Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Peek Inside An Amish Kitchen

A couple or three years ago we bought a noodle-maker from the Amish store. I tried my hand at it once or twice, but my noodles didn't turn out that great. In fact, after 'drying' they molded in the bags that I put them in. Ever since then I've been trying to glean information here and there, but, to date haven't had the nerve to try my hand at noodle-making again.

A few days ago an Amish friend called me and told me that her and her daughters were going to be making noodles soon, and she asked if I'd like to come out and join them. Would I? You bet! I had never had the pleasure of visiting my friend in her home and I was, not only a little more than excited about the prospect, but a little nervous, as well.

When I arrived at my friend's house I learned that she and her four daughters had ended up making their noodles another day. Today was for me!

Long tables were set out...completely covered with a layer of fresh towels with a layer of clean, white, flat sheets on top of that. The girls had already made one batch of noodles for me and another batch of dough was ready and waiting to go. My friend walked me through the process of dough-making...which was really simple...but the dough had to sit for an hour or two before using (that's why it was already done and waiting by the time I got there). Next, my friend and her daughters showed me how to roll the dough thin, then cut the noodles, and lay them out to dry.

Now drying...that's the problem I would have here. I don't have a place to let the noodles air dry for an extended period of time, but my friend is taking care of that, too. She is letting my noodles dry at her house. What she does is, she let's the noodles lay on the towel and sheet covered tables for the first day, then pulls the edges of the top sheet up, and over, the noodles and allows the whole batch to sit until they are completely dry (two to three weeks, I think she said, and she said that she does 'fluff them up' every now and then to allow even drying). She said that she will call me when they're dry and, then, I will go back over and pick them up. 

When we were done, I helped my friend and her daughters clean up and put things away. We chatted while doing so and I learned a little more about my Amish friend, and she a little bit more about me. We talked about chickens and aprons and gardens. Much to my surprise, when I got ready to leave, my friend and her daughters presented me with a beautiful angel food cake which they had made with the egg whites leftover from noodle-making and two tubs of fresh strawberries. I was touched to the core of my being at all they had done to make me comfortable in their home and to teach me the art of noodle-making.

When I left I felt that I was walking away with much more than just a peek inside an Amish kitchen. I was walking away with the blessing of genuine friendship.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Memories

'Memorial Day Parade'
"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
 
Growing up Memorial Day was always a special day! When I was real little my mom and dad and I would load up early in the morning and make the round of cemeteries to decorate the graves of loved ones that passed on before us. At that time there were only a few graves to decorate, so the rest of the day would be spent with family. Usually, we would gather together for a day of fun...a game of horseshoes, homemade ice cream, and fun with the cousins as we rolled giggling down the grassy bank at Grandpa and Grandma's house in the country. At the time that bank seemed so huge, but, looking at it as an adult, it was hardly anything.

In later years we continued to do the cemetery rounds, but, due to reasons unknown to me...finances, perhaps, or, maybe, a shift in values...my parents stopped decorating the graves. Oftentimes, after a morning of visiting the cemeteries, we would end up at a place that was historically important, not only to those interested in local Civil War history, but, to us, personally, as a family...the Anderson House in Lexington, Missouri. We had family members that were caretakers there at one time and my grandmother had spent many delightful days there as a child. We would often end up there on family outings and she would share her memories, as well as the secrets of the old house, with me, as together, we would explore its every nook and cranny. You could do that back then, but not now.

As time went on and older generations passed away, our Memorial Day traditions changed and, for the most part, fell away. We stopped doing the cemetery rounds altogether and usually just settled for a cook-out at the folks house. When my mother passed away that pretty much stopped, too. Memorial Day became a day of much-needed rest more than anything else. Last year Memorial Day was spent at the hospital by my uncle's bedside after he suffered a massive heart attack, endured emergency surgery, and, later that afternoon, died. It was not a good holiday weekend!

Fast forward...this morning...

After a particularly trying week and weekend, I woke up this morning in tears. I was feeling dull, depressed, and anxious. I felt physically and spiritually ill. I did not want to face another Memorial Day Monday.

While sitting at my desk later in the morning...pondering my day and the week ahead, my son, who...I still don't know if he realized what he was doing or not...I don't know if he was subconciously drawing on past memories of Memorial Day at his own grandparent's house, or if he was simply trying to brighten my day...but whatever the reason, he came in and asked if we had any hot dogs or hamburgers. I told him that I thought there might be a few turkey burgers left in the freezer, but there weren't any hot dogs...why? He said that he was just wondering...was thinking of maybe grilling something. Next thing I knew the old, familiar smell of good times past...the smokey smell of a charcoal grill...came wafting through the house. With the smell came a flood of happy memories and, before I knew it, my own spirit began to soar as it wafted heavenward...filled with praise to my Saviour...as gratitude flooded my soul!

At that moment, even though I had, neither time, nor inclination, to prepare anything special for today's holiday, thoughts flooded my mind! I had one more pan of baked beans in the freezer! I had one can of potatoes left! Mix that with a couple green onions from the garden, a little Miracle Whip, mustard, and spices...and viola! Instant potato salad! A quick trip to Casey's for a small bag of chips and a bottle of soda...serve it all up on the traditional Memorial Day paper plate and...how about that? Despite all the hoopla and weariness...we had a little celebration of sorts after all! I thanked my son for getting the ball rolling, and I praised the Lord for picking up my weary soul and ministering to it as only He can!

The only thing missing today was homemade ice cream! Hmmm...I wonder if there's not something creative that I can do about that??? (smile)

Have a Happy and Blessed Memorial Day!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

O That I Had Wings Like A Dove

'Child With Dove' by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805)
"...O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away, and be at rest" (Psalm 55:6).

Have you ever felt like this? 

When we are oppressed by evil people and/or spiritual enemies, or when trouble in the world around us brings us fear, anguish, and overwhelming anxiety, all too often we may wish to find a way of escape from our present troubles. This past week has been such a time for me.

