Monday, December 31, 2012

Well everyone, it is the last day of 2012! Hard to believe! 2013 sounds sooo strange. Ok, maybe not sooo much ( lol! ), but it is amazing how quickly the years are ticking by and how much happens in a year. I always get a little weird feeling when trying to wrap my mind around the fact that another year is ending. I gave up on New Year's Resolution lists a loooong time ago because it's just so disappointing when you don't get it finished off. I'm sure everyone has had that experience. :P Instead, I try to make daily goals, which are basically all the same ones I'd want for a whole year. It's just a lot nicer to have a daily list rather than a year list because if you don't get something done in a day, that doesn't sound as bad. I mean, there's only so much time in a day, ya know? :D
 My ultimate goal every day is to draw closer to the Lord. He is my everything, my stronghold, my mighty tower, my Saviour. I love Him with all my heart. I desire to please Him with all I do. I know I fail Him each day, but I also know that as long as I want to do what is right, He forgives me.
 I also want to live for others, love others, and be as healthy as I can. These are all hard to do, and I know I fail these goals as well, but I still desire to fulfill these things to the best of my ability. I think the hardest thing for a person to do is to be self-less. Put others first, die to your own wants. Being in a household where there are little ( and not so little ) kids like I have been these last few days and for a few days more certainly has been reminding me of that. If you want to learn a lot of lessons in how your actions and words affect others and how to really be patient and self-less, take care of kids. It is not easy. But in the end, it is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. When you earn their trust, respect, and love, you have been given one of the greatest gifts. It is truly amazing.
 So don't fret when you fail your resolutions for the new year! Strive to live every day as best you can and that is more than enough. In fact, that is even better than trying to follow something through a new year. You don't lose sight of your goal if you keep it in your mind daily and not put it off for the future. You don't lose heart when you haven't reached your goal fast enough. The Bible says to not worry about tomorrow for there is enough trouble today and tomorrow will take care of itself. Certainly a good principle to live by and one that we can all lose sight of.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Not Over Yet

 The story of the birth of our Lord is not over with once the shepherds come to see the babe in the manger. In Matthew the second chapter it tells of the wise men coming to Jerusalem to inquire of Herod about the newborn king. In the latter part of the second chapter of Luke, it tells of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus going to the temple to offer sacrifices. There a man named Simeon and also woman named Anna glorified God and prophesied over the babe and his mother. 
 It is incredible how many times heavenly beings are mentioned. It was an angel who told Zacharias of John. He also appeared to Mary, to Joseph several times, and to the shepherds and wise men. Every step of the way angels appeared. How amazing!!! 

Unto us a Child is born, a Son is given

" And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. "
" And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. "
" But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. "

Luke 2: 6&7, 8-14, 19

This is Christmas.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Bethlehem Journey

" And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. " Luke 2:1, 3-5
 There are many that do not realize that Jesus' birth was not truly in December. December 25th used to be ( and can still be ) a pagan holiday. As a Christian, although not the actual time of the birth of Christ, is a time I set aside to celebrate His birth. Let's investigate.
 Jesus is the Lamb of God. All Lambs are born in the Spring. Also, why would Caesar announce a tax time for everyone to have to travel to their hometown in the winter? It snows there in the hills of Judaea same as in many other places around the world! Think of how our modern system is run in the United States. Taxes are in the Spring. While there is still no set date ( not even a month! ) as to when Jesus was really born, this makes a lot more sense. Travel was hard enough in those days, with rough paths and primitive modes of transportation. In fact, many walked. What a journey that must have been for Mary! How Joseph must have worried over her and the unborn babe. But they arrived safely, with our Lord to be born soon after.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Zacharias's Praise

" And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. " Luke 1:67-75

Merry Christmas!

Mary's Praise

" And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. "
Luke 1:46-55
 God is very deserving of our praise! We shouldn't even have to wait for the miraculous to happen to give Him the glory and honor He is worthy of. Many wondrous things are listed all through the Bible as to what God is and does. Quite a few are named in the passage above. What has God done for you, for me, even today that credits praise? Perhaps the most miraculous of all is the fact that He has allowed me to be on this earth one more day. Perhaps the most " minute " is the fact that He cares enough about me to let a new spin on a recipe turn out, or that a friend of mine happened to be online at the same time I was so I could say hello. These little moments of joy are love gifts from God! He is just as deserving of a thank you for the little things as the big things. 
 Perhaps talking about the little things may seem a discredit in light of the very incredible things Mary is giving glory to God for. It is only that in seeing the great things of God that puts me in mind of the small things. Note that Mary rejoices in the fact that God noticed her despite her ' low estate '. Without the little, we would not have the big. Everything starts out small, then grows into something bigger. :) 
 This season, let the little sparks of God ignite into a fire that burns brighter in the soon-coming new year as you ponder all that God has done for us all through eternity. The greater part of His salvation plan began as a seed in the womb of a lowly virgin. That seed grew to be a man that died on a cross for all mankind's sin. Amen! What great, glorious riches indeed!

