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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hard Questions: I Gave My Life for Thee, What Hast Thou Given for Me?


These questions in the form of a poem seem appropriate as we head into a new year.  Let’s think about how we can live more intentionally for Jesus Christ this coming year.

I Gave My Life for Thee

I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed,
That thou mightest ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead
I gave My life for thee,
What hast thou given for Me?

I spent long years for thee
In weariness and woe,
That  an eternity,
Of joy thou mightest know.
I spent long years for thee:
Hast thou spent one for Me?

My Father’s home of light,
My rainbow circled throne,
I left for earthly night,
For wanderings sad and lone;
I left, it all for thee,
Hast thou left aught for Me?

I suffered much for thee – 
More than thy tongue can tell,
Of bitterest agony –
To rescue thee from hell.
I suffered much for thee,
What canst thou bear for Me?

And I have brought to thee,
Down from My home above,
Salvation full and free,
My pardon and My love;
Great gifts I brought to thee,
What hast thou brought to Me?

Oh, let my life be given,
My years for Thee be spent;
World-fetters all be riven,
And joy with suffering blent:
To Thee my all I bring,
My Savior and my King!

- Frances Ridley Havergal

Mark 8:35  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

Galatians 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Be Not Anxious – A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint


Be Not Anxious

I cannot change the yesterday when I distrusted Thee,
Though all my fears unfounded proved, and shame me now as then;
I cannot promise that my faith will last throughout the night,
Or that, when Thy tomorrow comes, I will not doubt again.

But grant, O faithful Lord and true, that I may trust Thee now,
Just now, each moment of each hour of this Thy present day;
That, looking backward, I may read the record of the past,
And, forward, see Thy steadfast word light all the future way.

With Memory to guard the rear and Faith to lead the van,
And all Thy tested promises like beacon lights to shine,
How can I dread that demon shape of anxious, faithless fear?
For he shall lose his power when I fully trust in Thine.

Annie Johnson Flint

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thoughts from the Past – Will A Man Rob God?


March 7, 2006
Will A Man Rob God?

There is a form of robbery, or rather attempted robbery, going on in the Lord's church and Christendom today which mostly goes unnoticed. There are many who preach doubt and question other believer's salvation, thus robbing them of their assurance of salvation. This is devilish, for Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), and those who do this are serving his purposes, even if they don't realize it. But, there is another way that attempted robbery is going on.

Psalm 3:8 tells us, Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. Salvation is the private property of God Almighty. No human can give it or remove it. It is personally ours in one sense, and yet it is not. It belongs to God from whence it came. He paid for it with His own blood, Acts 20:28.

David said, Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. While David obviously knew he was saved personally, yet he calls it "thy salvation". In a very real sense it belongs to the Lord. In fact, it is quite amazing how many times the scriptures speak of "thy salvation" in reference to God owning it! Look it up in Sword Searcher or your computer Bible program. I was surprised.

The last, and perhaps most significant reference to "thy salvation" is in Luke 2:30, For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. Simeon was speaking here of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, whom he saw in the temple.

Acts 28:28 tells us ...that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. Note that it is God's salvation. It is also Christ.

Consider this verse - Revelation 7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. We might think, "Why would God need salvation? Why give that to Him?" Well, in the context of what we're considering here, salvation belongs to Him. Power belongs to Him also; so does might. Why not give Him salvation? It is His. He owns it. He was the only one that could ever pay for it!

Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

So, salvation - which belongs to the Lord - is applied to individuals by belief and confession of Jesus Christ. Who then decides who is saved and who is not? Only GOD. Can it be possible that a man or woman could take someone's salvation away? John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. It is God's salvation and eternal life, and He gives it. Ultimately it does not belong to the person the thieves are trying to rob! It belongs to God! So, in essence, they are trying to rob God of what is rightfully His!

They also try to rob Him of the right to apply it in accordance to His word. When they begin to make lists of works that are "necessary" to prove salvation, they are actually trying to take salvation into their own hands. Horrible thought! There isn't one of them I would trust to save me!

Just a few "requirements" man uses to rob God through questioning people’s salvation:

Church attendance
Standards (many, many different issues)
Denominational and/or church membership
"Holy communion" 
Submission to man's authority (pastor, pope, bishop, etc.)
Acceptance of scholarship
Speaking in tongues
Observance of the Old Testament Law
Sabbath keeping

etc. ad nauseam.