This past week has been one of the worst weeks on record all the way around. Not only has it been incredibly long, but it has been full of battles on every front and I am weary. However, despite the fact that battles (especially spiritual battles) rage on all fronts, I am fully aware that escape from such situations is impossible. The real solution can be found only by seeking refuge in God. 

 "As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, 
and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear 
my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was 
against me: or there were many with me" (Psalm 55:16-18).

As did David, you and I are at liberty to call upon God at any time...evening, morning, and noon...as we cast our burdens upon Him and look to Him to sustain us.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). 

Have a beautiful and blessed week ahead!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hope Deferred

"Hope Deferred"
"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but 
when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." 
(Proverbs 13:12)

I woke up this morning with this verse embedded in my mind and it wouldn't go away. I have pondered it all day long. I have read it over and over in my Bible and have researched the meaning of every word contained therein in the Websters 1828 Dictionary. In doing my research I even discovered the above painting by Charles West Cope!

I don't really know the purpose in all this, but know that this is for someone. To anyone who might be reading this right now whose hope  [desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable] has been deferred [delayed; put off; postpone to a future time], fret not!

"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).



Friday, May 27, 2011

Encouragment For My Sisters In Christ Jesus

Vicious attacks are being launched by the enemy against beautiful, godly, Christian women who are doing their best to share the gospel message of Christ Jesus with those within their sphere of influence. My message to those women is the same as that given by Paul unto Timothy when he said,

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of they ministry" (2 Timothy 4:2-5).

To those precious ladies I say...

I know you're not "preaching" but know that your ministry is vital! Don't be discouraged and don't let the devil shut you down. You just keep right on fighting the good fight of faith and follow the Lord as, step-by-step before you, He opens up your paths before you.

Thinking of you all...praying for you...and pleading the blood of Jesus over each of you...over you, your families, your homes, and your ministries.

"Finally, my brethren" (or sisters in this case), "be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye many be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked..." (Ephesians 6:10-16).

God bless one and all!

All My Love and (((Hugs))) Of Encouragement,
~Rebecca

An Excellent Article On Modesty

This is one of the best articles on modesty that I've ever read!

"Tell Her Mama!"
Brooke writes:

"As we walked from our car to the pool, our first time visiting this summer, she was walking out.


Young, fresh, beautiful, perky and scantily clad. Her suit was so revealing that my young son, just five, couldn’t take his eyes off of her. He had never seen something like this before and in his innocent, precious little voice he whispered to me, “Mama! She’s naked! You can see her privates! Tell her Mama!”

It took me a minute or two to figure out that he was actually concerned for her. He thought she didn’t realize her “privates” were hanging out and wanted to protect her...."


To finish reading the article "Tell Her Mama!", please visit Raising Homemakers by click HERE.

Which Side Of The Fence Will You Be On?

(The following is a reprint of an article that I put out nearly a decade ago in October of 2001. It was timely then, but is even more so now.)

"What a month September was...with the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. and all! We wish to extend our sincere condolences to any of you receiving this newsletter who have lost family members or friends in this heinous act of violence on American soil. Our thoughts and prayers have been...and will remain...with you. In light of these attacks...I would like to re-run the body of a newsletter that I wrote and put out in September of 1998. Looking back I found it to be particularly interesting. Here it is...

“...This month, in light of the events that are taking place in the world around us, I would like to admonish my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to sit up and take notice! Time is growing very short and we must get serious people! America, as well as the rest of the world, is entering a period that Jesus speaks about in Luke 21:25-26. He says, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (The Amplified Bible says, “...upon the earth [there will be] distress (trouble and anguish) of nations in bewilderment and perplexity [without resources, left wanting, embarrassed, in doubt, not knowing which way to turn]...”) Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

Right now the world is experiencing trouble as never before...hurricanes, floods, fires, drugs, violence, crime, hunger, war, economic crisis, countries collapsing before our very eyes...and no one really has an answer as to how to fix it. If that isn’t “...distress of nations, with perplexity...”, I don’t know what is. In all of the madness going on in our world, America appears to be doing well...but looks can be deceiving!

Throughout Bible history, there is a pattern. Whenever a nation turned away from God, He sent them warnings through prophets. If the people didn’t respond, God often sent violent storms and drastic weather changes and plagues to wake them up. If they didn’t work, God sent them one final message...He inundated them with prosperity. It was a last, great mercy call!

Consider the days of Noah. God determined to judge Noah’s society because of its growing wickedness. But first he sent Noah to warn them of coming judgment. In his great mercy, God blessed that society with 120 years of wonderful prosperity. Luke 17:26-28 says, “...in the days of Noah...they did eat, they drank, they married...they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded...” The people feasted, celebrated, had plenty of work, traded their goods. Business was booming! Yet the whole time, a cloud of destruction was gathering overhead...and Noah continued to deliver his prophetic warnings. The people ignored old Noah. They went right on living the good life! They didn’t have time for some religious nut issuing warnings of coming judgment. They could only see good times ahead! And their booming prosperity lasted up to the very day of the flood.

Consider the days of Lot. Sodom and Gomorrah enjoyed the same booming economy as Noah’s society. Yet, Ezekiel writes, “This was the iniquity of...Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness...neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty...” (Ezekiel 16:49-50). These people had an abundance of provision...they were prosperous, with plenty of leisure time on their hands...yet they ignored the poor! The people of Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t realize it, but their abundant prosperity was God’s final mercy call to them. Suddenly, overnight, the good times ended and calamity struck. Within 24-hours...the whole society was destroyed!

There are many other examples in the Bible of prosperity being God’s final mercy call...the days of King Josiah (2 Kings 22:11-17, 23:26-27; Jeremiah 25:3-11). What about Jeremiah 44? Overnight, Judah’s good days turned into a hellish nightmare...overpowering armies flooding into Jerusalem, burning the temple and reducing the city to rubble. Yet, in all of this the people, acknowledging God’s prosperity in the past, opted to rebel and remain in their wickedness.

