Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Winter fun

I wish these pictures were an indication of the snow on the ground right now, but unfortunately we have no snow. We didn't get a white Christmas, but it looks like we might get some around New Years. Anyway, these are pics of Elijah sledding after our December 1st snowstorm that wrecked our evening out (see here). It was nice that he got to enjoy it! Thanks to Tina for snapping these great pics and printing them out while it was still winter. I tend to let them sit in the camera for months on end!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Particular Redemption

I have been following a debate on particular redemption on the Fundamentally Reformed blog lately. The doctrine summarized is the L in TULIP. Basically it states that Christ's death was limited for the elect and that His blood pays for the sins of them only. The debate has been very informative. I will admit that I don't understand all of the ramifications of the doctrine, and I am not the best apologist for it. But I do believe that Jesus came to redeem His people and that His death accomplished it (John 10:11). I believe that His death absorbed all the wrath of God, so that there is no more fear of punishment for the people of God (I John 2:2).
That being said, there is a valid argument that Wayne Grudem discusses in his Systemactic Theology book concerning the doctrine. It causes me to question the vehemence that some use when debating the doctrine. I quote him here:

"Scripture itself never singles this out as a doctrine of major importance, nor does it once make it the subject of any explicit theological discussion….In fact, this is really a question that probes into the inner counsels of the Trinity and does so in an area in which there is very little direct scriptural testimony—a fact which should cause us to be cautious…."

If you want to read a more in-depth discussion, I encourage you to read Bob's post on Fundamentally Reformed.
Wherever you fall in the discussion, I firmly believe that it is our responsibility as Christians to be informed, and to debate with the spirit of charity. I hope the debate encourages you to search out the Scriptures to determine what you believe. Be a good Berean and don't just listen to what others have to say, but discover God's truths for yourself!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I've been receiving a lot of Christmas email stories. Some worth reading, some not so much. Anyway, I got this email from my friend Heather and laughed out loud. Now this is eating advice I can follow!

Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's.You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple.! Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mince meat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Thanks for the prayers for our two friends who are struggling right now. I promised an update, so here goes:

Jenni and Scott are home with their baby, giving her anti-seizure medication every 12 hours. It seems to be working. I am blessed beyond belief to see the faith and trust they put in our Savior's sovereignty during this whole trial. They are looking at 6 months of the medicine, then tests to see if she is able to come off of it. They won't diagnose epilepsy until toddlerhood or later, after they see a pattern of seizures. The doctors are hoping it is a newborn genetic thing that causes them, and not epilepsy.

Kate and Aeron have not had a baby, and that is great news! She is now 26 weeks, which is where their last daughter was born at. They know the trials of having a preemie, so everyday this baby stays inside where she is supposed to be is a good day. Kate is in the hospital until at least 30 weeks, which means no Christmas at home. Pray for her spirits, as well as Aeron's, as he is rushing around from work, school, home and back to the hospital to spend the night there as a family.

Thanks for praying and keep it up!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bethlehem Marketplace

Here we are another week closer to Christmas and we have yet to do anything "Christmassy." Sure, we've read some advent stories to Elijah, but that is about it. In my previous post, I wrote about the State Farm Christmas party being cancelled, so we haven't had a chance to really do something to celebrate the holiday. That all changed last night . . .

We went to the "Bethlehem Marketplace" at Elmbrook Church. I heard about it at my chiropractor's office and thought it sounded interesting, so I talked Dan into going. We bundled up the kids and tried to get there for an early viewing, since the website boasted 40,000 visitors last year. We didn't want to wait in that line!

It was a great experience. We entered into a small theater and watched about a 15 minute video about Bethlehem and it's history. Then we entered the "time tunnel" (adults need to have an active imagination for this to be fun) where a voice reminded us to hold our children's hands less they be transported to a century not their own! Walking out of the time tunnel brought us into Bethlehem, circa first century. There were goats, cows, a camel, and what appeared to be a llama. Elijah liked this. He got to pet a baby goat and a chicken. I often wonder if he connects the live, feathered fowl with the meat we so often eat at dinner. He didn't seem to make the connection last night. After petting the animals there was an industrial sized GermX bottle with which to disinfect ourselves. Somehow I doubt they had that in Christ's time.

After registering for the census, we were given some shekels to spend and a warning to watch out for the theives in the marketplace and the Roman guards. We saw guards, never encountered the theives, and only saw one beggar. She was getting money from another child, so we walked past. We encountered stone cutters, where Elijah bartered for a polished stone for 1 shekel. There were olive oil merchants, dyers, dancers, craftsmen and a wonderful spice shop where we acquired some frankensence and myrrh. We burnt it this morning; let's just say that our candles are more cleanburning today then they were back then.

The trip through time ended at a humble inn, where in the stable area was the virgin Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. This is the part of the trip Elijah was most excited about. I only hope he understands that it wasn't the REAL baby Jesus. Either way, it was worth the $9 we spent, and it seemed an accurate representation of what Biblical Bethlehem might have been like.

