Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's almost 2009!!

I think computers could be hazardous to your health. I mean, you sit. The last two days I have been sitting in front of this screen a lot. It's not like the phone when you can multi-task. Maybe I should get one of those treadmills I recall seeing on the news, they have a desk for the computer and at least you are off of your butt moving-even if it is at a turtle's pace so you can type...I guess that would be multi-tasking at it's best.

I have been praying about what God wants me to focus on in the coming year. One year He told me to "be strong in the Lord" and "abide in His Love". I really focused on looking for reminders of His love for me. I also grew in my faith in challenging circumstances...of which there was no shortage that year....Our Father is so wise in what He gives us! It is good to find our limitations in challenges and learn to lean on the One who holds our right hand.

Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come, 'tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home...When I look back over the years of my journey with the Lord and see how He has indeed been holding my hand and helping me, I am awestruck. I wonder @ where I would be without the guidance of His Word and His Spirit. Would I be in a psych ward? I was anxious and depressed. Would my kids be on drugs and crossing lines they shouldn't? His wisdom and authority is invaluable for parenting. Would my marriage have disintegrated? There was a time when I felt love was dead. I can confidently say that Jesus is my Wonderful Counselor, my Redeemer regarding my marriage, and my Teacher and Lord when I needed guidance for parenting.

So what is on the agenda this year? Self-denial keeps coming to my mind. Take up your cross and follow me. Trusting more, serving more, loving more. I still have a couple of days to "get it". How about you? What can I be praying for in your life this year?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jesus Power

This morning, as Jesus says, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest..." I came. Weary. It seemed everywhere I went in my house was an unfinished task or one needing tending. Laundry, messy bathroom, etc. On top of that were the other duties of the day: wrapping, baking, and preparing for hosting Christmas here on Thursday. I was frankly feeling like a failure and discouragement was threatening to set in. You know the kind? Like you are sitting down to eat an elephant in one sitting...and you think you might throw up just looking at it...

As I came to Him, His word spoke clearly, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord Almighty. Zech 4:6

I took note that He added 'Almighty' to the end of His Name.

Then He said to me, "I remove mountains, part seas & bring down walls by the hands of my servants."

I realized the emphasis I was placing on me to get the things done that I was feeling overwhelmed about. And He gently re-reminds me that it is not in my strength that I accomplish anything.

I said, "here I am again, Lord." relying on little ole me. Isaiah 41:14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob (Kathy), O little Israel, for I myself will help you," declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Forgive me. Cleanse me. Help me.

I then rearranged my expectations by stepping back and looking from a different angle, changed my focus (From me to HE), and set about conquering the elephant "one bite at a time" with the help of my Emanuel. God with me. The Great Gift of all time. The whole point of our Christmas celebration.

I just needed to experience His Presence (my Present) afresh.

And to think...He gave me frosting on the elephant, I have time to blog at the end of the day!I'll say it again...AMAZING GRACE!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Well...here it is. The one. After 30 some photos taken by self-timer on a home-made quad-pod (stacking together three 4 legged stools) This is the one.

Our photo experiences from year to year are maybe the most memorable part of the advent season...sad, I know...I am the last minute planner who is always behind on my own Christmas plans. The men in our home are the goofiest guys when it comes to picture taking. I used to think it was "fun with the photographer" but this year I learned differently......"DO SHARE", you are thinking...well, okay. A small sampling...

In his ever-expressive dramatic way...Ethan "smoking" my battery-operated candle with Dale holding his favorite CARS character. Then there is Dale...nearly never a normal face on the guy...he was born to laugh! Which makes life interesting here for this more serious gal.
So again I say, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! from our house to yours!

Luke 2
The Birth of Jesus In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Is it not profound that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Glorious, Majestic, Magnificent, Holy God was born to us in a barn? Then the angels appeared to the "riff-raff" of society first, the humble shepherds... That tells me something. He came as the most lowly to make the way for the most lowly to be holy. OOOH AAAH

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Be amazed by grace!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Country Christmas Decor '08

For my dial-up friends, I posted a few pics here because I heard the album is too much to load.

This first photo is a cupboard my husband made for me out of old doors and old wood. It was used to house our home school books and supplies in our last house which was old and had no closets. I place high value on it, because I always wanted primitive antiques, but we couldn't afford them. The second photo is one of my kitchen gingerbread men. The thrid photo is the dining room/ living room doorway. I used one of my artificial trees from the shop this year because we couldn't find a time to go get a tree, and the cold hit early (too cold in my opinion) so one night, I just went out to the shop and traded a smaller tree for that one, and tada!! It was done! The fourth photo is the dining room I just finished wallpapering. My husband made the table too. I found the legs in his parents' barn, and he built it. I still need to change the color to black.

Here's an album of the main rooms of my home. Nothing fancy, as much as I like fancy. I got stuck in country mode. It is what I feel most comfortable in.
You will notice I didn't get things photo-ready, it's just "as is" ...mud on the entryway rug, a bit of clutter...but it's home, humble as it is. I hope you enjoy it. I am looking forward to seeing the other homes on the tour!
Click to play Christmas Decor '08
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And for more home decorating tours...visit the Cafe by clicking HERE!

