Monday, December 15, 2008

Found a family!

I've mentioned on here often, that the people of New Harvest Community Church have truly become more than friends, that they are truly family. To really understand that, I thought I'd give you a great example (and funny too).

Last week (and for several weeks past), Little D was working at a loose front tooth. Every now and then he'd ask me to pull it, but it just wasn't ready. Well, Thursday for school, all the child did was wiggle his tooth, beg me to pull it, and even allow me to try several different methods. He was so desperate, he even let me tie a string on it (though he wouldn't go so far as tying the other end of the string to a door handle). Well, the string kept coming off and I just couldn't get it. Friday he seemed to have decided I wasn't going to be able to help him, so he just dealt with it. Well, Saturday morning the kids and I had volunteered to be part of this week's cleaning crew at church. It snowed that morning, so we were a little late getting there, but we did get there. It was fun seeing everyone, and I was glad to see that Pastor Henry was there (he's a truck driver full time, on top of shepherding the NHCC flock). So Little D and I told him our adventure of trying, unsuccessfully, to pull the tooth. Pastor Henry, being a pro at this sort of thing, sent Little D out to their van for dental floss. In he comes with it, and within 5 minutes, good ol' Pastor Henry had that tooth out! Not everyone can say that their Pastor pulled their tooth for them! Silly, I know, but this just goes to show you what kind of family I have here in Utah. I am so blessed (and Little D is so cute with the new "hole in his grill")!

Diggin' deeper

I have been reading the book, Devotions for the Man in the Mirror. I know, it's supposed to be a book for guys, but I happened to glance in it when I brought it home for my Hubby, and was intrigued, and.....well, I can't put it down! It's VERY challenging!! (and it doesn't seem that there's anything that pertains only to men in it). Anyway, the other day I was reading the chapter (15) entitled "Jesus: Commitment to a person versus a set of values" and somewhere in the middle of reading this, I could almost hear brakes squealing (in my mind) as everything suddenly came to a stop, and I had to sit there, look around me with deer-in-the-headlights look, and get myself refocused! Basically, this chapter is saying that we do not have the power to simply imitate Christ; we only have the power to believe and follow after Him. Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." It is not the way of Christ that leads to everlasting life, it is the Person of Christ!! We are called to live by faith in the unseen (our salvation unearned but in FULL) rather than things seen (doing good, having good morals). The end of the chapter summed it up with this, "If you live by sight, you will lose the joy of your salvation."(Are you too, hearing tires squealing? Good! But keep reading!!) So then, if all that's true, (and it has to be true, because that's what is written time and again in the Bible, that our salvation through Christ comes ONLY by belief in Him), how can I continue on doing the WWJD challenge? Yikes!! I needed to wrestle that thought, needed to see not separate pieces, but rather, how the pieces fit together, because surely this commitment was a serious one, a life changing one. So each morning, before getting up, I'd stay there in bed and lay it all before my Abba and ask HOW? How can all this go together? What does it mean to follow Christ if our actions are not chosen in imitation of Him? God's answer was to keep reading, so I did. Chapter 18, titled, "Eternal Life: The Undone Thing" centers around the story of the rich young ruler (Matthew19:16-21). He is looking for that one key, he truly wants eternal life, but he wants it on his terms, on his own merit. He has lived by the commandments set forth in the Old Testament, but he knows something is missing. Jesus then tells him that the one and only way to be "perfect" (deserving of heaven) is to lay aside ANYTHING that stands in the way of him following Jesus. For this man, it was his material possessions. He was willing to surrender only up to a point, and that point was his wealth, that's where he drew the line. And it wasn't the possessions themselves that were a hindrance, but rather, his attitude about them. So then, there is nothing we can do to deserve heaven, as Christ has already done it in full for us. So we simply must be willing to sacrifice all, lay anything and everything aside that has any hold on our heart, in order to follow Christ. (at this point, for me anyway, the puzzle pieces still weren't coming together, but at least I knew they were all part of the same puzzle!) So then, this morning I read chapter 19, "Assurance: Assurance of Salvation". It began by talking about our need for approval, we all want to hear "well done" from those who matter most to us. We work hard to get that approval and we think that just like any other relationship, God is requiring us to work hard to earn His approval. Well, the fact of the matter is, the instant you first surrendered to Him, He approved you unconditionally!! One of my favorite quotes from a pastor friend in Louisiana (and as I've told some, when I first heard it, it REALLY bothered me....something else I needed to wrestle with in my mind) "God will never love you any more or any less than He does at this very moment." WHAT?? I can't do anything to make Him love me more? Then God helped me to see that I wasn't understanding the greatness of His love. I was limiting it when it was limitless. It is then I realized that I don't have to try with God. All He truly asks of me is to believe in Him. My actions then become a sign of gratitude, of faith, and of belief. If I truly believe Him, then I can willingly walk the path He sets before me because I know that I can trust Him. My actions aren't done to prove my love, they are done simply because of my love.(*Snap! The pieces suddenly come together!!) So, my commitment to WWJD is NOT to become a better person, but rather it is to walk out my faith! I get it now!! So when a cost is required, that's fine, because I'm walking by faith. I know that my God is limitless in His love for me, so what can all these temporal things matter to me? The only cost required was paid in full. There is NO price greater than that one! Even if I die, it is a gain, it is eternal life. Christ went to hell to make sure that those gates could no longer hold me in! Wahoo!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Momma done tol' me to save lots of money!

Okay, whatever, I know those aren't the words to the song, but I couldn't think of any catchy title for this post!

I just got back from one of my favorite stores.....now this store is NOT pretty, doesn't really feel all that clean, BUT the money I save there makes up for all that! What am I talking about? A salvage grocery store!! I'd never known these stores existed (other than the dented and discounted racks at big grocery stores) until I moved here to Utah. I was actually warned not to go into this store.....but I didn't listen! I just had to check it out! And now it is the first place I try to get to on grocery shopping day!

The one here near me is called Carl's Super Saver and they carry lots and lots of things. My great deals for the day were bell peppers for 10 cents each; tomatoes for 20 cents each; plus size tights for $2.99, and a couple pairs of fun/funky earrings for 99 cents each!

Now, having said that, I also want to share some tips with you if you want to give this a shot and it's your first time dealing with "salvaged goods"
  1. The vegetables.....may not be perfect, there may be a bad spot or two you have to cut out, or a couple berries or something that are moldy....that's not the exception, that's the NORM! These peppers I bought today are just on the verge of getting soft, so I am going to chop them up and freeze them for later use, thus stopping the aging process.
  2. Look at dates and consider the product....I wouldn't hesitate to use outdated soap or something, but very outdated food (I'm talking years), I'd be careful about.
  3. Things to watch out for with canned goods (and I'm going to just assume they're outdated, so don't even worry about that): dented is okay, but rusted is NOT good; puffed up tops are NOT good; super dented (as in un-openable) isn't a good idea
  4. You also need to be somewhat aware of regular store prices for the items. For example, today I saw some dish soap, the kind with the air freshener on the bottom, for $2.49. Now I know I can get a bigger bottle for about that price or less at a regular store, so why bother.
  5. Brand loyalty.....I am brand loyal on some things (shampoo, toothpaste for me) but other things I don't mind generic or off brands (diced tomatoes are diced tomatoes, ya know?) So you have to decide what things you're willing to be lenient on.