There were cookies, coffee and ice water to enjoy afterwards, and we talked with a few representatives from the church. A couple was really interested in Alli, since they need 42 Baby Jesus' this year and they are still looking to fill all the spots. I gave them my number, but on further reflection, I'm not sure Alli, as active as she is these days, would make a gentle, quiet Jesus. We'll see. If she does participate, then I get to be Mary! Apparently it makes the most sense to have the baby's mother be the one to hold them for an extended period of time. We didn't hear if that would mean Dan had to be Joseph.

A few side notes for those of you thinking about going: no strollers allowed, although wheelchairs are, so be prepared to hold your littlest ones if this applies to you. Also, we left with extra shekels. So don't be cheap, spend what they give you! We left with a bead necklace, shiny rock, and a piece of papyrus, and ate 2 pieces of bread with honey and still had left over money. I didn't get any bread and now I regret it! Also, the line for the 7:30 show was really long, so the earlier you go, the better.

I can't promise we will go every year, but as the kids get older I can see it being a great teaching tool. And I finally feel like we did something "Chirstmassy!"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Storm Stories

We woke this morning to a beautiful snowfall, with 6" already on the ground. It had been predicted, but as any school child whose hopes for a snow day will tell you, just because they say it is coming, doesn't mean it will! So it was a pleasant scene with which to wake. *Sigh*

Then reality sets in. No time to sip hot coffee and enjoy being indoors. It took Dan over 2 hours to get to work, it was coming down like a blizzard and Elijah was begging to go outdoors and play. I heard that it was going to taper off by noon, so my plans for shopping this morning were sidetracked, but the State Farm Christmas party tonight should still be good to go. I hop into the shower, trying to decide what to wear tonight, since I was going to try to find a new blouse (what an old-fashioned word!) to wear tonight. I get out and try on an older skirt and sweater that I haven't been able to wear for a while (pregnancies and all) and it fits! Problem solved.

Then I get the email from Dan - party cancelled. I was crushed. A night out, without kids, no more. Do you know how rarely we plan for a babysitter? So the decision was made that we are still going out! Em is still willing to watch the kids, Elijah is excited she's coming, we are going to take advantage of this! We'll probably do some Christmas shopping (sans kids - this is a big deal!) and have a bite to eat. Nothing exciting, but it's a date! And really, more exciting than a work Christmas party, although we may not eat as good. It doesn't matter, I'm still grateful for the storm!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Urgent Prayer Requests

My heart has broken for 2 families in our church as they face major trials. I post it here because I know my readers pray. Please do . . .
For Kate and Aeron, who are currently in the hospital facing preterm labor. Kate is only 23 weeks along, and less than a year removed from the 3 month premature birth of their last child, their little girl. Now Kate either spends the rest of the pregnancy in the hospital or at home on bed rest. This situation is familiar to me, and so my heart breaks for them and I plead to God to save this child for His name's sake.
Also for Jenni and Scott, whose one week old baby girl in currently in the NICU at Children's Hospital for seizures. She had her first one when she was only 5 days old. Some preliminary tests have come back good, but they will keep her on an anti-seizure medication for 6 months. This is their first child, and I can't imagine the fear that threatens to overwhelm them.
Praise God that both couples show great faith in these trials and that God has given them unmeasurable grace. Please bombard the Throne of God for both of these families. I will keep you updated.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Pictures

It has been a beautiful weekend this Thanksgiving, so we took advantage of the weather and got some family photos. Alli wasn't cooperative when we tried to pose her with Elijah, so we will have to get a picture of her all by herself later.
Just the two of us!!!

The whole, happy family!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I have been tagged by my good friend, Gretchen, requiring me to list 13 things I love about my husband. This shouldn't be too difficult . . . (BTW, I was going to post a great picture of him, but all I had on this computer was his bashed up and bloody chin from his sledding accident last winter. I didn't think this would be an accurate example of #12)

1. He is a wonderful father.
2. He is always willing to help me out around the house.
3. He is conservative with how we spend our money for ourselves, but generous beyond belief when it comes to helping others. This is truly a grace gift from God.
4. He eats my crummy pancakes. But hey, they stick with him like nothing else!
5. He stays busy. He is always working on a project or puttering in the garage. There are very few times he wants to just sit and do nothing.
6. He drives 45 minutes one way to work everyday just so our family could be closer to our church and friends. He knew I suffered from lonliness out in the corn fields of L.M. and was willing to do something about it.
7. Did I mention that he is a wonderful father? He is always willing to let Elijah help out with whatever he is doing and never acts as if Elijah is getting in his way, although we all know a 2 year old helping Dad makes the job go longer than necessary!
8. He is extremely patient with others.
9. He gives people the benefit of the doubt.
10. He loves and serves the True God.
11. He puts up with me.
12. He is handsome beyond belief!
13. He is a marvolous husband and loves me unconditionally.

