices her body, once more, for the giving of life and for trusting the Lord to do all things well. :) God bless them.

With the Duggar family fresh on the brain, I have been thinking of motherhood.

John Wesley said, "I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England."

The impact of that statement is huge. What a powerful remark! Through his mother's diligence in teaching him about Christ and what it means to be a Christian, he learned what no professor could ever teach. He saw Christianity in action in his home; in the life of his own mom. I have read about his mother, Susannah Wesley. Susannah was the youngest of twenty-five children! (you're not quite there, Duggar family! :) She, herself, bore nineteen children with her husband, Samule Wesley. Many Godly women in history had the honor of bearing many children. Elizabeth Fry, a sweet Quaker woman who reformed prisons in England, bore eleven children. Sarah Edwards, the godly wife of Jonathan Edwards, was also the mother of eleven. Catherine Booth, the wife of the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth, gave birth to eight children.

Psalm 127 verses three and four says, "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them...."

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full. For some, the Lord may say that one or two is a "quiver full." For others, a quiver full may be twenty or twenty-five! However many children we are blessed with, the Bible gives us, mothers, a great responsibility; mainly to LOVE our children.

Recently, I read a book that convicted me and inspired me to become a more godly wife and mother. It was a study of Titus 2 and, in reading and studying, I was constantly reminded of how I should be as a Christian woman....

Titus 2:3-5
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

It seems like such a no-brainer to love our children, doesn't it? But it doesn't always come so easily. In studying, I learned that the word, love, found in Titus 2 was the Greek word, Phileo, which is where we get the word Philadelphia (the city of brotherly love). This word isn't Agape love (unconditional love; sacrificing love; God-like love). Phileo is an affectionate love; a friendship love; a tender love.

Though Nathan hasn't yet reached the toddler years or the age where he challenges authority, I am working to display phileo love and to make it a lifestyle. Sometimes it's so easy to show sacrificial love and even unconditional love. We, wives and mothers, will clean up milk and kool-aid spills. We will wash dirty underwear and stinky socks. We will labor and sweat over meals. We will work and work and work....from sun up to sun down.... but will we show phileo love? Are we tender? Are we compassionate? Are we affectionate? In studying this word, I have seen my reflection in love's mirror and.... I'm afraid that I am guilty of not showing phileo as often as I ought to. To my husband, I am often quick-tempered and too "busy" to stop and gently kiss his cheek and ask him how his day was. Suffice it to say, I've been convicted. But I pray, with all my heart, that I will learn to make phileo as normal as breathing in and out. I hope the Lord will bless me and Grant with more children, but no matter how many arrows He places in our quiver, my heart's desire as a mommy is to be full of phileo love. When I am tempted to yell in anger or to let my emotions take over when I am irritated, I want to be reminded to LOVE my children. When they have me ready to pull my hair out, I want to remember that God instructs me to phileo my kiddos, even when their hands are covered in peanut butter and they smear chocolate on my purse.
With our world news full of stories of mothers who want to rid themselves of their children, I pray that we, Christian mothers, will resolve to rejoice over ours and to LOVE them....and show it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful || Week One

On Facebook, many of my friends are posting something that they are thankful for each day. Grant and I have been away for several days and so I am behind. Therefore, I plan to do my Thanksgiving list weekly, instead of daily. So here is week one of some of the things I am most thankful for:

1. My Savior. I am thankful to have a God who forgives, who saves, who heals, who loves, and who is everything I need. My whole life, I was raised with Jesus in front of me, but....He is more than my Sunday School story. He is so much more than the songs my family and I sing. He is more than the words written in my Bible. He is more than my "Blesser" and "Leader." To me He is becoming, more and more each day, my everything. And I am so thankful that when I trip and fall flat on my face in the mud of a hog pen, He still wants me and He still loves me. I am thankful that He chose to save me and give me eternal life; that He redeemed "an old sinner like me."

2. My husband. I am thankful to have a man who is loyal and faithful. We fell in love, we had a beautiful wedding, and we made a precious little boy... He is my dearest friend and my earthly rock. We have had some trying moments. The first year of marriage is always hard, learning to adjust to each other. Add to that a pregnancy and the birth of a baby - all before the one-year mark and.... it's trying. It's emotional. It's overwhelming. But I am so thankful that God gave me a man who loves me when I'm unlovable; who provides and cares for us; and who is an amazing example of strength and grace. God knew exactly what He was doing when He brought us together. He knew that we would compliment one another and that - together - we would be stronger. I am so thankful for the honor of being Grant's wifey! :)......and for the immense delight in calling him mine. ;)

3. My little boy. I am thankful to hold in my arms the cutest, sweetest, most adorable little boy on the planet. I was overjoyed to learn I was pregnant last year, but I was also terrified to my core! I was afraid that I wouldn't be a good enough mom. I was afraid that something may happen to him while I carried him in my womb. I was even selfishly afraid that once a baby came into the picture, I would have no more freedom to have fun. How ridiculous! Nathan is heaven in my arms. I am humbled that God chose me to be his mommy and I am, and forever will be, thankful that I am.