I think that's all the warnings I need to share. If you think of anything else, or have questions, feel free to post them in the comments. You do have to use your best judgement, but if you're careful, I think this is an awesome way to save money and be green (well, they would be throwing this stuff out if nobody bought it, as regular stores can't sell it)

So, check out the yellow pages or online, see what's in your area, and start saving!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

WWJD

If you're like me in your thinking....you're thinking this little acronym is wa-a-a-a-ay over-used. Well, while that is true, it has taken on new meaning in my life. Our Pastor recently read the book, In His Steps . Now, I read this book once, long ago, and thought how neat it would be to try this out.....however, did I? No. Well, Pastor Henry challenged our church to commit to living this way for one year, asking first in all decisions, what would Jesus do? So, I committed to it. And boy, it seems like such a simple thing, but there is a cost. That cost is different for each person, but I think that it reflects where your heart is. That was hard for me to take in. I'm a people pleaser, life's just easier that way. Well, God is seeking God pleasers, rather than people pleasers....and so, the cost for me has been that there are people who are not happy with me. And boy is it difficult sometimes not to jump up and try to take back the things that I said even though I know that they needed to be said, that they were the truth, and that I had been lying by not saying anything before.....and to take it all back would be to pick up that lie again.....not something Jesus would do. Ouch!

This last week, with Thanksgiving here, we had family come for 4 days. Looking back on it now, I can see that I went into survival mode.....I got by, said and did what I felt would keep the peace....again, not something Jesus would do I don't think. In church on Sunday morning, I was so happy to be around friends who I knew cared about me no matter what. I was relieved to not have to be in survival mode.....and that's when God let me know that Jesus NEVER operated out of survival mode. To operate out of survival mode is to not be willing to die to self. Instead it's a protection of self above all else. Nope, not something Jesus would do. Surviving was NOT one of the things Jesus set out to do....rather, He was willing to pay the price no matter what. Wow, lots to think on there!

So, this is definitely a challenge in my life! A moment by moment thing, because WOW! that is NOT the norm for me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Girl's Getaway

I got an email reminding me of this contest. And I started thinking, who would I want to take with me? Then I thought of her, my incredible friend, Fran. I met Fran at a Pampered Chef show that I was doing....I ruined the goodies I was making and Fran came to my rescue. We were SUCH different people....WOW! I was beginning to grow in my godly role of wife and mother, and then along comes this person who is the antithesis of all I was learning. She was divorced and remarried with 2 step children and her own daughter (who was about the same age as her stepson, just to add to the confusion!). I have NO idea what she saw in me, why she wanted to be friends with me! And at first, it was hard work....what do I say to her when she thinks I'm crazy for the choices I made in my life. She had so many tough issues to deal with and the attitude to go with it, and I appeared as a "goody-two-shoes" in her life. Only God could take this bizarre relationship and turn it into finest gold. Over the years we have been through so much. At first she seemed overly dependent on me, and I can remember times, talking on the phone with her, when she would be screaming and cussing and carrying on about something happening in her life, and I would feel so silly when I'd say "You need to pray and let God take care of it." Time and again that was the only answer I could come up with and telling it to her seemed like such a cop out....little did I know that that was the ONLY answer, the perfect answer! Over time, her phone calls became much calmer, her struggles not quite so overwhelming, her faith becoming bigger when she began letting God have the things that seemed such a mess in her life. She became less dependent on me and more dependent on God and our love for each other grew. Then, just as we were beginning to walk together, side by side on this journey of life, I got the news that we would be moving (my hubby is a Chaplain's Assistant in the Air Force). The agony of having to tell her that I was leaving was almost unbearable.....our hearts were joined by the amazing, incredible, life changing love of God, and now that she was someone that I could grow WITH rather than pull along, we were being separated! But as we both gave this over to God, we realized this is what He needed of us.....we had both become better equipped to share this way of life, living as a godly wife. We realized it would be selfish of us to just continue our walk just the two of us, God needed us to go out and share all that we had learned. That was just over 2 years ago. We still talk by phone and I am ASTOUNDED at the growth she is still experiencing! So often, growth takes place so slowly that it's hard to see, but this dear friend is growing by leaps and bounds. The life she once thought was crazy and impossible is now her way of life. God shines so mightily in her! If you saw her before and after pictures....real pictures of her......you can actually SEE the love of Christ in her, she has literally become a beautiful person inside and out (and it's not that I'm biased because she's my friend). Recently she called to tell me she had done the unthinkable (to her)....she pulled her children out of school so that she could homeschool them and further teach them how God is involved in every single aspect of their lives. I have always homeschooled my children and that was one area she said that she could NEVER do. But God's ways are always so much better than our ways and He called her to do this. I am simply amazed at all God has worked in her and am so thankful that the answer has been and always will be "pray and trust God in this".....He truly does amazing things! I would love to be able to go on this cruise with her so that we could share and grow further in Christ...the teachings to be taught on this cruise are what God used to build this most amazing friendship. I don't know when/if I'll ever see her again on this earth, but I'm hoping that God will let us live right next door to each other in heaven so that we can daily get together and worship Him together!

I Love you Fran (Piglet)!!

Love, Amy (Pooh)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Update on my brother

My brother (who I've mentioned in this and this post) has been going through a LOT! He was given a 4 year sentence and in the 5 months that he's served already he lost 40 pounds and nearly died! I can't even begin to tell it all! But God is good, oh so very good, ALL the time!! Anyway, this past week he was moved to FCI Fort Dix in NJ. Last night I tried to google FCI Fort Dix to see what it was like. Didn't find a whole lot of description, but somehow (God!!) I ended up at a page with articles written by Chaplains in training. I have contacted the writer of the following article and she has given me permission to share this with you. I may not be able to describe FCI Fort Dix, but I sure know what she's talking about here!! May you be blessed and encouraged!

An intern's reflection from FCI Fort Dix, N. J.
By Katy Fitzhugh
The 25th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel speaks about how one meets Christ through visiting those in prison, and that is exactly what happened to me. Granted, as someone preparing for ministry, I had met God before the doors locked behind me my first Sunday at FCI Fort Dix, but the inmates have shown me the active presence of God in a way that no other pastor, professor, seminarian, or parishioner ever had before.
The truth is that the inmates have taught me an entirely new perspective on so much of what I held to be central to living a holy life. Because inmates’ lives are subject to the structure of the prison schedule and counts, they end up living out the words of Jesus’ prayer, ‘Not my will, but yours be done." While persons in "outside"society frequent monasteries and retreat centers when they begin to feel weary, inmates have to be even more intentional about creating space and time for God's still small voice.
On my first Sunday at FCI Fort Dix, Chaplain Heidi Kugler had no sooner warned me that prison chaplaincy is a ministry of interruptions, when the first knock came on the office door. He was well over 6 feet tall with a muscular build one could easily find intimidating, and yet he entered with his head bowed and eyes on the floor. It took him a moment to utter his request, as though a shy schoolboy about to tell his mother he had failed math.
Upon speaking, his request surprised me. He asked the chaplain if she had a light bulb. ‘A light bulb,’ she inquired, ‘What do you need a light bulb for?’ ‘For the closet,’ came his boyish response, ‘I like to pray in there because it’s quiet.’ I came to realize that often prison strips away those elements of pride and facade to which many of us outside cling. In the midst of one's crime and suffering, lives can become broken and humbled enough for God to move in a manner that I had only imagined possible.
Another lesson I have learned from the inmates is the importance of community. One of the brothers recently learned that his 18-year-old son died suddenly from what appears to be heart failure, and throughout the entire day, shifts of brothers took turns to be with him in his grief, to cry with him over this young man they had never even met.
Even though these men are separated from their families, I have watched as so many of the inmates have become family for one another, a reality which we hope for in our communities on the outside, but which I have rarely seen to this extent.
Before I began my internship, one of my intentions was to eliminate any expectations I may have about any aspect of prison chaplaincy. I knew this was not entirely possible, but I wanted to be open to whatever may be in store. I admit that despite my efforts to start fresh, I was not expecting to find this element of care and family among the inmates. In fact they shattered not only my pre-conceived ideas about prison ministry, but also my understanding of God.
My time at FCI Fort Dix has taught me that the God we worship is so much bigger than all the practices we hold, than retreats and church walls, bigger than scheduled Sabbath and worship time, and bigger than our control. The inmates have taught me about what it means to accept where you are for the time being and to make the best of a situation that may not be ideal, or may not be where you thought you’d be at this point in life.
They’ve taught me about the healing that can follow brokenness, and about letting go of things that I thought were important, but really don’t matter in the end. They’ve taught me about the blessing that comes with simply walking part of the inmates’ journey with them.While I may have initially come to FCI Fort Dix to offer the inmates and the institution a service, it was I who ended up learning the lessons.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

MIA

I haven't been very consistent in posting lately. I start feeling guilty about that, but then, looking at life right now, I'm doing what I need to be doing. This year with homeschooling I'm really trying to keep up with everything, stay on track, reach goals, and so far, so good! Thank You Lord!! A lot of prayer went into this school year and the program we're using (K12) is quite different from anything we've done before. I've heard lots of negatives as well as positives about it, but just really felt like this is where God wanted us to be this year. I am loving it! I can still somewhat adapt it, but the goals have already been set, there's finally an ending point. Yes! Just exactly what we all needed.