What a good exercise to partake in! I should do this more often. I am now responsible for tagging 2 others, but since I have a very limited blogroll, I shall move this to email!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


So life happened this week, just like I predicted. I have all these unwritten posts rattling around in my head and no time to write them.
We are having friends for dinner tonight, tomorrow is a super long day at church, and then 2 days of appointments and such and we are gone again for the Thanksgiving Holiday. So don't expect much here until after next week.
Don't worry, you will survive . . .

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Check out my new post, it published under the post about respecting your husband for some reason. So scroll down past the last post and have a read. Have I mentioned lately that I'm no good with the technical aspect of this blogging thing?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Respecting your Husband

I found a great link on Pyromaniacs this past week. Not that this is a rarity, I find valuable articles there all the time. It is one of the websites that is worth reading every day. Don't be fooled by all the logos and perceived silliness, these men are serious theologians who routinely write piercing pieces and devotionals, and manage to summerize current trends and controversies in a God-centered way that leave me thinking, "I wish I had thought of it that way first!"

So the article is about the dreaded topic of submission in marriage, or more specifically, respecting your husband. Married or not, it is totally worth your while to read. Read Dan Phillip's Questions for a Godly Wife, while you are at it.

Respecting your husband is a topic I have been thinking of a lot lately. My mother-in-law and I have discussed it on numerous occasions. It is easy to talk about but not so easy to do. If you take an honest look at how you think of your husband when he disagrees with you or does something different than you would, it is easy to see that respecting him is the furthest thing from your mind or actions. The article was a gift from God to remind me of this principle.

By the way, I have heard that if you include a link to Pyromaniacs on your site, there is a good chance to get Blogspotted by them. We'll see if it works for a silly little blog like mine.

Compartments and Catagories

I must admit, I haven't been to Sharper Iron in a while. I have been taking a break since some of the attitudes displayed there tend to tick me off. And yes, I realize getting ticked off doesn't make the list of thinking of things that are true, lovely, and of a good report. So that is why I have taken a break. But this excellent article drew me back (HT: Ben). This is the 2nd article by Holly Stratton (wife of the pres. of Clearwater Christian College) that has knocked my socks off.

First of all, this woman can write! I both enjoy and envy intelligent, engaging writers.

Second of all, she writes from the heart. She makes you think and question the things you do and the ways you do them. Her writing makes you check your heart, and what is better than that?

Here is a hint of what you will read in the article that deals with discernment:

“Mom, are you sure this is a Bible thing, or is it just an old thing?” As I sat with my son downloading previews of music he was asking me to evaluate, I suddenly yearned for the days when the only song in his musical repertoire that even faintly raised my eyebrow was one that involved a rather raucous garden escape by Peter Rabbit. Everyone needs an inquisitive, status quo-examining teenager in his home. Teens are so adept at poking around in our neatly arranged boxes of rejection and asking those challenging questions about the items that interest them. It can be quite irritating at times, and I confess the inconvenience of it all has far too often driven me to seal the container shut and shoo away the grubby little paws that are daring to rummage through items I have proudly rejected for half a century.
I am just lazy enough to engage in some hefty, white-knuckled clinging to the convenience that boxes and labels offer. I thrive on organization, but since I’m not naturally neat enough to achieve it on my own, I tend to rely heavily on baskets and bins. I possess a “contained chaos” kind of style. As long as things look neat and orderly, my conscience usually finds soothing just enough to enjoy a few good patronizing pats on the back from that annoyingly virtuous woman of my dreams.
I find that I especially love containers that house those “gray matters” that, when left unconfined, require the expenditure of a painful amount of mental and spiritual exercise in discerning their individual worth. It’s much easier to simply clump the items together and then tuck them in a box and label it. Actually, the easiest thing to do is to just utilize those pre-labeled boxes. I’ve taken advantage of that benefit more than I care to admit. Not only is this nifty compartmentalization convenient, but also it looks incredibly neat when the boxes are neatly arranged on the shelf. G-rated movies? ACCEPT. R-rated moves? REJECT. Hymns? ACCEPT. Contemporary worship songs? REJECT. Televisions? ACCEPT. Movie Theaters? REJECT.

So, enjoy the article, and take a moment to apply it to your own life.

Sorry for the Delay

I'm sorry I haven't posted sooner, but I was at my parent's house all week. Blogger somehow deleted my last post on Ted Haggerd, maybe because they were sick of hearing about the scandal! So anyway, I haven't had the chance to sit and write, although I have a lot to write about. I have found some great articles on other blogs, lately, that I would like to link to and comment on as well as commenting on the EXCELLENT weekend we had at our church with special speaker, Jim Ellif. Check back regularly, I hope to be posting a lot this week. Then again, life can happen and I may not get anything posted! Either way, I hope you get a chance to read my thoughts.