4. My parents. I am thankful to have been given Godly parents. True, Godly fathers and mothers are a rarity these days but, by the grace of God, I was given two of the very best. I am thankful that they taught me to stand firm upon the Word of God, even though I may stand alone. I am thankful that they brought me up in Church, and also lived it at home. I am thankful for the legacy that they have and will leave behind. They have endured much over the years but, through everything, they have remained fully committed to Jesus Christ and for their great example of Godliness, I am thankful.

5. My sisters. I am thankful to have five beautiful, sweet, hilarious, and completely entertaining sisters! When I was five years old, I prayed and prayed (on a nightly basis, I'm told) for a little sister. I wanted a little sister more than anything and...well, I suppose God has a sense of humor because He gave me FIVE of them! But I wouldn't have it any other way. Melody is so witty, and she is gorgeous both inside and out. She has a firm resolve but is so gentle and kind. Mercy simply captivates me with her humor that often leaves me aching from laughing so hard. I love her personality and her ability to make everyone feel like they are at home. Brooklyn amazes me with her creativity and her knowledge of everything. She has a hungry to learn and she is my book-buddy! Jamie has rendered me speechless over and over again by her boldness. She can easily walk up to someone and tell them about Jesus - and she's 11 years old! And Noel.... she is truly a gift that I'm sure we all didn't know we needed. I have found myself looking up to them and viewing them as some of my biggest role models. I am so thankful God answered that five-year old girl's prayers.

6. My family and extended family. I am thankful for my blood-kin and for my in-laws; My grandparents, my uncles and aunts, my cousins, and my husband's family who have taken me in as their own. Each one is special. Each one is dear to me. I love sitting in their company and making memories. I am so thankful for all the fun, laughter, stories, history, and just plain 'ole good times that have been shared.

7. My home. I am thankful for the home I had as a child and, now, for the home I have made with my little family. It's cozy. It's homey. It's clean (most of the time). It's relaxing. It's special. It's perfect. I'm thankful that God has given me a beautiful little place that is a million times more than what countless millions of others have. I am so blessed and am thankful for the roof over my head, food in the pantry, clothes in our closets, and for the little luxuries I often take for granted.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Recipes

Pumpkin Muffins
You can buy this kit at the store and add eggs, oil, and water and make some yummy muffins or a cake loaf with the mix. I made muffins this morning and, in one batch, added some chocolate chips. Delish!

** If you would, rather, make them from scratch, here is a recipe that I will try next time:


* 1 cup All-purpose Flour
* 1/2 cup Sugar (or substitute honey)
* 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
* 1-1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon Salt
* 4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
* 1 cup (heaping) Pumpkin Puree
* 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
* 1 whole Egg
* 1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
* 1/2 cup Golden Raisins (optional!)


* 2 Tablespoons Sugar
* 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until it is fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.

Pour into a greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture over the top of each unbaked muffin.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Homemade Apple Pancakes
The other day, I was hungry for pancakes and stumbled upon this recipe a friend sent me a while ago in my recipe box. It was very simple, very tasty, and healthy too! You should definitely try it out.


* 1 small Apple
* 1 cup Oats
* 1 1/2 cup Milk
* 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
* 2 tsp. Baking Powder
* 1/2 tsp. Salt
* 2 Tbs. Honey
* 2 Eggs
* 1 Tbs. Oil

Combine oats and milk. Let stand five minutes to one hour. Peel, core, and finely shop apple and mix with eggs, honey, and oil in another bowl. Mix dry ingredients, then add everything together and cook on griddle.

Pumpkin Pie Latte

Okay, so I tried this today and......EEEEEEE!!!! ---loved it---

This is not MY picture, however, because mine was void of the whipped cream (which I would have indulged in but I had none and didn't really need it anyway). This was much tastier than I anticipated and I will most definitely be making it again. Here is the recipe:


* 2 cups milk
* 2 tablespoons Canned Pumpkin
* 2 tablespoons Sugar
* 2 tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract
* 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
* 1/2 cup hot brewed Easy Espresso

* Whipped cream, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg, optional

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, pumpkin and sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until steaming. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and pie spice. Transfer to a blender; cover and process for 15 seconds or until foamy. Pour into two mugs; add espresso. Garnish with whipped cream and spices if desired. Yield: 2 servings.

HOORAY for yummy, autumn recipes!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Beautiful Feet

Isaiah 52:7
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"

Total Pageviews

Template: Blog Designs by Sheila | Bible Image: Creation Swap | Coffee Image: Pixmac