Thursday, January 28, 2010

Little Details

I don't know about you but, I get so excited when the details in scripture speak loudly to me.  This Sunday was one of those times.  Our church is reading through the Bible chronologically and this past week we read the amazing story of Joseph, son of Jacob.  His life and testimony has always spoken to me, that is one of the reasons why our son's middle name is Joseph.  Joseph did not have an easy road of it, but sought God the whole way.  This Sunday our pastor pointed out a small phrase at the beginning of a verse, that seemed to shout to me once my attention was drawn to it.

Genesis 37: 12 - 17
Now his brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks near Shechem, and Israel said to Joseph, "As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them." "Very well," he replied. So he said to him, "Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me." Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron. When Joseph arrived at Shechem, a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, "What are you looking for?" He replied, "I'm looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?" "They have moved on from here," the man answered. "I heard them say, 'Let's go to Dothan.' " So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 

Joseph was not well liked by his brothers in fact shortly after he finds them they throw him in an empty cistern, with plans to leave him for dead.  But as they are eating lunch merchants come by and they decide to sell him instead.  So what was brought to my attention was how God had cared for Joseph by letting him wander awhile before leading him to his brothers.  If Joseph had found his brothers sooner he would have been left for dead way before the merchants would come through.  He would have never ended up in Egypt and eventually in the place to save not only the Egyptians from famine, but also his long lost family.  I am telling you, if you haven't read the story of Joseph, you need to.  It starts in Genesis 37.  You can read it here.  

I have been experiencing a rough spot in my role as mama for the past two days, I think it has something to do with my son refusing to nap and waking his little sister up way early from her naps with his noisy restlessness.  Yet I remember that God is in each little detail of our lives...even if it feels like you are wandering around only to eventually be left for dead.  He is right there to pull it all together.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Super Easy Guacamole

Our family loves Mexican food.  4 out of 7 days (maybe more) we eat something with at least a Mexican Flair.  One of our favorite meals is Taco Salads.  We use ground turkey instead of ground beef and often forgo any chips, so not only is it tasty it is a healthy option too.  A must have for our taco salads is Homemade Guacamole.  Which is also a great health food with the good kind of fats from the Avocado.  It is really great for brain development in little ones.  Guacamole was one of the first foods both our kiddos ate.  So for today I have a recipe for really yummy Guacamole.

Super Easy Guacamole
1/4 tsp salt per avocado
2 T salsa per avocado
3/4 tsp garlic powder per avocado
1/2 tsp lime or lemon juice per avocado
Optional: Chopped cilantro, chopped onion

Place all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth.

  • This is very easy to double, triple, etc. just get more avocados.
  • Finding a very ripe avocado is the key to good guacamole.  The avocado should feel soft to the touch and the skin should be dark in color.
  • Feel free to adjust the above ingredients to fit your taste.  For example we always use a little more salt, lime over lemon juice, and include cilantro but not the chopped onion.
  • A trick my husband learned from a neighbor when he lived in El Paso, TX is to put the pit (seed) back into the bowl with the guacamole to keep it from turning brown so quick.  You can't make guacamole in advance as it browns quite quickly, but when you put in the pit it does seem to lengthen the life span.

Here are some pictures of the steps for those visual learners.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I missed church but I got the message...

Last week I was not able to go to church as I was home caring for my niece and her very sick mommy.  My sister in law had driven 3 hours to our house on Thursday so we could all drive to a family wedding, but then became very ill.  We didn't make it to the wedding and instead spent the weekend praying health would return soon.  My niece didn't sleep well, and therefore neither did I.  By Sunday night I was exhausted, but a good friend encouraged me to get to small group.  Then my husband got in on it and insisted it was what I needed.  They were right.  I love my small group, and I always enjoy their company.  At group it was discussed that at church our pastor had talked about how God blesses us and in turn we can be a blessing to others.  It helped me see the past few days in a new light.  It had been a weekend of blessings.  I blessed my sis in law by caring for my niece while she was too sick to care for her and by caring for her as well.  My mom and grandma blessed me by taking my two kiddos so the house would be quiet and I wouldn't be so stretched.  My good friend Shawna made my family a big pot of soup and helped me get to small group (in more ways then one).  A teenage daughter of a family in our small group watched the kids so I could go to group.  I could go on...

So even though I didn't "hear" the message last Sunday at church, I think I got it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Will you join the March for Life?

I can't go to Washington for the actual March, but I have joined in the virtual March for Life.  If you would like to join in too, click on the button on the right of my blog.  You even get to pick out your own personal Avatar!  There is also information on the actual March there too.  So check it out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Adding Ribbon to an Apron

Today I am going to share how I added detail to a very simple denim apron.  This was a Christmas gift for my mom. 

