Saturday, January 31, 2009

Baking for my Buddies

Our church youth are having a bake sale tomorrow after church. The money raised will help the kids go on various trips. My buddies Rebecca and Erica hit me up for some Pumpkin Bread. Okay... actually they asked for zucchini bread, but the garden is a little bare right now! So I opted to substitute pumpkin instead.

Now... the funny thing is... this bread won't even make it to the table to sell... Rebecca will buy one... Erica the other! I just wish them both luck keeping this out of the hands of their husbands! Especially Rebecca's hubby Ricky... that man has one ferocious sweet tooth.

Have to say, there is no better way to spend a cold winters day than baking... even if I don't get any of it myself... hm..... I wonder how the family might enjoy some nut bread????? Off to do a little more baking!!!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Surviving the Snow Storm

Well... the snow came... and it is gone... and wow... did we get a lot! Including the ice we measured 8 inches here in Southern Indiana. Now, for some of you, that might not sound like much, but for us... it is plenty.

The freezing rain began yesterday afternoon and continued through this morning. It changed back to snow around 6:00 AM. Around 3:00 AM we began to hear tree limbs beginning to break under the weight. We knew that eventually, we would be without power, and we were. It went out around 7:00 AM, but God is good, and it was restored around 2:00 PM... so we didn't do without for long, but there are still many who haven't had their power returned yet. And we may not be out of the woods. With winds increasing tomorrow, and the temperatures dipping, we just might find ourselves in the dark once again.

Mickey did take the kids outside today for a bit of sledding fun. I'll try and get pictures up tomorrow. Michael laughed the entire time they were outside. I watched from the window (okay... I'm a wimp... I HATE being cold!) and took some pictures and video. They have a tube they use, and Mickey has tied a long rope to it. This allows him to sling Michael down the hill and then hoist him back up. Okay... I say hill... not really... just a gentle incline in our front yard, but to a 6 year old, I'm sure that it appears to be a hill.

The kids will be out of school again tomorrow... I'll be surprised if they make it back at all this week... meaning that they will be going to school well into the first week of June. All of their "built in snow days" were pretty much used up when Ike blew through. Guess we'll just have to make a few adjustments when the time comes.

Hope that you have all managed to stay warm and toasty... and if you were snowed in that you got to enjoy a few of life's simple pleasures... a good book, a little knitting, and a nice nap!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The "N" Word(s)

Okay... now that I have your attention... My sister friend Rebecca over at Knit by God's Hand has tagged me with the letter "N". My job... name ten things that begin with the letter N that I love! This could be a real challenge. So here goes...

1. Nanny... that's me! I love being a Nanny to my four beautiful grands! It is really fun... more fun than being a mom (sorry kids!) because I can spoil them and then send them home! Oh, I am not bad about spoiling them... just little things like "special milk" that is only available at Nanny's house!

2. Needles... yes... the KNITTING kind... couldn't possibly keep from including knitting in this list! My favorites... bamboo... much warmer on the hands... and I LOVE circular needles for heavy projects... keeps the hands from hurting.

3. Noodles! And not just any noodles... the homemade noodles that my Grandma Re always made. She handed down the recipe, and a few of the kids ask for them on special occasions! They remind me of her... they bring back memories of my childhood... they say HOME!

4. Naps .. I don't take many, but on a cold winter's day, when the snow is falling and the world seems lazy... it is kind of nice to drift off into quiet slumber. And I REALLY like the word nap when Michael is taking one!

5. Nuts... I love to include them in my baking... especially pecans. You might not know it, but adding pecans to your baked goods help to keep them moist! And they are just plain yummy. I've recently discovered that a handful of almonds a day is actually good for you! YIPPEE!

6. Name... and not just any one name... I am thinking of Jesus and the many names that he goes by... Counselor... Great Physician... Savior... Redeemer... Mighty One... Friend... the list goes on and on... so many names rolled up in one man... the Son of God!

7. Necklace... I have a couple of favorites... one being the newest that Mickey gave me for Christmas... a gold heart with diamonds and emeralds... I love it! And the other... a cross necklace that I've had for years. I received it for my birthday one year, and it is really unique. The funny thing is how much Kailyn loved it as a baby. She constantly had it in her hands... and her mouth! Each grand after has managed to do the same... even they seem to love the cross, without really knowing its significance.

8. Notes... I love getting little notes from those I love. And I love writing little notes as well... I love writing notes about the sermons I hear... I love writing notes in the margins of my bible... I even love musical notes! I love the way they blend together, taking us to places in our imaginations that we might only dream of.

