Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hasty Sin

Be quick to listen, slow to speak...sigh.  I need this verse tattooed on  my forehead.  Too many times have I leaped before looking.  Countless times I have overcommitted or said yes without first praying.   My insecurities or pride leads me hastily to have favor with man instead of THE MAN!
Haste is an enemy of our spiritual walk.  It is synonymous with hurrying, scrambling, impetuousness, impatience, carelessness, and thoughtlessness.  The big problem here is that we are arrogant about haste.  I have caught myself bragging about how busy I am, as if this makes me important or sought-out.

I battle with this sin.  I will take the time to arrange the monthly calendar to guard our family time from being too busy.  Our family time is precious and fleeting.  But little by little, the calendar gets filled up as the days pass by.  Why do things seem like a good idea at the time, but later you ask yourself, 'what was I thinking'?
Haste leads to money being spent on impulsive decisions.  Haste makes you gain weight (really, it does).  Haste makes for bad decisions that need attention or fixing later.  You apologize more when you're hasty.  Haste weakens us in our spiritual journey.  Our hasty decisions are not God's best!

God's best requires us to seek him out and that takes TIME.  Training in righteousness is not a quick-fix road.  Reflecting on the peace of God, the kingdom of heaven, and taking every thought captive is the armor we need to combat this sin.  It is not bigger ears we need to listen with; it is thoughtful, reflective ears we cultivate through our well-spent time with God.  God is not hasty, God is quite content with telling us to wait on something that we are praying about-have you ever noticed that ? :)
 I just love quiet spirited people.  They exude a contentment that crowns them with wisdom.

Proverbs 29:20  "Do you see a man who speaks in haste?  There is more hope for a fool than for him."

Proverbs 21:5  "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."

Diligence is the key component to our armor against this sin.  Diligence takes work and self-control.  Give yourself permission to not answer right away.  If you feel compelled to answer, simple reply with, "I will pray about that."  God desires us to seek him first in all aspects of our lives.  Be quick to listen, slow to speak...
Write it on the tablet of your heart, it is guaranteed to strengthen you and your relationships, help you lose weight, and expand your checking account!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Enchanted with Teens

We now have two teens in our home.  Yes, our home is still standing.  Yes, please pray for us!  In fact, it is becoming more evident that teenagers are in the midst:

This is the creative work of the eldest offspring.  He, umm, really likes to keep anyone 5'5" out of his room.  If you can't read the yellow tape it says:  DO NOT ENTER:  IDIOT ZONE.  Did I mention he has a great sense of humor?  Frankly, I love it (his humor and his artistic flair)!  My husband was watching him wrap the tape around the door just shaking his head, but, alas, I least it's not spray paint!
He has always been the kind of kid that likes design.  I remember him coming home one day after visiting with his grammy, I think he was 3, and I had been cleaning and rearranging furniture in his absence.  Well, he walks in the door and first thing he says is, "Hey Mom that shelf looks nice there!"  He is an amazing artist, he sketches in his free time cool warcraft guys.  He has an eye for detail.

I am so very blessed by his gift of music.  He has been playing piano since he was 5 years old.  When he was about 10 years old people started coming up to us and telling us was 'gifted'.  Oh, don't all 10 year olds play like him?  DUUHHH.  Shortly after, his piano teacher told us she had taken him as far as she could with teaching him.   Hmmm, as God would have it the Maryland Conservatory of Music is a stone's throw away and he started lessons there.  He can NOT walk past any piano and not play, he must touch those ivory keys.  Not only does he have an ear for music, he can hear a song 1 time and sit down and hammer it out.

Piano practice is my most favorite time of the day.  Sometimes I feel like King Saul beckoning David to come and play the harp for him to soothe his weary soul!  Pachelbel's Canon in D is my most favorite piece he plays.  I recently bought him the score to Phantom of the Opera so there has been a lot of intense music being played lately.