I'm also working on setting up a website for our church. Once it's finished I will have a link in the sidebar. I love doing this kind of stuff! They think I'm blessing them, but in the meantime, I am blessed to have this opportunity. Don't you love the way God works things like that?

Personally (as in just me stuff) I am ((AGAIN)) attempting to lose weight. It has been a struggle for me emotionally and spiritually. I want to think that I should be content with who I am; I want to be angry with my husband for wanting a healthier life for me (the big battle there being "Why can't he be satisfied with me." and "He's concerned about my health") So I am continually bringing it before the throne of God Who loves me more deeply than I can ever, ever know or understand....and I know I could be doing a better job taking care of what He has given me. I know that I am merely settling for "Ho-hum" because it's so much easier than putting in a bit more effort to care for myself and glorify God in my health. That's the thing too....I know that the only way this can be done is by God's strength and grace in my life, and this is NOT me, but God working in me......yeah, well, you get the point, the hamster is again hopping on the wheel! It's good for me!

So, there is a bunch of rambling to say that life is good, life is busy, life is challenging......and despite the uphill climbs sometimes, I wouldn't have it ANY other way! God is good ALL the time!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cinderella and Prince Charming




Well, you asked for it, so here it is, picture of us heading off to the ball (after dropping kids off for an overnight at Kara's....thanks Kara!!!!!!!!)


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cinderella and the ball

Well, I have never ever been to a ball (military or prom type). I've always wished I could go, but never really thought I would.....until now. Chaplain Wright called and left a message for ME asking if we would be going to this year's Air Force Ball. That was the first I had heard of it, and he was waiting for an answer! I asked for details, and then next thing I know, we're going!! Woohoo!! Except then I started really reading the details.....evening gown? And further digging said that hairstyling and manicures were also a "must". Yikes!! And I don't know about Cinderella, but trying to find a pretty size 11 dress shoe, not too high heeled, but still elegant, and in gold......yeah, talk about a challenge (though if you find yourself in this predicament and have to order them online, go to http://www.endless.com/ , they even had free overnight shipping!!!) So I bought a really pretty chocolate brown dress, and these shoes and a bag similar to this one (I didn't even think about needing a small bag that matched my shoes! that's what friends are for...to think of all those mundane things). I also bought earrings and a bracelet, fake nails (and even toe nails) so I can pretend, just for the evening, that I'm a princess rather than the gardener!! Hee hee!! I even bought the Pink Princess her own set of fake nails....she's beside herself with excitement over all of this. The ball is this Friday....2 days away!! (which explains why I am typing this at midnight.....can't sleep as my brain is racing!) A friend is coming over Friday to trim my hair and style it (half up, half down....gotta let the curls fly free, even just a bit!)

And yes, I will get pictures, have NO fear!!

Note too that I didn't include all of my Prince Charming's attire....yeah, Air Force ball= Air Force blues (or Mess Dress if you have them....he doesn't). Nice and simple, but OH so handsome!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Yay Mrs. Palin!!



I am SO not politically minded. My hubby has to explain it all to me in watered down terms so that I get it, but this (see above), THIS I understand!! This is a picture of Mrs. Palin hard at work in Alaska, with baby Trig right there with her!!! And Baby Trig....what a statement he is as well!! This is a Mom.....we have a lot in common, her and I (thankfully running for office is NOT one of them......she can do that, I'll write blogs. Heh heh!!) Anyway, like I said, I am not politically minded, so instead I am going to give you some links to go check out.

Should Mothers Be Vice Presidents

Poweful Witness

What Do I Think (I didn't write this, but I so agree!!)

And, bashing of others for ones own gain does tick me off, but I also read this article about Obama and was truly shocked and apalled....again, I know nothing about politics, (though I do have my own personal opinions about abortions and other issues) so I had never heard of BAIPA, but wow! Why Jesus Would Not Vote for Barack Obama

Okay, there's my thoughts. Remember that all comments are moderated! 'Nuff said!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Busy bees working on the sunflowers

I like the focus of bees. We can get real close and watch them and they just don't get distracted from what needs to be done. Another good lesson to learn!

Sunny sunflower


Sunny sunflower, originally uploaded by jjlrdomom.

I love sunflowers. They follow the sun. That's a good reminder for me.....to follow the Son

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

*sigh*.....

Okay, now I really feel like a lazy girl if even cats are exercising!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Prayer for LA mission team

Lord, You say (in II Timothy 1) that You did not give them a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but You have given them a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. They will not blush or be ashamed then, to testify to and for You, Lord, but instead, they'll take their share of the suffering, and do it in the power of God. For You delivered and saved each of them and called them with a calling in itself holy and leading to holiness; You did it not because of anything of merit that they have done, but because of and to further Your own purpose and grace (unmerited favor) which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Thank You, Abba, for this beautiful promise from Scripture that is just as vital today as it was in the day of Paul and Timothy.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Missionary

Well, this is the big day! My 12yo, Big D, is leaving with our church's youth group this evening. They are heading to Los Angeles to work with CSM there for a week. There are now 10 kids going and 2 adults (they'll be assigned another adult when they get there.....someone who lives there and is familiar with the area). They were planning on leaving at 4 tomorrow morning, but decided that if they left around 10 tonight, the kids would chat and be excited for a bit, but then they'd (hopefully) fall asleep and get some sleep before arriving in LA. They're thinking they'll get there some time in the morning and spend a couple of hours on the beach before heading to their check in at CSM. Big D seems excited about it, but I'm sure he's a bit nervous too, as some of his "I'm stressed out" behaviors are surfacing. He still needs to write a short devotional to share with the group this coming week, so in just a bit he and I are going to work on that (could use prayers for that as he's really drawing a blank). He's got his stuff all packed into one bag as per the packing list that we got. Later this morning we need to run to the bank to get out his money (thank you to all, he did raise what he needed!) and also we're going to run to Saver's thrift store and see if we can find a small back pack for his Bible, journal, pencils, camera, etc. On their last day in California they are going to go to Disney Land to kind of wind down a bit. Big D, of course, is so excited!! I just can't wait to hear about all his adventures during this trip.....I know it's going to be life changing for him. My hubby and I talked to him a bit about some of the strange things he might see and reminded him about respecting other's privacy and such. But I know he'll do fine; I really believe this is something God has made this boy for. He loves reaching out to and serving others (and like his Daddy, he seems to know that he can reach out to others and know that his family is there for him when he gets back.....so we don't always reap from his "servant's heart", but I've learned that people like that need to have people in the background running the home for them while they're out there serving.) :) We will be getting daily updates via email and the kids will be able to make short phone calls every other day (all the adults with them will have cell phones).

