|Make a Smilebox slideshow|
Monday, December 15, 2008
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")!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
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"
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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
I Love you Fran (Piglet)!!
Love, Amy (Pooh)
Thursday, October 9, 2008
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
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
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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
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.
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
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
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
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
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!
Monday, July 7, 2008
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!
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!!)
Saturday, March 29, 2008
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
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
(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
Monday, March 17, 2008
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
"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!!!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
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!!!
**oh, here's those verses: Exodus 34:6; Psalm 18:24-25; Psalm 37:25-26; Matthew 5:7; Luke 6:35-36
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!!!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
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!