Monday, November 21, 2011

Cooking This Week

Last night I settled onto the couch under my blanket.  Football game on, special lighting lit (don't want to say too much in case you feel strongly about not having twinkly lights turned on before you eat the turkey), and my cookbooks in hand.  The list is made for the week and I hope you can come join us because the menu is smokin' hot.

First on the list, Martha's Sky High Cranberry Apple Pie.  5 POUNDS of apples.  That sounds like a fine start to me.  The jury's still out on if I'm going to make my own Pate Brisee or if I'm just going to let Pillsbury make my crusts.
For Thankgiving, I'm going to see if I can sweet talk my friend Tiffny into sharing her Stuffed French Toast recipe.  Man oh day is it melt in your mouth delish, and it smells amazing baking.  Yes, baked Stuffed French Toast, that's what I'm talking about.  I'm pretty sure this is our new Thanksgiving breakfast.  Hopefully I'll get to share the recipe with you later this week.  Stuffed French Toast and a parade sound like the perfect combination to me.

Rachel Ray's Broken Spaghetti and Mini Meatball Stoup will be making an appearance on our table.

And last but not least, oh, the cake that from the moment I saw it knew I'd have to tackle one day, Martha's 6 Layer Salted Caramel Cake.  Shut up, I know.

Cheers to pants with elastic waists!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Laundry Monster

This first picture has nothing to do with The Laundry Monster, but did you see the moon this weekend?  It was spectacular!
Every Monday is my day to tackle The Laundry Monster.  I rebelled against the idea of having a designated day for certain chores for a really long time.  The idea felt restrictive to me and my free spirit self.  But then I was reminded of the definition of insanity-doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Not having a system was yielding me one result-the laundry was always out of control, unmanageable and a source of frustration.
At first, having a certain day of the week (for me, Monday) to do laundry was not easy.  It did not come natural.  But, by the 3rd week of tackling the main load of laundry on Monday I began to notice some things.

For starters, Monday rolls around each and every week.  Like clockwork.  It has become routine.  I don't even have to think about it any more.  At my house, when Monday morning rolls around, I unearth the hamper, sort into piles and get the hot water and good times rolling.

My laundry is always kept manageable.  For me, Friday mornings are also a mini-laundry morning.  For you, every day may have at least a load or two in it's horizon.  Having a day or time to do the main laundry is helpful.  If you try it for a few weeks, I think you'll like the change of having the mound kept at bay.

This morning I awoke to 9 loads waiting on me after a weekend of camping.  By camping of course I mean I slept in a cabin while my boys slept in a bat cave, but whatever, potato, patotoe.  Knowing my routine allowed me to jump in with a cheerful heart and get things going.

Do you know that this last picture means?  It's our little signal that someone has already put in the fabric softener.   At our house, if you put in the fabric softener, you leave the jug on top of the washing machine so we know it's been taken care of.  I know, sheer genius, what can I say?

Friday, November 11, 2011



I've been so excited for today to get here.  A rare day.  The same number straight across the board.  It got me excited.  I've been wandering for awhile what kind of things will unfold on this unique day.  This morning I've been on a treasure hunt and I wanted to share it with you.

"The Bible refers to the occupants of our hearts as "treasure."

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil.  Luke 6:45

"The word for 'treasure' in the original language is the same one used to describe what was inside the chest the wise men in Matthew 2 carried.  The reason they were able to pull such fine gifts from it to present to Jesus was because those were the treasures they had placed there." 
(taken from The Resolution for Women, Shirer)

Have you ever made the comparison?  Until this morning I had not.

Anything laid up in store
The place where treasures are kept
Storehouse of the mind where thoughts, feelings or counsels are laid up
A chest or box in which precious things are kept
Royal treasure
A special room in the women's court in the temple in which gold and silver bullion were kept
Storage house or room

Do you know where all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden?  Do you know the place where you can find full assurance and understanding?  I'm not talking about the everyday, mundane stuff that carries no value. 

I'm talking about the good stuff.  The fine stuff.  The stuff that makes your life something refined, cultivated, exquisite.  Set apart.  Valuable.  The thing that brings the finest beauty to your days.  Do you know how to get to the good stuff so that the treasure in your heart holds the rarest, timeless, most valuable treasures?

Come to the table.

Poverty and all.

Sin covered attitudes.

It's OK.

He invites you to come and sit awhile.

Your place is set.

He is waiting for you.