Merry Christmas!

" Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him
Christ, the Lord. "

Friday, December 21, 2012

Simple Words

" And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. " Luke 1:38
 As fear turned to awe at the presence of this heavenly being before her and his message to her, another feeling washed over Mary. Humility. So many times it is hard to be humble. She could have taken pride in the fact that God deemed her worthy enough to bear Jesus. Yet it was her simplicity that pleased Him. I believe that is why He chose her. He knew she would accept the Word and all that came with it without scoffing, without being prideful, without complaining. Mary is a wonderful example of what our reaction should be when asked to perform a task for the Lord and others. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

And the Angel came...

" And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. For with God nothing shall be impossible. " 
Luke 1:30-33, 35, 37
 Between these lines of scripture are the outlines of Mary's reactions to what Gabriel is saying to her. It says she was troubled and wondered what the greeting meant. She also questioned how she was to be with child, since she had not been with a man. I'm sure there was panic and fear rising up in her as she wondered how - and why - Jehovah God had chosen her to be the incubator of His flesh being. Yet, Gabriel ended his revelations to her with the perfect reassurance: Nothing is impossible with God. I am sure that at that moment peace washed over and she felt calmed. 
 Whatever seemingly impossible mountain you are facing, keep in mind that with God NOTHING is impossible. All you have to do is believe, only believe. Faith in God is what moves those mountains!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

God with us

" Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. " Isaiah 7:14
Do you know what Immanuel means? Immanuel means ' God with us '. How truly wonderful to know that God is with us. Capture that thought. Roll it over in your mind. God with us. How reverent and holy that sounds. How full is the love of God that He would desire to become us and be with us. How humbling. Immanuel. God with us.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Luke 1:18-20

 " ...And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. " Luke 1:18-20
 After years of waiting and praying for a child and as old age steals on, Zacharias and Elisabeth lost hope of receiving a child. Then the time came - in an unexpected way! Old Zacharias is in disbelief, shocked out of his skin. His prayers have been answered! Oh, wait a minute...Gabriel? Elisabeth and I are the age of most grandparents. This sounds impossible! 
 While the results of Zacharias's disbelief were serious, there is a bit of humor in this. I don't say this in a disrespectful way though. Put it in today's terms: we pray, forget as time goes by, then God finally answers our prayer when we least expect it... and we freak out. ' Wow! He really was listening! '  I'm sure God does get a chuckle or two out of some of our reactions to His blessings and answered prayers. Just be careful not to cross that fine line and earn His displeasure along with His answer. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

" There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. " Luke 1:5-7
 There are those who believe that what happens to us in this life are the result of our good or bad behavior. There are indeed consequences to both, but not all that happens to us ( especially those who are Christians ) is because of our sin or our good deeds. There are things that are justly the will of God and a part of His plan for a purpose. 
 Look at Zacharias and Elisabeth. It says they were both righteous in the sight of God. They followed the law to a tee. Yet, they had no child. Something that was greatly desired of Elisabeth and cherished among women. Year after year had passed until they became past the age of bearing. It was not as punishment for a misdeed, a horrific hidden sin. They walked perfect before the Lord, remember? No, it was simply part of God's blueprint for their lives. Every person, every event, had been timed down to the minute when and how it was all supposed to finally come together.
 God still works that way today. We may have unexplainable happenings in our lives - a sudden death, foreclosure, the loss of a good job, a project that keeps dragging out longer and longer. Don't worry. Stay in prayer, stay firm in the faith. God doesn't have to answer to us. He doesn't have to give us a play-by-play. His only request is that we simply trust in what He is doing. Part of his job is giving beauty for ashes; taking the broken, confusing pieces and making sense of it all. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Old Testament Prophecy

" For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  ' Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel." 
Isaiah 9: 6-8
I know I seem to really be focusing on Isaiah, but there is so much wisdom and prophecy contained within. The foretelling of the birth and life of both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus are written within this book. These verses are so encouraging. They remind us of some of the attributes of God, as well as His purpose. He is all this and more! He is everything. Let's give the Lord praise this season for all He is and all He does. May we bind in out hearts the attribute of God that we are in need of. He is Father to the fatherless; Counseller to those that seek guidance; Peace to those who are in turmoil. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Miracles of Christmas

" Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. And Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. " Isaiah 60:1 & 3

" Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; to them who have no power He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young man shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. " Isaiah 40: 29-31