Regarding my Momma heart....I'm okay with this. I really am! I truly believe that God told me that D was going on this trip, so who am I to worry or stand in the way of that? What blessings he might miss out on if I decided he wasn't ready....and believe me, I truly did not think he'd be ready for this. But God's got it, and He promises to never give us more than we can handle and that He will equip us for the journey (Hebrews 13:21). Who am I to doubt the Creator of all?? :) This week I was thinking back to when I was pregnant with him. I was spotting a lot and worried that I would lose him. Dear friends of ours prayed with hubby and I and basically they just thanked God for this precious baby and whatever time we would have with him. I realized that this was God's child, that He had entrusted this baby to our care, that we could not hold on too tightly because this baby wasn't OURS. During a communion service while I was still pregnant with him, as the pastor spoke the words of Jesus, "This is My body given for you..." (Luke 22:19), God spoke loudly to my heart (really, I didn't even hear the pastor), "This is My body given for your baby." And that was when I knew that while I was Momma and it was my job to raise him the best that I could, he truly was not my child, but God's. We've been through other rough spots and it is so much easier when you can relax your hold and know that he's in God's hands. And yes, people think I'm crazy, but I'm kinda getting used to that! A lot of things in my life seem like craziness unless you know my great big God!! And THAT is why I can so easily let "my" child go to Skid Row in LA.....his Father said it's okay. :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Trying to be "green"

Okay, the whole "tree hugger" thing comes to mind when I think of "being green".....well, no, that's not the only thing that comes to mind. I also think of my favorite celebrity and his #1 hit....





Okay, sorry, seriously....I'm trying to "go green"....you know, becoming a bit more environmentally friendly. No, I'm not gonna go crazy with it, but I think every little bit helps. That, along with the fact that prices on EVERYTHING seems to be going up ridiculously fast. So, my recent "green moment"......picking choke cherries off a tree at the base library. FREE......FOOD. Those are words I like to see together! So my friend K. and I and the Pink Princess went and picked. Yes, people thought we were crazy.....except for my friend, the head librarian, who was so happy that she wouldn't be stepping on cherries next week because they're being picked. So we got quite a few! Nice!! And no, we weren't totally sure what we'd do with them, but again, FREE.....FOOD. Leave it to me, I'll figure out what to do with it!! (Okay, I have to confess there was one thing that I couldn't even bother to try......somehow I ended up with a can of sardines in tomato sauce!!! That is just wrong in my mind!! So I had a very "un-green" moment and I just chucked that! Ewww!! Sorry if you could have used it.) Oh yeah, back to the cherries......the cherries that just sit there year after year until they just fall off the tree and get squished on people's shoes......yeah, those. I'm putting them to good use! I have this thing about store bought syrup (you know, the fake maple kind) with it's TONS of corn syrup. So I'm making cherry syrup! Yes, still has a good amount of sugar in it, but basically it's cherries, sugar and water....I can handle that! And next I'm going to make some cherry jelly as requested by the Pink Princesses request (she's a PBJ fiend!)



So here's some of the cherries for your viewing pleasure!

Important note added 7/16....we have decided that these are actually plums! Cherry plums. Who knew! :)


Monday, July 7, 2008

Gardening

Well, last year I tried planting carrots and got nothing. This year I have a very pretty carrot patch and am hoping that we'll actually get real carrots. Here's what I have so far (I was thinning them out a bit)
















Pretty impressive, huh?

Well, not really....but they're getting there. :)
















Actually my garden is doing pretty good. Tonight we had, from our very own little garden, fresh peas and a green salad made up of rainbow swiss chard (to match the rainbow carrots I guess) and lettuce. Delicious! And I have lots of green tomatoes and blossoms on my squash plants. Yay!! The red onions are looking pretty good too!!

As prices are jumping on everything, I am constantly trying to think of ways to save money or at least stretch it a little further. Hoping this garden will help out a lot! Next year we're planning a much bigger garden, so that should be fun too!

Fun hairstyle


Fun hairstyle, originally uploaded by jjlrdomom.

While we were camping this fourth of July weekend with our church family at Bountiful Peak campground, one of the ladies there fixed my hair up like this. I have been wanting to try this out for so-o-o-o-o long! I really like it, though it does show a lot of my gray! Oh well! And you have to be sure to get enough sunscreen on....as you can see, I didn't do enough of it!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How fun!!

God has set my feet on a "new" path, and wow! I'm excited! Actually there's nothing really new, it's just that He's pulling all the pieces together so now I'm seeing a bigger picture!! Being in Utah, Mormonism, of course, is the prevelant religion. I realized I am a minority here. I have to say that it is VERY weird being part of a minority; gives me a whole new outlook on things. Anyway, being that we homeschool, we have tried to plug into the homeschool community. There are several groups that say they are non-denominational, however, when the population is mostly Mormon, the groups will obviously be heavily influenced by that, causing those of us who are not Mormon to feel.....well......lonely and kind of an outsider. My friend K and I have been tossing around the idea of a Christian homeschool group. There is one locally, but they are not really that active and just not that welcoming. We wanted....we needed fellowship. There's not an easy way to do this without stepping on toes, as Mormons also say they are Christian, though there beliefs are quite different from ours (one LDS lady referred to us as "traditional Christians".....strange, but at least it's a distinction). So we set up a yahoo group, took flak from some people as K advertised our group with some of the local homeschool groups. But then people started coming, and I was seeing that there were Christians out there trying to do it on their own, because they weren't getting the fellowship they needed and just didn't feel like they fit in anywhere (even Christian churches here are different.....it's hard to explain, but becuase of the heavy LDS influence, it has flavored even the Christian churches). Then we began getting requests from Mormon ladies, asking if they too could join!! This seemed surprising to me and at first I didn't know what to say, and then I realized it was NOT up to me, it was up to God. So we added some rules about ONLY quoting from the Bible but also that we would NOT tolerate slander or hate mail against Mormonism. As I wrote that up I realized what an awesome opportunity God was giving us to "love our neighbors as ourselves"!!! And the thankfulness from many of these LDS women is incredible.....as if they too, were thirsting for this thing! I love it!!! I am so excited that I can be me now, I don't have to hide that I'm a Christian, or shy away or what have you. That is so freeing to me! I am not Mormon and never plan to be, but I want to be able to walk among these women anyway and make friends and be a blessing to them! Wow!! Woohoo!!!

Now, as a disclaimer I have to say PLEASE do not comment on this post with anything against either the Mormon or the Christian faith. I am as aware as I feel I need to be of the differences and similarities and truly believe that God's got this covered. So, no fussin', okay? :)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Honoring a friend

I had been looking forward to yesterday! The errands for the day, before my "anticipated event" was to go to the Christian bookstore to buy a gift for said event. That, in itself, was wonderful as I know the man who owns it (he goes to our church) but I'd never really talked to him before. I was SO blessed talking to this guy!!! He has a tiny little store and only carries things that agree with his beliefs.....what a powerful statement! Very cool! I'm going there from now on!! Anyway, after that, we went to base and I had planned to get Big D's hair cut, but there was a line, so instead, spur of the moment, I went into the BX to see if they had any nice dresses as I wanted to dress up for the evening. The kids helped me pick out a really pretty black and white dress. They insisted that I HAD TO buy it and that we would surprise Daddy and just show up in it. Then we grabbed lunch and headed home, but on the way, I realized the boys didn't have nice pants for the evening, so we stopped at Saver's and found khakis for both of them, then finally, home at about 1:45. I had to be at the base Chapel before 4pm....and somehow (God be the glory!!) I managed to wash and dry the boy's pants, cut Big D's mop, iron the Pink Princess' dress and the boy's shirts, get Big D set up to sew a button on his shirt, orchestrate their getting dressed, take a VERY quick shower, put on makeup, and get dressed myself. Whew!!!! And we got to the chapel at 3:45!!