When a man says, "If I can talk you out of your salvation, you weren't saved to begin with" he is a hireling and a thief. He is trying to steal what is not his to take, nor ours to lose! Sure, we might be weak enough to think we lost something we never earned in the first place – something that was given to us as a free gift. What does that prove? Our salvation belongs to God, and NO ONE can get it out of His hand. Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory to God!

Perhaps one reason some people indulge in this attempted thievery is because of the end of Psalm 3:8, ... thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. It galls some people that God would bless folks who "aren't right with God" by their standards. It infuriates some. I'm not entirely sure, but I cannot help wondering if really these folks are mad at God and so they take it out on people by trying to rob them of the hope of their salvation. I suppose it could be. Nevertheless, the LORD gives salvation and He gives blessing according to His word. We need not fear man. Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Man cannot take our salvation – it belongs to God.

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The End of the World – Bring It On!


So, today the world is supposed to end.  I haven’t heard specifics on how it is supposed to happen, but that’s OK.  All the kerfuffle reminds me of my favorite “comic strip.”  It was a single frame style actually and, as I recall it depicted a street corner scene.  In the back were a group of “doomsdayers” in long white robes with long white beards.  They were holding up placards with such warnings as, “The end of the world is coming!” “The world will end tomorrow!”  “Prepare for the end of the world!”  In the foreground is a decent looking fellow with the Holy Bible under his arm and he’s saying, “That’s OK.  We can get along without it.”

I love that. :-)  We CAN get along without it!

This old world has some beautiful spots.  It has a certain level of enjoyment and pleasantness.  But, there is so much sin, there is so much sorrow.  And, more than that, through faith in Jesus Christ I have so much more to look forward to, that really and truly I can get along without this old world!  How about you

2 Peter 3:10-13  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Regarding the Mayans -

First of all, if they had been so smart about predicting the future they would still be a nation today.   


Psalms 96:1-5  O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Getting the Bigger Picture – An Adventure In Gigapixels


Here is some of those amazing gigapixel photographs where you can zoom in and zoom in and zoom in… 

Mt. Everest

A 16 gigapixel photo of Machu Picchu.  This will save you a climb and shortness of breath. :-)

Paris at 26 gigapixels.

London at 80 gigapixels

Budapest at 70 gigapixels.  I had no idea that Budapest was nestled in such a wooded, hilly area.  It’s beautiful.

Dresden at 10 gigapixels

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hard Questions - What Is the “Right” Response to this Tragedy?


Friday I was really struggling with my reaction to the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut.  There was so much emotional shock and fervor being poured out by many, and yet I found myself moved and dismayed, but not as shocked and grief-stricken as I apparently “should have been”.  I felt like I was hardhearted and I was getting those “What’s wrong with me?” thoughts.  I also felt frustrated and like something was wrong with the whole picture.  Some of it I could vaguely discern, but it was still muddled in my mind.

Then the Lord used a friend’s post on Facebook to help clarify things for me…

Continue Reading.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Quick and Easy Recipes - Special Dietary Needs Recipe Finder


WHFoods: Over 100 Quick and Easy Recipes

Here is a recipe finder that allows you to add specific ingredients, exclude specific ingredients, and include a specific nutrient.  You can select more than one item in the first two columns by following their instructions.  By doing this, you can find quick recipes for special diet needs!  What a useful tool! 

And, the recipes are quick.  They say, “The majority of recipes we offer can be both prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less, from start to finish.”

The recipes are also flexible.  They tell us, “We realize that if our recipes are going to fit your individual tastes, schedule and lifestyle, they can't just dictate exactly which ingredients you need and the exact amount of each one to use.”

If you have no special diet needs, you can also just browse through their recipes and select ones that interest you.  Or, if you like to cook healthy, nutritious meals and are just looking for a quick and easy recipe for a specific ingredient, this is a great way to locate something.

A friend of mine whose son is on a very specialized diet right now got this link from his doctor and passed it on.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Favorite Kitchen Things – Lettuce Spinner


When I was younger and foolisher (ahem) I thought my Grandma was a bit silly for liking her lettuce spinner so much.  I didn’t think there was anything wrong with our method, which was shaking the leaves or patting them with paper towel.  Well, it’s a strange, but with at least some things, the older you get the more you think like your mom – and your grandmothers.  Now, I think my lettuce spinner is great!  (I also love watermelon, but that’s off the subject.)