Pick-Me-Up Cafe

I was in charge of our Christmas ladies' event; planning, and decorating. Unfortunately, I FORGOT to take photos of the decorations:( But here are some of the ladies.
Click to play Pick-Me-Up Cafe '08
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Temporarily "out of order"

Or...."out to lunch" :-p lol

Please excuse me for the temporary absence from blogging. In the midst of a crazy holiday season, I am installing microsoft word, and have alot to learn. I will hopefully post photos on Thursday of my home decor' for the Cafe.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Well, it is official, I am the dessert queen. When the email came to my inbox inquiring what I
would be bringing for Thanksgiving, I replied (all), "Dessert, of course! After all, I am the dessert queen even though I have not received a crown yet!"

This is my sister, Vicki. She honored me with the crown today. Isn't it cool that we wore the same color? I was lauded (jk) for the pudding pie (you know-the easy kind w/ instant pudding and cool whip?), the blueberry pretzel dessert, and the chocolate-chippy pumpkin bread. I guess the dessert is the grand finale. All of the food prep deserved rewarding, and it was all in fun! I wanted to get a large chocolate kiss for a scepter, but never found one. Wouldn't that be fun? I could have drilled a hole in the bottom and stuck a dowel in it, and bonked my siblings w/ it. Unfortunately I never found one.
I love my family. I love when we can laugh together and enjoy one another's company, one another's food, and one another's kids...we have lots of those when you add them up!
After a three hour drive into Amish country, we met up @ my brother's farm where we gobbled alot of food and kissed alot of cheeks. I so miss those baby cheeks...

My d.h. w/nephew, Isaac. Girls playing. Girls lining up @ the buffet...Blessings of abundance!

An Age Old Lesson

I have been battling a grumbling spirit, yes. And right before THANKSGIVING...and I admit, a few times he has won. I have failed to resist. It squares with my old nature, part of which I am still in need of giving a crucifixion-daily.

As one can see in the book of Exodus, as Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land, once grumbling started, all hell broke loose-the enemy had a foothold, I mean. Faith ended and idolatry began...think the golden calf, the quail, the bitter water...

So what happens to me or you when we grumble? The darkness begins to get the upper hand. The cloud sets in. I find myself growing more negative if I allow it. I used to think I was a victim of my thoughts. One day the Lord showed me differently. He made it clear that it was a choice I made, that I had control - by yielding my will to His Spirit-it's called obedience. I also can choose my focus. How do I see things? Through the lens of "poor me" or the other one "He is faithful". I need to check my pronouns in my thought life-are they me or He???

Be joyful ALWAYS, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. REMIND ME LORD! HELP ME!

Tonight we had a lovely Thanksgiving service @ church, highlighting being thankful, and how it accompanies joy. We lose joy if we are not grateful. I spend alot of time praising and thanking God, but when I get busy, too busy...too busy because I have over-extended myself saying "yes" to too many things (and that during the hormone crisis of the month), I end up having the struggle w/ "grumpy-spirit". I praise God that He has given me everything I need to resist the devil and make him flee. I praise Him that by His Spirit, I can take the thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. And I thank Him for His loving kindness that leads me to repentance when I cave to "grumpy-spirit". I thank Him that my Jesus' blood covers my sin once again. Grace.

When we are weak, He is strong.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Traditions and Memories

According to the beautiful little blinky button on my sidebar (the one that looks a little out of place with the bright colors, a bit modern maybe...)today is the day to share about traditions. I have one word: FOOD. lol
Kidding aside, a favorite tradition- and in our family -and traditions come and go-it's hard to keep lasting traditions with shifts in our family all the time. Eleven siblings (mine) getting married and having children over the years amounts to varied experiences (as well as over 50 people).
When I was a child, one of the things I looked forward to the most was midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. We sang carols for an hour and it thrilled me to hold my very own candle with a drip tray until it was burned down to a stub. I loved looking at the trees decorated with lights, red glistening bulbs and hand made ornaments. Loved looking at the stained glass windows and smelling the incense.
Another memory...when mom would get a new decorating idea-it would ignite a fire in me...I loved stencilling windows (thrilled!), and hanging tinsel garland on our large bathroom mirror and over the curtain rods. We used to have the most gaudy trees with us all throwing tinsel on them by the handfuls. I think mom would pick it off when we went to school the next day...the photos don't look so gaudy. That was one tradition my dh wouldn't allow me to continue after we were wed.

One year mom bought a fake cardboard fireplace so we could hand stockings on it for Santa. We felt like we were rich that year! She also re-covered her furniture with red velour fabric. I don't know if that was for Christmas, but it made me feel like we were in the loop now! Keep in mind I was in 5th grade...red furniture and a fake fireplace. It doesn't get much better than that!

One tradition that I have carried from childhood through now is baking cookies. I have vivid memories of sugar cookies loaded with red and green sugar, overflowing the edges, getting baked onto the tray. There was always a bunch of us kneeling on chairs leaning on the table fighting over who got to use the red or green or do that tray of cookies. Remember the silver balls that looked like bb's for a bb gun? I loved using those on the tops of the tree cookies. Did they get banned for breaking teeth or something?

Another favorite...we had a creek in the pasture behind our house. (see skating photo above) There were some pretty high cliffs in a couple of spots. The cliffs would have some wonderful drifts so when we broke through them on our sleds, we would fly through the air, land hard, and slide down onto the frozen, snow-covered creek. We would be out sliding with our cousins for hours until our hands and feet were pink, numb from cold, and soggy. We came in with noses running onto our hand-crocheted scarves which were wet from our breath (and noses :d). I remember we would keep pulling up those scarves only to have them fall down, and then be colder from the wetness remaining on our face....ahh the memories.

