Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Encouraging 2011 Predictions

With all of the problems our world is facing, it can be unsettling to the mind.  Today I will share with you ten predictions that are true!

Top 10 Predictions for 2011
       1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
       2. Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on Earth..
       3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
       4. God will still honor the praises of His people.
       5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
       6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
       7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
       8. There will still be room at the Cross.
       9. Jesus will still love you.
     10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.   

          Isn't it great to remember who is really in control,
         and that; "the Word of the Lord endures forever."  
                                                ( 1 Peter 1:25 )

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Green Beans in the Garden

This is a delightful video done by the West Ladies of Tennessee.  If you are not familiar with them, you are missing a real treat.  These ladies, a mother and her three daughters, host a series of instructional videos in the art of cooking, crafting, preserving, gardening, soap making, herbs, dairy, bread making, sewing....the list is ongoing.  Their videos are in my sidebar....look for the Homestead Blessings picture in the right sidebar underneath my profile.  Simply click on it to see the complete list and the skills they offer.  For now though.....enjoy this great bit of family harmony!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Wife's Calling

Last Sunday our pastor preached on Ephesians 5 and he stated something that was very thought provoking for me.  That if we do what we have been called to do in being submissive to our husbands, God will honor us for it.  1 Peter 3:1 talks about if our husbands do not obey the Word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.  If we follow this, God can work in our husbands lives.

Some women are afraid of being run over if they are submissive, but in fact, they will be honored which could be the saving of a husband or developing things within the husband that you could never achieve on your own.  When we follow the Word of God, we don't need to worry about these things, because we know that He will take care of it. 1 Peter 3:5-6.

The long and short of it is, if we are submissive and conduct ourselves properly, our husbands will benefit much more than what we could ever do with our words and behavior.  Follow the Word and God will honor us for it by your husband being blessed for it.  We can't change our husbands, but God can change us.  Being submissive to our husbands doesn't diminish us, it brings peace to our home and protects the home.

The relationship between a husband and a wife was designed by God to be intimate, not subject to commands by a spouse.  A husband and wife are partners for life, lovers and best friends.  If we follow God's Word and submit to our own husbands, as to the Lord, God will deal with our husbands.  So if I follow what God tells me to do and not nag my husband about fixing the tire, and I get stranded on the side of the highway.......as long as I conduct myself in the manner that God calls me to, God will honor me and deal with my husband.   That's a very freeing concept.   My husband is God's responsibility as long as I follow God's Word.   If I take the responsibility upon myself by nagging my husband and when I get stranded on the side of the highway I berate him in whatever manner I see fit, I lose... and have worked myself into a frenzy in the process.  Hmmmmm.....I think I'd rather let God be responsible, the process and outcome is not only much easier, but much more rewarding.

A wise woman builds her house....if we belittle our husbands, we are tearing down our home by tearing down our marriage.  Our pastor states that men are incredibly insecure creatures and the opinion of a wife matters a lot.  If a man can't get his wife to respect him...he feels like an absolute failure because she knows him best.  That is why we need to respect our husband until he is respectable.  A lot of men live on the confidence that is instilled in them by their wife.

1 Peter 3:4 talks about letting our adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.  A Godly woman understands that ultimately it is her character, not her clothing that makes her beautiful. Maybe what Peter is saying is that we need to take 30 minutes off of our hair and put it on our heart because that is where true beauty is found.  More time on our heart gives us wisdom and guidance in our relationship with our husband.

Submission: The divine calling of a wife is to voluntarily respect her husband and affirm his leadership in their marriage and home.

: The divine calling of a husband is to take primary responsibility for the Christ-like servant leadership, protection and provision in the home.

And when the wife affirms her husband...and the husband takes responsibility to be a Christ-like servant leader....what happens is, the roles are carried out with such love that the authority and the submission, while existing, are almost invisible.

