Friday, October 28, 2011

Things I Know - The Promises of God

I am focusing today's Things I Know on the Promises of God.

I know that the promises of God are Yes! and Amen! 2 Corinthians 1:20 

I know that God is Good. Joshua 23:14

I know that God made me with a purpose. Jeremiah 29:11

I know that God created me, He knew me before I was born.  Psalm 139:13

I know that God paid for my sins so that I could spend eternity with Him. John 3:16

I occasionally have those days where I need encouragement.  I need reminders of God's love, grace and protection.  I need to remember to whom I belong, that I am the daughter of The King.  Those are the days that I need to look back at these basic things that I know about the promises of God.  


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Laundry for an Army

I am raising an army.  I love my army.  They bring me much joy, delight, laughter and laundry.  I don't so much love the laundry.  Actually, I hate it.  Just when you think you have it all finished, you go to bed and wake up to 2 loads just from what they all took off after laundry was finished!!!

Several years ago, in an attempt to simplify my life, we decided to try individual baskets for the kids.  The kids each picked a color when we bought them (some had the same color, but they got to choose it).  We labeled the baskets with their name.  Each time we had a mountain of clean laundry, the kids would sort laundry into each person's basket.  They then were responsible for taking their basket to the closet. (Yes, we have a family closet.  When it gets better organized, I'll post about it.)  They were then responsible for putting away their own (and helping with the little ones') stuff.

You may notice that I wrote this in the past tense.  We have fallen out of this habit.  But after writing this post, while the kids are folding laundry, I think it is time to reinstate the baskets.  I must say, though, they are getting to be pretty good laundry folders.  Put awayers, not so much.

I'm linking this idea up with Raising Arrows, Large Family Organization tips.  Check out other tips, no matter your family size!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I thought I saw ...

The Write On Wednesday Rules: Get creative with the writing exercises - there isn't a right or wrong. Please do try to visit the other members of Write On Wednesdays and leave a comment of support and constructive criticism. 

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 20 - Write the words " I thought I saw" at the top of your page. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Write the first words that come into your head after the prompt. Don't take you pen off the page (or fingers off the keyboard). Stop only when the buzzer rings! Do this exercise over and over if you wish. Write beyond 5 minutes if you like, you can link it up as an extra post.

I thought I saw a fairy flutter on the wind.  She was a fairy, that was sure, all decked out in green.  I saw her peek inside a flower, to see what was within.  I saw the look of joy and glee as she reached to pull the dew drop out!  What a sight to behold, a little fairy on the prowl, looking for magic in God's creation!  I watched to see what she'd do, why did she need that?  She fluttered around with her little drop, looking for the right spot.  Suddenly, she spied something and turned to fly away.  Across the yard glided another little fairy, this one clad in orange.  She too carried a drop of dew.  What were these dew drops for?

The fairy in green popped out from the tree behind which she hid and tossed her dew drop at the fairy so orange - splat!  Target hit square on the head!  "I win! I win!"  The green fairy cried in joyous fashion.  "I'll get you tomorrow!" laughed the wet little fairy, "Just you wait and see!"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homemade McGriddles Sandwiches

My kids love the McGriddles from McDonalds.  I don't love paying that much money times 5 (just for the kids) for breakfast.  So I began wondering how to make them at home.  I searched the internet, found many helpful recipes, and a few not-so helpful ones.  I refuse to go buy specialty stuff that I won't use for anything else, so maple crystals were out of the question.

After perusing recipes on the internet, I did what I always do and made up my own. Here is my first attempt at homemade McGriddles.

Here is what you will need:
Ingredients for your favorite pancake recipe
Breakfast syrup
Bacon or sausage
Eggs
Cheese of choice

I am not including quantities as I figure you can decide how much bacon or how many eggs your family will eat.  I have a large family, our quantities may differ from yours.

I started with a basic pancake recipe.  My favorite is this one from Allrecipes but I didn't have vinegar so I used an older one from my Betty Crocker cookbook.