The Lord has been good about getting us hills at our various homes so we can keep the sliding tradition going. We currently have a fun one in our back yard which we enjoy as a family. We sail far, far out when we get to the bottom on the right kind of snow. The kids still spend hours out there, they build jumps, and use various kinds of "sleds".
One tradition we have in our "little home/family of 4" is to purchase a new child's Christmas book every year and read it together. We also like to re-read our favorites from over the years. Charlie Brown's Christmas, Mr Whiskers Cranberry Christmas, The Christmas Miracle, with Max Lacado stories being our more recent add-ons. One of our fondest memories was when I read "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to the kids; we laughed so hard I had a hard time getting the words out!
Filling shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse is another family tradition. Or sometimes Angel Tree. The shopping, packing and sending gifts off with a note to an unknown child helps us go outside of our family to bless another. When we purchase toothpaste and other necessities to put in a child's gift package, we realize what we take for granted.
Movies...White Christmas, It's a wonderful life, various Little House on the Prairie Christmas shows, Christmas shoes, Frosty, Rudolph, etc.
Music...We love Christmas music. Dale discovered Trans Siberian Orchestra quite a few years ago. We sit down one night and listen (just the two of us) to a cd and cry together over the story. This will be the fourth year we are attending their concert. It is awesome music with awesome light shows. I never knew people could play instruments with such passion.
Sorry for the length of this post...I've been around for awhile-lol, there is alot there in my memory bank! The photo above is one of the many skating parties my mom hosted. Note the snow angels...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Revelation!

In my previous post I talked about the ark of the covenant, which in the O.T. was filled with God's power. The Lord used Hebrews 9:1-5 to give me greater understanding of us being like the ark. What I wasn't seeing clearly then, is what the significance of the golden altar of incense was in the Most Holy Place.

On my way to prayer this morning, I was considering all the times that someone gets in my vehicle and says "It smells so good in here!! Just like your house!" That got me thinking of the times when I pass something on from my house to a friend, I often hear the comment, "It smelled just like your house!" Now I should explain that I daily spray refresher oil in my house and occasionally in my vehicle. Cinnamon and spiced cranberry...so my house and car smell like a country store...and evidently so do the things in my house and car.

During prayer then, the Lord clearly showed me that the incense accompanies the prayers of the saints. That as we come to Him in prayer, we come away with a distinct fragrance. Scripture floods my mind.

2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

Hebrews 9:1-5 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover.

Revelation 8:3-4
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand.

When we go to the Throne Room, worship, pray and fellowship with our Heavenly Father, we are aromatized and empowered with His fragrance and His Spirit! Let us pray!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who Me? A Walking Ark of the Covenant?

I recently attended a prayer confrence where I heard that we (born-again believers in Jesus) are "walking arks of the covenant". My mind went to truths such as: We have this treasure in jars of clay. Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. ...according to the power that is at work within us...

Look what happened when the Philistines stole the ark from Israel,

1 Samuel 5: 1-4 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon's temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained.

As I was studying Hebrews 9, I saw this:

Hebrews 9:1-5 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover.

So I see that the ark (me and you) contains the manna (Jesus, the bread of life), Aaron's staff that budded (the supernatural power of God), and the stone tablets of the covenant, now written on our hearts:

2 Corinthians 3:3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

We have this magnificent power inside of us. Pause, and think on that!

We have the Lord Jesus Christ living inside of us, His Spirit empowering us to pursue the Kingdom of God. To contend for the faith, and to have victory over sin. So I ask the Lord, is my life powerful like that? Am I living in a way that impacts the kingdom? That sends the enemy reeling? Am I praying with authority in Jesus' Name? He has made me an ambassador here. Am I living like a stranger of this world? Or am I blending in?

In Hebrews 9, the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread show us how it is that we live a life that is powerful: Our light must be lit (keep oil in our lamp) We must come to the table with the consecrated bread (have fellowship with Jesus) and enter into the Most Holy Place-approach the throne of grace, and at the altar of incense of God (the fragrance of His holiness) will be upon us from spending time in His presence. Then our lives will be salt and light in this world, for the praise of His glory.

Lord God of Heaven, Almighty God, Holy One, we praise you for the miracle of regeneration! That you made us new creations when you lit the fire in our hearts with your Spirit. You took out of us our heart of stone and gave us a heart of flesh. One that responds to you with adoration and submission to your will. Enable us to keep walking and growing in the knowledge of You and Your will. Magnify Yourself with our lives!! Show Your Power Lord, through our lives laid down for you! Iin Jesus' Name, Amen!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Grieving Yet Hopeful

Listening to Focus on the Family's broadcast today was very encouraging; hearing what God did in California for marriage through His people. Californians were praying and fasting and crying out with raised hands, and falling prostrate before Him. What an awesome picture of humbling themselves, praying, seeking His face and turning from their ways! What a wonderful report of our Lord hearing the cries of His people and responding. You can listen to it here:

What if we did that for abortion? I came across a site today that had photos of abortion. You don't need to go there, just think about it for a minute, and you will get sick. You will be grieving with me. Fortunately the photos were very small... but clear enough to wrench my heart. I fell prostrate in my heart over the loss of innocent life that we have allowed to take place in our land. Over the very little I, myself have done about it. Shame on me. For failing to pray fervently for the lives of the innocent little babies. Our land is polluted by innocent blood...Lord, have mercy on us all!

And our country just elected a President who unashamedly supports abortion. One who said he wouldn't want to punish his daughter with a "baby" if she didn't want it... Lord have mercy! Lord how we need you. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!!