Learning this and practicing it has been like a weight taken off of my shoulders.  And yes, it is a daily choice.  Sometimes it is a minute to minute choice when it comes  to biting my tongue.  I am a very strong and independent woman (and my husband is an extremely patient man) and I struggle with becoming gentle and meek as God calls me to do, but I am making progress and have already seen the rewards!  One thing I am learning is that it takes a strong (not tough) woman to be kind, gentle and submissive.  Being submissive does not mean being weak, it takes much strength and I feel myself getting stronger each day.  It is a very worthwhile cause and I am excited to continue down the path I have been called to follow!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blessings from Faith

I remember very clearly taking this picture.  After filling up my bird feeders one morning, I turned to walk back into the house only to be surprised by this beautiful rainbow spanning the whole sky.  It was so close!  I ran inside to get my camara and was able to take this picture of the end of the rainbow in my neighbors field.  It was one of those times in my life where I was struggling with some difficult circumstances and my faith wasn't what it is now.  That morning strengthened my faith.  I had been calling on God, feeling very alone, and after finishing my devotions, I decided to refill the bird feeders.  To turn around and see this beautiful rainbow, well I was brought to tears and felt such a warmth of security at that moment.  It was like God was saying, I'm right here.  You are not alone.  

This week has been a lot like that.  My faith is much stronger than it used to be, but God never promised us an easy life.  Financially things are very tight, prices seem to keep going up and the news isn't very bright.  We know that the path our family has chosen is the right path, it isn't easy, but it is very rewarding.  God reassures us in subtle ways from time to time that we are in His will.  Yesterday we received an abundant amount of blessings, which makes me laugh with joy at God's timing since it is the week of Thanksgiving.

Our daughter has been needing two specific pieces of curriculum; an additional worktext for her reading curriculum which costs $25.00 and a $5.00 workbook in geography.  The $5.00 workbook costs an extra $6.50 for shipping.  I couldn't bring myself to purchase them last week when I saw the costs.  Yesterday we were in town and happened to have enough time to drop by a used Christian book store.  I might stop in there about once each year, it's not a place that we constantly frequent.  We just happened to be driving by with extra time and it dawned on me to maybe take a look around.  They had the exact reading worktext she needed for only $10.50 and they also had the exact geography workbook she needed for $1.50 no shipping!  Now if you think that is just coincidence, you don't know my God.

With Christmas coming, we are looking at doing several creative craft projects for our family.  Lots of what we decided to do requires assorted glassware.  I thought we would stop by the local hobby store to see what the costs might be to complete our projects.  Also, we were planning to order several half gallon canning jars for food storage online.  Not only did the hobby store have the glassware for the projects, but they had the food storage glass jars too and it was all 50% off!  Now if you think that is coincidence, you really don't know my God!  

These are the whispers from God to me, that tells me, He's with me, He knows what we're facing and He cares.  It is Him telling me that He is right there beside me, encouraging me and then watching me delight in His surprises and blessings.  By faith we walk each step of the way........

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harvest Chicken Noodle Soup

This is one of my favorite recipes during this season and throughout winter.  It is a great way to use cold crop produce and fresh herbs for the garden or greenhouse.  Perfect for a cozy evening against the damp cold!   I am listing the conventional ingredients, but in the directions I will explain how I make it since I use what I have on hand and use as many fresh ingredients as possible.  I try to cook completely without preserved items from stores, keeping as true to the earth as possible and as close to the food as God created it.  In todays times, this isn’t always easy and I find it to be a constant learning process.

1 Tbsp Butter (use the real stuff, make your own or support your local dairy farmer)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
1/2 pound chopped cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 cups egg noodles
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot (my pot is a 6 quart pot) over medium heat, melt butter.  Cook onion and celery in butter until just tender, 5 minutes.

Pour in chicken and vegetable broths.  The best and cheapest broths to use are those that you save from cooking your own vegetables and chicken.  I always strain and freeze all left over liquid for soup making.  Thaw the broth and pour into pot until the pot is about 3/4 full.