After preparing the recipe, I put a small amount on the griddle.  I actually had rather large ones, keep in mind it might spread, I recommend going slightly smaller than you think you will want.  I only put four on my griddle so that I could have time for the second step:  syrup.

I put about a tablespoon of syrup on top of the pancake batter and swirled it around, then used a fork to "mix" it lightly in.  There was not quite as much syrup as I would have liked in the first batch, so when I made a few extras for the kids to munch on I put an extra dab of syrup on top after the syrup that I mixed in.

I cooked the pancakes as normal and made bacon and eggs, and shredded cheddar cheese.  I allowed the kids to choose whether they had eggs and cheese, but all wanted the bacon, of course!

They were a little sticky, but not too bad.  They were quite yummy and very filling.  I didn't get any pictures because we were all too hungry and anxious to try them.  When I make them again, I will try to get some pictures to go with it.  Happy Eating!

(The kids have requested these as a before church breakfast.  I am going to try precooking the pancakes and bacon and putting them in the fridge so that we can have a fast breakfast for early mornings.  I'll let you know!)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bring Me Sunshine in a Cup

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 19 - Sunshine in a cup. Write the words of Emily Dickinson: "Bring me sunshine in a cup" at the top of your page. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Write the first words that come into your head after the prompt. Don't take you pen off the page (or fingers off the keyboard). Stop only when the buzzer rings! Do this exercise over and over if you wish. Write beyond 5 minutes if you like, you can link it up as an extra post.
 
Momma sat staring forlornly in her cup of coffee.  Where had her day gone?  She had been up before the sun with a huge list of chores to do, and yet, here she sat, staring into a dark brown circle, to do list swimming in her head.

She heard the howling, cackling, raucus laughter of her children running and playing outside.  Occationally one would run through the house, screen door slamming on his way through. 

Tired.  Why did Momma always feel so tired, so - worn?  She sat her cup on the table and leaned back against the couch.  Just a minute of rest.  I'll close my eyes for just a minute.  She jolted awake.  Staring confused, bleary eyed at the vision before her.  Instead of her cold coffee sitting on the table, she saw a sight to behold!  Standing next to the table on which sat a cup overflowing with dandelions was the toothless grin of her little girl.  "Look Momma!  I brought you Sunshine in a Cup!"  

Things I Know

I know that God is Good - ALL the time.

I know that children grow up way faster than you ever think they will.

I know that beans spilled from homemade, homeschool cinco de mayo maracas and buried under 6 months of rubble in a car will sprout.

I know that nothing in life can prepare you for the day the doctor hands you a new baby, whether it is number 1 or number 6.

I know that when children first learn to graffiti, they usually spell their own names on the wall, making them relatively easy to catch.

I know that despite the above statement, sometimes they are smart enough to write their brother's name on the door of said bean sprouting vehicle, but not usually smart enough to lie about it.

I know that marriage was one of God's best ideas.

I know that 4:30 in the morning is definitely not the best time to hear an alarm clock.

I know that electric blankets, soft pillows, flannel sheets and a snugly husband make the 4:30 alarm nearly impossible to get up to.

Interested in seeing what other bloggers know?  Check out Yay For Home's Things I Know Friday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Train Up a Daughter

One of my (and my husband's) favorite verses is Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it."

When the majority of my children were preschool age, this verse spoke to me largely in the aspect of training, meaning teaching them how to behave, how to listen and most importantly how to obey.  Now that the vast majority of my children are well past toddlerhood and in their schoolage years, it is begining to take on a new meaning. I'm looking past teaching them to be well behaved children and into their adult years.  I'm viewing their training in the sense of preparing them for adulthood.

As a homeschooling mom, some of that is academic, preparing them to be successful in college and in their career choice.  Some of that is home related, preparing them to maintain their homes physically and relationally.  Some of that is in choosing their "career paths".