And socks...what is with the socks?   This child goes through socks like wind goes through a pair of pantyhose.  It was very thoughtful of him to hang up his dirty, holey socks to dry on the rack!
I just love this kid!  He is the kind of guy that brings in a neighbor's trash can on his morning walk.  I got a phone call one day from a little old lady we don't know that he brought her trash cans in and it just made her day.  Another neighbor (he is in the Mc Donald's breakfast club with me dad) just can't get over the fact the he will stop and chat with him, intelligently.  Mom's will tell me what a great example he is at church and how other's look up to him.
Recently, he went swing dancing with a group of kids and some of his friends decided to leave and go get a soda across the street.  He had to make a hard choice in that moment to obey what we told him about staying at the dance, or dive under the peer pressure and hope to not get caught.  It's the little choices that we make all the time to stay on the right path that will make it easier for us to say no when the big things come along.
My he is growing up so fast into a fine young man.  We have survived our homeschooling jaunt having LOTS of bumps along the way (yes, my eye is still twitching from the whole exhausting freshman year).  Now don't get me wrong, he does not have a halo over his head.  He antagonizes his little brother incessantly, he is loud and noisy, and he paces when it is time to leave for something because he like to be early and well, the rest of us are not as punctual as he.
I pray for him to grow in Godly wisdom.  I pray he will be blessed with a Jonathan at his new school in the fall.  I pray for his purity, his discernment (especially  the lies the devil whispers), and his walk with Christ to continually flourish.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Elvis is in the building!

FUN, FUN, FUN last weekend!  We celebrated my Aunt and Uncle's 50th wedding anniversary.  My cousin is the hostess with the mostess and really puts together a fun party.  There were costume contests, and  hola hoop contests (for young and not so young), and even Elvis showed up.

This boy can hola,let me tell ya!  Oh, and Elvis came...

LOVE the hair!

And Fat Elvis came...
Power operated suit, comes with a fan!

We were groovin' the night away!

Everything was really swell!  Remember the Hand Jive?

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Banana Oat-nut Muffins

Okay so what do you call it when you simply can't get enough of something... I have a confession to make, I am a cookbook junkie.  When I come out of the library guess what I have tucked in my arms??  It's a fun way to be inspired with cooking and getting new ideas.   Today's recipe is another way to cook up some oats.  Fiber anyone?
Walnut Topping:
1 T melted unsalted butter
1 T dark brown sugar
2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Muffin Batter:
2 cups light wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 cups regular oats (not instant)
1 cup milk (I used rice milk)
1/2 canola oil
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 RIPE bananas
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts

Heat oven to 375*,  lighty spray muffin pan.
For the walnut topping combine melted butter, brown sugar, and walnuts and set aside
In separate large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt, mix.  Stir in oats
In electric mixer on med speed combine milk, oil, eggs, vanilla, and banans till there are no lumps.  Make a well in the flour bowl mixture and add wet ingredients.  Stir till just barely combined (don't overmix-make em tough).
Scoop batter evenly in 12 muffin cups and sprinkle with walnut toping.
Bake 25 minutes.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Geodesic Domes

Easy science lesson for today, all you need are some toothpicks and gum drops.
Domes have been around for a long time. What makes geodesic domes different?   Efficiency!

A sphere is already efficient: it encloses the most volume with the least surface. Thus, any dome that is a portion of a sphere has the least surface through which to lose heat or intercept potentially damaging winds.

A geodesic dome uses a pattern of self-bracing triangles in a pattern that gives maximum structural advantage, thus theoretically using the least material possible. (A "geodesic" line on a sphere is the shortest distance between any two points.)
This one is made from legos.  You can make them from playdoh too.  You know the big golf ball at Epcot, that is an example of the geodesic dome.  I love easy science lessons.
PLUS, you can eat this one!


Friday, May 21, 2010


Somehow I got onto thinking about the word 'ordinary' today.  Most of us would file ourselves in some 'ordinary' category.  The dictionary defines it as; 'of no special quality or interest; commonplace, plain or undistinguished, mediocre.  That does NOT sound very glamorous now does it?  

What about the definition of the word 'extra'?  Webster says, 'beyond or more than what is usual, expected, or necessary; additional.  Okay, so we put those two together 

extra + ordinary 

and we get...beyond commonplace or more undistinguished.  

Well how does one go from being plain to being beyond plain?

A little plain caterpillar can teach us a thing or two, just be patient and watch for the metamorphosis.  A flower can uncover some of this mystery as it goes from a dry seed to a magnificent blossom.  I don't know of anyone who does not LOVE butterflies and flowers.

Extraordinary's  definition is: beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established.  It has markings of being exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc.; noteworthy; remarkable.  

So get this lovey, we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works! (Eph 2:10)

We grow more extraordinary as we grow in Christ.  We morph from old self to new self.  We become more beautiful and fragrant in God's eyes as we spend time with Him, thinking about his word, and practicing the tools and guidelines he has given us to live by. 