In Revelation 18 the Bible predicts a graphic sense of a prosperous society falling under judgment in a single hour. This society is called Babylon. Although Scripture doesn’t make it clear who this Babylon will be, many theologians have tried to predict who it will be. The Bible describes it this way: “...the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies [luxuries]...How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously...for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen...and shall see no sorrow” (Revelation 18:3, 7). Whoever this Babylon is, its unparalleled prosperity is struck with a sudden economic collapse, and all is lost overnight. Could this “Babylon” be America?

Folks, I don’t know who this Babylon is, and I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that God can not go against His Word. As a nation, America is in trouble! Our country gets wealthier and wealthier, while federal courts are doing everything in their power to outlaw even the mention of God’s name in public. Judges are banning the symbols of faith at every turn--crosses, manger scenes, prayer in schools. There is even a movement to remove the phrase “In God We Trust” from our coins! We continue to allow the murder of millions of unborn children through abortion, while we march in protest against the killing of whales and rabbits! There are over 100 million television sets and some 100,000 movie theaters in America today--and most are serving as conduits for pornography! Even Disney movies are cashing in on R-rated movies! Most of their films promote cursing and the occult, and it has become popular to curse, mock, and ridicule Christ! These are just a few signs of our nation’s moral decay. Judgment on America is surely on its way...and it sounds scary!

But...there is hope! For God’s children, He has provided a way to have perfect peace in that time of panic! Scripture says that God will keep all who trust Him “...in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). If you are in tune to the voice of God, determine in your heart right now to make a commitment to Him, that no matter what happens, you will seek Him in all that you do...no matter what the future holds. Keep in mind, in each of the situations mentioned earlier, God provided an avenue of safety for those that were truly His own. He promises us that he will “...never leave” us “nor forsake” us (Hebrews 12:5). When ominous news begins to send shock waves of fear across our land, we won’t be able to avoid the normal feelings of human anxiety, yet at the same time, God will put within us the resources needed to take immediate control of every fearful thought and bring it into obedience to the truth of Christ Jesus. His Spirit will fill us with His perfect peace!”

Well, folks...that was the September 1998 newsletter. That ominous news that sends shock waves of fear across our land is here...and I believe it will continue in the days ahead. So...what do we do now? Well...the following is a list of the things that I feel are most important at this time:

#1-Pray. This is the most effective weapon that we have as Christians.

#2-Get into the Word. Build up your faith by spending time in quiet fellowship with God allowing Him to fill you with the peace that passes all understanding.

#3-Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and direction. Ask Him how He would have you to prepare for the coming storm and the days ahead. Follow His leading and put your faith into action.

#4-Ask the Lord to use this time in our nation's history for His glory and to bring ministry opportunities into your path. Ask Him to show you how you can minister to the needs of others, as well as spread the gospel. Ask Him to give you the right words to speak at the right time.

#5-Pray for our President. Pray that the spirit of Josiah would fall upon him and that he would call our nation to repentance.

Folks...I only have one more thing to say and then I’ll stop...and some of you reading this aren‘t going to like it...but in the future...we Christians are going to have to stick together. It’s time to get serious! Get out of your dogma and religiosity! Get out of your little clicks and denominational heresies! Get into the truth of the Word and GET WITH IT! There isn’t any time left to fool around! The day is coming very quickly that you are going to have to make a decision and get off the fence one way or another. We can no longer afford to go around with one foot in the church and one foot in the world. It’s time to make a choice! When judgment comes...which side of the fence will YOU be on?"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Life Is LIke A Teacup


A friend of mine posted a line out of one of her recent posts on Facebook this morning, and it reminded me of an article that I wrote a long ago...one that I think I'll share again with you here today. In her post on Facebook, Darlene Schact of Time-Warp Wife said:

"I don’t know the mind of God, but I do know that our cups can't be filled until
they are empty of all this world has to offer." ~Darlene Schact  

 How true that is! Which brings me to today's re-post of...


"Life Is Like A Teacup"
 

 Teacups...

They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are short and fat, some are tall and slender, some are stout and strong, while still others are very fragile and delicate. But every one is different...unique...and useful...made to serve a purpose.

Just as teacups are different, so is what goes in them! Some cups hold tea, while others hold coffee, hot cider, juice, or just plain ol' water. It's all a matter of personal choice and preference.

Another choice we make when filling our cup is how full to fill it. Some cups have "just a smidgen" in the bottom, while others are "comfortably full." Still others are "full to the brim" and "overflowing."

How much like people's lives and life itself this sounds as we study out and think about teacups and what goes in them!

Like teacups, people come in all sizes, shapes, and colors...yet each one is different...unique...and useful...made to fulfill a divine purpose.

Just as unique as what goes into a teacup, so, too, is what goes into a person's life. Different events and happenings all aid to our individual uniqueness. While many of these events and happenings are part of God's divine course for our individual lives, a lot of these events and happenings are made as a result of our own choosing. Each of us make choices every day that will effect our lives...forever!

Some of these choices are big, major decisions that leave a definite mark on our personal history and time-line, but...by far...most of the decisions that we make are small, day-to-day decisions...decisions made as minute-by-minute we work through the day at hand. Decisions that for the most part are forgotten as quickly as they are made, but in some small way, as small decision upon small decision is made, they will effect our life...forever changing it's course...in one way or another.

What kind of decisions are you making minute-by-minute? What do those choices reflect about what's really going on inside of you? Are you making decisions that glorify the Lord? Are you constantly striving to live daily for Him? Are the decisions you make aiding in and adding to your spiritual growth? Or are the decisions that you are making in day-to-day life leading you, one small step at a time, further and further away from the Lord? If so, it's never too late to change the course that your life is taking.

Also, just as we must decide what to fill our lives with, we must choose how full to fill them. Is your life shallow and, for the most part, empty? Perhaps it is "comfortably full?" Perhaps you are one of those people who are careful not to step outside the comfort zone that you, in fact, have set up for yourself. Or are you adventuresome and willing to step outside of your comfort zone...fully lending yourself to the Lord so He can accomplish His goals and His agendas through you, as well as, lead you into a life that`s "full to the brim" and "running over?"