I'm currently in the middle of baking cookies while Alli sleeps, so I better get back to business!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Another favorite song . . .

About a week ago I posted the lyrics of a Casting Crowns song and a link to the video on Youtube. I hope you all enjoyed it. I also mentioned that there is another CC song that I really enjoy and I thought I would take the time to share it with you today.

Let me give some background: A year ago in July we lost a baby girl, whom we named Donette, while I was about 6 months pregnant. As you can imagine, that trial hit us pretty hard. God was good to us throughout it all, and we have grown because of it, but there are still moments that I mourn the loss. In fact, last week was my birthday and I was running a thousand errands for a shower I was hosting, and one of them took me to the area where she was laid to rest. I stopped for a moment at her grave, thought about her and how I wish I could hold her again, and then thanked God for her short life and went on my way. It was no coincidence that this song played on the radio shortly thereafter. I share the lyrics here and the video here:
(the video isn't made by the band, it is just pictures to the song)
Praise you in the Storm
I was sure by now/that you would have reached down/and wiped our tears away/stepped in and saved the day/But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls/I barely hear you whisper through the rain/"I'm with you"/And as your mercy falls/I raise my hands and praise the God who gives/and takes away

chorus I'll praise you in this storm/and I will lift my hands/for you are who you are/no matter where I am/Every tear I've cried/you hold in your hand/you never left my side/and though my heart is torn/I will praise you in this storm

I remember when/I stumbled in the wind/you heard my cry/you raised me up again/my strength is almost gone/how can I carry on/if I can't find you?

I lift my eyes unto the hills/where does my help come from?/my help comes from the Lord/the maker of heaven and earth.

This song was quoted on my friend's blog, Ed, when he was battling cancer. He went home to Heaven this summer, and this song brought me some comfort again as I mourned his passing.

I am fully aware that songs are not Scripture. We can't look to them for all of our comfort when we need to look to Christ. However, God made us with a heart that responds to music (which is why is can be such a powerful tool for good or evil) and when the lyrics point out attributes of God that we need to be reminded of, it can serve as a tool to keep us Cross-centered. I appreciate this song for that.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Birthday Gift

This is my beautiful birthday present from my wonderful husband. Actually, this isn't the exact model, but I couldn't find a picture of the one I have. It is black and sleek looking and looks great in my kitchen! Ok, so this isn't a piece of decoration, so I will expound a little on it's benefits. It stirs really well. That's it. No, really, it does more than that, but I have only used it once so far, and it did an excellent job on the mashed potatoes, so I have high hopes that it will help me make biscuits and bread and all sorts of other baked goodies.

I am going today to make bread with Debbie, hoping to gain enough courage to try it on my own. This machine better help!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Distorted Beauty

This video isn't new, by any means. I have seen it on other blogs, and thought the message was so powerful that I should share it here. It is a commercial from Dove showing what a model looks like before the shoot and after a dozen or so makeup artists do their magic. Carolyn Mahaney wrote an excellent response to it on the GirlTalk blog, and since she so squarely hit the nail on the head, I have nothing to add. So I will share it here: (see here for the entire post.)

The Dove Campaign got it partially right—the fashion industry has certainly contributed to a distorted perception of beauty. And yet, their solution—“every girl deserves to feel beautiful just the way she is”—is well-meaning and yet fundamentally unbiblical.
You see, women believe that physical beauty will make them happy, successful, popular among the women, desirable to the men – so they pursue it with a fury!
Physical beauty, however, does not deliver as advertised. Proverbs 31:30 reveals the falsehood and the futility of this quest for beauty: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain.
Even if every girl did “feel beautiful just the way she is,” it wouldn’t bring her true joy or lasting happiness or solve even one of her problems.
Truth be told, what we all deserve is not to feel beautiful but rather to be condemned to hell for sinfully seeking to attract the worship of our fellow creatures instead of living to bring glory to God.
God did not send Jesus to this earth to die so that women could get over their self-esteem problem and feel better about themselves. No, He sent his Son to die to rescue us from our sinful, futile quest for physical beauty and to reveal to us the satisfaction that comes from knowing God—whether we are beautiful or not!
What freedom and hope is found in Christ! We don’t need to feel beautiful about ourselves to find happiness! In fact, we’re better off not even thinking about ourselves. Rather, God has offered us in Jesus Christ forgiveness, hope, freedom from sin and a joy that never ends.
So while this little video effectively exposes the false front of beauty presented by our culture, let’s not look to Dove’s advertising executives for the solution to the beauty crisis. Rather, let’s join the campaign to tell others of the true freedom that is found in Christ!

Friday, October 27, 2006


I was informed that the link to the Casting Crowns song didn't work. I think I have it fixed, so take the time to watch it!

Does Anybody Hear Her?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bored Pet Owners . . .