 What glorious verses! I find the first verse so fitting for this time of year. The latter as well, for the holidays can be quite consuming of our energy. I draw strength from Isaiah 40 and can see many times in my life when God gave me strength beyond what I had. Last night was one of those times. My cat, who is quite old, was acting really strange last last night. I noticed that in the space of just a few minutes, she had frequented her catbox numerous times. As time passed, these trips became more and more frequent in less and less time. She'd hardly leave before she was back in again. We grew quite concerned, especially after checking her box and not seeing any difference despite how much she had been in there. I looked up her symptoms and there were two choices: a kitty UTI/bladder infection, or a blockage. The first can be easily treated at home and goes away with usually no complications in a few day's time. The second can be fatal if not treated immediately. The main sign of a blockage is kitty not passing a decent amount of urine in 12 hours.
 By this time we had started praying and treating her. She was beginning to bleed some. My worry mounted. It was late, so we made sure she had a contained area. Missy had other plans. She wanted me. So I put a protector on my bed and we settled in. I was too worried to sleep much, dozing with the light on and getting her out every hour to eat or use the litterbox. She passed a bit of bloody matter. In the morning she was perky and seemed to be doing fine! I am so thankful God cares about even the little animals. I believe the stuff she passed was what was causing the issue and could have been a blockage, but God performed a miracle so she didn't need surgery.

Joy of the Season

" Then Ezra told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send the portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold. " Nehemiah 8:10 (amplified)

" Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased. " Luke 2:15 (amplified)

 These verses are from some little devotionals I've been using that are specific for this time of year. They are so uplifting! The verse from Nehemiah reminds me that there is so much more to Jesus' birth than just what is outlined in the Gospels. Though much is said about the joy of the season, I fear we sometimes hardly stand back and search out what that truly means. It seems plainly defined in the above mentioned verse. What drew me is the part about giving to him that has nothing prepared. Sure, we stick our shopping change in the bell-ringer's bucket. Gives us a good feeling, right? Giving is so much more than that. Be creative and relish in what you can do for those that have not this year. Most of all, we should have joy this time of year ( and all year! ) simply for what God does for us daily: gives us strength. It may be physical strength. It may be spiritual strength. It may be emotional strength. Nevertheless, it is strength. God is our stronghold we can run to in times of need. THAT is something to be joyful about. There is a Friend that is closer than a brother. :)

 Let us also give glory to God! Living in peace and having peace is something not very many people enjoy today. I think of the families of the ones killed in the school shooting in Connecticut today. There is little doubt those there are not feeling much peace after such a horrific event. My heartfelt prayers go out to them and all who have recently lost a loved one by whatever circumstance. It is not easy to lose a loved one at this time of year when the majority of society is celebrating. I've been there. Yet, we should give glory to God, giver of every good and perfect gift. When the Lord is pleased with our lives, He promises peace to us. May we seek to follow the Lord with all fervency so that peace will abound in our lives.

Baked Persimmon " Pudding "
( Gluten, Sugar, & Dairy Free )

2 Fuyu persimmons, orange & soft to touch
1 cup almond milk ( or milk of choice )
2 eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring
1/2 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350.
Remove stem and pits from the persimmons.
Puree in blender.
Add in other liquids.
Blend until smooth.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
Pour in wet ingredients.
Stir well.
Pour in a greased 9x9 or similar sized pan.
Place in a pan that is larger.
Fill larger pan with water up to pudding line.
Bake until golden, with cracks, and pulling away from edge.

( Tastes good with Eggnog and/or Whipped Cream. )

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Reflections

 I know it has been quite awhile since I have posted, and I am so very sorry! There just doesn't seem to be enough time in a day anymore. Not that I've been doing all that much. Haha. Just life, ya know? :D Anyway, the holiday season has been upon us for some time now and is beginning to climax. We've got the nativity up, candles, and a decoration by our front door. Christmas cards are on their way to family and friends. I hope to get our traditional gingerbread house kit on our trip to Costco this weekend. ( We don't eat it, but it's for old times sake, right? :D ) There are still gifts to be bought, goodies to make, and Christmas stories to read.    
 However, I don't want to forget about the greatest Christmas story of them all. It is one that is much more than just a Christmas story, for it is true. It is what Christmas is all about. The Christ child. God coming in flesh to live and die for us. The beginning of salvation, a babe being born of a virgin to live a sinless life and become the sin sacrifice. How amazing is that? So although there is much to enjoy about this time of year, let us not get lost in the wonder of lights and gifts and that good feeling that comes with the season, but in the wonder of creation and God and new life. May we bask in the humble part of Christmas. God gave himself to us, so let us give ourselves back.
 I want to try and put up a verse that has drawn my attention or a thought that has come to me every day until Christmas. I'm a day late in starting my little " 12 Days of Christmas " project, but it's not exactly about keeping to a schedule. It's about remembering what this time of year is really about.

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces...
 We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Isaiah 25:8,9 & 26:3

Homemade Old-Fashioned Eggnog
( the healthy way ;D )

3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon rum flavoring
1 teaspoon nutmeg
6-8 packets Truvia
1-2 teaspoons psyllium seed powder

Put all but last ingredients in a blender at low speed.
While running, add psyllium.