When you have girls, the idea of choosing a career path leads to extra complications.  I want my daughters to be able to support themselves should they ever need to.  I want them to be compentent to succeed in the world in any way in which they choose.  I don't want to dash hopes and desires of being doctors and business women.  Yet at the same time I hope they choose to first be moms and wives.  I would love nothing more than my daughters all choosing to be stay at home moms, wives, ministering to their families and communities. 

Yet, one never knows when, or if, a girl will marry.  I want her prepared to lead a single life, competently, whether living in my home in her early single years or living alone.  This poses many problems for moms.  How do I encourage her to follow her dreams of being a (insert profession here) without making the alternative of being a keeper of the home a short term, temporary, second thought?

Many women who choose to stay at home during her childrens' preschool years, or even all of school years, think in the terms of temporary.  We have gotten to the point in our culture where we are usually tolerant of stay at home moms, even encouraging.  Yet a stay at home wife?  No kids to care for?  Should this truly be something young girls aspire to?

It is seems sad that society accepts the idea of being a mommy, yet being fullfilled in being a wife is, well misunderstood.  While our children will always be a part of our lives, they will not always be the main focus of our lives, but our marriage should be.  We should be as committed to being wives as we are being moms.  It is my desire that my girls would see modeled the idea of the wife being the part of the whole that handles home care while her husband shall be the part of the whole that handles the majority of the financial provision.  I want them to see that a woman at home is as financially valuable in her ability to help save money through her resources and resourcefulness as well as any homebased financial endeavors she shall provide.  I pray that they will see the emotional/relational value to helping a husband be a minister, no matter his profession. 

But this is a life choice they must make for themselves.  Short of modeling and mentioning it in passing during the occasional "What do you want to be when you grow up" conversations, there is no real way to "force" this desire upon them.  No matter how much you want your child to be a doctor, you cannot make them do it.  The same goes for being a professional keeper of the home. 

And adding to that complexity is that I believe every girl needs to have skills that would allow them to support themselves in the event it become necessary.  So, my problem:  How do I encourage my daughter in her dream of being a doctor and in being a homemaker?

I'm linking this to Raising Homemakers Homemaking Linkup.  Check out the other posts!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SOCKS!!!!

If you know me at all, you have heard me complain about socks.  I think they are horrible, evil and nasty.  But they are a necessary evil in the midwest.  Fortunately, for me, during the summer months my girls like to be barefoot or in sandals/flip flops, so we have few socks to deal with.

Several years ago, my husband issued a decree that has made socks almost bearable around here.  Almost.  We all wear white socks.  The only exception is Daddy and his socks for work, which are brown or black. Okay, that's not true.  I have my winter long socks that I wear with my shorter skirts to keep my lets warm.  They are all funny colored.  Next, each person not only wears white socks everyday, but they have only one type of sock, all their socks match.  Then, twice a year I buy all new socks.  It is expensive, but worth it.  I throw away all the socks (or if they are still reasonable, I donate them to my much more organized and less sock picky mommy friend).

To further help, each different size of sock is different.  For example, the oldest boy has a blue strip across his toe.  The middle boy has a green stripe.  The littlest girl has pink.  The two older girls wear the same size sock, so they both have purple toes.  If they share a sock size, they share socks.  They don't get to bicker about whose sock is whose.  I just don't care.  Daddy's socks are gray heeled and Mommies have pink words written across the toe.  When we buy socks next, we will all get a different brand/style so that the old ones are easily identifiable in the purging process.

Now when we do whites, all the socks get washed in that one load, rather than having only yellow socks to wear with a pink outfit or something, or worse, only one yellow and one pink sock to wear.  They aren't cute, but they are work.  We've done it so long that no one cares, even the girls.  It's just life. 

When we sort the clean load of whites, we put each person's sock into their own stack, but I don't fold.  If a person wants to fold their socks (including Daddy who is the pickiest sock person in the family), they fold their own.  If there is a stray sock, it goes in the drawer unmated so that we know where it will be when next we find a stray.  Since they all match, it doesn't matter!

This is the best sock solution this untidy disorganized mom of 6 has ever had.  It works for us!