Whatever the case...I challenge you...the next time that you fill your cup...with whatever it is that you enjoy drinking...reflect back over your life. Think about the things that have been talked about here. Compare your life to a teacup. What kind of cup would you be? What would be in that cup? And how full would it be if your life were suddenly transformed into a teacup? Are you willing to pour out your life as a drink offering unto the Lord...so that He, in turn, can re-fill you with His love and compassion for people? Are you ready to put yourself in position to receive all that He has for you as He fills you with an unquenchable zest for life?
In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that He came that we "might have life" and that we might "have it more abundantly." Are you willing to step back, re-evaluate and let Him fill you and your life "up to the brim" and "running over?" Boy! I sure am! I am to the point that I want less of me and more...more...more of Him. How about you? 

~Rebecca (2001)

Just a reminder - Please cast your vote for Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME on Circle of Mom's Top 25 Faith Blogs daily through June 8th. Thank you so much!
 

Monday, May 23, 2011

God's Judgment Upon Our Nation?

"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3).
 Last night's tornado in Joplin, Missouri is being deemed "the single worst tornado in U.S.A. history since 1947." That means that it is the single worst tornado in the U.S.A. history since Israel became a nation May 15, 1948...and it hit right in the heart of our nation.
May 19, 2011 - Obama's Speech
May 22, 2011 - Joplin Tornado
 Are these two events connected? If so, what's it going to take?  

An Urgent Call To Prayer

Please be in prayer for the people of Joplin, Missouri. They were hit by an F4 tornado late this afternoon and 1/3 of the city was destroyed. I don't know any numbers yet, but know that many lives have been taken and many others are missing. Please be in prayer for emergency workers, as well, as they sift through the rubble, treat the injured, and help those in need. Joplin is 38 miles south of us and our hearts are breaking for these dear people. Have a couple of friends that have family members that they can't locate, as well as friends and acquaintances of our own that we have no word on yet. Please pray. Thanks so much!

~Rebecca

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In Flanders Fields



Today is Remembrance Day or, as some refer to it, Armed Forces Day. First thing this morning a little girl came to our door collecting money for the VFW. In exchange for my meager offering she left me two lovely little 'Remembrance Poppies'. They made me think of the following poem, which we memorized a few years back as part of our homeschool studies. It was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) of the Canadian Army.


IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
  In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas



In an attempt to use up food that's been in the freezer, refrigerator, cabinets, vegetable bin, and pantry a while, I've been coming up with some new and, sometimes, interesting dishes. Today I had some corn tortillas,  potatoes, and cheese slices to use up, so I created this tasty dish!

POTATO AND BLACK BEAN ENCHILADAS

2 large baking potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons milk
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package taco seasoning mix (I make my own - see recipe below)
2 cans enchilada sauce (I make my own - see recipe below)
14 (6-inch) corn tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese or cheese slices (I was out of shredded cheese, but I had plenty of fat-free slices on hand)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with pan spray and set aside.

Place peeled and cubed potatoes in a small amount of water in a saucepan and cook until tender; drain. With a mixer or Kitchen Aid whip potatoes, olive oil, and milk together. To this add rinsed and drained black beans, onion, and taco seasoning and mix together well.

Put a small amount of enchilada sauce in the 13x9-inch pan to coat the bottom, then fill tortillas with potato and bean mixture, roll, and place in pan. Top with the rest of the enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven until heated through and cheese is bubbly (20 to 30 minutes).


TACO SEASONING MIX

2 teaspoons instant minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
1/2 teaspoon instant minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until evenly distributed. Spoon mixture onto a 6-inch square of aluminum foil and fold to make airtight. Label. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6 months. Makes 1 package (about 2 tablespoons) TACO SEASONING MIX. To make additional packages increase ingredient amounts proportionately.


ENCHILADA SAUCE

1/4 canola oil

2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup chili powder
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt to taste

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder; reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly browned, stirring constantly to prevent burning; reduce heat. Mix the tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, and gradually add to the chili powder, flour, and oil mixture. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until sauce begins to bubble and is slightly thickened.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Making Sauerkraut From A Vintage Family Recipe

"...And this is the finest Kraut I ever did eat. I am thinking of getting my self some cabbage and make some when we go to town make it this way and you wont regret it..." 
                                                                                            ~my great-aunt, Jessie McCann Martin

Grandma Maude's Handmade Binder
Among the many things that keep me connected to my grandmother (my dad's mother), Maude Belle McCann Brown Graham, is this treasured binder that she made in December of 1941 to house her, then new, Ball Blue Book, as well as other favorite family recipes in, among which is her sister, Jessie's, handwritten sauerkraut recipe. It's not only the recipe that my grandmother and Aunt Jessie used, but it's the recipe that my mother used, and the recipe that I have used since first learning how to can.

Dec. 1941 - Maude B. Graham - Birch Tree, MO

Grandma's 1941 Ball Blue Book
Yesterday we were blessed with three large heads of cabbage.

These were some of the biggest cabbages I've ever seen and I think they were home grown!

 They were too big to fit in our fridge, so this morning I set to work turning them into sauerkraut. Once again, I used Aunt Jessie's tried and true recipe.

Great-aunt Jessie's Handwritten 'Sour Kraut' Recipe
 Aunt Jessie's recipe reads as follows (and I quoted it word for word exactly the way Aunt Jessie wrote it):

"...here is how I make my sour kraut I cut It with a cutter and then pack it tight In the Jars I use the handle of a butcher Knife and press it tight and dont leave no air holes In it and then I put a tea spoon salt to a qt or a table spoon  to a half gallon. and have a tea kettle hot boiling water and fill the Jar with hot boiling water and seal tight. and set the jars in a pan for they will spit out some. And this is the finest Kraut I ever did eat. I am thinking of getting my self some cabbage and make some when we go to town make it this way and you wont regret it..."

Using photos and a few further instructions of my own, I have decided to share Aunt Jessie's recipe here on HEARTH AND HOME...

After preparing the quart jars and tearing away the outer leaves of the cabbages (which were a real treat for our chickens), I set to work cutting one cabbage at a time into quarters, coring it, and slicing the quarters into food-processor-sized slices. 

Old glass mayonnaise jars work great for sauerkraut!