(Colossians 2:3, Luke 6:45, Matthew 2:11)

1-3 God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

Psalm 23

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Still Practicing

I'm like the camera nazi around here.  No soup for you if you don't let me snap a shot of you.  My friend Gretchen is doing a camera series on taking better photos, so I've been playing around with my camera.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


My friend Gretchen at New Every Morning has been giving tips on her blog for taking pictures.  She gave us homework to practice so here are some fun shots I caught today in the midst of tree climbing, leaf throwing and apple eating.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Duggar's

Two weeks ago while our family was on a little weekend getaway we spent the day at a pizza place filled with games, food and fun.  10 minutes after we got there the Duggar family showed up.  We were thrilled!  Jim Bob and Michelle are the nicest people.  Not only are they nice, but they are godly.  I told Michelle that she always encourages me, and she does.  She does not yell at her children.  The Word of God is the standard by which they live by.  They are focused on raising up kids who love God.  We got to spend 6 hours at the pizza place that day and they were there most of the time.  There kiddos are so well-mannered and were so filled with joy.  Joking around with our kids and everything.  Josh told my boys 5th grade was the best 5 years of his life!
Jim Bob sits those kids down and points them to what The Word says about stuff.  I remember when Jim Bob Sr. died and he sat the kids down and explained what happened to Grandpa.  That his body was here but since he knew the Lord, his spirit was in heaven.  He read scripture to them and prepared them before they ever went to the funeral home.

Here's a picture of there bus next to ours!!!

They are a good family.  They have good kids.  They use the call God has placed on there lives to bring glory to God, to point people to Him.  One of the workers at the pizza place came up to my family and said how excited they were that TLC was filming the show that day.  They had spent days cleaning up the place, making sure everything was working properly and sparkling.  It was a big deal for "normal" people who worked at a pizza joint to have TV crews come in and film a show.  The guy said many of them had no idea who The Duggar Family was.  You know what happened as a result of a good family with a good witness?  People noticed.  Their children, so well-behaved, kind, well-mannered, that leaves an impression.  When they left, there were post cards all around the pizza place.  Jim Bob even signed one and handed it to me.  You know what it says?

God is blessing them with #20.  Christian people will speak against them. Speak against a family walking in God's calling on their lives and using it to bring glory to God.  Haven't we all been called to walk down the path we were uniquely created and designed for?  Matthew 12:36 says we will give an account for every careless word spoken.  I think the enemy loves to get the church up in arms by causing their eyes to look around at what other people are or are not doing.  He loves the division. 

 So, there ya go.  My opinion.  I love the Duggar family.  Anytime I see someone walking in the unique path God has placed them on and giving God the glory it makes me all kinds of happy.  Sometimes the road we're asked to walk down is very different from those around us.

I bet God wishes we'd stop looking around so much and fix our gaze on Him.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Moving

I've known for awhile that it was time to move.  My current Bible has been with me the last 5 years or so.  The maps fell out years ago, followed closely by the table of contents and concordances.  Genesis is holding on by threads of Scotch tape.
This precious Bible has been with me over the last years and become a huge part of who I am.  I have literally spent hundreds and hundreds of hours reading the pages of this sacred book.  Truths as vast as the ocean.  Love deeper than the ocean.

Always alive.  Always speaking.

Words rising with healing in their wings.
Yesterday morning, as I spent some time reading and praying something dawned on me.  I realized that in my need of a new Bible I haven't actually asked God to provide one for me.  There were a couple specific things my heart was hoping for when I would think of having to move.  So, I prayed.  I prayed out loud, "God, you know my need for a new Bible.  Lord, I could go out and buy a Bible, but it would mean so much to me if it was given to me by someone special in my life.  Not just something I bought with extra cash, but something you provided.  That would make it so personal knowing it came from your hand and your abundance.  Thank you Lord, Amen."

Our teaching pastor had loaned me one of his Bibles. It is a new version and he let me borrow it to check it out.  Yesterday when I got to church, I put his Bible back on his desk with a small note thanking him for letting me borrow it.  After church he came up to me with the Bible in his hand and said, "You know, if you like this Bible you can have it.  I have several more like it..." and he handed it to me.  My jaw hit the floor.  I couldn't believe it.  It is the nicest, most fantastic Bible.  It is genuine leather, I've always read out of Bonded Leather (that makes me laugh for some reason!).  It has study notes coming out its ears.  It is the Caddy of Bibles.  He did not even know how specifically I had prayed just hours earlier.
As we were getting ready to leave, our pastor stopped by the youth room where we were closing up and said, "Now, it won't hurt my feelings if you don't want this Bible, or want it in another color or something, but you're welcome to keep it for a couple more weeks if you're not sure."  Then I told Ken about my prayer hours earlier.  How I asked God if he would provide a Bible for me.  How I asked God if it would be a Bible with significance and meaning. I told Ken if he was sure he didn't need it it would mean the world to me to have that Bible. 

It would be so meaningful because I have spent hours under Ken's teaching and the depth of understanding the Holy Spirit has used through his teaching to help me understand these pages has opened my eyes to new truths many, many times.