I'm linking this up with Raising Arrows Large Family Organization Tips


What Would You Do If?

What would you do if you could do anything you wanted and know you would not fail.  

I've seen the question posed before.  I never know the answer.  Is it because I don't know what I'd like to do?  Is it because I can't narrow it down to just one thing?  Is it because I have no goals?  Is it because I'm afraid to admit, even to myself, what I most long to do and am afraid to try?

Yeah, I don't know.  So, while I'm pondering this for myself, ashamed that I can't give an answer, I'd love to have your "What would you do if" listed in the comment section below.  You can post anonymously if you desire.  If you have tried to post in the past and had difficulties, try again.  There should be an option to post anonymously if you do not want to create an ID.

If I get at least 5 reader comments, I promise to most one myself.  If I get at least 10 reader comments, I promise it will be true!  Post your answer and encourage one another to dream big!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why I'm the Worst Mom/Woman I Know

and other such nonsense....

I have the world's most amazing friends.  Let me describe them.  These are real people, honest.  Read how truly amazing they are (if you get bored, please skip to the bottom for the point, it's a good one):

1) I have a friend who actually makes her own bread.  Not sometimes, like twice a day, every day.  And she grows her own meat.  Ok, maybe raises is better. She has slaughtered her own chickens, served her own holiday goose.  She has had goats for milk, and entertainment.  Oh, yeah, she has 4 kids 5 and under, works 3 jobs last I counted (or was it 4), runs her own business, takes her preschoolers/infants/toddlers with her to her job(s).  Homeschools her kids, who are grades ahead though so young, and has her kids in classes at the "Y".

2) I have a friend who has 6 kids, homeschools and makes herbal home remedies.  Her kids match everyday, not just public days, study Latin and Spanish, listen to classical music and appreciate fine art.  Her husband is one of those multi-talented highly respected men in the community and a leader in church.  She looks amazing every day and has an impeccably kept house.

3) I have a friend who is beyond amazing in her love and heart for her children.  She knows them so very well and has high expectations despite their individual quirks.  She has dealt with heartache most of us cannot imagine, nor would want to, and yet shines with joy and love for others.  She's been a married, yet mostly single military mom, runs her own business, writes and cooks divinely.  She teaches others how to have fun and to not sweat the petty stuff.  Oh, and in her spare time is pushing forth an adoption for their first girl.

4) I have a friend who has the most amazing sense of humor and heart to give and serve.  She never forgets a birthday, or other anniversary-type event - even the silly.  She brings Whatchamacallit bars and Dr. Peppers to friends just because she's that sort.  She has a voice that the angels stop and listen to and a gift for song that glorifies God in the most necessary of circumstances.  She always has the encouraging word and the scripture to back it up.  She makes sure her children have a variety of experiences and encourages their faith in every breath of her life.

5) I have a friend who exudes love.  She has done it all, homeschool, public school, a mix of both, and is a general advocate for her friends to follow God's call in their lives and hearts.  She has experienced heartache and pain that have brought forth beauty.  She helped me find a call for small children I didn't know was there and is a daily inspiration, though we speak rarely.  She knows what's important as a mom and doesn't stress over the stuff that's just not worth it.  She builds up the hearts of her friends.  She is an amazing cook, too!

6) I have a friend who I'm still getting to know, but intrigues me often.  She doesn't see how cool she is.  She has tireless energy.  She coaches everything.  She cooks incredibly.  She is a great artist, in many different media types.  She gives of herself and is totally not selfish, just don't ask her.  Her mind is always running.  She enjoys helping friends in the craziest ways.  She is the sort of friend that is a true friend, the one that you just know you could call when you need help and she'd drop everything she could and do it.

7)  I have a friend who is gorgeous.  Not just outside, though certainly, but deeply inside.  She exudes the Joy of the Lord in all she says and does.  She has 4 beautiful children and loves them deeply.  She is an example to all the women who know her.  She honors her husband in all her actions and speech.  She gives endlessly and tirelessly of herself.  Without even knowing, she has brought me comfort and joy.  Though I see her rarely now, she is still dedicated to my life, always willing to pray when asked.  