 It may seem strange to see me not cook the eggnog and to have ingredients like Truvia and psyllium, but that is the way I've learned it best. I have certainly seen eggnog recipes that did not heat it. Truvia is a sugar-free sweetener that does the job perfect. I find it in the baking section in just about any grocery store. The psyllium can be most likely found in the health food section of say, Fred Meyer. I put this in to thicken it instead of all those other thickeners you will find in store bought nog. It sets up within minutes, although it seems thin at first. Don't be tempted to add more! You will have eggnog pudding instead. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sweet Taste of Success :)

 Am I ever happy! Today I woke up with the distinct craving for gingerbread men. :D I looked through my list of healthy blogs I follow, hoping to find something that met my criteria for a perfect gingerbread man. I found what I was looking for on my first try. They looked like they were not crunchy and they looked normal. I think I hear chuckling. :D I'm with ya! Since I do gluten free as much as I can - as well as sugar free - this gets me excited. :D If it's healthy and it still looks and tastes like the real deal, it goes on the A list.
 So I ate gingerbread men ( and snowmen, hahaha ) for breakfast. Bliss! ( ok, it was actually almost lunch time by then :P ) Tonight I made the rest of the dough. ( thought it might be a good idea to have it refrigerate like it is supposed to, although there was no problem rolling 'em out not having done that ) I had another craving. Icing. But how is one to make icing when there is no powdered sugar in the house? Don't ask me how I dreamed this one up, but BINGO! I made delicious sugar-free icing. YES!!! You read that right! :D And it involved no cream cheese, ucky, unhealthy boxes of sugar free pudding/jello mix or ucky, unhealthy sugar free sweeteners like splenda. So how did I create this golden wonder? Let me tell you:

I took a couple TBS worth of room temp. butter and put in in a bowl. Then I added maybe a TBS or less of agave syrup ( honey would work too ) and whisked it until it was creamy. Then I added 3 packets of truvia ( gotta be the best stuff ever! ). Then I added maybe 3-4 TBS ( give or take ) of tapioca starch/flour and whisked it some more. VOILA!!! It looked like icing/frosting...dip a finger tasted like it too!!! :D I then scooped it up and plopped it in a ziploc, cut a bit of the corner off and frosted away. :) :) :)

So the idea here is to make it like you like it. Make it sweeter with more truvia. Make it stiffer with more starch. Dye it. Have fun with your guiltless yumminess!

OH! I almost forgot! I got my gingerbread men recipe from Ginger Lemon Girl's blog. :) The only changes I made to her recipe is I used 1 generous TBS of powdered ginger and 1/2 cup of coconut sugar plus 4 packets of truvia in place of the 3/4 c brown sugar.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So Blessed #7

Today I am thankful for my family. It's a smaller circle than it used to be, but still there. Although we have our differences, we work together, stay in touch and are there for one another. What more could a person ask for? God has blessed me with a wonderful family. I couldn't ask for better. :)

We went to my mom's sister's house for the big dinner and my granpa hitched a ride with us. I had a blast with my cousins and talk around the table at dinner and dessert was filled with stories and laughter. Here is a pic of me with my cousins and my parents. Also my adorable kitty girl who held the home front while we were gone and got rewarded with turkey tonight. ;)

My " little " cousins, Ally (13) & Cam (16) :D 

My wonderful parents :)

My baby girl ;)

And Some Reminders:



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gingerbread Cake

Watch out! This baby is deeeeelish!!! :)

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. baking soda
2 rounded tsp. cinnamon
3 heaping tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 stick melted butter
2 large or jumbo eggs
1 cup blackstrap molassas
1/2 cup hot water
3/4 cup buttermilk ( or 3/4 c. milk + 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar )

OK, so some of these ingredients you've probably never heard of before, but I think subbing all the first four ingredients for regular flour should work ok. Also, brown sugar will sub just fine for coconut sugar. I'm also thinking subbing the xanthan for baking powder will be a good idea. You won't need the xanthan gum when using regular flour because it is a binding agent used in gluten free baking as a replacement for gluten to get a better result.

Put oven on 350.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl.

Melt the butter and in a large bowl beat it with the eggs. ( I use an electric hand mixer. )

Spray a 1 cup measure and measure out the molassas. ( The spray helps it to come out of the measuring cup faster and cleaner. )

Heat the water.

Add the water, molassas and buttermilk to the other liquids. Mix well.

Add in the dry ingredients. ( I add the flour mix all at once and slowly increase the mixer power. )

Pour into a greased 9x13.

Bake 25 minutes.