My local sister-in-law bought me this neat little salad spinner (pictured above) and I’ve learned to use and and enjoy it!  Sometimes I do forget to use it still (old habits die hard), but I have remembered a fair amount. 

I also figured out that it works for other things besides lettuce.  I’ve spun baby carrots and blueberries in it as well.  It’s really handy for making smallish fruits and veggies less drippy!  And, the removable basket is useful for rinsing small vegetables and fruit under the faucet, then putting it in the spinner to spin. For something that just needs a surface rinse it works as a colander.

Another cool thing about it?  I can store my lettuce right in the container in the fridge and it stays nice and fresh!  I do drain out the water from the bottom if there’s an excessive amount, but then I just pop the basket holding the lettuce back in and put the lid on and it’s ready for the fridge.

Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I also don’t always really wash it after I use it.  I will if I’ve used it to store lettuce for awhile, but if it’s just a short job I usually rinse it and put it in the drainer.  My reasoning is that we’re going to eat the fresh carrots or lettuce or berries just the way they came out of the spinner, so why is the spinner “dirty”?  I only rinse and drain if it’s visibly dirty or been storing something for awhile. :-)  Easy peasy.

(Yeah, I can hear one of my local friends now asking me to please wash the lettuce spinner before they come to dinner if we’re having salad. Haha.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Random Day


Since the The Simple Woman’s Day Book post was fun and one reader especially liked it, I thought I might try doing more in that vein.  I took some ideas from others and mixed them with some of my own.  I may keep on doing something like this from time to time.  Hope you enjoy it. :-)

This Morning I like the…
Smell of…fresh air.
Sound of…birds singing outside our living room.
Taste of…a banana, mixed berry, yogurt smoothie.
Sight of…sunshine.
Feel of…a jacket (Yes, it’s actually cool enough to wear a jacket inside this morning, though our weather this December has been unseasonably warm.)

Good Things about Today:

My husband has a job, and he was able to get to it (our own car is in for repairs, so we are borrowing my brother’s.)

I have family nearby whom I hope to visit with later.

Things Already Accomplished Today:

Made a banana, berry, yogurt smoothie. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.) ;-)  Also fried an egg.

Entered some fabric giveaways online and also discovered some neat quilting blogs.

Let the cat out and petted her briefly.  (She was in one of her weird moods.)

Started working on the laundry – again.

Had my special time with Lord while doing my light therapy.

Created this blog post. :-)

Things that Need to Be Done – Hopefully Today:

Process and can the green enchilada sauce that is in the fridge and freezer.

Dust the house.

Random Photo from My World:

A batch of green tomato enchilada sauce before it was cooked.  Hopefully I’ll get the recipe posted for you all soon.

Quote for Today:

“You’re never safe from surprise till your dead.” – Irene Isenhart

Verse for Today:

Psalms 68:9  Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.


The Thousand Word Project - By the breath of God frost is given…






Friday, November 30, 2012

Hard Questions – Modesty: What Does Our Clothing Say About Jesus?


A guest post from our pastor’s wife -

Watching the Olympics

For the first time in a long time, I found myself watching the Olympics and of course, pulling for the Americans.  My enthusiasm was dampened though by all of the athletes who were so scantily clad.  It seemed that the lady athletes were often wearing much less than the men who were in the same kind of sport.

I was surprised to even hear a discussion on the radio about the subject as I was driving home from work one day. [Editor’s note: She is also the church secretary. :-) ]  Even those who don’t claim to be Christians were talking about how scantily dressed the ladies were.

I must say that in recent years, I have been shocked at the laxity of Christian ladies and girls in the area of modesty.  So many seem to just follow the fashion trends whatever they may be.  I Timothy 2:9 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…”  1 Thessalonians 5:22 says,  “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

One of the worst influences on modesty in women’s fashion came from a woman whose name has been in the news lately since she died August 13.  Her name was Helen Gurley Brown, and she was the editor of “Cosmopolitan Magazine” for years and was a proponent of displaying the female body in such a way as the entice the opposite sex.  Models wearing the most risqué clothing were featured on Cosmopolitan’s covers under her direction.  Sad to say, one can see girls dressed in like fashion even attending church services today, or perhaps dressing appropriately for church but in their every day life dressing like the world.