Slicing The Quarters

Preparing The Cabbage For Kraut
Alternately, I worked between slicing cabbage, running it through the food-processor, filling a big bowl with shredded cabbage, and packing it into clean jars.

The food-processor did a great job of shredding the cabbage for kraut!
Shredded cabbage was everywhere!
Packing The Kraut Into Jars
You want it good and tight!
A wooden spoon helps to tamp it down.
Next, it was time to add salt...1 teaspoon per quart and boiling water to each jar. I'm not sure what kind of salt Aunt Jessie used, but I used regular Morton Canning and Pickling Salt.

Adding salt to each quart...




...and boiling water.

After that, the next step was to release the air bubbles. I did this by just running a regular table knife up and down the inside edge of each jar from top to bottom several times. After that I finished filling the jars to within a half-inch of the top with more boiling water.

Releasing The Air Bubbles

Adding More Hot Water To Fill
Then it was time to clean the rims of the jars and cap them with lids which had been kept on the stove in boiling hot water.
Cleaning The Rims Of The Jars
Capping The Jars
The final step in the canning process...at least this leg of it...was to rinse the jars and line up them up on the cabinet to admire their beauty.

Rinsing The Jars
The Finished Product (For Now Anyway)




I got eight, fully-packed quarts of sauerkraut out of the three heads of cabbage. While I was preparing the kraut, my husband was preparing a a cool, dry place under our house to store the kraut while it ferments. That is where it will stay for the next six weeks. After that we will bring it out, wipe the jars, refill any jars that are low on water, recap with fresh caps, and bathe them in a hot water bath for 30 minutes. After that, the sauerkraut will be ready to eat.

(This article is linked back to The Legacy of Home's 'Vintage Home Link-Up' page. Please visit it to find other great articles on 'vintage living'.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thinking About Martha And Mary



After running across the link to '31 Days To Clean - Having A Martha House The Mary Way' and posting about it this morning I got to thinking about Martha and Mary.

Luke 10:38-42 tells us the story of these two sisters of Lazarus (the same Lazarus of whom Jesus would eventually raise from the dead - see John 11:1-44). The passage tells us that, as Jesus was passing through a certain village, Martha welcomed Him into her home. While Martha was busy cooking and serving dinner, we find that Mary had slipped out of her sister's kitchen and was sitting at the Master's feet...listening intently to every word He said. After a time Martha interrupted Jesus...complaining...wanting to know if He didn't care that Mary had left her to do all the work  alone. Jesus answered Martha this way:

"...Martha, Martha, thou art careful [worried] and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 38:41-42)

As I thought about these two women...these two friends of Jesus...I couldn't help but wonder...

Am I more like Martha? What type of person was she? Or am I more like Mary? What type of person was she? What heart-qualities made the two sisters so different from one another? If Jesus came to my house would He have to gently rebuke me as He did Martha? Or would He commend me as He did Mary? Which of these two sister's qualities would I rather possess? What qualities do I need to cultivate in my life in order to achieve that goal? 

I pose these same questions to you.  

While you think about that, and while it's not the one I wanted to share with you (when I find that one I will post it), here is a 'Martha and Mary' poem for you to enjoy...


Martha Hands—Mary Heart

I must have the hands of Martha,
Hands that scrub and cook and sew—
I can have the heart of Mary
While I do these things, you know.

Though my hands are in the dishpan,
This soul of mine can soar
And in thoughts sublime and lofty
Go right up to heaven’s door.

I must cook, oh endless dinners,
For my dear ones have to eat;
But my soul need not be cooking—
It can sit at Jesus’ feet!

Help me, God while doing duties
Against which my soul rebels,
But meekly still to peel potatoes,
But not grovel in the shells.

Grant me, God, mid things prosaic
Ere to choose the better part;
Grant that while I must be Martha
I may have the Mary heart.

---Author Unknown

'31 Days To Clean' E-book For Only $1.00!


I've been wanting to get a copy of this e-book for a while now...actually ever since Sarah Mae first twitted that it was finished. I ran across a link over at Raising Homemakers this morning where you can get the '31 Days To Clean - Having A Martha House The Mary Way' e-book for only $1.00! You have to have a code and the offer is only good for 24-hours, so hurry over there and get yours today while the offer is good. I did! To find out more click HERE!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reprint - HEARTH AND HOME - May 18, 2005




 (What a blessing it was to re-read this old issue of HEARTH AND HOME! This one was written just a little over a month before my mother passed away and life was good! What awesome memories of good times, good friends and precious family members! I hope some of you enjoy re-reading it as much as I did! Have a beautiful and blessed day!)


Greetings Dear Sisters,

It seems like forever since we've had the chance to sit down and chat. How are you? How's your family?

Isn't the spring weather lovely? Warm, breezy, sunny days or cool, cloudy, rainy days...it doesn't matter to me. Each has something unique and wonderful to offer. We've really been taking advantage of the nice weather at our home!

The date of the last e-zine was March 16, and I didn't get an opportunity to visit with you in April at all. So much has happened since then! I hope that I can remember everything that I wanted to share with you all. Why don't you grab a cup of tea and join me and let's spend the afternoon catching up!

1- The last time we talked we had just returned from a lovely, much-needed Ozark get-away weekend. The wonder and bliss of that didn't last long. On the 17th of March we got word that my cousin, Christina (37), was very sick and dying. We saw her twice over the next few days; she passed away on March 21st. The day
after Christina's funeral, we got word that one of my uncles had been diagnosed with cancer. He passed away one week and one day later. Needless to say, two deaths in the immediate family so close together was a bit overwhelming.

2- The last time we visited we were still waiting to find out what our third grandbaby was going to be. Grandma was right. It's a girl! We've got three new granddaughters on the way this summer, the first of which is due next month. Please continue to remember our girls in your prayers...daughter, Amber (due
July 4th) and daughters-in-law, Bobby (due June 23rd) and Christy (due August 11th) AND our unborn granddaughters, Audrey Evangeline, Abigail Cheyenne, and Elizabeth Brianne. Thank you all so much!