Dr Dobson said he is grieving...not the election of Mr. Obama. He is grieving the loss of things he has fought so hard for these past years. May God bless him for fighting. We all need to fight harder...on our knees. Not only on our knees, but exposing evil and resisting it. Calling sin what it is...abortion-murder. G*y marriage-an abomination and perversion of God's picture of Him with his Bride. Materialism-idolatry. Eastern/pagan practices in the church-adultery. Prayerlessness-vain pride. Living together or having s*x without being married-immorality. Swearing-vulgar, filthy, offensive words. God's name in vain-arrogance. Lying-satanic. Drunkeness and drugs-idolatry.

Our Loving, Pure, Holy, Beautiful Savior HATES these things and so should we.

Yes, I have hope. Yes, I know in the end we win. I know that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I rejoice in Jesus, but I am also grieving with Him. Like when He said, Luke 13:34"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

O America, America, you who commit and tolerate sin all around you, how Jesus longs to open your eyes and enable you to see Him, to come to Him and be saved from your sin! Repent and be saved!! John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

You can choose to go your own way, but in the end it leads to death.

Will you pray with me?

Lord God of Heaven and Earth, thank you that you are on your throne, that You are sovereign. Thank you that you have given us free will, and the ugliness in the world is not of you, it is a result of sin, and foolish choices and Sat*nic influence.

Thank you that you are merciful. Lord, have mercy on our land. Therein lies our hope. Enable President-elect Obama to see truth about abortion. To see truth about You. That You are just and merciful. Soften the hearts of the abortion performers to see what they are doing! Help the victims of abortion-those mothers with painful regrets to heal in their hearts and their bodies. Send your people to tell them about your love and forgiveness and freedom found in you because you paid the price. You shed your own innocent blood on behalf of us-sinners. Thank you that because you did that,salvation is a free gift, that all we have to do is admit we are sinners in need of your saving grace, come to the cross and recieve eternal life. Wow!

Make Yourself known in our land, be glorified through your people. Be glorified through me. May we shine like beacons in the darkness by living holy lives and living lives of love. Not because of our own righteousness, but because you have given us yours. You exchanged your life for ours. There is nothing good in us, only You. Thank you that you have given us power over sin, it is no longer our master. We serve You, the Living God!

Help us, your children to remain faithful as disdain for You grows. Give us the grace to remain true to You, to uphold your beautiful Word. Thank you for those you have called to fight for truth and righteousness! Thank you for the ACLJ, for Focus on the Family, for VOM, and others who risk much on behalf of the Gospel. Those who continue to seek your kingdom and your righteousness here in America. Help us to continue in love and faith and hope in Your goodness, wisdom, and power.

We love you Lord! In Jesus' precious, perfect Name, Amen. YOU ARE MY KING!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Christmas @ Bittersweet Farm

Welcome...you will usually find me either behind the desk in the first photo, or running out the front door of the house to greet you. The second photo is my straight-ahead view and the next one is section #2.

Some more photos from inside the shop. The final one is of the porch on the way in. I have hot spicy cider available on the little placemat when you arrive.

The weather has been exceptionally beautiful the last few days for this time of year. I thoroughly enjoyed collecting my boughs and putting them out on Tuesday.

I need to retake some outside photos because the sun was shining so bright, I couldn't get a picture without my shadow in it! I tied a bunch of boughs and rosehips on a sled outside the door. I also embellished tobacco stick stars the same way. I tie them on with a piece of torn burgundy homespun fabric.

I hope you enjoyed the little tour. I will be back soon. Kayla is building me a website at school, so that will be coming sometime soon...

P.S. Be sure to click on the photos for a larger view!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My goodness, where have I been?

Yes, for those who asked, the header picture is of my yard. Before the leaves dropped completely...oh how fast fall falls...before long I will have a new picture of snow for you Angie!

I have been burning the midnight oil for the past two days. The shop is in transformation mode, and my body is in-well, weary mode. My storage for the shop consists of a "side" of the basement, which is down a flight, around a chimney, and up a large step to a converted garage which has a slanted floor so I have to duck down lower, the farther I walk up. I always put the new merchandise in our unfinished room upstairs. Point being, I am up and down; down and up, and bending over alot. Then I am up a ladder in the shop to put the garlands around doorways and the celing...My hands are raw from opening the branches of the trees, and the winding the boughs of the garlands around little nails so they dont fall down...hands, back, neck...sure signs of need of rest-and you thought I was going to comment about aging! I wont do that, my kids do it enough :d

So I will post pics soon. I have one more day. Tomorrow I will be cutting the boughs and rosehips for outdoors and changing my lights from orange to white. It is funny, I have two holidays going at once at my house; pumpkins on the porch of the house, and boughs in the shop.

I have been listening to Christmas music as I work in the shop...It works to get me in the mood! So, that is what I have been up to. I'll be back in a couple days...Be blessed!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Live Life


I stole these pictures from Ethan's facebook. I love them because they remind me of what is truly valuable in life. In the face of our country's dilemas; in all the things that "could happen"- I am reminded that there is joy that costs nothing.