I couldn't resist sharing these pictures when I found them. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Last night we were heading home from stamping at Suzy's and our car became overwhelmed with the smell of a skunk. What a perfect learning opportunity, I thought, so I said,
"Hey buddy, do you know what that smell is?"
"What?" he replied.
"That stinky smell, do you know what animal that is?" I asked again.
"It's a skunk. The skunk is a stinky animal!" I explained to him.
I laughed out loud when he replied,
"Does the skunk need to take a bath?"
What do you say to that? "I guess it wouldn't hurt." I answered.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Does Anybody Hear Her?

I got a link to this great Casting Crowns video on youtube and wanted to share it with all of you (HT: JR). Casting Crowns is one of my favorite groups (Newsboys still hold the #1 spot) because their songs have such great messages about how we "do" church. How it is so often a once-a-week meeting and we have our church friends and church activities and we never once come in contact with the world around us.

So here are the lyrics for those of you who have trouble hearing them (i.e. mom). If you get the chance to watch the video, please do. It will be worth your 3 minutes as it has a great message.

She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyon's ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart.
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind.

Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me.
Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?

She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away


If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her.

God, forgive us for making it all about "me". There are so many hurting people out there who need your love and forgivenenss and it is so easy to get wrapped up in my desires. Take my eyes off of myself and put them on You, and help me see those whom you have put in my path that I can minister to.

There is another Casting Crowns song that I love and will share with you in a few days. Hope this one touches your heart.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Soup's On!

I love fall, for many a reason, but especially because it is soup weather! Our church had it's annual chili supper and bonfire a couple of weeks ago and I was in heaven. That evening encompasses some of my favorite parts of fall: chili, hot apple cider, bonfires and roasting marshmallows. Although, the fire was so hot it was hard to get close enough to roast marshmallows.

Anyway, I thought you might like 2 great recipes for soup. The first is my Broccoli Potato Cheese soup, which I have been making for over 7 years. The recipe comes from my future sister-in-law, Kay, who gave it to me at a shower before Dan and I got married.

The second recipe, Butternut Squash Soup, is a new one, but quickly is becoming a fall "must have." A hearty hat tip goes out to the food network's Alton Brown for this recipe.

Both recipes are a breeze to make and make enough to share with company or to freeze for later use.

Broccoli Potato Cheese Soup
8 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes (can substitute chicken broth, but subtract water)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
2 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 20 oz. pkg. frozen broccoli
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 lb. cubed velveeta cheese

Cook first four ingredients for 20 minutes on med heat. Add potatoes and broccoli and cook an additional 20 minutes. Add soup and cheese and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring often.

Butternut Squash Soup
6 cups (about 2 large) butternut squash
melted butter for brushing
1 T. salt, plus 1 t.
1 t. white pepper, plus 1/2 t.
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 T. honey
1 t. minced ginger
4 oz. heavy cream
1/4 t. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush the inside of the squash with a little butter and season with 1T. salt and 1t. white pepper. On a sheet pan lay the squash flesh (inside) up. Roast for 45 - 60 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft.

Scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, honey, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender or a traditional blender. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

The Story of a Chicken

I've said it before and I'll say it again: God made the right decision to bring me into the world in this century. I've said this when faced with using outhouses, traveling in cold weather in my warm car, and now I say it in reference to preparing food.

Let me give some background. I am embarking on once-a-month cooking (OAMC). This is the idea where you organize all your recipes and shop for everything at one time, then devote one LOOOOOOONG day to cooking a bunch of dinners, separating them and freezing them. When a Tuesday night comes around and you have no idea what to make, then out of the freezer comes a prepared meal that only needs to be reheated. I cannot give you my feelings on this phenomenon, because tomorrow will be the first time I try it. Sarah is coming over and we will tag-team between the little ones while we cook 20-some meals.

Ok, back to my original thought. So I bought a whole chicken and threw it in the crock pot for about 10 hours on high. This was recommended to me by Rachel, who first introduced me to the OAMC idea. (She has been doing it for a year). Her predictions were accurate, the meat literally fell off the bones and gave me enough chicken for 3 to 4 casseroles. But, here is the rub. . .

I have never cooked a whole chicken. We have been married 7 years and frozen chicken breasts have been on the market that entire time, so why go through all that? Besides, raw chicken grosses me out. Well, needless to say, I am grossed out. No one warned me that the inside of the chicken is still in tact. I am busy picking hot, cooked chicken off the bone and I see ribs. Yucky, but I can take it. I am an adult now and I know that the white meat I enjoy so much comes from a little bird with feathers and a beak. I've just never had to deal with that end of the food chain. But now, I see the ribs and after a few more pieces of meat fall off, I see something even more disgusting . . . The gizzards. Now I could go into a long rant about why we call them gizzards, when in fact they are kidneys and the heart and lungs (do chickens have lungs?) and all other sorts of disgusting innards, but that would make this a very long post. I'll suffice it to say that not all euphemisms are inappropriate, darn it.