Now, the special event.....I am so in awe......through most of the formal part of the event, I couldn't help sending up prayer after prayer of thanksgiving for......well, the event: Our dear friend Chap. Carl Wright, an Episcopal priest and major in the AF was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. I have never been to a promotion ceremony, so I didn't know what to expect, but we all were invited to attend (yes, kids too, cuz although he really doesn't like kids who behave as kids, he LOVES my children....yes, I know, just don't ask!) The ceremony was held in the chapel, started out with wonderful Souza marches and such, then he came in and the Colonel made a few remarks about his career (most of which I did not know, but he is an amazing man!), then he was sworn in and his orders were read (again, very emotional) and he was "pinned on", after which he gave a brief speech and ended up crying! He said that when he was ordained as an episcopal priest, part of the ceremony is that the new priest faces the bishop with his back to the congregation, and when it's done, he's supposed to turn around and stretch out his arms and say "The Lord be with you." Well, when he turned around, he was overwhelmed by the show of friends and family who had traveled great distances to be there, so he stood with his arms outstretched, speechless, with tears pouring down his face. His 90 year old Grandma was in the front pew, and after a brief moment, she stretched out her arms and just started praising Jesus with "Glory Hallelujah! Praise God! Glory, glory hallelujah!" At this point in the story, Chap. Wright's voice broke as he got teary and he said, "That is what I want to say today. It is not me at all, it is God. God has put me in this place, He alone has brought me here." After that, he walked back to his seat, and we all stood and sang all verses of "Amazing Grace" at which point I joined Fr. Carl in crying!! :) Amazing!! After that and abrief reception, he took all the chapel staff and family out to dinner. I am SO honored that God saw fit to have us there for that and he has blessed us so richly with the friendship of this dear man!! Very cool!!!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

"church wide cleanup"

Yesterday in Sunday School we were discussing the fact that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. My heart was rather pricked by that, so I decided to study it some more on my own this morning. Here are the verses I was digging into:

1 Corinthians 6:9-12: Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality, Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God.
And such some of you were [once]. But you were washed
clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and you were consecrated (set apart, hallowed), and you were justified [pronounced righteous, by trusting] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God.
Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under
its power.



1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit
Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,
You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.


I have been redeemed and sanctified by God. I AM a new person, no longer identified by old labels. My body is a temple, a residing place for God's Holy Spirit. Is this a welcoming, sanctified place? What housekeeping/maintenance needs to be done?

Describing this (my) temple:
  • sometimes outwardly flashy
  • slow moving
  • comfy but not always vibrant
  • dusty/cluttered with a few lingering things
  • worship music is played OFTEN
  • repairs are often being neglected
  • Big faith
  • Expresses joy in the Lord and often shares that
  • at times permits the wrong type of fellowship--focusing more on people (and their flaws) than on God
  • lack of energy

So, I can see some things that need to be done to this temple. How about you? I would encourage you too, to read through these verses, sitting with our awesome, loving Father God and then ask Him about the temple that is you. I'd love to see other responses on this, but only share if God asks that of you.

Blessings!

PS I'm often asked about my journaling....the above, minus the last paragraph, is an exact copy of my journal page. Yes, I write out the verses too, so I have them right there. Course, I LOVE to write. :)



Friday, May 23, 2008

My Sister's Yummy Breakfast Muffins

This is my sister's recipe, I'm making it this morning, so thought I would share it. VERY delicious!!

Marion's Yummy Breakfast Muffins (makes lots!! I just filled a 12 cup muffin pan, a 24 cup mini-muffin pan, AND a 1/2 of a custard cup!!)

2 cups shredded, unpeeled apples
1 cup sugar
1 cup cranberries, chopped; or dried cherries or raisins (I also have dried figs, so I threw in a handful of those too)
1 c finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 c shredded carrots
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour (or it can all be white flour)
1 Tbs baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup canola oil

In a large bowl mix the apples and sugar, set aside. Grease muffin tins and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add cranberries, nuts and carrots to apple mixture, stir gently. Mix dry ingredients and add to apple mixture. Mix well. Stir in eggs and oil gently but thoroughly. Put batter in muffin tins and bake 25-30 minutes. Cool 5 min and remove to wire rack.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

reusable grocery bag


reusable grocery bag, originally uploaded by jjlrdomom.

Thought I'd try making some different kinds of bags. For this one, the pattern was actually a plastic grocery bag, so this is the same style as that except that it's fabric and lined. I followed a great tutorial at Craftster. The stripey material is a top sheet that I bought at Saver's thrift store for $3.....a lot except that there was enough that I'll have 5 bags when I'm done! They're lined with some gauzy material that I had laying around (for years!)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fun with the rice cooker

I wanted to make Jambalaya for dinner. Then I started thinking about the rice cooker my friend gave me to try out. Then I put those two thoughts together and hopped online to see if it's possible (I didn't get a book with the rice cooker, so I may be singing an old song here). Wahooooo!! You can make Jambalaya in the rice cooker!! Rather than posting the recipe I made up in my head (and haven't tasted yet), here are some links to some good recipes. Yay! I'm so happy!!!!
Jambalaya (several recipes, keep scrolling down for more)
and from Now Your Cookin' (this looked a little bland, but is what I started with and then added my own things)

Now you try it and laissez les bon temps roulette!! (Cajun for "Let the good times roll!")

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

grocery bag


grocery bag, originally uploaded by jjlrdomom.

My friend K got me hooked on making reusable grocery bags out of recycled stuff (check out her blog for more ideas on this). This one, much loved by the Pink Princess, is made out of bandanas. Now I have to make myself another one as she has claimed this one. For more views, check out my Flickr page by clicking on either link under the picture.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

my favorite cinnamon rolls (fairly quick)

My friend Alicia, who swears she cannot make bread, shared her "no fail" bread recipe with a group I'm on. Then my friend Pegi adapted it to this wonderful cinnamon roll recipe which goes a little quicker than usual recipes and tastes just as good. For my addition to this great recipe.....for the cinnamon-and-sugar sprinkling, I mix together dry pudding mix, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Yum!!! And I use lots to make it really gooey and tasty!!

Pegi's Cinnamon Rolls ala Alicia's Bread Recipe
6 cup flour
2 T yeast
6 T wheat gluten
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups VERY hot water
2 T vegetable oil (butter does not do that great)
2 t salt


Mix it all up in your standing mixer. Mix until it is mixed, lol. Let it rest five minutes and then knead it for about 2 minutes in the mixer, of course. Let it rise 30 minutes, punch it down and divide in half.
Then roll it out to a rectangle, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, sprinkle with brown sugar, and sprinkle with raisins. Roll it up and pinch it shut then cut in halves until you get to 12. Put in pie plates six to a pan OR put all 12 in a 9 x 13 pan.
Let them rise in a warm oven for about 30 minutes, the bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. You can make a glaze of a little powdered sugar and water with some maple flavoring and put it on them when they are hot.
This recipe makes 24 so you can share with your neighbors!

If you'd rather do without the oil, check out this post on flax seed

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuscan Chicken

I had to make out my grocery list and menu yesterday, so decided to use some of the links in my sidebar to come up with some good ideas. My friend Ashley is a great cook so I visited her recipe blog and discovered Tuscan Chicken. You really need to give it a try, it is delicious!!! Thanks Ashley! Made me think I was in the south again! Hee hee!!

For dessert we had strawberry shortcake and I got this great idea to make cupcakes out of yellow cake mix. It was WONDERFUL! Seemed lighter than using sweet biscuits. And.....ummm......my Beloved Hubby and I had that for breakfast too! Shhhhhh!! Don't tell the kids!!! :)

Homemade Laundry Soap (yep, I do that too!)

I've been asked for the recipe for the homemade laundry soap I use(which yes, works great....I've tested it on some pretty nasty laundry) If you click on the link below, it will take you to the website I got this from.

Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated (I think the website has other stuff you can use)
1/2 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda, but made by Arm and Hammer and found in the laundry aisle)
1/2 cup Borax (also found in laundry aisle)

Place grated soap (be sure to grate it or it takes forever and a day to melt!) and 6 cups of water in a large saucepan. Heat until soap melts. Add washing soda and Borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket you will store the soap in (I have a 2-gallon plastic bucket as that's about how much it makes). Add the soap mix to the water in the bucket and stir. Add 1 gallon + 6 more cups of water and stir. Let sit for 24 hours. It will get kind of gelled (both times I've made it, the consistency was a little different), but regardless, it WILL work! It doesn't make a lot of suds (which is good as we were getting too much with the regular soap). Use about 1/2 cup per load.