  • First I covered the table with a heavy towel to create a large "ironing board".
  • Then I  ironed the apron so I would not have any bumps under my ribbon.
  • Then I decided where I wanted the ribbon and measured (no ruler, just stretched it out and cut it the appropriate length).
  • Then I sealed the ends of the ribbon using a match.  Just take your ribbon and move the end slowly through the flame.  If you haven't tried that before you might want to use a test ribbon the first time so you get an idea of the timing.
  • Next I "measured" the stitch witchery the same length as the ribbon. (I decided that I was not ready to count on my stitches to be that straight, so I went with a no sew method).

  • Place your ribbon on top of the stitch witchery and iron, following the directions that came with your stitch witchery.

Here is the finished project:

This was a very simple project, and I was pleased with the results.  I am thinking about using this method to personalize canvas bags Landon and Elaine can use for their library books.  I'll be sure to let you know how that goes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This week's list is short and sweet.  The kids and I are headed to a wedding this weekend so I have lots of packing to do.
  • Friends that are not only fun to hang out with but also point me back to life's purpose of glorifying our Creator.
  • Seeing my children enjoy each others company.  This isn't a given so when it happens it is a real treat.
  • Having the diaper fairy visit our house (aka Grandma showing up with diapers).
  • Christian Music stations to listen to in the car.
  • Having my husband off work every 6th week.
 Your turn...what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Teaching Tuesday: Waiting

I have decided to add a post topic that will reoccur each week on my blog.  As you may have guessed from the title it is Teaching Tuesday.  As a teacher by trade, I still love to help others learn something new so I thought this would be a great theme for me.  I also know that I am still being taught each day by my kids, my friends, my family, my husband, and ultimately my God.  So at times Teaching Tuesday will include what I have been taught recently.  In fact that is just what you will find here today.

Have you ever felt like you were in a waiting period?  In between two events...just waiting for the upswing?  That is how I feel right now.  After loosing our baby in July of last year I have felt very much like I am in a holding pattern.  Not fully embracing life as it is now, just looking ahead to what I hope will be in the near future.  As I posted around Thanksgiving, I have recently been experiencing peace in my situation.  Yet once again God has taught me something.  Resting in his timing is what He calls me too, but there is also work to be done in this time in between.  For instance working to reestablish my exercise routine.  At the time I became pregnant with Elaine (and really throughout my pregnancy) I was eating healthy and exercise was a very established part of my week.  Since her birth it has not gone completely to the wayside but it has definitely not taken the priority it should.  All this to say that I will be getting to work during this time in between.  Of course healthy eating and exercise is just a small part of His plan for this time.  I am a work in progress and I need this time to be what he created me to be. 

Francesca Battistelli's song Time in Between is a powerful reflection of what I am being taught.  Check it out here and let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Once again I have so many things to be thankful for today.

Here are just a few of them:
  • Snow - I know it causes some inconveniences, but it gave the kids and I a completely uninterrupted day, which without snow would have been interrupted. 
  • My new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer - My husband and I had a stand mixer we bought with gift cards from our wedding.  It will be 10 years old in June.  It worked great for several years, but after our doggy chewed the cord it was never quite the same.  My husband repaired the cord, but for some reason it only had one speed...super sonic fast.  So when I tried to use it, flour would fly out all over the surrounding area.  This Christmas my mom surprised me with a new one.  Since Christmas I have already made a batch of my family's favorite muffins (Chunky Monkey), whole wheat chocolate chip cookies (for the freezer), a new muffin recipe, and later today I plan to make brownies from scratch.
  • A warm house - It may not be quite as warm as others, but I know there are many that are not as warm as mine.
  • Toys - Yes, even though I spend a lot of time reminding my children to pick them, share them, or treat them nice, I am still thankful they have them to play with especially on a day like today.
  • God's Word - As I am reading the Bible chronologically this year, I have already been reminded how intricate scripture is and how it is woven together so perfectly.  It is truly amazing.
Now it is your turn, what are you thankful for?

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  1 Chronicles 16:8

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

I love a new start.  When I was a classroom teacher, one of my favorite things about my career was that it was full of fresh starts.  Each day, each week, each month, each grading period, each semester, each school year was a time for a fresh start.  So I still look at my life as several cycles that piece together.  So I create fresh starts for myself.  Of course a natural time for a fresh start is a new year.  After all the holiday happenings, which included missed naps and way too much junk food, we are in desperate need for a fresh start.  Our fresh start is starting today.  It includes momma laying out clothes and preparing for the day last night, waking early to get started before the kiddos (which around here is hard to do), serving a healthy breakfast, hiding any leftover Christmas candy and goodies, getting to the Y early, having some learning time before lunch, naps right on time, cleaning the house, swim lessons, and having a healthy home cooked meal for supper, and spending time with God throughout the day.  That is the plan for the first day of our fresh start.  I will have to let you know how our fresh start far so good.

What is even more comforting to me then the fresh starts I create for myself?  The one God created for me when he sent Jesus to wipe the slate clean.  That is a fresh start I could never create for myself, yet I need it more then anything else.  That truth is the only thing that makes my "fresh starts" worth it.  Because as we all know fresh starts only lasts so long, then our fallen world and sin nature get in the way.  So I cling to the fact that God created a fresh start for me.

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23