That joy is found in our relationships, and in living life together. Laughing, learning, loving, encouraging, praying...This past weekend Ethan's football team lost 56 to 19. (and yes, I was praying!) It was quite an upset and as you can imagine, the mood was a little low. But it didn't spoil their plans to get together afterward to enjoy one another. It is nice to know that circumstances do not need to dictate our enjoyment of life when we focus on the right things and choose to celebrate what we do have.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
1 Timothy 6:17

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Day

1 Thessalonians 5...
1Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,

2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
3While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

5You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.
8But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

I believe "the day" refers to God's glory or Heaven where we will not need the sun because His glory will be our light. His LIGHT. That light that lives in our hearts, that burns within us. In the day of the Lord's return the "sons of the light" will be revealed...

Romans 8:18[ Future Glory ] I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

So since we are sons of the day, we should put on the breastplate of faith and love-this means guarding our heart by continually believing God, and by loving Him and others. We are told that in the last days the love of most will grow cold. Probably due to the recurring offenses that we have to forgive in order to keep that light in our heart (keep it from growing cold). Also highlighted is the helmet of salvation, which is guarding our thoughts/ our mind. That means continually renewing it with the Word of God.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ephesians 5: 25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

We notice in the above Thessalonians passage that "self-control" is used twice. In the King James Version, it is "sober". We must diligently guard these two vital areas in order for the light to continue to shine in the darkness mentioned.

Heavenly Father, our source of Light. You are the fire in our hearts, help us keep oil in our lamps, to keep the fire of your love burning bright in our hearts! Thank you that you are able to keep us blameless until that day by the blood of Jesus. Set our hearts on fire! In Jesus' brilliant name, amen.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Fall

Fall... I love the colors, I love the weather, I love the fragrance, I love decorating, I love bonfires, I love taking drives in the country...

Sunday I took a road trip by myself. I wanted to get out there and see the colors. My "boys" were off getting another wrecked vehicle to fix up. Kayla was w/ her bf and his family. So I meandered through tree-covered hills, and over country roads. The weather was in the 70's and cloudy, but the clouds didn't distract from my enjoyment of the day.

Saturday I was blessed with a busy day in the shop. I am excited to report that I sold 3 of the 4 pairs of mittens that I got in on the first day. (see previous post) I tried to reorder today, but didn't get a rep on the phone. They are beautiful, and I know y'all would want a pair if you saw them! Well, unless you live in Florida :)

Christmas is arriving here soon. I have a hard time thinking of it so early, but my job requires it. By the end of the month, I will have evergreen, and rosehips filling containers outside of the shop, with my pumpkins still on the porch by the house. Maybe even some mums will be left blooming if I take good care of them.

I just want to end my aimless post with a praise to the Lord for His bountiful blessings. My husband, who is in commercial construction, has been "demoted" twice in the last month. He was a supervisor with a gas card, then he went back to assistant supervisor without a gas card, now he is a carpenter foreman. But we are very thankful that he still has a job. His company is really slow. Even things they had in the works have come to a halt as companies wait for money to proceed. But we are grateful for God's provision and mercy.

Dale was a mechanic before he went into construction. He truly is a jack of all trades. I am proud of him and grateful for his go-get-it attitude. He is falling back on his mechanical skills. Buying "dead" cars and reviving them, selling them for under $2000. They are affordable and good gas mileage. God is good to give us back-up income.

Sharing a little Wisconsin with you. Have you ever heard of the one...why did the chicken(s) cross the road? I found out it was so I could take a picture!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Our Glory is our Hope

4 Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess 1:4,10,12

Yesterday in our Bible Study as we read these verses and those in between, I pictured a host of believers across the sky with scars and cracks and holes with glory shining out of us. All who were not a part of Christ were looking and marveling at our likeness to Jesus and our oneness with Jesus.

A potter demonstrated creating a pot at a workshop I once attended. She threw the lump of clay on the wheel, added water and spun it around-fast. She proceeded in molding it, pressing it, cutting away excess, squishing it, molding it again, adding water, and sometimes even cutting the whole thing back and remolding it. All I could think of when watching her, was "OUCH"!! I could relate to the Potter's hand on my life at times.

Then she went on to talk about the intense heat of the firing of the clay to set it into a vessel.

Along with this memory came a meaningful passage to me...
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Cor 4:6-9

The demonstration of the potter along with these passages of scripture gives an understanding of the blessings of the trials, and discipline we go through as children of God. The molding and shaping and pruning that He does in our lives enables His glory to be more evident in us.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor 4:17-18

Herein lies our ability to weather any storm that comes our way...keeping our eyes fixed on the return of our Savior, and the glory that will be revealed on that day!

Jesus is our hope of glory! Let us continue to yield to the Potter's Hand. Trusting.
Hoping. Fixing our eyes on the eternal and on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

Heavenly Father, wise and loving Potter, give us the grace to trust you no matter what and keep in mind that this isn't it...eternity is. Fill us with your glory and hope! amen.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Well, it's past midnight again. My day was spent shopping for the shop, hoping people will keep coming to shop, when the economy has dropped. (my apologies for the Dr. Suess attempt, I couldn't help it-it is after all past midnight) (00ps I already said that!)

The Christmas season is approaching, and it is usually the busiest, with fall taking a close second in decorating enthusiasm. Fall has been considerably slower than last year, and as I have prayed and cautiously treaded forward (& conservatively compared to the past) I feel a certain peace. I also feel compelled to keep the flow going to the degree that I can comfortably accommodate.

I keep picturing the economy as a river, and the reality of the situations we are facing along with the news reports coming in daily keep throwing more logs in the river. As more logs pile in, the current slows. I noticed the flow of my traffic in the shop slowed gradually, but considerably over summer with the gas prices. Now, again, as things eb and flow, so I see eb and flow in the shop.