8) I have a mean friend, too.  Just ask her.  Only she's so not really.  She's tough and independent.  She knows what it takes to survive in this yucky world and works hard to protect her kids from it.  She works mostly full time and homeschools while going to school herself.  She feeds her kids good, wholesome food, and adores her time with them.  She cares for her disabled grandfather.  She has a heart big enough for all that are in it and room to spare.  She likes to do nice things for others, though she doesn't like to be too highly praised for it.

I chose, of all the other amazing women in my life, these 8.  I know them best, so they were easiest to write about.  Seven of them are women invested in my life, praying for me and each other as a part of (or formerly a part of) my small group.  They are the women I call when prayers are needed or I'm just overly frustrated.  The other one is the oldest friend that I still see from my childhood.  (Oldest as in been friends with the longest, she's younger than I.)

I could have written about so many other amazing women in my life. I really don't know were to stop, so I decided it must be here.  Honestly, I could choose a dozen more women I know and write some amazing things about them.

So my title was "Why I'm the Worst Mom/Woman I Know", and the inspiration came from many conversations with women leading me to see that we all think we are terrible, awful, bad or just plain crumby, while everyone else is so amazing.  Well, that is half true.  Everyone else is amazing.  Different amazing.  Each of these women sound almost perfect here, and frankly that's how I see them.  Except they aren't.  That is how they see themselves.  The truth is, we are all flawed.  But if we are seeking to serve and to love, to give of ourselves in any way, people will see those good things about us.  If a few people that don't know us very well see the superficial flaws we have and make judgments based on those, they are the ones that will suffer.  They are the ones that won't get to know how amazing we truly are. 

So if you are having one of those days when everyone you know seems so perfect and you feel so unable to compete, read about my friends.  Then realize, someone else thinks these same things about you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street?

I do not follow the news.  I do not listen to the radio, watch TV or read news related internet articles.  I do not follow politics when I can help it.  I am NOT a financial guru. 

Now that my official disclaimer is stated:  I decided that maybe since this Occupy Wall Street thing seemed to still be happening, I should read up on it.  So I did.  I went to their (whoever they are) site and read some of the, admittedly heartbreaking, stories.  I read some "news" sources reports on the "occupation" or "movement".  Yep, I'm still confused.  But at least I know a thing or two and believe a few other things.  Maybe what I know could be helpful.  Maybe it will just make them angry.  Maybe what I think will just make you angry.  Who knows.  But here goes.

First what I think:  I was tempted to think at first that this was a group of lazy people unwilling to work and upset at the people who did work and made their fortunes.  Now I think it's a group of people who have so bought the lies we've been told by the people "selling" that now they somehow think the government is supposed to fix their problems.  What lies?  Mostly about debt.  We've been told lies about debt for years. According to most of the stories I read, it is largely student loan debt (possibly because credit card debt doesn't make people as sympathetic?).  I have student loans, too.  Not as many as some people, but still more than I really have the extra cash to pay for.  Yet, somehow people have decided that the government is to blame because I took out student loans?  You know why I only have a comparatively small amount of student loans?  Because I was poor growing up and got good grades in high school and got a lot of scholarships. 

Did you read that right?  Yes, I said I was poor growing up and so I got scholarships.   Wait?  We are being sold the lie that the lower class are the kids who need loans for college.  Not true.  ALL of my loans paid for my summer abroad studying education in England (which was totally awesome and totally worth my husband having to pay for now). Yep, my trip to Europe is what we are paying for.  I didn't have to go.  I would have gotten a great degree (with Honors) from a reputable (state) college resulting in a decent paying job in education even without the trip to Europe. 