Many fathers and mothers are not teaching their girls to be modest at young ages.  So many think the trend of showing more and more of their little girl’s bodies is cute.  Pictures are posted on Facebook in bathing suits and short shorts for all the world to see.

Little girls are being paraded in a very alarming way as they compete in the little girl beauty pageants looking like miniature street walkers.

Yes, it will be going against the world and not an easy battle, but Christian fathers and mothers need to be prepared to say no to the types of clothing that would bring reproach on the name of Christ.  Christian parents should not be encouraging or allowing dress that is provocative.  Parents shouldn’t be deceived into thinking they can allow the wrong kind of clothing when the child is little and correct the kind of thinking that has bee instilled in the young child when she is older.  Barriers to modesty are often broken down when the child is young.  Those who have gotten used to wearing immodest clothing often do not feel any shame in continuing to dress in the same fashion when they mature.

We don’t allow children to lie when they’re young and think that is cute.  We don’t allow them to do other sinful things and think we’ll correct it when they are teens.  At least, we shouldn’t, so why do we become so lax in the area of modesty?

Of course, I’m not talking about the dress of babies and very young toddlers, but I do think when the child is around 2 years old even teaching on modesty can begin.

Last but not least, moms should be good role models in this area.


Editor’s Note: 

As a foot note to this article I’d like to make a further comment on the idea of our dress being a reproach to the name of Christ. 

In Titus 2:9-10, the Bible says,  Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;  Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.  This passage is speaking to servants regarding the service to those over them, however I think that last part of verse 10 is an important point for all areas of life.  We ought to live, speak, and dress in a way that will adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in All Things.  One could write a whole book on that concept alone. 

But, in relation to this article, what about your dress?  What about the dress of your daughters, and even sons?  Is your clothing such that you are an adornment to the holy and righteous doctrines of Jesus Christ?  Or, are you a reproach to His name because your apparel is so immodest, sensual and worldly?  While it is true that clothing is an outward appearance and that God looketh on the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7, it is also true that man does look on the outward appearance.  For many people our outward appearance is all the Bible they will ever “read”.  What does your clothing say about Jesus Christ?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Apron Patterns


My mom in her old kitchen back in Tennessee.

One of the important services that aprons provide is to protect our clothing.  This is a matter of economy for those of us who do a lot of our own cooking. 

Here are some apron patterns for those who might like to make their own.  When you make an apron think of using heavier cotton fabric, or perhaps lining the apron.  This keeps splatters from soaking through, or at least gives you the time you need to pull the apron off if you get a bad splash.  I don’t know how easy it would be to line some of the aprons linked below.  Some of the fuller skirt patterns may not need it simply because the added fullness acts as an extra barrier.

By the way, watch SewingPatterns.com for sales.  They offer their patterns at significant discounts sometimes.  Sign up for their email to find out when the brand you are looking for is on sale.  Plus, they offer downloads of patterns, which could be really helpful to our overseas readers.  I’ve never used that method myself, but it might be worth a try.


This pattern looks quite easy and also includes some cute kitchen accessories – a table runner and placemats.

A super simple pattern from the “for Dummies” series – mother/daughter.  This is very similar to the style that most of ours are made in.

These look like fairly easy ones – mother/daughter.

Learning to sew for little girls – skirts, aprons and hot pads.

Cute mother/daughter and dolly aprons.

Also, sew your own kitchen accessories.

Dining room accessories.

Medium to Hard

A variety of easy to medium aprons in slim to full styles.  There’s a garden apron in this one.

More modern looking mother/daughter set.

Quite modern.  The styles are simple, but the detail work pushes them into this category as I think they’d be harder to make.

Modern, detail intensive half aprons.

Both everyday and “costume” styles.

Cute novelty half aprons – mother/daughter.

Playful novelty aprons for kids.

A full artists apron. This one will really cover you up! If you need to wear slacks for something such as gardening, but you still want to be modestly covered around the hips and upper legs, this apron might be a good option.

Vintage style

’60s – ‘70s style? 

Ruffled and full plus interesting details.

Nice assortment of styles here.  I like these.

‘30s style aprons.