This leads to being more undistinguished from the world because we choose to be 'beyond commonplace' and reach for the desires of God's heart.  Are you gettin' this??
Persist in your journey with Christ; he has a plan sweet-pea that includes fluttering and blooming. I am SURE that the caterpillar and seed will reveal that the change is not always glamorous and the journey not easy, but WOW is it worth it to persevere and let God do his thang!!!
I am blessed beyond measure to be surrounded by beautiful women in my life who reflect my Lord and inspire me to do the same!  I pray we will flourish in our morphing and nurture each other along the way.  Because one day, we will stand before the King, THE ONE who created us with a great purpose!  Live today for that glorious moment!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shower Righteousness

In my quiet time today, I read from Hosea, when you think you have it tough, read Hosea!  Chapter 10, verse 12 says, "Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love.  Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you."

I am asking myself what needs to be eliminated in my life, what have I been trusting in and investing in that is cultivating a distraction?  Sometimes I think my blog takes up too much time, I so enjoy it and it is something I can call my very own, but it does occupy space in my brain!  Researching homeschool material...I could endlessly look at books and compare and research!  Surfing the web, another black hole.  Basically, I sit in this very chair that I am typing this post too much.  AHHH, what's a girl to do? 

I want to live in confident dependence on God, I want to continue a single-mindedness as I journey everyday including God in my thoughts, my plans, my mothering, my marriage, my example, every nook and cranny, I want Him part of it all.  God is the one who looks after us and cares for us.  The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous (14:8).  We live by walking in that path.  I pray my roots will grow down deep in my soul.  I want my branches to spread out with open hands of surrender.  I want the fruit of my blossoms to be fragrant and life-giving.  This is what I want to cultivate.  Digging in my garden this weekend has given me fresh appreciation for strong backs, clean fingernails, and completing a well planned for garden.  That is the same with my spiritual walk.  A strong spiritual life will keep my feet planted where they should be, a clean heart will keep the enemies lies from tearing me down, and a plan for my journey will keep me focused when distraction fire my way.

My harvest is a long time to being ready, so for now I seek the Lord and ask that he shower me lovingly.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Kiss of Forgiveness

O Spirit of God, help my infirmities - when I am pressed down with a load of sorrow, perplexed and knowing not what to do, made to fell the weight of the cross.

If you see in me any wrong thing encouraged, any evil desire cherished, any delight that is not your delight, any habit that grieves you, any nest of sin in my heart, then grant me the kiss of your forgiveness, and teach my feet to walk the way of your commandments.

Preserve me from the intoxication that comes of prosperity; sober me when I am glad with a joy that comes not from you.  Lead me safely on to the eternal kingdom, not asking whether the road be rough or smooth.  I request only to see the face of him I love, to be content with bread to eat, with clothes to put on, if I can be brought to your house in peace.

We read this in church the other night and I have really enjoyed praying this prayer so I thought I would share it with you.  I really like the line about granting me the kiss of forgiveness; so sweet, so intimate, and so healing.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

There are no silver bells or cockleshells all layed in a row here.  In fact, it is just a ginormous mess.  However, this mess is mine and I am ready to do some serious shakin and movin today!  Mary would NOT be pleased with the present state of things.  I just returned from the Home Depot, which was a happy, sunshiny place today.  Meandering through the tundra I was thoughtfully picking out our herbs and veges.   Here is the green party:

The big boy has been schlepping and digging all morning.  I shall load him up on exorbitant amounts of protein so he does not faint!

SO the technique for this year's garden is from a book called Lasagna Gardening.  The basic principle is to gather a neighborhood worth of newspaper, soak it till it weighs more than your first-born and make a layer over the entire fresh surface.  Then add dirt, compost, cow poop, hay, whatever ya got and mix it all up.  (Yes, I actually got some manure today when I picked up my girl from riding lessons-SHHEESSH!)

It is finished!  Big strapping teenager and father dug out numerous grassy bushes, and even a tree that took over the corner!  There is not a weed or a groundhog in sight!  I will keep you posted on the growth.  One thing I did not plan for was enough dirt to cover the area.  It was neat laying down all the newspaper we got from my dad; he does the crossword puzzle everyday!!!  And now they are in my garden, I lurve it!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Curried Salmon Soup

We had some dear friends over for dinner last night.  The kind of adventurous friends that are daring enough to try ANY of my culianary creations.  I had made this once before for hubby and I and have been dreaming of making it again.  If you are ready to try something that will delight your tastes buds then give this recipe a whirl.