Cool slightly before you pig out. :P It tastes the best after it has sat atleast a day, but it may or may not last that long depending on how many people are around and how much they like it. :D It's great plain, topped with whipped cream, or ( my personal favorite ) good old fashioned vanilla ice cream. :) ENJOY!!! :)

So Blessed #6

Today I am so thankful for God's leadership. The way He directs my steps and has foreordained/blueprinted my life to be. There have been times during my life when I haven't understood why something was happening, but looking back later I could see how completely in the hand of God the trial or situation was. ( It didn't even have to be a hard place! It can even be something wonderful and unexpected beyond your wildest dreams! ) Each time that has happened it lends confidence into the future, knowing that all things happen for a reason and that there is no such thing as coincidence. Praise God! :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

So Blessed #5

 Today I am thankful for a roof over my head. It has been pouring down rain off and on for several days now here in lovely Oregon and there is even some flooding starting to happen. ( This is typical for us here in the Willamette Valley, but even so, I wish it would clear up soon so it can soak in a bit and not flood! ) However, I am so thankful for a dry, warm house and a car and clothes to keep me mostly dry. I saw quite a few people out there today that didn't have cars or jackets and probably some that didn't have homes. God is so good, providing all my needs the way He does!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

So Blessed #4

 Today I am so thankful for the freedom I have in this country to worship how I believe is right. I am thankful I can attend the church I want to attend. I am also thankful for the fellowship of those of like precious faith. I can't even begin to imagine how dreadful it would be to not be able to do that and when I think about the fact that there are places around the world today where people cannot all worship how they want, it makes me appreciate what I am able to do all that much more. Especially when I think about the fact that it may not even be that way in my own country much longer. Only God knows. This world grows darker and more evil every day and I am so thankful for the keeping power of Christ in my life, for His shed blood, His love, His grace, His mercy, His power. I love You Lord!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

So Blessed #3

 Today I am so thankful for my friends. The people God has chosen to be in my life are incredible. I love and appreciate each one so very much. Some of us have gone through some really tough times together, but by the grace of God we've made it through and I believe our relationships are all the better for it.

 I got to spend part of my day today with one of those wonderful people, my friend Marissa who's wedding I was in back in April. It made for just about the best day I've had in a looooong time. Life got sooo busy for us once the wedding was over that we havn't even gotten together all these months. It was pretty strange, especially since we used to spend a lot of time together, and when we weren't together we were texting, calling, and emailing. But since I'm up in Portland, which is a lot closer than Salem, we decided to spend some time together atlast. :)
 She picked me up early this morning and we headed back to Vancouver where she lives now to go to a Christian Conference. That was some amazing stuff! The guy who was speaking, Erik Houver ( ? ) does talks on stuff having to do with disproving evolution etc... his topic this morning was on dinosaurs. Pretty awesome stuff! :D It was educational and fun, yet there was an annointing there.
 Afterward, we met up with one of the groomsmen from the wedding ( Roma, the one who walked me ) and a couple of his friends and we ended up all meeting back at Missy and her husband's apt for pizza and fellowship. Missy and I split awhile later to go get in on Starbuck's bogo on their holiday drinks and to drop me off with the gal I'm staying with who was also up in Vancouver at a birthday party.
 So, I had a full day, but a really awesome one. And it's not over yet. :) Movie night! :)

Bon Voyage!

Friday, November 16, 2012

So Blessed #2

There is so much I am thankful for that it is hard to choose! Today I am thankful for...okay...this is going to sound dumb, but I am thankful for Costco. Yes, Costco. Because yesterday when I went there I went to their vision center and got my glasses tightened. It felt amazing, let me tell ya. I had needed them tightened for atleast a week. They slid down my nose every time I tilted my head down even slightly and just about fell off if I bent over to do something. Which you do all the time in a houseful of kids. There are lots of other reasons to be thankful for Costco too, like getting samples and being able to buy some things cheaper and/or in larger quantities. And let's not forget their food court. Yum! Man, I feel sorry for you people back east that only have Sam's Club. Costco's awesome! :D

Thursday, November 15, 2012

So Blessed #1

Today I am going to start a one week countdown to Thanksgiving. Many people have been doing a 30 days of thankfulness. I didn't even think about it, but there is a lot I am thankful for. 

Today I am thankful that a little girl named Moriah ( 14 mos. ) is such a trooper. I'm up in Portland with her mommy and two brothers ( Kaleb (7), Timothy (3) ) to help out while her daddy is on a long business trip. Tuesday night she climbed up the ladder on her brothers' bunk bed...and fell off. She cried off and on for awhile, but overall seemed okay. We kinda kept thinking something was still wrong, but she showed no signs of concussion or bruising. Then it was time to get pjs on. When her left arm was moved, she started crying. Her mommy decided she should take her to be checked. I stayed with the boys. 

Loooong story short, Baby Riah has a broken arm...broken in two places. She has such a high tolerance of pain. I mean, come on. She has a 3 year old brother who does all kinds of stuff to her. She has mostly been happy even though I'm sure she has been in a lot of pain on top of not feeling good. 