This collection may be my favorite so far. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thoughts from the Past – A False Gift


Somehow this thought from the past seemed especially appropriate this month. :-)

Sept. 25, 2008
A False Gift

Earlier this month Hurricane Ike hit the coast of Texas near Houston. At first they were predicting all kinds of possible "weather" around Austin. We might get rain, high wind, and whatever other things a hurricane might throw our way. Excitement! Speculation! Preparations! As it turned out, we had clouds and some mild wind, but we didn't get a drop of much-needed rain.

Pondering on this I thought of the verse that speaks of "clouds and wind without rain." It reminded me of how people will make a big deal over some evangelist or speaker and we will come to expect something extraordinary from them, yet how often when we finally get the "delivery" it is as empty of anything life-giving or of refreshment as "Ike" was for us.

The verse turned out to be Proverbs 25:14, Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain. In thinking of this, let us be cautious not to boast for ourselves, our family or others, indicating that we or they have gifts and abilities that are not there. It is very disappointing to people when one says, "Oh yes, I can do this or that...." or; "This is a wonderful preacher...." or; "My family always blah, blah, blah;" and they then find out it is not true.

In the end we were very thankful that we didn't get the kind of "weather" that a lot of people received from Ike! But for me, here in a place that remained dry, the lesson held true. In my experience, the two most graphic examples in our culture of false boasting are among politicians and religious/Christian leaders. Beware when people boast that they or that someone else has a special gift from God. Beware when politicians boast of what they will do or what they are.

Psalms 34:2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving In the Face of Hard Things


1 Thessalonians 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Ephesians 5:20  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Personally I think that these are two of the hardest verses in the Bible.  When you feel like your life is a wreck it can be such a challenge to still thank God.  Giving thanks in all things is tough.  Giving thanks for all things is even harder.

A few thoughts to encourage those who may be struggling to thank the Lord this week:

A Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving for Hard Things


The Blessings that Remain

Friday, November 16, 2012

A New Holiday Challenge


Some of my readers may remember that we do not celebrate Christmas.  A couple years ago I put up a post on this blog with a link to a page on the Home Maker’s Corner where I explained why we don’t celebrate Christmas.  Partly this was to help readers understand why there wasn’t any “Christmas cheer” on this blog. :-)

Last December I felt compelled to start something a little different, namely a challenge to those who do celebrate Christmas to start putting their actions where their claims are and really transform their celebrations into something that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.  The challenges include a variety of difficulty levels to help people at least make a start.

This year I wanted to address the Christmas tree – that sacred cow of all Christmas traditions.  It seems like it’s one of the hardest things to get rid of for many people.  It was for my own family, in fact.  I’m posting this before Thanksgiving for obvious reasons.  :-)

So, here is the new Holiday Challenge – Challenge Number Four: Get Rid of the Tree.

I realize that some people will refuse to read this simply because of the title.  The very idea of not having a Christmas tree is so stressful or appalling to them that they can’t even deal with the thought, let alone the information.  Sadly, this attitude sound more like idolatry than true love for the Lord Jesus Christ.  I hope there will be those who are strong enough to at least read it and consider what I have to say, even if they don’t at first agree with the idea.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Short Thoughts: On the Power and Word of God


Another guest post from my sister-in-law Clara V.:

I cannot comprehend how a person could believe that the LORD God who created the entire universe and every living thing and person who has ever lived, could not preserve His Word for us to read and learn and grow from. His Word is not just some scribbles on a scroll... His Word IS His Son. To say His Word is not true is to say His Son is not true - which as we know, is rejection of the Saviour, and results in eternal damnation.
What kind of God would create all living things but yet be unable to keep His Word, or show the discerning person who truly seeks Him with and pure heart what His truth is? Would you even want to worship such a "weak" God as one who could not preserve His Word?

Let's not detract from His mighty power, His supremacy over religion and people, or destroy His Holy name by casting aside His Living Word which was and is embodied in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not".
(John 1:1-5)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taking Part - The Simple Woman’s Day Book


I haven’t done anything like this before, so this will be something a bit different. :-)  I decided to participate this month in this writing/sharing project just to give you a little window into my life.


Outside my window...is warm sunshine, goldy-brown leaves, dry dirt and kind of dry grass…welcome to Texas.

I am thinking...about all the things I want to write and the projects I need to get done.  I’ve been particularly focused on preparing for our upcoming trip.