I cannot tell you how amazed I am at the lavish provision of God by providing me with a new Bible.  As I opened it to read this morning it felt like a new house.  I'm not sure where things are.  It is unfamiliar territory.  The language is different from what I've studied from the last 21 years.  It is vivid.  It is filled to the brim with newness.  I cannot wait to start unpacking the truths and making them my own.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shoe Talk

Camel or Tan shoes will revolutionize your shoe wardrobe.  It's a sometimes overlooked color.  Usually we think in terms of black or brown (or if you are my Mom, RED).  My camel colored sandals for the summer are a perfect go to.  The best thing about this color is you can wear black or brown with them, and for accessories-silver or gold.

When I wear brown shoes I tend toward gold jewelry and accessories.  When I wear black shoes I tend toward silver jewelry and accessories.  And it goes without saying that pearls are the perfect pick for anything you're wearing.

Sometimes you just need a good neutral shoe so you can have the freedom to accessorize how you want.

One other shoe shopping is very helpful to search the web to get an idea of the style your eye is drawn to.  Zappos is a fabulous shoe site to get ideas.  JCPenny has really great prices on shoes.  Often times if you use a department store-you can order online and if you need to exchange you don't have to fuss with shipping-you just return to the store if the size is not right or comfortable.  And remember,

If the shoe fits, but it in every color.

Where is your favorite place to find shoes?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Lied

I didn't mean to lie to the lady at the deli counter yesterday.

It wasn't until last night at 10:58pm as I laid in bed drifting off to sleep that I realized my conversation with the deli counter lady was not entirely true on my part.  Yesterday the boys and I were grocery shopping.  As the sweet lady sliced our ham she asked about my boys being in school.  I shared with her that I teach them at home.  That we believe God has led us this direction so that we can build a firm biblical foundation in their hearts before we release them into the world.  We want a few more years to be the primary voice in their lives.

And then.  I patted one of them on the head and "jokingly" said, "But I sure hope one day they get to go to school!"

It hit me last night as I laid in bed that that is not at all what my heart feels.  I think in my effort to not make people feel strange about our decision to homeschool I over compensate by making sure they know I'm not condemning their choice of schooling, whatever it may be, in any shape or form.  I'm so paranoid about making sure people know that I never judge their choice of schooling that I think I haven't allowed myself to be free to express the sheer joy we've found in our lifestyle of having our boys at home.

This morning when each of my boys woke up I reminded them about Mommy talking to the lady at the deli counter and "joking" with her how I sure hoped there'd come a day when they got to go to school!  I shared with them how having them at home is the joy of my days! I told them that statement was not at all true, that I love this time with them.  It is such a sweet fit for our family.

The freedom.

The ability to be the primary voice in their lives.

The Word of God being the barometer by which we measure our hearts, attitudes and mouths, even at 10:30 in the morning.

The restfulness of it.  They are not over-tired.

Field Trips-learning by hands on experience.

The playtime!  If we want to play at the playground all afternoon on a gorgeous Fall day we can.  If we want to stay up late to watch Sunday night football as a family we can.

The flexibility of schedule.  We started school earlier in the summer when it was a million degrees outside and to hot to go out and play.  Because of that we are taking a break from Thanksgiving to New Year's to bake cookies, enjoy the Christmas tree, sit by the fire, read good books and just have some good old fashioned fun.  No lessons for over a month!

It just feels really good to have them home with me.

Me being the one to see the light bulbs go off is awesome.

I love it.

I really, really love it.

After almost 1 1/2 years of having my boys in school at home, my eyes are starting to open up the wonderful rich benefits of it.

As hard as I fought the Lord in my Spirit not to homeschool, I'm thankful He wouldn't release the still small thought in my heart and stayed with me until I finally obeyed.

The blessings of obedience are sweet and abundant.

I've been reluctant to fully express my joy about it all but last night I felt God gave me the freedom that it's OK to enjoy the road we're walking on.

And I am enjoying it more than I ever would have dreamed!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Six Days

I've been offline for 6 days.

Six days of being unplugged.

You know what happens with 6 uninterrupted days from the noise?

There is a lot of joy in our home.

The boys are laughing.

Closets are shaping up.

Bags of clothing are lining the walls of the garage to be given away.

Peace is replacing the chaos as I have had time to get rid of the stuff that clutters our lives and minds.

Dinner is marinating in the fridge.

Fresh fruits and veggies are cut up ready to eat.

We're focusing on schoolwork done with excellence.

I am energized.

There is a spirit of unity among us.

When I spend time away from the computer it feels more and more like a "worthless idol" that fights to consume the better part of my time.

One thing I have been thinking about this week is this small window of opportunity I have with my boys.  The window from toddler hood when they start talking to about the middle school aged years.

This small window is one where if I am available for my boys I have the huge potential to shape their minds and thoughts.  I don't want to miss the window.  The window to fill them with truth from God's Word.  The window to be available.  The window to constantly be calling forth truth in their little lives.

Me being available.  Me being focused.  Me being intentional.  That's what I've been thinking about the last 6 days.