Anyway, Julie tells me that if you let the chicken thaw before you put it into the crock pot, you can scrape out all the "gizzards", but I can't decide if raw gizzards are any less yucky than cooked ones. (Feel free to comment if you have an opinion).

Moving on, after seeing the gizzards and feeling entirely grossed out, I decide right then and there that I am done. I pick off the remaining large pieces of meat and throw the carcass away. Now I am told that if you save the carcass you can make wonderful soup, but Swanson's broth isn't very expensive and it doesn't gross me out at all, so I will do my part to keep them in business.

All of that to say that I still think it was worth it. I got a lot of chicken, flavored better than plain white meat, for only $.49 a pound! The whole chicken was less than $3! Although I will never be able to raise, kill, pluck and cook my own chicken, I guess I will have to get used to disposing of gizzards for the good of the family's budget.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I'm not a nerd

Told you I was a sucker for quizzes!

I am nerdier than 9% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

By the way, I try not to despise anyone, except Satan.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Faithful to Complete It

Dan and I are in the process of reading a book entitled, How People Change by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. It is part of a Bible Study we are about to embark upon by the same title. We are supposed to have read the entire book by Tuesday when we meet, but life hasn't afforded either of us the opportunity to read that extensively. I have thoroughly enjoyed the chapters I have read so far and anticipate great things from this study.

This morning I was reading chapter 3 and it was discussing where God is taking you. In the midst of all our problems, it is easy to want the circumstances to change, or the people involved to change, or even our attitudes to change, without a view of eternity. Here is how the authors describe what it will look like when we reach Heaven and our sanctification will be complete:

Listen carefully to the saints who are looking back at earthly life. As they consider all that they experienced, what do they celebrate?

These fellow pilgrims could celebrate a good job, a beautiful house, friendly neighbors, a happy marriage, physical health, and many other things. These are all good things and it is apropriate to be thankful for them. But the saints on the other side are celebrating none of them. As they stand before the Lord, crowned and reigning with him, their restoration is complete. God has finished his work of transforming their lives as he transformed thier hearts by his grace. As they stand before him, they are like him in true righteousness and holiness.

And so they rise in a crescedo of worship and celebration saying, "You did it! You did it! You did what we could not do for ourselves. You broke our bondage to sin and restored us to be the willing worshipers you created us to to be." The most important thing happening in your life right now is not that new house or new job. It is not your professionional success or the love of a friend. The one thing worth celebrating for all eternity is your redemption. By God's grace, you are being progressively delivered from the one thing that can completely destroy you: sin. But God not only delivers you, he restores you. He is making you a partaker of his divine nature.

There will be a day when you stand before God's throne. You won't be anxious with shame or fearful with guilt. As you stand before him, you will be like him because his grace made you a participant in his divine nature. In that moment, you will not be celebrating the physical gifts of earth-bound life. Your heart will overflow with the realization that God has been victorious. The battles of change and growth are forever past. The final destination is his presence and throne room. Together, dressed in white robes of righteousness and crowned with glory, we will celebrate the one thing worth living for: the Lamb and his salvation. This is where God is taking you.

That was powerful to me. Although I will never be free from sin in my earthy life, God is completing the work He started in me. I pray that as I see and experience change in my own life, I will remember the work of the One who initiated it and glory in the fact that His death and resurection brings about the completed work that we will all experience on the final day. With this in mind, it is much easier to give God the glory for change, instead of hogging all the credit for ourselves and our "hard work". It is only by His grace that any of us can experience change.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I have resolved to get up early. I really don't have any excuses. Not even weak ones. Alli sleeps through the night, Elijah is doing better, (not perfect, but better) and I am getting to bed by 10:30 regularly. I don't need 9 hours of sleep, but I need to have a consistent time in God's Word, which has been hard to come by for a while, basically since we started having children.

The Lord has been working in my heart for this. I have found myself desiring to read His word over checking e-mail and my blogs. The temptation will probably always be there to throw in a load of laundry first, maybe wash up those few dishes really quick, and then, before I know it, Alli is awake or Elijah needs me for something. This is why I need to wake up early.

So today was my first day. It wasn't easy to rise early, as it is a cloudy, rainy morning and 6:00 felt and looked like 4:00. But by God's grace I rose, read, prayed and had time to throw in a load of laundry, clean up some dishes, make lunch for Dan (he will especially appreciate that) and write this entry. And the quiet! I could get used to that!

My only question is this: Is it ok to obey by rising early and reading the Word, but to depend on my caffeine more? Because I forgot to mention, making coffee was the first thing I did!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Healthy Eating

I received this email today from Sarah about healthy eating. I knew there was an easy way!

"According to a recent article I read, they said eating right doesn't have to be complicated. Nutritionists say there is a simple way to tell if you are eating right. Colors. Fill your plate with lots of colors. Greens, Reds, Yellows.