I am thankful...for an abundant garden this year.  We have been so blessed to be able to eat our own fresh produce and, even more, to preserve so much of our own food.  I’m so thankful that my dad has worked so hard at this project, and that the Lord has blessed his efforts so abundantly.

In the kitchen...are tomatoes – both red and green – needing to be made into sauces.

I am wearing...a denim skirt, stained pink sweatshirt, old socks and slightly scruffy sneakers.  This is work day wear.  I hope to work on canning which is sometimes quite messy.

I am creating...calendars for our family.  I’m also hoping to make some scripture calendars to sell this year.  I have numerous sewing projects under way or in mind.

I am going...to New Mexico this month, Lord willing.  We are planning to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s parents.  Since they just retired from the missionfield this year and settled into their own house, this is the first family holiday that we will have together.  My husband’s brother and his family also plan to be there.  We’re hoping for a blessed time. :-)

I am wondering...how I’m going to get it all done.

I am reading...the book of Psalms, and I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby (which I bought at a second-hand book store).

I am hoping...to finish some projects before we leave on our trip this month, and to get some writing done this winter.

I am looking forward to...the end of canning season – does it ever end in Texas?  I’m so thankful for the food, but it is a lot of work.

I am learning…T-Tapp.  My mom and I have started this exercise program together and it has been really good for both of us.  We have a long ways to go yet, but it’s helping.  We have both improved already.  :-)

Around the house...my husband is working from home today.  It’s a blessing that he has a job that makes that possible! :-)  Otherwise – there are several packages waiting to be opened, and there’s a little disorder, but it’s not too bad really.

I am pondering...how many amazing things are happening in the world right now that could easily be setting the stage for the fulfillment of prophesy during the time of Jacob’s Trouble.  And, will America fall before or after the Lord’s church is taken out?  What is really important and how should we live during this time?

A favorite quote for today...Isaiah 45:22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

One of my favorite things...is crisp autumn weather bathed in golden sunshine. :-)  [Limited supply in Texas.]

A few plans for the rest of the week:  I’m hoping to get some more green tomato enchilada sauce done and all of it canned, and to make some pizza sauce and can it too.  I also want to make more progress on getting things ready for our trip.

A peek into my day...

This picture was taken last month, but my husband is working from home today, and he and our cat are part of every day for me.  (Except when we’re away.  We don’t travel with our cat!)  :-)

Note: Some of these things changed slightly before I even got this posted. :-)  The packages are now open and the red tomatoes are slowly turning into pizza sauce on the stove. ;-)  And, I changed to a short sleeved shirt – yes, we’re still getting warm in Texas!


As with most sites I link to, there’s a disclaimer on this page. You will find links there to a variety of blogs, many of which you will realize are not at all on the “same page” with me and mine.  Use discretion.  Join the fun if you wish.  :-)

The Simple Woman’s Daybook home page.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Laying Aside Weights – Suffering for 15 Minutes Demo


In the second post of this series I put up a link and briefly discussed the idea of “suffering for 15 minutes”.  The idea is to set a timer and work for just 15 minutes at a time on some project that is overwhelming you and seems too large to complete.  By limiting your “suffering” to 15 minutes at a time, you can eventually get the job done.  As some people have put it, “You can do anything for 15 minutes.”  Instead of having it hanging over your head and frustrating you in the background of life, you can actually get through the job, or at least make some movement toward that end.  This has some very practical applications and can actually help to reduce stress! :-)

Awhile back I decided to tackle my small-but-stuffed sewing room.  It was a mess and discouraging.  Of course, due to it’s size and content the results are not as stunning as some other area of work might have been, but I certainly felt better about it! :-)  I took photos so that I could share the results.

I did the job in several “installments” of 15 minutes.  The first time, just as I was starting, my sister-in-law showed up and kindly offered to help me.  So, I had the added blessing of extra hands and someone to talk to while I spent the first 15 minutes on this project!  What a blessing! :-)  Once I saw some results I decided to push on, but I was interrupted at some point, so I just turned the timer off and came back to it later.  I did a second and a third installment of 15 minutes each (not all on the same day!) to finish the project to my satisfaction.


This was the view looking straight into the sewing room door.


This is quite an improvement and probably the best feeling area in the room.


Half way

All that fabric that was draped all over the pace got gathered up and folded nicely. :-)



It’s hard to get an appreciation for the size of this pile here, but it was really way too big!