3- For Easter my 6-year-old granddaughter, Heather, and I made Carrot Patch Cake Rolls. They were really cute, super yummy, and would make great any-time-of-the-year, for-special-occasion cakes. Here's the recipe:

CARROT PATCH CAKE ROLL

Serves 12

3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 2/3 cups finely shredded carrots
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

6 oz. cream cheese, not softened
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Green, red, and yellow liquid food colors

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat bottom and sides of a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch rimmed baking sheet (jelly-roll pan) with nonstick spray. Line bottom with wax paper; spray paper.

2. Have ready a medium or large fine-meshed strainer or a sifter. Stir flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl until combined.

3. Beat eggs, egg white, granulated sugar, vanilla and spices in a large bowl with mixer on high speed 8 to 10 minutes until thick and tripled in volume. Fold in carrots. Holding strainer or sifter over bowl, shake or sift
flour mixture over egg mixture. With a rubber spatula gradually fold into eggs until just blended. Spread in prepared pan.

4. Bake 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes, or until pan is just cool enough to handle.

5. Meanwhile lay a clean kitchen towel (not terrycloth) on countertop. Dust confectioners' sugar evenly over towel, covering area the size of the cake. Invert cake on towel, remove pan; carefully peel off paper. Dust cake with confectioners' sugar. Starting at narrow end, roll up cake and  towel. Place on wire rack; cool completely.

6. Meanwhile make frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until blended and smooth. On low speed beat in confectioners' sugar and vanilla until blended; increase speed
to medium and beat 1 minute. Remove 3 Tbsp to a cup; cover and refrigerate remaining frosting 30 minutes to firm.

For carrot decoration: Spoon 1 Tbsp frosting from cup into another cup; tint green and scrape into a qt-size zip-top freezer bag. Tint remaining 2 Tbsp frosting orange using red and yellow food color. Scrape into
another zip-top bag. Seal bags; refrigerate until ready to use.

7. To assemble: Carefully unroll log. Spread evenly with 1 1/3 cups frosting. Roll up from same end as before, using towel as an aid. Carefully transfer to a platter; coat with remaining frosting and sprinkle
with nuts. Refrigerate 20 minutes before piping carrots onto nuts.

8. To decorate: Briefly warm refrigerated bags of frosting between hands. Snip off corner of each bag and pipe carrots and carrot tops randomly on cake. Refrigerate until serving.


4- We had Amber's baby shower on the 2nd of April. Amber has always been a big Beatrix Potter fan, so we went with a garden type theme (vegetable tray, carrot cakes, etc.)...accented with Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck items and Beatrix Potter books. Several friends and family members joined us and Patrick
and Amber got a lot of beautiful things for the baby.

5- In the last issue of HEARTH AND HOME I asked for baby shower ideas. Here are some of the responses that I got:

From "momathome":

<<<<We usually play a game with baby food. Select several different kinds of baby food. Number the jars. Write down what each numbered jar is. Remove the labels. Everyone who plays tries to guess what each numbered jar is. Do not let anyone open the jars and then you can give the jars...(with the answer key) to
the mother for when the baby begins baby food.

You can also "decorate" with clothing items for the new baby. Hang a clothesline...(or some type of string)...up and hang baby items on the line with clothes pins. Then the decorations are useable!

If possible I suggest having the shower after the baby is born. That way you know if it is a boy or a girl. And, you can have the cake made up as a birth certificate. It is fairly easy to do and you can even have a little pair of feet "drawn" on it.>>>>


From Kirsten:

<<<<A unique shower gift for the veteran mom to be (who has everything) would be a meal for their freezer. It would be so appreciated during those early newborn weeks.

Thanks for writing the newsletter despite your busy lives. I have enjoyed reading it!>>>>

From Laura:

<<<<How about a "frozen casserole shower" for the moms to be?

Those days after birth are always tiring. It would be great to have something to pop in the oven after the church ladies are done providing meals.

I'm enjoying your letter!>>>>

(Thanks for submitting these great ideas, Ladies! Your input is greatly appreciated! Thank you!)


6- The following recipe was sent in by Jean from Lee's Summit, MO:

GRILLED HAMBURGERS

93% fat free ground beef,
finely chopped onion,
chopped green pepper,
bread crumbs,
soy sauce,
frozen hash browns.

Thaw potatoes slightly and mix into the hamburger mix, making patties. Cook on the grill until done. Grill the buns the last few minutes.

(Thanks, Jean! I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing!)


7- To print off a great, free, mini-chart to aid in child-rearing click on:

http://www.doorposts.net/samples/GoToTheAnt.pdf

(I printed off several of these and posted them around the house.)


8- Here's a new recipe that we tried recently (and will continue to make). The
whole family loved it!

LENTIL RICE CASSEROLE

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1. Blend all together in a casserole dish EXCEPT the cheese (wash lentils
and rice, if needed):

3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked lentils
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/4 cup instant minced onion flakes, or 1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

2. Baked covered at 300 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until tender and the water is absorbed.

3. To serve, top hot casserole with the grated cheese and stir it in; top with a handful of minced fresh parsley.

This recipe is great served by itself with a side-salad, or served in a tortilla with chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, salsa, and sour cream. It is also freezable.


9- Summer's almost here and it's time for spring cleaning! Here's a great article that I found on that very subject:

http://www.christianhomekeeper.com/spring.html




10- We're wrapping up our 16th year of homeschooling and, I must say, we have had an absolute ball this year! We've done so many neat and wonderful things! And the Lord has blessed us in so many areas! Some of the things that we have done this year include:

July 2004-Celebrated the 4th of July and attended Junior Naturalist Night Camp at Prairie State Park. The theme? CAMPING! We learned about camping supplies, gear, and tents, hiked a mile and a half trail, made tye-dyed t-shirts with natural plant dyes, learned about prairie night sounds and who makes them, learned about camp cooking, and made delicious banana boats cooked over hot coals.

August 2004-Went with friends from Pennsylvania to Branson, Missouri (to Silver Dollar City) and explored Marvel Cave, started our book work for the year, and started working through the "Prairie Primer." (The "Prairie Primer" is a wonderful resource that uses the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" books as
a basis for literature, then shoots out into all sorts of directions into unit studies. It's great! We're a little over half way done and plan on finishing it this year.)