Stir in chicken, noodles, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Since I do not own a noodle maker and my hands do not allow me to roll out my own noodles, I purchase freshly homemade noodles from my Amish neighbors.  You can use any noodles that you prefer.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before serving.
~ I will usually add more ingredients by doubling the vegetables, chicken and herbs to make a heartier soup.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baking Day

In an effort to bring in some extra money, I have been baking every week for the past few months.  My neighboring Amish community has a produce auction each Friday and I brought baked goods to sell there.  Grant it, some weeks were worth it and some weeks weren't, but saving up the income every month really helped us clear some bills we wouldn't have otherwise been able to pay.  As the growing season was coming to an end, I looked forward to the last auction of the year.  Yes, we would miss the income, but after baking from dawn till way past dark on Thursday and then loading up the truck and spending most of the day on Friday at the auction, I would lose almost two whole days of cleaning or sewing or whatever else that had to be put on hold.  Upon setting out all of the baked goods on the last day, my friend and Bishop came to me with a smile on his face and asked

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Religious Freedom

We hear the term "religious freedom" used so much these days and I felt that I understood what that term really meant and that I also understood feeling grateful for what "religious freedom" we have in the United States.  This past Saturday evening, my husband and I watched a video, A Cry from Iran, that I had happened to come across at our local library.  Now mind you, we do not spend our evenings in front of the TV, and we have reduced our screen time to almost nothing, working towards removing the TV from our home completely.  Even when there is a good program on i.e. an educational cooking program etc., the trashy commercials ruin it, but that issue is for another post.  The reason I picked up this video was because it caught my eye being about Christianity in Iran.  I highly recommend

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Daily Proverbs

As women, we wear many "hats".  First of all, we are daughters, grand daughters, nieces, cousins and friends. Then most of us become wives, mothers and grand mothers.  Each of these positions take wisdom and understanding, we can choose where we receive this wisdom from, the world or God's Word, and we can either rely on our own understanding or to trust the Lord.

Organization and focus are not my strong points and I have recently discovered many helpful hints from the Duggar family in these areas.  One of them is to read a chapter from Proverbs every morning.  For instance, today is the 3rd, so we read Proverbs 3 this morning.   It holds a few of my most treasured verses that I have stamped in my heart to carry me through many storms of this life.  "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.  It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."  Proverbs 3:5-8

I do not understand all that we face in this world, and to lean on my own understanding would be a disaster.  Each day we face the latest news regarding politics, global warming, the financial status of our country, and the evil that takes place across the world......who do we listen to for guidance?  Who do we trust?  If we turn to the Word of God, we gain wisdom and insight, we learn to also listen to Godly people that God brings into our lives and we always need to listen to them with discernment because we are all human.

I have learned that no matter what the news is saying, if I follow the scriptures, I have no fear.  Frustration...yes at times, fear.....no.  I have not always been so smart, I have listened to the crowd, listened to the people around me (which I thought were my friends) and followed the crowd like a cow follows the herd.  Do you know anyone like this?  The world tells us that as women, we can have it all!  We can have the career, we can have the family, we can have the Mercedes, we can have the house on the hill with so many rooms we don't know what to do with them.  We have to ask ourselves, is that what we really want?  And if it is, why?  For bragging rights?  To look better than others?  To look like we have it all together, when in reality, our children are being raised by the public school system because they spend most of their time within those walls and only a few hours a week in church.  We wonder, why do our children not listen to us?  Where are we failing?  Children become who they are around the most.  Who do you want that to be?  Someone that only teaches for the paycheck?  Friends that communicate mostly with sarcasm?

Ask yourself this question......Why was I created?  What is my true purpose?
Then look to the Word of God, the master of all creation.  Genesis 1:18  "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."  If you read through Genesis, you can see that every living creature was formed "out of the ground"...except for us.  Even Adam was formed "of the dust of the ground".  God took a rib from Adam, "closed up the flesh" and made a woman.  We are specially made for a special purpose. 

In all of this worldly madness and the many "hats" that we have to wear, we need to remember exactly who we are.  We are the daughter of the King, a child of God, created to be our husbands help meet and a Godly mother.  We are free to be simply who we are created to be and not who the world tells us we have to be.  Being who we are created to be isn't easy either, but it holds a freedom above everything else.  There are no words to describe how much freedom there is in knowing that you are fulfilling your God given purpose.
Jump off of the worldly merry-go-round that spins endlessly.
I dare you!
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