You can see on the left that that huge mountain has disappeared. :-) Yes, there was actually an “L” of the desk over there holding it up!


That is the same pile on the right as is shown above.

Half way


Well, I had a new pile on the left of the machine, as you can see.  This pile was things that I wanted to get done sooner rather than later.  Some of them did get done, or discarded. :-)  [Remember that sometimes it’s good to get rid of an unfinished project.]

I needed to spend another 15 minutes on the top shelf of the desk, but that didn’t happen.  Since I do use this room, it has reverted to some extent and is probably ready to be tackled again, though it’s not as bad as it was. 

This picture cracked me up when I took it.  I just had to laugh when I saw that denim bag (unfinished) actually hanging off the top shelf.  You know sometimes it’s better to laugh at ourselves than to stress over it. ;-)  Too bad I didn’t take an “after” shot.  [Yes, that is water on the top shelf.  We’ve had ours go out more than once, so we keep several gallons on hand, and strangely enough, somehow it ended up there.  Weird, I know.]

As you can see, my sewing room is far from being a model room, and there’s no way I’ll ever appear on any organizing show with the “after” results.  Ha.  But, I was happy with the results and it was good enough for me to be able to work in there again without feeling like it was going to cave in on me! :-)  And, after all, that’s what really counts.  [Remember our discussion of “good enough” in the Perfectionism “chapter”? :-)  ]

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Breakfast Rambling - God Can Grow His Own Kids

1 Corinthians 1:3-5  Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

Paul was about to rebuke the church at Corinth soundly on more than one count.  Yet, in spite of that he thanked God on their behalf and believed that they were enriched by God in all utterance and knowledge.  If the Apostle Paul had this confidence in this group, we ought not to be despising and condemning people for far less “offenses” and “faults”.  I have noticed a tendency to think that if someone is living in a way that we see is biblically wrong, we are inclined to judge them as incapable of understanding anything in the Lord.  This is not what scripture teaches here.

In addition to this, it’s interesting that Paul said they were enriched by Jesus Christ in all utterance and all knowledge.  He does not make them dependent upon the “preacher”, pastor, bishop or apostle.  Even though he’s writing to correct some things through his authority as an apostle, he does not make them beholding to himself, but to the Lord.  In the big picture, I think this is because Paul’s confidence was in the Lord Himself and the grace He gave them in Jesus Christ.  His confidence was not in man – either the church as a whole, the elders/leaders, or individuals.  When we can grasp the greatness of God’s giving to His children, we can know that every believer has access to all the utterance and knowledge that he or she needs.  Now, with the complete revelation of scripture, we each have so much more than they did even then.

For my own part I want to trust the Lord’s ability to lead and instruct His children where and how they need it.  While pastors and teachers are good and useful blessings to the church, as we’re told elsewhere, ultimately we need to put our confidence in the Lord to teach other believers what they need to know in their walk with Him.  Yes, Paul needed to rebuke the Corinthian church at this point, but he also had confidence that the Lord would give them grace and enrich them.

Psalms 118:8  It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Favorite Kitchen Things – Erasable Boards


Erasable white boards are useful additions to the kitchen.  They can be used for a variety of things – lists, chores, reminders, prayer requests, praises, memory verses, phone numbers, etc.  I have the one pictured above hanging where I will see it often and have used it to post  scripture.  It’s empty now, but I’ve thought about putting names of people I especially want to remember in prayer up there.

I also have one on the fridge that has reminders of things that need to be done – either on a repeated basis or things that are more urgent than my regular “To Do List”.  It also sports a few doodles and decorations. :-)

I got the idea of a kitchen white board from my dad who put this one up in my Mom’s kitchen years ago:

Note: Beriberi in this case is referring to an Ethiopian spice blend, not the disease, just in case you wondered. :-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Shop Your Own Stuff – The Corner of the Living Room


You will hopefully remember that I’ve been doing a sub-series in the Laying Aside Weights theme by challenging us to “shop your own stuff”.  This post is a demonstration of how I tried to do that to improve a corner of our living room.  I know a lot of us have corners like this around our houses – maybe more than one.  This is not a T.V. reality show, so expect anything too stunning. :-)  Still, I hope you enjoy reading about it.