9. News... no... not the evening news... but good news... I love hearing about people's triumphs... their new beginnings... the happy moments in their days. And... THE Good News... the stories that remind me over and over again about the salvation given to us so freely through God's grace.

10. And finally NAILS! You may think this a strange choice... but nails, which were created to hold things in place, were used to hold Jesus to the cross. Not because he HAD to be there... but because he WANTED to be there... for you and for me... for my children... for my grandchildren... for all who claim him as their Lord and Savior and for all who will one day claim the same. Three nails, which on the surface can seem so insignificant... were used in such a way that they helped to change the world.

I must confess... when Rebecca sent me my letter I wasn't sure if I could possibly come up with 10 "N" words that would mean something to me... but I have to say that reflecting on a few of these has made my day.

Want to be a part of the fun? Leave me a message in the comments... I'd love to give you the same opportunity!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Glimmers of Hope

Have you ever been at the place in your life where you just don't know what to do next? You feel lost, alone, helpless and worst of all... hopeless? I think that many of us have been there... and I believe that many of us WILL be there at some point in our lives. And sometimes, because we ourselves have been there, it is painful when we see someone we love struggling. Sometimes it feels like all hope is gone... but it isn't... it is just hidden from us by pain... by suffering... by depression... by fear... by loneliness... you fill in the blank. But this song brings us so much hope... our hope DOES endure... and it can be seen in little glimmers along the way of life, if we only search for the Light. Hope you enjoy this offering... listen closely to the words... our hope DOES endure in Christ!

Friday, January 16, 2009

One of those days...

With four grandkids ages 4 and under it is rare that I get a one-on-one day with any of them. Well... this is one of those days! Our youngest grandson has come to have a play day with his Nanny! Big sister has a doctor's appointment and with the cold temperatures he got to come and play. Daddy dropped him off a little while ago and he is already happily playing in the walker that we keep around.
Levi is a truly happy little guy... always ready to offer up a smile... and a huge kiss (okay... his version of a kiss, which is actually eating the side of ones face!) Looking at his little face, how can anyone doubt the existence of our Creator? And to think... he was created in the image of our Father! Yes... God is VERY good!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Kingdom of Heaven

In my reading of Matthew today, Chapter 4 talks about Jesus' baptism and the beginning of his ministry. Verse 17 reads: From that day on Jesus began to preach, "repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Interesting isn't it... he didn't wait for a celebration heralding his arrival... he didn't wait for someone to ask him to preach... he hadn't even gathered his disciples yet... he just "began to preach". And he didn't work his way into the message... he didn't dance around the issue, he just immediately began to tell the people to repent.

I think that there are many who could learn from this one verse... the time is short and we can't waste it by skirting the issues... we can't take the time to test the waters... we need people to understand that the kingdom of heaven is near, and no matter how that message is received, we need to make sure that it is given.

In verse 18, he made a simple statement, Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. The kingdom of heaven is near... are you ready for a little fishing? If not, what are you waiting for??

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to You!!!

Yes, we are celebrating another birthday... Mickey's! And while he doesn't like to celebrate, and would like for this day to pass as any other day, I say "Pish-posh... it's your birthday!!!!!"

So I would just like to publically say HAVE A BLESSED DAY to the man that I love! A man who is an AWESOME HUSBAND, a GREAT DAD, an AMAZING PAPPY and a WONDERFUL SON! He leads our family with his eyes firmly focused on God, continually looking for His guidance and direction. I am thankful daily that God placed him in our lives.

Happy Birthday ... I Love You!!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Keeping in the Word...

My adoption/blog buddy Terry issued a challenge to those of us who are a part of the Children of Promise Yahoo group... read the bible! And she had an interesting way to keep us in the Word... over the next 89 days read one chapter of the bible, beginning with Matthew... this would have us finish the 4 gospels by Easter... how cool is that?

So, I thought, "Why keep this to ourselves, let's invite others to join the fun!" I love a challenge, and anything that involves getting me into the Word more faithfully is a bonus! So, this was issued yesterday evening, and I was out and didn't receive this until today... so if you are reading this on Tuesday, and you wish to join in, you need to read both Matthew 1 and 2... and you should finish the final chapter of John on Good Friday! I am going to try and add a counter to my blog to help us keep track of the reading!

Give me a shout and let me know if you'd like to join in... I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Living in the season

As I sit here this morning looking out the window at what remains of our snowfall, I find myself longing for spring. I am sure that many of you are where I am right now... tired of the cold, tired of the snow, tired of the grayness that seems to cover your world.