Unfortunately, blogger won't let me upload any videos and I don't have any pics of her and her cast on my laptop yet. Here is a pic of her before her cast, just so you can see how CUTE she is. :)

Putting brother in his place :P


Saturday, November 3, 2012


 Today is my 18th birthday! I know that everyone who reads my blog probably already knows that, but I just want to write a little about my day. :) I'm not gonna make any amazing speeches or anything. Just gonna say that I had a more wonderful day than I ever thought I would have, simple though it was.
 My day started with opening some cards and a couple little giftys from my folks ( journal, magazine, recipe cards ). Then Mom and I went out shopping. :) I got two shirts ( b&w, bogo ) and a pretty purple stocking cap. And a ( free! ) Caramel Brulee Latte from Starbucks. :) Blissful yumminess! :) Then we scrambled home to tidy the house and cook because we had a family from church over for dinner - the family I go stay with a lot.
 My bd celebration is not yet over though, because there is a collective ( surprise...except I accidently found out ) birthday party for several people including me tomorrow between services! So excited about that! :)

 Ok, maybe a little " speech ". Ahem. :D

 I am so thankful to God for bringing me through another year of my life. This past year has been one of good times and difficult times. I am blessed with so many things that so many don't have or take for granted: A firm foundation in Christ, loving family and friends that support me, a home, food, clothes...and many things above and beyond that that are extra blessings - things maybe I wanted but didn't exactly need.

 The End

Friday, October 26, 2012

Taking God At His Word

 Have you ever gotten to a place where you are utterly and completely frustrated? Nothing seems to be going right and the devil is ganging up on you, trying to make you believe God is not God and that He cares nothing about you? Perhaps you've been waiting and waiting for the answer to something and the answer still hasn't come yet.
 We have to walk this road by faith, turning our eyes upon Jesus. It can be hard to do when you are rattled and angry - maybe even angry at God. But think how infinite the mind of God is. How great He is and how small we are in His sight. Yet we try to be The Boss and tell God what we want, " firing " Him when we don't get what we expect, when we expect it. Oh, we try to be patient, but if our patience doesn't outlast His timing we feel rejected and get mad.
 O ye of little faith! We must take God at His Word. His promises are true. He will not fail us. When we rage and kick at Him, he quietly waits off in a corner until we are finished with our tantrum. Then He gently scoops us up in His nail-scarred hand and cradles us as we weep out our sorrow, frustration, and pain. He renews us so we can go on our way with our head held high with the knowledge of His strength made perfect in our weakness.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Little Blessings

 I love how God gives us little things that we maybe mention in passing that we want. Little love gifts. :)
 Several months ago, when Mom and I discussing what I wanted for my birthday I had mentioned ( as this was during a time of major stress for me, working and finishing school ) I'd love to have a massage. I thought maybe either my parents would pay for one or I'd use birthday money. We-ell... as you recall, my dad had had an injury at work. He had chiropractic work done. In the end, some kind of settlement/reimbursement was made and Dad got a gift certificate for...a massage! To expire the end of October. He didn't want to use it and we checked to see if it could be transferred to a member of the household. They made an exception. I got a massage! Yesterday. Mmm, bliss. :)
 I got another little gift a week ago as well. Mom and I had done errands on the Saturday at Costco. I took the opportunity to browse the cameras. As you recall, my camera went kaput in August. I happened to notice that an upgrade of the model I had lost was marked down considerably due to the fact that once all of that model were gone, that was it. I moaned my luck to Mom because I doubted they had extra money or that there would be any cameras left by the time I had birthday money. The next day Mom and Dad surprised me and said they were getting the camera for me early for my birthday!
 I am so thankful for these blessings that certainly caught me by surprise that I did not truly ask for, though I wanted them. :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Voyage of a Lifetime!

So. It is a week ago today that I really actually went on a boat and really actually went out on the ocean. YUP! You read that right. :) I am still excited that I got to do this. What did I get to do? Wellll, I got to go on a deep-sea fishing trip. :D I didn't actually get to fish, but I had an awesome time anyway. Ok, minus the fact that I did get queasy and nauseated. I didn't puke though!
 It was actually originally an all-guys fishing trip, but the visiting minister had brought his daughter out with him and she was wanting to go. Not wanting her to be the only girl, I asked to go too. As it turned out, one of the guys brought his wife along too and we three girls joined forces and had a great time.
 Most everyone caught something...some of the guys did quite well. We ended up hauling in three baskets of fish. Not bad for 5 hours.
 Here are some pics:


Depoe Bay/The Ocean

Waiting for the boat

Down to the belly of the whale...or so it felt ( and smelled! )
On the boat at last!

I think this is one of my favorite pics! Love it!!!!

Bro Wayne, Matt, Si, & Jordan

Quite possibly the biggest catch of the day!