The things I sell are enhancements to life, not necessities. Sometimes not practical at all. I have begun to shift my thinking as I shop for items for the store. I ventured into hats and mittens today. I found some really beautifully knit hats and mittens with fleece lining that I can sell at a really good price for the quality. Something you might pay $40 for at Gander Mtn, I will be selling for $20. or less. It will be fun to see how that goes.

I have also noticed that with the regular eb and flow of life, there are continuing events taking place...weddings, showers, birthdays. Things consistently coming across our calendars that we purchase gifts for. My prayer is that shoppers stop here on the way to Walmart. Keeping the flow going...

In any case, I put my trust in the Lord, for with the Lord there is Peace, Provision, Protection, and the amazing Precious Love and Promised Presence.

Please keep "the state of our country" in your prayers. Praise God He is always on the throne!
It IS past midnight!! I published my post, checked it out, looked at the title and realized that I never talked about the needs I set out to address. So I decided to stay up a little longer...

I encountered deep needs as I went through my day. One of my reps at the gift show I attend, who has become a dear friend, had some serious bad news while I was there. I prayed and hugged her. Continuing in prayer is all I can do...Then I met another friend on the way home for supper. Her marriage is in trouble. So I prayed and told her what the Lord had done in my marriage. Upon returning home and checking email, I learned of yet another friend in need of refreshment. I prayed and encouraged.

What would we do without the hope we have in Christ for the "working of all things for good for us who love Him?" Our needs are so deep, but His love is deeper. Oh how I love my Jesus! How blessed we are to be able to come to the Refresher of souls, the Rebuilder of marriages, the Restorer of broken things, the Redeemer of life... for His wonderful gifts! Glory!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

YouTube - Casting Crowns - Voice of Truth [LYRICS]

Click this link to hear The Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns

Jesus the Word. Jesus the Truth.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” ~ Colossians 3:16

I am so thankful for the above-mentioned word of Christ that is available to dwell in us richly. In a world of humanistic ideas/ideology. Where reason trumps truth, and guessing on the origins of man becomes religiously believed as truth. Where the killing of innocent babies becomes a choice or a right. Where good is called evil and evil is called good. Where standing up for truth is called phobic, intolerant or judgemental. I am thankful for the anchor in our soul. The Rock that we have to lean on. The living, powerful word of God- sustaining us.

A simple story comes to mind. A little girl in school, hears the bully's taunting comments, they tell her that she is useless, ugly and needs to stay away from them. The little girl goes home to her daddy and cries from the pain of the rejection from her day. Daddy tells her the truth about herself and his love. He assures her she is valuable, beautiful and he wants her near him all the time. The knowledge of what her daddy tells her carries her through the next day and the day after that with the continual badgering she receives. She keeps coming home, receiving the truth from her source. Daily spending time with Daddy. As long as she can come home to such love, she knows in her heart that the bullies are wrong. She begins to have compassion on them because she understands that they don't have such a love to live for...

The Truth is this little girl's sustenance. It is her fortress, her stronghold. Her joy.

Thank you Jesus, the Way, the Truth, the Light, the Life, the Answer, the Bridge, the Source, the Sustenance, the Guide, The Rock, the Cornerstone, the Firm Foundation...I could fill the page. Thank you for giving us YOU!!

Now the little girl is asking her daddy if he can help the bullies. Asking what she can do to help them see the truth. That they are loved by the Truth. That He died for them. She begins to smile at them when she sees them and hold her head high. Fear dissipates in the knowledge that she is loved.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Today and every day I am THANKFUL FOR THE TRUTH!

Go visit Grace Alone for more Thankful Thursday posts.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More on God's Love

In my quest for more of God's love, I picked up a book by Bob Sorge called: "The fire of God's Love". What depth of insight into scripture this man has.

I am learning there are three "levels" of relationship with the Lord. Mr. Sorge uses the passage in 1 Jn 2:12-14 to highlight the levels. He also uses Matt 13:8 and John 15:13-15.

The first level being that of a little child. A new believer is a child.
The second level being that of a servant. The "young man" is a servant.
The third level being that of a friend. The "fathers" are friends.

He says the determining factor of where one is in their maturity is fruitfulness.

A child is not very productive; is being nourished... 30 fold produce. He has small tasks.
A young man is a servant with greater productivity.... 60 fold produce. He labors in the vinyard.
A father is bearing much fruit for the kingdom... 100 fold produce. He is a partner with God.

Here are a few observations I have gleaned from his dialog about servants/friends:

Servants focus on results; friends on pleasing the Lord.
Servants serve out of a desire to be faithful; friends serve out of a desire to love.
Servants are willing to work for the Lord; friends want to be with Him.
Servants operate in the idea of what could be; friends operate in confidence of what will be.
Servants go home after work, friends sit down to eat with the Lord.

So long as we keep plugged into the vine, we will go on to bear much spiritual fruit. We are always becoming...all He intends for us to be. Halleluiah!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

God's love

The subject of God's love is one that could fill pages upon pages and still only scratch the surface of it's reality.

I have struggled to grasp His love for me at times. In fact at one time, the reality of it was totally eclipsed from my perspective. Of course His love never fails, that is why I say "my perspective". I was blind to Love's reality for me. I knew in my head, but my heart doubted. I was looking at me and my unworthiness and failure instead of Him and His truth.

That is a tactic of the enemy. I fell for it through a series of circumstances-hook, line and sinker.