I long to see the trees budding, the grass "greening up", the flowers in their beds preparing their show. Yet, I know that when spring arrives, I will long for summer, and with summer I will long for the colors of fall, and with fall I will be filled with anticipation for what winter will bring. This cycle, which repeats itself yearly, is like an old, comfortable pair of shoes.

Our relationships with Christ are a lot like that old pair of shoes... we go through the motions of changing from one season to the next, all snuggled down in our comfort zones, and just letting life wash over us, not necessarily happy with where we are, but unwilling to make a change. Oh, we might long for the next season to get here, but when it does, it is just like the season before, and the one before that.

How can we take that longing for a new season and turn it into something more? More importantly, how can we learn to live in the season we are in, and fully appreciate it? Sometimes our seasons are filled with pain, sometimes they are filled with joy, but whatever the season, Christ is there beside us, sharing what we are feeling. How can we learn to live in that moment, and fully appreciate what is right in front of us, giving Glory to God in all things at all times?

More praise... less grumbling ... more looking up... less looking in ... more of God... less of me. Sounds easy enough, but this can be one of the hardest tasks you will ever undertake! Today, I am asking God to help me take off that old pair of shoes, and help me to learn to live my seeing Him in every moment. Feel like joining in? Kick off those shoes and wiggle those toes... and get out of that comfort zone!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A day of praise...

Today I have turned on Christian music and just let it wash over me all day. I LOVE to praise God through song, and I love listening to the words of songs. It seems that there is a song for any and every feeling and emotion that we might have: despair, loneliness, sadness, joy, peace, happiness. Songs have been written since the beginning of time that speak to us where we are in life.

The Old Testament is filled with songs of praise to the Lord. David was a very prolific writer of songs of praise and thanksgiving. Passages of New Testament works have been taken and placed to music, helping us to embed God's word in our very hearts and souls. There are songs that encourage us to find Christ in all that we do or see. There are songs that give us a glimpse into the heart of the lost as well as encourage us to reach out to those who are searching for something more.

If your day isn't going as planned, if you are feeling down, turn on a Christian radio station, or plug in your favorite Christian CD and just take the time to listen to the words... REALLY listen! You might find that your spirits are lifted and that God has spoken to you during this time... and if you feel like it, don't hesitate to belt out the lyrics right along with the artist... no one is watching... except your Heavenly Father... and there is no greater audience! He will ALWAYS applaud your songs of praise, even if you are little off key!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The mystery of the belly button

I received an awesome devotional for my birthday, "Grace for the Moment" by Max Lucado.(Thanks Mom and Dad!) It is a morning and evening edition... and while it is only the 7th day of the month, I have already been blessed. Today, I just want to share a couple of things that blew me away....

God loves to decorate. God has to decorate. Let him live long enough in a heart, and that heart will begin to change.

God wants to be your dwelling place. He has no interest in being a weekend getaway or a Sunday bungalow or a summer cottage. He wants you under his roof now and always.

You are guaranteed that your sins will be filtered through, hidden in, and screened out by the sacrifice of Jesus. When God looks at you, he doesn't see you, he sees the ONE who surrounds you! That means that failure is not a concern for you. Your victory is secure.

And one phrase that just jumped off the page at me... and you might find it odd that it has stuck with me, but it has brought home the fact that Christ lived on this earth as a MAN, who walked IN the world... the same world that I walk in. This particular devotion called Christ the maker of the world with a bellybutton! Okay, you might be asking why this is so important to me... and I'll be happy to tell you.

When I had my girls, I was always so amazed by the fact that for the 9 months that I carried them, they received all they needed to live through me, via their umbilical chords. And while, at their birth, they no longer needed to be directly linked to me to survive, that cute little belly button would always remain with them as a reminder of their attachment to me. A reminder that they were connected to me.

As I read that particular statement it hit me that yes... Christ had a bellybutton... and that it represented not just his connection to Mary, but his connection to me, his connection to you. He wasn't just GOD here on earth, he was MAN connected to the world. He felt pain, he felt joy, he shed tears, he belted out laughter, he felt love, and he felt rejection. Could he have felt those things with so much clarity without that connection? I don't know... but I do believe that his desire to live amongst man speaks volumes about his desire to be in relationship with us. And as Mary bathed her little baby boy, I wonder if she looked at the little belly button and thought, "Wow, there it is... evidence of my connection to this child, who lived within me, and who will one day save the world."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Exciting News

Our good friends, Joe and Erica, found out some amazing news today... I won't spoil it... so you can visit Joe's Blog as he has already shared there. As I thought about about this exciting news, I couldn't help but think about how we have all anticipated this news. How we anticipate any good news... we long to hear it... we long to share it... we can't wait to shout it from the rooftops! It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy... it makes us feel on top of the world... it makes us want to let the world know how happy we are.

