Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bedroom Makeover, Continued

Do you remember when we moved the bed into the closet?
  Well, that was three years ago. Basically, nothing in our room has changed.
We filled the shelves with junk. (All of the "grown up" - can't say "adult" - DVDs, CDs, and Xbox games got moved in and away from children.) I got a new bed spread a year ago. I added a few second-hand pillows that I was tired of the kids taking outside.
Let's see...... What did I say I was going to do "soon" in that post? Hmmm...... Refinish a dresser. (It's still sitting in the shop.) And add some art over the bed.
Well, after 3 years, I can finally say that I've gotten the art for over the bed. And I love it!
I was in Hobby Lobby last weekend picking up some stuff for our Awana Grand Prix. I walked by the wall plaque and it caught my eye. It is the verse we put on our wedding invitations and programs. (So true for our feelings for each other - then and now!) I made a note to mention it to Paul, but didn't get it.
I looked it up online a few days later, and saw it was on sale for half price. So it was only $15! I wanted to pick up a shelf, to give the wall the feel of a headboard, since we don't have one. This one was 40% off, so I paid $30 for it. (Which some would say was too much given the level of distressing it's received.) But the colors matched our quilt, and I loved the rustic look.
The items on the shelf are all from "shopping the house." I'm constantly moving things around.
I've found out takes me quite some time to get used to the feel and function of a room before I know how I want to decorate it. (It's taken me 10 years to figure out "my" decor style.) Then it comes down to time and money, both of which I'm usually short of.
But sometimes, it's worth the wait. I am so pleased with how this project turned out! (Even if trying to level that shelf had me wanting to scream!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Zadie Marie: A Salvation Story

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
-III John 1:4

Both of our older boys prayed to accept Jesus as their Savior when they were quite young. They were 4 and 3 1/2 years old. But that has been 4 years ago, since Jacob made the decision! So it seems like this announcement is a long time coming.
Last Sunday, Zadie made the decision to trust Christ as her Savior!
This event has brought me so much joy and relief. Even though we read the Bible with our kids nightly, Zadie has shown very little interest in spiritual matters. Even over the last year, since she's been in Cubbies at Awana, we have tried to have intentional conversations with her about sin and why Jesus had to die, and she would usually change the subject. If I could engage her into conversation, the conversation would end in her refusing to admit she had ever sinned. The few times she would admit sin (usually after being caught in a lie), when we would go over the conversation about sin and Christ, she would say she didn't want to pray for forgiveness. It was becoming obvious that she knew all the pieces, but it was willful refusal to open up to God. Others would encourage me that she was still young (she's almost 5), but the hardening of her little heart was still concerning. And i was questioning myself whether we were being diligent enough in discipleship and training. Obviously I don't have as much time now to talk and teach one on one like I did with Nathan and Jacob, now that we have 5 kids.
Last Sunday, our Bible study met and since it was our first meeting since the holidays, we didn't have a study set. Someone asked, "What should we read?" And Paul jokingly said, "Jonah!" This is the answer our children always choose when given a choice of what Bible study to read in the children's Bible, so we had a good laugh. But we did study Jonah, and had good conversations about it.
When we came home and were putting the children to bed, Paul took Zadie upstairs to read the Bible in her bed. (On late nights, we'll read the children's story Bible to Zadie and Gideon alone, rather than reading as a family in the living room.) Paul asked Zadie what she wanted to read, and of course the answer was, "Jonah!"
In light of the good conversations we'd had at Bible study, Paul talked to her about why the people of Ninevah were in trouble with God, and that led to a conversation about sin, and on to talking about the fact that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins so we can go to Heaven.
I wasn't upstairs, but I could hear that they were having a conversation. After a while, Paul came to the to of the stairs, and said, "Rachel, could you come up here?" My heart filled with hope.
I went to her room, and Paul filled me in on what they'd talked about. He asked Zadie if she wanted to pray with Mommy about Jesus talking her sins away. She said yes!
I could sense a different spirit about her. Usually she had a kind of flippant attitude when you try to be serious with her. But she was very quiet and contrite as she lay there on her bed. I knelt by her bedside and asked her some more questions. She answered all of them with assurance. Then I asked her if she wanted to pray. She nodded.
I guided her in a simple prayer to confess that she had sinned, and asking Jesus to forgive her and thanking Him for dying to pay for the bad things she'd done. When we were finished, she had a big smile on her face, and i felt like my heart was about to burst with happiness!
The next morning I asked her what she had done, and she quickly and confidently answered, "I asked Jesus to take all my bad sins away so I can go to Heaven!" I feel certain she understood and fully accepted what had happened the night before.
Paul and I noticed an almost immediate change in her, which I believe I'd evidence of the Holy Spirit now living within her. She accidentally hurt Gideon. I had her apologize, which she did, but then several minutes later, she came to him and asked him if he would forgive her. She told me when she was outside, she was singing "new songs" about Jesus dying on the cross. Instead of playing with dolls or other toys, she say quietly and listened attentively when we read the Bible the next night (and every night since). She has told most of her friends about what she did.
It is such a joy to know that one more of our children will be joining us in eternity! And the fact that i got to be with her when she made that decision makes my joy complete!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Recipe