Also, if you want, you can add several drops of essential oil if you like your laundry to be scented (I do...I use a citrus type oil that I add in while the soap mix is in the saucepan)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

For my brother



A while back I mentioned that someone near and dear to me was in serious trouble Well, that someone is my younger (and only) brother. And a week ago he was incarcerated until his sentencing in July. Hard stuff, and my brother admits to doing wrong (I won't share specifics, but suffice it to say he really did wrong). But in this God is doing AMAZING things!! My brother chose to accept responsibility for his actions rather than throwing blame, and he has worked so very hard to do all he can for those he hurt (his wife and kids and extended family). What he did was muck and mire, and yet God is lifting him up out of that. I am all the way across the country from him, as are my 2 sisters, so it is only my parents there to walk through this with him, but even in them I am seeing God shining. I am amazed! I thought my miracle with my husband was amazing, and yet, here we go again, I'm witnessing another incredible, seemingly impossible miracle. Wow!!!

So, this song, I had to post it because shortly after I heard that my brother was behind bars I was overwhelmed with this song and the lyrics to it. I am singing it ALL the time, in praise for our AWESOME God who can work beautiful things out of the muck and mire (Romans 8:28.....woohoo!!)

Blessings!
Amy

Saturday, March 29, 2008

An encouraging article

The following article has been copied from Above Rubies magazine (there's a link below). I read it many years ago and it totally changed my view of marriage (and divorce). As you know if you are frequent readers of my blog, I had miracles occur in my own marriage , and during the difficult times, God reminded me of this story, which reminded me that my love for my husband is simply an outpouring of my love for God. So if I'm not showing him love, than obviously something is lacking in my relationship with God.

It is long, but so very worth the time to read it!!! I pray that all who read this may be richly blessed and encouraged in their own marriages!

Bring Him Home
Jim and I met in 1966 - he was 25 I was 18. He was wild and so was I. When we met he had already been in and out of prison for about seven years, and was going back again for two years. We married in the prison six months later. Soon after I had our son. A few months later I miraculously came to Christ. Because of the prison term I didn’t live with my husband for another two and a half years. After being home a year he began a crime spree.
He deserted us over and over again. I had nowhere to turn except to God. No one knew where my mate was. Some of the time my heart would rage like a forest fire out of control on the dry and windy land. I would run and scream like a woman out of her mind searching for her mate in the raging fire. I’d scream curses at God only to faint from exhaustion and weep bitter tears of repentance. I’d get back up, begin running again and fall again and again until finally I’d surrender my will to Christ’s will. And then I’d wait, maybe for another six months, knowing God was in control.
In the beginning I thought about divorce. Well, wasn’t that what a woman does if her husband leaves her repeatedly? And yet Jim kept coming back and repenting. He would mysteriously end up at my back door after being missing for four or five months, looking like a mad man. But beneath the dirt and sun-parched face he was still mine.
I’d bring him in the house, give him dinner, and speak peace and rest to him. I’d run the bath water for him to wash and feel like a man again. Compassion would rise up in my heart - I had the Lord, and my Jim didn’t. I would reverence and praise him.
I would shut the door on the world and be alone with my mate. No matter what he had done to me, we were still one flesh. He was my first and only husband - a terrible, ungodly, unfaithful husband, but he was still my husband. His healing came again and again as I forgave him and opened my love to him. I held nothing back.
There would be times when putting dinner on the table, I’d notice he was awfully late. I’d listen for the car and begin running again and again to the window. The old familiar fear would rage, knowing that he had deserted me again. This scene happened about thirty times in the first twelve years of marriage. He would suddenly disappear without warning. The children would run in from play crying, “Where is daddy, where is my daddy?” I’d tell my little baby Jimmy, “Daddy is sick but Jesus is going to heal him.” I taught my little ones to pray, “Thank you, Jesus, for bringing my daddy home.”
His mother died and no one could find him. My prayers went out to God day and night and seemingly to no avail. The years went on and the crimes continued as if I had no God. I felt like a motherless and fatherless child. I was completely exhausted and my mate committed still another crime and went to prison for almost four years.
I loved him. I felt he was demon possessed and yet he was my husband. Yet at times I hated him. Your arms and legs belong to you even when they hurt, you can’t cut them off. I was like this about my husband. He was mine. I hated it when he deserted me, but I was married to him no matter what. Adultery to me was the worst of all sins. At night before I entered my marriage bed alone I’d cry out to God to keep me pure even in my dreams and that I would never dream of another man.
Many mornings I’d wake up and think, “Lord, why did you give me another day to live?” Often the world seemed so black to me but sweet Jesus would come to me and speak life and joy into my tired and depressed soul. One time God supernaturally took all my burdens away. I forgot he had left me. It was so hilarious. I even wrote myself a note to remember to pray for him.
The day-to-day message from the Lord was, “Now Connie, you just get up out of that bed. You straighten your shoulders and you believe God. This problem isn’t bigger than God. Don’t you prepare your day as though Jim won’t be home. You get up and prepare your home for a miracle.” Each evening when my husband was gone I’d fix supper for him and put his plate at the head of the table. No one was allowed to sit in his chair and no one was allowed to bad mouth him. I ran the house as if he were home.
I survived and lived on the Word of God. I whispered His name all day long. He walked with me in the valley of death and guided me to a straight path.
All our phone conversations at the prison were censored. I’d speak faith into the phone and say, “I’ll see you in a few days, honey.” The guards thought we were planning an escape because Jim had been given a 10-year sentence! People laughed at me and said that he would always leave me and be in and out of prison. The prison guards told me that Jim was institutionalized and was hopeless. Hopeless or not, he was my husband. I knew I could never forsake the Lord by not forgiving my own husband. Also, as a young wife I wanted to be a teacher of women when I got older and I knew I couldn’t be divorced. I’d sing, “Keep me Jesus as the apple of thine eye.”
The Lord would tell me to speak to the mountains in my life and not doubt in my heart. I would speak to the mountain, which was Jim. I would woo him and call him home with my prayers. Every muscle in my body cried out to God to save him. I fasted and prayed continuously.
Jim was healed in 1979. After he had been in prison for the last four years and home for about three months, he asked me to have another baby, our fourth. I was so fearful and yet was praying for Jim to be healed. I said No. I was not going to have another baby. I walked away from him and the Lord spoke to me. “Connie,” He said, “You have come this far by faith. Don’t give up now.” After much heartache I obeyed the Lord my God.
“Yes,” I told Jim, “I’ll have another baby for you.” I placed my future in his hands. When Jim saw that I still believed in his life as a human being something released within him. The fear left his eyes and He was delivered. He lifted his hands up to His Father and received the anointing of a sound and unfettered mind. He began to slowly give more and more of his life to Christ. He took over the bills and began to work steadily.
The Lord did exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ask or think. He gave me joy unspeakable. He showed me He was there all the time. Satan had come in like a flood but the Lord raised such a standard against him. All Satan did was build me a grand testimony.
God gave me a new batch of fruit. I had David in 1980, Dan in 1982 and Mary in 1985. We now have six children. I was queen in my palace. I raised the children for Christ and to honor their daddy. I taught them to jump when daddy walked into the room. I taught them to get Daddy a cup of coffee or honor him in some way.
The guys at work say to my husband, “You don’t go out and drink and party.” Jim says, “I have a wife to go home to. I spend my time with my family.”
One guy said, “Boy, when work is over you run home.” The guy thought something was wrong with him!
I sit here thinking of Jim and the man he is now. He has been home sitting at the head of our table for twenty years! Who is this Jesus we serve? Surely He is the Son of the living God - a God who saw me crying and feeling so forsaken, a God who knew the very moment Jim would be healed. Jim is my walking miracle to always remind me that nothing is impossible with God. He showed me that if we don’t give up we would see the glory of God.
Proverbs says, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.” A woman must gain the trust of a man such as this. His healing comes as he feels safe enough to give Christ his heart and his wife his heart. When Jim was healed he went from not seeing me to taking care of me. He turned from Satan and took dominion over his Eve. He came into his responsibilities as a man. I come under my husband and I don’t desire to do anything else. I don’t always agree with him and I tell him I don’t. But in the end his word is final. I want to be as Esther and not as Queen Vashti.
Dear wives and mothers, don’t give up give up on your husband. He sees your heartache. He won’t leave you or forsake you if you trust in Him. I know for I’ve been to the other side.
Reprinted from “Above Rubies” — a magazine to bring strength and encouragement to marriage, motherhood and family life. It is available by donation from:
PO BOX 681687
FRANKLIN TN 37068-1687
www.aboverubies.org

Thursday, March 27, 2008

my first amigurumi


my first amigurumi, originally uploaded by jjlrdomom.