So I guess what I wonder is, why don't we feel the same away about sharing the word of God to those that are lost? Have we forgotten how magical it feels to be saved? Have we forgotten how long we waited to feel that forgiveness... how, when we were first saved, we couldn't contain our happiness?

If we would only harness that anticipation and place it's focus on telling the world that God loves us... that He sent His Son to die for us... that Jesus loves us SO MUCH that he was willing to be beaten, mocked, and crucified on a cross for US... YOU and ME!!!! That is news that the world longs to hear... that we should long to share... that we should shout from the rooftops! Does the world know how happy you are to have received the gift of salvation? Maybe it's time to share the news!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Yep... I'm officially 50!

That's right... 50 years old... one half of a century!!!! Amazing... but just yesterday I graduated from high school... no wait... had my first child... or maybe it was my second... third? Adopted Michael??? Oh well... anyway... 50!

Yesterday I got a huge surprise... a SURPRISE PARTY! Mickey and the girls (Michael is a little to young to participate in surprises) with the help of my sister friend Rebecca and our Committed Couples group, actually managed to pull off a surprise party. The girls sent out invitations... Mickey picked up cakes and ice cream... they decorated our church fellowship hall, and then managed to get everyone's cars hidden before Mickey and I arrived.

Our committed couples group leader, Joe, had emailed our group and invited us all to attend a New Year's Committed Couples event yesterday at 2:30. Now... Joe is really great about planning stuff for our group and not telling us what it is. We just show up, and THEN he tells us. The whole group was in on the surprise, so they spent the week emailing about our groups event... they totally had me fooled.

When we got to the church, no cars were visible, and our group was waiting outside... except Joe... who was inside getting stuff ready for the group. Even Erica, his wife, told me that she had no idea what he was planning. So... in we walked and he told us that the first clue to our day was in the fellowship hall. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to find 50 or so of our family and friends waiting on the other side!!!

It was an awesome day, and I just want everyone to know how much I enjoyed being surprised! Hope you enjoy the pictures... and you know... turning 5o isn't so bad when you realize just how much you are loved!

My whole gang... The Family at the top and just kiddos below...

Michael, Me, and Rachel in front and Chandra and Carly in back.

And below that... the escaping Grands....

Mickey gave me a clock... I've wanted one of these for years!

Below... my sister friend Rebecca....

The day was just a little too much for our youngest grand... Levi....

Friday, January 2, 2009

Old Testament Gem

I recently sent an e-card to my sister friend Rebecca Jo for her birthday. The card held a bible verse from Zephaniah, a book from the Old Testament that isn't one generally read over and over again... if ever! After sending the card, and Rebecca commenting that she had written down the verse and was going to check her bible just to make sure the book existed, I decided that I would go back to the Old Testament and re-read the book myself.

Now, Zephaniah isn't a long read... just three small chapters. And once you start to read it, you might wonder how anything was gleaned from it that was worthy of a birthday card... which are supposed to be uplifting! You see, the Lord gave Zephaniah a message for the people, be warned... destruction is coming! Not very birthday like, huh? But as I read through this book, a particular section grabbed my attention. I've "chewed" on these verses for a few days, and I would like to share them with you.

Zephaniah 1:12-13
At that time I (the Lord) will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, 'The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.' Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished. They will build houses but not live in them; they will plant vineyards but not drink the wine.

As I read those verses I began to see America in the words. Complacent... yes, we have become so complacent that our economy is falling down around us. The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad how many times have you heard it said that someone believes in a "higher power" but that this being has no control over anything. Bad things just happen, and the good things are received because they have "worked hard for them". Wealth plundered... can you say recession? Houses demolished... businesses closing? Building houses but never living in them... foreclosure?

I have read over these verses numerous times over the past two or three days... and I am just amazed by how fully they describe what is going on around us right now. And I have to share the beginning of verse 14 with you as well... The great day of the Lord is near - near and coming quickly.

There is so much more, and I encourage you to visit this little book tucked away in the back of the OT. It is worth the read, and a very real reminder that we must be on our toes.

Oh.. and the words of encouragement for those who choose to follow and obey... The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. 3:17

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Holiday Happiness!

Christmas was definitely busy at our house! Loads of "littles" means tons of fun!
Carly and Michael - Christmas Morning

One of Carly's Favorite Gifts....

Uncle Michael and our Granddaughter Kailyn... Best Buds!

Grandson Camden... gotta love that face!

Granddaughter Emma in her Christmas Dress... check out the shoes and purse!

Grandson Levi - getting into his Christmas Suit!