Are the holidays your favorite time of year, for all the yummy cinnamon-infused drinks we get to enjoy?
Why limit it to the holidays?
Did you know you can make your own pumpkin spice coffee at home?
I don't know the recipe for a large pot, but in my single-cup machine (no, it's not a Keurig... I'm not that much of an addict), you simply add 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice with the grounds, then once it's brewed, load on the cream and sugar. Or even better, sweetened condensed milk!
A friend also suggested adding a dab of vanilla extract to the grounds..... Mmmm.....
All the deliciousness, at a fraction of the cost. And I'm sure much healthier than the artificial flavors and preservatives in store-bought creamers and fast food/convenience store concoctions.

Friday, January 6, 2017


Maybe it should be "Mock Guac"? (It's so easy, I don't feel like it deserves the designation of "real" guacamole!)
Regardless, this recipe could be a game changer.
I have an unnatural love affair with avocados. Beyond guacamole, I will eat avocados with salt and pepper and a spoon.
But add tortilla chips and.......
I'm going to need a moment.
Last night when trying to decide what to fix for supper, we realized we had all the fixin's for nachos. Tortilla chips and nachos from New Year's Eve, shredded lettuce and tomatoes from New Years at Grandma's.
Then as we were setting everything on the table I realized - I have avocados! (At $1+ EACH, I rarely indulge, but they had been on sale for 88¢.). But it was time to eat - no time for veggie chopping. But nachos without guacamole?? Sacrilege.
The thought came: They make spice packets for guacamole. Can't I do that?
Just going with what I had, I grabbed minced onion, red pepper flakes, then added salt and pepper.
Nailed it.
Maybe not quite as delicious as finely chopped onions and cilantro, but when you're just in it for the avocados, this super-simple recipe is all you need.

Super Simple Guacamole
4 avocados, peeled and mashed
1 tsp dried minced onions
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

Mash everything together in a small bowl. Give it a hefty shake-over of salt and pepper, adding more to suit your taste.
If you have the time to let it set, the flavors come out more, and the onions soften. I didn't notice crunchy bits, but I was also eating them with tortilla chips.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Now That's a Pie!

This was our selection of Thanksgiving pies this year. No, it's not two mini pumpkin pies.... Those are two regular size (9") pumpkin pies. They look mini because that's a huge apple pie! It measures a full 13" across and has 6 pounds of apples in it! It takes a double double-crust recipe.
Now that's a pie!
We bought this pie dish 3 years ago. It's not actually a pie dish, but was marketed as a pasta bowl. Paul and I both love pie, and went on a search for such a thing after having several children and never having leftover pie to enjoy after family dinners. Larger pie = more slices = more to eat the next day.
We finally found it at the pottery shop at Silver Dollar City. I love it, and never have regretted the $30 purchase.
We shared this pie at family Thanksgiving with Paul's family. He took a piece of the leftovers in his lunchbox, and i had a piece for breakfast, and we still have a couple to enjoy for supper.
And THAT is why we wanted that pie plate!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Casting Out Idols