A year or so ago we rearranged our living room.  The corner by the T.V. had the walking machine in it, and I was ready to get it out of our sitting area.  Partly this was just to make a little more seating, but also, it would make the bookshelf there more accessible and make the sitting area more pleasant looking.  So, the walking machine was moved kitty-corner from where it had been.  It is now in the computer area.  I added a wicker chair (which I already had) for seating and the books are more accessible.  But…..after it was done the corner was dark and lacking something.  Also, the window ledge that sticks out there from the kitchen didn’t seem to go well in the living room. 

In the spirit of this challenge to “shop your own stuff”, I decided to see what I could do.  Initially I wanted to put up some Oriental paper lights in the corner, but it seemed like a better use of money to use something we already had.  Plus, it challenged me to see what solution I could come up with.

Here is a short chronicle of how the corner has “evolved” so far. :-)


As you can see, this corner is also a “piling area” for stuff leaving the house – especially things going to one of the other two houses on our joint properties.  The large basket on the bookshelf is my “Out” basket, but at this point it was rather overflowing!  You can also see that the window ledge is rather odd.  I think they made that wide ledge on the living room side for serving food – I assume.  Also, the cushions in the chair do not match.

The ledge décor didn’t look actually bad, but it wasn’t great either.  I didn’t think there was a good transition into the living room.  It was more in keeping with the kitchen.  The artificial marigolds in the vase just lacked something.

From the kitchen side looking into the living room:

Again, it wasn’t terrible, but it felt cluttered to me.

Some improvement:

Ok, this isn’t entirely an improvement, but it was better.  I worked on the window ledge and now there is a barrier between the kitchen side and the living room side.  This was partially accomplished by adding the wind harp on the edge and also removing the marigolds so that their orange heads weren’t “interrupting” so much.

The most significant change, of course is the hanging light!  Yay! :-)  Now we can sit here and read, and also anyone sitting there in the evening while visiting doesn’t have to sit in a dark corner.

The shade was something I got out of the garage “store” – actually it came from my dad’s collection of 1950’s items (which he’d planned to resell, but which hasn’t happened so far.  Thankfully, he’s just happy to see the stuff used).  The cord to hang it did cost us somewhere around $13 at a hardware store.  We could’ve gotten something cheaper, but the shade would then have been hard to use.  This particular hanger is designed in such a way that you can use a normal table lamp shade on it!  What a handy gadget. :-)  It served our purposes very well.

Here’s a closer look at the living room side of the window ledge.  I like it better.  I’m also glad to get this beautiful piece out of the pile, I mean “store”, so that it can be seen.  This wind harp was made for my family by a good friend who is now with the Lord.  It is a beautiful piece of workmanship and has a good message, and is a sweet reminder of our friend – an A+ item.

From the kitchen side:

I really like the berries in the basket a lot better than the flowers!  Also, this seems less cluttered to me.  I’m not sure yet what I’m going to store in the cute strawberry jar my sister-in-law got for me, but I really like it. :-)  I usually keep my drinking glass on the stone coaster.  It’s nice because it keeps the liquid off of the wood.  Of course, the fresh rose was only temporary.

More progress:

This is a more recent shot of the corner.  I had originally thought I would make a new cover for the rose pillow in the back of the chair, but after moving that green cushion from another part of the house to replace the red and white misfits, I realized that it was a perfect color match and that I didn’t need to recover the back cushion!  Yay!  Another unnecessary project eliminated. :-)

Another addition here that I really like is the two baskets on the end of the bookshelf (right).  I’m sorry they don’t show up better in the picture.  In rummaging around in the garage “store”, I found these African baskets that I think came from my grandmother.  They work great for easy access storage near the door.  The larger one is holding our winter hats, gloves, etc. The smaller one has not been designated for anything yet.  I’m really happy with them because they look decorative, but they supply some needed storage and reduce clutter.  In central Texas we don’t need hats and gloves every single winter day, so I know exactly where those only-occasionally-needed winter items are. :-)

The dog’s winter rug is laying there still waiting for repairs.  I do need to get that done and out of there.  Sigh.

I plan to make some more changes here eventually.  I would like to get the guitar stored somewhere else since it is almost never, ever used.  I also have an idea for putting a curtain on the bookshelf because I don’t like the black, I think it will look neater, and also it will improve the overall décor of the living room.  But, we’ll see.  That may be one of those abandoned projects. :-)  I’ll try to make a later update if/when I make more progress on shopping our stuff to improve this corner.