The love of God had carried me through alot since my conversion in 1989...moving, financial hardship, my 6 week old baby having surgery, the separation of my parents for a few months, my husband without work, moving again, being homeless (living in a friend's basement), changing churches, rejection by friends and family at times. After 10 years of living in His love, of reveling in Him, suddenly...

I was tripped by old lies, and a wrong focus. Circumstances mounted around me and within me, and I fell from grace. When I was in the deep-deep dark, I couldn't grasp that God loved me there. I believed I had committed the unpardonable sin. I had death breathing down my neck...except for a thread... the precious promises for me in God's word. Faintly heard, but believed enough by me to keep me afloat in my faith so that it wasn't ultimately shipwrecked.

There was the essence of the love of God. The tangible proof that He had indeed not left or forsaken me. I was tormented by the enemy, but the promises of God sustained me and brought me through. When it was shouted at me, "You have no faith!!!" The word of God stood in my heart saying, "if we are faithless, He will remain faithful for He cannot disown Himself." 2 Tim 2:13

When I was taunted, "Your kids are going to be wounded deeply because you are a failure as a mom!" the word of God ministered to me..."He will restore what the locusts have eaten."
Joel 2:25

Can anyone understand how much I love Him after such merciful deliverance? Has anyone been so humbled by His love as an unbelieving believer-redeemed? How could He forgive me for being faithless? I was (in my mind at least) the greatest disappointment to Him that ever crawled on the face of the earth. And still...His love embraced me.


...to know the love that passes knowledge-

  • this love that causes one to throw all else to the wind...
  • this love that compels one to do things that seem foolish to those who don't understand...
  • this love that died on a cross to redeem us from the curse...

this love...

that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:19)

  • this love that enables one to endure torturous things...
  • this love that compels one to suffer anything rather than lose it...
  • this love that arrests one's soul to the point of willingness to die...

Amazing love, how can it be? He died to save a wretch like me...

I am on a quest for more, I want to know the length, the height, the breadth, and the depth. I say, "Show me your glory, Lord! I want to know you more!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Change...Newness of life.

It was the end of 2006 when I closed my one year Bible, and a thought came to me that seemed so simple and yet so profound...Every ending is another new beginning. After having lost so many loved ones in the preceding years, I had experienced many endings.
And they had all experienced new beginnings...eternity.
I am thankful for:
  • the new season we are in...autumn and it's beauty!
  • a new heart...that God is still working on me and changing it to be more like His!
  • my new computer...it is a blessing to be able to use it anywhere!
  • God's new mercies every morning...now matter what happened yesterday-it is past!
  • the daily "news"...like fresh laundry, good food, a full gas tank...!
  • my new nephew...my baby sister is a new mom today!! Congrats, Steph!
  • a new perspective on an old issue...I delight in the Light!
  • a new part for our furnace...let there be heat!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Autumn @ Bittersweet Farm

This country of ours is sooo beautiful. I think (without alot of bias) that we live in an exceptionally beautiful area with trees turning shades of amber, burnt orange, crimson and brown... We have rolling hills, rivers, rocky cliffs, lakes, and streams. Natural wonders all around us. From time to time we spot black bear, deer, turkeys, pheasants, opossums, raccoons (usually you see them along the road if you know what I mean) skunks (I don't like seeing them along the road-if you know what I mean).

Most of the photos I have posted are from my yard (above is our chicken coop), a friend's yard, or vacation (Kayla took the one at the top of my blog while we were pontooning on the Dead River in the U.P.).

October 7-16, 2003. We flew into Boston, and toured the city. It is rich with history, and exceptionally beautiful in the fall. Then we drove up and toured the state of New Hampshire . You can do the whole state in a week! We drove along winding streams, hunted for covered bridges, and rode a tram up into the White Mountains. The time we spent there was peak week for leaf peeping (a New England term we learned that fall) with sunnyand 70 degree days for all but one of them. There are more Maples in NH than in WI so the colors were more spectacular than we had ever seen. We all want to go back again.

If you ever get a chance to visit New England-do! If you ever get a chance to visit WI, you won't be disappointed! What are your recommendations?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I just had to share a picture of my boys... we had one heckuva football game on Friday.

I had prayed for two things. My parents were coming for the first time to watch Ethan play. Their team had been defeated badly the previous two games. I prayed that Ethan would be playing (it's been off and on) and that he would do his best.

What God gave was exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ask or imagine...The night was beautiful. We didn't even need the blankets (for the first time this season!) The game was evenly matched. No score the first half...but my dad was sooo getting into the game it tickled me to no end! I have not had so much fun with my parents for a long time. (I was sitting between them) My mom was really into it too, asking "where's the ball?...what happened?"

We ended up winning 17-14. All the way home we enthusiastically talked football. I have not been in such a fervor over anything for a long time (except prayer-have you noticed?) My boy played the whole game (defensive tackle) and he played good. I kept hearing his name from the announcer-that is how I know...jk...I know a little now about football.

What fun...to think I never got into football until my kids played (yes, Kayla was quarterback in 7th grade flag-football-and that is another story for another day!)

And Your Joy Will Be Complete

I keep talking about it. I cannot say enough about prayer it seems. Our church is doing 40 days of prayer by Alvin Vandergriend. Our sermons on Sunday cover the week ahead. Our small groups are going through it, and our family is doing the devotional daily. We are learning so much and I am seeing the Lord bring change already. And the answered prayer reported! Amazing! Following are a few of mine...

