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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