My hubby has as much student loans to pay as I do (maybe slightly more).  He wasn't poor growing up.  Nope.  He was middle class all the way.  His parents made decent money, a 2 income family.  They weren't super wealthy, but they were not thousands of dollars below the poverty line like mine.  So, why did he get loans?  Simply because his parents had not saved enough to pay for his education (at state schools mind you).  And because he was not a good student and received no scholarships. 

Here is another difference in our two stories.  I graduated in 4 years with honors, high GPA, latin words, the whole nine yards and got a teaching job making decent (for fresh out of college) money.  He attended for 6 years, finally stopped and got a job in IT making the same money I was making.  In 10 years of learning on the job and being a generally dedicated learner and worker, he has more than doubled what he started at (not really a huge stretch, but better than 10 years at minimum wage).  I have left the job that was earned by my degree and am staying home with my kids.

My point?  Glad you asked.  My point is student loans alone are not the problem and the government isn't the answer.  Our combined student loans are less than many of these "middle class" college kids' loans were for one year of school.  I agree they were lied to and convinced student loans were the answer, but where is the accountability for making stupid choices?  Everyone likes to promote the "'poor' kids can't pay for college and need student loans, then get stuck with the bad economy" story.  I beg to differ.  I would have gone to college scott free if it weren't for my summer abroad.  Hardly a necessity and I take full responsibility for that decision.

So I've digressed a bit.  Ok, a lot.  Next, I believe these "kids" have been lied to by the "You have to have everything" advertisers so that they felt that going to a private college, buying fancy computers and living in apartments were great expenditures of their student loan money.  We bought a computer with student loan money.  It was stupid.  We are still paying for a computer that no longer exists.  OUR dumb decision.

They were lied to growing up thinking that when they left their (parents') nice little middle income home they would enter their own little middle income home with all the amenities their parents worked 20 years to afford.  Gee, we did that, too.  Yup, credit cards!  That took a long time to get out from under.  Buying nice things because he (the hubby) was used to them and I liked being spoiled.  OUR dumb decision.

But mostly, I think, they were lied to in the idea that they somehow have gotten that 1) the government is supposed to fix their lives and 2) anyone who has managed to make money should be punished because they (the 99percenters) couldn't.

I think if the government would stay out of business more, not interfere more, we just might see a few things about this capitalism that make sense.

So now, for what I know:  It's precious little.

I know that you have basically 2 real economic choices, capitalism and socialism.  I know that socialism has not worked in many, many countries around the world.  I know that governments don't actually make money, they acquire it from the people who have it and spend it doing things, some good, some bad. 

I know that the government gets its money from people that have it.  Yes, I know I said that, but I wanted to make that clear.  There is all this talk about the rich should pay more percentage-wise than the middle class because somehow we need to punish them for being rich.  Here's what I know about math:  10% of $50,000 is $500.  10% of  $5,000,000 is $50,000.  So if, hypothetically speaking, I make $50,000 and we have flat tax rate of 10% I pay the govnerment $500.  If you make $5,000,000 you pay, on the same flat rate scale, $50,000 or about what I make in a year you pay in taxes in a year.  So now, why would I want you to pay say 20% or $100,000?  (I'm not lobbying flat tax, just removing variables for discussion purposes). 

I can hear it now "But the loopholes, the tax write offs, the incentives...." Okay, again with made up figures to make a point.  Let's say that you own a company and your annual income, you yourself not your company, is $5,000,000.  Now that's pretty nice and in our scenario you owe $50,000 in taxes.  Your wise tax accountant (who you pay a lot of money to and provide with an income so that he can pay taxes) finds a loophole and saves you $25,000 of that. Great!  Now, since you are stinking rich, not only do you pay an accountant a great deal of money, but you have a nice house.  And nice cars.  So with the saved $25,000 you hire a housekeeper.  Now the government doesn't have your income, but this girl does and the government doesn't support her.  Now you also have a cook, a pool boy, a chauffeur, a butler, a guy who brings you the paper, whatever your little heart desires.  All these people would much rather work for you than not have a job, obviously because that is the choice they have made, so you are employing maybe 10 full time staff.  Hmmm, you save $25,000 of the $50,000 you should have paid, but pay salaries on 10 people who may, or may not, pay taxes on that money but are not being supported by the government. 