My sister called me with a request on Saturday morning. She was in tears. Her daughter's friend (17yrs old) was in an induced coma because he had fluid building up in his lungs and they had to test him. They had no idea what was going on. I went right to prayer with her, claiming the promises of God. He is Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals. Yesterday (Monday) she called me in the morning to tell me they were taking him out of the coma, and reduced his diagnosis from critical to stable. Praise the Lord!

My best friend's daughter is in Teen Challenge, and on Sunday she informed her mom that she wanted to come home. Several times during her stay since January, she has talked about leaving the program...then we pray, and our faithful God does something that causes her to change her mind. So once again we went to prayer. This morning she told me that He did it again!!! Praise the Lord!

What a great God we serve. We pray according to His will and it will be done! Ask, recieve, joy!

My girl and her boyfriend decided to start their own small group, so we had five teens in our home on Sunday. My heart was so blessed. I love having the house filled with joy and laughter. This too was an answer to prayer. My kids studying God's word together, and praying together. The next morning, Ethan prayed that God would help him be on fire for the Lord. Did I hear an echo? I have prayed for that very thing.

Amazing, Magnificent, Holy Father...I am in awe. Praise You!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Writers group

I was asked by my She Speaks roommate to join their writer's group since they had a couple of women that needed to step out. I decided to give it a try. I love to write...in journals, as a response to something emotional, or pressing or praising. It is an outlet for me, putting thoughts on paper "orders" them in my mind so I can see clearly my thoughts as a whole.

Thoughts are similar to parts for a building; 2x4's, nails, shingles... getting them on paper is like seeing the building completed.

I am excited about this now that I received my first bit of feedback. I can see how helpful it will be in learning. I also have very much enjoyed reading the two that have been sent to me.

So I am wondering...Lord, where is this going to lead?

Isn't the mystery of God's plan exciting? I mean, He knows from the day He thinks us up what His purpose for each one of us is. We walk along with Him, growing and learning, and surrendering and He uses us for His purpose.

I have always loved the story of Joseph for this reason. Imagining myself in his shoes, enduring with integrity all of the injustices he suffered. Or I have imagined myself in Jacob's shoes, not knowing all the time that my son was alive and God had this amazing plan...All the anxiety he suffered...the loss he grieved. What was the moment really like when it all came together? We get a glimpse when we read of the deep emotion Joseph experienced in his reunion with his brothers.

Now that I consider this story and all it means to me, I am grateful for the gift of writing that the Lord gave us to use as a reflection of His creativity. He was the first writer!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The Lord is my peace.

For one who is prone to anxiety like myself, peace is a treasure. I think the Lord has accomplished a milestone in my life as I have been experiencing peace- pure, restful peace.

Part of my transformation comes from more revelation of who He is. That gives me peace. Part of it is HIM showing Himself faithful in answering prayers. I have seen His hand at work so magnificently the past several years, I am warmed to the core when I think about His marvelous works! The radical change is in my prayer life. I have been learning-deeply learning- about prayer. I am overcoming prayerlessness in areas where I was "responsible" before.

I recall a few years back when the Lord was getting my attention on this...My husb. and son were having a conflict. My usual response was to get in and try to fix it (I am a woman-fixing relationship problems is my job -right?) This time, I was sitting behind the scene and turned my eyes toward Jesus. I said, "Lord, please help them to sort this out."

Do you know that it only took a matter of seconds and the entire atmosphere of the living room was changed!! I witnessed a miracle right before my eyes (and that right after the one that took place in my heart!) Well, you can bet that experience encouraged my shift of responsibility off of me and onto One who was able.

Since I am still "woman" I am still learnin', but three cheers for the One who is refiner and former of this clay lump called "me".

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I am reminded suddenly of the song I sang way back when with my kids..."He's still workin' on me, making me what He wants me to be...took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and the earth and jupiter and mars. How loving and faithful He must be...He's still workin' on me."


Monday, September 15, 2008


It was a beautiful sunny day for a drive into the cities. I went the windy way through the countryside, past our old neighborhood. Memories had been triggered on Saturday when a gal came into the shop who used to babysit our friend's children (from our old neighborhood). I had never met her before, but it sure was fun to reminisce.

We had a big old house for those four years. We were very "house poor" due to medical bills from Ethan's birth and surgery. On top of which, my d.h. quit his job to go into business for himself, and business was scarce. So we struggled those years. My friend used to come over on her lawnmower to help me mow the lawn. I usually push-mowed an acre. She had to drive her riding lawn mower at least a mile to help me. I was so humbled and grateful for her act of kindness.

She also would bring me bags of fruit from her grocery shopping trips.

I had another friend who would pass on clothes for Kayla. When I think back to that time, I am so grateful for how the Lord sustained us. And as hard as it was having "more month than money" as my husband used to say...we have such fond memories from that time.

Though we were over an hour from relatives, God graciously gave us a babysitter next door who always insisted on doing it for free. Not that we ever went out alot, but when I went into labor with Ethan, and Dale worked an hour away, she came and her mom took me into the hospital.

My car broke down during that time too. We couldn't afford another. The Lord provided a friend who used to pick me up on Tues. once a month for M.O.P.S. so I could get out with other moms.

How I treasure those memories. I will never forget the strain we felt having so little money, but now the joys outweigh the difficulty of that time.

Today I splurged on myself. I have been saving for 6 months for a laptop. I finally had enough to go out and get one. Oh, how richly the Lord has blessed us! Jehovah Jireh, our provider...Whether it is financially or with provision through His servants, it makes my heart humbly grateful!