Marci, me, and Gracie

I doubt you can see it, but it  says Gracie's Sea Hag.
So, Gracie took a pic by it.
And we all ate a fabulous meal there.
 There are shots and clips I would have loved to have taken, but it was too risky. Like when dad and I stood at the bow the whole way back, riding the waves. That was the most incredible things EVER, and quite possibly my most favorite part of the whole trip. :D It kinda felt like I was riding the creature in Water Horse, ( an awesome movie, by the way, if you've never seen it. ) dipping and rising with the waves and having the salty sea spray up on me. :) :) :) I really hope I have another chance to do this again!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


  I am absolutely in love with these Fall pictures I found on Pinterest. The first one took my breath away & I think maybe ( just maybe ) might be my favorite. :)

Ahhhh, bliss. The stress melts away... :)

What's better than Fall in Paris, right?!

Well...maybe falling in love!
( no pun intended, seriously! )

Fall Decorating
* sigh *

Can you even imagine how good this smells??!

Or how good these taste?
Or these?!!!!

Bon Voyage & Happy Fall!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Isaiah 61

" The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;
because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;
he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
' To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all that mourn;
' To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give them beauty for ashes, 
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord,
that He might be glorified. 
' I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my soul shall be joyful in my God;
for He hath clothed me in salvation,
He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,
and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
' For as the earth bringeth forth her bud,
and as the garden causeth the things sown in spring to bud forth;
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations. "

 I know these verses above are lengthy, but they are what brought me much hope and comfort a few days ago as I read my Bible one morning. The last few weeks have been quite a struggle for me, a real war in my spirit and flesh. So many days I would feel depressed, weary, and sorrowful all day long. I'm sure everyone goes through time like that. I'd worry if not! =D Despite the struggle of feelings and thoughts sloughing about inside me I kept on trying to tell myself this was only for a season, that God was still with me no matter how alone I felt. Truly, He was and is. I am so very thankful! All those lying, negative feelings are but shadows now and I have victory in Jesus! 
 So. If anyone out there is having a rough time of it and feels like there is no hope and no way out, Jesus is calling. He wants to help you. He'll lift your burdens if you'll let him and trade them for peace and contentment. None else will satisfy but Jesus. It does not matter what you are battling. Jesus is the answer to everything!
 Here are the words to a little song my grandma wrote a long time ago. They have such truth in them. :

" I'm NOTHING Satan says I am,
and little of what others think I am,
so why should I let this influence me?
I'm cleansed, redeemed, and sanctified,
walking with the Lord in this evening time.
I'm EVERYTHING God's Word says I am. "


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Seasons, New Beginnings

 While I know that it is not yet Fall, the arrival of September and a new school year brings to mind to many that a season's change is just around the corner. Technically, it is still Summer, and I'm glad. :) Things are beginning to slow down for me as far as going hither and yon, to and fro. My parents are more than secretly relieved, hahaha. I guess I am too, for I can begin to settle in and get some things done and truly relax and enjoy the tale end of Summer.
 My greatest accomplishment thus far has been that I finally got our Fall/Winter garden planted a few weeks ago and have more or less succeeded. Little green shoots are peeking out of the soil and I am proud and excited at my accomplishment. ( Well, my Mom's too, as she did help with research and set-up. :P )
 The biggest change, however, involves my dad. Every quarter at his work everyone gets to bid on routes and this time around he decided to try for a different route. Things have been rather rough-going where he was at and he was ready for a change. So, he got his bid, and as of yesterday he began working a  day shift!!! Now, to most that would be like, so what? big deal! Not so for us. This will be the first time, with a few short exceptions, that my dad has worked a day shift in twenty-two years - give or take. That is a  big deal!!! Admittedly, I was shocked he actually got his bid and it has been hard for me to get used to the idea of basically having his schedule - our schedule - reversed. In fact, I don't know if I know just what to think still, and here he is just about to get home from day two of his new shift. But, I can't complain too much because my mom is a pretty happy camper. Dad is too, since he's got a less-stressful route - which, in turn, makes it a bit less stressful for us at home. 
 Aaaannd....the saddest news for last. =( My camera is kaput. =( So, I won't be posting pictures of my own until I can conjure up a replacement. =( =( =( Which may not be for awhile. Bummer. Blah. Ugh. And all other similar noises of disgust. And yeah. End of story, end of post. =(

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ode to Fall

 I know this may seem silly, especially since Fall is not yet here. I tend to hold Fall in a mix of joy and anticipation - it's my favorite season. I was inspired to write a bit of a poem about Fall. ( Perhaps due to the fact that I'm reading the Anne books and she is always in rapture over the land and seasons. ) That is what may seem silly...the poem. BUT, I am going to be a brave soul and post it anyway, terrible though it may be. :D

 Fall is in the air again,
 Her fragrant breath upon us.
 She comes dressed in regal, royal splendor
 Such as no season e're did festoon.
 Warmth of summer has cooled,
 The crispness of Fall is here -
 Smokey, damp, musky too.