I am reading through the history of the kings of Israel in my daily [somewhat] quiet times. I try not to use devotionals or study books, because I get distracted by the opinions of others, from what God may want to say to me.
When the Israelites settled the land God had promised, they were told to destroy all the current residents already living there. This has always seemed a bit brutal to me, and to many others, I'm sure. But as I read on in the history, I see why God wanted those pagan nations destroyed. It would have made life easier on the Israelites!
God is the one true God, and He is serious about His people recognizing His authority. When the Israelites failed to drive out these pagan nations, not only did the people remain, but their religions remained also. Time after time, year after year, the Israelites repeated a circle of falling into worshiping idols, being punished by the one true God, repenting, having life go well, then falling back to their worship of these other gods, only to be punished...
As I read, I asked myself - Beyond the history, what is something I can learn from this narrative?
Because at first impression, the Israelites are idiots. Why don't they get it, that all of their problems are because they stop worshiping God alone?
But what about me? I may not have little stone idols on a shelf in my house, or altars built under the trees in our yard, but am I worshiping the one true God, and serving Him only?
I read a quote recently, and I can't remember it exactly, or who said it, but it went something like this: To any extent you aren't as excited and on fire for God as you were the day before, or the week before, you are a back-slider. (I think it was Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest.)
Well, I'm definitely a back-slider.
And that means, like the Israelites, I have begun "worshiping" idols, and allowing other things to become more important than God alone.
Now the task is, now that I recognize it, to identify those idols and cast them out. For the Israelites it was easy. Break up the idols; tear down the altars. For us, it's a lot harder. What if your idols are food, or the internet, or coffee, or a smart phone?
But I see now why God said to completely get rid of the other nations and their idols. When you keep the things you worship side by side with your relationship with God, unless you are capable of extreme self control and diligence (which I'm not), your relationship with God - reading His Word and the privilege of talking to Him - is going to get pushed aside by these "idols" that seem more exciting and more accessible and available, more instantly gratifying.
And that is why God's Word is "living and active" - it uses a historical account from 4000(?) years ago to speak to my heart today!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Life Rolls On

Life keeps on moving, whether I'm ready or not.
We're already on week 8 of school.  That's 1/4 of the way through the school year!  Where has time gone??  We did take a "spring break"  a couple weeks ago because I needed to do the spring cleaning that I had never gotten done.  Paul had taken the week off work, so we took the week off school to enjoy time together and get some things done.
Elsa is rolling over, trying to pull up and crawl, and just about ready to sit herself up.  She chows down the baby food like she may never get another meal.  She's almost 8 months old!
The weather has been ridiculous.  Now in November, we have only had one night cold enough to frost (which was 3 weeks ago), but only in patches.  Had the garden not drowned (again - twice in 2 months is too much to recover from), it would have been the most fantastic fall garden we've ever had.  This week has been in the 80s.
I was supposed to have my varicose veins repaired this year.  We started the process in May.  My doctor in Lawrence referred me to a doctor in KC, because the origin of my varicose veins seems to be in my pelvis (coming off my uterus), rather than in my legs.  Insurance is refusing to pay for the surgery to fix it. They say it doesn't work, so they won't pay for it - but they realize I may need the surgery, and I am more than welcome to pay for it myself!  (Ugh.  Don't even get me started.)  My doctor is appealing it (again), but now it's November, and still not a single thing has been done to fix my veins.
The big boys both had birthdays this fall.  Nathan is now 9, and Jacob 7.  Again - where has time gone??  They are both getting so tall and strong.  They're right on the edge of the responsible/irresponsible age.  I can usually trust them to get things done, but there are those days.....  (Gideon's birthday is next month, and the girls are in March and April.)
Anyhow.  Time to start the day, whether I'm ready or not. :)