My friend and I decided to attempt amigurumi. We made bunnies. Not sure why his stuffing shows, but there he is. Little D has adopted him.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bread Machine Recipes I Really Like

WHO Bread (passed to me from K, who found it at SouleMama's blog)

(wheat, honey, and oats-->WHO)

1 1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbs honey
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp salt
2 c white flour
1 c wheat flour
1/2 c rolled oats
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) yeast

Place all in bread machine and let it do it's thing!! I also like to put a handful of raisins or dried cherries in with all the ingredients (if you do it that way, they get chopped up a bit by the machine, or else, wait until your machine beeps to let you know you can add raisins or things like that)

This is a great bread to put in the night before and set on a delayed timer, so that it's fresh and hot in the morning.


Linda's Brown Bread (This recipe is from my friend Linda in Maine...it is so yummy!)

1/2 c warm water
1/2 c. oats
Put these in the bread machine and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding remaining ingredients.

2 Tbs oil
1 c warm water
1/4 c molasses
2 1/4 c white flour
1 c wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs yeast
1/2 c raisins (optional)

You know the rest, let your bread machine do its job! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yummy chocolate (fleece) bunny

I was playing around this evening with some GREAT brown fleece I had stored in my fabric closet. Here's what I came up with!







Monday, March 17, 2008

good Irish meal


good Irish meal, originally uploaded by jjlrdomom.

Here's what we had for dinner this evening. It was quite yummy!! (Hubby thought it VERY odd that I was taking a picture of his plate of food!)

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I really enjoy celebrating St. Patrick's Day. There are some really neat stories about Patrick. I printed one off today to read to my children. There is so much Christian symbolism in this day. And what Patrick did was to take the things of the Irish culture of the time (around 430 AD) and use that to teach the people about Christ. What a great example for us today!! Rather than shunning and judging people, we can come along side them and teach them, in our day to day living, about Christ. Pretty neat!



"The Irish Blessing":
MAY THE ROAD RISE TO MEET YOU,
MAY THE WIND BE ALWAYS AT YOUR BACK
MAY THE SUN SHINE UPON YOUR FACE
THE RAINS FALL SOFT UPON YOUR FIELDS
AND, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN,
MAY GOD HOLD YOU IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND

Palm Sunday

Luke 19:37-40
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied,
"if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."


This is probably one of my favorite parts of the triumphant entry of Jesus. Can you imagine?? It is such a HUGE thing that the stones themselves would have had to cry out an expression of His greatness if the people hadn't. I love that!!! All of creation worshipping the Creator!!!

Hosannah!!! Hosannah!!
Glory to God in the highest!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I LOVE this story, whether it's true or not!

A Religion Professor named Dr. Christianson taught a required survey of Christianity course at small college. Every freshman was required to take the course regardless of his or her major. Although he tried hard to communicate the gospel, students viewed the class as nothing more than a waste of time.One particular year Dr. Christianson had a student named Steve. Steve was the Center for the college football team and also a strong Christian who intended on going to Seminary. One day Dr. Christianson had an idea and he asked Steve to stay after class. "How many push ups can you do?" He asked. Steve said, "I do 200 every night." The professor asked Steve if he could do 300. "I have never done 300 before" Steve said, "but I think I can do it." "Good," the professor said, and he proceeded to tell his plan to Steve.Friday came and Steve got to class early. Dr. Christianson came in with a large box of fluffy, cream filled doughnuts. The class was excited, it was Friday the last class of the day, and they could start their weekend early. Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the row and asked, "Cynthia would you like a donut?" "Yes," she said. Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?" "Sure." Steve jumped down out of his desk and counted off ten push ups. Dr. Christianson laid the donut on Cynthia’s desk. Joe was next. He asked Joe the same question and Joe said "yes." Steve did 10 more pushups and the professor laid the doughnut on Joe’s desk. And so it went all the way down the first row and half way down the second until it came to Scott. He was a basketball player and friendly to female companionship. Scott replied to the professor’s question by saying, "I want the doughnut if I can do my own push ups." Dr. Christianson said, "No Steve has to do the pushups." Then Scott said, "Well I don’t want one if I can’t do my own." Dr. Christian turned around and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push ups so Scoot can have a donut he doesn’t want." Scott said, "hey! I said I didn’t want one!" Dr. Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts, Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it." And he put the donut on Scott’s desk.Steve had begun to slow down a little and sweat had began to form on his cheeks. Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Students were beginning to get a little angry. Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?" Sternly, Jenny said, "NO!" Then Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve, would you do ten more push ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?" Steve did ten-Jenny got a doughnut.By now a sense of uneasiness had filled the room. The students were all beginning to say "no." There were uneaten donuts on every desk. Steve was now putting forth a lot of extra effort to get the pushups done for each doughnut. A small pool of sweat was on the floor, his face was red, and you could see the sweat soaking through his shirt.Dr. Christianson asked Robert, the most vocal unbeliever in class, to watch to make sure Steve did the full ten. Dr. Christianson started down the forth row. Students from other classes had came in and were sitting along the side of the room watching on. When the professor saw them he counted and saw that there were now 34 people in the room. He was worried about Steve, "Could he do that many push ups?" Jason, a recent transfer student, didn’t know what was going on and came in to see. The class yelled, "Go away! Don’t come in!" Steve picked up his head and said, "let him come in." Jason was asked and he said "yes." "Steve will you do ten push ups so Jason can have a donut?" Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great struggle. Jason, confused, was handed a donut and he sat down. Dr. Christianson then finished the fourth row and began on the visitors. Steves arms were shaking uncontrolably with each push up. By this time sweat was pouring off of his face and arms. The very last two students were cheerleaders. "Linda, do you want a donut?" Linda cried and said, "no thank you." Professor turned to Steve, "Steve would you do ten push ups so Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?" Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push ups for Linda. The last girl was Susan. "Susan would you like a donut?" Susan was full of tears and did not answer. "Steve would you do ten push ups so Susan can have a donut?" Susan asked, "Dr. Christianson why can’t I help him?" Dr. Christianson had tears in his eyes also and replied, "I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party I looked at the grade book and found that Steve was the only person with a perfect grade. All of you had failed a test, skipped class, or turned in inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes."Steve slowly got up off the floor, he had done 350 push ups, his arms buckled beneath him as he started to get up. Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. "Well done good and faithful servant", said the professor, "not all sermons are preached in words class." Turning the the students the professor said, "My wish is that you may fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God did not spare His only Son but gave him up for all of us. Whether or not we accept His gift is our choice. The price has been paid. The empty tomb proves that Wouldn’t you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?...

Monday, March 10, 2008

First Annual Prayer Retreat

I've mentioned this church before. We've been attending for several months now. This past weekend they had their first annual Ladies' Prayer Retreat. I CANNOT believe I only paid $5 for that!! It was beyond priceless!!! Let me share what happened there so maybe you can get an idea of it.