1/4 cup butter
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp mild curry paste
2 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup white wine
1 1/4 cups cream (I used rice milk)
1 can coconut milk
3 small potatos cubed
1 1b. salmon fillet, cut into bite sized pieces
4 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper

Melt butter in large pan, add onions and cook till softened.  Stir in curry paste (yes, you will feel your culinary inner child emerge as the aroma fills your kitchen) and cook for 1 more minute.
Add broth, wine, milk, and coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring till coconut has dissolved.
Add potatos, simmer, covered for about 15 minutes.
Add salmon gently to pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley and S & P.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Enchanting Moments

My little guy came running in the house, "Mommy, Mommy you have to come here, quick!"  I was in the middle of something and not eager to the beckoning because he usually says this several times a day.  I reluctantly went outside and followed him up to our neighbor's house.  They have over 100 rose bushes in their yard and take pride in their many beautiful flowers.  He bypassed all of that and went over to the cherry tree that was raining down blossoms.  It was truly like pink snow fluttering in the air.  It was a precious moment that he wanted to share with me and I was enchanted with the pink petals floating about (especially since pink is my signature color!).  I love that little man of mine; he is so affectionate and loves to share the wonders around him!
I have been to D.C. to see the all 3,020 cherry trees in bloom.  What makes the cherry blossoms of Washington D.C. so special? They were given as a gift of friendship from the Japanese people to the people of United States in March 27, 1912. They are scattered around the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial towards the East Potomac Park and it is a feast for the senses.  To the Japanese, cherry blossoms are the symbol of the evanescence of human life.
As much as I was inspired to be amongst all that beauty, I am still fonder of the cherry tree that grew in my grandparents' backyard.  I would climb that tree and pick the cherries and my granddad even put a tire swing from one the mighty branches.  Such sweet memories.  And now I get to add another favorite tree to that list and that is the one my son shared with me.  Childhood is truly an evanescence (can't scrabble that word Heather) in our journey, a vapor to be captured and tucked away as a treasured memory.  I am grateful, really grateful for the beauty the Lord surrounds us with, in our children as well as nature.

Song of Solomon 2:12 NIV

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come...


Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunshine Pancakes

Every week we make a triple batch of these yummy pancakes.  I will give you the recipe for a single batch.

1 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 T sugar
pinch of salt
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 eggs
3T. vege oil
1 1/2 milk (moo or rice or almond)
1T. apple cider vinegar
1 t. vanilla

In large bowl add milk and vinegar and let sit while you gather dry ingredients (it makes a buttermilk consistancy)  Mix dry ingredients in a seperate bowl. In the milk bowl, beat the eggs and add the oil, and vanilla.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir till just combined.
On hot griddle, drop 1/4 cup of batter set on medium-high.  When you see the pancake bubble in the center, flip.  Cook 1 more minute till golden brown.

Any left-overs I pop in a plastic bag and toast the pancakes till they are all gone.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One Day Her Prince Will Come

A year ago, my daughter and I started a mother-daughter journal.  We write back and forth to each other asking questions, dreaming dreams or just throwing-out a random thought.  It is a safe place for her and I to "talk" and then have a chance to think about our responses.  In the very back page of the journal is a list a character qualities we are praying for over her future husband.  Some of the things I have written include: 
  • has a deep, growing relationship with Christ
  • knows his God-given purpose
  • is able to make decisions
  • makes her laugh
  • cleaves to her alone, always
Sissy's additions entail:

  • handsome
  • strong enough to work with horses
  • prays for me (oh Yeah!)
  • likes horses
  • has money to own and care for horses
Oh, I added one more...lives no more than 5 miles from us!!!
As I go through the bible and look at the men God favors I want to take special note to add these qualities to her future man.  What ever God favors, that is good enough for me!

Abel:  Abel was the second child born into the world, but the first one to obey God.  He presented a pleasing sacrifice to God.  Abel trusted God and kept his priorities in order.

Noah:  Noah made a long-term commitment to a project.  He lived in acceptance of God's grace for an entire lifetime of obedience and gratitude.
Abraham:  His faith pleased God.  He was respected by others and was courageous in defending his family at any cost.  He was not only a caring father to his own family, but also practiced hospitality to others.  He was a successful and wealthy rancher :)
Joseph:  Joseph was known for his personal integrity.  He was a man of spiritual sensitivity.
Judah:  Judah was a natural leader-he was very decisive.  He thought clearly and took action in high-pressure situations.  He was willing to stand by his word and put himself on the line when necessary.
Moses:  In Moses, we see an outstanding personality shaped by God.  Understanding that God did not change who Moses was; he did not give Moses new abilities and strengths.  Instead, he took Moses' characteristics and molded them until they were suited to his purposes.  I would love to see this in Sissy's beau.
Joshua:  Joshua was faithful in asking God's direction in the challenges he faced.
Samson.....naaaah-a bit too buff, you know what I'm sayin...
BOAZ:  Oh how I love Boaz!!  Boaz was sensitive in his dealings with other people.  He not only did what was right: he also did it RIGHT AWAY!!!  God calls him: "A man of ACTION!!!!!!!"  He was a man of his word!  He had a keen sense of responsibility and integrity, and he was a successful businessman.  NOT to mention he took good care of his mother-in-law (that's me :).
David:  A man after God's own heart.  Warrior!  David had an unchangeable belief in the faithful and forgiving nature of God.  He was a man who lived with great zest (dancing naked is great zest!).  He was genuine.
Job:  sorry, no.
Ezra:  Ezra (my nephew's name is Ezra...what a sweetie!)  He committed to study, follow, and teach God's Word.  Ezra achieved great things and made a significant impact because he had the right starting place for his actions and his life:  God's Word.
Daniel:  Chapter 5:12 says, "Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel..."  Sums it up nicely, works for me!