September 2004-Made several field trips including one to Nathan Boone's  home (Nathan is Daniel Boone's son) at Ash Grove, Missouri, and attended Prairie Jubilee at Prairie State Park. Prairie Jubilee is held every other year in September and provides so many educational opportunities. Some of the things that we got in on this year were the living history loop (old-time school, old-fashioned games, hatchet throwing, covered wagon, pioneers, an Osage Indian lodge), a "Birds of Prey" show, bison viewing, story-telling, a "Prairie Vole"
maze, and face painting.

October 2004-Made several field trips, including one to the "Little House on the Prairie" site at Independence, Kansas, started reading "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunion, and started studying the Reformation.

November 2004-Made several field trips, including one to a wildlife refuge and one to the site of an original Osage Indian village, celebrated Thanksgiving, and started nature journaling on a regular basis.

December 2004-Attended an "Old-Fashioned Christmas Tea" at Prairie State Park where we made three different kinds of ornaments and tried several type of tea made from natural prairie plants, celebrated Forefather's Day and Christmas, finished reading "Pilgrim's Progress" and made pumpkin bread for the neighbors for Christmas.

January 2005-Started reading some wonderful books, including "In Freedom's Cause" (by GO.A. Henry) about William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and the fight for Scotland's freedom and "A Boy of the Lost Crusade", and started working on states and capitals.

February 2005-Read some great biographies about people like Louis Braille and Fanny Crosby, celebrated Valentine's Day, and started a unit study over Ireland.

March 2005-Did a unit study on Missouri snakes, visited Elephant Rocks State Park, Johnson's Shut-Ins, Alley Spring, Fort Davidson, and Taum Sauk Mountain (all on the eastern side of the state; we live on the western), celebrated St. Patrick's Day, and studied the life and artwork of Vincent Van Goth.

April 2005-Read a great biography on John Wycliffe, finished up our states and capitals, celebrated Tartan Day, and went on a field trip with our good friends, the Miller family, to Fort Osage.

May 2005-We're not even half way through the month yet, but we've pretty much finished up all of our book work for the year and have already had lots of adventure! Last week we held our first "official" Conservation Frontier's meeting and discovered the biggest lizard that any of us (three families) have
ever seen in the wild...10 inches long! We thought that it was a new state record, but it turned out that someone else had found one last year that was just a little bit longer than ours. It did turn out to be the county record though!

Then, last Friday, we attended a homeschool program out at Prairie State Park on soil. The theme was soil. We learned about the soil layers, made "edible soil", and made "earth" crayons from dirt. It was VERY interesting and a lot of fun!

Next week a friend of mine and I are taking our children on another field trip. And in June we have more field trips planned. God has blessed us in so many ways this school year! Soon it will be time to start the 2005-2006 school year! :)

11- Sunday marked our 9th year in Liberal and our 3rd year in this house...which I am still SO thankful for! And I still marvel at the fact that it is paid off already and that we, actually, own our own home! It's not big and it's not fancy, but it's ours and it's paid for. Praise the Lord for His grace, goodness and mercy!

12- Over the past couple of weeks or so I got our shed rearranged to one side, so my husband could have the other side for an office...a place of his own to study in, work, and pray in. While moving stuff around out there I found an old card file box, that had been packed when we moved into town, that houses all of my index-carded schedules and lists from when we lived out at the farm. What a treasure!

I brought it in and am going to update it, but it has daily chore cards...things like personal devotions, make beds, vacuum, tidy bathroom...feed and water chickens (which I don't have any more), weekly chore cards (Tuesday-water house plants, deep clean bathroom, etc), monthly chore cards (Week #1-clean out
fridge, etc.), quarterly (turn mattresses, dust picture frames, etc), bi-annual (clean ceiling fans, plastic or unplastic windows, wash curtains, etc.), and annual (clean out freezer, shampoo carpet, etc), scripture verses that I've written down and memorized over the years, on a variety of subjects (wisdom, the mouth, the body, a house, promises from the Word of God). The file box also houses a list of 15-minute jobs (power clean a closet, clean up computer files, garden or yard work, go through a box or drawer), a weekly prayer schedule
(certain people on certain days that often get missed, for example the marriages and families of the people in your church, the president, state and local officials, and missionaries), a list of things to do in my spare time
(memorization, work on scheduling, write letters, cards, articles, books, newsletters, school curriculum, menu plan, clip articles, etc.), and things to plan and schedule (budgeting, school projects, menus, picnics, cookouts, camping trips, and writing letters to family and friends).

How much further ahead I used to be than I am today! I have never fully got into the swing of things and gotten into any form of set schedule really since moving. I think that I'm going to go through this file, revise it for our current situation (for example...we no longer have chickens so those cards can be eliminated, and I'm sure new ones can be introduced in their place), and get back to the card system. It's the only thing that I've really found that works well for me.

Well, dear friends, I suppose I will end this issue of HEARTH AND HOME here. I've tried for days to add to it, but there's just too many things going on on the home front. I will see you again next time. Until then, take care, stay in the Word and close to the Lord. God bless you...one and all!

Love and Hugs,
~Rebecca
(wife, homeschooling mom, keeper at home)
Proverbs 31:10-31; Titus 2:3-5

"Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established;
And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant
riches." (Proverbs 24:3-4 KJV)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

15 Years Ago Today


15 years ago today we moved to Liberal, Missouri. Sometimes it seems like we just arrived; at other times it seems like we've been here our entire lives.

We haven't been, of course. John and I both grew up in the Kansas City suburb area...he in Oak Grove; me in Grain Valley. After we married we got a house in Blue Springs and that is where we lived until coming here. It was in that house that our home-education adventure began with our five-older children (I can't believe we've been at this for 22+ years now!) and it was while living in that house that our youngest son was born. We came here when he was just 9-months-old.