 Oh! The awe of golden-crimson leaves!
 They rustle and mingle with velvet green grass;
 They contrast sharp and wondrously with clear blue sky.
 Such beauty takes breath away,
 Yet beckons for to inhale deeply.
 Save the pleasant memory!
 Tuck it away for a cold, rainy, dismal Winter day.

 Fair Fall has slipped in again
 On the tails of Sweet Summer.
 Enjoy the perfection so as to hold through Winter.
 Fair Fall, I bid thee welcome!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Camp Time

 Hey there! I'm back! I've actually been home for a few days, but I've just been enjoying not having to do much of anything. However, the fun of that only lasts for a certain amount of time before you feel as though you must do something. Especially when I've been doing stuff almost constantly all summer.
 So, camp was incredible. The services, the activities, and the fellowship were wonderful. God really moved in the services and changed lives that had been so hard and resistant to the moving of the Spirit before. There was so much answered prayer and the worship and atmosphere was beautiful. I got to know people better and am happy to say I believe I've begun a life-long friendship with one of the girls from my cabin. God is good!
 Of course, as always when you've been a part of something so amazing as a youth camp, coming out and away from being around those of like-precious faith and the presence of God is difficult. I must confess that though I'm not struggling as much as I was, I am still battling things the enemy has been hounding me with since even before camp was totally over. It's such a let-down to go into camp feeling strong and victorious and to leave feeling a bit weary and pounded. Not from the Word or from those I was with, but with the fiery darts of the wicked one. So if you would dear friends and readers, please keep me in prayer as I battle my way through this time of trial.
 I must say that the key thing in times like these is to not let go of the Lifeline. I'm ashamed to say that I got so caught up with CBW camp and our church camp right after that I didn't truly keep in touch with God like I should have and that is part of why I was struggling so. I kept thinking to myself, " I'll have time when I get home. If I can just hold out until I get home. " That was NOT the right way to think. No matter how busy or weary, praying and reading the Word is first. Pushing yourself when you don't feel like it. Actually, those are the times when you can sometimes get the biggest blessing. Entering in when you are exhausted and don't feel like praying or reading. That's what happened friday night at camp. All of us were so tired, but we entered in and it was the best, most anointed service the whole camp.
 " We need faith for the time when the sun does not shine, and the mountaintop is just a memory. When there's no signs to be seen and you don't feel a thing, to the Word alone I must cling. I need faith for the day when troubles comes my way and I just don't understand what it means. That's when nothing else will do, faith alone will see me through, and believing becomes my victory! "
 Believing when believing isn't easy, that is the testing!
 No pictures this time my loves, I didn't take all that many and they didn't really turn out that well. :( So sorry.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To God be the Glory

 Hello! Here I am, on the eve of yet another trip, and I have things yet to do, but there are some things on my heart I wanted to share. Where am I off to this time? A youth camp in Washington. I've gone several times and although it is the only camp I have ever been to besides special services at my own church, I do believe it is my favorite camp! :) I think a lot of it is due to the fact that this camp has been life-changing for me. Last year I was re-baptized at the camp. I hadn't backslid, but I wanted to give unashamed testimony to all that God had done a work in me and to let the devil know that I belonged to God!
 As I write these things, I have such tender feelings welling up within me due to an email I received from a friend yesterday evening. I titled my post ' To God be the Glory ' because that is to Whom all praise and honor is due for her testimony.
 I don't see this friend very often because she lives quite a distance away. I saw her a few months ago and we had a fun time together. We email here and there. In my last email to her I shared some of the same things I shared here on my blog concerning what God has been doing in my life. I also told her about the song Clear the Stage. She wrote me back yesterday and said she was in tears over the song. It had really touched her. Then she said she wanted to tell me something. She told me that when we had seen one another she had been struggling and that she took note of my relationship with the Lord and it reminded her of where she used to be. God convicted her and she is now climbing higher! I was blown away with her heartfelt thanks that I shined for Christ. ME?! Needless to say, I hadn't tried to be anything. I was just living my life. Yet...God used me!
 I am not relating this for any accolades as to the events that took place. I am in absolute awe of how amazing God is! I had no idea anyone was watching my life or that God was so much on display. I always try my best to do all that is required of a Christian not because it is a requirement, but because I love Jesus. I think that is how many of us believers are. Though we strive to do the will of Christ, so much of it is subconscious. So take courage! You may not even feel like you are much of a Christian or that you are not much of a blessing or testimony, but Christ living through you in your subconscious words and actions speak volumes!
 I probably won't post for awhile. As soon as I am done at camp I will be busy with prep for our church's family camp next weekend. So, Lord Bless you all!