Well, all day Friday I was so excited about going, and usually when it's actually time for an event, I have doubts about going, but not this! I can't remember if I told you, but we were given the name of another lady to be praying for all week, and we were also given a blank card to write down what we prayed for that person. I had NO idea who the lady was. I was about to turn around and ask another lady, but God suggested that rather than doing that, this could be a faith walk for me as well, to be praying for someone that I knew absolutely nothing about! So, that's what I did, I prayed knowing that God would have to guide it. Each day I'd think of something different to pray about and amazingly, each day as I prayed, it kept somehow coming back to this lady's witness, her testimony to those around her. On Thursday I found myself looking up scripture to back the prayers, and even decided to write out those scriptures with her name inserted in them to give her.

Well, Friday night I got there and really didn't know anyone really well. There was about 12-15 ladies there and I had to consciously make the decision to mingle (really, it IS hard for me to be outgoing, but God's been working on that in me for years now). Well, we went up to the sanctuary for opening prayer, worship and stuff. Things weren't going exactly according to "the outline" which I later learned was a lesson for the lead pastor's wife, who worked on the whole thing and admits to being a "control freak"....but God had awesome plans ready for us!! Anyway, a lady stood up to give her testimony, and WHAT a story it was!! She used to be a druggie and even became a dealer!! She's a Mom!! With lots of kids!! And she got into Meth and things just went south fast (that's when she became a dealer to support her own habit). Eventually her house was raided and her kids taken and stuff, and before going to jail, she realized that God was calling her back to him (she's a pastor's daughter!) The raid happened just a couple years ago (just before we moved here) and God has brought her so far since that time!! It is INCREDIBLE!!!! And........that was the lady that I had been praying for all week!!!!!!!!!! We didn't give the cards we had written until the next day, and she said when she read what I had been praying she just cried and cried and cried, because she is now an advocate for Moms who have been caught doing drugs. She's very involved in working with people who are involved in the stuff she had been doing! I'm telling you, that was SO AWESOME for me as well as her....what a giant step in faith that all was!

BUT that's not even all of it....skipping forward to Saturday, we were given about 1 1/2 hours of time to get into the Word and just seek God and what He wanted us to get out of this weekend. Earlier in the week I had realized that God wants me to work on being gracious. I had read some scripture about that, but not a whole lot yet. See, I do have a problem with gossip sometimes and the time has come to make a clean break from that very bad problem. Yeah, talk about a YIKES moment! So I knew that this was what God wanted to hash out with me in my own little time. I found a quiet corner and started reading on grace and graciousness, but everything talking about that was mostly talking about God....I held that up in puzzlement knowing it was a beautiful quality of God, but was it something that I needed to do?? And of course, was my answer, of course, because we are to put on the likeness of Christ. With further digging through my concordance and glossary, I discovered gracious and merciful are basically the same thing, and in looking up merciful in my concordance, there was a lot of "meat" to chew on!! I wrote several verses(**see below) down in my journal, and the more I wrote and prayed, the heavier my heart became, until I literally was scrawling (through tears) in my journal, begging God's forgiveness and asking Him how in the world could *I* become a gracious person. I just kept rolling that over and over in my mind without an answer....and then Jenipher, the pastor's wife, came over to me to give me the card written by whoever had been praying for me. I took it and went to return to my pleading with God for answers and God told my heart that I needed to open that card. This is what it said,
Amy, God is so amazing! Even having you come to Utah is a blessing from Him. This week as I prayed for you, I prayed for hope. The strength that you have in the Lord will be such a blessing to this desert. You are here for a purpose and the body of Christ will be blessed by God's purpose for you. (Read Romans 15:13) Thank you for stepping out in faith. Hold on to the hope of things to come, always walk forward in the Lord. We need you here in the desert! In His service, Jenipher
And there it was, such peace washed over me. And it was as if God gave me a pat on the back and said, "Go get 'em!"....My prayer time was done (beside the thank yous coming over and over like breathing in and out!!) I went down to help get lunch ready with Jenipher and she said that she didn't know why, but God needed me to have hope. I told her that what she didn't know was what that hope was for! That hope was the answer to my pleas for forgiveness and pleas for a changed heart. Wow!!! I'm telling you, so amazing.

After lunch we all went up to the sanctuary to share what we had learned this weekend, and it was SO obvious that God was SO involved in the lives of every woman there that weekend (we ended up with only 8 that stayed for the whole thing). Many people made comments about how absolutely accurate the prayer had been for them that week. One lady kept praying about smoking for another lady, and she was so confused as she was fairly certain that this lady didn't smoke. She almost doubted what she'd been praying, but decided to trust. Well, the lady she had been praying for has a husband who smokes, and due to the extreme winter we had, he's been smoking in the house and it has really begun to be an issue for the wife!!! She needed prayer for that wall that was going up! I'm telling you, amazing!!!!

Oh, and lest you fear it wasn't fun too.....oh wow!!! Friday night we visited, painted nails (each of mine is a different color, including a blue, green and an orange one!!---couldn't help myself!) we played games and laughed. Oh it was such a HUGE blessing!!

Oh, and another thing. It was supposed to be held in October, but Jenipher kept fighting it, until it finally got done for now. Had it been in October, I wouldn't have been there!! God is good all the time!!!!!

Now aren't ya glad I'm done!!!
Amy
**oh, here's those verses: Exodus 34:6; Psalm 18:24-25; Psalm 37:25-26; Matthew 5:7; Luke 6:35-36

Don't Tempt Me!

James 1:13-14:
Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).

Whoooo, boy! God is beginning yet another big work in me! I admit, I'm a bit anxious.....can I actually walk this path He's laid out before me? He's offering a path of life rather than the death walk I was choosing. Do you know what the above verse is saying? It's saying that when I'm tempted it's not anybody's fault but my own!!! When I'm tempted, it is me actually considering my own selfish desires! And we all know where that leads, right? We consider those desires, we act on those desires and it becomes a sin habit!

As I pondered this, I thought about some areas where I am continually tempted--gluttony and gossip. And looking at that in light of the above verse, here's what that looks like: I walk into the kitchen and see a piece of cake....no big deal.....except that I suddenly REALLY want that cake. I don't think about anything else but that cake. I know I shouldn't eat that cake, but I shove that thought aside (deliberately turning away from what I know is right) and give myself lots of reasons why I should eat the cake (relying on my own wisdom) and so I eat it. Do I actually enjoy that cake? Not really, because it has become an idol, something that leads me rather than God leading me. If you have to sneak it/hide it, are you living in the light? Can I hear a resounding NO!!! ((worst part is, I tell my kids this kind of stuff every day....but when it comes to my life.....oy!!))

So, what's my plan??? Well, for one, I'm writing out verse 14, the part about temptation being an enticement of my own selfish desires rather than what God desires for me. And I'm going to post that verse near the fridge and near the phone. Then I'm going to stop coming up with "good excuses" for the things I do ('it tastes so good', 'she made me so mad', "it's the last piece', 'you are NOT going to believe this'). Those all sound so good, but the truth is I KNOW that is NOT what God has for me. God has a purpose for me, and meanwhile I'm busy hiding in a corner doing my own thing and trying to make myself feel good about it. Ouch!!

So there.....done rambling (I think) and now it's posted on the worldwide web.....kinda makes me a whole lot more accountable, doncha' think?? Zoinks! Glad God's got me covered, He's got a plan to keep me busy with some good things! Looking forward to that, that's for sure!!!

Blessings!
Amy

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hope


Hope, originally uploaded by jjlrdomom.

Spring is here....under all that snow, life was happening.....and only God knew about until now. I just love that. I don't think I could pick a favorite season, because every season has it's purpose. Hmmm, a lot like our own lives, every season has a purpose, and it's only for a short time, and like these little sprouts, we need to stretch, and reach and make the very most of the time we're given!