"In fact, I tried it this morning. I ate an entire bowl of M&M's. It was delicious! I never knew eating right could be so easy.

"I now have a new outlook on life."

Enjoy your day and remember to eat healthy!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Our Stronghold and Refuge

I was reading Psalm 9 this morning when verse 9 and 10 caught my attention. They read:
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

I knew that verse, but not that verse, so I turned to Nahum 1:7 and read,
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.

Now my ESV, which has scant cross-references, did not direct me to either verse; I just happened to know the Nahum passage from previous memorization. I liked reading both, as it gave me 2 views of God, while still saying the same thing.

Psalm 9:9 says those who know God, and I infer really know God (not a head knowledge), automatically put their trust in him and he has never forsaken them. Now this could be a verse for the Lordship Salvation debate! That is another post, on another day. :) The Nahum verse is in the middle of a passage declaring God's judgments. It is a great go-to passage on the wrath of God. But there in the middle we see God actively giving refuge to those who trust him. It seems less passive than Psalm 9. It is as if God is saying, "In the midst of my wrath, I am your stronghold, take your refuge in me."

I'm glad I read both. It is a sweet remembrance in Psalm 9 of God as my refuge, and Nahum 1 gives me firm, unshakable assurance of his protection. Both are worthy of continued meditation.

Friday, September 29, 2006

New Pics

I am actually on my husband's laptop, which has all our updated pictures on it, so I decided to take the opportunity to post a few new pics. Enjoy!

This is Dan and I on our recent trip to Chicago. Elijah stayed home, but we brought Alli.

These are Ebay finds! I bought the kitchen, thinking that if Elijah didn't like it, we could always use it for Alli, but I didn't have to worry. He is our little chef. The people I bought it from threw in the workshop, so he can build and fix things, just like Bob the Builder!
Allison has found her fist and thumb.

What kind of English do you speak?

I found this link (HT: Fundamentally Reformed) and as I am always a sucker for quizzes, couldn't resist taking this one. Take a moment to see what kind of English you speak! Here are my results:

Your Linguistic Profile:
80% General American English
5% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
5% Yankee
0% Midwestern

Have fun and have a great day!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Quiet Morning

This was a rare morning. I awoke around 7 expecting my daughter to wake to eat at any minute. I came downstairs (boy was it chilly!) and checked my email, put in a load of laundry, ate a bowl of cereal and the children were still sleeping! All of a sudden it dawned on me that I had been praying about finding a quiet time to spend in the Word. God was giving me precious quiet time and I was wasting it on email and breakfast, which I can do while the kids are awake. So, excitedly I sat down and read the first 3 chapters in I Corinthians and 5 Psalms. And I mean, really read. I reread portions and meditated on specific passages, just like a real devotional! These are hard to come by, I admit. Life with a 2 year old and a newborn is busier than I imagined.

So I thought I would share a passage that stood out to me this morning:

Psalm 3:3-6

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill.
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.

What an amazing thought. God is my shield and the lifter of my head. I love that phrasing. I have experienced His holy hand lifting my head, and nothing is more satisfying.

After I had a chance to meditate on this, the kids awoke and the day became busy with a chiropracter appointment and a host of other errands. It was a good reminder, although, and a chance to give praise to God for being my shield, my sustainer, and the lifter of my head.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Challenge to Women

I emailed this link to some friends some time ago, and was reminded of it by my sister-in-law this week. I went back to read it, this time printed it out, and decided it was worth linking to here. It is titled, "A Challenge to Women" written by John Piper, and it has been an encouragement to me when I feel like I don't have an "important" role in life, other than mixing up some chocolate milk for my oldest. I encourage you to read it and maybe print it out for yourself!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Precious Moments

We were out jumping on the trampoline tonight. It was a beautiful evening, perfect for some horseplay in the backyard. Sometimes when the big kids get on, Elijah gets a little scared, so I wasn't suprised when he came up to me, arms open wide, and said, "Mommy, hold me." I willingly wrapped my arms around him as he reciprocated, expecting to just cuddle while we gently bounced on the outer edges of the trampoline. So I was suprised when he said, "Now stand up." I promptly obeyed (you'd think this would be a lesson for him!) and he said, "Now jump real high!" I love seeing the dichotomy of little boy and little man. He was scared and needed his mommy, but at the same time wanted in on the "big kid" fun. These are precious momments.

We have been to the doctor's office a lot lately, between my chiropractic visits and Alli's well-baby appointments, and now Elijah's weird rash, so he is into playing doctor now. Tonight he walked around the yard with a stethescope around his neck diagnosing all the kids with "tummy aches." When he came to check me out, I asked him if I was sick and he replied, "No, you ok mommy. You just need bandaid."

Hope you enjoy the stories! Relish every precious moment you have!

The Rebelution

I found this post earlier today and was slightly awe-struck. How many teenagers do you know that can write like this? Let alone think this deeply! Anyway, it is a thought-provoking article that challenges society's acceptance of the mediocre. It also gives me hope that our children are not doomed to be typical teenagers. Let's quit making excuses for them!