I could go on, but this is a fabulous start.  These guys get close to painting a picture of the Ultimate Prince, but He does not walk on this turf in the flesh because just like these men we are all very flawed.  Now if she finds a guy that walks on water, we will talk more...I'm kidding!  I pray ALL these qualities these men exhibited for my future son-in-law.  I pray too that my boys would fall under these guidelines and qualities.  I want someone to compliment her gift set and encourage her to draw closer to the Lord.  I want God's very best for her.  So while she dreams and waits for that special day her prince will come, I will be praying!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Enchanted with Questions

There is a pattern I have come to recognize with how God handles his children.  I will give you a few examples.  After the whole apple in the garden episode, the two darlings were hiding-- you know the story.  Now this is just a hunch but I suspect that God is REALLY good at hide-and-seek!  Nevertheless, being the gentleman and wise parent, he asks, "Where are you?"  He is giving them an opportunity to show themselves instead of an 'aha-gotcha!'  Next, he asks, "Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"  Then asking Eve, "What is this you have done?"  He asks questions.  He gives them a chance to confess and explain, knowing the answers all the while.  Hmmm, that is a really great technique for parenting.  I tend to jump to conclusions or only have part of the information and fill in the unsaid parts.  Asking questions takes time.  Sometimes I just want the noise to stop and send everyone to their rooms, I don't even want information, I just want peace!
Another story I like is when Jesus is resurrected.  First, he appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb and asked, "Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?"  There He stands to comfort her and redirect her focus.  Doesn't that make you cry even more when someone asks, 'are you alright,' as your crying?  Asking is a gentle way of bridging communication and opening up the conversation (as long as it is not accusing and putting the other person on the defensive).  Next, I love the 2 guys walking 7 miles to Emmaus.  They were scratching their heads and discussing the crucifixion.  Jesus suddenly joins them and asks, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?"  Cleopas is like, 'Dude, like what planet have you been living on that you are the only one who doesn't know what just took place in Jerusalem?" (E.W. revised).  Jesus replies, "What things?"  His point of view is so far greater than ours.  These guys are staring at the circumstances and not wrestling with the truth they had been told, by Jesus, about what to expect next.  Answering questions help us to articulate our thoughts and feelings. 
Be prepared in that sometimes when you open with a question you might get more than you expected.  Asking a question like, "Is there anything you would like to tell me about _______." , you might be surprised about what comes out.  That is okay though; God says in his word that "You may be sure that your sin will find you out..."(Numbers 32:23).  So as a fellow warrior, pray that God would reveal all things in your children's lives, and that includes what they might be hiding or just keeping a secret.
I commit to this form of parenting.  I need to take the time to gather all the information in order to proceed with the next necessary steps.  There is always more than one side to a story, but in the end we always hold that story up to God's truth and let that be our guide.  Be quick to listen, slow to speak... I think I am getting the message Houston!!!  One mouth, two ears, do we really need a diagram?   SHHHEEESH!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Perfect Will of God

In the perfect will of God my soul is resting;
I need fear no ill, though round me billows roll;
Ever safe am I when in Him I'm abiding.
There no tempest e'er can reach my soul.
To the perfect will of God I now surrender,
For His plan, divine, is best for me I know;
Never failing Guide, His blessed hand will hold me,
And His will shall ever sweeter grow.
In the perfect will of God is blest communion,
Ne'er a shadow mars the beauty of His face;
And the riches of His grace I find enduring,
For each change, sufficient is His grace.

One of the sympathy cards we recieved had this beautiful poem, handwritten, tucked inside the card.  This is exactly what a hurting loved one needs to hear during a deep valley.  I thought I would share it with you if you ever need the words to bestow with someone else. 

Micah 7:7  "But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me."

Thank you Mrs. Barrett for shining truth upon us.