Pretend for a moment that the government decides this is unfair, takes away your fortunes, gives you the same amount of money as the guy who brings you your paper and gives you a nice little job to do to earn that mediocre salary.  Do you suddenly feel compelled to work your best?  Work as hard as you can?  Improve your standing and help others?  Or do you do the bare minimum and come home each night to watch the government programs on TV like everyone else?  Now the government is paying you to do no more than anyone else and your hard work and determination that built you up to a billionaire to start with get you no better off than the guy who wasn't interested in working in the first place. 

Oh, wait.  Do you remember what I said?  The government doesn't make money, they get it from the people who have it?  Well, now, once all the nation's wealth has been redistributed, who has money to give to the government to pay their own salary?  It's like trying to pick yourself up off the ground.  Try it, I'll wait.  Did it work? 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Do Service Points Expire?

There is a terrific blog that I follow called A Slob Comes Clean in which the author gives great tips, suggestions and advice that she discovers on her journey away from slobdom.  In one of her blog posts, which I highly recommend you read (but only if you promise to finish reading this post when you are finished) she talks about how All Housekeeping Points Expire at Midnight.  I don't want to ruin her witty prose for you, but in short she explains how those of us who tend to have difficulty keeping our house clean sometimes are ruined by a productive day.  I know for me, when I have worked really hard and made a huge improvement in one day in my home, I tend to waste away the next day.  See, sometimes we tend to rest on the efforts of the past.  We sometimes think that what we have already done gets us out of doing something else in the future.

As I was musing over this idea the other day I realized this thought can invade our service life as well as our housekeeping.  Have you ever thought, "Someone should really (insert idea here), but I'm not going to because I already (insert heroic action here) so I've done enough"?  No?  I didn't think so.  Not you, I'm actually talking to that other person.  You know, HerShe is the one who reminds everyone of the fact that she served faithfully in her church for 10 years, 20 years ago, so she doesn't need to serve now. That is an extreme example.  I am sure most of us would not be able to relate to that.  But sometimes I am Her.  Sometimes I think, I've done enough.     

There is truth to that fact that we need to guard ourselves from overcommitment and from interfering with our family's needs.  We need to be sure we aren't taking on roles that God intended someone else to do.  Sometimes we fill a need that God doesn't want us to fill because we aren't listening, seeking His guidance. In doing so we interfere with a blessing God had intended for someone else.  There are legitimate times not to serve.

But sometimes we are using our past service to excuse things we don't want to do.  Okay, again, not you, but her.  I know I have been her.  I have thought "I don't need to volunteer to help with the Women's Ministry Christmas dinner, because I have helped with Children's Ministry."  I am certain that sometimes I have lost out on a blessing God had intended for me because I have used the excuse of past, or even current, service to avoid serving elsewhere. 

God doesn't put our skills, our gifts or our passions in a little box labeled "Children's Ministry" or "Women's Ministry" or even "Church Ministry".  God sends us opportunities to grow and be blessed disguised as service opportunities.  It seems to me that it is a rare event when God uses us to do something but doesn't have a plan to impact us in the process.

We do need to be aware of using "service" as a way to hide from the world or of taking on more than God is calling.  But we need to stop using our past service as an excuse to avoid the next thing God is asking us to do.  Or maybe that is just me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Award Winning Raw Apple Cake Recipe

Here it is!  The moment you have all been waiting for!  I am going to share a secret, award winning recipe that will leave anyone who tries it impressed.  Yes, it is really that good.  I've never met anyone who didn't rave over this recipe.  It is amazing.  I've never seen anyone make it other than my mother in law and now me.  I know there are others of you out there, and I hope soon that there will be many more of you.  This recipe truly is killer.



Raw Apple Cake

4 c. apples chopped fine
2 c. sugar
mix together let stand 30 min. (Honestly, it doesn't always have to sit quite that long, just needs to make a good juice.)