The whole article is worth reading, but I particularly enjoyed this portion:

I constantly hear fellow young adults say things like, “You know, I did Algebra 1/2, but I’m just not a math person,” or “I’m a terrible speller, my brain just doesn’t work that way.” I’ve had other teens tell me, “I’m just a quiet person. I don’t like communicating much,” and “I’m such a compulsive shopper. If I see something I like I can’t help but buy it.” Or what about, “I’m just such a blonde!”

While I don’t doubt that many teens find math, spelling, communication, self-control and intelligence incredibly difficult, I find it very hard to accept that these difficulties should begin to define their personhood.

We would think it was crazy if a toddler said, “You know, I tried to get potty-trained, but I’m just not a toilet person.” But we sympathize with a fellow teenager who says that he’s “just not a people person.”

If a young child said, “I tried tying my own shoes, but my brain just doesn’t work that way,” we would not say, “That’s alright Johnny, we’ll just have someone else do it for you for the rest of your life.” But if we have trouble spelling we say, “It’s alright, I’ll just make sure I always use the spell checker.”

Low Expectations Strike Again
The fact is that as we get older we begin defining our limitations as what comes easily to us – and our rate of growth in competence and character slows and falters.

When we were children our limitations were not defined by difficulty. Our limitations were not defined by failure – even repeated failure. So what has changed? Why do babies, with inferior motor skills, reasoning ability, and general physical and mental strength, why do they have a nearly 100% success rate in overcoming their big challenges, while teenagers often falter and fail before theirs?

We Expect More of Babies Than We Do of Teens
The truth is that we are incredibly susceptible to cultural expectations and once we have satisfied our culture’s meager requirements we stop pushing ourselves.

Why does every healthy baby learn to walk while very few teenagers are sophisticated enough to have mastered the Waltz? One is expected, the other is not.

Why does every normal baby overcome communication barriers by learning to talk while very few teenagers overcome barriers between themselves and their parents by learning to communicate? One is expected, the other is not.

And why do we sympathize with the poor “non-math” teenager while we admonish the “non-toilet” six-year-old? Because using the toilet is a basic skill that is necessary for life, but unless they plan on becoming an engineer, most people never use Algebra.

We live in a culture that expects the basics, but nothing more. We live in a culture that expects for you to get by (i.e. be potty-trained), but not to thrive.

I am not saying this is only true for teenagers. I battle with this myself. It is too easy to give up these days, when you don't have a parent or a teacher breathing down your back. I realize that all too often external motivation is what keeps me going. It's something I need to work on . . .

Friday, September 15, 2006

Beware of bagged spinach

I don't usually succumb to these scare-tactic stories, but this one hit a little too close to home. Apparently, there have been multiple cases of ecoli coming from bagged spinach. One death has been reported, in Wisconsin, and 11 other cases of sickness in Milwaukee. Needless to say, the bag I have in my refrigerator is going straight into the garbage. This should make my mom really happy.
You can read the whole story on CNN.

Edit 12:22 PM
I now realize this story has been on all the news programs. This is what comes from a mother of 2 little ones: If the TV is on, it is on Barney or Bob the Builder. I don't get the luxery of watching news much anymore. I am lucky I get the chance to check a few websites every morning, and this is where I heard about the spinach. So you have probably already heard about bagged spinach, but in case this is one of a few sites you check while Barney is on, then now you know!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I've been thinking about forgiveness a lot lately and this article does an excellent job at portraying how foolish we act when God's forgiveness is not only available, but beyond our human comprehension. It is well worth it to read.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Picture This!

It seems all our photos are of the kids these days! Here is a rare pic of the 3 of us, ready for church. Elijah's hair didn't stay styled for very long and Alli's hat was off by the time we made it to Sunday School. At least we captured it on film!

Must read

Ok, my first official post is a link! This article exactly articulates the frustrations many feel having been reared in some fundamental circles. The first in the two part series is here and the second is worth reading, also.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Hi Everyone! In response to overwhelming demand to know the daily goings on in our family, I have created this blog. Ok, no one really demanded, but it seemed like the hip new way to keep people informed. And it gives me an outlet to bounce around some thoughts I've had and to give my opinion on certain matters. I'm new to this, so we will see how it goes!
I plan on posting pics of the kids, as well as stories about the oldest, as he is in that "I say cute things all the time" phase. There are certain blogs that I frequent, so when they have interesting articles, I will post a link. If you have the leisure time to read, it will be worth it. Feel free to come back and comment - you know I am always up for a good debate! I also plan on posting some of the things I am learning at church. We are constantly being challenged to think, and until now, I haven't had an outlet with which to write my thoughts. So this may also be like a spiritual diary for me. I hope it blesses your soul.
That's all for now. Visit frequently and let me know what you think of the site!