The Lord first planted the idea of moving to Liberal many years before we actually did so. It was amazing how many people we met and were in contact with that had ties to Liberal long before we had ever even seen the community...two pastor friends, a family that we attended church with, and, eventually, some of our own family members moved up from Arkansas...and what town did they land in? "Some little town in southwest Missouri by the name of Liberal." What??? There it was again! (It was when we were invited to a wedding some time later that we were finally introduced to the town in person for the first time). But the idea of moving there? That didn't happen until a year or so later.

It was in the summer of 1990 that John first mentioned the idea of moving to Liberal someday. For what? He didn't know. It was in 1992 that the Lord really began dealing with both of us. Over the next three years we stayed in the Word and did the work of the Lord wherever and however He opened doors...we passed out tracts, taught Sunday school, my husband served on the church board, and I had a card and letter ministry.

As time went on the Lord really began to deal with my husband about starting a ministry in Liberal, and by the spring of 1995 we knew that's where we were headed. It took us about a year to get everything ready, and during that time the Lord, literally, put us through a five-month preparation crash-course.

Due to high taxes and everything building up around them, my parents and their next-door neighbors had been toying with the idea of moving out Jackson County for years. When they knew for certain that we were going to do this, they decided that now was the time. They, too, were moving.  My mom is gone now, but she and my dad have always been very supportive of our decision to come here and of John's ministry. In fact, they came on ahead of us and had been here several months when we arrived. The neighbor man passed away before the move was made, but his widow came with us when we came (our family is the only 'family' that she has). She is still with us today and lives across the street from my dad.

Anyway, as of today we've been here 15 years. In many ways, especially spiritually and financially, these 15 years have been the hardest, and continue to be the hardest, that we've ever had, but, in many other ways, they have been wonderful! We've been blessed with so many good friends and experiences along the way, and our family has increased by leaps and bounds (two sons-in-law, three daughters-in-law, and nine grandchildren with a tenth on the way)...and, let me tell you...there's nothing like life on the tall-grass prairie! Beautiful sunsets, a sea of grasses dotted with thousands of prairie wildflowers, meadowlarks, prairie chickens, and scissor-tailed flycatchers, prairie crayfish, and a hundred or more head of bison at Prairie State Park. This is, indeed, a unique ecosystem that few people on God's green earth get to enjoy on a daily basis, and it is one of the things I love most about living here.

Well, once again, my post is getting away from me. My intention was to pay simple acknowledgement of our 15th-year-in-Liberal anniversary. As with everything else I'm getting off into three different directions at once, so I will close by saying...

"Thank You, Lord! Thank You for being with us...for leading us into, and bringing us through...these past 15 years. Bless all those who have been a part of this adventure with us. Grant us mercy and grace, as well as peace, wisdom, and direction in the days ahead. In Jesus' name...Amen!"

"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are not..." 
(1 Corinthians 1:26-27).

"God doesn't call the equipped; He equips the called." ~Unknown

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In The Midst Of Trials and Tribulations


The past few week have been very difficult financially, as well as in many other ways. It seems that everything that could go wrong has, and every bit of what we have managed to save since the beginning of the year is now gone...most of it going to vehicle repair and medical bills. In the flesh I have run the gamut of emotions...fear, doubt, insecurity, etc...but, in spirit, I can do nothing but rejoice!

On one hand...yes..we're broke (again), but, praise God! Through His divine wisdom and leading, and our willingness to listen and obey, the needed funds were there when we needed them for all that we've had to do, which, over the past few weeks, has been to virtually replace the entire front end in our van...brakes, rotors, tie-rod ends, new tires, alignment, and the last thing to go...we picked up a new axle yesterday, and the bent one is scheduled to be replaced Monday morning. Praise the Lord!

On top of all this my husband has been battling dental issues and the amount of work that needs to be done is to the tune of several thousand dollars...cash (his insurance won't pay anything on dental). While, at this point, we don't know where the money will come from for all that yet needs to be done, we do know that the Lord God will provide for us just as He always has.

What's amazing is...in the midst of our own trials and tribulation, God has repeatedly provided opportunity after opportunity for us to be a blessing to and help others along the way. Praise the name of the Lord!

A few things that I'm learning along the way...and I've been learning these things along the way for a long time... is...when going through trials and tribulations...it is best to put your faith in God and do the following...

1) Stay in the Word and stand on God's promises.

Whether we like what it says or not, God's Word is His will. It's the 'owner's manual' and His plan for us is clear. Other people? Television and radio talk show hosts? Mediums? Your best friend who only cares enough about you to tell you what you want to hear? No! The Bible is the only place that we will truly find all of the answers to life's problems. God created us and He wants what's best for us. 

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" 
(Matthew 7:13-14)

2) Pray over, and petition, the Lord specifically for each and every need. At the same time, keep in mind that there is a difference between needs and wants. Keep in mind, too, that God's plan (and timing) often differs from our own.

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

3) Surround yourself with good, godly, and positive people who truly care about you...people who are willing to come along side and, whether it be spiritually, physically, mentally, or emotionally, give you a helping hand up when needed. People who care enough about you to tell you the truth, not just whatever happens to flip off the end of their tongue at any given moment.!

"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" 
(Proverbs 27:17).

I, naturally, tend to be a pessimistic person and I have to fight my dark, negative side 24 hours a day 7 days week. And it's hard! I may not be able to get away from myself, but choosing to be around other people who tend to gravitate toward negativity is a whole other matter!

While it may not always be able to be avoided, we can deliberately choose to stay away from situations and people that have a tendency to pull us down. Their negative attitudes...their griping, complaining, never having a good thing to say about (and not being able to get along with) anybody, has a tendency to will rub off on us. Because of the force that is behind, and driving, these people they will, not only pull us down, but they will do their best to keep us there.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, agazinst the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" 
(Ephesians 6:12).

You know what they say..."Misery loves company." The Bible says...

"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed ye be not consumed one of another" 
(Galatians 5:15).

Let's avoid 'bite and devour' situations at all costs!

Well, this turned out to be much more than I intended it to be, so I will go ahead and close for now. I pray that each and every one of you have a beautiful and blessed weekend! And may God's richest blessings be yours...today and always!

With Love,
~Rebecca