Sift together:
2 c flour
2 tsp soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Add dry ingredients and
2 beaten eggs to apple mixture.  Stir only to blend well.  Pour into prepared 9 x 13 pan.
Bake 350 for 40 minutes.

Topping:
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 stick Margarine (I actually use butter, it is just as good, either works)
1 c water
(1 teaspoon Vanilla to add at end)
Cook until thick, stirring constantly.  Add 1 teaspoon Vanilla.  Pour over hot cake.


Around the edges you can see the bubbly topping.
After the topping has settled.  Best served warm!
Warning, this cake does not look good. You may have to force some people to try it. (I am one.  I didn't try it the first few times, but now I LOVE it!)

This is hands down my husband's favorite cake, maybe all time favorite dessert.  Happy Eating!  (I would love to see other fall apple/pumpkin kinds of dessert ideas from anyone who wants to post their own yummy recipes.)

Update:  The year I won the coveted Golden Spatula for this recipe, my dear friend Amanda from Cooking Three Handed also won the Golden Ladle for her Chili recipe posted here.  Check it out and say hello!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Doubt?

Why is it so easy to get discouraged despite the obvious fact that God is working great things?  How can I have such great joy in one area of my life where it is so amazingly clear that God has restored peace and hope and brought joy and excitement, and yet feel so discouraged in other areas?  How can I see God's glory as He cleans up messes, meanwhile despairing of the messes I have that yet need cleaned up?  Is my faith really so small that I cannot believe, or choose to not believe, that God is working in all the areas?  Do I limit God by thinking he only has enough time, energy or focus to fix one area of my life at a time?  Do I doubt His ability?  Or is it His desire I doubt?

These are the questions that I ask myself as I feel so distraught over some, rather tiny I suppose, issues in my life and yet simultaneously feel more joy than I have felt in a very long time. How can I see what God has done for me and those I love and despair that I cannot handle these other issues alone?  Do I forget that God isn't calling me to do anything alone?  Do I forget that He who restores hope restores finances and relationships? 
Why is it so easy to put God in this place and that situation, but forget to invite him into that other situation, the one you want to forget?

Now is the time that I need to remind myself of one of my favorite sayings: "God is good, ALL the time!" and to remind myself of a verse I need to hear from time to time: "Be still, and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10.  

So I'm writing this as a reminder, God is Good!  It is His job to fix the world.  The joy of the Lord IS my strength.  I'm going to pick up and dust myself off, try not to worry about the things I can't change and try to follow what God has planned for my life.  Sounds easy enough...

Holiday World 2011!

Holiday World 2011!

Baby # 6

Baby # 6
Welcome to the world and welcome to our crazy family!

Fort Benning

Fort Benning
We finally made it to Georgia!!!

Just a day at the park!

Just a day at the park!

My Hero!

My Hero!
I don't do dead things. Fortunately for me, God gave me boys!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!
Daddy and Grandma make Jammies every year for the kids, They love it!

Christmas in PJs

Christmas in PJs
Don't I just have the cutest kids?

2010 Jammies

2010 Jammies
Once again Daddy pulled it off. They look cute!

Round 2 birthday parties

Round 2 birthday parties
Cake number 1 of 3 done. I am so not an artist, but I think it came out pretty well!

My Girls

My Girls
Borrowed dance clothes, my girls sure look cute.

Couped up

Couped up
More images below showing the children feeling a bit "couped up" from the long winter!

Chickens: Take 2

Chickens: Take 2
Cute chicks!

The robot cake. I am glad my kids' standards aren't as high as mine!

Tree Climbers

Tree Climbers

Summer Fun!

Summer Fun!
Hi Daddy! Hope you are having fun at work!

This one is so bad, I had to label the cake so you would know it's not a cow!

Dressed for Church!

Dressed for Church!
Come as your favorite Bible character night!

Too cute for words!

If the boy wasn't so tall, I could get a picture of his face!

Establishing the pecking order!

Babies!